PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                        October 26, 2013


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by John DiSanto


Tonight I'll be heading to Atlantic City for the big fight card at Boardwalk Hall. Nothing new there. I've been going fights since I was a teenager, many moons ago. Over the years, I've seen most of the great champions of my era, as well as a long list of my favorite fighters who never made it to the very top of the sport. 

In recent years as the editor and primary writer for, and also a feature writer for, I've been lucky enough to qualify for press credentials for many of the fights that I've attended. This is a huge privilege and a true tool of my trade as an observer and chronicler of boxing. Without these press passes, I could never see as many fights as I do, nor could I have the access needed to thoroughly cover both the events and the boxers. 

However tonight, I'm going to the fights as a fan. I was graciously offered another press credential for the big show, but I declined. Instead, I opted to buy a ticket for this one. 

The reason for this is because one of my favorite fighters, "King" Gabriel Rosado is fighting for the middleweight championship. So when Gaby steps into the ring with the formidable Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin, I won't be in my usual press row seat, just a few feet from the ring. I'll still be in a good seat next to my friend Mike, but just in case, I'm bringing my binoculars. 

Tonight I don't want to be a member of the media. Watching Gaby Rosado fight this critical career bout, the only thing I can be on this evening is a fan.

I saw Gaby's professional debut in 2006, in the early days of my web site. I was still buying tickets back then, and went to the National Guard Armory that night to see another fighter perform. I had never heard of Gabriel Rosado. However, after he blew through Phil Hicklin in a little more than two minutes, he became one of my favorites. 

I've followed him closely since that night, both at the fights and in the gym. I've been there for just about every one of his bouts, and saw him in the gym prior to each one of his starts. I'm sure that no other writer has written more about Rosado than I have. 

Along the way, I've also become friends with his trainer Billy Briscoe, one of the most interesting characters of the Philly fight scene. Billy is the oldest young man you'll ever meet. He is solidly rooted in the boxing old school, thanks to the lessons he learned from his mentor and all-time Philly legend, the late, great Mr. Wesley Mouzon. Billy combines the best of those old school secrets with the modern methods necessary to compete in the sport today. He's done a great job with Rosado. 

Gaby and Billy are two great guys and true professionals. They are also my friends. They have traveled the difficult road as boxing outsiders, working hard for every forward step they have taken together. Tonight they take perhaps their biggest step yet. 

I think Rosado has a real chance against Quillin. It's not going to be easy, but then, nothing has been easy for him since that very first night that I saw him fight. I never kid myself into thinking that I'm a neutral observer for any fight or fighter that I care about.  I go into fights, and come out of fights, with a rather biased outlook. But when I write about the fights and fighters, even my favorites, I always try to be honest. Just ask any boxer who has gotten angry over something that I've written about them. There are a lot of them out there. Tomorrow after the fight is long over, I'll write my report and I'll be fair, no matter what happens in the ring. 

However, tonight I just want to be a fan, watching, rooting, and cheering for Gaby and Billy to win this fight and opportunity of their lives. They deserve it, and I believe they can do it. 

So when the bell rings tonight and Gaby steps in with Kid Chocolate, I'll be sitting in the seat that I purchased, and I think it will be the perfect place to be. It will be just like that night when I first watched Rosado fight. 

I was a fan that night, and on this night too, all I want to be is a fan. A Rosado fan.

Go Gabriel Rosado! Bring the title home to Philly (and change your life forever). 




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - October 26, 2013