Some boxers fight as if they're in a hurry, throwing punches even when an opponent's tight defense presents few openings. If something doesn't really fit, maybe they can force it open.
Other fighters are like spiders that have spun their webs. They lie in wait, confident that some prey will eventually fall into the trap they have to intricately laid.
Last night's all-Philadelphia USBA junior middleweight championship bout between titlist Derek "Pooh" Ennis and challenger "King" Gabriel Rosado at the Arena might not exactly fit that description; Rosado, from North Philly, is no mindless windmill puncher, but he is a high-energy type whose best chance of wresting Ennis' belt was to outwork him, sap his energy and maybe land something big in the late going.
The more deliberate Ennis, from Germantown, sometimes appears as if he's posing in the ring, but his reluctance to engage before he's ready masks a higher purpose. He'll make his punches fit, all right, but he's not forcing anything.
When the bell ending a frenetic 12th round sounded, it was the spider who seized the day as Ennis (22-2-1, 13 KOs) retained his championship on a majority decision. Rosado (14-5, 8 KOs) gave nearly as good as he got, but his early energy and frenzied finish were not enough to make up for a long stretch between the fourth and 10th rounds when an increasingly confident Ennis picked him apart, at first with well-placed counter shots and then with lead right hands that found the mark.
As the action heated up, the near-sellout crowd of 1,200-plus alternated between chants of "Gaby! Gaby!" and "Pooh! Pooh!" Did anyone say "rematch"? It's a pretty safe bet that promoter J Russell Peltz is considering it.
Afterward, in the dressing room, the respectful adversaries reflected on what had just taken place.
"Come on, man," Ennis said in response to Rosado's despair. "I'm 29 years old. If I lost this one, I'd have been done. Finished. You can come back."
Rosado wasn't so sure about that. "What do I do now?" he asked. "I have five L's. Maybe I need a better plan."
The older of the boxing Ennis brothers made it a clean sweep for the family, younger sibling Farah Ennis (15-0, 9 KOs), a super middleweight, having scored a third-round stoppage of Demetrius Davis (20-24-5, 8 KOs). Davis, 40, on June 5, stopped a previously undefeated German, Artur Heim, in four rounds.
"It's a good win," said Derek "Bozy" Ennis, his sons' trainer. "Demetrius is an experienced fighter. He's fought a lot of top guys. This is a good one to have on Farah's resume."
Farah Ennis seemingly had things in control when he landed that boxing basic, the old one-two, to floor Davis in the opening moments of the third round. Davis beat the count, but referee Blair Talmadge stopped the scheduled six-rounder after an elapsed time of 27 seconds.
"I threw a straight jab down to the body, then I did it again and came in over the top with the right hand," Ennis said. "I work on that a lot in the gym. It's one of my favorite combinations."
South Philly cruiserweight Garrett Wilson (8-5, 3 KOs) took out North Philly's Reshawn Scott (2-5) in the first round in the walkout bout following the main event. Also taking care of business early were North Philly lightweight Angel Luis Ocasio (3-0, 1 KO), a second-round winner over Sidell Blocker (0-3), of Pleasantville, N.J., and North Philly junior lightweight Anthony Flores (9-1-1, 6 KOs), who stopped Gustavo Dailey (4-9, 1 KO), of West Philly, in the sixth and final round.