Anyone who watched Gabriel Rosado fight David Lemieux Saturday night on HBO would be hard pressed to come away with anything less than respect for the Philly fighter. Rosado lifted himself off the canvas and survived the third round then fought a spirited, near epic, fourth round against the hard hitting Canadian. Social media lit up with Arturo Gatti comparisons and “round of the year” howls. Is it a bit too much? There’s something of a cult that surrounds Gabriel Rosado. An enthusiasm that seems excessive for a man that has lost nearly one third of his contests. On one level, when you watch him fight, it’s understandable. The question I would ask is “is it deserved?”
Please understand, I mean this as no insult to Rosado. You could drop his heart into the Grand Canyon and turn that monument into flat land. Rosado seems to exist beyond fear and has a tremendous pain threshold. He tweeted after the fight that he broke his orbital rim during his brutal third round knockdown against Lemieux. When the fight was finally stopped in the tenth, his left eye was closed, bruised, and more than a little hard to look at. Still, it took a doctor to stop it. Rosado was clearly going to go down on his shield. As a lover of the fight game, this is to be admired. And so I do. It would seem however, that Rosado’s reputation is a bit inflated. Rosado is a courageous action fighter who will take a beating. He is not a contender.
I don’t mean to say that Rosado has no quality wins in his career. He has solid victories over Kassim Ouma, Jesus Soto Karass, and Sechew Powell. Good fighters, one and all. Make no mistake, Rosado is a good fighter, but he’s a good fighter who hasn’t won a fight in over two years.
The reason for this is simple. When Rosado stepped up in class, he—and we—found that while he can compete, he simply can’t win. After a TKO victory over Brit Charles Whitaker, Rosado took the big leap and got into the ring with Gennady Golovkin. Rosado went seven rounds with Triple G before suffering a TKO loss. No embarrassment there. Golovkin is beating everyone and Rosado at least didn’t get blown out.
He followed up that fight by heading back to the B+ level and taking on J’Leon Love, dropping a disputed ten round decision that was later changed to a no contest after Love failed a post-fight drug test due to using a banned diuretic.
Since then, Rosado has fought three times. Losing a competitive fight against WBO champ, Peter Quillin that was stopped in the tenth thanks to a cut over Rosado’s eye. He was then thoroughly outclassed by up and comer Jermell Charlo in a ten round unanimous decision. A BKB winover Brian Vera doesn’t count on BoxRec, but yes, does merit mention. Then of course, he went out in the tenth against Lemieux Saturday night.
Again, Rosado has fought five times officially since defeating Whitaker and he has not one ‘W’ on his ledger. With the possible exception of Love, does anyone think if Rosado fought Golovkin, Quillin, Charlo, or Lemieux ten times each that he would win even once?
That’s not to say boxing doesn’t need scrappers like Rosado. It most certainly does. Fighters like Micky Ward, Emanuel Augustus Burton, and Rosado are absolutely necessary to the health of the sport. Guys who will come to a fight against better, more highly skilled pugilists, and come to win even though the outcome is all but set in stone before they enter the ring. Boxers like Rosado test fighters. We should be thankful for them. We should also be realistic though. Barring a Sergio Mora/Cornelius Bundrage vacuum filling moment, Rosado is never going to hold a title or beat anyone on the ‘A’ list. Heart and guts will take you a long way in the sport of boxing, but skill and ability are what take you over the top. Rosado is just too short in both of those categories.
The truth is, Rosado has had his shot against the elite and near elite fighters. He’s simply not one of them. He is a dangerous fighter for a prospect. He is a stepping stone for a contender. And he is an “opponent” for a champion. There is no shame in that. There’s just no need for a cult either.