by David P. Greisman
Gabriel Rosado spent his 2012 as a junior middleweight putting himself in position to contend for a world title, but he’s spent all of 2013 fighting one division up at 160 pounds in bouts against Gennady Golovkin, J’Leon Love and Peter Quillin.
Now he’s dropping back down to 154 for his next bout, facing prospect Jermell Charlo on Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C., as the co-feature to Lamont Peterson’s 140-pound title fight with Dierry Jean.
Rosado, who turns 28 next month, is 21-7 with 13 knockouts and 1 no contest (a disputed loss to Love was overturned when Love tested positive for a banned substance). Charlo, 23, is 22-0 with 11 knockouts.
Rosado spoke with BoxingScene.com on Dec. 4 about the Charlo fight, the move back down to junior middleweight, and much, much more.
BoxingScene.com: Why take this fight with Jermell Charlo?
Rosado: “It’s a good opportunity for me to get back down to 154. I feel like I got unfinished business at 154. And it just seems like I can’t get a break at 160, with the last two fights and pretty much all the bullsh*t that’s been going on in those fights. I just feel like at 154, there’s a lot of good fights down there, so why not?”
BoxingScene.com: When we spoke before your fight with “Kid Chocolate” Peter Quillin, you said you were comfortable at 160. What’s it going to be like dropping back down to 154, given that you’ve been growing into middleweight?
Rosado: “Yeah, especially my last fight, I was pretty damn big in my last fight. I think I outweighed Kid Chocolate the night of the fight by like five pounds, or something like that. It’s not going to be easy to get back down to 154. It’s definitely going to be hard. But I’m definitely on top of my diet. And my strength coach has a game plan on how to get the weight down. I think I’ll be big and strong at ‘54.”
BoxingScene.com: What are you walking around at right now?
Rosado: “Right now I’m probably about 178. (laughs) It was Thanksgiving week, so a lot of turkey. A little too much turkey.”
BoxingScene.com: That leaves you a month and three weeks to drop 24 pounds. What is it like to drop that weight in a little less than two months?
Rosado: “I think probably the first 10 to 15 pounds are probably the easiest. It’s always like the last 6 pounds that are probably the hardest. It’s not easy, but I think with a diet and just doing everything the way it’s supposed to be done, I don’t see why I can’t make the weight. I should be able to make it fine.”
BoxingScene.com: You said you had unfinished business back at 154. What did you mean by that?
Rosado: “I had the No. 1 spot locked down at 154 for the world title, which was the IBF, and then the opportunity came with Gennady [Golovkin], and I just kinda wanted to do that, to go up and fight the guy that nobody wanted to fight. By doing that, I ended up losing my No. 1 ranking at 154 when I moved up in with, and then Ishe [Smith] and [Carlos] Molina fought, so Molina has the title now. I thought I would hold onto my No.1 spot, but it didn’t work out that way. Everything plays out for a reason. I feel like that title is out there for me to take.”
BoxingScene.com: Though you lost your No. 1 ranking at 154, and though you went 0-2 with that no contest against J’Leon Love in 2013, you had about as good a year possible for someone who didn’t officially win a fight. This year ended up doing good stuff for you.
Rosado: “Exactly. I was joking with my trainer, telling him, ‘I think we’re probably the only guys in boxing doing this right now. I don’t remember the last time a guy had three losses and is still relevant and still fighting on primetime TV.’ Most of the time, you see a guy, he can’t get no fights. I think it’s just a combination of the fans — they spoke up in the J’Leon Love fight, and the Kid fight. They felt like it wasn’t fair. And then Showtime and Golden Boy know that I put on good fights. At the end of the day, it’s boxing, but it’s entertainment. I put on a good show. It makes sense.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you know about Jermell Charlo?
Rosado: “I was actually ringside in L.A. when he fought Demetrius Hopkins [in June 2013]. I was watching that fight and sitting with a friend of mine from L.A. and was like, ‘I’d beat both of these guys.’ I never thought I’d fight him, because I really didn’t think I would get a shot back at 154. After the Triple G fight, I was trying to get back at ’54, and it just wasn’t working out like that. I kept getting the middleweight fights. After the J’Leon Love fight, I kinda grew into the middleweights, so I said, ‘Alright, I I’ll just stay here,’ so I didn’t think I’d get back down to 154.
“I think Jermell is a good fighter. I just feel like he hasn’t been tested yet. I’m going to put him to the test.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you feel that he does well?
Rosado: “I think he has a pretty decent jab, tries to set you up for the right hand. But I think his style suits me. I wouldn’t say it’s tailor-made for me, but he picks his shots and he’s real patient, and I’m real active and I’m going to make you work. And he’s never been in a fight with a guy that’s going to make him work. That doesn’t change overnight. A guy’s not a counter-puncher his whole career, just throws 30 punches a round, and then in his next fight is throwing 50 to 75 punches a round. That’s not going to happen overnight. So I don’t see him keeping up to my work rate.”
BoxingScene.com: Any other weaknesses in him that you see?
Rosado: “The thing about a guy like Charlo is you just got to test him. You got to see what he’s really made of. Like I said, he hasn’t really been in a big fight yet with someone who’s tested him. There were things that I did see in the Demetrius Hopkins fight that Demetrius gave him problems with. I thought that was a fight for Demetrius to take. If Demetrius stepped on the gas, he could’ve won that fight. It’s kind of like when I fought J’Leon Love. I brung it to him. He’s never experienced that. I dropped him in the sixth. A lot of people that I won. But, you know, it played out the way it did.”
BoxingScene.com: This is not too long after your last fight. You’ve suffered a few cuts in a few fights in a row. Have you had any medical procedures with your scar tissue to keep that from happening again?
Rosado: “I went to a top surgeon in New York and he looked at the eye. What it was, the cut wasn’t the same cut. It was a little bit above the cut from when I fought Triple G. What the surgeon said was that the scar tissue will harden up, and that’ll make it difficult for it to reopen again. He said once the scar tissue heals up, everything should be fine. I asked him if there’s any procedure we can do to keep this from happening again, and he said to let it heal up on its own, and that’s about it.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you feel like the time between the Kid Chocolate fight on Oct. 26 and this fight on Jan. 25 is enough for it to heal up?
Rosado: “Yeah. All he said was I needed six weeks from the fight. So about the middle of December is the full healing process right there. The middle of December is when I’ll start my sparring. From there, I have another month until the fight. Everything should be good.”
BoxingScene.com: You’d said after the Quillin fight that you wanted a rematch with him. Do you think that’s going to happen?
Rosado: “Who knows? You never know. I just feel that Kid Chocolate didn’t speak up like a true champion. I know that he has handlers. I know that he has people putting him in position for his next fight, and they have a plan, they have a strategy. But at the end of the day, he’s the champion, and what you say goes. And I feel like a true champion would’ve said, ‘Look, the fans feel like it’s controversial.’
“A lot of people had me [Rosado] winning the fight. I feel like a true champion would’ve just said, ‘I want to fight Rosado. I don’t care what the game plan is, what direction y’all want me to go. I want Rosado.’ I would’ve said it, if it was the other way around. I would’ve given him a rematch if it was the other way around. I feel like he just shied away from the rematch.”
BoxingScene.com: Anything else you want people to know?
Rosado: “I’m jut excited about this fight. I give a lot of credit to the fans. The response and the love I get from them on Twitter and the day of the fight is a show of support, I think it influences a lot on Golden Boy and Showtime in putting me back on. I just give a lot of credit to the fans for having my back.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]