November 5, 1999
Few fighters have traveled the same road that Vinny Pazienza has walked.
The road Pazienza has walked has had more bumps and curves on it than Vinny's
nose. In fact, Russian tanks have driven down smoother pastures. If the
road happened to have had an easier route, you could bet your life that
Pazienza would have found a way to avoid it. It just wouldn't be fun for
him. This Friday, at a CES Jimmy Birchfield Promotion at Foxwoods Casino in
Ledyard, CT, Dangerous Dana Rosenblatt will be the worthy adversary
attempting to create a permanent detour for the Pazmanian Devil. Such a task
however, should prove to be the most difficult endeavor of Rosenblatt's
career. He will be facing a rival who breathes fire, a Terminator programmed
No other opponent in Pazienza's career has infuriated him so much for
just being himself. Normally, Pazienza has never required such fuel to add
to his ferocious style. He has always fought with a limitless amount of
intensity. For the second time in his career, the Paz will bring this same
fuel and his 47-7 record into the ring when he tries to turn back the
persistent challenge of Dana Rosenblatt.
I spoke with Vinny about his upcoming New England war and his favorite
subject: Dana Rosenblatt. As you would more than likely suspect, Pazienza
was not at a loss for words when discussing himself and his upcoming opponent.
J.D. Vena: A friend of mine saw you in Las Vegas last week wagering money on
Vinny Pazienza: No way! (Laughs) I love it. I didn't tell anybody about
JDV: So it's true? How much did you bet?
VP: Yeah. I put a good sum of money on myself. I put in a damn good figure,
a confident figure. I'd rather die than lose that fight. I can't stand this
JDV: I talked with Rosenblatt the other day.
VP: Yeah. He's a real twat! He thinks he comes from royalty.
JDV: Now he stated that the real reason for your bitterness has to do with
how the fighter on top takes to the new kid who the public talks about. Do
you get annoyed when a reporter or a peer approaches you and asks you "Have
you seen this Scott Pemberton or Dana Rosenblatt.
VP: Before you even finish, I use to go to all of his fights to cheer him
on. I use to root him on. 'Hey good for him. I hope he makes some money.
He's undefeated that's great.' Then we make a fight. I made him some money.
I beat him and he starts talking all kinds of crap about me, in front of my
fans. He can't even draw 15,000 people at the Fox Theater. He can't even
sell the place out. When we first fought, they were tuned in to see me.
Millions paid to see me fight and he's dissing me, talking shit,
condescending down on me? And he wants to know why I don't like him? He
just doesn't get it. I just can't stomach him. I can't stand people who think
they're better than people. I can't stand when people think they're royalty.
He talks down on people. That's totally not my style. I never treat people
like strangers. I treat people good. Who the hell is this kid to act the
way he does?
JDV: So then it's genuine hatred?
VP: I just can't stomach him. Let me tell you something. I can't do enough
damage to this kid. It wouldn't be enough for me.
JDV: In your first fight with Rosenblatt, you seemed to pursue him without
any respect. You looked like you were trying to move through his punches.
This strategy could have cost you the fight since your left eye was all but
completely shut. Are you going to use a different game plan?
VP: Well I've been fighting regularly (lately). When we first fought, I
hadn't fought in 14 months when I fought Roy Jones Jr. I think that being
active this time around will make a huge difference. I've trained well.
Very, very hard. A lot of intensity. This kid's hurtin. I don't care.
From round 1 through 12 he's gonna get knocked out again.
JDV: Vinny you've suffered debilitating fights, severe financial loss from
the Rhode Island Credit Union and a cracked vertebrae in your neck. Each
setback you have encountered in your life, you always seem to overcome it.
Why has in been so easy for you to not get discouraged?
VP: That's a good question. (Pauses) I just won't let anything stop me.
Whether I'm cut or hurt, nothing is going to stop me. Especially this kid.
That's just been my attitude in life. I just go at it. Whatever happens,
happens. I have always had enough faith, drive and determination and that's
what makes you successful in life. That without a doubt is the best way to
live your life. So many tell me I give them inspiration and courage. I have
a lot of die-hard fans because of what I've done in my career: coming back
from a broken neck and just the way I fight.
JDV: Historically, fighters who are knocked out by their opponents, rarely
ever avenge such defeats.
VP: Really? I never knew that. I wish someone told me that before I went to
Vegas. But I couldn't have bet any more than I bet. They wouldn't allow me
to bet more than I bet.
JDV: The first time out against Rosenblatt, he was installed as a 5-2
betting favorite. Why do you feel that the odds makers would make you an
underdog once again?
VP: I don't know. (Laughs) I was talking to Kevin (Rooney, my trainer) about
how I am the Rodney Dangerfield of boxing. I never get the respect from the
boxing writers or the odds makers. But the boxing public knows. The true
fans know. I'd much rather satisfy the people who have tuned into my career
than the people who are constantly writing me off like the odds makers.
JDV: Many fighters such as David Reid use the cautious approach when fighting
a dangerous fighter. Such when Reid bored fans with an uneventful, yet smart
12 round win over Keith Mullings. This however, is not your bag. You like
to get revved up and fight. I have heard that you drink cups of cappuccino
hours before the fight for the additional caffeine high. Why do you prefer
to fight in such a dangerous way?
VP: I like to live on the edge. I like living an exciting lifestyle and it's
exciting for me to turn people on. I wouldn't be happy fighting nonchalantly
just to win. I do have great defense when I want to use it. It's just not
in my nature or in my heart to use it a lot.
JDV: You attributed your loss to Jones back in 95' to your body crashing
from the after effects of caffeine. Would you ever want to…….
VP: Well the biggest thing was the height difference. The second biggest
thing is, he's the greatest fighter in the world. The third reason is, he's
practically a heavyweight. It would have made just as much sense to fight
Holyfield than to fight Jones. If I was 6'2, I'd be fighting Holyfield or
Tyson tomorrow, but I'm 5'7. I just wouldn't be able to overcome the
physical differences. That's all. It's just as simple as that. Also, I had
a bad night and he had a great night. It was one of his greatest nights and
you can't have a bad night against a fighter as great as Jones is. And it's
not so much that he's even a great fighter, it's just that he's an
unbelievable talent. Physically it just doesn't match up.
JDV: Assuming you're successful, what world champion would you want to go
after? Most of the world champions at 168 pounds (super-middleweight) are
foreign and would be risky fighting in their home countries.
VP: I wanted to fight (Richie) Woodhall (of England), but he lost to Marcus
Beyer (of Germany). The only title I'm interested in is the WBC belt. I
have won 5 world titles (IBO, IBC, IBF, WBA and WBU) and two major world
titles (WBA Jr. Middleweight and IBF Lightweight). I would love to get the
WBC championship belt. That's the only one I haven't won. Right now though,
I really don't care about winning anything else but this fight. Another
thing I'm looking forward to is I'm making a movie called Thunder Doyle.
It's going to be a great drama. It's about a boxer who ends up in jail after
he kills his old man who beats up the kid's mother all the time. When he
gets out of jail after 10 years, he joins the circus because he's got nothing
to do. One of the dwarfs in the circus used for the dwarf tossing ends up
befriending the boxer and the dwarf starts training him to fight again.
We're trying to get Mini Me to play the part of the dwarf. I'm really
looking forward to that. That's eventually what I want to do after boxing is
be an actor.
JDV: I've read reports over the years that there were plans to cast
Christian Slater as you in a movie about your life. Certainly your life has
read like a movie script. Are there any plans that you know of such a film?
VP: My life story will happen.
JDV: Who do you feel could possibly play your part.
VP: Somebody big. It's a great story. It's going to make the career for
whoever plays my part. It's really a fabulous story of great drama,
excitement, lots of ups and downs, comedy, inspiration and sex. It's got
everything. But believe me, the best is yet to come.