NEW YORK – The ringside doctor had already examined Gabriel Rosado's left eye three times. The fourth inspection proved to be the last. Rosado's vision was too obstructed for the North Philadelphia fighter to continue. Saturday night's 12-round bout against David Lemieux at Brooklyn's Barclays Center was halted in the middle of the tenth round.
Lemieux (33-2, 31 KOs) was awarded a technical knockout win. The Canadian waived a Quebec flag and celebrated the retaining of his NABF middleweight title. Rosado (21-9) sat on a stool as the doctor examined his eye.
The left eye – Rosado's Achilles heel – had been swollen since it was tagged with an overhand right in the second round. Yet Rosado continued to fight on. Jesse Reid, Rosado's trainer, said the fighter showed "a tremendous heart."
The fighter's left eye has played a deciding role in four of his last five fights. Two of his fights were stopped due to a deep cut near the eye. A cut hindered his vision in another fight but did not stop the bout. The 28-year-old has not recorded a win since September of 2012.
Rosado left the arena in an ambulance and went to a nearby hospital to reduce the swelling.
"I really couldn't see during the fight," said Rosado. "I kept seeing three of him. It was hard to fight with one eye. It just seems to be my luck."
Rosado looked set to do damage in the final minute of the the ninth round when he pressed Lemieux against the ropes. But Rosado's right side was unguarded. He was forced to overprotect his blinded left side. Lemieux cracked him with a compact left hook, stumbling Rosado as the round ended.
Lemieux opened the next round by furiously attacking Rosado's left side. His left eye was completely shut and Rosado was unable to mount much of a defense. The doctor climbed to the canvas and alerted the referee to stop the match.
"I think he'll be okay," Rosado's trainer Jesse Reid said. "He got hit right in the pupil of the eye. It swelled up and naturally you're not going to be able to see."
It was Rosado's first fight with Reid in his corner. The two connected last summer at Reid's gym in Los Angeles. Rosado relocated to the West Coast to focus on his craft and try his hand at acting.
Rosado said he recently landed a role in Creed, an upcoming Rocky movie based on Apollo Creed's grandson that begins filming next month. Rosado fought Saturday in American flag trunks inspired by the pair Creed wore in the first Rocky film.
Rosado was knocked down in the third round. He rebounded a round later by turning the fight into a slugfest. Rosado backed himself into a corner and waived Lemieux to come forward. Lemieux declined. Rosado taunted him again. This time Lemieux obliged, and Rosado cracked him with a strong right.
Rosado bounced out of the corner and forced Lemieux to exchange in the center of the ring. Rosado capped the round with a furious flurry of punches. The crowd roared as it came to a close. Saturday was billed as "The Brooklyn Brawl." The combatants were living up to it.