The Dublin middleweight has not fought since last August, seeing a clash with Brian Rose in December fall through following a slipped disc but was given a chance to face noted U.S. name Gabriel Rosado [24(14)-11(4)-1].
The offer came for the major Irish-themed St Patrick’s Weekend Matchroom card at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia on Friday March 15th.
However, returning from injury, a trip to his in-form opponent’s home city did not fit and Keeler instead rematches Conrad Cummings on Friday March 29th at the Ulster Hall in Belfast.
Speaking on Newstalk 106FM’s Off The Brawl last night, Keeler revealed that “there was talk of me fighting Gabriel Rosado, that offer was made – but it was just a bit close after injury so we turned it down.”
“We agreed that we’d take the Cummings fight and them fights will be there, say, in June time.”
There’s a lot of stuff happening with Eddie Hearn and DAZN in America, they need to match well, they’re under pressure to deliver good cards,” he added before hinting that there is a tinge of hindsight regret that he didn’t take the fight with ‘King Gabe’.
The 31-year-old described how I was coming back from injury, I still had niggles in my back, and that was offered. I had an extra two weeks training for the Cummings fight so that worked out better – but the camp has gone so well now that I’m nearly thinking ‘maybe I should have took the Rosado fight’ but I think it will be there after, touch wood.”
Rosado, who had previously agreed a fight with Keeler’s former gym-mate Spike O’Sullivan only to pull out, will now instead face Polish contender Maciej Sulecki on the bill which is headlined by Tevin Farmer’s IBF super featherweight title defence versus Jono Carroll and also features a three-belt unification for Katie Taylor against Rose Volante.
Keeler defeated Cummings [16(7)-2(0)-1] last April, scoring a wide scorecards win to pick up the vacant WBO European title and he is now ranked #12 with the organisation.
The Tyrone fighter would then reclaim the WBO European belt, which he previously held in 2017, when Keeler dropped out of the Rose fight, defeating Hungarian Ferenc Berki.
Cummings now sits at #15 with the WBO – making their rematch a world title eliminator and a fight that will see the winner pushed towards the top of a ladder topped by Demetrius Andrade.
While Keeler feels he can go one better and stop Cummings this time round, the Ballyfermot boxer pledges that he is not overlooking his Coalisland foe in what is a crucial fight for both.
The Pete Taylor-trained pro predicted that Cummings will “be sharper, more up for it – I had a draw in my previous fight so he probably looked past me in a way. I’m sure he’s going to be sharper for it but he boxes one way, coming forward, I don’t think he can box on the back foot.”
“I think he’ll be just sharper and fitter and more up for it and It’s up to me to step up my level and combat that.”
“It’s a tough fight, it will get me back out there, start the year, and push on again. His style suits me, coming forward, I don’t think he knows any other style, I think it’s a great fight to start the year and put that to bed and push on.”
“He is a quality fighter and there’s no looking past him – even though I am talking about them fights. I could have a little dip in performance he could definitely get the win so I’m not looking past him.”
Listen to the latest episode of Off The Brawl in full below: