Freddie Roach will not be in the corner for his fighter Gabe Rosado’s upcoming rematch with Bektemir Melikuziev, but thinks the fight is “winnable” for the veteran super-middleweight. After all, he points out, Rosado has won the matchup once already.
Entering their first contest in June 2021, Rosado (26-16-1, 15 KOs) had lost four of his previous seven and was expected to be a big-name victim for the unbeaten Melikuziev, who won silver as a middleweight at the 2016 Olympics.
All seemed to be going according to script when Melikuziev (11-1, 9 KOs) dropped Rosado in the first round. But in the third, as “Bek the Bully” backed Rosado to the ropes and opened up, Rosado took advantage of the Uzbek’s lack of attention to defense, unleashing a huge right hand that dropped the Olympian for the count.
Despite the victory, Roach is fully aware of the risk that Melikuziev poses.
He's a great body puncher, he's knocked a lot of guys out and he knocked my guy down with a body shot once,” the Hall-of-Fame trainer told ProBoxTV News, “but we turned the tables on him and knocked him out. It’s a winnable fight. He won it once before.”
Asked whether, given that first result, Roach prefers his matchup to the one that Rosado was supposed to have recently, against former super-middleweight beltholder and light-heavyweight title challenger Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, Roach - who will be in Cardiff helming Shavkat Rakhimov’s 130-pound title defense against Joe Cordina, leaving assistant Marvin Somodio in charge of Rosado’s April 22 bout – chuckled.
“Did [Ramirez] even want that fight?” he asked derisively, referring to the fact that the bout was canceled after the Mexican unofficially weighed in seven-and-a-half pounds overweight for the scheduled March 18 contest.
Since the Melikuziev win, Rosado has suffered three consecutive decision losses – to Jaime Munguia, Shane Mosley Jr., and Ali Akhmedov – and Roach acknowledges that his boxer does not have much ring time remaining.
“Yeah, we were talking about that,” he said. “He's getting into broadcasting, he likes that a lot. One or two more fights and it'll be over.”