All eyes are on Gabriel Rosado (21-7, 13 KOs).
It hasn't always been like that, but after an odd breakout year in 2013, Rosado finds himself in two key fights.
Rosado is fighting a difficult opponent in Jermell Charlo (22-0, 11 KOs), who is undefeated and seen as a bright young star in boxing. He also is fighting to remain a relevant contender; one that television networks believe is still worth air time.
Breakout years are usually associated with title victories, highlight reel knockouts or perhaps even Olympic medal-winning performances.
Rosado cannot lay claim to having done any of those things last year.
In fact, Rosado didn’t even notch a win in the entire calendar year, but it certainly wasn’t because of a lack of effort or talent.
In 2013, Rosado fought in three exciting bouts, starting with a January matchup against the largely avoided middleweight juggernaut, Gennady Golovkin.
Rosado performed well against GGG, but ultimately succumbed due in large part to the gash that was opened up on the corner of his eye.
After falling to Golovkin, Rosado challenged unbeaten contender J’Leon Love on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s bout against Robert Guerrero in May.
Against Love, Rosado really displayed the craft and boxing IQ that has come to define his style.
The nuances he learned from Philadelphia legend Bernard Hopkins were certainly evident that night, and after scoring a knockdown against Love, it seemed as though Rosado was well on his way to picking up a major victory and the vacant NABF middleweight title.
Alas, two out of the three judges did not favor Rosado’s activity, and he lost a split decision. Although the loss was later overturned to a no decision because Love tested positive for a banned diuretic (per Dan Rafael of ESPN), the sour taste in Rosado’s mouth was not erased.
Nonetheless, Golden Boy Promotions realized that Rosado is a skillful fighter with a popular fan base and, in turn, rewarded him with a fight against WBO Champion, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin.
Again, Rosado showed championship-level skill and fought Kid Chocolate tough, seemingly doing enough to at least make it a toss-up fight down the stretch.
Unfortunately for Rosado, he once again suffered a serious cut, and the ringside doctor decided to stop the fight in Round 10.
At the time of the stoppage, the judges had the fight scored 90-80, 89-81, and 87-83, all in favor of Quillin (per BoxRec).
While Quillin did knock Rosado down in the second round, many spectators felt the fight was a lot closer than the judges saw it with Rosado seemingly in control before the cut occurred.
Rosado and his team were certainly frustrated after the Quillin loss and who can blame them?
Billy Briscoe—Rosado’s trainer—was very vocal after the controversial stoppage and wrote a telling plea on Instagram shortly after:
I'm hurting so bad inside right now I can't believe that they keep doing us like this Gaby @kinggabrosado is to good of a person to be treated like this we are more then just Fighter & Trainer we like family and it is Tearing my guys out to see them keep doing this to him he trains to hard lives a clean life eat right does every thing he needs to do to get done dirty by the powers that be in this sport it is a dam shame no it is a disgrace for the to do this to him.
So after all of the letdowns Rosado faced, how exactly was 2013 a breakout year you may ask?
Anytime you have an opportunity to fight three times on premium television—twice on Showtime and once on HBO—and you perform in a crowd pleasing fashion, that is a win.
In a conference call last week, Rosado confirmed that he agrees with that notion.
Even though in 2013 I officially didn’t have a win, it kind of was a good year for me in a way. I took the positive out of it. Even though I didn’t get to win a fight I took the positive out of it, and it’s 2014 so I feel like this is a fresh start for me as a new weight class.
During the same conference call, Rosado also gave his spin on why he feels people appreciate his fights so much.
“I think the type of fights that I bring to the table are entertaining to the fans. You see knockdowns. You see blood. You see controversy, of course in my last two fights.”
But make no mistake about it, Rosado must begin to turn some of his exciting performances into wins in order to get bigger paydays and, of course, more television time.
One thing that Rosado has going for him is he backs down from no opponent. As Briscoe aptly described him, Rosado is a throwback.
Moving back down to junior middleweight for a fight against Charlo shows Rosado’s willingness to fight the best, whether they are up-and-coming or current champions.
On January 25, Rosado gets another chance to make his mark on the boxing world as part of the co-feature of Lamont Peterson vs. Dierry Jean live on Showtime Championship Boxing.
Can Gabriel Rosado finally get over the hump and score a major victory instead of just a moral one?
If there is one thing fans can count on, it is that Rosado will be ready for the chance to prove himself once again.