Middleweight Gabriel Rosado has not won an official boxing match since 2012, going 0-4 with a no decision, although he is 1-0-1 in unofficial Big Knockout Boxing bouts.
But Rosado’s losses during the poor stretch have been to some of boxing’s top middleweights, Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin in title bouts as well as David Lemieux and Jermell Charlo (at junior middleweight).
To many, Rosado is the ultimate stepping-stone opponent. Beat him and you could be headed to bigger and better fights. Lose to him and you’ve been exposed. Rosado, in his first fight since a starring role in the new Rocky film “Creed,” is hoping to change that perception.
He faces the ultimate crossroads fight against former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey when they meet at a catchweight of 158 pounds on Saturday night on the Luis Ortiz-Bryant Jennings undercard at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
While HBO will televise Ortiz-Jennings and the Nicholas Walters-Jason Sosa junior lightweight bout beginning at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT, Rosado-Clottey is one of three undercard bouts that will air on tape delay on HBO Latino immediately following the HBO telecast, at approximately 12:15 a.m. ET/PT.
Rosado, a fan favorite for his exciting fights, is looking to shake off his losing streak and make another run to a title shot.
"This fight means a new beginning,” he said. “It's the second chapter of my career, and I believe it's truly my time to shine. I know that Clottey is a defensive-minded fighter and will be looking to counter. But I believe that I have the advantage. I'm younger, faster, stronger, and I believe my ring IQ is better.”
Rosado (21-9, 13 KOs), 29, of Philadelphia comes into the fight with a new trainer in his corner, but one very familiar to boxing fans -- former two-time junior middleweight titlist Fernando Vargas.
"My primary focus is to do everything Fernando tells me to do,” Rosado said. “I believe in his information and I'm confident that it will make me a better fighter.
"I've learned not to rush things. Timing is everything. The focus and discipline has to be 100 percent. I believe that will show.”
Clottey (39-4, 22 KOs), 38, a Ghana native who fights out of New York, has been very inactive since back-to-back losses to Miguel Cotto (2009) and Manny Pacquiao (2010), but has won four in a row. He outpointed former world titleholder Anthony Mundine in Australia last year in an upset and looked sharp in a decision against Jorge Silva in May on the Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland undercard.
His goal is to win another world title.
"I approach it like all my other fights: I train hard, eat correctly, get my rest properly and win,” Clottey said. “I know Gabe is very tough and always comes to fight so I expect a hard fight from him. I just will need to stay focused and I do what I need to in order to win.
"I want to be a world champion again, and I believe my experience will help me be one again and know I can do that by winning this fight."