Occasionally, boxing writers have to preview fights that we actually dread. In those instances, we attempt to weave portraits of fighters that don’t exactly correlate with our own feelings. For example, sometimes we say things like, “(insert boxer here) is a master at making his opponent miss by using fleet footwork and quick head movement while countering economically with stinging shots that are just effective enough to keep his man at bay.” Translation–that fighter is boring as shit to watch.
Our jobs sometimes are to talk up a fight, or an entire card, that may not be worthy of the high praise and hyperbole bestowed upon it. This fight, with David “Look At My Hair” Lemieux taking on Gabriel Rosado, Saturday night on HBO, is not that kind of fight.
Rather, this is a battle that has all the ingredients we look for when picking a potential shootout. The Canadian-born Lemieux has excellent power–maybe not quite Gennady Golovkin, tear-your-abdomen-out-of-your-chest power, but he hits very hard nonetheless. And Rosado is tough as hell with a granite chin. And while Rosado’s record is less-than-sterling, (it sits currently at 21-8) he’s certainly no easy out.
He might be a very difficult out for Lemieux, once an up-and-coming prospect who was smashing guys on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. He was moving along nicely until he ran into Marco Antonio Rubio in 2011 in what was by far his biggest challenge. Rubio can pack a punch himself, but Lemieux was content to blast away without fear of reprisal.
The problem was that he blasted away until he was utterly spent, and Rubio was still there. Rubio then dispatched of Lemieux in the seventh round, ending his run as an undefeated prospect. Worse yet, Lemieux then lost his comeback fight eight months later, dropping a decision to Joachim Alcine at The Bell Centre in Montreal.
Rosado of course has had his own struggles. After a seven fight winning streak, Rosado was picked to enter the ring with “The Boogeyman” himself, Gennady Golovkin. Rosado showed no fear before the fight, and certainly not during it. Despite being a bloody mess, Rosado never left his feet. His corner eventually threw in the towel, but that spirited loss looks better and better with Golovkin stomping on everyone he meets.
He returned just a few months later and dropped a close decision to J’Leon Love, but again gave a fantastic showing of himself. The loss was later overturned and ruled a No Contest after Love tested positive for being an awful fighter to watch. Or maybe it was a diuretic. Whatever.
While Lemieux set about rebuilding his career quietly by decking guys in his native Canada, Rosado developed a reputation as an “opponent.” Basically, he was a guy who promoters felt would give their man some tough rounds before ultimately fading. He perpetuated the moniker when Peter Quillin stopped him after another terrific effort in which he lost more blood than a trauma patient from a hideous gash over his eye.
After losing a wide decision to Jermell Charlo, Rosado seemed dispirited enough to walk away from the sport. He reemerged in August however, beating up Bryan Vera as part of the main event of a BKB Pay-Per-View. Essentially fighting in a pit where the only way out was a knockout either way, Rosado looked more comfortable than he had looked in a ring in years.
While Rosado was busy with his own personal Gladiator movie, Lemieux was coming off a sensational knockout win over Fernando Guerrero. Rosado was lined up to face off with James “I’ll Fight Later” Kirkland, but when Kirkland decided he was better off eschewing money and good fights for whatever he’s doing, Lemieux entered the equation.
So how does this thing go? Well, we can paint a pretty good picture, seeing as both guys are come-forward fighters who look to fire away with combinations. Lemieux is the harder puncher, but Rosado can handle power. That much we know. What we don’t know is how Lemieux will respond when his man isn’t vaporized in the early going.
And that’s certainly what Rosado will do–he’ll look to take Lemieux into the deeper waters, that is, bring this thing into the middle-to-late rounds to see what kind of stamina Lemieux has. He’s only seen 12 rounds once in his entire career–and that was a loss to Alcine. Obviously, he’s got questions to answer there.
But there are questions about Rosado as well. He’s taken some pretty serious beatings in the last few years, so we’re unsure of exactly what he’s got left in the tank. He’s only 28, but he’s been stopped a few times and his face just doesn’t hold up well at all anymore. He’s of course talking a great game–again, nobody admits to binge drinking and housing double cheeseburgers before a fight–but we’ll know for sure what’s left when he responds to the first hard shot Lemieux lands.
If Rosado can stand up to the shots from Lemieux–and the indication is that he can since he stood up to GGG for several rounds, and nobody hits harder than that monster–it will be interesting to see if Lemieux can keep his composure. He’s three years removed from wilting under the pressure against Rubio. Did he learn anything?
I’m looking for Lemieux to start at a measured pace in an attempt to land shots with both hands, while Rosado will try to use his size and reach advantages to keep Lemieux at a distance. Rosado tends to bleed from punches like he’s had his head jammed into a cooling fan, so I’m looking for that as well.
I’m picking Lemieux to pull it off, but this fight could be a war. They’re relatively young, they’re tough guys, they like to engage, and maybe most importantly–they’re flawed. Those flaws tend to make for outstanding battles, and I think we’re in for one here. Should Lemieux pull off the win Saturday, he would be a really fun matchup for Golovkin if he can’t get one of the bigger names into the ring with him.
For Rosado, it’s one more chance under the HBO lights. It’s probably his last if he doesn’t get a win. If he does, he’ll set himself up for something big in the near future. He endears himself to fans with the way he fights–a balls out, no-fear style of attacking. Maybe Saturday it will get him a victory. Certainly, he’s due.
Some Random Notes From Around The Boxing World:
Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank
I think we can say with confidence now that Terence Crawford is the goods. Ray Beltran has been beaten before, but he was completely outclassed by Crawford, who did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. He’s going to be brutal for anyone at 140.
Evgeny Gradovich got hosed with that draw, but more importantly, what the hell is wrong with his hair?
Tyson Fury beat up on Dereck Chisora, who seemed about as interested in fighting as Oliver McCall did in his rematch with Lennox Lewis. The only thing missing was the open weeping. That was left to the fans who sat through that shitbag of a card.
Speaking of that card, that was a hell of an online feed from ESPN. If you didn’t see, they decided on the Drunk Guy From The Top Of The Nosebleeds camera angle. Bravo.
Mickey Rourke beat up a homeless guy. He’ll be back in Russia in a few months to punch an orphan. The stream will be broadcast from a mountain in Siberia.
Well, contrary to my prediction, Jose Luis Castillo survived his bout with Ruslan Provodnikov. Actually, Provodnikov really didn’t look all that good until he landed a left hook that badly hurt the 93-year-old Castillo. Hopefully, his next opponent will be someone with a chance in hell of actually being competitive.