By: Sergio Luis Martinez
After a winless 2013 campaign, Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican boxing commodity Gabriel Rosado began 2014 with his fourth straight appearance on a major network and his fourth straight loss. The record on his last four fights actually reads 0-3-0 with one no contest. The no contest was initially a controversial split decision loss to J’Leon Love. This decision was later overturned after Love, a hot prospect at the time, tested positive for a banned diuretic. In that same stretch, Rosado has been stopped twice on cuts and his left eye was cut again this past Saturday night; Rosado dropped a unanimous decision to undefeated junior middleweight prospect-turned-contender Jermell Charlo.
It is sometimes difficult to understand why certain fighters continue to receive chances despite not being able to prove that the opportunities are deserved by winning. Still, Rosado manages to continue to receive accolades and respect in defeat.
Perennial welterweight contender and former world champion Paul “Magic Man” Malignaggi has known similar adversity in the past. Unlike Rosado, the Magic Man has won more than he has lost when it really counts. Although this is the case, Malignaggi believes that despite the shortcomings, Rosado’s recent run of opportunity is something to be seen as a positive for the sport.
Speaking to Boxing Insider from his home base in New York, Malignaggi said, “It’s a good sign for boxing because a lot of times people get a bad rap for getting the short end of the stick in a fight. They put up a good performance but still end up losing, even if they didn’t deserve to lose. Like in the J’Leon Love fight, [Rosado] didn’t get the decision but, by many people’s standards, won that fight. It was later turned into a no contest, but he should’ve won that fight. Also, the Peter Quillin fight was very close at the time of the stoppage in most people’s eyes, except for the judges.” Malignaggi continued, “I think people are starting to realize that you still have to credit these kinds of fighters. That’s why I think it’s good for boxing that these guys keep getting on television because they show they can really fight and it makes for good TV. I think Gabe is an example of someone making the most out of the cards he has been dealt.”
In Rosado’s case specifically, many boxing “experts” and scribes define him as a skillful boxer with solid power and above average ability. There are also those who classify him as a “real fighter”: a guy who is honest as the day is long and will make anyone he is fighting earn a victory. Because of this public reputation, there is a certain reverence which seems to have allowed Rosado to lose with little consequence.
From an analyst perspective, Malignaggi offered his assessment about Rosado the fighter: “It’s one thing if you lose three out of four fights when you’re fighting undescriptive opposition but it’s another thing when those guys were all undefeated and very hyped up. Gabriel has had to fight guys like this his whole career because he hasn’t had the right team behind him and he has shown that he can really fight. Guys like [Rosado], if they had the right team with them, he’d probably be able to win a world title but they don’t have any help so they end up in positions like this.” Malignaggi added, “Boxing is tough and it’s even tougher when you’re an opponent and always have to dig yourself out of a ditch in every fight. I credit the networks and powers that be for recognizing that it isn’t always about your record. It’s about your talent, skillset and your ability to put on a good show and Gabriel meets all of these points.”
Considering that Malignaggi had to scrape his way to the top, earned every single payday and major network spot by defeating the odds more often than not, one might think that Rosado’s current fortunate son type of a streak would bother the charismatic veteran. This is not the case as Malignaggi understands the business side of boxing and shared, “In a way it’s fair and in a way it’s not fair. Life is all about connections. Sometimes you just got to be thankful that you’re able to make some money. Still, even when you are making money, you wish you could be appreciated more. Gabriel is in that situation that he has made some money but is not still appreciated. He is still being used as an opponent. I know how that is as I use to think that. Still, because he is a guy that can fight and is good for television, Gabe is a high-priced opponent now but he’s earned that, and he’s earned his money the hard way. I don’t think he’ll ever have the support system around him that will let him have a better opportunity to succeed but I just think that he deserves to be appreciated, despite falling short. He’s great for TV, he’ll never be in a one-sided blowout and he’ll fight his way through anything.”
Malignaggi added, “There are guys out there have are not as talented but they have a great support system. The thing with Gabe is that he is a talented guy and he deserves to get his shot. The thing is that to keep getting on major television and to keep getting paid, he’ll always have to fight the toughest fight available to him. The great thing with Gabe is that he is always willing to fight anyone at any time and he’s always ready. I know guys that aren’t willing to do that but Gabe is and you got to respect and appreciate that about him.”
Still, one has to assume that Rosado’s days as a major network opponent may be running out as dropping this many fights without a significant win is bound to bring the train to a halt. Respected or not, reputations eventually fade and people, including boxing “experts” and scribes, move on. Considering Rosado’s current status and Malignaggi’s perspective of the man, a major victory would be the ultimate justification against the business that is boxing.
Follow Sergio Luis Martinez on Twitter at @SrgMrtnz