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Mike Rossman-The Jewish Rocky

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  • Mike Rossman-The Jewish Rocky

    One of the best light heavyweights in the 70's and also one of the most popular boxers overall in that era, Mike Rossman briefly held the WBA title, which he took by ending the long reign of Victor E. Galindez, who is otherwise considered as one of the best ever at this weight class. His prime was relatively brief and he retired after 10 years as a pro, in 1983. Rossman was a tough warrior who had power and stopped some very good fighters, including Galindez-hence the nickname "The Jewish Bomber". He was actually half-Italian but used his mother's maiden name as a pro.

    Born Michael Albert De Piano to an Italian father and a Jewish mother, 1 July 1955 in Philadelphia, Rossman started boxing at 14 and had 23 amateur fights, winning 20, before turning pro in August 1973. He was managed by his father Jimmy and trained by Slim Jim Robinson and Willie O'Neill. It was his father's idea that he use his mother's maiden name instead, as he thought "Mike Rossman" sounded good. He also wore the Star of David on his trunks. Rossman won his first 7 fights by knockout. In his 14th fight, he drew against Nate Dixon surprisingly. He was 21-0-1 when he lost for the first time to Mike Nixon by SD10 on 19 May 1975. Nixon bloodied his nose in the 3rd round also. In the rematch on 1 August however, Rossman avenged the loss by knocking Nixon out in 7 rounds, with a tremendous overhand right to the chin. Afterwards, Nixon said:"I don't even know what happened." He then dropped a unanimous decision to the clever Mike Quarry, brother of Jerry, on 30 September. Also this defeat would he avenge later, first by MD10 and then by RTD6, in 1976 and 1977 respectively. That 1977, he first decisioned the Canadian contender Gary Summerhays before fighting his first big fight against Yaqui Lopez, 2 March 1978 at Felt Forum in NY. Before the fight, Rossman made a joke saying:"The only place where you can legally beat up a Mexican these days is in the ring." It must've reached Lopez's ears, because he turned in one of his best performances that night. Despite managing to cut Lopez over his eyes, Rossman was battered into surrender in round 6 and his father stopped the fight after he staggered back to his corner. After the fight, Lopez was said to make an anti-Semitic comment during the ring interview, when he was asked what his motivation was for winning and replied:"I hate Jews." Rossman would never fight him again.

    He rebounded by stopping contender Lonnie Bennett by TKO2 in May and after another easy 2-round stoppage, he was matched against the WBA champion Victor Emilio Galindez, 15 September that year. The fight was held at the Superdome in New Orleans and Galindez was making his 11th defense. It was on the undercard of Ali-Spinks II. Rossman produced his greatest performance when he opened up cuts above the champions eye early and battered him into submission until the fight was stopped after 55 seconds of round 13. Galindez was only stopped once before, 7 years before. Becoming a world champion at 23 wasn't that easy for anyone. WBA was also a South American organization and didn't like the fact that their great champion had been beaten by a North American from Philadelphia. After making one successful defense by TKO6 against Aldo Traversaro, probably the best Italian light heavy back then, Rossman was thinking of moving up to heavyweight and fighting Ali, but that didn't happen. Standing 5'11 and with a 73-inch reach, he was simply too small for that, despite his power and toughness. He had to fight Galindez again in his second defense, again at the Superdome, 14 April 1979. The fight was originally scheduled for 24 February, but was cancelled due to a disagreement over the judges. Rossman was said to not have trained as hard for this fight, as he had lost the hunger. He was very active in the first round and threw over 30 left jabs. Galindez started taking over after round 3 and avoiding Rossman's attack. In round 4, Rossman first hurt Galindez with a sharp right, before Galindez bounced back and staggered and hurt him with a barrage of hooks from all sides. He continued punching after the bell, which made Rossman's brother Andy jump in the ring and take a swing at Galindez which missed. Galindez then hit him twice and a melee almost erupted inside the ring. From the fifth round and on, Galindez was in charge after Rossman injured his right hand and Rossman finally retired on his stool after round 9. Galindez showed a complete lack of class when he charged at Rossman's corner following the stoppage and started screaming taunts. In the post-fight interview, he said he wouldn't give Rossman a rematch because he did not deserve it."He chickened up. He's a chicken and I'll never give him a rematch!"

    That was pretty much the end of Mike Rossman as an elite fighter and a serious contender. In his next fight, he was stopped by Ramon Ranquello by TKO7, despite dropping him twice early on. Ranquello was an average fighter with a record of 13-6-2. It is fair to say Rossman never had too much luck against Latin fighters. Except for once, of course. In 1981, he was also knocked out in 7 by Dwight Braxton, later to be known as Dwight Muhammad Qawi. He retired after winning 4 more fights, the last one in November 1983. His record is 44 wins with 27 ko's, 7 losses and 3 draws. In retirement, he got a job with the roofers union in Atlantic City and had some minor brushes with the law. He still lives in Atlantic City today. In 1995, he was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame. He was managed by his brother Andrew after 1980, due to having to split everything 50-50 with his father. After he stopped getting big fights, that was simply too little for him. It seems that due to him turning pro so early (some sources say he was actually born in 1956 but lied about his age so he could turn pro), he bottomed out too soon and also he lost the hunger too soon as well. But on his best nights, he was one of the best light heavies ever, definitely. When he stopped and beat Galindez, the Argentinian was at his peak and considered the best in his division. I hope you enjoyed this presentation.


  • #2
    --- Boz, never could stand him, but having a Jewish mother would qualify him for an automatic right of return to Israel!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by LondonRingRules View Post
      --- Boz, never could stand him, but having a Jewish mother would qualify him for an automatic right of return to Israel!
      Don't be cruel now.

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