NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Hundreds of mourners packed a New Haven church to say goodbye to Luis Angel Rosa. It was a passionate and rousing ceremony at the Iglesia Cristiana Estrella Resplandeciente de Jacob church on Chapel Street, honoring a boxer who was just 26 years old.
He had a promising career, with 23 wins, 11 by knockout, earning him the nickname “KO King.” He just suffered his first defeat in his last fight, a split decision two months ago. Even that did not get him down. Friends remember his great attitude.
“He was always positive. Always,” remembered Scott Mercado, who knew Rosa from work. “Every time that I’ve ever talked to him he was always smiling. I just have nothing but great, great memories.”
“Every time I saw him, he was always smiling, no matter what was going through in his life,” remembered fellow boxer Kevin Correa. “And he was always, always running.”
That all came to an end early Sunday morning. Rosa died in a head on crash on Meloy Road in West Haven. One car crossed the yellow line. Two other people were seriously injured as well. Boxing was a family affair for the Rosas. Luis senior was a boxer and ran the gym where he trained. His mother runs the business side of things.
Members of that family and the extended family of the boxing community, 500 of them all packed into that Fair Haven church to say goodbye. Whether they remember him out of the ring or in it, they say they will always remember Rosa.
“I’ve seen him since he was little,” said Hommy Gonzalez, a family friend. “His family is like my family, so I’m always going to remember him as a champion. He’s a real champion.”
“That’s something I admire about him that he never gave up and he will always be remembered as a legend in New Haven,” said Correa.