Midway through the first installment of the “Creed” feature film franchise, the protagonist, Adonis Creed, faces a crossroads bout against a rugged contender named Leo Sporino, nicknamed The Lion.
Whatever creative license filmmakers have taken in the Creed films, the circumstances surrounding the showdown between Creed and Sporino are among the most realistic depiction of boxing in the history of cinema. And Sporino was played by the middleweight boxer Gabriel Rosado, who faces Ali Akhmedov on Saturday night.
If you want to prove you’re a legitimate contender at middleweight or super middleweight, chances are you’ll have to face Rosado, one of pro boxing’s most reliable gatekeepers.
Rosado’s 26-15-1 career record indicates that he has faced stiff competition over his 16-year pro career. The Philadelphia native’s résumé includes losses to regional champions (David Lemieux in 2014), future world champions (Jermell Charlo, also in 2014), and even to Golovkin (by knockout in 2013).
But Rosado, 36, wins often enough against good enough fighters to make clear that defeating him actually means something. Last year, an Uzbek prospect named Bektemir Melikuziev entered a bout against Rosado with a 7-0 record and high hopes. Three rounds later, Rosado had knocked him out.
On Saturday Rosado will face Akhmedov, a protégé of Golovkin’s from Kazakhstan who is 18-1, and rebuilding his record after a surprise loss in December of 2020. Like many middleweight contenders, he is arriving at a career crossroads to find Rosado standing there.