Monday, March 20, 2023  |


Derric Rossy: ‘Survival mode is probably the worst feeling’

Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime

“The fight game is a tough woman to love.”
– Derric Rossy, after losing to Carlos Negron, June 24, 2017


“I didn’t have it. I have a lot of thinking to do,” said Rossy, who is at that point in the road where almost all fighters arrive, pretty much. The end is near…or is it here?

Did I have an off night, or was this a signal for me to hang up the gloves and move on?

Is the romance over? Is it time to enter into divorce proceeding?

“A tough woman to love” indeed.

Rossy felt great and sounded ready to rumble in the days leading up to his Saturday night bout against Carlos Negron at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, on Evander Holyfield’s inaugural The Real Deal Promotions card, which screened on CBS Sports Network.

This bout would be something different for Rossy. He’d been given more than ample notice and he’d be treated right, not like the visitor grudgingly invited to the party, with a last-minute e-vite picked out of the spam filter, rather than one mailed on fancy stationary.

In the past, he’d been the B-side traveling overseas, and the promised pickup from the airport wouldn’t be present…or he’d be booked into a nursing home/rehab facility for accommodations and have trouble falling asleep as convalescent residents walked the halls and wailed.

The fight started OK, in Louisville, not unlike many others in the career of the 31-13 (with 15 knockouts) heavyweight, who lives in New York.

“I felt OK,” Rossy told me Tuesday. “Right after the second round, I felt like I hit a wall. Maybe I overtrained…maybe didn’t warm up enough. I don’t really know what it was. Maybe I might not have it anymore. I need to do some deep thinking on things but first just relax and recover and spend some good time with the family.”

It will be hard, if not impossible, not to dwell on the what-ifs and whys while he recovers.

Rossy will think about things like how uncomfortable it is to hit a wall in the ring, while a 6-foot-6, 240-pound power puncher looks to tee off on you.

“When I hit the wall, I’m thinking I have enough skill and strength to try and gut through it. I couldn’t get my timing. I had zero snap on my punches and that was very hard to get past. Everything in round three was kind of a blur,” Rossy continued. “It felt as if I was in survival mode, which is probably the worst feeling to have in anything, let alone a boxing match. I couldn’t collect myself because of how my entire body felt. It was a huge distraction. I tried to power it out of my mind. This is a hard thing to do when someone is trying to knock your head off,” he said, chuckling with good natured rue.

To round four, the final round of the fight and – dare we say it – perhaps a career, begun in 2004.

“Negron was going to the body nicely, for a big, tall guy. He caught me with a liver shot that I couldn’t shake off. I was gonna get up, even if it was still burning in my gut.”

Rossy did get up, showing that stubbornness which professional fighters who’ve soldiered on for so long possess. But Negron sensed the prey was in a state ready to be finished. He moved in, upped the volume, seeking to gain his 16th KO. “My father yelled at the ref (Marvin Whittamore) to stop the action. Him and (trainer) Grant (Seligson) did the right thing by stopping it, saving me from myself.

“My dad also knew I wasn’t myself and he was seeing if I would pass through it but he saw that it wasn’t happening.”

Not an easy night or emotional state for Dad to handle…What did Carlos tell Derric after the signal to surrender was sent?

“That he was crazy proud of me and that he knows I’m too stubborn and proud and tough for my own good and I would never give up. He said he knew the guy had to knock me out completely to stop me and that he wasn’t going to let that happen and that, if the roles were reversed, he would expect me to do the same for him.”

So contemplation is the plan. Stubbornness suits athletes early, on the way up, and in the midst of the glory days. It keeps them on message, when others, less stubborn, would veer off the course. Now, that positive trait, which elevated Rossy, could cloud his judgment. The legs that didn’t cooperate, the hands that felt encased in glue…was that because of an off night? Or was it a message from the Creator that he’s 36 and it is time, before he turns 37 on July 2, to move on. Not to surrender, that’s not the right term, but to achieve a difficult state for the proud warrior: acceptance. To understand that everyone has an end date of active service to the sport, that the sport won’t allow for concessions to aging. This sport is most often tough to love…and tougher to walk away from.



As media, we’re pretty fortunate to not to have to dwell on the what-ifs and whys. We don’t give a fraction of what the men in women in combat sports do. So it’s obviously a shame when things ultimately wind down for them. All we can do is applaud their moxie.




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