Originally Posted by ipswich express
Really surprised to read this on the Aussie forum, but good to see it's started an interesting debate. His win over Harada was in my opinion, the greatest victory by an Australian boxer, ever. To understand how great a win it was, you have to understand just how great Masahiko Harada was.
He stopped Pone Kingpetch (25-3 at the time) for the Flyweight world title. Kingpetch got his revenge in the return. He finished his career as a 3 time world champion. Harada eventually beat the legendary Eder Jofre for the Bantamweight world title in 1965. Jofre was 47-0-3 at the time. He made defenses against Alan Rudkin (23-1), Jofre again, Joe Medel (who had previously beaten him - Rose beat him too in a non-title bout), and Bernardo Caraballo (51-1-2 at the time).
He was an absolute wrecking ball at the time Rose faced him. Make no mistake, Harada was one of the greatest Asian fighters of all time. I ranked him 94 on my list that I posted in here a few years ago.
Rose beat Harada and then made his first defence against the 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist Takao Sakuri, again in Japan! He then faced Medel at Super Bantam in a non-title bout before defending against Chucho Castillo (34-7) and Alan Rudkin (36-4). He ended up losing his title to a living legend in Ruben Olivares. By this point Lionel pretty much couldn't force his body down to Bantamweight.
That stretch of 1967-1969, beginning with Gattellari, ranks up there with any level of opposition ever faced by an Australian boxer. You also need to consider that this was arguably the strongest time in the history of the Bantamweight division.
Often overlooked when speaking of Rose's career was him losing a razor thin decision in Japan at Super Featherweight for the WBC title! Yoshiaki Numata himself was a 2 time world champion and he beat Rose by 2 points on all cards over 15 rounds.
The fight against Numata was when Rose was starting to fade, and two divisions above his best weight, but it was a damned good performance against another guy who tends to be a little underrated in a historical sense.