by Cliff Rold
After a tactical start, 26-year old Jr. Middleweight Gabriel Rosado (20-5, 12 KO) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, settled on a bruising pace and broke down 32-year old veteran Sechew Powell (26-5, 15 KO) of Brooklyn, New York, scoring a stoppage in the ninth round of a trying encounter. It was only the second stoppage loss for Powell but his third straight defeat dating back to 2010.
Rosado weighed in at the division limit of 154 lbs. Powell came in light at 150.75 lbs. The referee was Steve Smoger.
Both men locked eyes for an intense staredown to begin the encounter and wasted little time in trying to establish purpose, Rosado firing a missing right over the top and Powell flicking his southpaw right jab. A methodical pace set in quickly, Rosado continuing to look for lead rights while Powell tested with one-twos. Rosado let a salvo loose while Powell was on the ropes, Powell slipping shots and taking the action back to mid-ring.
The action remained deliberate in rounds two and three. The more experienced Powell, a former U.S. amateur champion whose pro career has never quite turned over past the contender level, played matador to Rosado’s bull, using his jab to control range and countering well.
Rosado was aggressive in the fourth, firing hard in the clinches while Powell boxed well when at range. A banging lead left in the middle of the round scored for Powell and he added a short left uppercut inside moments later as Rosado charged to even the score. Rosado went to the body with left hands, landing where headshots failed.
Rosado’s pressure made Powell uncomfortable in the fifth, Powell unable to find a comfortable distance for his longer offense. A counter left landed clean for Powell late but Rosado followed up with a flurry and landed a hard shot along the ropes.
Powell landed two hard counters off the ropes to start the sixth, Rosado backing off. His hands below his waist, Rosado began coming forward as if daring Powell to let loose. Powell didn’t take the bait. Both men landed simultaneous leads in the final minute, Powell stepping back and Rosado charging.
A pair of stinging lead rights landed for Rosado just past the midway mark of the seventh to force Powell to the ropes but Powell bounced back with shots of his own after sliding from the strands.
Round eight started huge for Rosado. Early in the round, a Rosado punch badly wobbled Powell and it was everything Powell could do to stay on his feet and Rosado went for the finish. With Smoger looking on, Powell used his left glove to steady himself on the top rope as he was forced from corner to corner. Finding his feet, Powell froze Rosado with an uppercut but held after tasting a left shortly after. Powell tied up often in the final minute and ended the round landing a massive lead left to back Rosado off.
Forced to work off the ropes again the ninth, Powell was taking more than he was giving in terms of power shots. Overcome by Rosado’s attack, Powell bent forward off the ropes and his glove touched the floor to draw a knockdown call. Smoger issued a standing eight and Powell nodded that he could go on.
He wouldn’t go on much longer.
Relentless, Rosado dug in with booming power blows to keep Powell hurt. Powell slipped as much as he could but a clipping right opened up a final nasty left to force Powell to the floor and demand the stoppage from Smoger at 2:43 of round nine.
It was the sixth straight win for Rosado and his second in a row by knockout after a thrilling stoppage of Jesus Soto Karass late in 2011. Rosado gave Powell credit for being a warrior but stated after the fight that he saw “a twitch in his eye” every time he caught Powell clean. Rosado can now build the glimmer of hope in his own eye, entering the fight rated #5 at Jr. Middleweight by the IBF. A title shot may not be far away if he continues his winning ways,
The telecast opened with a battle of young Welterweights.
It would end up a showcase win for the hometown kid as 25-year old Ronald Cruz (17-0, 12 KO), 147, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, dominated 24-year old Prenice Brewer (16-2-1, 6 KO), 147, of Cleveland, Ohio, en route to a unanimous decision. The referee was Gary Rosato.
Cruz, giving up two inches of height to the 5’10 Brewer but more stout in frame, began the fight with a simple pressure attack. Brewer moved about the ring, trying to stick the jab, tasting and reacting the body shots of Cruz.
Brewer, digging in, found a solid left hook early in the third. It was no deterrent for Cruz who answered with his own left hands as the frame wore on, and a nice right hand as well.
A left near the ropes in the first minute of round four seemed to have Brewer off balance but it was hard to tell whether it was entirely from the blow or due to Brewer’s perpetual movement. There was no doubt a minute later. A Cruz right uppercut along the ropes caught Brewer’s attention and he was on his bicycle into the bell.
A big right hand landed early in the fifth to put Brewer in big trouble. Brewer gamely tried to fire back but was left mostly to cover up as Cruz let loose with both hands. The assault slowed as Cruz appeared momentarily winded. Given the opportunity to respond, Brewer moved his hands again. Brewer landed a partially blocked pair of rights in the final minute but it remained Cruz with the higher volume of punches.
Rounds six and seven continued on much the same track as the first five. Cruz would land occasional eye-catching shots and steadily outworked Brewer but couldn’t find a finish as Brewer would cover, escape, and throw just enough to keep Cruz honest.
Circling to his left, Brewer threw his jab in bunches and Cruz chased without catching up in round eight. It was Brewer’s best round of the fight to then and the first he could feel he won. He raised his hand at the bell in realization of the matter.
Brewer tried the same strategy in the ninth but Cruz was ready. In the middle of the round, it was Cruz forcing Brewer to the trenches and letting loose with a stream of leather. Brewer replied in the final minute for some crowd-pleasing exchange.
Tensions set in by the end of the eleventh as Brewer made a solid run after looking the loser in round ten. Brewer’s rally brought life to the fighter heading into the final round, Brewer pounding his chest and off the stool early for the twelfth.
Brewer kept pounding his chest in the round itself, firing hard and seeming to believe he had a winded man in front of him. Cruz responded by firing hard hooks and a big overhand right. With the crowd roaring, chanting for Cruz, both men fired at close quarters and Brewer did his best to keep his rally going but it was too little, too late.
The scores were academic at 118-110 across the board for Cruz. Cruz gave credit to Brewer for his resilience after the fight stating, “He knows how to survive.” Cruz knew how to win and did so, protecting and hoping not to improve on his #12 rating from the IBF in their 147 lb. ratings.
The card was broadcast in the U.S. by NBC Sports Network, promoted by Main Events and Peltz Boxing.
Cliff Rold is a Managing Editor at BoxingScene, and a member of the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com