Gabriel Rosado and Bektemir Melikuziev will meet again on Saturday’s Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia card, a rematch of a major upset from just about two years ago, when Rosado knocked out the highly-touted Melikuziev in the third round.
Rosado (26-16-1, 15 KO) was down in the opening round, and frankly the fight was going about how most expected, with Melikuziev (11-1, 9 KO) dominating an older, faded fighter — and then, very suddenly, it was no longer going how much of anyone expected.
Rosado, now 37, has lost three straight fights since then against Jaime Munguia, Shane Mosley Jr, and Ali Akhmedov, but says he’ll repeat what he did against Melikzuiev in 2021.
“We are going to bully the ‘Bully.’ I promise you that,” Rosado said. “After I got knocked down in our first fight, I had to show resilience and mental toughness, knowing that it was a 12-round fight. He caught me with a good shot in the first round and I took a knee.
“I said that I would bounce back in the next round and set him up. That’s what we did. We set him up in the third round with a picture-perfect shot. It was a shot that we worked on in training camp. We worked on his flaw.”
The Philadelphia fighter also says he’s annoyed that the Uzbek southpaw, 10 years his junior at 27, believes the outcome the first time around was a fluke.
“I am taking this as a challenge,” he said. “I am taking it personally that he thought the first fight was a fluke. It upset me. That’s my motivation. I did it once and will do it again.
“Boxing is in my blood, it’s in my DNA. I am a fighter in life. Inside of the ring and outside of it. This is what I do.”
It’s also worth noting that Rosado was meant to fight Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez at 175 lbs on Mar. 18, but when that fight was scrapped after Ramirez came nowhere near making weight, Golden Boy got this fight for Rosado, back down at 168.
That could lead to some concerns about his conditioning, but Rosado says there are no worries.
“I was moving up to 175, so I was enjoying eating steaks,” he quipped. “I just had to cut down on the steaks now that I’m back at 168. It worked out with the weight, so now we’re just getting ready for a southpaw.”
“I was moving up to 175, so I was enjoying eating steaks. I just had to cut down on the steaks now that I’m back at 168. It worked out with the weight, so now we’re just getting ready for a southpaw.