Murray vs Rosado: Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, Bernard Hopkins and... those steps
By Neel Khagram
Last Updated: 19/04/17 11:28am
Gabriel Rosado fights Martin Murray at Liverpool's Echo Arena on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports, in an exciting clash at middleweight with the 'King' still harbouring hopes of winning a world title and etch his name into Philadelphian boxing folklore.
We look back at five historical influences the famous fight city has had on the sport...
The Blue Horizon
Similar to York Hall in Bethnal Green, the Blue Horizon was an iconic symbol of Philadelphian grassroots boxing. Known for its bear pit atmosphere, the 1,500 all-seater arena was once voted the number one boxing venue in the world by Ring Magazine.
After opening its doors in 1961, various promoters used the venue to bring through up-and-coming talent from the city. Gabriel Rosado, alongside other local boxers such as Bernard Hopkins and Tim Witherspoon, fought at the Broad Street venue as young professionals.
In 1997, Blue Horizon hosted its first world title fight between Charles Brewer and Joey DeGrandis and was used in the Rocky V movie. Despite its standing in Philadelphia's boxing history, the Blue Horizon was shut down in 2010 and sold to local developers.
Sonny Liston (50-4-KO39)
Sonny Liston relocated to Philadelphia in 1956 and became heavyweight champion of the world six years later after knocking out Floyd Patterson inside two minutes in 1962.
Liston had a reputation as an intimidating fighter with ferocious punching power but lost his reign to Muhammad Ali after back-to-back defeats in 1964 and 1965 respectively.
He failed to rise from his chair after the seventh round in their first contest, and suffered a knockout defeat in a rematch which will forever be associated with the glancing 'Phantom Punch' which surprisingly ended the contest. Despite these notable losses, Liston is regarded as one of greatest fighters to have applied their trade out of the city.
Joe Frazier (32-4-1-KO27)
Frazier moved to Philadelphia at the age of 15 and embarked on a distinguished amateur career which culminated in Olympic heavyweight gold at the 1964 Tokyo games. As a professional, 'Smokin Joe' stopped Jimmy Ellis in 1970 to reign as an undisputed heavyweight champion before facing Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in some of the most iconic boxing matches in history.
He faced Ali three times, winning the first encounter in 1971 at Maddison Square Gardens before losing the rematch at the same venue in 1974, and the 'Thriller in Manilla' a year later.
Frazer also fought Foreman twice, losing his heavyweight crown in 1973 and the rematch three years later in what proved to be his penultimate contest. His standing as one of Philadelphia's finest was recognised four years after his death when a statue of the former heavyweight champion was erected in the city in 2015.
Bernard Hopkins (55-8-2-KO32)
Bernard Hopkins, alias 'B-Hop', 'The Executioner' and 'The Alien' is the former middleweight and light-heavyweight world champion. The 52-year-old reigned as the king of the middleweight division from 1994-2005, with his defining night coming in 2004 after defeating Oscar De La Hoya to become undisputed champion. A unanimous decision win against Howard Eastman in his next outing meant Hopkins had compiled a middleweight record of 20 successful defences.
Hopkins then lost back to back fights against Jermaine Taylor to surrender his status as the number one 160lbs fighter in the world, but a move up to light heavyweight saw him beat Antonio Tarver to claim the Ring Magazine belt and become two-weight king.
In 2011, Hopkins became the oldest world champion in history at 46 years and 126 days when he defeated Jean Pascal for the WBC light heavyweight title. Two years later, he beat his own record after dethroning Tavoris Cloud for the IBF light heavyweight crown at 48 years and 53 days. Hopkins retired last December at 51 years old after being stopped for the first time in his career by Joe Smith Jr.
And... those Rocky steps!
Located outside the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the 72 steps are known as the 'The Rocky Steps' given its iconic association with the triple-Oscar-winning film sequel.
In the movie, the lead character Rocky Balboa is filmed running up the stairs as part of his training regime in scenes which have now taken on legendary status amongst boxing and sports fans alike.
The steps, alongside a bronze statue of Balboa which was erected at the same site, has become a must-see tourist attraction in the city and regular place of homage from boxers, with Rosado himself visiting it a few days before flying to Liverpool.
Watch Martin Murray vs Gabriel Rosado from the Liverpool Echo, live on Sky Sports 1, Saturday, from 7.30pm.