Boxing in Philadelphia can be as erratic as the stock market–up and down, up and down. Philadelphia is fortunate now because the local fight game is on its way up. Not because boxing is more popular now than it was 10 years ago, but because many of the fighters coming out of Philadelphia are hot.
Some of these prospects, such as welterweight Raymond Serrano, junior welterweight Danny Garcia and junior middleweight Julian Williams, do not get the opportunity to fight in front of their hometown crowd on a regular basis. Just because we do not get to see them often should not take anything away from them when they do perform at home. They still are doing big things with their careers.
Serrano won his last bout against Daniel Sostre, of New York, and is now 16-0, 8 K0s. Garcia has beaten ex-world (IBF/WBO) lightweight champion Nate Campbell and is scheduled to box another ex-world (WBO) champ, Kendall Holt, on Sept. 17 in Las Vegas, NV. Garcia is taking back-to-back risks and what else would a boxing fan expect from a Philadelphia fighter.
Williams is 7-0-1 and continuing to test himself. He recently earned a six-round decision win over Raul Rodriguez, of Bakersfield, CA. These three local prospects have a combined record of 44-0-1, 26 K0s, yet they have boxed in Philadelphia only seven times between them. You can see Williams fight at home for only his second time on Friday, Sept. 30, at the National Guard Armory in Northeast Philadelphia.
There are many promising fighters in Philadelphia right now. They include: super bantamweight Teon Kennedy; welterweight Mike Jones; welterweight Ray Robinson; lightweight Karl Dargan; lightweight Angel Ocasio, and cruiserweight Garrett Wilson. I want to take a deeper look into the Philadelphia crop and highlight a few fighters who impress us every time.
Three who come to mind are Ronald Cruz, Bryant Jennings and King Gabriel Rosado.
Cruz, actually from Bethlehem, PA, is an undefeated welterweight (13-0, 10 K0s) who is forcing his way up the rankings. This year he knocked out Dillet Frederick, of Fort Myers, FL, stopped Manuel Guzman, of Lancaster, PA, and forced journeyman Doel Carrasquillo, also of Lancaster, PA, to quit in the sixth round of their scheduled 10-rounder. Cruz is a warrior, a strong fighter with a good chin.
Heavyweight Bryant Jennings, another undefeated prospect (9-0, 4 K0s) also has had a busy year. He twice out-pointed Theron Johnson, of Chicago, IL, over six rounds, once in Atlantic City in February, once in Las Vegas in July. In between, Jennings out-punched Mike Miller, of Akron, OH, and K0d Philadelphia’s David Williams in three rounds. Jennings has a lot to show us in Philly, so keep an eye on him.
When it comes to the King, there always is excitement. Gabriel Rosado is unique, with a record of 17-5 (10 K0s) and the guy’s got character. He does not hesitate to take risks. Rosado stopped Ayi Bruce, of Ghana, in five rounds July 15 at Bally’s Atlantic City for his third win in a row and fifth in his last six fights.
Every risk Rosado has taken has paid off. Earlier this year he knocked out fellow-Philadelphian Jamaal Davis in the 12th round for the vacant NABA interim junior middleweight title and he also upset ex-IBF junior middleweight champ Kassim Ouma in 2009 and world-rated Saul Roman, of Mexico, in 2010. Other risks, such as his fights with Alfredo Angulo and Derek Ennis, paid off even in defeat as Rosado learned things about himself which he put to use in his current winning streak.
Rosado boxes Keenan Collins, of Reading, PA, in the scheduled 10-round main event for the vacant PA junior middleweight title on Friday, Sept. 9, at the Asylum Arena in South Philadelphia. Jennings also is on the show, taking on 6-foot-4 Alex Mejias, of Paterson, NJ, over six rounds, and Cruz will face Christ Fernandez, of Salt Lake City, UT, in the eight-round co-feature to Rosado. I look forward to getting to see these fighters go to work.
Brittany Rogers contributes the BAM on Boxing column to PSC. You can also check her out, as well as everything else you need to know on Philly boxing, at PeltzBoxing.com. Follow Brittany on Twitter @bamonboxing and Peltz Boxing @PeltzBoxing.