Boxing: pawel wolak

Wolak announces retirement on FB, Twitter

December, 7, 2011
Four days after losing a unanimous decision to Delvin Rodriguez at Madison Square Garden, junior middleweight Pawel Wolak announced he is retiring from boxing. He did so via Facebook, and Twitter.

Here is the statement the New Jersey fighter, who fought to a draw with Rodriguez in July, gave on Facebook:

"I am at peace with my decision to retire from boxing. I left it all in the ring and I have absolutely no regrets. I got to do what most people will never be able to and I couldn't be more proud to have been part of the best sport in the world. I will stay active, busy and in boxing shape as I have done since 17 years old but I hope to help other fighters in the NY area in their careers.

"The list of people to thank is too long but you all know you are. Thank you to my core team, my family, my friends and the fans who have made me a better husband, man, father, son and fighter. I am forever grateful. Thank you to Top Rank for always having my back and to the boxing media who have always been fair and treated me with respect.

"I am not going to do any interviews at this time. While I am retiring I am staying under contract for the duration of my contract terms with both Top Rank and my manager Cameron Dunkin. Please direct all questions to Cameron. Onwards and upwards."

I called Dunkin at 5:30 p.m., and this was the first he'd heard of it. Same with Top Rank's VP Carl Moretti. He hadn't heard that Wolak (age 30; 29-2-1) was exiting the game.

The boxer released the news at 4:55 p.m. on Twitter: "with heavy heart I announce my retirement. u need heart, passion, desire 2 compete, but the mind needs 2 know when it is time. FB has more"

Wolak started as a pro in 2004. He was a consummate lunchpail banger, not too pretty, not too smooth, just a banger who was going to be in your grill from the national anthem onward.

We will verify that the announcements are on the level.

Here is a video I did of Wolak last month, in which he betrays no loss of love for the savage science that is boxing.

Yuri Foreman is in comeback mode

December, 6, 2011
I got Yuri Foreman on the phone Tuesday afternoon and said, "Hello to the junior middleweight champion of Park Slope, Brooklyn!"

He laughed, and then we chatted about his ring plans for 2012. The former WBA 154 pound champion lives near me in Brooklyn, and has been working out at the famed Gleason's. He told me he's getting closer to setting a date for a return to the ring, and that he is hungry to be once again known as a champion of a much wider area than this 'hood.

"I needed a break," the 31-year-old boxer who grew up in Israel told me. "After the Yankee Stadium experience, I had ACL surgery on my right knee, and a few friends who are doctors and fighters said take a year off." Foreman had the surgery after that June 2010 Yankee Stadium loss to Miguel Cotto (TKO9, in which he impressed watchers by fighting on one leg for a spell) and didn't listen to the friends, or his body, and came back to the ring in March 2011 against swarming Jerseyite Pawel Wolak, and couldn't continue after five rounds. "I guess I needed a humbling experience," said the boxer who has been studying to become a rabbi for a few years now. "I shouldn't have jumped back in so soon. It was humbling. I still needed that time off to build the leg up. It's almost same size as the healthy leg."

So, what's left to accomplish, after beating David Santos in November 2009 for the WBA crown?

"I like the feeling of being world champion," Foreman said. "Hopefully the motivation is there, I think it is."

He watched the bouts which ran at MSG on Saturday. He noted that Delvin Rodriguez fought a stellar gameplan against Wolak, enroute to a UD10 win. I noted that Foreman could have fought a similar style and had similar success, perhaps, if he'd been healthy, and hadn't tried the Al Certo experiment. (Foreman hooked on with the veteran Certo, who was ill and couldn't be present much in the gym leading up to the Wolak fight. Foreman's camp wasn't his best and he went in to the bout feeling like a shadow of himself, he told me.)

Would he like another crack at Wolak? "Sure I would, definitely," Foreman said.

"Against Wolak, that was just my body in it. I had no motivation, I was not present. Boxing is the kind of sport, either you are 100 in or you better not be there."

Foreman was also still mourning the loss of his manager-mentor Murray Wilson, who died in October 2010.

Looking forward, it looks like Foreman will officially reunite with trainer Joe Greer, with whom he won the crown. "If it isn't broken ...," the boxer said, in regards to his switch to Certo.

He ended the call with a polite chops bust, referring to the limited scope of territory that comes with the championship I bestowed upon him. Sounds to me like Foreman is gearing up to take back some territory.

Pawel Wolak, epitome of the lunchpail warrior

December, 1, 2011
The journalist is supposed to be objective, not have any rooting interest in the subject matter or person they're covering. Pawel Wolak makes this dictate difficult. The Polish-born Jerseyite is so humble, so amiable, and so epitomizes the positive stereotype of the lunchpail warrior, that I find it hard not to hope he gets all that he hopes to achieve in the squared circle.

Please check out this video I shot, as Wolak (age 30; 29-1-1) talks about his day job, his first fight with Delvin Rodriguez, and what he thinks will happen in their Saturday rematch, at Madison Square Garden.
There is mad buzz surrounding the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito rematch, which will unfold on Dec. 3rd at Madison Square Garden.

NY-area fight fans are beyond pumped this one landed in NYC, which doesn't usually get the mega-marquee scraps anymore. The two top promoters, Bob Arum and Golden Boy, are left coasters, and Las Vegas is a bit kinder to them, in terms of the costs of doing business, than New York is, and much of the talent is concentrated there.

At MSG, Arum spoke at a press conference before the Nonito Donaire-Omar Narvaez fight on Saturday night at the WaMu Theater, and he said tix for Dec. 3 are moving quickly. Less than 4,000 are remaining for the card, he said.

The promoter touted the undercard for the sequel to the 2008 scrap, which saw Margarito march down Cotto and stop him in the 11th round. The most anticipated scrap underneath the mainer is another rematch, this one pitting Jersey boy Pawel Wolak, the Roundhouse Roofer--he works a day job in construction--against Connecticut's Delvin Rodriguez. They clashed in July, fighting to a draw in a fight of the year candidate.

Will the card turn out to be, as Arum put it, "one of the best boxing show ever put on at Madison Square Garden?" Well, the man is a promoter so his bias is clear. But you should get your money's worth if you attend.