LAS VEGAS – The disrespect Gabe Rosado feels from Bektimer Melikuziev has motivated him as their rematch nears.

Melikuziev might’ve been better served, according to Rosado, had he come to terms with getting knocked out in the third round by Rosado in June 2021. Rosado senses that the strong southpaw from Uzbekistan instead has attempted to excuse away Rosado’s huge upset win.

“Here’s the thing man, they think it’s a fluke,” Rosado told following an open workout Wednesday at MGM Grand. “So, that’s the motivation. The motivation is, ‘All right, I’m gonna prove y’all wrong.’ He can lie to himself all he wants. But guess what? The ring tell on you. The ring tell on everybody. So, he can gas himself all he wants. But when we get in the ring, y’all gonna see what’s up. That’s all that matters.”

Oddsmakers heavily favor Melikuziev (11-1, 9 KOs), most by at least a 14-1 margin, despite that Rosado’s right hand knocked him to the canvas, face first, and abruptly ended their 12-round super middleweight match at the University of Texas-El Paso’s Don Haskins Center. Their 10-round rematch will be the second of three undercard bouts that will be part of Showtime Pay-Per-View’s four-fight telecast headlined by Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia (8 p.m. EDT; 5 p.m. PDT; $84.99).

“I’m taking it as a challenge and I’m taking it kinda personal that, you know, he thought it was a fluke,” Rosado said during the open workout. “You know? … He jumping into this thinking it was a fluke, so that’s my motivation to prove him [wrong]. Like, nah, I did that once, I will do it again.”

Merlikuziev connected with a right hook that forced Rosado to take a knee late in the first round of their fight. Rosado’s right hand in the third round left Merlikuziev beneath a bottom rope.

The 2016 Olympic silver medalist tried to get up, but he fell back down to the canvas. Referee Rocky Burke stopped their fight at 1:21 of the third round.

“You know, he caught me with a good shot in the first round,” Rosado said. “I took a knee. I said I’ll bounce back in the next round and I’ll do what I gotta do, set him up, and that’s what we did. We set him up in the third round with a picture-perfect shot. It was a shot we were working on in training camp, just kinda working on his flaw, and we did it.”

Philadelphia’s Rosado (26-16-1, 15 KOs, 1 NC) has lost each of his three fights since he beat Merlikuziev, all by decision to Jaime Munguia, Shane Mosley Jr. and Ali Akhmedov.

Rosado was supposed to fight another southpaw, Gilberto Ramirez, in what would’ve been Rosado’s 175-pound debut March 18 at Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California. Mexico’s Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) was way overweight, though, and their fight was canceled March 17.

The 37-year-old Rosado was offered the Melikuziev rematch by his handlers at Golden Boy Promotions soon thereafter.

“I thought [the rematch] would happen if he won a world title,” Rosado said, “but it’s a great event, so the fight makes sense.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.