Gabriel Rosado: ‘Time to get that monkey off my back’
As the son of the Reverend Dr. Bonnie Jean Ortiz, Gabriel Rosado always has maintained a certain level of faith.
But the Philadelphia native’s spirituality was severely tested when southpaw James Kirkland pulled out of their scheduled Nov. 8 match that was slated for the undercard of a 175-pound unification bout between Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
“I was excited about that fight,” said Rosado, 28, “because it was on the Bernard Hopkins undercard and it was literally just a few miles from Philly. Just a 40-minute ride.”
But there is a saying that when one door closes, another one opens and it appears that Rosado (21-8, 13 knockouts) will face hard-punching David Lemieux (32-2, 30 KOs) in the middleweight main event of a planned HBO tripleheader on Dec. 6 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“Everything has turned out better for me, man,” said Rosado, who will be supported by another middleweight match-up between Hugo Centeno and James De La Rosa. “I’ll be the main event at the Barclays Center and I just think that it’s a blessing now the way that things are working out.”
A two-time middleweight title challenger, Rosado will face Lemieux in his first bout under trainer Jesse Reid (Rosado had the veteran boxing guru in his corner when he recently participated in the “Big Knockout Boxing” combat sport, knocking out Bryan Vera).
Rosado said he has parted ways amicably with longtime trainer, Billy Briscoe.
“I felt really strong and I felt so good at 160 when I fought Bryan Vera and I feel like I’m going to bring that momentum into this fight and it’s definitely going to work. I’ve got a good rhythm going into this fight. I switched up my camp, which I think has definitely made me a better fighter. My team is pretty strong now,” said Rosado.
“Training for Bryan Vera, I had Greg Hackett as my co-trainer and Jesse Reid as my head coach now. I also have Danny Davis as well and he has been with Bernard Hopkins. He’s my strength coach. I am learning new things and getting new information and that showed in the Bryan Vera fight. I was punching quicker and landing my shots a lot harder. I think that’s definitely going to bring a better fighter out of me.”
Rosado likes his advantage in height, standing 5-foot-11 to Lemieux’s nearly 5-10.
“I think that Lemieux and Kirkland have similar styles in that they’re both shorter than me and they come forward aggressively. But I think that Lemieux’s probably a better fighter at this stage,” said Rosado.
“I say that because Kirkland had been inactive and he’s going through so many things right now that I don’t think that he’s focusing on boxing. So I think that Lemieux is a better fight for me right now.”
Rosado has been in against unbeaten boxers in his past four bouts and failed to get the victory in any of them. Rosado was bloodied and stopped in two title bout challenges, suffered a disputed split decision loss-turned-no-decision in the third bout and lost a wide unanimous decision in the fourth.
In January 2013, Rosado lost by a bloody seventh-round stoppage to WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin, ending his run of seven straight victories, five of them by knockout. In May 2013, Rosado lost a split decision in to J’Leon Love that became the no-decision after Love failed his post-fight drug examination.
In October 2013, Rosado rose from a second-round knockdown and was very much in contention during a 10th-round TKO loss to then-WBO middleweight titleholder Peter Quillin, a fight that was halted due to a severe cut over Rosado’s left eyelid.
“A lot of people came to see me fight Quillin. Even Peter Quillin said, after the fight, that he had no idea that I would bring that many fans to the fight. There was definitely a lot of support there. I know that in New York, it’s going to be the same way, especially with me being Puerto Rican,” said Rosado, who fought Quillin at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
“I know that they have a large Puerto Rican fan base there, as well…a lot of fans were disappointed that I wasn’t fighting Kirkland in Atlantic City because they were purchasing their tickets for the fight. Now that the fight is in New York and it’s still close to Philly, I feel like I’m going to have a big fan base there.”
After three fights as a 160-pounder, Rosado returned to 154 in January. But Rosado was cut, yet again, over the left eye during a one-sided unanimous decision loss to Jermell Charlo.
“I think that anybody in boxing looks at my record, they don’t get fooled by that. I’ve had some s–tty calls and things that haven’t gone my way but that’s part of the business and I’ve just had to keep on going. I think that when it comes down to the competition, that I’ve fought better competition than David,” said Rosado.
“This is a fight that is definitely going to be an entertaining fight because it’s time for me to get that monkey off my back and really take it to the next level. Lemieux is trying to prove a point with this being his first fight in America. He’s trying to make a statement as well, so I think that this is going to be another great fight for the fans.”
In his last fight in May, Lemieux blasted former title challenger Fernando Guerrero, dropping the southpaw four times en route to a sensational third-round stoppage.
The victory was the seventh straight for Lemieux during a run that has included six knockouts since being stopped in the seventh round by Marco Antonio Rubio and losing a majority decision to Joachim Alcine in successive bouts in April and December 2011.
“You know, I think that you learn from fights like that. I have a seasoned record if you look at mine. So I can fight. I’m not going to look too deep into his losses and I think that he’s a better fighter since then. I’m training for the best David Lemieux. I think that for me, the fans really believe in me and that I can take it to the next level. I have to prove to them that that’s true,” said Rosado.
“This is the type of fight and the type of stage where I can prove that I’ve had some tough breaks but that I can still make a statement. This is a fight that could get me a Canelo Alvarez or a Miguel Cotto or even a rematch with “Triple G” [Golovkin.] So it’s a fight where I really want to make a statement at 160. I just want to make sure that this is the fight where I finally get that monkey off my back.”