Las Vegas – Big Knockout Boxing (BKB), the new sport designed to give boxing fans more action-packed, toe-to-toe fighting and KOs, delivered on its promise, electrifying a capacity crowd at its inaugural pay-per-view event Saturday night at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
The nine-fight card was capped in spectacular fashion by a bruising battle for BKB Middleweight World Championship title won by power punching Gabriel Rosado, who defeated, Bryan Vera, of Austin, Texas in a TKO at 1:59 into the sixth round. BKB championship fights are seven rounds; non-championship bouts are five rounds, each two minutes long. The pay per view event was available on DIRECTV and other TV providers.
The main event was nothing short of a slugfest between two highly skilled veteran boxers. The tight confines of BKB’s rope-less pit and shorter rounds forced the action and intensity of the fight. Vera, who said the BKB no-where-to-run-or-hide pit suited his style of boxing, had no answer for the relentless right hand shots from Rosado throughout the fight as Vera tried to work punches inside.
Rosado said at the weigh-in, there were “going to be fireworks” and he was true to his word. Prepared by his camp and trainer Jesse Reid, he took the fight to Vera like a “Roman Gladiator” amid the thundering cheers from the crowd in BKB’s Coliseum-style seating that surrounded the 17-foot diameter circular pit.
Fighting in the 160-pound weight class, Vera opened the bout working inside with effective body shots, but Rosado closed out the round with a solid upper cut to Vera’s jaw that was a sign of things to come from the powerful, younger fighter. Over the course of the next five rounds, Rosado unleashed a series of devastating right hands, with one hard right dropping Vera in the third round. The 32-year-old Vera gamely made a run with a barrage of punches early in the sixth round, but Rosado, ended the fight with a ripping left-right combination that put Vera on his knees. Referee Kenny Bayless stepped in and the fight was over.
Bruce Binkow, Executive Director BKB and former COO and CMO of Golden Boy Promotions had high praise for the event and level of competition. Speaking at a post-fight press conference, he said, BKB’s inaugural event “surpassed my expectations. We couldn’t ask for more.” He said of the boxers, “The effort and energy they put out was amazing. Everybody from top to bottom came out of the gate swinging until the closing bell. There was no hiding, no time off, no taking a break. My hat’s off to these guys.”
As for the Rosado-Vera fight, Binkow said, “If I was going to write a script for the main event of Big Knockout Boxing’s debut in Las Vegas, you’d think I was exaggerating. They put on a war for everybody. This was as exciting as any boxing match I’ve seen.”
Recapping his performance in the fight, Vera, an Austin, Texas native, whose conventional boxing record is 23-8 with 14 KOs, admitted he got too careless. “I knew it was going to be a war and I was coming in with my hands down too much,” he said. “He was fighting smart and faster than I expected. It was a great fight.”
Rosado, a 28-year-old native of Philadelpha with a record of 21-8 and 13 KOs, said an early knock down woke him up. With BKB’s shorter round format, “When you go down, you don’t have twelve rounds to work your way back into the fight,” he said. “You’ve got to come back quick, so I knew I had to do something fast.” That’s when he began coming over the top with his right hand to devastating effect.
Upset with his last couple of performances, Rosado said, “I knew I had to change lots of things.”
Rosado has twice lost middleweight world title fights, to Gennady Golovkin and "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin, and is 0-3 with a no contest in his last four bouts. “When you come back from defeat and are able to perform, that’s the heart of a champion. ”
About winning the championship belt, he said, “We earned this. BKB chose us because they knew they would get a performance.”
Vera-Rosado middleweight title bout headlined a 9-fight card – with six on the PPV telecast announced by Kenny Albert, top trainer Robert Garcia, writer Mark Kriegel and Jenn Brown.