Gabriel Rosado could not have asked for a better setting for one of the standout moments of his pro career.
The veteran trialhorse and former title challenger was in the right place at the right time when he flattened unbeaten Bektemir Melikuziev inside of three rounds. Their June 19 clash landed as one of the year’s biggest upsets and knockouts, leaving even Rosado nearly speechless. When it came time to discuss future plans, all he could think about was calling out the evening’s headlining act.
So began the process that led to his upcoming showdown with unbeaten former WBO junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia.
“I knew the fight would happen right after we called each other out in the ring, but it wasn’t something that was in the works or even really on my mind,” Rosado informed BoxingScene.com. “DAZN was buzzing about it, the fans were talking about it. Oscar [De La Hoya, chairman of Golden Boy Promotions] told me as soon as I left the ring that the fight would happen. We were just waiting on a date and location to make it happen.
“Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about Munguia. I didn’t even know it would potentially be the next fight. This fight happened organically. I wasn’t even thinking about calling him out until they asked me. The first thing I thought of was the main event. So, I was like, “Munguia is here to take care of business, so let’s do Munguia.” I just kind of put it out there.”
Philadelphia’s Rosado (26-13-1, 15KOs)—who now lives in Los Angeles— couldn’t have asked for a better lead-in, icing then-unbeaten Melikuziev with a right hand in the third round of their super middleweight clash at Don Haskins Center on the campus of University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The show’s main event saw Tijuana’s Munguia (37-0, 30KOs) tear through former title challenger Kamil Szeremeta in six rounds for his third straight stoppage win in as many fights at middleweight.
The afternoon’s big winners called out one another after their respective fights, putting the wheels in motion for Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN to secure a place on the schedule for the perceived can’t-miss action fight. Rosado sensed through his placement on the June show of the possibility for such a fight to next take place. The 35-year-old wasn’t banking on it, though, as the favored Melikuziev had his undivided attention.
“I was just in the moment. Bektemir is a dangerous dude, you can’t just look past someone like him,” acknowledged Rosado. “I went into the fight confident and with a great game plan. It worked out, we were locked in and landed that shot to knock him out. Munguia got his knockout and then called me out. [This fight] just kind of happened naturally.”
The scheduled 12-round regional middleweight title fight marks the first at the weight for Rosado since a narrow points loss to Poland’s Maciej Sulecki in March 2019. His past three fights have taken place at super middleweight, including a controversial split decision defeat to former middleweight titlist Daniel Jacobs last November and the aforementioned highlight reel knockout of Melikuziev in June.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox