By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Gabriel Rosado doesn’t know enough about Curtis Stevens’ skills to offer an informed prediction prior to Stevens’ WBA middleweight title fight against Gennady Golovkin.
Rosado did offer Stevens some advice.
The middleweight contender from Philadelphia suggested Stevens’ team take as close a look as possible at Golovkin’s gloves next week before they square off Nov. 2 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Rosado has his own 160-pound championship match to worry about, but he wouldn’t want Stevens (25-3, 18 KOs) to walk away from fighting one of boxing’s most dangerous punchers with doubts similar to those Rosado has nine months after Golovkin stopped him.
“He’s a good puncher,” Rosado said of Golovkin before a news conference Wednesday at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. “He never really rocked me or anything like that, but he’s a solid puncher. I do believe that his gloves are different than any other fighter that I’ve fought before. I could tell you that right now. We both fought with Grants, but for whatever reason his Grants were missing a little more cushion on the knuckles. And we had a problem with that, and they said that the gloves were approved [by the New York State Athletic Commission].”
Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promotional representative, expressed disappointment regarding Rosado’s implication that something wasn’t quite right about Golovkin’s gloves that night. Loeffler, managing director for K2 Promotions, told BoxingScene.com Thursday that Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs) wears custom-made Grant gloves because the company produces gloves of various colors to match his ring attire (white for the Rosado fight).
“Whatever concerns that Gabe had or that the Rosado team had were addressed with the commission,” Loeffler said. “They inspected the gloves and Grant is an approved maker with the New York commission and there was not an issue with the gloves. So from the commission standpoint, that’s the only thing that I remember in that situation.
“But to go even further than that, Gennady has the highest knockout record of any current champion [89 percent] and he hasn’t used Grant [throughout] his entire career. So whether he was using gloves that were made in Europe, when he was fighting in Germany, or a different brand, he was consistently knocking out opponents. And they would consistently say the same thing, that they had never been hit as hard as Gennady hits. So we’re a little bit disappointed that Gabriel would choose to focus on the gloves, as to there might be some advantage Gennady has with his punching power.”
Rosado (21-6, 13 KOs, 1 NC), who’ll challenge New York’s Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (29-0, 21 KOs) for the WBO middleweight title Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, acknowledged in the immediate aftermath of their fight that he has never been hit as hard as Golovkin hit him Jan. 19 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Golovkin won their bout by seventh-round technical knockout when a bloodied Rosado’s trainer, Billy Briscoe, threw in the towel.
“When he hit me in the first round, I just felt straight, solid wraps,” Rosado recalled. “It wasn’t like it was just the impact of the glove. It felt like a little bat hitting the top of my head. So Triple-G’s gloves, Grant definitely makes custom gloves for [him]. So Stevens definitely has to look out for that.
“They were 10-ounce gloves, but the weight [of the glove] was probably more on the wrist. I’ve never got cut in a fight. Only by a head-butt, which was four years ago. I got cut twice [over] the same eye in the second round [against Golovkin]. [Matthew] Macklin got cut early in their fight as well. It’s just kind of suspect about them gloves.”
Loeffler disputed Rosado’s contention and said he hadn’t heard Rosado complain about Golovkin’s gloves once their fight ended until Thursday, nine months later.
“In our agreement with Rosado and with [promoter] Russell Peltz,” Loeffler said, “we specifically had in there that they could bring the gloves that they would like, the brand and the model that they would prefer to use, and Gennady would bring the brand that he would prefer to use. Obviously, both [would be] 10-ounce gloves, with the caveat of, in fact, being resealed packaging. So whether Gabe wanted to use Everlast or Reyes or Grant, he could choose whichever brand or model he wanted to use to alleviate any complaints over the promoter bringing gloves that didn’t fit him or he didn’t like. So that was the beginning of the negotiation, which we usually find to make it easier so we don’t run into complaints when they select the gloves.
“When the gloves were opened, there was a comment made [by Rosado] about how the gloves were smaller, or something to that effect. But the New York commission [approved]. They were clearly 10-ounce gloves and if they were smaller gloves, it’s not like the padding is moved [on] a smaller glove from the back to the wrist or anything like that. If you have a smaller glove, it’s really more padding in the front. It’s just Gennady has small hands, so there’s different-sized gloves, although you have to keep the same weight.”
Rosado recalled addressing the glove issue at the weigh-in, but said he didn’t pursue it thereafter.
“We tried [to protest],” Rosado said, “but the fight was the next day and so much bullsh-- was going on that I was just focused on the fight. I guess I really couldn’t put too much thought into it.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.