A Wilted Rose


As Lionel Rose stood in his corner waiting for all the pomp and pageantry to subside, there had to be a certain fear within him. It’s oft said when a boxer loses that fear of his opponent, that’s when he really is in trouble. Nerves would have certainly been growing and growing, making him ever more anxious as his time of reckoning grew nearer.

There was two major reasons for that. The first: he was once again fighting a Mexican challenger to his WBC and WBA Bantamweight titles in the hallowed Inglewood Forum. The last time he had done so, that time against another Mexican fan favorite, Chucho Castillo the fight had ended in a bit of controversy and a lot of pandemonium.

It had been a split decision victory for Rose you see. A incredibly brave decision to make for the judges as they must have known it would be unpopular. The Mexican-American fans didn’t like to see their man lose. Their response? Attempt to destroy the Forum. Rose didn’t want a repeat performance but he also had the desire to win which burns inside every champion.

Now as for the second reason for his consternation: Ruben “El Puas” Olivares was the man standing across the ring staring at him. His name was synonymous with destruction. His record stood at 53-0-1. Impressive but made all the more shocking that 49 of the victories came by way of knockout. In case you’re curious that’s a 93% KO rate.

Rose had reason for hope though. His opponent was known to be unhappy being away from home for so long. He’d only agreed to come to fight in the City of Angels because of title winning opportunity it presented him with.

Fighters like to have things just right, many consider it paramount to victory. With Olivares unsettled perhaps he’d be put off his game. Perhaps that was Rose’s only hope.

Lionel Rose was by no means a bum. He’d proven as much in victories against the best in the Bantamweight division. But troubles making weight were never far off, and he’d had the same problem once more in the lead up to this bout.

Still he’d made it but his style involved slick movement and good defense. He didn’t possess the power of Olivares. But perhaps he wouldn’t need it. Ability can easily outclass power. As the bell rung Rose had to be hoping it’d be the case.

Well it didn’t. The legend of Ruben Olivares was born on a hot August night in Los Angeles. Rose had no answer for his power and ruthless attack to the body using that power. He had a habit of hitting the canvas. Olivares was all too happy to reacquaint the two throughout the bout.

Pandemonium once again ensued after a Rose fight in the Inglewood Forum. This time it was Mexican American fans rushing the ring to celebrate with their new favorite son. Prior to the fight George Parnassus, Forum promoter, told Olivares he didn’t want a repeat of the last fights scenes.

Olivares promised him he wouldn’t let that happen. It only took five rounds to make good on it.


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