|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY January 19, 2013||
by John DiSanto
Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin turned back the gutsy challenge of North Philadelphian Gabriel Rosado Saturday night at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. The fight was a bloody and brutal affair with the champion retaining his crown at 2:46 of the 7th round when Rosado's trainer Billy Briscoe halted the fight to save his man from further punishment.
Leading up to the bout, much was made of Golovkin's stellar reputation as a real world-beater in the sport. His astounding amateur record of 345-5 and undefeated run as a pro (24-0, 21 KO) had most experts and fans convinced that the Philadelphian had no chance of winning the fight, or even lasting more than a round or two. The fact that Rosado was moving up in weight made those predictions that much stronger.
However, there was much mystery surrounding Golovkin going in, and no one was completely certain that his reputation was warranted. In the end, Rosado did not win the fight, and Golovkin proved himself to be a top-notch champion with the skills to beat most of the other fighters out there. But Rosado was not steamrolled by GGG, nor was he sent back to Philly with his head hung low. Rosado was bloodied in the fight and stopped just after the midpoint of the bout, but he too proved his worth as a serious challenger and a boxer with a future.
To be clear, the champion won a resounding victory Saturday night, and there was no question about it. He controlled the fight with his weighty left jab, thudding right hand, and masterful footwork. Golovkin was able to cutoff the ring and maneuver Rosado into the corners and against the ropes with ease. The challenger managed to slip and slide much of Golovkin's artillery at first, but could not stop him from moving forward and eventually wearing him down.
Golovkin's style is effortless. He never seems to be working that hard, but he manages to carve away at his opponent, slowly but surely taking over the action.
The fight turned in round two when Rosado suffered the first of two cuts over his left eye. As the blood trickled down Rosado's face, so trickled his chances of bringing home the world title. It was no freak accident or head butt that caused the cut, it was a punch from the champion, a hard jab that landed with such authority that it put the fight - and Rosado - on course to the finish. And there was plenty more to come.
Golovkin slammed home a hard right hand at the end of the second round that made an impression on Rosado. It didn't exactly stagger him, but Gaby felt it, and it along with the streaming blood, shifted his mood from one of attack to one of survival.
In the third round, Golovkin's right hand started landing more and more. Rosado stayed elusive for part of the round, but as the clock ticked, he slipped fewer and fewer of the shots. The punches were hard enough to take their toll on Rosado's flesh. The cut over his left eye became a pair of slits, both bleeding freely. However, as Rosado broke down physically, his heart fought all the harder. He stayed in the fray, but could never turn the tables.
GGG fought like the tide. At first you think you can out-swim it, but in the long run, you realize it's going to get you. The champion continued to grind away in the fourth, landing subtly but always stepping up the pressure, while Rosado moved, but failed to land much. At the end of the round just before the bell, Rosado dug in and let loose a stiff right hand that stopped Golovkin in his tracks, but there wasn't enough time for him to turn it into anything.
In round five, Rosado made his stand. He picked up his pace and threw more punches than in any other round. It was if he was trying to will the fight into a different direction. Rosado landed with his jab, his right, and an occasional uppercut. The punches caused a swelling around Golovkin's right eye. Although it appeared that Rosado was back in the fight, his cuts were letting him down, and they continued to stream blood. I gave Rosado this round, but none of the official judges agreed.
In the sixth round, the doctors took a look at Rosado's cuts before the action began. He pleaded with them to let the fight go on, and after a quick check, they did. Then about 20 seconds into the round, Golovkin cracked Rosado with a right hand that wobbled him and backed him into a corner. Instinctively Rosado bounced back to center ring, but Golovkin had him in his sights.
The champion followed his prey and kept landing punches. A trio of shots behind Rosado's head drew a warning for Golovkin from referee Steve Smoger. With about 20 seconds left in the round, GGG drove home another of his pile-driver lefts and landed square on Rosado's face. The punch broke Rosado's nose, and suddenly there was blood everywhere, from the cuts over his eye that were still bleeding and now pouring from his nose.
Both fighters were stained red from the blood. Golovkin's white gloves and trunks were pink. Rosado's torso was ruby. The fight was getting messy, and appeared to be coming to a close.
In Rosado's corner there was some talk of stopping it, but Rosado told his seconds that he wanted to fight. Trainer Billy Briscoe kept quiet and allowed the fight to continue, but you could tell he was playing team politics and wanted to put and end to the night.
In round seven, Golovkin was back on the attack. By now, Rosado was moving without punching, doing his best to survive. Golovkin stepped on the gas, and went for the kill, but Rosado was too game and too tough to give in, but he could no longer see the punches coming his way. Both of them were bathing in blood. Even Golovkin's face was covered.
As Golovkin chased Rosado and landed looping shots, Briscoe had finally seen enough and jumped up to save his fighter. Golovkin buckled Rosado with one more right before referee Steve Smoger saw that Briscoe was throwing in the towel.
The champion threw his hands up and returned to his corner after winning his toughest fight to date. Rosado peeled off the ropes and with a disgusted look, walked to his home corner. His face read disappointment, but you could also see that he realized he couldn't go on, even though he would have until the bitter end.
It was a good thing he had Billy Briscoe in his corner. It would have been tempting for a lesser trainer to think that Rosado could have fought through the blood and still found a way to win. But this was not the case on this night. Rosado fought bravely and made an excellent account of himself, but Golovkin won this fight and was the better fighter. If the fight went any further, Rosado may have been seriously hurt.
In an interesting counter note, the night's main event, which came immediately after this fight, ended with challenger Mikey Garcia winning his first title by technical decision after eight rounds. Garcia had dropped the champion Orlando Salido four times throughout the fight and was far ahead on the official scorecards.
Just before the bell ended round eight, the fighters butted heads and Garcia came away from the clash with a broken nose. Before the ninth round began, Garcia opted not to fight on due to the injury. Since the foul was accidental, they went to the cards, and Garcia won a wide-margin decision. Garcia's point advantage on the three cards was 10 points (twice) and 9 points.
Garcia's decision to stop fighting was the exact opposite of Rosado's performance. Garcia had his fight won. Even if he didn't throw another punch in the final four rounds, he still would have won an easy decision. But Garcia decided to stop fighting.
Rosado was hopelessly behind on the judges scorecards, and all he wanted to do was keep fighting. Rosado was covered in blood, while Garcia's "broken" nose didn't bleed a single drop of blood.
Garcia was impressive and handled the tough Salido with surprising ease, but he's not half the fighter Rosado is.
Rosado, 21-6, 13 KO, will bounce back from his loss to Golovkin, especially if he returns to the junior middleweight division.
Golovkin, 25-0, 22 KO, is the real deal. He's not a perfect fighter but he is one of the best in the world today.