That knockdown was more than enough to break the tie on Nathan's card and give Rosario a split decision.
On the eve of the bout he had said, "Along the way, there were always brick walls, but I finally got through. It took a longtime."
Early in the fight, Davis didn't look as though he'd survive very long against Rosario, who entered the ring with a 27-0 record, including 25 KOs. Davis lost the first two rounds, having been knocked down in the second, and then seemed out of it. But he turned the fight around with one blow—a hard right hand that stunned Rosario and buckled his leg in the third—and then stood up to nine rib-crunching rights to the body in the fourth. Davis won most of the middle rounds as Rosario backed away, with Davis stalking him into the corners.
"I wasn't going to chase him," Rosario said. "I'm the champ. He's got to chase me."
So Davis chased. "I thought, 'The only way I'm going to beat this man is to come at him,' " he said. He withstood another Rosario righthanded body assault in the 10th, wincing in pain each time Rosario hammered his ribs, but he fought back with hooks of his own and kept Rosario's attention with the jab.
And Davis almost pulled it off. Afterward, Jimmy Jacobs, Rosario's manager, mentioned the possibility of a rematch. Davis shrugged when he heard about it. He has been having increasing trouble making the 135-pound limit—he shed 18 pounds in 3� weeks to make the weight in Puerto Rico—and has been talking about moving up to the junior welterweight division, at 140 pounds.
Whatever the weight, Davis just wants a championship. He doesn't want to be remembered as the only failure of the '76 Games.