by David P. Greisman
You wouldnít know it solely by looking at this record, but this has been a decent year for Gabriel Rosado.
His first world title fight came in January on HBO, a bout against middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin. Rosado put up a brave stand against one of boxingís most-vaunted punchers, but ultimately lost when his corner threw in the towel.
He fought again in May, appearing on the Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero pay-per-view undercard in a bout against 160-pound prospect JíLeon Love. Rosado dropped a split decision in a bout that some observers felt he deserved to win. Not long afterward, Love failed a drug test for a banned diuretic, and the boutís result was overturned to a no contest.
Heíll be appearing on Showtime next month, fighting another middleweight titleholder, Peter Quillin, on the Oct. 26 undercard to Bernard Hopkins vs. Karo Murat in Atlantic City.
This has already been a decent year, but Rosado wants to make sure it ends on a high note.
Rosado spoke to BoxingScene.com on Sept. 24, chatting after his 15th day of training camp.
BoxingScene.com: What do you think about Peter Quillin? How long have you been following his career, and what have you thought of his progression?
Rosado: ďMe and Peter actually fought on the same card about five years ago [in April 2008 in New York City], so Iíve been following Peter for a while. We actually did a camp together. He was getting ready for Winky Wright and I was getting ready for Sechew Powell. We got to see each other. Thatís when we first actually met. I got to see his work ethic. He got to see mine. We definitely have a respect for each otherís crafts.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What do you think about his talent level and his skills, seeing him both in camp and on TV?
Rosado: ďI think Peter is just a raw, rugged guy. I donít think heís the best technical fighter out there, but I think the reason he gets the job done is because he has a lot of confidence and he believes in himself. So, you know, he has the right attitude. He has the attitude of a champion. I think thatís his best quality, is his attitude.
ďBut as far as skill level, you know, I think heís pretty basic, but he just has the right attitude. And it makes up for his lack of ó you know, heís not the fastest guy. Heís not like Marquez throwing four-punch combinations or anything like that. He just has the right attitude.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Are there certain fights that you look at to see what he does well and doesnít do well?
Rosado: ďHonestly, Iíve seen his fights from Winky to Níjikam to his last fight with [Fernando] Guerrero. He pretty much does the same thing. Thereís really not much of a difference in his game. I see the same flaws that heís done back with the Winky fight that heís still doing now. Thereís things that I see that Iím working on and will exploit the day of the fight.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Why did you decide to take this fight? About a year ago, you told me youíd go up to middleweight if the right opportunity presented itself. This is your third straight fight there. Why go up once again for this fight with Quillin?
Rosado: ďItís kind of like when I turned down my No. 1 spot at 154 to fight Triple G, itís kind of like after that fight we just couldnít get back down to Ď54. We tried to get some fights. We called [Erislandy] Lara out. We called Austin Trout out. Pretty much anybody that had a name at 154. It just didnít work out.
ďAnd then the Love fight presented itself. I felt it was a good opportunity. I thought it was one of those fights where I just couldnít turn down. It was a big card, and it was a different guy where I knew I had the better experience, and it was a fight that I thought was very winnable. So it was a fight I just couldnít turn down. From there, the Peter fight just arose. Thatís just the way it worked out.Ē
BoxingScene.com: When you say you couldnít get back down to 154, youíre not talking about weight-wise, but that you couldnít get a fight?
Rosado: ďI just couldnít get a fight. Not weight-wise. I can make 154. But I think a lot of guys saw me against Gennady. You know, Gennadyís a monstrous puncher. Heís the Mike Tyson at middleweight. People saw that I wasnít going down. I was fighting with two cuts over the same eye and I was getting hit with blind shots. I think people saw that I could take a big puncherís shot, and then when I fought JíLeon Love, he came in at about 180 the day of the fight and I handled him. I think 154-pounders look at that and say, ĎMan, this guy is really big.í At 154, Iím just the bigger man. The guys at 154 just didnít want to fight me.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Do you think that youíre putting yourself at a physical disadvantage by going against these guys at 160?
Rosado: ďAt this point, this is my third fight at middleweight. And being that I experienced fighting at middleweight twice, Iím comfortable now. Iím sparring bigger guys. Iím doing some training to build mass. So I feel a lot more comfortable. I really donít think that thereís going to be a size advantage for Peter Quillin.
ďWhen we were in camp together, we were walking around at around the same weight at the time. I donít really consider Peter Quillin a big middleweight. I think Peter comes in the day of the fight like probably 172, something like that, 173. Heís not a big middleweight. I think weíre the same size.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What do you think youíll come in at on the day of the fight?
Rosado: ďWell, Iím walking around right now at 173. I think, come day of the fight, I feel that Iíll probably walk in at 170. I donít want to walk in too big. I donít want to come in 174, 175. I want to come in at 170. I donít want to be sluggish. I want to be elusive. I want to be quick. I want to be quick on my feet, so I really donít want to come in too big.Ē
BoxingScene.com: This is a heck of a run youíve had. Last year youíd had a good 2012. In 2013, though you havenít won a fight yet, you had Golovkin for the middleweight title, a very disputed decision in the Love fight, and now youíve got another title fight coming up. Why do you think you keep on getting these opportunities?
Rosado: ďAt the end of the day, I think boxing is about entertainment. And I think the fans appreciate a fight like the one I put against Triple G. A lot of people understood that it was a fight that I didnít have to take. They knew that I was the No. 1 ranked to fight for the IBF [title at 154]. So the fact that I moved up in weight and didnít accept it at a catchweight, Ďcause they said theyíd meet me at 158, and I said ĎNo, itís for the middleweight title. Letís just fight at 160.
ďSo I think a lot of people look at that and respect it. And with the two cuts over my eyes and I was still trying to do the best I could. Going through that, I think people just appreciate it. And then the fight with JíLeon Love, I think it was a fight that I clearly won. The fans, they spoke up and they booed that night, and a lot of people, they were showing a lot of love on Twitter and social media. They were just upset about the decision, and then a week later, JíLeon failed the drug test.
ďGolden Boy had already told me that a win against JíLeon Love would get me a shot at the middleweight title. So the fact that everything played out the way it did, and getting the no contest, puts me in a situation to get the Kid Chocolate fight, which I feel like is a fight that I deserve.
BoxingScene.com: After the fight with Love, I imagine you wouldíve wanted a rematch. But is this fight with Quillin even better than having that rematch?
Rosado: ďHonestly, I didnít even want a rematch with JíLeon. The JíLeon Love fight was one of those fights that I took in order to put myself in a position to fight for a world title. So I really wasnít interested in a rematch because the fans thought that I won the fight, as I thought I won the fight. And then the fact that he failed the drug test, I felt there wasnít anything I had to prove.
ďThe only way I wouldíve taken the rematch is if it was financially something worth my while. Other than that, I just felt like thereís nothing to prove. If anything, JíLeon Love, he has a lot to prove right now. He needs the fight more than I do. I really donít need the fight. Down the line, if thereís a rematch and it makes sense, itíll happen. But I really wasnít worried about the rematch.Ē
BoxingScene.com: You said you want to be quick and elusive when youíre in the ring with Peter Quillin. Does that indicate the type of strategy you want to have against him?
Rosado: ďThe type of fight I want to bring is I just want to fight a smart, disciplined fight. I think this time around my mental state of mind is a lot different. Iím doing things a lot different in my training camp as far as my lifestyle outside of the ring. Iíve always put 100 percent in the gym, training hard. But there were times where I had fights where I trained hard in the gym, but I wouldnít get my proper rest. Iíd probably be hanging out with my brothers or something like that.
ďAnd this time around, Iím just being really disciplined as far as my diet, and once the gymís over, I go straight home and am getting my rest. Iím not going out. Iím kind of just staying to myself. Iím not just training my body. Iím training my mind. Iím preparing myself, mentally, for this fight.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What prompted that change in discipline?
Rosado: ď2012, I made some good money. And then I made some good money with Triple G, and I made good money against Love. Sometimes you can get caught up in making money and people recognizing you. You get caught up in that, and sometimes that can sidetrack you. I think I lost focus. I was just having a good time. And I think this time around, itís like itís out of my system.
ďThis time around, itís like you got to put in the work. You got to discipline yourself. Iím a lot more disciplined now. Iím a lot more focused. I see the bigger picture. Iíve been on the big stage against Triple G, so I got a taste of it. I know what it takes. I know the things I need to do in order to take it another notch. I thought that if I added more discipline in my lifestyle, it would make me a much better fighter.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Was there a moment that you just realized this? Or did someone like a family or trainer who took you aside and say youíre doing a good job, but this is one thing you need to do?
Rosado: ďNo, it was actually me having a conversation with myself. I kind of just had the thought with myself. Like, ĎAlright, Gabe, what is it you want to do? Do you just want to be just an entertaining fighter, or do you want to become a world champion?í And I just had a conversation with myself. And the other thing is being around Bernard Hopkins and the way Bernard Hopkins carries himself, and his lifestyle, has been a big influence in my life.
ďI see the way Bernard is, and Iím always around Bernard. He told me that he made the change in his lifestyle once he lost the Roy Jones fight. He was actually the same age that I am now. He changed his whole game around. I thought, ĎMan, thatís what I need to do. I need to start really working on basics and things that are going to better me as a fighter, and my lifestyle has to change. I have to eat better. I have to rest better.í So being around Bernard has definitely influenced me in a positive way.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Do you work a job, in addition to boxing?
Rosado: ďBoxing is my full-time job now. I worked all the way Ďtil 2012. I was able to quit my job when I beat [Jesus] Soto-Karass. I beat Soto-Karass in the beginning of 2012, and after that fight I was just able to focus on boxing. I made some pretty good money in that fight, but my whole career I always had a job. I was always working a 9-5, graveyard shifts, all types of jobs. But right now itís just boxing 24/7, so Iím taking full advantage of that.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What kind of work were you doing?
Rosado: ďWhen I fought Alfredo Angulo, I was actually working putting water mains underground. And then doing that was really hard on me. My last job, which was 2012, I was actually working at Home Depot. Graveyard shifts, stocking up, and things like that. It took a lot for me to not quit and just continue on pushing. I always believed in myself. Once I got that break, I got that Soto-Karass fight and made some good money, then I was able to just quit my job and focus on boxing.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Is this Quillin fight a do or die fight, pardon the expression, given what it would mean for your career should you win or should you lose?
Rosado: ďI think you have to look at every fight as do or die. Thatís just the mentality that I have. Itís like every fight I have is do or die. I feel like this Peter Quillin fight is a new beginning in my career, like I have a second chance. A lot of guys donít get a world title shot two times in the same year. You know what I mean? You usually get a world title shot, and if you donít win, youíve got to rebuild. But Iím blessed to be able to fight for the second time for a world title in one year. So I know what I need to do this time, and I think that the small things that I didnít do before are going to make a big difference this time around.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Is there anything else that you want people to know?
Rosado: ďThereís been some smack talk between me and Kid. And I see on Instagram and Twitter that people are taking it like way too serious. I think this is a fight where me and Kid really donít have to trash talk, because everybody knows what heís going to bring to the table, and they see what Iím going to bring to the table.
ďI think this is the type of fight thatís going to be like a fight of the year type of candidate. Itís a fight in which me and Peter both know each other personally. He knows how hard I work, and I know how hard he works. Itís that extra edge thatís added to the fight. I donít want to lose to Peter, and Peter doesnít want to lose to me. Youíre just going to see an all-out type of fight. Itís more than just a world title fight. I donít want to lose to him, and he doesnít want to lose to me.Ē
Pick up a copy of Davidís new book, ďFighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,Ē at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon . Send questions/comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: Peter Quillin , Gabriel Rosado , Quillin-Rosado , Quillin vs Rosado