PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                     September 09, 2011


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Junior middleweight "King" Gabriel Rosado added the State of Pennsylvania to his kingdom Friday night with a 10-round shutout decision over Reading's Keenan Collins in the main event at the Asylum Arena in South Philly. Rosado took every round on all three official scorecards, and everyone else who was watching. The victory improved Rosado's record to 18-5 (10 KO) and earned him the Junior Middleweight State Championship Belt.

In training camp, Rosado talked about his plans to go right after his opponent, eager for a quick and impressive knockout. When the first bell rang, Rosado stuck to the script and aggressively charged Collins. Could a fast KO be far behind? But as the fight wore on, Rosado seemed very comfortable with  the idea of piling up points, banking  rounds and letting the fight go on and on.

In the first round, Collins showed some fight. He nailed a rushing Rosado once to the head and once to the body quite effectively. The punches weren't significant, just solid reminders that he too had come for that State title belt.

Rosado used a nice jab and plastered Collins with barrages of pity-pat punches in the second round, as both fighters continued to loosen up.

In the third, Rosado brought out the power, and bombed Collins with some hard shots to the head and body. But just when he seemed to be on the verge of his pre-fight KO goal, Gaby stepped off the gas and took a moment to admire his work.

In fact, in most of the rounds, Rosado landed serious shots that appeared to be calling cards for a knockout. But in each case, he eased up and opted to pity-pat, lean back, pose, or just wait. 

I used to think that Rosado's passive tendency was a lingering flaw that needed to be worked out. I'd seen Gaby and trainer Billy Briscoe, improve fight after fight, knocking one stylistic rough spot after another from their "to-do" list. An improved and solid fighter emerged after all the tough fights and bumpy roads the team has seen. But the tactic of hesitating when he should press forward, is clearly his chosen style. In fact, it is when he employs this style, that he seems most comfortable and happy in the ring. Against Collins, that style came fully into bloom. I've never seen Rosado looser or more comfortable between the ropes.

Rosado did what he wanted in the ring, and no one can dispute that he had total control of the fight. But if you ask me, his waiting is still  a flaw. Had he pressed any one of the numerous opportunities that arose, he clearly would have gotten the KO. Eventually the fight in Collins quietly slipped away.

After just a couple of rounds, Keenan was just a ghost in there - not the scary kind, more like Casper, of the friendly variety. Collins followed Rosado around the ring and took his punishment. He wasn't in full flight, but clearly was very satisfied just to survive. 

In the seventh, Rosado hurt Collins with two separate right hands, maybe fifteen seconds apart. Collins asked for the second one by tapping on his chin. Rosado gladly delivered the follow up punch and Collins wobbled. But the fight went on.

The boxers took round eight off, but the ninth was the closest of the fight. And just when it appeared that Collins would win his first round, Rosado got busy and pulled it over to his side of the scorecard.

Round ten was a formality with Rosado clowning all the way through. He used every trick that he could in three minutes time. He stuck out his tongue, cranked the bolo punch, and even fought with one hand behind his back. The clowning was his way of showing that he was in complete control, and the message was loud and clear. He called it "doing his Roy Jones". However, I prefer the old-school way of showing complete dominance - depositing an inferior opponent on the canvas and going home early.

All three judges, Steve Weisfeld, Alan Rubenstein and Richard Hopkins, scored the bout 100-90. My scorecard and just about everyone else's was identical.

After all the hullabaloo that followed his last bout, many wondered if Rosado would be able to stay focused for this important fight. He did a pretty good job, but it was apparent that his head wasn't 100%. Leading up to the bout, Rosado was forced to split his attention between preparing for the fight and dealing with the details and worry of his legal charges.

Perhaps with everything that Rosado has been dealing with outside the ring - most of which was completely beyond his control - being in that ring Friday night really felt good. And maybe having a quick night didn't seem so satisfying to Gaby once he got in there and heard his fan base cheering. Being in complete control of both Collins and the bout's outcome must have felt great, and making that feeling last as long as possible, was perhaps exactly what the doctor (or psychologist) ordered for Rosado. It cost him a knockout, but maybe it answered some deeper need.

At 18-5, and with four consecutive victories and a top-15 ranking in the IBF, Rosado is on the verge of a bigger fight now, and truly on the doorstep of the next level. Collins slipped to 13-7-2 with 9 KOs.

In the main supporting bout, undefeated Ronald Cruz extended his winning streak to 14-0 (11 KOs) with a sixth round stoppage of tough journeyman Chris Fernandez. Ronald dominated the fight, winning all but one round in the scheduled 8-rounder. He dropped Fernandez in the fifth, but needed more time to finish the job.

In the following round, Cruz nearly dropped Fernandez again with a wilting body punch, but the Salt Lake City fighter remained on his feet, even if the punch took everything he had left out of him. The bout was stopped after the sixth when  Fernandez returned to his corner and didn't bother to sit down. He'd had more than enough of the rising Ronald Cruz. Referee Blair Talmadge waved it off before the seventh round.

Cruz looked sharp and powerful - especially downstairs. In fact, Ronald is becoming quite a dangerous body puncher. As early as round one, Cruz began switching from his natural right-handed stance to southpaw. It was a strange tactic, especially since he was far more effective while fighting righty. Switch-hitting is something his team has been working on in the gym, and feel will be an effective tool for Cruz in the future. Chris Fernandez, now 19-14-1 (11 KO), was a tough character and good test for Cruz.

North Philly heavyweight Bryant Jennings survived a first round scare at the hands of Alexis Meijas in their scheduled 6-rounder. Meijas rocked Jennings with a left hook and Jennings wobbled his way through the rest of the round. Bryant complained that the key punch landed behind his head, but no foul was called.

Jennings rebounded in the second round and began to carve out a workmanlike win. In the third, Jennings floored Meijas with a hard right hand, but was unable to finish him. Mejias proved sturdy, as did Jennings, and no more close calls surfaced. The last two rounds were close, but Jennings managed to stay ahead, especially because of the knockdown.

The official scores were 58-55 and 59-54 (twice), a little wider than my 57-56 tally. Jennings improved to 10-0 with 4 KOs. Meijas fell to 11-8 with 5 KOs.

North Philadelphian and new father Fred Jenkins, Jr. showed his power against Peter Yates of Norfolk, VA in their scheduled four round super middleweight fight. Jenkins dropped Yates once in the first and again in the second for a TKO win  at 3:01 of the second. Blair Talamdge was the referee. It was Jenkins' second knockout in his 4-0 career. Yates left 1-3.

In a heavyweight battle of the bulge, Lonnie Kornegay, Baltimore, and William Miranda, Allentown, battled over four rounds. Kornegay dropped Miranda with a left hook in the third and went on to take a split decision verdict. Judge Richard Hopkins had it 38-37 for Miranda, but the scores of Steve Weisfeld (39-36) and Pierre Benoist (38-37) overruled, and gave the victory to Kornegay. Like Weisfeld, I scored it 39-36 for Kornegay (in the white trunks).

The show-opener pitted southpaw featherweight Tevin Farmer, North Philly, against Joshua Arocho of Vineland, NJ. At the opening bell, Farmer bum-rushed Arocho and wobbled him with a hard shot. The two scrapped away, with Farmer pulling some crazy tactics like spinning, back-handing and general mugging. Farmer had the edge in the first three rounds, but Arocha rebounded with a good left hook that secured the last round for him. Farmer won the four  round bout by scores of 39-37 on all three judges cards (Weisfeld, Hopkins & Rubenstein).

In the final contest of the card, Atlantic City welterweight Decarlo Perez needed just 1:35 to knockout Tolan Tascoe, Newark, NJ. A crushing left hook, straight right combination by "The Jersey Devil" starched Tascoe flat on his back. Referee Blair Talmadge stopped counting almost immediately and called it a first round KO. The win moved Perez to 5-0-1 (2 KO); Tascoe fell to 1-6-1.

The fight was promoted by Peltz Boxing Promotions, Don Chargin Productions and Golden Boy Promotions, and was televised by Telefutura. The Rosado, Cruz and Jennings bouts made it to air.

Peltz Boxing reported a live attendance of 736.

Tolan Tascoe  is counted out

The alternate referee for the night was Gary Rosato, who worked the Rosado, Jennings, and Kornegay bouts.  The alternating judges were Steve Weisfeld, Alan Rubenstein, Richard Hopkins and Pierre Benoist.

Peltz Boxing returns in November with the USBA Cruiserweight Championship bout between Garrett Wilson and Chuck Mussachio, at Bally's Atlantic City.

September still has two more shows to offer. On September 24, promoter Joey Eye returns to nearby Chester, PA for an outdoor double action card (boxing plus MMA) at Harrah's Casino & Racetrack. Six days later, BAM Boxing Promotions debuts with a pro boxing show at the National Guard Armory on September 30.




John DiSanto - South Philly - September 09, 2011