Obituary: Edwin Rosario

Edwin Rosario, boxer: born San Juan, Puerto Rico 15 March 1963; married (two daughters; marriage dissolved); died Toa Baja, Puerto Rico 1 December 1997.

Edwin Rosario, who was a world boxing champion in two weight divisions, might have achieved even more had he not spent so long struggling with his personal demons. His death, in mysterious circumstances at the age of 34, came at a time when he was preparing for his next comeback fight in Miami in January. Cocaine abuse was suspected, but denied by his friend the WBA featherweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez.

At his peak "Chapo" Rosario was a heavy-punching lightweight who held both the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Association titles. Only his failure to master the English language spoiled attempts to turn him into an internationally marketable personality.

Early in his career he was snapped up by the New York partnership of Jim Jacobs and Bill Cayton, who masterminded Mike Tyson's rise to fame in the mid-1980s. However, it was impossible to project Rosario as fully as the Puerto Rican had hoped, and they parted company. Nevertheless, his boxing ability was never in question.

Rosario was born in the San Juan suburb of Santurce, and his family moved to Toa Baja when he was three. Edwin was educated at a local high school, where he met his future wife, Alma. He also trained in a boxing gym run by Manny Siacca, who taught him how to fight and eventually helped negotiate the deal with Jacobs and Cayton.

By then he was already a professional - he had made a winning professional debut at 16, and was still only six weeks past his 20th birthday when he won the World Boxing Council lightweight title by outpointing the Mexican southpaw Jose Luis Ramirez over 12 rounds in San Juan in May 1983.

In a rematch the following year Ramirez stopped him, but in 1986 he gave the extraordinary Hector Camacho a gruelling 12 rounds before the self- styled "Macho Man" was given a bitterly disputed decision. Both were Puerto Rican, but Camacho had been raised in New York. In effect, Rosario claimed the decision was racially biased, an argument that was never taken seriously.

Rosario won the World Boxing Association lightweight title with a stunning second-round knockout of Livingstone Bramble in Miami in September 1986, and remained champion for 14 months until he was stopped by the legendary Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez in the 11th round of one of the best fights of the decade.

If anything, that performance enhanced his status rather than diminished it, and two years later he regained the WBA title by stopping Anthony "Baby Face" Jones of Detroit. By the turn of the decade, however, his life was beginning to crumble. He lost his title, moved up to light-welterweight and was briefly recognised as champion by the WBA, but by 1992 was in crisis.

A younger brother, Papote, had been forced to abandon a promising professional career because of drug addiction, and rumours began to surface that Edwin had a cocaine problem. Eventually, he parted from his wife, who took their daughters Ruby and Glorisabel with her, and he drifted into retirement.

At one time he was said to be a cock-fighting entrepreneur in Toa Baja, but his weight ballooned as he struggled to overcome his personal difficulties. His comeback in July 1997 was sad. Although he won two fights, and talked optimistically of another world championship, he was an elderly athlete. It could never have happened.

Poignantly, he said at his peak in 1986: "I won't be in this game for too long, and when I do get out, I want to be a positive influence with the kids in Puerto Rico. No fancy cars or flashy clothes for me, I just want to take care of my family and do good for others."

voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

PMO Analyst - London - Banking - £350 - £400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...

IT Portfolio Analyst/ PMO

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Mechanical Design Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Mechanical E...


£200 - £260 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Accountant, Reconciliations, Bristo...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn