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Gabriel Rosado feels fresh with Freddie Roach, can’t be counted out against Jaime Munguia

Gabriel Rosado aims for another upset when he faces Jaime Munguia on Nov. 13.

Gabriel Rosado will come for another upset against Jaime Munguia
Gabriel Rosado will come for another upset against Jaime Munguia
Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Gabriel Rosado has a less than sterling win-loss record, sitting today at 26-13-1. Based on that mark alone, I’d not be surprised if a newbie boxing fan, while contemplating whether to watch Jaime Munguia’s next fight on Nov. 13, saw that and said, “No thanks.”

Newbie would figure that the 37-0 Munguia is getting a gimme, an easy mark. Newbie wouldn’t be right, because Rosado is pretty much a lock to at the very least hang in there, and make the opposing corner worried until the final bell rings. And if things break a certain way, it wouldn’t be considered Upset of the Year if Rosado, 35, handed Munguia his first loss as a pro.

People in the know know that the record doesn’t tell the whole tale of the Philly native. So let’s dig down and fill in some blanks.

Rosado’s record got smudged early on when dropped his sixth pro fight 2006. And he lost again five months later. There were causes for celebration moving forward, like wins over then-unbeaten James Moore and veteran Kassim Ouma, which led to a match with Alfredo Angulo in 2009. The celebrations halted, though, as Angulo stopped Rosado in round two.

But he kept hacking away — this is what he did, what he knew, what he knows. “King” went 9-1 from there, and was skillfully managed into a middleweight title shot against Gennadiy Golovkin in early 2013. GGG stayed undefeated with a TKO-7 win at Madison Square Garden.

That was the start of a hard slide, and there had to be times that Rosado contemplated his place within the sport. But he stayed stubborn. He’d get a decent win or two, and then get booked into a match where he was the underdog, but the favorite needed to be tested.

Rosado lost out to Willie Monroe in 2016, and he dropped a decision to Martin Murray his next time out. At this time, it looked much like Rosado would now enter full-on “journeyman” territory, that he’d get invited to parties merely to make the featured player look good, get a win over a “name” fighter.

You could argue that’s exactly what he has been, frankly. He beat Glen Tapia in 2017, drew with Luis Arias, and lost a decision to Maciej Sulecki in 2019. But he still got gigs, notably one in 2020 against Daniel Jacobs. The fight was not half a barnburner, but Rosado came out looking rosy, considering Jacobs had his hand raised.

“From Philadelphia,” the ring emcee said, as Rosado raised his arms, and continued, “from Brooklyn, New York.” Rosado didn’t hear the correction and thought he won by split decision, but in fact Jacobs had narrowly taken the win. And with that, Rosado edged closer to being designated a stepping-stone guy.

But earlier this year, Rosado gloved up against unbeaten Bektemir Melikuziev, and viewers had good reason to think the Uzbek prospect would finish up early. Body shots weakened Rosado and he took a knee to clear his head at the end of the first round. “Bek the Bully” kept living up to his nickname in the second and the third. But just as the words “counter right hand” came from his corner, Rosado launched just that. He took advantage of over-aggression and timed a right on Bek coming in. It slumped the prospect:

Bek tried to calm his head and misfiring nerves but he couldn’t, and the ref waved it off. It’s up there with his career-best wins, because it wasn’t supposed to happen.

The victory opened a door for Rosado, and made him eligible to get another meaningful match against Munguia. The Golden Boy fighter should get it done on Nov. 13 in Anaheim. But to assume that wouldn’t be prudent, because Gabe Rosado is more than his record. His chances to score another upset are maybe not even as good as his so-so record or KO percentage, but no one’s jaw should drop if Rosado leaves with his 27th win.

Rosado should take a bow and deserves props for even being in this mix, I think. He seems to like his chances that much more because he’s liking working with star trainer Freddie Roach.

“Freddie has taught me to be disciplined, sticking to the game plan, and every day getting better and better,” Rosado said. “This fight means everything, this is the reason why I got with Freddie. It was to take it to the next level. I have always had the skill, have always had the ability, but I knew that for me to take it to that world class level I had to get with a trainer that knows what it takes to get there, guide me there, lead me there. Getting with Freddie is just bringing out the best of me.”

Roach, who retired as a boxer in 1986 and not too long after decided he could continue in the sport as a tutor, weighed in.

“Gabriel is very clever and he’s a very good boxer, but we’re fighting a veteran ourselves and a very good puncher so we have to be very careful,” he said. “Both fighters have a lot of heart and that makes this fight interesting, so it’s gonna be a ‘Fight of the Year’ type of fight.”

I sense Roach knows this could be a hard lift, because Munguia, if he stays composed and aware, could wear Rosado down, as his bulk and his youth will prove beneficial against his fighter.

“This fight is going to be fun,” Freddie continued. “(Munguia trainer) Erik Morales and I have known each other for a while. We are both doing well as trainers, so may the best man win. I think this is going to be a really good fight. You have two really good fighters in a real fight. This is what boxing is all about. I think we got lost a little bit with celebrity boxing but this is two real fighters going into a real fight. I love this.”

It seems like Roach and Rosado are meshing real well.

“I feel like I am still 25, I feel great, I am blessed, I am healthy,” Rosado stated. “In this fight Munguia is the younger guy and I understand what it means to be the younger fighter. But I need to use my experience and my boxing ability to make him pay for his mistakes. You can teach a lot, but you can’t teach experience. I feel like I have fought the tougher fighters so I definitely have experience on my side. Like I said, I am healthy, I am strong. I am not fading. I am just getting better.”

That’s debatable. Does he have the same hand speed he did at 25? His punch output is usually quite low now, so his stamina likely isn’t what it used to be. But as far as being smart about conserving energy, so he can go into deeper waters with some ammo left to employ, yes, Rosado is “better” now than he was five years or so ago.

On Nov. 13, Rosado should lose. But because he has a certain track record, you will want to tune in and watch the whole fight.