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Edwin "El Chapo" Rosario in 1984
|Real name||Edwin Rosario|
March 15, 1963|
Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
|Died||December 1, 1997
Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
|Wins by KO||41|
Edwin "El Chapo" Rosario (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈeðwin roˈsaɾjo]; March 15, 1963 – December 1, 1997) was a Puerto Rican boxer. He won the lightweight championship three times, as the WBC lightweight champion (1983–84), and the WBA champion (1986–87) and (1989–90). After moving up to the junior welterweight class, he won the WBA championship, holding the title from 1991 to 1992.
Early life and career
Edwin Rosario was born in Barrio Candelaria, Toa Baja, an extremely poor barrio on the north coast of Puerto Rico. Rosario's older brother Papo became a professional boxer, with what looked like a promising career.
His boxing manager and coach (trainer), Manny Siaca Sr., had noticed the younger Edwin Rosario's talent when he was 8 years old. Inspired by his brother Papo, Chapo Rosario, as he became known in the world of boxing, had a stellar amateur boxing career.
Chapo's brother Papo died unexpectedly, supposedly due to drugs, two years after his move to professional boxing. 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, the former in three rounds on the Holmes-Cooney undercard.
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.
|You may watch Edwin Rosario vs José Luis Ramírez on YouTube|
With Arguello gone, Rosario was matched with Mexico's José Luis Ramírez on May 1, 1983 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. 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.
He did not return to the ring until 1984. In his first defense of the title, he faced Roberto Elizondo, who had lasted 7 rounds with Argüello in a previous world title challenge and was expected to give a tough fight. Rosario knocked out Elizondo in a single round. Howard Davis Jr proved more of a challenge—he led Rosario on all scorecards with ten seconds remaining in the bout, but was dropped by Rosario and lost a split decision.
A rematch with Ramírez was scheduled, again in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on November 3, 1984. 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 four-round TKO. This was 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. He had to wait another year before an opportunity to recover the title. On June 13, 1986, he met the 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 swept the middle rounds. The judges, in a split decision, awarded him the title.
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 a knockout in the second round to become world lightweight champion for the second time. His pose, raising his arms after the fight, became The Ring magazine's cover for the next month—the only time Rosario was featured on its English-version cover.
Rosario defended the title against fellow Puerto Rican Juan Nazario with a knockout in eight in Chicago. In his next defense, he was beaten by Julio César Chávez in Las Vegas. By the eleventh round, Rosario's eye was almost completely shut, and he was spitting blood from his mouth. The fight was stopped by his corner, and Rosario lost.
Rosario took off for seven months, went 7-0 with 6 KO's in his next matches. After Chavez vacated the title in 1989, Rosario came back and won it again, beating Anthony Jones, a tough Kronk prospect for the championship.
Rosario joined the short group of men who had become world champions three times in the same division. This time, however, he didn't last long. When he gave Nazario a rematch, he was defeated on cuts in 1990 at Madison Square Garden in the 8th round.
Rosario moved up a weight class to the junior welterweight division, and then defeated defending world champion Loreto Garza in three rounds in Sacramento's Arco Arena to become a world champion for the 4th time.
But, personal problems started to take their toll. In his first defense, against Japanese Akinobu Hiranaka in Mexico City on April 10, 1992, he lost by TKO in the 1st round. He later lost a rematch to Frankie Randall, by technical knockout in seven rounds.
Later career and death
Rosario disappeared from the boxing scene. Years later he received media attention after being arrested for stealing beer from a supermarket. He vowed to stay clean and went into a program to achieve this.
In 1997, he won two comeback fights, then won the Caribbean welterweight title by beating Roger Benito Flores of Nicaragua in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, in a twelve-round decision. Once an HBO staple, Rosario was then fighting on small cards without any TV showings. He was ranked #10 among Oscar De La Hoya's challengers at the welterweight division after his win over Flores, making him an official world title challenger once again.
He defeated Sanford Ricks at Madison Square Garden. In his final fight on September 25, 1997, Rosario knocked out Harold Bennett in two rounds at Bayamon. He died before fighting again.
On December 1, 1997, Rosario visited the home of his ex-wife and four daughters, but he cut his visit short an hour later, saying he felt ill. After returning home where he lived with his parents, Rosario was later found dead in his bed by his father. He was found to have died of an aneurysm on December 1, 1997, with fluid accumulated in the lungs. Doctors said that his history of narcotics and alcohol abuse was a factor.
Many celebrities and dignitaries attended his funeral, and a group of Puerto Rican world boxing champions were among the pallbearers. More than 5,000 people came to the funeral or watched from their homes as the coffin was driven from the funeral home to the cemetery.
Legacy and honors
- He won three world championships in the same division.
- On January 12, 2006, Rosario was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, the sixth Puerto Rican inducted into the hall.
- According to Ring Magazine, Edwin Rosario ranks #36 on the list of "100 Greatest Punchers of All Time." 
- List of Puerto Ricans
- List of lightweight boxing champions
- List of WBC world champions
- Hector Camacho versus Edwin Rosario
- List of Puerto Rican boxing world champions
- "Edwin Rosario Is Dead at 34, Troubled Boxing Champion", New York Times, 3 December 1997
- "Ring Magazine's 100 Greatest Punchers". Boxing.about.com. 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
|WBC Lightweight Champion
1 May 1983–3 November 1984
José Luis Ramírez
|WBA Lightweight Champion
26 September 1986–21 November 1987
Julio César Chávez
Julio César Chávez
|WBA Lightweight Champion
9 July 1989–4 April 1990
|WBA Light Welterweight Champion
14 June 1991–10 April 1992
Puerto Ricans in the International Boxing Hall of Fame
|1||Carlos Ortíz||1991||World Jr. Welterweight Champion 1959 June 12- 1960, September 1, WBA Lightweight Champion 1962 Apr 21 – 1965 Apr 10, WBC Lightweight Champion 1963 Apr 7 – 1965 Apr 10, WBC Lightweight Champion 1965 Nov 13 – 1968 Jun 29.|
|2||Wilfred Benítez||1994||The youngest world champion in boxing history. WBA Light Welterweight Champion 1976 Mar 6 – 1977, WBC Welterweight Champion 1979 Jan 14 – 1979 Nov 30, WBC Light Middleweight Champion.|
|3||Wilfredo Gómez||1995||WBC Super Bantamweight Champion 1977 May 21 – 1983, WBC Featherweight Champion 1984 Mar 31 – 1984 Dec 8, WBA Super Featherweight Champion 1985 May 19 – 1986 May 24.|
|4||José "Chegui" Torres||1997||Won a silver medal in the junior middleweight at the 1956 Olympic Games. Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion 1965 Mar 30 – 1966 Dec 16|
|5||Sixto Escobar||2002||Puerto Rico's first boxing champion. World Bantamweight Champion 15 Nov 1935– 23 Sep 1937, World Bantamweight Champion 20 Feb 1938– Oct 1939|
|6||Edwin Rosario||2006||Ranks #36 on the list of "100 Greatest Punchers of All Time." according to Ring Magazine. WBC Lightweight Champion 1983 May 1 – 1984 Nov 3, WBA Lightweight Champion 1986 Sep 26 – 1987 Nov 21, WBA Lightweight Champion 199 Jul 9 – 1990 Apr 4, WBA Light Welterweight Champion 1991 Jun 14 – 1992 Apr 10.|
|7||Pedro Montañez||2007||92 wins out of 103 fights. Never held a title.|
|8||Joe Cortez||2011||The first Puerto Rican boxing referee to be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame|
|9||Herbert "Cocoa Kid" Hardwick||2012||Member of boxing's "Black Murderers' Row". World Colored Welterweight Championship - June 11, 1937 to August 22, 1938; World Colored Middleweight Championship - January 11, 1940 until the title went extinct in the 1940s; World Colored Middleweight Championship - January 15, 1943 until the title went extinct in the 1940s|
|10||Felix "Tito" Trinidad||2014||Captured the IBF welterweight crown in his 20th pro bout. Won the WBA light middleweight title from David Reid in March 2000 and later that year unified titles with a 12th-round knockout against IBF champ Fernando Vargas. In 2001 became a three-division champion.|
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