In a sport as unforgiving as boxing, it’s easy to understand why fighters tend to be the most superstitious group of athletes around. Just look at some of the sport’s biggest names, and it’s obvious that each of them had their own certain tick. For example, the great “Sugar” Ray Robinson used to be doused with holy water 3 times before each fight. An even more popular trend is that fighters abstain from having sex before a fight, citing that it helps increase aggression and even overall testosterone. Even the late Emmanuel Steward believed that his fighters should never cut their hair as a fight date nears as he feared his fighters may face an almost Samson-like effect in the ring. As varied as the superstitions may be, there is one thing that most fighters tend to avoid like the plague as fight time approaches, distractions.
More than ever it seems as if the sports elite can’t help but be caught up in matters outside of the ring that go on to effect their performance inside of it. A prime example comes in the form of Filipino Congressman Manny Pacquiao. At one point Pacquiao looked like nothing short of a killer in the ring, but recently, he has looked like a man who is worrying about everything else rather than boxing. Whether he blames his recent performances on his one-time deteriorating marriage or his new found responsibilities as a Congressman in his native Philippines; Pacquiao has begun to serve as a sort of cautionary tale for fighters trying to reach an elite level while still dealing with outside distractions.
As true as this may be, there is bound to be an exception to the rule. One such exception is super middleweight contender and New York native Will Rosinsky (16-2, 9 knockouts). As if a job as a professional fighter in one of the sports deepest divisions isn’t stressful enough, Rosinsky also doubles as an EMT for the New York City Fire Department. Even more shocking is the fact that Rosinsky has managed to rise as a contender in the division, despite his responsibilities with the department. As insane as this lifestyle may seem for most, Rosinsky is one of the few who has mastered not only time management, but being able to fully dedicate himself to two separate yet incredibly high-risk fields.
“I make sure to take time out for each job. When I’m in the boxing gym it’s all about boxing, and when I’m at work it’s all about work. I have my set schedule at work, it’s from 2pm-10pm, so I get up in the morning, probably around 8:30-9:00 am, get to the gym at 10 am the latest, and am able to get a good 2-2 ½ hour workout in, whether it’s the strength and conditioning or the boxing. What I basically do is that I flip-flop it. I go to strength and conditioning Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then do boxing on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Basically, I take what I can get and I run with it, and like I said, I focus on each task at hand and it has treated me well. On top of that, I’d like to say also that with my job, the captains and lieutenants of my station really hook me up and let me get my time off that I need so I could train for a fight. That’s something not many jobs would allow one to get. They let me take my time that I’ve acquired over the job, and basically take a month off. Like when I fought Aaron Pryor Jr., I took around 3-4 weeks off, and I got paid for it. I fought Pryor, and then I got the call for Pavlik the next day. I had to go to work that Sunday, two days after I fought Pryor, and went to my captain and said, Listen, I just got the biggest call of my life and I’ll be fighting a former world champion in three weeks. All he asked me was, “Do you have the time?”, and I said yeah. He told me to then take the time I need, and he’ll just find people to fill my slot. So I basically had a month and a half off between those two fights, being that they were so close.”
Naturally, not everyone is a believer in Rosinsky’s system of training. Many point to the two losses on his record as proof that he is preventing himself from reaching the elite level as he continues to live this dual life. When one really analyzes his record however, it proves that this mentality couldn’t be further from the truth. Rosinsky’s sole losses have come against fellow contender Edwin Rodriguez (22-0, 15 knockouts), as well as the aforementioned Kelly Pavlik (40-2, 34 knockouts). Whereas the Pavlik fight was a competitive, yet legitimate loss, the Rodriguez decision was seeped in controversy. Where many saw Rosinsky completely outworking Rodriguez, the judges scored the fight as a unanimous 100-90 decision for Rodriguez, suggesting that Rosinsky didn’t win a single round. This loss left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth, and none more-so than Rosinsky who is seemingly chomping at the bit for a chance to prove that he was and still is the better fighter of the two.
“I would fight him on Dec. 19th, let’s put it that way. There’s nothing enticing him right now, and I respect that. I understand that from a business point of view. The kid is probably making good money to fight guys that possess half of my talent. I mean, you’re making double the money to fight guys that are half my talent. Now from a business point of view, why would he fight me again? To clear the air? His main motive is money, and it’s obvious, and that goes for a lot of fighters. For him, it’s so much risk to fight me again that he’d rather reap the rewards of fighting the guys he’s fighting now. I want to get the rematch because I have more to prove. He got the decision, but I would love to fight him again. I think that would also be a good step to a title shot, since that is something he wants, and would maybe make the fight more attractive to him. Maybe even money wise it would convince him that it might be worth it to fight me again. As a fighter, I feel like if I was him, I would want to fight me just to try and prove to everybody that I originally did beat him, but I’m going to beat him again. Maybe money shouldn’t be the motive, but I don’t think he’s going to do that, and I respect it. It is what it is, but I look at it as if I’m going to try and fight my way back into deserving a rematch where his people, his corner, and his managers all say, Hey, we should fight Rosinsky for a couple of reasons. A.) We’re going to make a lot of money B.) It’s a good TV fight obviously since I feel like a lot of people are going to tune in and C.) He’s got this title or that title that we are going to try and get in the process.”
Regardless of who you believe won the Rosinsky/Rodriguez match, there is no arguing that former world champion Kelly Pavlik offered the New York based fighter the biggest test of his career. Acting as a last minute opponent for Pavlik, many saw Rosinsky as a type of sacrificial lamb that would be added to Pavlik’s growing highlight reel. Instead, Rosinsky gave Pavlik one of his most competitive fights since his return to the ring. Even in losing the decision, Rosinsky would find his stock rise in many fans eyes based on the gutsy performance he put against a fighter like Pavlik. With an opponent of that caliber, it’s obvious that Rosinsky can only grow from an experience like that which not only came against a big time opponent, but came along with added exposure on major platform in the form of HBO.
“[I definitely grew as a boxer] and part of it is because of exposure. That experience is something you could never learn, and something that you could never be taught. Having the feel of having cameras in your face, having these random people come up to you and ask you questions like, “You’re about to fight on HBO against a former world-champion, do you think you can do it?”. It’s just the experience of having that pressure of the TV’s on you is something that could never be taught, and it’s things like that that definitely changed me as a fighter since it gives me that experiences. Also on a strategic stand-point, fighting against Pavlik, a guy like that knows how to win rounds. There were a couple rounds in there that I felt he won, and [some] I felt he stole. He would just pick things up at the right times, like throwing a flurry at the end of the round, since he’s got that awareness of when he’s losing a round, and when he’s got to really start picking it up a little bit. Stuff like that teaches me something, and how to win rounds if there’s ever anything close and stuff like that.”
Rosinsky is now looking to rebound from that loss to Pavlik with a match-up against Otis Griffin (24-10-2, 10 knockouts). With the show acting as a type of fundraiser to assist in relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy, Rosinsky is aware that this is his chance to bounce back to potential contender ship once again.
“I feel he’s (Otis Griffin) a perfect opponent at this point because he’s fought some great guys; gave them tough fights; He lost a majority decision to Jeff Lacy and a split decision to Yusaf Mack, whom I know is a good fighter. He’s had a couple tough losses, but he has a lot of experience. He has around 37 fights, since I believe he is 25-10-2 or something like that. Just in the experience he brings I feel it’s the perfect fight at this point because that’s what I need. I need guys with experience. It’s a whole different game when you’re in there with experienced guys, as opposed to a guy that’s not as experienced to be considered as an opponent.”
Although is doubtful that a win against Griffin will propel him to a shot at a major title, Rosinsky seems content in getting as much in-ring experience as possible before he gets the inevitable call. At this point the only question is when will the call for a title shot come?
“Honestly, I would like it to be in the near future, but in boxing you have to earn your spot. Right now, I’m coming off a loss, and even though it was against Pavlik, I feel as if I’d be both physically and mentally ready after my next couple of fights. Could I be eligible? Would the boxing public feel I’m ready to take that step? I would say after a couple more fights, I’d be willing, able, and ready to fight whoever out there and really makes a name for myself as I try to get that world title. Even if it’s something small, it’s a start, and I have no problem with that.”
Looking to the future, Rosinsky continues to prove that he is as game as one can be in the sport of boxing. Where many seem to be more obsessed with business, Rosinsky proves that at his core, he exemplifies the idea and attitude of a professional fighter.
“As a fighter, I’m going to tell you [I want] the best of the best because I want to get that title. It’s really up to Lou (Dibella), and whoever they put in front of me. You can call him yourself. Whenever they’ve given me opponents, I have never said, No, I don’t want to fight him. The only time would be if I’d rather wait for a TV opportunity to fight a guy, just because it’s TV worthy, but other than that, if it’s televised, and people get an opportunity to see it, they will be able to make their own decision on what’s going to happen. I will truly, truly, truly fight anybody. Who do I want to fight? I mean, I know a lot of guys out there. I will fight anybody in the super middleweight division because nobody really puts out a wow factor that really gets to me.”
There’s no telling just how long Rosinsky will be able to continue with a schedule as chaotic as his is, but with a solid record and continuing success, Rosinsky just may prove an adage right, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”
-For any news, updates, or general talk about boxing be sure to follow Tha’ Boxing Voice on Twitter (@ThaBoxingVoice) as well as myself (@dfgonzalez305). Also be sure to support and follow Will Rosinsky (@Wrosinsky) as he continues on his path to a major title shot.