By Jake Donovan
An unbeaten fighter entering the prime of his career is paired with a grizzled ring veteran with multiple losses and who hasn’t won a fight in a well over a year.
Normally, the aforementioned formula is standard practice in developing a fighter. Yet there is nothing predictable about tonight’s pairing between rising contender Jermell Charlo and Philly banger Gabriel Rosado. The two collide at the (Washington) D.C. Armory in a scheduled 10-round super welterweight attraction, serving as the chief support to hometown favorite Lamont Peterson in a dangerous 140 lb. title defense versus unbeaten Dierry Jean.
Both bouts air live on Showtime.
The fact that Charlo is hardly a runaway favorite isn’t at all a testament to his skill set or in-ring development. Quite the opposite in fact, as the Houston native rises the occasion every time out, no matter the challenge he’s yet faced as a pro.
Charlo (22-0, 11KO), whose twin brother Jermall challenges Carlos Molina for a 154 lb. title this coming March in Las Vegas, first opened eyes with his dominant showing versus Denis Douglin less than two years ago in Los Angeles. The 23-year old continues to rack up wins in a variety of ways. His latest performance came in October, scoring a 10th round stoppage of Jose Angel Rodriguez, the deepest he’s had to go in a fight that didn’t go to the scorecards.
So why is he not a slam dunk choice to emerge victorious over a mid-level contender who is winless in his last three contests? Because there is more to the story than Rosado simply coming up empty in those fights.
The only true clear cut defeat of 2013 came in Rosado’s first title challenge. The Philly product had a guaranteed shot at a 154 lb. belt, but opted for a grander stage (and bigger payday) to instead face the murderous punching Gennady Golovkin. The timing seemed right; Rosado (21-7, 13KO) enjoyed a huge year in 2012, representing everything positive about the NBC Sports Network Fight Night series which debuted earlier in the year.
However, the challenger was way out of his element against Golovkin, never going down but suffering a massive beating before the fight was mercifully stopped in the 7th round of their HBO-televised title fight.
The pounding he took also came with industry-wide respect earned, which grew in subsequent performances versus J’Leon Love and Peter Quillin. Rosado gave both fighters the toughest challenges of their careers, but came up empty on the stat sheet. Many believed he was robbed of a rightful win over Love, who walked out of the ring in May with a split decision win but had to give it back after being popped for a banned substance detected during post-fight urinalysis.
Quillin’s win over Rosado stood the test of time, but the unbeaten middleweight was handed a boxing lesson despite what was reflected on the absurd scorecards turned in. The horrific judging was spared only because a cut over Rosado’s left eye was deemed too horrific to be allowed to continue, resulting in an injury-induced TKO loss.
All three bouts took place at middleweight, with Rosado now returning to the 154 lb. division, a weight at which he hasn’t lost since 2009. Will returning to his element resulting in his rediscovering the win column, or will Charlo continue his impressive run and soon join his brother in the title picture?
Read on to see how the staff at Boxingscene.com believes tonight’s super welterweight crossroads bout will play out.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS – JERMELL CHARLO vs. GABRIEL ROSADO
“Rosado finally gets one.”
- Damien Acevedo (Rosado by decision)
“I expect a controversial outcome which has been the norm for Rosado's recent fights. I think going back down in weight will also play a factor. The fight will be close but Charlo will squeak out the victory.”
- Ryan Burton (Charlo SD)
“This is the only fight among the major telecasts tonight in which I keep going back and forth. Expect Charlo to receive the fight of his life against a seemingly rejuvenated Rosado, barely doing enough to score a close and probably debatable decision.”
- Jake Donovan (Charlo UD)
“This time we will finally see Rosado's hand raised in victory, right? After a "loss" to J'Leon Love many felt could have went King Gabe's way and a Peter Quillin fight where while he was behind on the cards many felt Rosado was coming on strong and had Quillin in a bit of trouble, Rosado will get his due against the talented Charlo. Going back down to 154lbs will seem like a treat for Rosado as his last three fights have all been at middleweight against fighters at their natural weight class. Charlo will show flashes of why many are high on him but as time passes Rosado's grit will be the difference.”
- Ernest Gabion (Rosado UD)
“Rosado is a stern test for the rising twin, and one he should be able to pass. Rosado will make it close, but Charlo takes the learning rounds and moves on.”
- Cliff Rold (Charlo by decision)
“Rosado hasn't been too happy lately with the way his fights have gone recently and unfortunately for him, I don't see things getting any better in this one. I think Charlo will control most of the fight with Rosado giving a late surge but it won' be enough. Charlo will record a close decision.”
- Luis Sandoval (Rosado by decision)
“Charlo looks a more solid version of Leon J'Love, and Rosado has a rough time with the latter. Since then he has lost o Quillin and hasn't seen a win in a long time. Suggestion is that Gabriel will over a tough fight but he has neither power nor confidence to defeat the younger fighter. In a close, two-way action Charlo will prove to be a smarter fighter.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Charlo UD)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox