NEW YORK - Jesse Reid would tune into Gabriel Rosado's boxing matches, quickly becoming a fan of the gritty fighter from North Philadelphia.
The Hall of Fame trainer liked that Rosado matched his toughness with solid boxing skills. Reid told his son how he "would love to have a chance to work with that guy." The 72-year-old thought he could teach Rosado a few things.
Rosado needed to find a place to train this summer after relocating to Los Angeles. He walked into Reid's gym in Burbank, giving Reid the chance he wanted. Rosado asked the trainer to wrap his hands. The next day, the fighter asked Reid to be his trainer.
"God brought us together," Reid said.
The next chapter in their journey is Saturday night at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. Rosado headlines the HBO-televised card against Canada's David Lemieux (32-2, 30 knockouts) for the NABF Middleweight title.
Reid said his time with Rosado (21-8, 13 KOs) keeps him young. He loves it, he said. Reid, who has trained 28 world champions, said he has seen Rosado become a better boxer. He said the 28-year-old wants to learn and respects good information.
"He's already been through hell," Reid said. "Now he's getting a chance to live on the high road. He wants to stay there and I think he's definitely going to."
Rosado relocated to the West Coast to focus on boxing and to take a stab at acting. His acting talent is natural, Rosado said.
He worked with a coach in Hollywood and recently landed a role in Creed, a Rocky spin-off about the grandson of Apollo Creed. The film, Rosado said, is to begin filming in January in Philadelphia. He is not permitted to say what his role will be.
"Being in L.A. helped me concentrate a lot better," said Rosado. "It's a different mind-set. I think it all happened at the right time."
Rosado has not fought a traditional boxing match since January. In August, he had Reid in his corner for a knockout win in Big Knockout Boxing. The pay-per-view event pitted two fighters in a ring without ropes.
The August bout ended the longest layoff in Rosado's career. He kept himself out of the ring for seven months, allowing a cut near his left eye to finally heal. The wound opened in three of his previous four fights. All three were losses.
The cut healed, Rosado said he feels like a new fighter. He said his new team has given him a fresh attitude. And Rosado has given his trainer the chance he longed for.