Tuesday, March 21, 2023  |



Gabriel Rosado-Curtis Stevens firefight fizzles, ends in draw on BKB

Photo by Scott McDermott/Getty Images

Photo by Scott McDermott/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS – There was an expectation of fireworks when it was announced that Curtis Stevens and Gabriel Rosado would square off in Big Knockout Boxing’s second event at the Mandalay Bay with Rosado’s BKB middleweight title on the line. With the action taking place in “The Pit” – a circle with no ropes that is half the size of a boxing ring – and a healthy amount of bad blood between the two, nobody saw a majority draw coming.

But that’s exactly what happened as Stevens and Rosado fought a relatively tame match that ended with Stevens up on one card 69-63 while the two other cards had it even at 66-66.

It was an anticlimactic decision in a fight that was supposed to epitomize what BKB was all about: action and knockouts. However, part of the blame can go to Rosado, who opted to box rather than slug it out with the heavy-hitting Stevens. Rosado, who hasn’t won a non-BKB bout since 2012, utilized movement and a jab to keep the charging Stevens at bay in the early rounds. Stevens would fail to deploy a jab and chose to find a home for his left hook. He finally succeeded in the fifth and dropped Rosado to the canvas toward the end of the 2-minute round. However, Rosado was rather unfazed and continued to box around the Brownsville slugger.

In the end, fans didn’t get the action they were looking for and the draw only left them feeling empty.

“That’s some bulls–t, man,” Stevens said afterward. Both he and his trainer, Sugar Shane Mosley, appeared quite unhappy with the decision. “There’s seven rounds and it can be eight if we do it right here. I love The Pit but I believe they just want a rematch.”

Rosado, who retained his title, welcomed a rematch but thought that he was more technically sound and proved to be the better boxer.

“I thought I boxed a shutout,” Rosado said. “Stevens has power but I thought I won the fight. I got clipped in the fifth but I used my jab and outboxed him.”

Nevertheless, it would be yet another unfulfilling decision for both fighters who will likely do it again at BKB’s next event.

“I’m the champion and you have to take it away from the champ,” Rosado said. “He didn’t do that. We can run it back.”

In the co-featured bout Jesus Soto Karass made his successful BKB debut with a unanimous-decision victory over Ed Paredes. Soto Karass, who was last seen losing to Devon Alexander, clearly favored the close quarters of “The Pit” as he outworked Paredes with his slugging style throughout the five-round affair to take home the decision with scores of 49-46 across the board.

Khurshid Abdullavev put together a dominant performance as he defeated David Estrada for his junior middleweight title. Estrada failed to find a way to outwork Abdullavev, was knocked down and ended up on the wrong side of the 69-61, 69-61 and 68-62 scorecards.

Anthony Johnson retained his BKB cruiserweight title with a wildly entertaining unanimous-decision victory over Joey Montoya. The two exchanged knockdowns in the first and third rounds but it would be Johnson landing the more significant punches en route to all three judges seeing the fight in his favor 68-65.

In women’s lightweight action, Layla McCarter dominated Diana Prazak and punctuated her performance with a TKO stoppage with 10 seconds left to become the first BKB lightweight champion. McCarter scored knockdowns in Rounds 4 and 7 before putting the finishing touches on her opponent with a barrage of punches to cause a halt to the fight at the 1:50 mark.

Jonathan Chicas claimed the BKB welterweight title with a third-round TKO of Javier Garcia – nephew of trainer Robert Garcia. Garcia, who came into the fight three pounds overweight, was dropped twice by Chicas in the second round before being obliterated by a left hook in the third frame, forcing referee Tony Weeks to call a halt to the bout at the :16 mark.