It ran it course, the relationship between Gabriel Rosado and trainer Billy Briscoe. It was a nice run, ten years, and they went from club fighter to contender status together. But there was a ceiling to the pairing, Rosado felt, and a change was needed.
Rosado (21-8 with 13 kayoes, has been stopped three times; turned pro in 2006) felt a pang when he decided he needed to make that call, to tell Billy it was time for a switch. He gulped hard, pressed the digits…and they got through it. “Billy understood,” said Rosado, who headlines with dance partner David Lemieux, a handsome and hard hitting Canadian who the suits would love to see prevail, from the telegenicism standpoint, if nothing else, on Dec. 6. “At the end of the day, we understand it’s business, not personal.”
Now training with ultra vet Jesse Reid, with four decades in his pocket, Rosado insists we will see the best brand of Gabe Rosado in Brooklyn, at Barclays Center, on a show promoted by Golden Boy. “I’m learning to sit down on my shots better, and I have a lot more power,” he told me. We saw evidence of that, he said, when he stopped Brian Vera, the budget-steak-tough Texan who got dropped and stopped in the BKB-format bout in August.
“There are definitely a lot of things I’m capable, and Jesse is brining it out of me,” said the North Philly hitter. “I’m now better using a long jab, I can better box using angles, and avoid shots.” He’s been getting tutored by Reid in LA for the last six months, and he jets back to Philly, to see his family, which includes his daughter, who is five.
“That’s emotional,” Rosado said, when I asked him about being so far from family. “It’s not easy, but the reason for moving, it’s also because I’m working with a marketing group, and I’m doing acting. They reached out to me, and it was an opportunity I felt I couldn’t refuse.” The opportunity is considerable; he will work on the forthcoming Rocky movie, called “Creed” in the near future.
Rosado explains that he didn’t go out searching for a replacement for Briscoe. He was training in LA, went to Reid’s gym, and asked for a hand wrap. Reid gave him some tips watching him spar, and those suggestions clicked. The clicking has continued. “This is without a doubt the best camp I’ve had,” the 28-year-old told me. Greg Hackett from Philly and strength coach Danny Davis are part of the clicking team, as well.
That Philly persona, I was curious about that. Philly folk are proud—they sometimes exult in the particular brand of Philly toughness which sets them apart. We’ve heard for ages how hardcore the gym wars are in Philly and that comes from the belief that their brand of tough is second to none. Problem is, sometimes relying on toughness can come at the expense of a mastery of the sweetly scientific aspects of the sport. I delved into that with Rosado; does he ever think he should steer away from that “Philly” mindset?
“No, it works to my advantage,” the 21-8 boxer told me. “And I’m learning how to control it. But I am a blood and guts type warrior…and there have been times where I thought I needed a KO to win. Where I wasn’t comfortable going against a guy in his home town. I was forced to fight a certain way, and maybe I was too aggressive. Jesse tells me to relax better, and let things come to me.”
A what about the pressure to win? He was winless in his last four, before the Vera win. Is there extra pressure present to get the W…for fear that windows of opportunity will be closing, if his rep will dip with another loss? “I’m feeling very confident,” he said. “The last fight was a win. It was BKB, but it was boxing. And I did something that Julio Cesar Chavez didn’t do! I’m bringing that momentum into the Lemieux fight. This fight will show my true potential.
“Me and Billy had ten years, I think we peaked, it was time for a new voice in the corner. I’m reaching my prime, and you’re going to see the best of me on December sixth.”