This past weekend, there was a ton of boxing on, and fans were served up with a lion’s share of action. As I jokingly mentioned on Twitter, OK slightly seriously, this past Saturday reminded me of Golden Corral. There were a variety of options… but not all of them are good ones. You must pick and choose your samples and make the best plate possible.
Although there were plenty of fights on, what I did enjoy was that the card, which had some interesting matchups, was going to be shown in the afternoon. The card I’m referring to is the Golden Boy Promotions one that was on DAZN.
It was an afternoon treat at UTEP Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas as the main event produced a great showing from the improved Jaime Munguia (37-0). Although that impressive outing deserves some praise, I want to focus on the co-main, which featured Gabriel “King” Rosado (26-13-1) and Bektemir “The Bully” Melikuziev (7-1). This fight seemed perfectly suited for a prospect on his way up who needed a veteran name on his resume.
Here is where I credit GBP’s matchmaker Roberto Diaz. In the past, he has been criticized about his matchmaking. Prospects with promising futures were knocked off by opponents that Diaz matched them with.
I don’t blame Roberto, as he wants to believe the hype of said fighter but needs to protect the company and ensure that if all of the resources are going to be behind a fighter, that they have earned it. Bektemir had a decorated amateur career and most that have seen him in the gym and in the ring knew that he had the power and skills to become a champion. Knowing that, it was Diaz’ job to put him in tough now and see what he has. Insert Gabriel Rosado.
Gabriel Rosado is from Philly; and if you don’t know, that city is famously known for breeding some of the toughest fighters that have ever stepped into the ring. Gabe has had a roller-coaster of a career that included many disadvantages due to the scar tissue on his face. When you look down the list of guys he has shared the ring with, you’ll see names like Jesus Soto Karass, Gennadiy Golovkin, Peter Quillin, Jermell Charlo and Daniel Jacobs. Looking at those names, Gabe fought some of the toughest fighters in the game at their prime. Some he won, some he lost, but one thing you take away from all of those fights is experience. You can’t buy that type of experience in a store, but it sure does come with a price.
The scouting report on Gabe was always that he is a solid fighter but he swells and cuts easily.
The experience that he brings to the table is what every matchmaker sees when booking Rosado to a fight. In his last fight with Daniel Jacobs, it was a snoozer and lacked in the CompuBox department. However, it was a fight that many still thought Rosado pulled off. He didn’t get the nod and knew that it could have been about the politics that are involved in boxing more than anything else. Not wanting to disappear after the fight, he joined the DAZN broadcast team in the weeks after and a future fight was unknown.
Rosado then gets booked to fight Bek the Bully after the Uzbek’s fight with Sergey Kovalev was cancelled. Although fighters will never call themselves a “gatekeeper,” most fans and media would describe Rosado as such. At 35 and without a significant win as of late, Gabe is in a position where if he is offered a fight, he must jump on it. So, when the Bek fight came a long, he took it, and they met in El Paso.
Bek had been pretty well publicized as he fast-tracked after turning pro in 2019. So, Bek started the fight a little cautiously, but with enough confidence to know that it was his night to shine. He started working the body early and that resulted in a knockdown of Rosado towards the end of the first round.
Almost made it out of an uneventful round, then getting a little buzzed and dropping down to a knee. And then seeing the other guy flexing to the patrons, with his back turned. The look on the face of Rosado; it wasn’t the face of someone considering anything but finding a way.
In round two, Bek continued to bounce, his severe haircut reminding that he was 10 years younger than the guy being brought there as not-the-A side. He’d come forward with a combination, but with his hands down. He kept doing that throughout the fight and Rosado was taking mental notes, while he stayed right there calmly handling what Bek was offering, collected, countering his little blips now and again.
Then, it was unexpected, even though Rosado wasn’t at all being out-classed up to then. In round three, the ultra vet, the game gatekeeper, scored one for the rest of us, the regular people. A well time right counter, thrown when Rosado knew the opening would be there based on what he’d see of how Bek opened up when he dug down to come with a sharp left. BANG.
After the fight, Gabe had this to say: “I knew I would have to dig deep. I had more experience than him, but he’s very strong and throws heavy shots. I was trying to time him, but he caught me with the body shot. He didn’t drop me, but I took a knee to recover. And then I got the win.”
What was supposed to be a showcase fight for Bek turned into a potential knockout of the year for Rosado. The knockout was viral worthy and most certainly earned Gabe a huge payday in the future. After the fight, Rosado called out Jamie Munguia as a potential dance partner in the future. I would not doubt that DAZN is working on that as we speak to ride the momentum of both victories.
My Three Cents:
Gabriel Rosado is a guy who always takes on the biggest challenges with little to no complaints.
There is a phrase within the hip-hop community called “giving people their flowers.” The meaning of it is that you give people their recognition now, and not when they have passed away.
Rosado is someone who has fought the best, still puts in the hard work and goes in there to win. So to Gabriel Rosado, here are your flowers. Know that the boxing world acknowledges the fact that you weren’t afraid to step up to any challenge.
Will we see Gabe Rosado serve up another Philly Special in the future? We shall see, but one thing is for sure, Saturday night reminded everyone that anything can happen in that ring. This is why we all love the sport, as it is truly the “theater of the unexpected.”