Rooney Jr. hangs up the gloves

August, 1, 2012
8/01/12
11:14
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Kevin Rooney Junior's stint as a publicist and boxer is over. The 27-year-old, who does media relations for Lou DiBella, has hung up the gloves after six professional fights.

Since turning pro in April 2011 with a UD4 win over David Navarro, Rooney found half-measures meant he couldn't focus fully on growing his expertise in the world of boxing promotion and in fighting. So, something had to give.

"Is this a hiatus or am I retiring? I'm leaning toward retiring," he told NYFightBlog. "I was giving fifty-fifty on the job and at the gym. My mom is pretty happy, while my dad would probably say keep going." Rooney's father is former pro Kevin Rooney (21-4, fought from 1979-1985), best known for training Mike Tyson during his early and best days as a pro.

If he hit the Lotto and had a fat nest egg to sustain him, Rooney Jr. would probably dive full-on doing the fighting thing, but he doesn't. Purses for a young middleweight with a 4-2 record weren't going to get it done in the Empire State. So, when he started this experiment, Rooney worked for Joe DeGuardia, who didn't run as many shows or have as large a stable as DiBella. That made the juggling act more manageable.

So, is he happy with his won-loss record standing firm at 4-2? "No," Rooney said, with a grin.

The two losses were both to southpaws, so I put it to Rooney. Was he will replaying those bouts in his mind, and figuring out ways to handle a lefty? "Every day," he said, leaning back in a chair, grinning again, but with a hint of a ruefulness on his visage.

We joked about the inevitable comeback and Junior didn't battle back too hard at the notion. There is no sport harder to get out of your blood than boxing. I figure the urge to lace the gloves back on will tug at Junior until he's, like, 50.
Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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