By Jake Donovan
It’s been seven years since Gabriel Rosado last fought in his Philadelphia hometown and more than six years since fighting anywhere in Pennsylvania.
By his own definition, that run took place a generation ago.”
“This is the second half of my career, the smarter, more versatile version will be here fighting for all my fans,” Rosado (24-11-1, 13KOs), now 33, told BoxingScene.com of his forthcoming March 15 showdown with Poland’s Maciej Sulecki.
The scheduled 10-round middleweight bout will take place at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, airing live on sports streaming service DAZN. The platform is Rosado’s new home after entering a co-promotional agreement with Eddie Hearn, whose Matchroom Boxing serves as the series’ primary content provider.
Rosado made his DAZN debut last November, settling for a 12-round draw with Luis Arias in a fight most observers felt he deserved the nod. The fact that he didn’t walk away with the win left his mark at 3-6-1-1NC (1KO) in his 11 fights since a 10th round knockout of Charles Whittaker in Sept. ’12 put him in line for his lone major title fight to date.
That opportunity required a move up in weight, as Rosado gave up a guaranteed shot at a 154-pound title to instead take on then-unbeaten middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin.
“I could’ve fought (Cornelus Bundrage) for the 154-pound title and I would’ve won that fight easy,” Rosado insists. “But instead we stepped up to 160 and fought (Golovkin). They were even going to give us a catchweight but we said no, we’re fighting at 160.
“That’s just the type of mentality I always had as a fighter.”
His bravery was on full display, albeit in a one-sided affair in which Rosado took a hellacious beating before the Jan. ’13 HBO-televised fight was stopped inside of seven rounds. The loss kicked off a rough patch in his career, one where he’s been written off several times and even had to rethink his fighting approach if he were to keep his career afloat.
“I survived all the adversity that would break you or make you,” Rosado says of the rough patch in his career, one where he went three years without an official win until upending Joshua Clottey in Dec. ‘15. “I have a different mindset these days.
“My fans will see a more all-around fighter. I have the ability to control the pace and ability. You’re just going to see a more complete fighter.”
That version will come against a top-ranked contender in Sulecki (27-1, 11KOs) who was actually the third option for the pre-St. Patrick’s Day affair.
“We had two other opponents that we agreed to, including Jason Quigley who turned down this fight,” notes Rosado. “Sulecki’s name came up and we were good with it. In fact, it worked out in our favor because the competition level is a lot better. A win over Sulecki, and I will be in line to fight for another world title.”
The lone loss of Sulecki’s career came last April, dropping a unanimous decision at the hands of Daniel Jacobs who went on to win a middleweight title in his next fight.
Sulecki rebounded with an early knockout win last November in his native Poland, taking place one week before Rosado’s draw with Arias in Mulvane, Kansas. The March 15 clash will mark Sulecki’s eight bout to the U.S. in his last 11 starts, but his first time in Philadelphia.
“It’s just a different feeling when you fight here in Philly,” Rosado admits of his first true home game since a 5th round knockout of Jesus Soto Karass in Jan. ’12 at the Aslyum Arena (now known as 2300 Arena). “It’s just so exciting to be back where it all started, back when I was working graveyard shift making $10 an hour. I got with Russell (Peltz, the legendary Hall of Fame promoter) and we made it all the way to #1 in the world.
“This fight in Philly, knowing my friends, my family will be here—I’m gonna bring the fight to Sulecki, but I’m also going to show him the smarter and sharper Gabe Rosado.”