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Rosenblatt Tames The Pazmanian Devil
J.D. Vena

November 7, 1999

Ladyard, CT - When the bell sounded to begin the long awaited rematch between Dana Rosenblatt and Vinny Pazienza, the fight seemed to resume from where it left off 3 years ago in Atlantic City. On August 23, 1996, Pazienza overcame an unnoticed knockdown and a nearly shut left eye to remove Danagerous Dana from the undefeated ranks. Last night, after a shaky start, Rosenblatt survived a third round knockdown and severe lacerations above both of his eyes to avenge his greatest setback with a hard fought split decision victory at Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut.

Rosenblatt (36-1, 29 KO's) used a tight defense, and an effective jab to keep Pazienza from landing the "Melvin Paul Punch" he used to stop Dana in his tracks. Rosenblatts haunting loss initiated three years of criticism and distress for the young Malden, Massachusetts native. "I feel I've redeemed myself," said a relieved Rosenblatt. "My game plan was to get by the early onslaught and box effectively and that's what I did. I settled down and boxed and he couldn't hit me solidly."

Two of the three assigned judges felt the same way. Judges Joe Dwyer and Rocky Young tallied 115-113 and 114-113 for Rosenblatt while Judge George Smith saw the aggressiveness of Pazienza stealing the show by a score of 115-112. The CBZ also saw it in favor of the winner by a razor thin margin of 114-113 (7-5 in rounds with one 10-8 round scored by Pazienza due to the knockdown in round three).

After getting reacquainted with Pazienza's bullish charges in round one, Dana began scoring with his sharp right jab and looping left hand he would throw when it wasn't stapled to his chin during the second round and throughout the fight. "I was getting way under his (Paz's) hooks by leaning over and landing my left uppercuts to his body and head," said the victor.

The strategy appeared successful during the third round when with seconds left remaining, Pazienza landed a left hook to Rosenblatt's temple sending him to the canvas for the third time in his career. Although Rosenblatt appeared hurt and disappointed in being dropped, the look of determination in Dana's face suggested that Vinny Pazienza would require more than one punch this time around. The excellent timing of Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. who was successful throughout the evening in breaking the action at the sound of the bell saved Rosenblatt from receiving another punch in that round.

Though Rosenblatt had the opportunity to cherish a minute to clear his head, the left hook Pazienza landed caused an even greater scare inflicting a severe cut over Rosenblatt's right eye. This misfortune would surprisingly not become a factor in the fight. "I bleed in all of my fights and I have the best cutman in the business in Al Gavin. The guy could stop a bullet wound from bleeding," said a thankful Rosenblatt.

After the rocky third round, Rosenblatt's supportive crowd became silent almost expecting Rosenblatt to crumble as he had in Atlantic City. The earlier chants of "DANA! DANA!" became non-existent until later on in the fight. This gut check provided Rosenblatt an opportunity to not only slay his demons, but to display the heart and conditioning that his detractors said he did not possess.

Early in round 4, Pazienza suffered his first known battle wound of the fight when Rosenblatt cut him over his right eye. Though it wasn't clear what caused the cut, Mercante ruled that it came from a punch. "I cut him over both eyes with my gloves. He cut me with an elbow on purpose. He was using his elbows all night fighting very dirty," said a dejected Pazienza. "I had to hear about his bullsh_t that he had to do all kinds of soul searching after he lost (to me) and broke his hand (against Glenwood Brown). I broke my hand three weeks ago in sparring and still took this fight. I took some novocaine, sucked it up and beat him with one hand. This is not an excuse. I won the fight. There is no way in hell I should have lost this fight.

Throughout the grueling contest for the IBO Super-Middleweight Championship, the gallant Pazienza pursued his prey with one punch at a time. Unfortunately, for Vinny and the Pazmaniacs, his thrown bombs were either landing infrequently or sweeping dead air. Pazienza was effective in showing many in the crowd and at least one of the judges that Rosenblatt's piercing jabs and combinations were not effecting him whether they did or not. "His punches don't hurt and they never hurt me," said the confident Pazman. "Seriously, what did he do?

Pazienza's attack faded in the second half of the fight, but he did manage to provide scares for Rosenblatt and his fans landing some occasional big right hands and left hooks. "He played right into my plans and I took advantage of him later on in the fight. The difference this time is, I wouldn't take my eyes off him at any given time" said Rosenblatt. "I definitely have to thank my chief sparring partner Ross Thompson (rated #2 IBF Jr. Middleweight) for getting me ready for this fight. He was the reason why I was so sharp against Vinny. His bonus check is going in the mail tomorrow.

The gutsy and courageous performance given by both fighters opened up a new horizons for both combatants. At this time only Pazienza is considering a rubbermatch. "I don't really need to fight him again," said Rosenblatt. I was the one beating him handily the first time around until he landed one shot. This time, my hands were up and his punches were being absorbed on my gloves." Rosenblatt also expressed intentions of leaving the weight division he just entered. "I am definitely a middleweight and will be moving back down (to fight there) although I did feel pretty strong at 168. I guess we'll all have to see." Matchmaker Ron Katz said "prior to this fight, we have been having discussions with Lou Di Bella of HBO to have him on one of their shows.

As for Pazienza and his team, they will lobby for an immediate rematch. "Vinny gave this kid a chance when he didn't even have to. Therefore, Dana should do the same," said CES Promoter Jimmy Birchfield. A persistent Pazienza declared "Just give me a week! All I need is to have some Peanut M&M's and some red wine and I'll be ready to go.

ESPN2 had yet another scare when their co-featured bout nearly ended in another boxing tragedy. Unbeaten Coventry, RI welterweight prospect, Michael Covington (now 22-1, 13 KO's) suffered a devastating knockout at the hands of Guyana's Andrew Murray (26-4-1 17 KO's). When a perfectly timed left hand caught Covington to the jaw, Covington's body dropped to the canvas and his head caught the bottom rope snapping his neck back. Covington was motionless until being taken from the ring on a stretcher by paremedics. At the time of this writing, the MRI tests concluded that Covington would be released from the hospital sometime today.

The evening began with Anthony Riviera (6-5-3, 1 KO) and Keith Sonley (3-3-4 KO) fighting to a four round technical draw. A head butt incurred accidentally by Sonley, opened a cut over Riviera's eye which prompted Matt Mulaney to called a halt to the action at 1:53 of the fourth and final round.

Since the bout did not exceed the necessary four rounds, the decision was announced as a technical draw. In a battle of super-middleweights, bleach blond haired Ron "The Flash" Boddie improved his record to 6-3-2 with 2 KO's when he won a lopsided 6 round decision over Richard "The Alien" Grant who falls to 9-6 with 2 KO's.

Melvin Cumba (3-0, 2 KO's) administered a four-minute beating to fellow New England prospect Jose Ayala. Referee Steve Smoger mercifully ended the one-sided contest at :59 seconds of the 2nd round of a scheduled 6 round super-bantamweight fight. In another attraction, Anthony "Candyman" Chase or Providence, RI upped his undefeated record to 8-0 with 3 KO's with an impressive, workman-like 6 round unanimous decision win over Tryone Jackson who now falls just under the .500 mark at 4-5 with 1 KO. Everett, MA cruiserweight contender Richard "The Mountain" La Montange was scratched from the card when he injured his left shoulder while preparing for Hartford's Derek Whitley.


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