Skin Game: David Lemieux Stops Gabriel Rosado

Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, middleweight David Lemieux took another step toward career redemption by stopping Gabe Rosado in the 10th round of a thrilling war of attrition. The bout lived up to its billing as an even match-up of fighters at a crossroads who were guaranteed to bring the drama.

Lemieux (33-2, 31 KO) entered the bout with a few unanswered questions: Would his stamina hold? Had he recovered from back to back losses in 2011? Was he ready for another big fight? Rosado (21-9, 13 KO) had only one question about himself: Would his skin hold up?

Both men answered their questions. Lemieux’s stamina did hold up, he does seem to have recovered from his disastrous 2011, and he was ready for a big fight. Unfortunately, Rosado was again betrayed by his puffy flesh. And the betrayal was hastened by a concerted and intelligent attack from Lemieux. The Québécois stalked from the opening moments of the fight, augmenting his thudding right hands with a ferocious body attack. It was his left hook, however, that troubled Rosado the most.

Midway through the 3rd round, Lemieux dropped Rosado with a barrage of punches, culminating in two nasty left hooks. He continued his onslaught in the 4th, and many observers wondered if he wasn’t setting himself to get punched out as he had against Marco Antonio Rubio. The action was give and take, and every time Lemieux would seize the moment, Rosado would answer.

Rosado circled, attempting to keep his left hand up and frustrate his tormentor while peppering Lemieux with counters, but his eye began to swell early in the fight and by the 6th round, it was closed. The ringside doctor took several looks at it and deemed him fit to compete. Every time Lemieux would seize the advantage, Rosado would rally back, never as ferocious as his stand in the 9th round. His eye shut and behind on the cards, Rosado fought fearlessly, landing some blistering uppercuts on the ever-advancing Lemieux.

Between rounds, the doctor examined Rosado’s eye again, and deemed him fit to compete, but the end was near. Lemieux surged forward in the 10th round and forced the stoppage. The punches had accumulated to such a point that Rosado couldn’t see them coming and the ring doctor and referee called a halt to the bout. The timing felt odd, but inevitable.

Lemieux now has a win over a name opponent and seems to have learned to pace himself, to some extent. There is always the feeling that he is an ill-advised rally away from becoming arm weary and helpless. He’ll make an excellent lamb to sacrifice on the altar of the man they call “GGG” — Gennady Golovkin — next year.

Rosado is a capable gatekeeper, but his flawed skin and technique have betrayed him again. He’s not good enough to beat contenders at middleweight, and even when facing beatable opponents, there is always the further damage to his skull to consider. One thing is for certain, though, Gabe Rosado is all fighter.

On the undercard, Hugo Centeno, Jr. landed a brilliant left cross/hook/thing to stop James De La Rosa in the 5th round of an entertaining middleweight fight. Centeno (22-0, 12 KO) controlled the majority of the fight wit his jab, including a knockdown in the 1st round, before De La Rosa (23-3, 13 KO) walked right into the knockout. It was a solid performance from Centeno but the stoppage was premature. Referee Pete Santiago did not even bother to count, choosing instead to waive the bout off at 2:20 of the 5th round. The punch was huge, the face plant was squishy, but De La Rosa should have been given a count.

In the opener, Thomas Dulorme (22-1, 14 KO) took a split decision over Hank Lundy (25-4-1, 12 KO) in a junior welterweight fight by scores of 96-93, 93-96, and 97-92, that TQBR scored 96-93 for Dulorme. In the opening round, Lundy was dropped by a nice right hand counter that landed just above his ear. In typical fashion, Lundy got up and fought his way back into the bout. Dulorme continued to have success by staying behind his jab and moving away from Lundy, but as the fight drew on, Dulorme began to fade. That it was at all close is more a testament to Dulorme’s doubt than to Lundy’s skill. When Dulorme asserted himself, he was in complete control, but Dulorme is constantly tense in the ring and that wears him down. There is never any point when he looks comfortable. Instead of taking control behind Dulorme will often choose to let his opponent lead. It is a fatal flaw, and one that will catch up to him again.