by Geoffrey Ciani – From “Philadelphia” Jack O’Brien to Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, the city of Philadelphia has always had a proud tradition in boxing history. Tomorrow night two Philadelphia pugilist are set to do battle when Derek “Pooh” Ennis (21-2-1, 13 KOs) will defend his USBA junior middleweight title against “King” Gabriel Rosado (14-4, 8 KOs). The fight will take place at the Arena in front of a hometown audience in what amounts to a very important fight for the career of each boxer. Both fighters made guest appearance on this week’s 83rd edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio for a special face off interview. Here is a complete transcript from that segment of the program.
JENNA J: Alright guys, we are back with something very special. We have two Philly guys who are scheduled to face off against each other Friday, July 30. That would be Derek Ennis and Gabriel Rosado. How is it going guys?
DEREK ENNIS: Good.
GABRIEL ROSADO: Everything is fine.
JENNA: Alright, so I’m going to ask you both, you two are facing off against each other here and it’s going to be a twelve round fight. I’m going to ask you, Derek, first—how are your preparations going for this fight with Gabriel Rosado?
ENNIS: My preparations are fine. I’ve been working hard. I’m just ready to get in and get out on Friday.
JENNA: What have you seen in Rosado that you think you can exploit to be successful?
ENNIS: You know I don’t really watch too many fights. I’m going to deal and adapt when I get in there.
JENNA: Alright, now Gabriel how have your preparations been going for this bout coming up against Derek?
GABRIEL ROSADO: Yeah everything went well. I trained hard, I ate good, I did my roadwork, sparring was good. So I mean I’m ready to roll.
JENNA: Great. Now you have a distinct experience advantage in the sense that you fought the better competition. Do you think that’s going to be the major thing that helps you pull through in this bout?
ROSADO: Yeah, I think that plays a big part going into this fight. I’ve been in some big fights with top guys. I fell short on a couple, but that’s just part of the game. The most important thing is you learn from those losses and you go back to the gym and you just work on your game. I’ve been in bigger fights than “Pooh”. I’m not taking anything away from him. He’s a good fighter and all but I don’t think he’s fought the type of competition I’ve fought so I think it does play to my advantage with experience.
JENNA: Now Derek, you obviously said you haven’t seen many of his bouts but what do you think about his experience? He has been in with tougher guys. Do you think that’s going to serve him at all when he faces you?
ENNIS: Not really. To me he hasn’t really been in tougher guys than me. Like he has better names but I’ve fought a lot of tough guys. A lot of them guys with the names won’t fight me. Either they won’t fight or they were out-pricing themselves. I can’t say that he was in with better quality. I don’t know. Obviously he has the better names, but I fought a lot of tough guys. Like Eromosele Albert was tough, the one I fought him for the USBA title. He was very tough. I fought Troy Browning. He was a tough guy. He’s like 20-2-1 or something like that. I’m not taking anything away from Gabby. He’s a good fighter. I just can’t wait to get in there and display my talent.
JENNA: Alright now you said some of the guys at 154 have been avoiding you. What is your ultimate goal here? I mean if you win this bout, where do you look to go from here?
ENNIS: A name. I’m just looking to go for a name person. That’s all, a person with a good name. I’m trying to fight whoever but a lot of people avoid me.
ROSADO: You got to get past me first.
JENNA: Let’s get you back in here, Gabriel. That’s what he said. He wants to get past you and he’s looking for a big name. Do you think he’s overlooking you at all?
ROSADO: I mean that’s on him. He’s making a mistake if he’s doing that. I’m focused on the task July 30. I’ve been thinking about this fight since it’s been signed. I wake up and think about it. I got to sleep and think about it. So I ain’t looking past this fight. I’m focused. I got my eyes on the prize. Then we’ll talk when the fight’s over.
JENNA: Alright guys, well we are also joined by my co-host Geoff. Geoff?
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello Derek and Gabriel. It’s a pleasure to have you both on the show.
ENNIS: How are you doing?
CIANI: I’m doing alright. Let me start with you here, Derek. What aspect of your game do you think will most surprise your opponent come fight night?
ENNIS: I’m just going to be there to hit and not be hit. That’s all.
CIANI: Okay. Gabriel, I’m going to ask you the same question. What aspect of your game that you bring to the table do you think will most surprise Derek and why?
ROSADO: I think what’s going to surprise Derek is going to be my ring smarts. I think they underestimate how smart I am in the ring. They think I’m just going to come in there like I’m aggressive and I’m not thinking. I mean I’m a thinking man when it comes to that ring so I think my ring intelligence is going to surprise them.
CIANI: Now Gabriel, when I asked Derek that question he said he’s going to be there “to hit and not be hit”. Are you prepared for this?
ROSADO: I’m prepared for just about anything. I mean I’ve been in the ring with guys who try to box me and I’ve been in the ring with guys who try to pressure. I’ve pretty much seen a lot of styles. I’m pretty sure that he’s going to try to box and, me and my trainer, we worked on a great game plan and we’re ready for whatever he’s got to bring.
CIANI: Now Derek, when I asked Gabriel that question he said that the thing that’s going to surprise you most about him in the ring is his ring smarts and his intelligence inside the ring. Are you going to be able to cope with this come Friday night?
ENNIS: I told him from the beginning I’m here to adapt. When I get in the ring, I adapt.
CIANI: Derek, how important for you is it to win this fight against a fellow Philadelphia fighter in your hometown?
ENNIS: Every fight is important to win to me. So I ain’t looking at it like it’s anything different. It’s just everything is important. Every win is important.
CIANI: Now Gabriel, what about you? What’s it mean to you to be fighting another Philly fighter in your hometown?
ROSADO: To me it’s not really about fighting another Philly guy. It’s just about taking his title. That’s what’s most important to me is his title because that’s what’s going to open the door for me in my career to bigger fights. So I’m not really caught up in that hype about two Philly guys fighting each other. To me it’s all about taking his title and opening doors to my career.
JENNA: Alright now Derek, I mentioned before about the 154 pound division. When you look at it, what do you think of the names that are out there? You got Angulo, you got Sergio Martinez who’s also champion at middleweight, you also have Paul Williams. What do you think about the names at 154?
ENNIS: They’re all good fighters, but I’m here to work out and try to get up there where they’re at. They got a name already. I’m trying to get a name.
JENNA: Now if you had one dream fight, one guy that you could get in there with that you think will maybe be possible in the future, who would it be?
ENNIS: Right now I’m ranked in the IBF and the IBF title is held by Cory Spinks so I would take that fight.
JENNA: I’m going to go over to you Gabriel and ask the same question. What do you think about the 154 pound division. You already fought Alfredo Angulo, you fought a former champ Kassim Ouma. What do you think of the names out there and where do you see yourself?
ROSADO: I think there is a lot of good competition at 154. I think it’s probably one of the hottest divisions right now. There are a lot of big fights, a lot of big names. So it’s good to be at the 154 pound division right now.
JENNA: Now if you had a dream fight, who would it be?
ROSADO: My dream fight is July 30 against Derek because that’s what’s going to open the door for me. So that’s the dream fight right now.
JENNA: Not looking too far out in the future. That’s a good thing. Alright guys, we’re also joined by my co-host Nick Powers:
NICK POWERS: Hey guys. It’s a pleasure to have both of you on the show today. First of all I wanted to ask both of you the same question. I’m going to start with Derek. You have a pretty unique nickname Derek. Your nickname I believe is “Pooh” How did you come to start using that as your nickname?
ENNIS: That came as a kid. I guess my Mom and my Grandma and all of them gave me that name.
POWERS: Garbiel, you go by the nickname of “King”. What first prompted you to start using that as your nickname?
ROSADO: They just started calling me that at the gym, man. At first I was kind of embarrassed by it because it’s a big name to live up to. I really didn’t like it at the beginning but everybody just calling me it and it just kind of stuck. I’m used to it now. I really didn’t like it in the beginning but it is what it is.
POWERS: Now jumping back to Derek, this is going to be I think your third defense of your USBA strap. You won that from Albert back in October 2009. What does having that belt with you, even though it’s a minor title, what does it mean to you in your continued progression through the junior middleweight division?
ENNIS: It’s a nice title to have to get you ranked where you want to be, but really this is my first defense. I couldn’t defend the title. I was supposed to defend my title against someone in the top fifteen every time I fought but nobody in the top fifteen wanted to take the fight so I just fought two other guys and this is really my first defense of the title.
POWERS: Ah. I wasn’t aware of that actually. Considering this is your first defense, Gabriel what would it mean to you to win the USBA title from Derek and what would it mean to you for your continued progression through the division as well?
ROSADO: It means everything. This is what I work hard for. This is what I train for, to get that title. This fight means everything. It’s the title that opens the door for everything. If I get this title right here, the sky is the limit.
JENNA: Alright guys. Well I have a couple of more questions before I let you both go. Something that my co-host Rummy brought up briefly was that you’re both fighting in your hometown. You’re both Philly born fighters. I wanted to ask you what it means to both of you to be a Philly fighter when it has such a proud history of tough fighters coming out of Philadelphia. I’m going to first go to Gabriel.
ROSADO: Yeah, being a Philadelphia makes you so proud. We got that aura about us. Everybody knows that when you’re a fighter and you’re coming out of Philadelphia, everybody knows that you’re tough and you got skills. So it’s something to be proud of. I think Philly is the boxing headquarters so I feel proud to be a Philadelphia fighter.
JENNA: Derek, how does it feel to be a Philadelphia fighter?
ENNIS: I’m proud to be a Philadelphia fighter, too. We got to fight for Philly. We’re known for fighting and that’s what we got to be. We got to keep it up. I just want to be smart about it. I don’t want to end up a little messed up in the head and all that. I make sure I’m smart. I like to box and move and stuff like that.
JENNA: Now I’m going to give you both a chance to speak to each other for one final time and see if you guys have to share with each other or if you have a message to pass along. I’m going to go to you Derek. What do you have to say to Gabriel?
ENNIS: I ain’t got nothing to say. I’ll see you Friday. As a matter of fact, I’ll see him in about ten minutes at the press conference.
JENNA: Gabriel, is there anything you have to say to him?
ROSADO: No. May the best man win. It’s going to be a good fight and I can’t wait, I’m excited.
ENNIS: Yeah, me too.
JENNA: You boys better behave at the news conference there. You don’t get in any trouble, even though it might sell more tickets. Keep that in mind. So you don’t want to say anything too bad on the phone right now since you’re probably only about ten feet away from each other. But it’s been a pleasure speaking to both of you guys. I want to give you both an opportunity to speak to the fans out there. Derek, is there anything you want to say to the fans and what they have to expect on Friday the 30th?
ENNIS: I just want to tell all the fans to come on down and watch me and Garbiel do our thing.
JENNA: Gabriel, is there anything you want to say to the fans?
ROSADO: Yeah, I just want the fans to know to come and enjoy the show and I’m going to give the fans what they want, action. We’re going to give them their money’s worth. I think the fight is going to be a Philly classic. It’s going to be a good one.
JENNA: Well I certainly hope so. For all the fans listening out there, you can find this fight at www.gofightlive.tv to catch both of these guys face off. Anyway guys, it was a pleasure talking to you both and as Gabriel said, may the best man win.
ENNIS: Thank you.
ROSADO: Thank you.
CIANI: Thanks guys!
The fight and its seven bout undercard can be seen on www.gofightlive.tv at 7:30 pm EST on July 30 for $9.99 by visiting the following link:
For those interested in listening to the Derek Ennis-Gabriel Rosado interview in its entirety, it begins approximately forty-five minutes into the program.
For more information about On the Ropes Boxing Radio please visit our website:
To contact Geoffrey Ciani or Jenna J:
To read more by Ciani or Jenna please visit The Mushroom Mag: