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Boxing History

Modern Classics: Rosario-Bramble

By: Sean Crose

Lightweight Edwin Rosario had just engaged in the fight of his life and had come up short. Or had he? The fighter’s June 1985 battle with Hector “Macho” Camacho at Madison Square Garden had ended up being a somewhat controversial affair, as there were voices claiming that it was Rosario, not the flashy Camacho, who deserved the judges nod after the final bell. Still, it was Camacho who got the decision win – though some say he was never the same after that night – and it was Camacho who got to headline an HBO card several months later in Miami as he took on impressive vet Cornelius “Boza” Edwards for the WBC lightweight crown.

Rosario found himself on that same card, too, however, and it was he who was going to steal the show. For the 23 year old was going to face WBA lightweight champ Livingstone Bramble. The colorful Bramble had made a name for himself by upsetting the popular Ray Mancini back in 1984, then winning a decision after an exciting rematch with Mancini the following year. It’s easy to see how Bramble, the defending WBC champion, could have been viewed as the favorite walking into the ring that September evening. 

Things, however, did not go as planned for Bramble. For Rosario seemed to have no psychological wear and tear after the controversial Camacho bout. What’s more, he was showing just exactly what kind of high end boxer-puncher he was. “Bramble has fought very few fellows,” said commentator Bob Sheridan, “that have the boxing ability of Edwin Rosario.” Still, there was no doubt after the first round that Bramble was very much in the fight. In fact, the opening chapter of the bout looked as if it may have been his. Rosario, however, spurred on by chants from the crowd of his nickname, “Chapo,” was not to be denied.

In the second, Rosario’s shots began to hurt his man. Rosario immediately began moving in, upping the pace and throwing punches with bad intentions. A powerful right sent the defending champion to the mat. Bramble was a tough, game, and valiant fighter, but he couldn’t beat the count. Rosario, who had been a champion earlier in his career, was a champion once again. And although his reign wouldn’t be long – Julio Caesar Chavez battered him for his belt just over a year later – the under the radar lightweight nonetheless showed that he could indeed achieve at the highest levels of the fight game.

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