PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                         January 21, 2012


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Gaby Rosado scored the best win of his six-year pro career at South Philly's Asylum Arena when he trounced Jesus Soto Karass for a 5th round TKO. No one had ever stopped the tough Mexican before Rosado managed the trick in a bloody and brutal beat down that left the tough measuring stick reeling after referee Steve Smoger halted the bout at 2:06 of the round. The fight could have ended in the round before had the bell not sounded in the nick of time to save Karass. But the temporary respite only set up the out-gunned veteran for more punishment, which Rosado gladly resumed the second round five began. It was a beautiful and passionate victory for a fighter who has patiently travelled the hard road while he developed his skills and worked for every opportunity that came his way. 

Leading up to the fight, Rosado said that he wanted to make a statement with this fight. By defeating his opponent so soundly Saturday night, he made it very clear that he had succeeded in his mission completely. After the fight - and even before the fight ended - the message was loud and clear that Gabriel Rosado has become a very real threat to any junior middleweight out there. 

But even more satisfying than the completeness of Rosado's victory was the sense that this fighter had  finally found his ring identity and the fighting style that can take him to the top. Saturday, January 21st was graduation day for Rosado, the first day of the rest of his career.

Rosado used his strength, size, power and forward motion to take this victory. He did not back into the win, or squeak it out. Nowhere in sight were those last few nagging rough spots that in the past had turned potential victories into losses and made fights he won tougher than they should have been. Against Soto Karass, Rosado was a force to be reckoned with for every second of the fight. He beat perhaps his toughest opponent to date and he made it look easy.

From the time this fight was announced, it appeared to be the perfect match in every way for this specific moment of Gaby's career. But potential opportunities only become real when a fighter shows up and is prepared to make it happen. It is to Rosado's and trainer Billy Briscoe's credit that they were able to seize this opportunity and leave not even an inch of doubt about where they are right now.

It felt great to watch these two hard working guys finally climb to the brink of the big time. No other pair deserve it more.

To describe the action of the fight would be rather repetitive. Rosado jumped out to a fast start and kept his foot on the gas throughout. Each round unfolded like the last, with Rosado applying pressure, landing a variety of shots to the head and body, and refusing to allow Soto Karass into the fight.

There were times when Karass made his stand and used his own well-developed skills. Remember this guy had given fits to many fighters, Mike Jones included. However, he could never mount a sustained attack. Nothing he threw discouraged Rosado in the least. In fact, you could see Gabe's confidence increase with every attempt that Karass mounted.

In round three, Karass came away from one exchange with a slash over his left eye. Although more than enough punches had come his way to cause it, referee Steve Smoger ruled that an unintentional clash of heads had done the damage. The cut bled steadily for the remainder of the bout and was gaping by the end.

But the key to Rosado's victory was the consistency with which he was able to impose his will on his opponent. Each attack by Rosado wilted Karass a little more, eroding his resistance bit by bit until it reached the point where he could barely stand. Smoger, known as a ref who likes to let fighters fight, stopped it before Karass was damaged enough to hit the floor, knowing that there was no way he was going to make it. Smoger's timing was perfect, because with almost a minute remaining in the round, Karass would have crashed to the canvas had one more wave of punishment come his way. Watching his legs ripple as he was led back to his corner made that obvious.

"I feel great, man. I feel like I want that shot", Rosado said. "2012 is the year. I wanted to make a statement here. Steve Smoger just told me that I would have beat anybody today. That's my determination, my hunger, my new attitude this year."

"This performance, everything we been through, it paid off today. Today I think I showed I'm a new and improved fighter. I'm a different animal now. I was so anxious to show people that. I wanted to make that statement that this guy is a different animal."

With his career-best performance against Jesus Soto Karass, Rosado accomplished his goal. He did show everyone that he is a different animal now, and that animal is called a contender.

For coverage of the rest of the card, read Jennings Wins PA State Title.




John DiSanto - South Philly - January 21, 2012