About 30 local children attended the South Side Bethlehem 2012 Summer Program kick off event held Monday at , enjoying basketball, video games and lunch, along with the chance to meet WBO Inter-Continental Light Middleweight Champion boxer King Gabriel Rosado.
Rosado, who grew up in Philadelphia and said he attended similar summer programs to the one in Bethlehem, told the youngsters it wasn't easy being a boxer, but he feels it's worth it.
“You can't smoke. You can't do drugs. You have to have a disciplined life because you have to train. A lot of people see glamor, but it's hard,” he said. “In other sports, you've got team mates. If you get tired, you can take a break. In boxing, it's only you. It's tough.”
Answering questions about his life and his sport he told the attendees he trains daily for hours when he's preparing for a fight.
“When I sign a contract, I take it really serious,” Rosado told his audience. “It's how I pay the bills.”
Getting hurt is part of boxing, he added.
“As a fighter, you have to embrace the fact that you will get injured. It's part of the job,” Rosado said, adding that it's his goal to become world champion in his class.
“Whatever you want to do, you want to be the best. So that's my goal,” he said.
Despite injuries, he said he's not worried.
“My grandmother is 102 years old,” Rosado said, adding that he comes from “a really big family” and his father has 21 brothers and sisters. “So I come from good genes.”
Rosado recently won a fight that was held at the Sands Event Center, and his next one is scheduled for September.
“I actually wanted to be a baseball player,” he said when asked what other sports he played growing up. “But I was good at boxing.”
The kick off event celebrates South Bethlehem's free walk-in summer program for resident kids ages 8 to 19, and will run 11 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays at McNamara Park. The rain location is Donegan Elementary.
A free lunch will be served daily, and planned activities include arts and crafts, sports, video and other games, bowling and special events, such as field trips to the Eagles' training camp, a water park and to see an Iron Pigs game, and a dance competition at Musikfest and more.
Additionally, the program will offer free admission to the city pool on Fridays and movies in the park twice a month at sunset, part of the city's “Movies in the Park” program.
Movies scheduled to be shown include:
- The Adventures of Tintin, June 19 at Higbee Park
- Shark Tale, June 29 at Memorial Pool
- The Smurfs, July 10 at Elmwood Park
- Planet 51, July 17 at Payrow Plaza
- The Muppets, July 25 at Bernie Fritz Park
- Kung Fu Panda 2, July 31 at Yosko Park
For more information about the South Side Bethlehem 2012 Summer Program contact site coordinator Basilio Bonilla at 610-865-7081