Monday, 10 December 2012 04:00

Mike Rossman: A Forgotten Champion

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The date is August 1, 1975. At the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada two of the top middleweight prospects are meeting in a rematch of a May 19th bout in Binghamton, N.Y.
On that occasion, Mike Nixon, the brother-in-law of Jerry and Mike Quarry, beat a young, griity contender named Mike Rossman.

The loss that night to Nixon was the first of Rossman's budding career - a loss he vowed to avenge .

The return saw nip-and-tuck action all the way with Rossman boxing well behind an educated left jab. But Nixon came on a bit in the middle rounds. And although Rossman was presumably in front, Nixon was closing the gap quickly.

Then in the seventh round, out of nowhere a full swing Rossman right caught Nixon flush. And just like, that the show was over.

It was, to this day, one of the most decisive one punch knockouts I have ever seen.

I'll always remember Mike Rossman for two things. That memorable KO clout against Nixon and his upset of Victor Galindez in their first encounter to win W.B.A. Light Heavyweight title.

But Mike Rossman had a very turbulent career.

On his way to his doubleheader with Nixon, Rossman beat a some capable veterans such as Mike Baker, Harold Richardson and Matt Donovan.

After he bombed Nixon, Rossman met Mike Quarry who detrailed Mike's streak by defeating him on points. Then two fights later, Rossman drew with tough Clevelander Casey Gacic.

In June of 1976, Rossman lost a points verdict to the crafty Tony Licata. But he rebounded, halting Christy Elliot in three rounds. And a few weeks later, Rossman and Elliot battled to a draw. Mike then embarked on his road to glory.

Rossman outscored Mike Quarry in their rematch before halting Akron, Ohio's long time contender Ray Anderson in four rounds. Then Rossman met Quarry a third time and stopped his foe in six. Rossman defeated Marcel Clay went in one round while Gary Summerhays went the ten round route.

Then came a bump in the road toward a title fight. His name was Alvaro "Yaqui" Lopez. They met on March 2, 1978 at New York's Madison Square Garden. Lopez proved why he was one best fighters to never win a world title and took Rossman to school that night, battering him for a sixth round KO.

To Mike's credit, he jumped right back in with solid KO wins over Lonnie Bennett and Matt Ross. Then on September 15, 1978 Mike met Victor Galindez for the WBA light heavyweight title in New Orleans. In a tremendous upset, Rossman beat Galindez at his own game. Rossman bloodied, battered and outfought the champion to win the title on a thirteenth round TKO.


'Shaky is the crown upon the King's head' would aptly describe Mike Rossman after he beat Galindez. He first defended against a safe opponent named Aldo Traversaro before rematching the highly motivated Galindez. Citing a broken right hand that he sustained in the 5th round, Rossman retired in his corner between the 9th and 10th rounds, losing the rematch and the title to its previous owner.

Five months after losing to Galindez, Rossman lost on stunning kayo at the hands of Ramon Ranquello. However, Mike would assemble a modest win streak to put him back in contention. He won decisions over Don Addison and Al Bolden and a pair of verdicts over rough Luke Capuano. 

And then, in his last chance at the big time he was paired with the streaking Dwight Qawi who KO'd Rossman in seven. The loss to Qawi would, for all intents and purposes, end Rossman's career. 

Mike would win four more fights and then hang them up.

During his tenure as light heavyweight champion, there was actually talk of him meeting Muhammad Ali as  "The Greatest" was always willing to give a talented and viable white contender a shot at immortality.

Mike Rossman (44-7-3, 27 KOs) may not have been the best light heavyweight of all time but he was a solid and formidable professional.

Mike Rossman vs Victor Galindez I (last round)