USBA junior middleweight champion Derek ‘Pooh’ Ennis and challenger ‘King’ Gabriel Rosado both spoke with confidence Monday evening at the final press conference for their all-Philly showdown on Friday, July 30, at the Arena in South Philadelphia.
An overflow crowd at Champps Americana restaurant on Columbus Boulevard in South Philadelphia—less than one mile from the Arena—turned out to hear both fighters and their respective managers and trainers discuss the biggest local fight in years.
“Bragging rights in the city is all well and good,” said Rosado, the 24-year-old challenger from North Philadelphia, “but what I’m really after is the USBA title and the world ranking that comes with it. When I win this fight, I’m going to take that belt home with me and I’m gonna sleep with it in bed.”
Ennis, 29, of the Germantown section of Philadelphia, has other ideas. “You can borrow it for now and see how it feels,” he told Rosado as they sat at the head table, “but it will only be temporary. Sooner or later you’ll have to bring it back to where it belongs—around my waist.”
Ennis is ranked No. 12 in the world by the IBF. His record is 21-2-1, 13 K0s. He won the USBA title last year by beating Eromosele Albert, of Miami, FL, over 12 rounds at the Blue Horizon.
Rosado, unranked, is 14-4, 8 K0s, but he has beaten ex-world champ Kassim “The Dream” Ouma, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, and Saul Roman, of Mexico.
Moz Gonzalez and Eddie Woods, who manage Ennis, were looking forward to Friday’s matchup.
Gonzalez: “Bring it on! We can’t wait until Friday. Derek is in the best shape of his career and I’ve never had a fighter who was so easy to work with. He had some issues earlier in his career with making weight, but that’s all in the past.”
Woods: “I was a pro fighter in the late 1950s and early 1960s when Kitten Hayward and Dick Turner and Percy Manning and all those guys from different neighborhoods took turns fighting each other. I have no problem with two Philly fighters getting it on. Just wait and see! There’s no way we’re losing this fight.”
Billy Briscoe, who trains Rosado, sees a different ending to this one. “Gaby works so hard in the gym I have to tone him down,” Briscoe said. “He knows what this fight means to his career and he doesn’t think anyone can stop him. That USBA belt is all the motivation he needs.”
Also on hand were most of the local undercard fighters. They included: junior lightweight Anthony Flores (8-1-1, 5 K0s); super middleweight Dennis Hasson (9-0, 3 K0s); light-heavyweights Garrett Wilson (7-5, 2 K0s) and Reshawn Scott (2-4, 1 K0), who fight each other; super middleweight Farah Ennis (14-0, 8 K0s); heavyweight Bryant Jennings (3-0, 2 K0s); lightweight Angel Luis Ocasio (2-0).
Hall-of-Famer J Russell Peltz, who has been promoting fights since 1969, hopes the Ennis-Rosado match will be the catalyst that helps to bring Philadelphia back to its glory days when fighters like Hayward, Turner, Manning, Joey Giardello, George Benton, Bennie Briscoe, Cyclone Hart and many, many others took turns fighting each other in matches that still are talked about today.
The eight-bout card begins at 7.30 p.m. and will be televised by www.gofightlive.tv.
Tickets priced at $50 and $75 are on sale at the offices of Peltz Boxing Promotions (215-765-0922) or online at www.peltzboxing.com.