By Cliff Rold
DC Armory, Washington, District of Columbia - Undefeated 23-year old Jermell Charlo (23-0, 11 KO), 153, of Houston, Texas, passed the stiffest test of his career to date with a decisive unanimous decision victory over 28-year old two-time former Middleweight challenger Gabriel Rosado (21-8, 13 KO), 154, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rosado was cut in the fifth round and fought from behind for much of the contest. The referee was Malik Walid.
Rosado came out firing right away, landing a quick right hand. Charlo was backed to the topes but stayed composed and, as the round settled, began to unspool his own offense. Working off the jab, Charlo used the ring to keep space. Late in the frame, both men were firing hard in the corner.
In the second round, it was a pair of Charlo left hands that left the greatest impression. Charlo left even more impressions on the face of Rosado in the third, bruising both sides of his face under the eyes with an assortment of left jabs, quick rights, and left hooks. In return, Rosado found mostly defensive glove.
Charlo continued to box well in the fourth before Rosado broke through with a thudding right. Charlo took the punch well and kept his hands moving. Rosado’s left eye was worsened and his corner worked hard to contain the swelling before the fifth. Charlo worked harder to bust it up more, landing a snapping right after two hard body shots. The left eye opened up, a crimson stream visible on the face of Rosado. Rosado wiped the blood away and pushed forward.
For most of the next two rounds, Charlo held serve with more accurate shots but late in the seventh Charlo found his way past the guard of Charlo, following an exchange of body shots with a right to the head along the ropes. Rosado, flinging the blood away from his eye, kept some momentum in the eighth, pressing and landing hard to the body against a Charlo whose output appeared to drop. The crowd approved violent trading before the bell.
Charlo was back in control in the ninth, chopping at Rosado with the right and blocking the best of what came back. With a round to go, Rosado looked to need a dramatic change of fortune. It wouldn’t come though he made a go at it. Both men let the leather fly in a hard hitting final round, Rosado doing more to make the action but each landing quality shots before raising their hands at the bell.
Charlo was awarded scores of 97-93, 99-91, and a shutout 100-90, the last of them drawing a surprising gasp from the crowd in attendance. Interviewed in the ring after the fight, Rosado was disappointed with the lopsided scores and yet another cut. “It’s kind of like, my Achilles heel I guess, you know? It is what it is. It’s disappointing. I’m forced to fight this way, aggressive…because you look at the scorecards, it’s crazy.”
Charlo had a victor’s smile. “Gabriel Rosado was a tough fighter. He came to fight…I want to give him his props.” Asked about his response to the cut, stated as caused by a butt during the interview, Charlo said, “Once I seen the eye first started leaking (I thought) let’s finish this eye and see what the doctors do.” He didn’t need the doctors on this night. His surgical rights and lefts took care of everything he needed.
While Jermell takes a step towards contention, Charlo’s twin brother Jermall (17-0, 13 KO) joined him in the ring as a future title challenger. Jermall challenges IBF 154 lb. titlist Carlos Molina (22-5, 6 KO) on March 8th in Las Vegas.