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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Seldin Wins Wild Fight

Cletus Seldin advanced to 3-0 (1 KO) after defeating Clarence Booth (2-1, 1 KO) by unanimous decision last night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. In the second round, Seldin claims Booth intentionally headbutted him. Cletus then picked up Booth and body slammed him to the ground. He was deducted a point for the act.

That point deduction made things closer, but in the end, Seldin took the decision with 38-37 scores on all three judges' cards.

Seldin weighed 148 pounds for the fight while his opponent was 150. Cletus has weighed just over the 147 pound welterweight limit in each of his three career bouts. He is scheduled to fight next on October 22 in New York.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Melson Back in Action on Martinez Undercard

Junior middleweight Boyd Melson (5-0, three KOs) is scheduled to be featured on the undercard of the Sergio Martinez-Darren Barker middleweight championship fight. The event is set to take place at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 1.

Melson stopped Zach Schumach in the second round last July. This will be Melson's fifth fight of 2011 and his second scheduled six-rounder. As always, Melson will donate his purse to the spinal cord injury research organization, Justadollarplease.org.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Look Back: Mike Rossman

In an effort to link the past with the present, The Jewish Boxing Blog will present monthly a short biography of notable former Jewish boxers.

Mike Rossman holds the distinction of being one of a handful of Jewish boxers to win a world championship since 1940. Nicknamed "The Jewish Bomber" and "The Kosher Butcher," Rossman won the WBA light heavyweight title in 1978.

Michael DePiano was born to an Italian father and Jewish mother in Turnerville, New Jersey on July 1. He told Ken Hissner, "I was born in 1956, but had to say 1955 back then in order to turn professional." Mike took his mother's maiden name, Rossman, when he turned pro in 1973. During his first fight, in Atlantic City on August 10, his mother Celia heard yells from the crowd such as,"Get that Jew!" Rossman won by way of second round KO. Despite the taunts, Rossman told Thomas Hauser, "I'm proud of being Jewish." He started his career 21-0-1.

Rossman's first loss was a split decision defeat at the hands of Mike Nixon on May 19, 1975. Two and half months later, the New Jersey native avenged that loss by seventh round KO. Mike then lost to Mike Quarry. He would later defeat Quarry twice. In December of 1976, he eked out a majority decision. In May of 1977, Quarry retired after the sixth round.

On May 3, 1978, Rossman faced Yaqui Lopez in New York. The fight started at a feverish pace. Rossman was effective early, causing a cut near Lopez's right eye in the premier round. The two established a rhythm from the outset; Rossman leading with jabs and Lopez countering. But Lopez was able to find the range against his taller opponent in the third. His continuous pressure wore down Rossman. Yet Rossman kept fighting back, causing a new cut in the fourth, this time near Lopez's left eye. Mike withstood a series of horrific shots in the sixth, but managed to remain upright. By the time the bell sounded, Rossman was out on his feet. His corner stopped the fight.

Two second round knockouts later, Rossman had the chance of a lifetime. At 22 years old, Rossman was a heavy underdog against the WBA light heavyweight champion, Victor Galindez. The Argentine had held the title for four years and was making his eleventh defense. Sporting long blue shorts stitched with "MR" and a Star of David, Rossman took the lead early. He kept the shorter Galindez at range with his jab and lead rights. Galindez was cut over the right eye in the middle rounds. Rossman was able to reopen the cut on several occasions.

The Jewish Bomber had never gone past ten rounds in his career. It was a grueling brawl against a tough champion. But Mike would not be denied. He forced Galindez against the ropes in the later rounds and went to work. Galindez was pinned against those ropes early in the 13th round and received several combinations before the fight was stopped.

Rossman made one successful defense, beating Aldo Traversaro by way of sixth round TKO. There was talk he would face a faded Muhammad Ali. Instead, he gave Galindez a rematch. After a false start due to a Galindez protest over officials, the two faced on April 4, 1979. Rossman got off to another quick start, snapping the jab out of his high guard. But Galindez counted a fan in referee Stanley Christodoulou.

Christodoulou had a history of favoring the Argentine in Galindez's previous fights. The same held true on this night. Galindez threw a vicious kidney punch in the fourth. He butted the Jewish champion. He was allowed to hold and hit. The worst offense came after a Galindez legal left hook followed by a right uppercut. The bell rang, but Galindez continued to punch a wobbled Rossman. The referee allowed the beating to continue for a few seconds. Rossman's brother Andy took exception and flew into the ring and ran after Galindez. Galindez then started throwing punches at Andy, who returned fire.

Galindez's pressure was too much and Rossman could not deal with the pain of a broken right hand. The fight was stopped before the start of the tenth round. Galindez broke a sacred rule of boxing by taunting Rossman after the fight and calling the Jewish warrior a chicken.

During his career, Rossman was falsely accused of not being tough. He endured numerous hard fought battles. Unfortunately, at the end of his career, he showed his toughness too often. The superior defense he exhibited early in his career left him and he was easy to hit. The coming years were rough. He and his father- his former manager- no longer worked together. Rossman parted with his trainer Slim Jim Robinson.

His boxing skills also deteriorated though he still hung around the top ten in the alphabet organizations' rankings. Despite being significantly shorter, future light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi out jabbed Rossman, who was known for being a great jabber. Qawi stopped the game Rossman in seven rounds in 1981. Mike was out of the ring for nearly two years afterwards.

Rossman retired from the ring in 1983 at the age of 27 with a record of 44-7-3 (27 KOs). He was understandably bitter about the way boxing, a sport to which he had given his soul, had treated him. He soon got a job with Roofers Union Local #30 out of Atlantic City, where he's lived for many years.

Victor Galindez vs. Mike Rossman I
September 15, 1978
New Orleans, Louisiana
WBA light heavyweight championship
part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5

Hauser, Thomas. Muhammad Ali & Company: Inside the World of Professional Boxing. 1998.
Putnam, Pat. "This Was The Fight That Wasn't." 1979.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cletus Seldin to Stay Busy

Welterweight prospect Cletus Seldin (2-0, one KO) is looking to stay busy this September. He has two matches scheduled this month. As it goes in boxing and particularly with four-round fighters, these fights are tentative at best.

On September 10, Seldin is listed as fighting Miguel Pizarro (2-4, one KO) at the Aviator Sport Complex in Brooklyn, New York. On September 23, the Hebrew Hammer is penciled in to face Brian Meadows (0-2-2) at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, the site of his debut.

Seldin earned a KO win in that debut on July 9. He made a quick turn around and won a decision on July 20 in New York. It will be interesting to see if one, both, or neither of these proposed bouts comes into fruition.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Salita Looking to Make Noise

Welterweight Dmitriy Salita tells Mitch Abramson of BoxingScene.com that he "is in the final stages of completing the details on a 'big fight' that would catapult him back into the limelight." Salita has won his last three fights against journeymen since succumbing to Amir Khan in the first round of their title fight late in 2009.

Salita (33-1-1, 17 KOs) has been training with Emanuel Steward at the Kronk Gym in Detroit, Michigan. Steward, a legendary trainer and HBO analyst, has repeatedly stated publicly that he has faith in Salita's boxing skills. More details to come on Salita's next move as they materialize.