Derric Rossy is tabbed to face Luis Ortiz on April 22 in Brooklyn
Standing outside a Manhattan steakhouse, a wool hat pulled down low over his eyes, Derric Rossy cut an unassuming figure on Thursday.
Rumored to be the opponent of heavyweight Luis Ortiz’s debut under the Al Haymon banner on April 22, Rossy (31-12, 15 knockouts) smiled sheepishly and confirmed that he was indeed facing the Cuban heavyweight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn next month on the undercard of Shawn Porter-Andre Berto on Showtime. Ortiz vs. Rossy will appear on Showtime, either on the regular telecast or on Showtime Extreme. “Yup, that’s the situation,” he told RingTV.com before a press conference to officially announce the matchup next month. “That’s why I’m here. It’s a big opportunity.”
That’s an understatement. The 36-year-old former defensive end for Boston College started negotiating to face Ortiz three days ago, and is now readying himself to play spoiler to what is being promoted as a celebratory occasion for Ortiz, who officially signed with Haymon on Wednesday, completing a whirlwind few days. “It’s a huge deal, opportunities like this are few and far between,” Rossy told RING inside the restaurant, standing alongside trainer Grant Seligson. “And the ones I have, haven’t really gone my way.”
One of the friendlier, more modest figures in the industry, Rossy has forged a career as a well-conditioned, competitive journeyman who has gone the distance in losing efforts to former titleholder Bermane Stiverne, one-time undefeated prospect Erkan Teper, undefeated Trevor Bryan and many others. He’s faced a who’s who of heavyweights in Eddie Chambers, Maurice Harris, Kubrat Pulev, Audley Harrison and Fres Oquendo. He can see the finish line in his 12th year as a pro and he views the shot at Ortiz as one of his last opportunities to remain relevant.
“I know he’s tough, rugged and good, but I’m also tough rugged and good,” Rossy said. “So I know it’s going to be a good fight. I’ve fought a lot of good contenders and this isn’t anything different. I’m going to give it my all like I always do.” He added of the position he seems to occupy as a gatekeeper to up-and-coming heavyweights and a bridge to bigger fights, “It’s a weird niche, where I do fight the top guys and the fights are really competitive.”
Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) is the mandatory to face the winner of the two-belt championship between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko on April 29. Ortiz’s manager, Jay Jimenez described the fight as a “stay-busy fight” to RingTV.com. Rossy, 36, allowed himself to think what his life will look like if he pulls the upset. “My career will skyrocket,” said Rossy, who constantly stays in the gym, ready for an opportunity he knows will eventually come. “It propels you into bigger and better things. I have to take this opportunity, even if it was short notice. I need to progress in this sport and this is the only way to do it.”