By Jake Donovan
It says a lot of the character of both J’Leon Love and Gabriel Rosado to go ten fierce rounds and then remain cordial with one another immediately thereafter.
It says even more of both fighters that they’re willing to do it all over again
Their 10-round middleweight bout served as the televised pay-per-view opener for Floyd Mayweather’s ring return versus Robert Guerrero, which comes later this evening at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Love survived a mid-rounds knockdown to take a hard-fought, albeit disputed split decision win over the former title challenger.
The crowd disapproved of the final verdict, specifically with the atrocious scorecard turned in by judge Herb Santos, who scored the bout 97-92 – or eight rounds to two – in favor of Love. The general vibe was that the action suggested a one-point fight in either direction, which was accurately reflected on the scorecards of Dave Moretti (95-94, Love) and Glenn Trowbridge (95-94, Rosado).
Both fighters agreed on that, though not necessarily on who won.
“It was a close a fight. He's a good fighter. I've never doubted him. He's a good fighter, a world championship fighter,” Love admitted shortly after receiving the nod. “The judges saw what they saw.”
The win advances his ring record to 16-0 (8KO), though by his own admission there is plenty more to learn.
“He's a world class fighter and fought for a title. I'm 25 years old, and it was my 16th pro fight,” Love said. “It is what it is. I'll go back watch the tape. I can learn a lot from Rosado, he's a great fighter.”
Rosado entered the fight on the heels of a brutal stoppage loss at the hands of Gennady Golovkin earlier this year. The middleweight contender proved Philly tough on that January evening and validated that stance again Saturday evening. All that was missing from the night was a victory he believed should have been his for the keeping.
“I felt like i won the fight,” insisted Rosado, whose record now stands at 21-7 (13KO) after having now lost two straight. “The fans & everyone here knows. I had the knockdown and the 10-8 round. But me and J Leon can only fight; we don't control the judges. I don’t hold that against him.”
The knockdown was believed to be the difference in the fight for those who had Rosado winning. The sequence came in the middle of an exchange. Love flurried but foolishly kept his hands low enough for Rosado to nail him with a counter shot to floor him for the first time in his career.
“I got dropped with a shot I didn’t see coming,” Love said of the chin check. “I’m a fighter, I keep fighting. We were going at it with exchanges. At the end of the day, I got caught with the punch. I got up, said it was time to turn it up. It was a good exchange and a good fight. I know the crowd doesn't agree (with the decision), but at the end of the day it was a good win for me.”
Rosado was upset with the verdict but maintained his composure. He hopes matchmakers watch the fight and don’t just read the line result when looking to secure his services for a future fight.
“I deserve a(nother) world title fight,” Rosado insists.
Love is a long way from being ready for the title stage, but is willing to earn his way to that point.
“You got every opportunity to do it again,” Love told Rosado point blank, officially offering a rematch.
Naturally, Rosado seemed game for the cause.
“I'll fight anyone. I will fight anywhere,” Rosado said when prompted for a response to the challenge.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox