1980sBoxingDon CheverierLightweight Title FightsUSA Network

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

DOG ASIDE:

Edwin “El Chapo” Rosario was a Puerto Rican boxer….who won the lightweight championship three times….as the WBC lightweight champion (1983–84)….then the WBA champion (1986–87)….and again the WBA champion for the 2nd time (1989–90)….then, after moving up to the junior welterweight class….he won the WBA championship….holding the title from 1991 to 1992.

El Chapo’s brother Papo died unexpectedly two years after his move to professional boxing…..so Rosario persevered….wanting to honor his brother’s memory by winning a world championship. He scored big knockout wins over Young Ezzard Charles and Edwin Viruet (another fight in Bone Daddy’s video library)….with the former in three rounds on the Holmes-Cooney undercard….and the latter, who had boxed 25 rounds against Roberto Duran….including a world lightweight championship bout without being knocked out, also in three rounds. He eventually gained a record of 21-0 with 20 knockouts. This led to talks of a title fight against World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight champion Alexis Argüello to be held in Miami….but Argüello relinquished the title to move up in weight to challenge junior welterweight champion Aaron Pryor.  

With Arguello retired, Rosario was matched with Mexico’s José Luis Ramírez on May 1, 1983 (in BD’s video library) 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…..for he didn’t return to the ring until 1984. In his first defense of the title against Roberto Elizondo (in BD’s video library)….whom he knocked out in one round…..bringing El Chapo to this video fight with Howard Davis Jr…..who proved to be more of a challenge….as Davis Jr was ahead on all scorecards with ten seconds remaining in the bout….but was dropped by Rosario just before the bell rang to end the fight and lost a split decision.

A rematch with Ramírez was scheduled again in San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 3, 1984….when 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 for 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….but had to wait another year before getting another opportunity to regain the title….when on June 13, 1986….he faced 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 had swept the middle rounds….and the judges awarded Camacho a split decision in the fight.

Because of the closeness of that bout….the WBA gave Rosario a chance to challenge Livingstone Bramble….the other world lightweight champion. Rosario went to Miami and defeated Bramble by knockout in the second round to become world lightweight champion for the second time. Rosario defended the title against fellow Puerto Rican Juan Nazario with a knockout in eight in Chicago….then he was beaten by Julio César Chávez in Las Vegas in his next title defense by an eleventh round TKO….as Rosario’s eye was almost completely shut and he was spitting blood from his mouth.

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 by beating Anthony Jones, a tough Kronk prospect for the championship….as El  Chapo 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. When he gave Nazario a 1990 rematch at Madison Square Garden, 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.

Howard Edward Davis, Jr. was an American amateur and professional boxer….who grew up on Long Island as the eldest of 10 children….where he 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. He was also awarded the Val Barker Trophy at the Olympics….beating out such boxers as Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael Spinks and Leon Spinks.

He turned professional after the Olympics and went on to compile a professional record of 36–6–1 with 14 knockouts. He retired in 1996….becoming a trainer after retirement….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. 

Davis turned professional in 1977. After winning his first thirteen fights….he challenged Jim Watt for the WBC lightweight title in 1980….as Watt won by a fifteen-round unanimous decision. In 1984, with a record of 26–1….Davis fought Edwin Rosario for the WBC lightweight title as seen in this video….where Rosario retained his title with a twelve-round split decision. His final attempt to win a world title came in 1988….as Davis was stunningly knocked out in the first round by IBF junior welterweight champion Buddy McGirt….and retiring after the fight. In 1994…..finishing his professional career with a record of 36–6–1 with 14 KO’s.

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