By Chris Robinson
The path taken by budding junior middleweight contender Gabriel ĎKingí Rosado may not have been the one he envisioned when he first got into boxing, but itís been a trail full of its own discovery.
Rosado is a bruising customer inside of the ring but so too are the skills of the North Philadelphia resident beginning to show more and more with each passing contest. Rosadoís 21-5 (13) record may not be overwhelming, but all one has to do is watch any of his three recent stoppage victories over the likes of Jesus Soto Karass, Sechew Powell, or Charles Whittaker to get a sense of the kind of threat he is becoming.
I caught up with Rosado recently and picked his brain about his time in the sport. The 26-year old opened up on his initial foray into the boxing, spoke on his early learning lessons as a professional, touched on his strong bond with his trainer Billy Briscoe, weighed in on his recent run of success, and sized up some big names at 154 pounds.
This is what Rosado had to share.
Falling in love with boxingÖ
ďI grew up in North Philadelphia. My parents are from Puerto Rico. The neighborhood where Iím from is a predominantly Puerto Rican community. Pretty much I started boxing at eighteen years old. Itís something I always wanted to do; I just didnít get around to it until I was eighteen. Once I started doing it, I fell in love with it.Ē
Walking into the gymÖ
ďI pretty much grew up a big fan of it; my father was a big fan. There was always fights in the house. My Dad was always ordering the big pay-per-view and things like that. I just looked up to the fighters and at I just kind of figured that I wanted to do something with my life and boxing was something I wanted to try. I just walked into the gym and I asked if I could join. The guy running the gym, he said I was too old. He told me to stick to basketball, because I had a basketball in my hand when I walked in the gym. When Iím walking away, Billy Briscoe, who is my trainer now, he actually walked up to me in the street and he told me ĎCome back tomorrowí and I did and Iíve been with my trainer Billy Briscoe ever since.Ē
Learning on the jobÖ
ďI think, starting boxing at eighteen, and just having limited amateur fights, I turned pro at nineteen, and I was learning on the job as a pro. I think thatís why it was tough for me in the beginning part of my career. I always had the heart and the will to win, I just wasnít seasoned or I didnít have the experience. At the same time, Iím a very athletic guy and I just picked up quick. Everything at this point of my career is starting to come along. I think the fact is that I had a career that pretty much taught me how to fight. Itís hard to do it that way, but it worked out for me.Ē
His bond with his trainer Billy BriscoeÖ
ďItís the perfect combination, me and Billy, because heís an old-school trainer. Heís young, but mentally heís and old-school guy. He has the old-school mentality but at the same time he allows me to add my own flavors to it. Our personalities match, we think alike, and weíre like family. Me and him is just the perfect combination and it works well. Everything heís taught me, it takes years to really pick up on it and I think right now, Iím 26 year old, I think right now things are starting to pick up and thatís probably why Iím looking so impressive. All the hard work is starting to pay off now.Ē
Overcoming his early defeatsÖ
ďItís hard mentally sometimes but I never doubted myself. I never doubted myself, I never gave up on myself, I never thought it was over. I understood that my career is different from another guy whoís been in the game for years. Most fighters grow up in the sport, being in the gym since they were ten years old. This was something that I picked up at eighteen. So I knew that I had to be patient and I knew that it would take time. I never gave up on myself. It takes a special kind of person to have that mentality. I had a really strong mind. Boxing is a mental sport and I never quit on myself and I think thatís why Iím such a dangerous fighter now. The tough road that I took is going to make you or break you and it pretty much made me. I have all the confidence in the world, because Iíve been through the tough times and I know what itís like to be going through the tough times. Right now Iím just taking full advantage of all of the wisdom and experience that Iíve gained in my career.Ē
ďI think if you look at my last three big fights, which have been on NBC Sports, they have three different styles. You have [Jesus] Soto Karass, who has never been stopped; heís a pressure guy. And I was able to flip the script and stop him. Sechew Powell, heís a guy who is a slick southpaw, who they actually pushed up on us about a month going into the fight. We were getting ready for Joel Julio, and the next thing, we get a switch to a slick southpaw. We got a different look and we broke him down little by little. And Charles Whittaker is one of the hardest guys to take out, because thereís nothing harder than trying to take out a crafty veteran who knows how to survive. We took care of business and Iím really proud and pleased with my performances.Ē
Thoughts on WBC junior middleweight champion, Saul ĎCaneloí AlvarezÖ
ďI like Saul Alvarez. I think heís a good fighter. Young, hungry guy. But I feel that the only thing that separates Saul Alvarez is the fact that heís a superstar. I think thatís the only thing that separates us. I think Iíve fought better competition and Iíve had a tougher road that him. Saul Alvarez, his last fight was a smaller guy who he just took advantage of. When youíre in the ring with a guy and you donít respect his power, itís really easy to just manhandle him. Because the guy is not going to hit you with anything to keep you honest. And he fought Shane Mosley, but Shane Mosley was already washed up. I think that Canelo is a really good fighter, but I think the advantage I would have in the ring with Canelo would be that I have the experience of having different looks and Iíve been through adversity and he hasnít been through that yet. I think I would have the experience factor on him.Ē
Former welterweight champion Andre Berto moving up in weight to challenge IBF champion Cornelius BundrageÖ
ďIt is what it is. I donít think itís fair. He had steroids in his system, I believe it was. And he just moves up in weight and gets a title shot. I just donít think itís fair, man. But itís the politics of boxing. But Iím not going to focus too much on that. Iíll just stay focused and continue to train and wait for whatís next. Iím hoping I could get Canelo Alvarez next. I think a fight between me and Canelo would be great. I think it would be crowd-pleasing with his style and my style. Iím just going to stay focused. If I donít get the big fight next, Iíll keep the ball rolling and Iíll stay busy and the next fight, Iím hoping it will be in December.Ē
WBA champion Austin Troutís chances against Miguel Cotto on December 1stÖ
Tags: Saul Alvarez , Miguel Cotto , Cornelius Bundrage , Andre Berto , Austin Trout , Gabriel Rosado , Cotto-Trout , Cotto vs Trout
ďAustin Trout, we see each other every now and then. I actually wanted to fight Austin Trout. He actually wanted to fight me as well. There was actually some talk about me and him fighting before he got the call for Miguel Cotto. I feel that Austin Trout has to approach the fight as a killer. He canít show Cotto no respect. I know Miguel Cotto is a future hall of famer, but he has to go in that fight and let Miguel Cotto know that heís a young, hungry guy and show no respect for Cotto. If Austin Trout approaches that fight by giving Cotto too much respect, I think heís going to fall into Cottoís fight and he might be overwhelmed by being in the ring with a star; I think the moment will probably get to him. But if he just goes into that fight like any other fight, I think heíll do good.Ē