Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado (20-5, 12 knockouts) will face Miami’s Charles Whittaker (38-12-2, 23 KOs) in the main event of in an IBF junior middleweight eliminator bout to be televised as part of Saturday’s fifth edition of NBC Sports’ Fight Night series from Sand Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa. Rosado has won six straight bouts, four of them by knockout, and Whittaker , who is 38, has a 14-fight winning streak that includes eight stoppages. The winner of Rosado-Whittaker will become the mandatory challenger to IBF junior middleweight belt holder Cornelius Bundrage.
Fighters, much like leaders aren’t made they are born. A person can work on leadership qualities, and a fighter can hone their craft, but it is in persons DNA or it isn’t. While to some it may seem barbaric to settle disputes with the simplicity of combat, but others there is simply no other way to achieve resolution.
It takes a different type of individual that desires too trade pieces of their soul with another man in that ring. The exhilaration of combat cannot be matched by anything else they ever pursue in life. Without it they don’t feel whole. Gabriel Rosado is one of those such people. He’s a fighter, who is evolving into one hell of a boxer.
At only 26 years old Gabe or Gab as his friends and family refer to him, has a demeanor far older than a man who’s still a presidential election away from 30 years old.
There are no timetables or guidelines for dealing with adversity and becoming mature. Gabe is clearly a young man that has lived part of his life on fast forward and grown up faster than most. A father, a recently
Long nights working at Home Depot stocking shelves followed by morning runs, then off to see his daughter. Rosado is a real fighter. No big name promoter, no hand picked opponents put in front of him to pad his record. He has been hardened instead of discouraged by defeat, he draw confidence by his journey knowing whatever ultimate heights he achieves in the sport of boxing they will be earned from his trainer Billy Briscoe’s belief in him, and his belief in himself.
“I only had 11 amateur fights man. Billy didn’t waste time with me building my confidence sparring bums, he tested my mettle from jump. He had me sparring in the toughest gyms in Philly. He wanted to see how I reacted to getting hit and adversity in the ring.”
His style has been honed in small sweaty gyms filled with old school grit and the toughness of a fighting city, Rosado was forced to take direction and work tirelessly on the sweet science of the sport. “In the street I would catch a guy and that was it, lights out, but when I got in the gym and I started sparring pros, real fighters, they could take a punch. And I had to learn to set up my punches, it wasn’t just a simple 1-2, boom he’s out of there. No matter what happened in the gym, good or bad I always came back the next day”
You can’t hesitate or show weakness in places like that. Any signs of self doubt will be exasperated by critical on lookers and boxing experts. There is no simulation for boxing. The only way to be tested is just that, to be tested. How can you know how tough you are until your toughness is brought in to question? Rosado is the confident fighter he is today because he didn’t crumble in defeat and has no fear of disappointment. He has proven to himself and to doubters that he is resilient enough to return to the ring a better fighter.
“Man you think I wanted to lose? I didn’t even want to go back to my hood after that Angulo loss. But what else am I going to do ya know? I’m a fighter, I barely even trained for that fight, I was sick, I’m not making excuses, I’m just saying people don’t realize all that goes into a fight…”
Up until his most recent bout with Powell Rosado has always been employed whether working construction or nights at Home Depot, he wasn’t able to focus solely on boxing. No matter a person’s determination, even Gabe’s the body has limitations of how much it can take. His trainer Billy talks of his body being drained in the gym because his lack of sleep between work and being a father.
“Politics as usual”
This past weekend in arguably the fight of the year Soto Karass waged war with Marcos Maidana on the Canelo Alvarez Knockout Kings under card. The irony of that is Rosado has previously defeated Soto Karass. But boxing being unlike any other sport I can think of Gabe is penalized by being too dangerous of an opponent.
Gabe is fighters purgatory where he is too risky for big name opponents, but not yet a big enough name himself to make it financially worth it for a the Canelo’s of the world to fight. So instead he must carve his own path the way fans respect, by beating the fighters in front of him and establishing his fan base with his actual performances in the ring.
He’s taken fights on short notice, while injured or hampered by the flu. He’s a fighter and simply put that’s what fighters do. They don’t promote themselves on social networks only to outbid themselves when the contracts are to be signed
Rosado in the tradition in many of the greatest boxers the world has ever known, spent his amateur career in streets of north Philly and at the age of 19 decided he wanted to box instead of just fight
He’s hungry but not anxious, humble but confident, ferocious yet prepared. He is taking his opponent Charles Whittaker seriously having moved his training camp to the sweltering heat of Phoenix Arizona to avoid the distractions of home. But you can tell part of him is looking forward to bigger and better fights where he can prove how evolved he is as a fighter.
Those fights are on the horizon but only if he conquers the hurdles in front of him tonight.
The ultimate zenith that Rosado’s career reaches I won’t even pretend to know. But the work ethic and desire to be achieve greatness in the ring is undeniable. His team is minimal, distractions have been removed and his future is ultimately in both of his hands. His purpose for fighting is clear and without distortion. He fights for a purpose greater than himself. He fights with a toughness paying homage to remarkable journey of his parents. He fights for the monetary satisfaction and his daughter’s well being. He fights with the intellect and ferociousness of his city. He fights because he has to, because it is who he is.
Rosado has earned his place in the fight game and he wouldn’t have it any other way.