Can rejuvenated Gabriel Rosado upset undefeated Jaime Munguia?

·Combat columnist
·4 min read

Gabriel Rosado and Jaime Munguia are a long way away from the days when they were cannon fodder for the likes of Gennadiy Golovkin. In 2013, Rosado was stopped in the seventh round by Golovkin in a fight that Golovkin took despite being ill.

Still, Golovkin dominated the fight and Rosado’s corner threw in the towel.

But that’s nothing compared to the indignity that Jaime Munguia suffered in 2018. When Canelo Alvarez was suspended and forced out of a fight with Golovkin, Golovkin’s team turned to Munguia as a replacement. The Nevada Athletic Commission wouldn’t approve Munguia as an opponent and the shot went to Vanes Martirosyan instead.

But on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, DAZN) at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, the two will meet in a compelling battle in which both men are now rejuvenated.

Munguia won the WBO super welterweight title on May 12, 2018, a week after the near-Golovkin fight. He defended it successfully five times before moving to middleweight.

Rosado’s career has taken a dramatic turn since the beating he suffered in New York against Golovkin. That was the first of four consecutive defeats, and it would have been five had J’Leon Love not tested positive for a banned diuretic after winning a decision over him.

But in his last three fights, Rosado has looked like a legitimate contender while fighting at super middleweight. He routed Humberto Gutierrez Ochoa and then lost a hotly disputed decision to Daniel Jacobs. He followed that up with a devastating KO of the Year candidate over Bektemir Melikuziev.

He’s dropped to middleweight to face Munguia, who is a massive -800 favorite at BetMGM. Rosado, who is +450, may win outright if he fights the way he did against Jacobs and Melikuzlev, in particular.

He hired Freddie Roach to train him and Roach’s influence was quickly seen. He’s no longer taking three punches to give one and he fights with a plan and the poise of a veteran rather than a guy whose sole goals are to hurt the other guy and prove he’s the toughest on the block.

“I feel like, right now, it’s the most fun I have ever had in my career,” Rosado said. “On Saturday, the people will see the best Gabe Rosado and I am excited to display my skills to the world.”

EL PASO, TEXAS - JUNE 19: (L-R) Gabe Rosado celebrates after winning his fight with Bektemir Melikuziev at Don Haskins Center on June 19, 2021 in El Paso, Texas. (Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy/Getty Images)
Gabe Rosado celebrates after winning his fight with Bektemir Melikuziev at the Don Haskins Center on June 19, 2021, in El Paso, Texas. (Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy/Getty Images)

Munguia has proven he’s an elite talent since the diss given to him by the Nevada Athletic Commission. He’s 37-0 with 30 knockouts and still is only 25, a baby in the sport.

He’s been trained by Hall of Famer Erik Morales, who like Roach has done with Rosado, has Munguia setting up his attacks better and not getting reckless.

A win over Rosado would be significant, even though Rosado is only 26-13. Beat a guy who gave Jacobs all he can handle, and maybe more than he could handle, and that is making a very loud statement.

“I know that Rosado is coming off a great fight, a great knockout and has a lot of experience,” Munguia said. “I know I have to be careful, but I have faith in my training and I am confident that I will be victorious.”

It will be a more tactical fight Saturday than it would have been had they met, oh, three years ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to resemble a Willie Pep bout. These are two offensively oriented fighters and that hasn’t changed.

Rosado is girding for battle, knowing a win would raise his career to a height he never imagined after the losses to Golovkin, Love, Peter Quillin, Jermell Charlo and David Lemieux.

“I think Munguia is going to bring it,” Rosado said. “I am more focused on the job that I have to do. This is not an unfamiliar situation for me. I think this is where experience comes into play for me. My experience tells me that fighters like Munguia will come to me, I will not need to chase him. He will be right there and I have to make my shots count.”

Both have done a good job of that and, as a result, they’ve earned a respect that wasn’t there just a few years ago.

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