Charles ‘Killa’ Whittaker showed commendable warrior-like bravery but ultimately all the disadvantages weighed against him and he lost the biggest fight of his career.
The 38-year-old West Bayer was in a final eliminator for a world title shot in the International Boxing Federation junior-middleweight division against Gabriel Rosado. The winner of the bout at Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Friday night would earn the right to challenge 154 pound champ Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage for the world title but Whittaker’s dreams were shattered as Rosado crashed home unanswered shots in the tenth round forcing referee Steve Smoger to halt it after 1 minute 50 seconds.
Not only was Whittaker 12 years older, he hadn’t fought for almost a year, was boxing in Rosado’s hometown and despite being No.2 in the IBF rankings (Rosado was No.3), was only getting a purse of $6,000 - and his opponent earned considerably more.
Despite all the distractions and problems leading up to the bout, Whittaker, his trainer Norman Wilson and advisor Raul Alvarez remained focused and positive. But it wasn’t quite enough.
Rosado improved his record to 21-5, 13 KOs and Killa’s record now stands at 36-13-2, 21 KOs in a career that started 19 years ago.
Rosado dropped Whittaker near the end of round five, but the Cayman Islands veteran rocked the Puerto Rican-American with a left hook at the bell. It was his first and only glimpse of a potential upset. Rosado dropped the incredibly game Whittaker again in the seventh and twice in the tenth before it was stopped.
A triumphant Rosado said: “Charles Whittaker is really a true warrior. He came to fight and I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
Whittaker said: “I’m disappointed but this comes with the territory. You win some, you lose some. Respect to Gabriel Rosado. He is a young, tough kid. I’m 38 and may now concentrate on working with young kids in the Cayman Islands.
“I have nothing to be ashamed of and give God the glory for getting me this far.”
Troy O’Neil is a former Caribbean amateur light-heavyweight novice champion who now coaches at the D. Dalmain Ebanks gym in George Town with Whittaker.
He said: “Charles did good. He stunned Rosado at the end of the fifth and if he had come out at the start of the sixth and given it his all he might have stopped him.
“If Charles wants to try one last time I support him and if he doesn’t then youngsters like Dariel Ebanks and Kendall Ebanks will benefit from his coaching.”