Trainer says Gabriel Rosado will give David Lemieux a boxing lesson
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BROOKLYN, New York – Many fans figured Gabriel Rosado was on his way out of boxing after he dropped a one-sided decision to junior middleweight standout Jermell Charlo in January.
Rosado’s listless performance in that 10 rounder was his fourth consecutive bout without a win, which prompted a lot of fans and media to figure he’d hit his ceiling as a fighter and would probably never be seen on TV against a significant opponent again.
However, Rosado (21-8, 13 knockouts) proved some of those naysayers wrong when he impressively stopped of Bryan Vera in the sixth-round of a Big Knockout Boxing main event in August. The Vera fight wasn’t a sanctioned boxing match but it helped him land Saturday’s showdown with Montreal middleweight puncher David Lemieux, which is the main event of an HBO-televised tripleheader card at Barclays Center. Not bad for a guy who was expected to be steamrolled by Vera in a pit-fighting contest.
Still, the Vera fight doesn’t count on Rosado’s record, which shows he hasn’t won a fight since a 10th-round stoppage of Charles Whittaker in September 2012. Since that junior middleweight bout, Rosado has lost middleweight title challenges to Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin, both by technical stoppage due to cuts. He dropped a disputed split nod to J’Leon Love, which was later changed to a no contest when the Money Team fighter failed a post-fight drug test. And there was the letdown against Charlo.
So what if the combined records of that foursome totals 100-0? Rosado didn’t win, so it comes as no surprise that he’s the underdog against Lemieux, a 25-year-old Canadian star who has scored 30 knockouts in 34 bouts and is currently on a seven-bout win streak (six by way of KO).
But Rosado’s new trainer Jesse Reid, who prepared the 28-year-old Philadelphian for the Vera fight, doesn’t view his fighter as a stepping stone. Rosado and Reid believe Lemieux is in for the same brutal treatment that Vera received.
“I’m very happy with this fight,” Reid told RingTV.com at a media workout at Gleason’s Gym on Wednesday. “It will show a side of Gabe that a lot of boxing fans haven’t seen. It will show the boxing ability he has. It will be a lot like the Vera fight, which brought him to this fight.”
Many thought Rosado was too small to fend off Vera going into the debut promotion of BKB, a pit-fighting league. However, despite fighting Vera in a confined space (a 16-foot pit), Rosado defended well on the inside, traded punches with the naturally bigger man and scored repeatedly with his right hand. Rosado dropped Vera twice, which was a surprise given that the tough Texan had gone 22 rounds with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in light heavyweight and super middleweight bouts without getting knocked down.
After the fight, Rosado credited his renewed vigor and improved technique to his training with Reid, who helped guide the careers of hall of famer Orlando Canizalez, Johnny Tapia, Roger Mayweather and several other former champs.
Reid says training Rosado in Burbank, California for the past five months has been a pleasure.
“He reminds me of Johnny Tapia because of his love for boxing,” said the 72-year-old trainer. “He’s a lot like Johnny. He has more power than Johnny had, but his speed and his coachability is just like Johnny’s was. He listens the way Johnny did. He wants to learn. The main thing I taught him before the Vera fight was to be more relaxed with his game.”
If Rosado can keep his head while in the trenches on Saturday, Reid thinks Lemieux might be an easier fight than Vera was.
“Lemieux is easier to hit than Vera,” said the 72-year-old trainer. “He leans in with his punches and he has to have a stationary target to get off. He’s not going to have a stationary target with Gabe. And he’s not going to be in with someone who isn’t going to hit him back. Lemieux’s been built up in Canada but he’s out of Canada now and he’s going to get the reality of what Gabe is all about.”
What Rosado is about these days is living and training like a world-class fighter.
“I’m a lot more focused on my craft now,” he said. “The Charlo fight was a wake-up call for me. It was a mistake to go back down to junior middleweight, I drained myself, but I can only blame myself. I knew I had to change the way I trained and I knew that if I was going to turn it around I had to do it now.
“I think I had some s__ty calls against me but I’ve moved past the setbacks and I’ve focused on where I can be better. Where I needed to improve was how I trained. I never had a rhythm going with my camps and I never had a regular training routine. Now I do. I’m training on a schedule, I’m resting better, eating better, and I think that’s why I was so strong and sharp for Vera. I was able to make him miss and use his aggression against him.”
Rosado plans to do the same thing to Lemieux. He and Reid believe his experience will help him neutralize younger man’s vaunted power.
“I’ve been in with the best,” Rosado said. “His resume can’t compare with mine.”
Reid says Rosado’s losses are an integral part of his resume.
“Gabe had tough fights but he got through them without getting destroyed and he learned how to fight,” said Reid. “He’s still fresh at 28 and he’s still getting better.
“This fight with Lemieux reminds me of when Tapia fought Danny Romero. Going into the fight people asked me how Johnny would handle Romero’s power. I told them just watch; we’re going to surprise everyone. And for the first six rounds Johnny boxed the perfect fight. Danny’s power never came into play.
“That’s what Gabe has to do (on Saturday), which is the same thing he did with Vera, stay in the middle of the ring and box him. After five or six rounds, maybe sooner, I’ll put him on the attack, but he’s definitely going to give this guy a boxing lesson.”
Video by Bill Emes
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer