Gabriel Rosado photo by Trey Pollard for StiffJab.com
by Gautham Nagesh
Top Rank and HBO come out swinging this Saturday, airing a blockbuster tripleheader from Madison Square Garden in New York. The headliner is a tantalizing featherweight contest between top-ranked Orlando Salido and rising contender Mikey Garcia, but we’re even more excited about Gabriel Rosado vs. Gennady Golovkin at middleweight. The opener between junior lightweights Juan Carlos Burgos and Roman “Rocky” Martinez, ranked third and fourth respectively, is also nothing to sneeze at.
Rosado told me at the Broner-DeMarco fight that he’s not really a middleweight, so it definitely raised my eyebrows when this fight was announced. I’m guessing the HBO money was too good to pass up. I’m not convinced it was a wise choice. Rosado had made real progress as a junior middleweight, though he apparently wasn’t in line for any major fights at 154. Still, Golovkin is one of the most dangerous punchers at any weight, and could prove too much for the Philly native. Sure, the fight will probably be terrific while it lasts. But our pick is for Golovkin to register a mid-to-late round stoppage.
Salido is a veteran hardman, and could take advantage of Garcia if the younger fighter underestimates “Siri” or makes a crucial error. However, our pick is trainer Robert Garcia’s little brother to assume the top slot at 126 lbs. by out-pointing Salido. Garcia is extremely solid, if a tad predictable, and should have enough technique and pop to control Salido. A stoppage wouldn’t be out of the question, but Salido hasn’t checked out early in almost 13 years. He will almost certainly see the final bell, but will probably also leave MSG without his meaningless WBO featherweight belt.
More significantly, the winner of this fight would be in position for a potential championship bout against Indonesia’s Chris John, if somehow the necessary boxing stakeholders can get their acts in line. Featherweight is shaping up to be an interesting division for the years to come, and this fight could anoint a new star in the weight class.
NBC Sports Network’s entrance into the fight game in 2012 has proven to be a boon for the sport, as several fighters that wouldn’t normally enjoy national coverage have had an opportunity to make their names on the Fight Night series. NBCSN has another strong main event this Saturday from Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, where crafty light heavyweight contender Gabriel Campillo of Spain will test unbeaten Russian puncher Sergey Kovalev in a classic crossroads fight. Kovalev has stopped all but two of his opponents, but has not faced anyone close to Campillo’s level. The Spaniard lost a controversial decision to Tavoris Cloud in his last fight and is ranked third by TBRB.
Kovalev is largely an unknown quantity, and Campillo is susceptible to being knocked down, as he was twice in the first round against Cloud. But even if Kovalev scores and early knockdown, Campillo has shown resilience and his experience can’t be discounted. We’re picking the Spaniard to win a decision, by withstanding the early storm and out-boxing the Russian over ten rounds. Chief support between middleweights Elvin Ayala and Curtis Stevens is nothing to write home about, so tune into HBO live and watch Campillo-Kovalev on replay.
British welterweight titlist Frankie Gavin faces once-beaten Jason Welborn in Walsall on Friday night. The Prizefighter welterweight tourney takes place the following evening in Wolverhampton….Fox Deportes has a tape-delayed show from Villa Hermoso, Mexico on Saturday night headlined by Sergio Thompson vs. Moises Castro scheduled for 12 rounds at 130 and Robinson Castellanos vs. Edgar Ramirez in a 12-round featherweight contest. Alabama heavyweight hope Deontay Wilder is also on the card against Matt Greer, so we’ll try to tune in and bring you coverage of his inevitable one-punch knockout…Welterweight Michael Anderson of Newark takes on the unbeaten Emmanuel Lartei Lartey at Robert Treat Hotel in his hometown. Super middleweight prospect Derrick Webster fights Darnell Boone in the co-feature, scheduled for six rounds.