By: Sean Crose
“We have absolutely nothing to lose,” Jeison Rosaio’s trainer, Luis Perez said in the leadup to Saturday’s junior middleweight bout between Rosario and WBA/IBF champion Julian “J-Roc” Williams. Unfortunately for Williams, Rosario ended up approaching the fight as if he had everything to lose. Thanks to a serious training camp, an extremely sharp ring performance and some punishing power, Rosario stunned the world by stopping Williams in the fifth round, making the fight an extremely early upset of the year candidate. Fight fans might not have known who Rosario was before this past Saturday, but they certainly will now that he holds the WBA and IBF belts.
Leading into this weekend, many – if not most – were viewing the match as a tuneup. In fact, Rosario was seen as a disappointment as an opponent for Williams. He was simply that unknown. Couple that with the fact the boxing public was looking ahead to a possible rematch between Williams and Jarrett Hurd, the man Williams won his titles from in a stunning upset of his own, and it’s easy to see why Rosario shook the world with his victory. Yet there had been evidence leading up to Saturday’s bout indicating Rosario was not a man to be taken lightly.
“This is the time,” Rosario told Fox’s PBC Countdown. “I’m going for what’s mine.” Fighters always say such things – but the accompanying footage of Rosario, his camp life, and his team, indicated something more was in play. Rosario was training out of Miami’s 5thStreet Gym and was residing monk-like in a humble home away from family and friends when he wasn’t working. A though he came across as extremely disciplined in the footage, Rosario’s team still kept a careful eye on him at all times so that the fighter wouldn’t engage in the easy day-to-day kinds of things the rest of the world does regularly.
The Williams’ fight was serious business – and Rosario was determined. “It is a fight that seems easy for Williams,” Rosario said on-camera. “When the bell rings the audience will have their jaws drop.”He was only off by four rounds. For it was in the fifth that Rosario, who had been battling Williams neck and neck, landed clean on his man, leading to a series of hard punching moments that led the referee to stop the bout and crown a new junior middleweight king. Credit Rosario and trainer Perez for refusing to settle for the role of easy opponent.