Crunch Time: Rosenblatt vs. Parker

By Ted Sares on March 20, 2012
Crunch Time: Rosenblatt vs. Parker
Despite a lack of amateur experience, Dana Rosenblatt had old-school moves on the inside

“His body began to break down on him little by little. All the wear and tear over the years, it finally caught up with him…”

“I started Karate when I was thirteen and I had my black belt when I was sixteen and then I took up Judo at sixteen. I like competitive sports.”—Dana Rosenblatt

When two young undefeated fighters meet, the winner moves up and the loser regroups. This was the case when “Dangerous” Dana Rosenblatt (23-0) met Chad “The Gentleman” Parker (30-0-1) at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on May 6, 1995, in a televised undercard.  At stake was Rosenblatt’s WBC Continental Americas middleweight title. The full HBO team of Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant, Harold Lederman and Roy Jones Jr. was covering the fight and its members were on their game.

An analysis of each fighter’s opposition disclosed that Rosenblatt, out of Malden, Massachusetts, had gone up against far superior opponents. His first round KO of “The Irish Express,” Sean Fitzgerald (29–2–2), for the New England middleweight title on December 16, 1993, told me all I needed to know. An even keener review suggested that Parker’s best effort was his draw against capable Tim Rabon in Chad’s home town of Biloxi, Mississippi in 1990. Rabon would head due south after this fight, also suggesting that Parker was more hype than substance. Finally, Chad had not fought in a year. One might say he was ripe for the picking.

Moreover, Dangerous Dana (like fellow Bostonian Robbie Sims) was vastly underrated. Despite a lack of amateur fighting, he had old-school moves on the inside where he used his strength to bully his opponents with his shoulders and elbows. He also was capable of roughhousing if circumstances required it.

Dana entered the ring in an old-school white robe ala Rocky Marciano. Parker was dressed in a ludicrous Tuxedo top ala Roy Jones Jr. and looked like a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time as he paced back and forth

The Fight

When the fighters received their instructions from a slim Jay Nady, both appeared bone dry and that’s when I decided not to blink much less leave the room. If either man landed a solid shot, it could do disproportionate damage.

The bell rang and the two began feeling each other out, but it quickly became apparent that the Bostonian was the stronger and more dangerous of the two as he bullied his man around the ring. Then at the 1:28 mark Parker unloaded, but so did Rosenblatt. They both came at each other with bad intentions. Dana’s lightening right landed first and it landed flush. Parker went down like he had been hit with a poleax. The fact both boxers were moving at each other increased the force with which the punch landed and it could be heard throughout the lower seats. The knockout was a chilling one that has flown under the radar of great KOs. “The Gentleman” stayed down for several minutes and there were several anxious moments around ringside until he finally opened his eyes. The molar- rattling punch was a career ender. Chad would never fight again.

Dana would go on to engage such notables as comebacking Olympian Howard Davis Jr. (36-5-1) who he brutally KO’d in two and put an end to Davis’ comeback; former five-time champ Vinny Pazienza (47-6), splitting two exciting bouts and winning the vacant IBO super middleweight title in the second; rugged Glenwood “The Real Beast” Brown (48-12); tough Arthur Allen (26-8); future Hall of Famer Terry Norris (Dana dominated the early rounds and then, exposing a pattern tracking to the Allen fight, seemed to run out of gas but his early lead held up for a UD win and the IBA World middleweight title); and Will “Kid Fire” McIntyre (36-4-1). After his win against McIntyre in October 2000 and just when his star was positioned to rise to the next level, his career moved in the opposite direction.

A series of shoulders injuries, a hand fracture (suffered in the Brown fight) and several scheduling problems kept him inactive and caused him to drop out of the world rankings. He would not fight again until June 28, 2002. Bob Trieger, Rosenblatt’s former publicist was quoted as saying, “His body began to break down on him little by little. All the wear and tear over the years, it finally caught up with him, and probably kept him from achieving everything he really wanted to in boxing. It kept him from earning the real big paydays.”

After many months of rehabilitation and frustration, Rosenblatt stepped into the ring against Juan Carlos Viloria for the first time in almost 20 months. In what turned out to be his last fight, he was again accidently headbutted in the third round causing a deep cut and rendering him a bloody and ghastly mess. The fight was ruled a technical draw. Dana was handily winning at the time and looked extremely sharp, but this final gut wrenching frustration convinced him it was time to consider walking away which he did in August 2003. He retired with a great record of 37-1-1 and went on to a successful business career. Along the way, he graduated from Bunker Hill Community College with honors.

Trieger added, “[Rosenblatt] stood for something that’s very atypical when the discussion of professional boxing comes up…you always hear about…all the bad guys that hurt the reputation of boxing. But you never hear about guys like Dana, a guy who represents what most boxers are about. Most of them are good, caring people.”

Footnote: When Dana won his 15th fight, a one-round KO of Dan Mitchell in Baltimore on September 11, 1993, he wore the Star of David on his trunks. He was emulating what many Jewish boxers did in the 1930s.

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  1. the thresher 02:32pm, 03/30/2012

    Thanks, Norman

  2. Norm Marcus 09:36am, 03/30/2012

    A masterful view of a boxer we should know more about. You found a gem here. Good one Ted!

  3. the thresher 06:45pm, 03/20/2012

    Paz should be so lucky that he ends up like Dana.

  4. pugknows 04:53pm, 03/20/2012

    Thanks for an extremely well done article, Ted.

  5. FrankinDallas 04:48pm, 03/20/2012

    Vinny Paz had a visceral hatred of Rosenblatt…but the Pazmanian Vinny was pazzo anyway.

  6. the thresher 11:45am, 03/20/2012

    So did I

  7. dollarbond 11:33am, 03/20/2012

    Good God, I thought he killed him.

  8. the thresher 11:26am, 03/20/2012

    I’d love to get Dana to attend one of our Ring 4 events.

  9. jofre 11:08am, 03/20/2012

    I remember that fight. Rosenblatt looked terrific that night. It’s too bad that injuries and inactivity derailed his career. He was always willing and able to fully engage everyone he fought. Dana is a class guy and a credit to boxing outside the ring. Thanks for the memories!

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