Edwin Rosario

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Edwin Rosario
Edwin Rosario cropped.jpg
Rosario in 1984
Real name Edwin Rosario
Nickname(s) Chapo
Weight(s) Lightweight
Height 5 ft 6 in (168 cm)
Reach 66 12 in (169 cm)
Nationality Puerto Rican
Born (1963-03-15)March 15, 1963
Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
Died December 1, 1997(1997-12-01) (aged 34)
Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 53
Wins 47
Wins by KO 41
Losses 6

Edwin "Chapo" Rosario (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈeðwin roˈsaɾjo]; March 15, 1963 – December 1, 1997) was a world champion professional boxer who competed from 1979 to 1997. He won the lightweight championship of the world three times, as the WBC lightweight champion (1983–84), and the WBA champion (1986–87) and (1989–90). Rosario won a 4th world championship after moving up to the junior welterweight division by claiming the WBA title, holding that crown from 1991 to 1992.

Rosario was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.

Early life and career[edit]

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, beginning what looked like a promising career.

His boxing manager and coach (trainer), Manny Siaca Sr., had noticed the younger Edwin Rosario's talent when the boy 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.

Professional career[edit]

Chapo's brother Papo died unexpectedly, purportedly due to drugs, two years after his entry into 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. He beat Charles in three rounds on the Holmes-Cooney undercard in June 1982 in Las Vegas. He also defeated Viruet in three rounds; that opponent had boxed 25 rounds against Roberto Duran-including a world lightweight championship bout-without being knocked out.

Rosario 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 in order to move up in weight to challenge junior welterweight champion Aaron Pryor.

Boxing champion[edit]

External video
You may watch Edwin Rosario vs José Luis Ramírez on YouTube

With Arguello moving divisions, 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 didn't 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 him a tough fight. Rosario knocked out Elizondo in one round. Howard Davis Jr proved more of a challenge – Davis Jr was ahead 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 fourth-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 regain 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 Camacho the fight.

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 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, he was spitting blood from his mouth, and the fight was stopped by his corner.

Rosario was inactive for seven months then went 7–0 with 6 KO's in his next fights. 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 a small group of men who had become world champions three times in the same division. This time, however, he didn't hold the title for long. When he gave Nazario a 1990 rematch at Madison Square Garden, he was defeated on cuts in the 8th round.

Rosario moved up a weight class to the junior welterweight division, and defeated defending world champion Loreto Garza in three rounds in Sacramento's Arco Arena to become a world champion for the 4th time.

However, 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 a 1st round TKO. He later lost a rematch to Frankie Randall, by technical knockout in seven rounds.

Later career and death[edit]

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.[1] 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[edit]

  • 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." [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Edwin Rosario Is Dead at 34, Troubled Boxing Champion", New York Times, December 3, 1997
  2. ^ "Ring Magazine's 100 Greatest Punchers". Boxing.about.com. April 9, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Alexis Argüello
WBC Lightweight Champion
May 1, 1983 – November 3, 1984
Succeeded by
José Luis Ramírez
Preceded by
Livingstone Bramble
WBA Lightweight Champion
September 26, 1986 – November 21, 1987
Succeeded by
Julio César Chávez
Preceded by
Julio César Chávez
WBA Lightweight Champion
July 9, 1989 – April 4, 1990
Succeeded by
Juan Nazario
Preceded by
Loreto Garza
WBA Light Welterweight Champion
June 14, 1991 – April 10, 1992
Succeeded by
Akinobu Hiranaka