On January 27th, Winky Wright ventured to New York to promote a six-fight card at the M2 Ultra Lounge on the west side of Manhattan. Sal Musumeci served as matchmaker, adviser, and on-site coordinator. As a quid pro quo, Derric Rossy (who Musumeci promotes) was in the main event.
Rossy was a star linebacker in high school and earned All-American honors from SuperPrep Magazine and USA Today. He started at linebacker for Boston College as a sophomore; then moved to defensive end. After graduation, he had free-agent tryouts with the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Chicago Bears, but couldn’t land a roster spot. Meanwhile, to stay in shape, he began working out at the Academy of Boxing Gym in Huntington, New York, where Al Gavin was training fighters.
"After a while," Derric remembers, "Al asked me, ’Do you want to try this? I’m not saying you should, but you might be good.’”
That was in September 2003. A year later, Rossy turned pro. Give him credit for staying with it. He now has 23 wins with 12 knockouts against 2 losses.
It’s a matter of debate whether Derric is a good club fighter (the majority view) or (as Musumeci claims) world class. He was stopped each time he stepped up the level of opposition to face an elite opponent (Eddie Chambers, KO by 7; and Alexander Dimitrenko, KO by 5). But last July, Rossy won a ten-round decision over Carl Davis Drummond, which was a step in the right direction. In the ring, he’s starting to look less like a football player and more like a fighter.
Rossy’s opponent at the M2 Ultra Lounge was Alexis Mejias. Mejias sported a 10-and-2 record. But in his most recent outing, he’d been knocked out in 100 seconds by a 3-3-1 fighter.
Because of the overhead lighting and ring placement, large portions of the ring were ensconced in shadows. That ran afoul of Section 209.43 of the New York State Athletic Commission Laws and Rules Regulating Boxing, which states, “The ring shall be amply illuminated by overhead lights, which shall be so arranged that shadow shall be eliminated and discomfort from heat and glare minimized for persons in and near the ring.”
HBO has Boxing After Dark
. This was Boxing in the Dark
. The way the ring was lit had the potential to make it harder for fighters to see the punches coming.
Be that as it may; Rossy decked Mejias twice and ended matters at the 2:52 mark of round one. It wasn’t much of a test. Still, Derric did what he was supposed to do.
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Scroll down the right hand side of our “home” and “USA” pages and you’ll see that SecondsOut has a new advertiser.
The Underground Clown is the creation of Frank Kozlowsky and Craig Mills. Kozlowsky, age 37, is a Coney Island native and the owner of Carousel Collision (an automobile body repair shop). Mills, 36, is one of ten workers in the shop and is known as “Turtle” because he does things faster than anyone else.
Eighty-five percent of Kozlowsky’s automotive business is insurance work. The rest is custom painting. He did automobile restoration work in the past, but says that “it’s too much time for too little money” so he doesn’t do it anymore.
Several years ago, Frank decided to paint an image on his own car that depicted the many sides of his personality. He chose a clown.
“During medieval times,” he explains, “the clown was the King’s jester. He mocked authority and ridiculed the establishment. The jester was the only one who dared talk back to the king. That was his purpose; to think outside of the box. And his ideas were often incorporated into official policy.”
“Besides,” Frank adds, “skulls and tigers and other dominant animals are everywhere.”
Kozlowsky received enough compliments from people who saw his car that he had the clown embroidered on work jackets for his employees. Then he and Mills (who had worked for Banana Republic, The Gap, and Versace) refined the image and took the next step toward what they hope will be a successful entrepreneurial venture.
On September 28, 2009, they launched The Underground Clown.
Most apparel companies start production with a basic T-shirt. The Underground Clown began with eight pieces and now offers close to fifty. Its best-selling items have been “future legends” shirts for men and tank tops for women. Kozlowsky and Mills are optimistic that, when summer comes, the sale of T-shirts will soar.
The company’s clown logo is a bit sinister, but there’s more to it than immediately meets the eye. That and more is explained at The Underground Clown’s website www.TheUnderGroundClown.com
Meanwhile, Frank likes the clown logo enough to have had it tattooed on his right biceps and also the back of his left hand.
The reality that Kozlowsky faces is that it takes time to build up Internet sales and distribution to stores is hard. But The Underground Clown has begun to make inroads within the boxing community.
Joseph Agbeko wore an Underground Clown T-shirt and future legend shirt to the ring for his championship fight against Yonnhy Perez on Halloween night. Paulie Malignaggi wore Underground Clown patches on his trunks and robes for his December 12th rematch against Juan Diaz.
“I love the ‘future legend’ bit,” Malignaggi explains. “It fits my personality. The clown part is cool too. I’m a character; I know that. And the idea of the jester thinking outside box and daring to talk back to the king; that’s me.”Thomas Hauser
can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. His most recent book (“An Unforgiving Sport”) was published by the University of Arkansas Press.