Rosado's record not indicative of his heart

Gabriel Rosado, right, expects to provide a tough challenge for middleweight titlst Gennady Golovkin. AP Photo/Tim Larsen

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- A casual fan will check out Gabriel Rosado when he appears at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, or on the TV screen of HBO's "Boxing After Dark" show, and they might think to themselves, OK, he has his fight face on.

He looks ready to rumble.

He's in shape.

His tats look menacing.

But then they'll drill down a tad deeper and check out his record.

Uh-oh, he's won 21 ... but he's lost five. And he only has 13 knockouts since turning pro in 2006.

Then that casual fan, a guy or gal who isn't on this page every day, will look Gennady Golovkin, the guy standing across from Rosado. They'll see an angel face and note that he looks like Justin Bieber's older brother. Then they'll see his record -- all gleaming, showy, stellar. He has 24 wins, zero losses and 21 knockouts.

Hmm ... I like the Bieber-faced kid, many will decide.

They just might want to rethink.

Making my way around the media gathering at the Kingsway Gym in New York City on Wednesday, chatting with the participants, their seconds and support personnel, it became clear that the smarts -- the ones deep inside the game -- don't give a hoot about Rosado's five losses. They haven't been swayed by the Golovkin-mania that trended hard on Twitter after Golovkin, 30, stopped Pole Grzegorz Proksa in the fifth round last September in Verona, NY, and appetites were whetted.

Bring on Sergio Martinez, hell, bring on 168-pound champ Andre Ward, some cried, noting that Golovkin, who lives in Germany and trains in California, said he'd fight anyone from 154 to 168 pounds.

But not the lifers. They are giving "Ole Five Losses" a heckuva shot at handing Golovkin his first loss on Saturday night.

"I predict fireworks," said Top Rank VP Carl Moretti about the Golovkin-Rosado scrap. "Someone's going to get knocked out. It's going to end in a KO." He wouldn't hazard a guess, however, as to who will be left standing.

Ask for one attribute that stands out in Rosado, 27, a single dad who lives in Philadelphia, and Moretti paused for a single second, saying, "His balls. He's a real fighter."

But what about those five losses?

"Five losses in Philly equals like six wins in other places," Moretti countered.

Will Moretti be watching Round 1 to see how Rosado reacts to the middleweight titlist Golovkin's vaunted power -- the bomb-throwing ability that so enthused his trainer Abel Sanchez to call him the best he's trained, and that included Hall of Famer Terry Norris?

"I want to see how Golovkin takes Rosado's first power punch," Moretti answered.

Rosado himself betrayed not a hint of self-doubt at Kingsway. Asked, point blank, whether he would win on Saturday, he answered flatly: “Yeah. I was born to do this. This is my destiny. I’ve been thoroughly prepared to seize the moment. I'm not coming for a paycheck.

"I think about what I would have done to Proksa, who had no basic, no jab. I will win by knockout."

Will Rosado be wary about Golovkin's power in the opening round?

"He's strong, and I'm strong," Rosado said. "And I have quicker feet and faster hands. This fight is not going to be based on power and strength. It'll be based on who's smarter, who can make adjustments."

About those five losses: Rosado said he's been learning on the job, and has had so many things thrown at him that he will be the better adaptor on Saturday. His last loss came in 2010 against Derek Ennis, and is currently riding a seven-fight win streak. He lost to Alfredo Angulo in 2009, but was still working a day job then, and training part-time. Not now; he's a full time fighter and doesn't have to work a graveyard shift at Home Depot or for the water company.

Doubters note that Rosado has been fighting recently at junior middleweight. His co-promoter, Russell Peltz of Main Events, cautions us not to fall pray to that reasoning.

"Rosado is bigger than Golovkin," said Peltz, who expects Rosado to dictate the pace and believes his kid is the best foe Golovkin has fought. He also, "I don't think Rosado has any respect outside the East Coast."

While Golovkin told ESPN.com he expects to knock out Rosado, his team isn't looking past him to bigger fish.

"Gabriel is a big junior middleweight and Gennady is a small middleweight," said Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter.

Loeffler knows what I heard time and again in that gym: Look past those five losses, they don't tell even half the story.