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Boxing – 1984 WBC Lightweight Title – Champ Edwin Rosario VS Howard Davis

DOG COMMENTARY:

This is 1984 WBC Lightweight Championship fight was between a super great boxer of the golden age of boxing in Champ Edwin Rosario….and a great boxer of the golden age….who both are being forgotten in this fast paced world of 2017….simply because there were so many boxing legends in almost every weight division during this golden age of boxing….and they both deserve their place in Imasportsphile history….for this was a great fight.

Edwin “Chapo” Rosario (March 15, 1963 – December 1, 1997) was a world champion professional boxer who competed from 1979 to 1997….as he won the lightweight championship of the world three times….as the WBC lightweight champion (1983–84)….and the WBA champion (1986–87) and (1989–90)….then Rosario won a 4th world championship after moving up to the junior welterweight division by claiming the WBA title….holding that crown from 1991 to 1992. 

Chapo’s brother Papo died unexpectedly, purportedly due to drugs….just two years after his entry into professional boxing….as Rosario persevered by wanting to honor his brother’s memory by winning a world championship. He scored big knockout wins over Young Ezzard Charles and Edwin Viruet….as he beat Charles in three rounds on the Holmes-Cooney undercard in June 1982 in Las Vegas….then he defeated Viruet in three rounds….and this was with an opponent that had boxed 25 rounds against Roberto Duran….including a world lightweight championship bout without being knocked out. Rosario eventually gained a record of 21-0 with 20 knockouts….which led to talks of a title fight against World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight champion Alexis Argüello that was to be held in Miami ….but Argüello relinquished the title in order to move up in weight to challenge junior welterweight champion Aaron Pryor in a big money match.  So, with Arguello moving divisions, Rosario was matched with Mexico’s José Luis Ramírez on May 1, 1983 for the vacant WBC lightweight title. Rosario dominated the first 7 rounds….but tired down the stretch to make for a very close fight. The judges, as well as most of the public present, felt Rosario had done enough to win….as he became world lightweight champion by the unanimous score of 115-113 on all 3 judging cards. Rosario injured his hand during the fight and needed surgery….for which the World Boxing Council gave him a dispensation….so, he didn’t return to the ring until 1984. In his first defense of the title, he faced Roberto Elizondo, who had lasted 7 rounds with Argüello in a previous world title challenge….and was expected to give him a tough fight. Rosario knocked out Elizondo in one round. As seen in this video herewith….Howard Davis Jr proved more of a challenge….as Davis Jr was ahead on all scorecards with ten seconds remaining in the bout….but was dropped by Rosario with a left hook and lost the fight by a split decision.

A rematch with Ramírez was scheduled, again in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on November 3, 1984….as Rosario dropped Ramírez once in round one and again in the second….but the challenger got off the canvas to take Rosario’s title away with a fourth-round TKO in this Rosario’s first defeat.  Some fans felt he never fully recovered, although he won three more championships.

Rosario won a comeback fight against Frankie Randall, the future world champion, in London. He had to wait another year before an opportunity to regain the title. On June 13, 1986, he met the world champion Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho at Madison Square Garden in New York. The fight was televised by HBO, and although Rosario shook Camacho badly in the fifth round and rallied down the stretch….Camacho swept the middle rounds….as the judges, in a split decision, awarded Camacho the fight….for this fight is also a part of the Imasportsphile boxing library. Because of the closeness of that bout….the WBA gave Rosario a chance to challenge Livingstone Bramble for the WBA world lightweight champion….as Rosario went to Miami and defeated Bramble by knockout in the second round to become world lightweight champion for the second time. His pose, raising his arms after the fight, became The Ring magazine’s cover for the next month ….which was the only time Rosario was featured on its English-version cover.  Rosario defended the title against fellow Puerto Rican Juan Nazario with a knockout in eight in Chicago….and in his next defense, he was beaten by Julio César Chávez in Las Vegas….in a fight where Rosario’s eye was almost completely shut by the 11th round….for he was spitting blood from his mouth….and the fight was stopped by his corner.

Rosario was inactive for seven months then went 7-0 with 6 KO’s in his next fights. After Chavez vacated the title in 1989, Rosario came back and won it again, beating Anthony Jones, a tough Kronk prospect for the championship….as Rosario joined a small group of men who had become world champions three times in the same division. This time, however, he didn’t hold the title for long….cuz he gave Nazario a 1990 rematch at Madison Square Garden…and he was defeated on cuts in the 8th round.

Rosario moved up a weight class to the junior welterweight division….and defeated defending world champion Loreto Garza in three rounds in Sacramento’s Arco Arena to become a world champion for the 4th time.  However, personal problems started to take their toll. In his first defense, against Japanese Akinobu Hiranaka in Mexico City on April 10, 1992….he lost by a 1st round TKO….then he later lost a rematch to Frankie Randall by technical knockout in seven rounds.

Howard Edward Davis Jr. (February 14, 1956 – December 30, 2015) was an American amateur and professional boxer….who grew up on Long Island as the eldest of 10 children….when Davis first learned boxing from his father. After being inspired by a movie about Muhammad Ali, Davis embarked on his amateur career. He won the 1976 Olympic gold medal one week after his mother died. 

As an amateur, Davis was trained by his father, a former boxer. He had an outstanding amateur career. In 1976, Davis won the Olympic gold medal in the lightweight division in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  Davis was also named the Outstanding Boxer of the 1976 Olympics and given the Val Barker Trophy. His Olympic teammates included Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael Spinks and Leon Spinks. His Olympic victory came just one week after his mother died of a heart attack.  Davis had an amateur record of 125–5.

He turned professional after the Olympics and went on to compile a professional record of 36–6–1 with 14 knockouts when he retired in 1996. After retirement he became a trainer….eventually working as boxing director at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida….where he trained both amateur and professional boxers and MMA fighters. He was also a motivational speaker and a musician. 

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