|Doghouse Boxing Prospect Spotlight: Welterweight Tommy Rainone
Intreview by Bob Carroll, Doghouse Boxing (Mar 12, 2009) DoghouseBoxing.com
Welterweight prospect Tommy "The Razor" Rainone became interested in the fight game in the same manner as I did, the movie Rocky. Tommy stated when he saw the movie, he decided that boxing was going to be his sport and when he was a bit older, he looked into boxing gyms.
This decision has brought the welterweight prospect to today, a professional boxer with the records of 12-2 (4) and a lot of potential.
Recently Tommy sat down with Doghouse Boxing to discuss his career and his future.
Bob Carroll: Tommy, before you turned pro, what type of amateur boxing background do you have?
Tommy Rainone: Ah my amateur background, I probably had about 35-40 amateur fights. To tell you the truth, I didn't have a big amateur career. But in that short time I fought a lot of good guys. I fought Luis Collazzo twice, Frankie "Gato" Figueroa, I fought a lot of top guys at amateur. When I was in the amateurs, I cut a lot of corners, I was young, having a good time, partying, you know. I stopped boxing amateur when I was about 23 years old because I had to make a decision to either continue to just have fun or to box. I decided that I could not do both. I took a break from boxing, did some traveling, you know, just enjoyed myself for a couple of years and I came to boxing. I was done with the amateurs at that point and decided to come back and turn pro, so that’s what I did.
BC: How do you feel your amateur background has helped you so far in your professional career?
TR: Well, I came up tough in the amateurs. I remember one of my first open class fights, I had maybe like 6-7 fights so far and I had to fight a guy named Leon Hinds, who was nationally ranked #3, and I didn’t know at the time, but he had 70+ fights. So having to survive a storm like that so early in my career, it made me have to improve my defense very early on in my career. I never was stopped or knocked down in my amateur career. I was always matched tough, and it was always expected thing to get matched tough. I went to a tournament and I knew I wasn’t going to get an easy fight, as soon as they called my name, I pretty much rolled my eyes because I knew who I was going to fight and I knew they were going to match me tough.
BC: You started fighting professionally against Marquis McConnell in September of 2006. This was in Melville New York. Was this a backyard fight for you, or just somewhere a promoter had a slot open for you?
TR: No, no Melville is probably ten minutes from my house. It is the next town over. I was actually supposed to make my pro debut in Rochester NY in August of 2006. My friend “Gato” Figuerao was supposed to be fighting on a show in Rochester, he had a slot for me on the undercard, Ron Resnick was the promoter, so that was to be my pro debut, but that fight fell through. Shortly after that, I got a call for the fight in Melville where Derrick Rossy was the main event, so that turned out to be my first fight. I had a huge crowd and it was great. The guy that I fought, if you looked him up, he is now a light heavyweight. He was a lot bigger than me. It was the only time he fought at 147, he was naturally fighting at 160, and he cut the weight, but by the time he got in the ring, he was back up to 160-165. He was a big guy.
BC: Being it was your first fight, and you were fighting in your backyard, were you feeling more nervous, or was it business as usual?
TR: Well, you have to remember, I hadn't fought in about three and a half years, because I stopped boxing at age 23. I took three years off from boxing, and then I came back, I started training and trained for about eight or nine months, and then turned pro and fought this guy. I hadn't even been in a boxing ring in over three years, but I trained so hard and I did exactly what I said I would do, stop boxing and then come back. When I came back to boxing after having fun, I trained my ass off and that was it. I was beyond focused, beyond ready. There was no nervousness, I just had the blinders on.
BC: Looking at your professional record, you've had 14 professional fights so far, but that is in a span of 2 years and three months, from your first until your most recent fight in December 2008. Is this a pace you want to keep up through your career?
TR: I'd like to be busier. If you look at my record, I fought eight times in my first year as a pro, but I only fought 4 times in 2008. I wanted to be busier last year, but some things fell through that were beyond my control. I was ready to fight. I'd like to fight at least 5-6 times a year, I want to stay busy.
BC: You have fought undercards of some bigger names, Derrick Rossy, Chazz Witherspoon, and Peter Quillin to name a few. When you are done with your fight, do you go out and watch the main events, are you a boxing fan?
TR: Oh yeah, I'm a huge fan. When I fought in Saratoga, I fought under Andre Berto and Chazz Witherspoon. Funny story, on that card I was the swing bout, and if you know how that works with TV, the swing bout, as long as there is an early knockout, you can go on next and it will be televised. So for that card, they had me gloved up early and at 8 o'clock, Chazz Witherspoon came into the ring and he had on paper, what should have been an easy knockout, but the fight wound up going 8 or 9 rounds, and I was supposed to go on next on ESPN. So instead, they bring out Andre Berto to fight his bout and keep the show on schedule, at least for the television audience. Now at that time, only one person had gone the distance with Berto, so if he scored an early knockout, I would still make the televised portion of the show. But sure enough, Rivera took Berto the distance in a real tough fight, ten rounds, and they cut my fight back from six rounds to four rounds and I fought dead last. That was probably at about 11:30-12:00 at night when I got into the ring, instead of fighting at about 9pm. So I had to had to stay in the dressing room with the gloves on, pacing back and forth, warming up, drying off, warming up, drying off and watching the fights at the same time. So to answer your question, yeah I'm a huge boxing fan. As we speak, I'm watching the fights on ESPN 2 and I'll be watching the fights tomorrow night on HBO. I'm a huge boxing fan.
BC: So when you were bumped off the television schedule by Witherspoon and Berto, did you go to their dressing rooms to get at them for bumping you?
TR: (Laughing) Yeah, I joked with Chazz Witherspoon. We fought on a different card together at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Usually they pair the fighters up together in dressing rooms and again it was an ESPN show and again Chazz was the co-main event, but this time I was the second swing bout. That meant that not only would there have to be two early KO's, but the first swing bout would have to be an early KO in order for my fight to air on ESPN. I knew that the odds would be a little long for me. I was joking with Chazz, saying "you know you cost me television time last time because you didn't get rid of that guy." This is the type of thing you don't want to tell a person as they are preparing to go into the ring, so I told him after the fight. But, sure as shit, he had a real tough fight that night too, I'm not sure if he went the distance that night or not, but it was the same situation as before, so I let him know about it, of course joking around. Chazz is a real nice guy, a good fighter and a real good guy.
BC: I realize it is early in your career, but is there one fight that stood out so far, that you thought, wow, I really have made it!
TR: Well, I'm gonna tell you the truth, um, I should be fighting better opponents. If you look at my record, I fought a couple of times at junior middleweight, I even fought a middleweight once where he was 160. I mean I have to do what I needed to do to get fights. All of my fights should have been at 147, and I should really have been down to 144-143, but unfortunately I had to fight guys that were bigger than me, and that's what I had to do to get fights. Just being as active as I have is kinda of, well it's been a process, it's been a little bit of luck and it's been a lot of hard work. I would have wanted to fight guys with a lot more talent and better records at this point in my career. But when you don't have a promoter to back you up, they are not willing to spend a lot of money or invest in you the way they would invest in their own fighter. So yeah, I would have liked to have fought better competition so far, but hopefully that is coming up in May. I am supposed to be fighting for the New York state title against Daniel Sostre, who is a good solid professional fighter. I'll have to be on my A game to beat him.
BC: Tommy, you have fought in weight classes from welterweight up to middleweight. What do you feel is your natural weight class?
TR: I'm a natural welterweight, but as I said, in another fight or two, I'm going to look to get down to junior welterweight. I feel that , slowly but surely, I could get down to 144 and get a contract at 143-144 and then get down to even 140. I see these other welterweights like (Antonio) Margarito at 147. You put me next to Margarito and I'd look like a midget.
BC: You say your next fight will be for the New York state title in May?
TR: Yeah. I'll know a lot more next week, I just got the call a couple of days ago. The fight will be taking place on May 8th, at Franklin Square in Long Island, New York. That is right up the block from where I grew up. Daniel Sostre is the New York state champion, and I'll be fighting him. There is a slight possibility I will take a fight before that, like a tune up fight in Connecticut, if it's the right situation. I'll know more about both of these fights next week. May 8th is supposed to be the New York state title fight for sure.
BC: When you look at the top fighters at welterweight or even junior welterweight, is there one fighter that you feel would make a great fight with you?
TR: Oh, there is so much talent at 147 and 140 right now. 140 has been the hottest division in boxing for the past 6-8 months. I don't even look at it that way, honestly. I'm worried about my next fight, I'm not worried about 5, 6 or 8 fights down the road, because that's what that situation would be. Styles make fights, and one guy I always wanted to fight is Paul Spadafora, who is fighting again. He is fighting next month in Pittsburgh. He's got a style similar to mine, a quick southpaw, a good defense and it would be a bit of a chess match. But it would come down to who could out smart who in that fight. That would be a good fight and I'd love to fight a guy like Spadafora eventually.
BC: Tommy, now that you have this platform on Doghouse Boxing, is there anything you would like to say to your fans and the readers of Doghouse Boxing?
TR: Well, I want to thank Doghouse Boxing for the interview. I'm working harder in the new year and I'll be capturing the New York state title in May. I'll be in the best shape of my life for that fight, not just physically, but mentally. I'm going to go out there, win that title and do what I have to do to progress in each fight.
I'd like to thank Tommy Rainone for taking time out of his training schedule to do this interview. I'd also like to thank Boxing Buzz publicity for setting up the interview. For more on Tommy Rainone, listen to Bob Carroll, Butch and "THE Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. every Wednesday night from 8-9pm EST on Fightin' Words Radio Show. To listen live via the internet, go to http://1490wwpr.com and look for the "listen here" tab. Don't forget to check out the Fightin' Words Radio Show website, fightinwordsonline.com
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