By Keith Idec
Gabriel Rosado realizes people look at his record and immediately determine he cannot become a legitimate junior middleweight contender.
Rosado (18-5, 10 KOs) is looking forward to changing their minds Saturday night. He feels a convincing victory over Mexican veteran Jesus Soto Karass in his hometown of Philadelphia can alter the course of his career.
Win or lose, he’ll get great exposure. Their 10-round fight will open NBC Sports Network’s “Fight Night” series at 9 p.m. from Asylum Arena.
“I’m pretty amped up about it,” Rosado said. “This is a statement fight. This is one of those fights where if I look real good, it’s going to open the door for great opportunities. So I’m just looking really forward to seizing the moment.
“I plan on winning in impressive fashion. I plan on dominating this guy in this fight. And I think pulling that type of victory will seal the deal, that I am a top guy at 154. So I think it’s going to pretty much make all the non-believers believers.”
The 29-year-old Karass hasn’t fought in the 11 months since losing his rematch against another Philadelphia fighter, welterweight contender Mike Jones (26-0, 19 KOs). Rosado sparred with Jones to help him get ready for both of Jones’ decision wins against Karass (24-6-3, 16 KOs, 1 NC). They haven’t talked much about what Rosado should do against Karass, but Rosado expects Karass to perform the way he did when he almost upset Jones in their first fight on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard 14 months ago at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“I think he’s going to come in great condition,” Rosado said. “I think he’s going to come determined. This fight right here makes or breaks his career. It doesn’t make or break mine, but [losing would] put me behind and I don’t want to be put behind. I’ve been on a winning streak, and I want to keep on winning because I have a goal. Hopefully I’ll become world champion this year. But Karass, he’s desperate. I know he’s going to bring it and I’m ready for it.
“He has lost his last three fights. If you lose four straight, that’s not good. I’ve been on a winning streak, so I’m not desperate going into this fight. But I’m determined. I know I have to win it, but he knows he’s pretty much done if he doesn’t pull out this win.”
Rosado, 26, has won four straight fights since losing a majority decision to another Philadelphia fighter, Derek Ennis (23-3-1, 13 KOs), in a 12-rounder for the USBA junior middleweight title in July 2010. That fight also took place at Asylum Arena. Rosado recorded what he considers his most noteworthy win in the bout before Ennis edged him, when he overcame Mexico’s Saul Roman (34-9, 29 KOs) by split decision in a 10-rounder in Atlantic City.
Since then, though, Rosado believes he has developed into a more complete fighter.
“I turned amateur when I was 18 and I turned pro right away,” Rosado said. “So when I turned pro [after 17 amateur fights], I was still green. I was still learning on the job. I was getting into tough fights, but I didn’t have the experience. At this point in my career I’m more seasoned, I’m more experienced, so I’m able to know what I need to do now. I’m 18-5, but if it wasn’t for those losses I wouldn’t be the fighter I am today. So it’s kind of a blessing in disguise.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.