PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - November 27, 2020
Home Boxers Fights Arenas Non-Boxers Gyms Relics More About Contact

Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Ed Mulholland / DAZN


Leading up to Friday night's 12-round super middleweight bout between Daniel Jacobs and Gabriel Rosado, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, no one gave Rosado much of a chance to win, or even make it to the final bell. Opinions were that the talent, mileage and momentum gaps between the pair of boxers was just too great for Rosado to span. However, the battle-tested, LA-based, Philly-born, veteran nearly went home with a massive upset after twelve tactical rounds of boxing.


Jacobs managed to escape defeat with the slimmest of decision victories. But the lingering question surrounding the match clearly is - Did the right guy get the decision? All three judges saw the fight 115-113, two of them (Fernando Barbosa and Michael Tate) scored it for Jacobs while the third official (Fred Fluty) saw for Gabe.

A blue-haired Rosado won the first round before Jacobs strung together the next three. However, after nearly one year of trash-talking, both online and in person, the action in the first third of  this fight was surprisingly quiet. Most of us believed that Rosado's best chance was to make the fight a brawl and take his shot at making something shocking occur. Instead Rosado boxed coolly and Jacobs, who clearly did not want to be there on this night, went with the flow and failed to exert his perceived advantages.


Although at the halfway point Jacobs held a slight lead on my card, at least one of the rounds was razor-thin, and the final outcome was pushed to the second half. To that point, few punches were thrown by either fighter and the stats for landed shots were mostly in the single digits by both.



It's a good thing there was no crowd in attendance (due to COVID restrictions), because this fight was no crowd-pleaser. The empty arena made it feel like they were boxing in a public library, and I have a feeling that with the slowness of the bout, a full arena probably would have sounded exactly the same. 


After six rounds, Rosado was neck-and-neck with the former champ. In slowing the pace and keeping Jacobs in near-hibernation, Gabe avoided incurring any harm to his oft-damaged eyes. His face was clean and his stamina appeared better than the favorite's.



The second half resembled the first, with both fighters cautious and respectful toward the other. The action inched along. Rosado landed a few good head shots while Jacobs was more effective to the body. But still, this fight remained close, as the boxers traded mini shifts in momentum while the rounds elapsed.


It was surprising to see the lack of urgency in both fighters, but as the clock ticked, it became clear that this was Rosado's plan all along. He'd tried this in the past, when he was younger. On those occasions, the tactic was frustrating to watch because Rosado's best game always was aggressiveness and pressure. When he fought like this before, it felt like he was blowing it. However, the veteran version of the North Philadelphian used the passive strategy smartly against Jacobs.



Fresher and stronger, Rosado swept rounds eight, nine, ten and eleven to take the lead on my scorecard. Jacobs accommodated him, unable to open up enough to take charge. Ever since Rosado had begun stalking the New Yorker for a fight last year, Jacobs seemed insulted by the prospect of a fight with Gaby. He even stated that Rosado did not deserve such an opportunity. Still, persistence on Rosado's part and dwindling options for Jacobs conspired to make the fight to happen. 


The fight came down to the final round. If Rosado was able to win it, he'd pull off the biggest win of his career - and easily the biggest upset of the year. The final three minutes were as close as many of the previous rounds, and to an extent, difficult to score. 


I gave the final round to Rosado by a whisker, and had him leading seven rounds to five (or 115-113 in points) overall.  If I had scored the twelfth for Jacobs - and I almost did - my card would have been a draw. To me, this is the best that Jacobs deserved from the official judges.  However, two of the three judges saw Jacobs as the winner.



Given the particular closeness of five of the twelve rounds, I can't scream about the result. This was a squeaker, which in itself was a victory for Rosado, who was the longest of betting long shots.


As usual, Rosado performed well enough to keep his campaign afloat. More fights will likely come his way, quite possibly with some of the big names in the 168-pound division. I know that a match with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has been one of his recent quests. However the one difference in this performance, is that many of his previous defeats were breathtaking, blood and guts battles. This one was far from that, and might work against the Gatti-like narrative that surrounds Rosado and says, 'losses don't affect whether fans want to see him'. I'm not sure fans will invest in a safety-first Rosado in fights where the action is sifted down to almost nothing.


The price that Rosado pays to be a perennial underdog star is his willingness to risk it all. He usually tries to make something happen with an ability to fight through bloody, swollen eyes with an unshakable confidence and determination. It remains to be seen if fans will clamor for this version of Philly toughest warrior. 


Regardless of this, Gaby deserves much credit. He continues to extend his career each time out - whether he wins or loses. Friday night, he left the ring with a lumpy 25-13-1, 1 NC, 14 KO, record. It's not the type of pretty record that promoters, networks, streaming platforms, and sadly, modern fans value. However, most of his forty bouts were the type of memorable battles that boxing fans long for.



As for Jacobs, 37-3, 30 KOs, his close-call will be explained away and a big-money fight will probably just fall into his lap. Some fighters just have it made. However on heels of this performance, few will be impatiently waiting for his next fight - even if it is a rematch with Canelo or GGG. Meanwhile, Rosado will have to find a new target, someone far above him in the world rankings, and then hustle his way to another opportunity.


After every fight, some of which have felt like career dead ends, Rosado has always seen his future clearly. He believes he can compete with any fighter in the world, and on the right night he knows that he can beat them. That is a golden commodity.


Rosado is a good fighter - the kind I especially love to watch - but he may be a better manager. Although he's had help from various promoters and advisors through the years, many of his career moves were missions that he dreamt up and then fashioned himself. He has done much to move the only fighter in his stable (himself), and has gone so much farther than most believed he ever would.


Against Jacobs, Rosado lost another big one, but once again his reputation remained intact and it still feels like he has a future in the sport. The ultimate glory of a world title, may never come for Rosado, but I cannot count him out. He is determined, confident, and he has a knack for landing on his feet, even when he's knocked down. He's taken us on a great ride since his 2006 debut, and he's not finished yet.




John DiSanto - Hollywood, FL (via DAZN) - November 27, 2020