Rosado stays busy before title shot

Gabriel Rosado, right, is ready to make a name for himself in the junior middleweight division. AP Photo/Gregory Payan

Junior middleweight contender Gabriel Rosado is the mandatory challenger for 154-pound titlist Cornelius “K9” Bundrage, and the fight is due in March.

Many fighters would be content to sit idle waiting for the guaranteed opportunity, but Rosado is not about to sit on his ranking and run out the clock to the get the shot. Staying busy -- and winning -- is what got Rosado to this point and he is not about to mess with what got him here. That is why Rosado is taking one more fight before the title shot is due. He’ll face former middleweight title challenger Elvin Ayala (26-5-1, 12 KOs) on Dec. 8 in the co-feature of the Dec. 8 “Fight Night” (NBC Sports Net) in Philadelphia, Rosado’s hometown. They’ll meet at a maximum contract weight of 156 pounds.

“Bundrage has until March and we want to keep Rosado busy. We know that an active fighter is a successful fighter,” Main Events matchmaker Jolene Mizzone told me on Wednesday. “This will be his fourth fight this year. He’s not fighting twice a year. He’s fighting four times a year, but Rosado is the kind of fighter who says, ‘I’ll fight every week.’

“He’s still in the spotlight, people are hearing his name a lot more than guys who fight twice a year. His name is out there. The fight’s in Philly, which is important to him.”

There’s always a danger to taking a so-called tune-up fight before a more significant fight, but Rosado is just doing what he has done all year. The busy year has gotten him a good bit of attention as his three wins so far in 2012 have been nationally televised on “Fight Night” and he has looked good disposing of solid opponents to extend his winning streak to seven since late 2010. This year, Rosado knocked out the usually durable Jesus Soto Karass in the fifth round in January on the debut “Fight Night” card, scored a ninth-round knockout of longtime contender Sechew Powell in June and then stopped Charles Whittaker on Sept. 21 in the elimination fight that earned him the title shot.

In the main event, Philly heavyweight prospect Bryant Jennings (15-0, 7 KOs) is scheduled to face Bowie Topou (22-2, 16 KOs). Jennings was in the main event of the “Fight Night” debut in his impressive win against Maurice Byarm, meaning he and Rosado opened the “Fight Night” season and will also close it.