Boxing: kevin rooney

Rooney Jr. hangs up the gloves

August, 1, 2012
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.

Tyson starts run on Broadway tonight

July, 31, 2012
Mike Tyson's Broadway show, helmed by Spike Lee, opens Tuesday night at the Longacre Theatre. It will be the first of 12 performances for the man formerly known as The Baddest Man on the Planet, a feat that is something of a miracle, some would say, considering it looked like he'd be following in the footsteps of flameout victim Sonny Liston not that long ago.

Here is how the show is described on a website offering tickets. Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth is a rare, personal look inside the life and mind of one of the most complicated men ever to wear the heavyweight crown. Directed by Academy Award nominee Spike Lee, this riveting one-man show goes beyond the headlines, behind the scenes and between the lines to deliver a must-see theatrical knockout.

The 46-year-old Tyson, who grew up in Bed-Stuy and Brownsville, retired from the ring with a 50-6 (44 KOs) record, in 2005. He became the youngest heavyweight champion, at 20 years old, in 1986, when he beat Trevor Berbick. But his slide started not that long after; he hooked up with starlet Robin Givens, and then in 1988, parted ways with managers Bill Cayton and Jim Jacobs and trainer Kevin Rooney. During his ascent, he spent more than a little time with Steve Lott, who assisted Cayton, in fact sleeping on Lott's sofa in midtown Manhattan from 1985-1987. I reached out to Lott, who is these days living in Las Vegas, helping to build a Boxing Hall of Fame, which will feature video from the fight film library passed down from Cayton. I wondered he sees it as something of a miracle that this Kid Dynamite he spent so many hours with, who slid into drug addiction after serving time for rape, is alive, and on Broadway.

"No, I am not surprised he's doing this," said Lott, who saw a version of the stage show a few months back, before Spike Lee became involved.

Lott gave Lee hundreds of stills, he said, to add to the show. He lauds Tyson's wife, Kiki, for helping to steer him clear of negative influences. "The show was very vulgar, and Mike held the audience in the palm of his hand for two hours." He predicts the show will sell out every performance and could be "explosive," the start of a long run. "No, it's not a miracle, he has someone in Kiki who has a marvelous idea of what he can be. She got rid of all the bums around Mike."

Readers, if you see the Tyson show, feel free to write a review in the comments section below ...