By Jake Donovan
Jeison Rosario was forced to work hard for what is arguably the biggest win of his career, outlasting Jorge Cota en route to a 10-round split decision Saturday evening at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.
Cota managed a 97-93 win on one card, which was overruled by scores of 97-93 and 96-94 in the FS1-televised super welterweight bout.
Rosario won the fight largely on his strong start, banking several early rounds as he outlanded the more experienced Cota in each of the first five rounds. The 24-year old Miami-based Dominican was steady in his attack, working behind the jab and coming back with right hands which discouraged his foe but never entirely kept him at bay.
Cota stormed back strong in the second half of the contest. The 31-year old Mexican slugger came in riding a three-fight win streak following a 4th round knockout loss to Erickson Lubin in their March ’17 title eliminator and was eager to return to that point of his career.
That willingness was never more evident than in round seven, when Cota caught Rosario with several clean punches upstairs. A left hook had the younger foe in brief trouble and on the defensive as Cota went on the attack in hopes of permanently turning the tide.
Rosario righted the ship down the stretch, remaining poised while Cota played the role of aggressor but just not in an effective enough manner to sway the judges. The two traded purposeful punches down the stretch in their spirited affair, but with Rosario’s greater accuracy in the final frame proving the difference in settling for a draw and extending his win streak which was ultimately the case.
Cota’s aggression was enough to win one card but not enough to keep alive his winning ways. The loss bumps his record down to 28-3 (25KOs), with his previous two losses coming versus eventual title challengers in Lubin and Marco Antonio Rubio.
It makes for good company for Rosario (19-1-1, 13KOs) who has now won five straight and is unbeaten in his last eight starts.
A heartbreaking 6th round knockout loss to Nathaniel Garrimore two years ago—almost to the day—has been followed by a string of steady performances. Included among the lot are convincing 10-round wins over once-noted prospect Justin DeLoach last May and previously unbeaten Jamontay Clark last August, also airing on FS1.
The bout aired in supporting capacity to former two-division titlist Danny Garcia’s 7th round knockout of Adrian Granados, which aired live on Fox.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox