Still unable to land a fight with WBC light middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Gabriel Rosado and his entourage weigh in on their inability to land a major fight and how he would fare against an elite level of competition.
How frustrating is it to you to keep getting all these wins and not be able to get the big fights?
Gabriel Rosado: “I just gotta keep chipping away. I just gotta keep doing’ what I’m doing’. That’s why with Charles Whittaker, everyone kept telling me ‘Don’t look past Charles Whittaker, don’t focus on something else, something big.’ And you know I didn’t. I knew that it was important to make a statement, not just to win. I had to stop that guy and I had to dominate because I do want the big fight. You know, it gets a little frustrating because what makes sense to me is just putting (together) good fights. You just gotta deal with the politics that involves itself with boxing. I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I’m not going to let it distract me or lose focus. I’m going to just keep getting better.”
J Russell Peltz: “I don’t think it’s that frustrating for me. Sometimes Gabby wants to go from kindergarten to his PhD without going through junior high and high school. When we first got together I remember him saying to me, ‘I’ll fight anybody, I need someone to protect from myself.’ We’ve come a long way in a year.”
“I think to expect that Canelo or Cotto or one of those guys was going to say three, four , five months ago, even after the Sechew Powell fight, ‘Yeah we’ll fight Gabby’, I think that was a little unrealistic… I think now, even though a lot of people pooh-poohed Whittaker before the fight, they saw him cracking Gabby with some good left hooks after knockdowns, and the fact that Whittaker was actually a world-class fighter despite the fact that he hadn’t been seen much on American TV, I think now Gabby is definitely in the mix with everybody. Whereas six months ago it was just wishful thinking, not ability-wise, but I think marketing-wise.”
“I think Gabby is in the best spot of any junior middleweight in the world. I think he’s just approaching his prime, he’s on a hot streak. He’s a self-promoted fighter, he markets himself, he promotes himself. He said to me when we were approaching the Whittaker fight, ‘I don’t care how much money I can get to fight in the Cayman Islands, I want the fight to be on NBC.’… Gabby was sharp enough to know that the fight had to be on television and that it wouldn’t mean as much to him if he had beaten Whittaker in the Cayman Islands where no one would have seen it.”
Have there been any talks with the Canelo people?
J Russell Peltz: “Sure there were talks before he chose to fight Joselito Lopez a few weeks ago. I spoke to Stephen Espinoza at Showtime, but I guess they wanted to keep it in-house. We think Canelo should come out and play with guys his own size.”
“If we knew it was written in stone that he would fight either Bundrage or the winner of Bundrage – Berto in March, without people paying for exceptions, twisting the IBF’s arm, having the title stripped, that he would get in the ring in March that would be one thing. But there’s no guarantee that that’s gonna happen. If we could fight Lara or Kirkland he would do that. There’s no way Gabby wants to sit around until March.”
Russell how viable do you think the Canelo fight is right now?
J Russell Peltz: “It depends when Canelo wants to fight again. If he’s going to wait until June, then maybe he’s going to wait for the winner of Cotto and Trout. Kirkland is tied up in legal issues. Who else can Canelo fight right now? Mayweather? I mean, I understand those fights, but to let Canelo fight another guy like Joselito Lopez? I don’t understand it. I know that the best action fight in the ring is any action fighter with Rosado.”
Do you think it’s possible that Team Canelo sees you as too stiff of a matchup for them and that’s why they are avoiding you?
Gabriel Rosado: “You know I think it’s funny because Canelo is the champion and they are taking care of him, protecting him. You shouldn’t protect the champion. I think once you are the champion you should just fight the best competition out there. It’s kind of like a joke, being the junior middleweight champ and then you’re fighting lightweights. I think Canelo is a fighter. I think personally if it were up to Canelo he would take the fight. At the end of the day it is a business, he is the hot ticket at 154 so they want to keep that ball rolling, so obviously facing a guy like me is a big threat to them.”
Are there catches or issues with the business or promotional side of making the Canelo fight?
Gabriel Rosado: “If he fights Maidana, which is the buzz, you know Maidana just fought Soto-Karass and Karass gave him a run for his money, almost even knocked out Maidana, and I crushed Soto-Karass, it was a one-sided fight and I just overpowered him. So I think people are just starting to know who I am. I think it’s a fight that would sell because you have two young fighters. I’m Puerto Rican, he’s Mexican and at the end of the day we all know that the biggest rivalry in boxing is Puerto Rico and Mexico. I think that can sell. And then he can fight and I can fight, we both have knockout power, so I think the fight is a fight that can sell.”
J Russell Peltz: “I don’t think there’s a fighter in junior middleweight division this year that has had the kind of year that Gabby has against the kind of quality fighters he’s fought. I think he’s in the best position that he can possibly be. He’s only 26 and he’s not even in his prime yet. I think that’s the biggest reason. What does Joselito Lopez mean? Even Maidana. Nobody is on a better streak than Gabby is right now, nobody.”
What changed you from being an inconsistent fighter in 2010 to being a very consistent fighter now?
Gabriel Rosado: “I think having only 11 amateur fights, and then in the beginning part of my pro career I was still learning. I had all this will to win, and heart to win, but everything that my trainer was showing me wasn’t there yet, it takes time to pick up on the skills that he taught me. I think with those losses I just learned how to win. I picked up the experience and I became seasoned. It’s adversity that will either make you or break you. It just shows a lot that I’ve grown as a fighter. I’m just excited about what’s next. I feel like I haven’t even reached my prime yet. I’m still learning. Each day I’m progressing and I’m getting stronger.”
“Every time I’m training for a fight, me and Billy are adding something new to the game. One thing we added to this fight is that Charles Whittaker had a good right hand and we took that right out of the equation. We took his best weapon away from him and we countered him and actually made him fearful to throw his right hand.”
Billy Briscoe, you are the trainer, but if you could be the matchmaker right now who would the fight be and why?
Billy Briscoe: “If I was the matchmaker I wouldn’t be afraid to put Gabby in with anybody, because we’ve got the best 54-pounder in the world. I would like to get Canelo, I really would. For the simple fact he’s a perceived superstar and if you beat a perceived superstar, you become a superstar. And this guy, he’s not a bad fighter and I don’t take nothing away from him. He’s a fighter and I’m sure he would fight Gabby tomorrow if it was up to him, but he’s got a team behind him and for some reason or another they keep fighting him with blown-up junior welterweights. But you know it’s a whole other ballgame when you go hunting and the rabbit’s got a gun, too. So as soon as these guys decide to take the fight, rest assured we’ll get him, we’ll smash him very easily. I believe in Gabby with the utmost confidence.
“Gabby has that grit; he has that will to win. You can’t teach that. You can’t give a guy a heart, you can’t give him a chin, you can’t make him a great puncher. And Gabby pretty much has got all of that. We’re just honing his craft and working on his weaker points because a fighter is like a chain, he’s only as strong as his weakest link. Most fighters just train, we train but we get educated at the same time. We watch tapes of fighters that people don’t even know about…he’ll take something and add his own twist and make it his own.”
Russell, talk to us about Gabby and how he compares to other fighters.
J Russell Peltz: “The main difference is that Gabby will fight anybody. A lot of guys say they’ll fight anybody but then they bail out because it’s not enough money, or it’s in the wrong town, or it’s on the wrong night of the week. His body is maturing physically. He’s learning more. And he knows that. We talked about seizing the moment before the Soto-Karass fight, that you have to take advantage of these opportunities, you can’t afford to let one slip by. Gabby is a very telegenic fighter, he’s good for television. You haven’t seen him in a bad fight in a long time. I remember after he fought Keenan Collins, it was a year ago and we weren’t too happy with the fight and I don’t think Gabby understood why we weren’t happy, because at the time he said it was all about winning. But I think now he knows the difference between winning and performing and entertaining. I think that’s one of the big differences in the last year.”