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Gabriel Rosado talks Shane Mosley Jr, boxing commentary, and the problem with today’s promoters

Rosado returns to 168 pounds to face Shane Mosley Jr April 9th on DAZN

Rosado celebrates a KO win over “Bek the Bully” Melikuziev
Rosado celebrates a KO win over “Bek the Bully” Melikuziev
Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Gabriel Rosado knows that putting on a show is what it takes to keep himself in the game.

He made that philosophy work for him in 2021, delivering a thrilling upset knockout against Bektemir Melikuziev to earn yet another headline fight, one that saw him going the distance for twelve entertaining rounds in a decision loss to Jaime Munguia.

The Munguia defeat was a setback, but the 36 year old Rosado is no stranger to overcoming adversity and bouncing back from defeat. He’ll get his chance to do it again on April 9th against Shane Mosley Jr as part of the undercard for Ryan Garcia vs Emmanuel Tagoe on DAZN.

Rosado, always an engaging interview, took a break from training to talk about the Mosley Jr matchup. He also shared his thoughts on what makes good boxing commentary, the love/hate relationship modern promoters have with the legacy of Floyd Mayweather, and a very hurtful prediction for the upcoming showdown between George Kambosos and Devin Haney.

Our full conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity, follows.


BAD LEFT HOOK: We last talked back in October, and you told me then that you’re a stubborn guy who doesn’t fold or crumble when things don’t go his way. You put on a good show with Jaime Munguia, and now you’re booked to face Shane Mosley Jr. What are you looking to do in this fight?

GABE ROSADO: It’s just a great fight to get back. It gave me the opportunity to fight at my natural division right now of 168.

I just felt like it’s a good fight. He looked good in his last fight versus Quigley. I thought that was a fight that could have gone either way. And I’m very familiar with both of them, so I felt it was a great fight. It was the perfect fight for me to come get back in the winner’s circle.

Mosley is a talented guy. Dangerous guy. He’s someone where maybe he’s a little unlucky because of how big a deal his dad was. Maybe doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done with his own career.

Well, his father’s a legend. His father’s a hall of famer. Won big, big, big fights in multiple divisions. I’ve had the chance to do training camps with his father, and I learned a lot from him.

Filling those shoes? Man, it’s a lot. In boxing, you’re lucky to have a ten year career. So, to have a hall of fame career? That’s very unusual. It’s hard for him to fill in those shoes.

You’re known for having good power. But, you also have a bit of an advantage in the fact that Mosley has only fought four 10 round fights, and you’ve been in nothing but 10 or 12 rounders for over a decade now.

Not asking you to give away your game plan, but do you think you’re better off pushing your power for a stoppage, or using your experience in fights this distance?

No, I’m not going in the ring to play with him. Look, I can go in and knock and box him for 10 rounds if I wanted to. But that’s not the kind of win that’s gonna put me back in the fights that I want. In order to get into big title fights, I have to entertain and I have to get a knockout.

This is the kind of fight where the knockout is there. I can get this knockout. I have more experience, I have the punching power– There’s no reason for me to coast and just box this kid. I can walk him down…

[Pause]

...And he’s not a kid, he’s in his 30s. [Laughs] It’s funny, I forget how long I’ve been in this sport, right?

And he’s a Junior. You hear “junior,” you kind of just think of him as a younger guy.

Yeah, he’s a junior, and you get caught up. But, no, he’s about 32 I think. [NOTE: Mosley Jr will turn 32 later this year]

Anyway, I just feel that I can walk this guy down and get the stoppage. That’s the goal. That’s what I want to do.

You’ve done fight commentary in the past, and you said that’s something you might want to do more of down the line. Do you mind if I ask you a few more general questions about the sport and get your perspective on some things?

Oh, for sure. That’s cool.

First off, you’ve done commentary before, and you’ve also been in a lot of high profile fights with different people calling and analyzing them. Plus, you study a lot of fights as part of your preparation for each opponent.

As a guy that’s done the talking, been the guy they’re talking about, and also someone that watches a lot of fights: What makes a good TV analyst? What sorts of things does a good commentator try to do, or try to avoid, to elevate the show for viewers?

I think what makes a good TV analyst is breaking down the details that an average boxing fan does not understand. Sometimes there’s a fight going on that’s a chess match. And when the analyst doesn’t have the experience of what it is to be a fighter, they can start talking the fighters down.

[Imitating a TV announcer] “Oh, man, if this guy wins this fight, he’s guaranteed millions in the next one. If I were him, I’d start throwing everything and the kitchen sink–” [normal voice] and they start talking this crazy shit. What happens is, the fans tuning in get caught up in what this commentator is saying.

What I would rather do is, I like to see the details. Let’s say one guy fighting is named Smith, the other is George, whatever. I’ll say: “What George is doing is he’s setting up Smith. Smith knows the overhand right is coming, so what George needs to do is feint to the body, then throw that right hand to the top.”

So, now I can paint a picture of what I see these guys doing. And then, once it happens, then the audience goes “Oh, shit!” That’s how you call the fights.

And guys do it. Roy Jones did it. George Foreman was good at it. Andre Ward and Timothy Bradley, because these guys are fighters, they understand that. I think when you share that kind of breakdown with the audience, it really gets them going. Because now they see the chess match, and they understand that without downplaying what’s going on. When the action is low, you can really break it down, and that’s what I like to do when I’m calling fights.

You said last time that protecting the “0” in the loss column was one of the only ways some people know how to sell a fight…

[Nodding] Yeah.

…and that it’s something that gets used to control fighters. I’m wondering if you’d tell me a little more about how that happens, and how it impacts a fighter’s career.

You know, the zero is overrated. It’s that Floyd Mayweather effect. Mayweather made that zero such a big thing, and everyone is trying to follow the blueprint. Not the fighters, the promoters.

And the promoters hate on Floyd. But they want to create another Floyd so bad, you know what I mean? So they put that pressure on these fighters with the “0.” But, that’s Floyd’s journey. That’s what makes Money Mayweather. That’s why he’s different.

But, when you say Mayweather, and then you say Duran– Do you say Mayweather is greater because he’s undefeated and Duran has 16 losses? No! They’re both in the same category. They’re both great. It doesn’t matter. When you think about Duran, you don’t think about his losses. You think of his great, historical fights.

And that’s a problem that’s going on in boxing. These promoters want to create the next Mayweather, and they’re putting that pressure on the fighters so big fights aren’t happening. But, big shout out to Haney, who said “F–k it,” and is gonna go to Australia. And I got him kicking Kambosos’s ass, too.

Well, I should tell you that I’m Greek, so Kambosos and I are probably cousins, at least.

[Laughs] Well, I still got him kicking his ass.

It’s cool, I still love you, Gabe. You’re breaking my heart, but it’s alright. We can still be friends.

[Laughing]

Since you mentioned Kambosos and Haney, let me ask you this, and I’m not just asking about Teofimo Lopez specifically. Because we’ve seen more than one guy really struggle with the mental impact of their first defeat.

You’ve persevered through bad decisions, physical fights, and a lot of other challenges in your career. What advice would you give to someone that’s really struggling to process or can’t seem to get through having taken a loss?

It’s life. Boxing is life. In life, we fail. Life doesn’t always go our way.

Like, you want some girl, but she doesn’t want to be with you. She’s dating some other dude. You know? That’s life! And just because shit like that happens, that doesn’t mean you give up on life. Right?

It’s the same thing. That’s how I treat boxing. [Taps heart] Damn, I took that “L” and that shit hurts. It stings. But I’ve gotta get that back.

I think how you behave in the ring is who you are as a person. And you just dust your shoulders off when you get back up, and you improve yourself. As in life. Improve yourself, be a better person, learn more, and grow. You do that as a fighter.

Well, I’m sure you have better options. But, if you ever need a reference for an analyst gig, feel free to give them my number. This was all very insightful, and I appreciate it.

Oh, for sure. No doubt, no doubt.

Bringing it back to your next fight: Any final thoughts or last words about April 9th against Shane Mosely Jr?

Just tune in April 9th. I’m going to put on a show. I’m going for the knockout, looking for a statement win. Because I want to show that in the 168 division, I’m chasing for the titles, and we’ll see how it goes from there. But I’m definitely going for the knockout and that big win.