By Mitch Abramson
Will Rosinsky doesn’t know whether to be frustrated or flattered.
Rosinsky and Edwin Rodriguez, who will face each other on Oct. 21 in a Showbox main event, used to be friends and roommates on the amateur boxing circuit. When the two traveled abroad to compete in duel boxing meets, the two roomed together. Rosinsky considers Rodriguez a friend. They were both members of the 2006 USA Boxing Team that traveled to China and were U.S. national champions in 2005, Rosinsky at light heavyweight, Rodriguez at middleweight.
When they both turned professional, they remained friends, communicating on Facebook and chatting about the day when they might have to face each another. That day finally came in early September. When the two signed to fight each other last month in a crossroads bout at super middleweight from the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, their friendship took a hit.
Rosinsky, 14-0 fighter from Maspeth, logged on to Facebook one day to find that he was no longer internet friends with Rodriguez. Apparently, he had been deleted. It was the first salvo in what promises to be an entertaining fight. Rosinsky didn’t take the computer slight personally, considering it a byproduct of the usual trash talk that accompanies respective camps during fights.
“It’s all hype and other stuff,” Rosinsky says. “It just goes to a different level with the computers but that’s just part of what takes place with fights. I like Edwin. I like him personally. Hopefully we can be friends again after the fight, but when it comes to boxing, people like to talk all this stuff. I guess it comes with the territory.”
There’s an interesting back-story to the Facebook account that speaks to how fights can simmer and ultimately get made over the internet. Rosinsky, who works as an EMT for the fire department, says that Rodriguez (19-0, 14 knockouts) actually contacted him on Facebook last month before the fight was signed to express some concerns about possibly meeting him in the ring. Rodriguez asked him if he had been offered the fight. Rosinsky said that he had.
“He told me that he didn’t want to take the fight,” Rosinsky said. “My response was, ‘Okay.’ But then two days later, [my adviser, Keith Connolly] called me and said they’re going to take the fight. I was like, “Okay, cool.”
Then, two days later, he was no longer friends with Rodriguez on Facebook. Rather than be annoyed, Rosinsky took the removal as an indication that he might have gotten underneath his old buddy’s skin. He also took their previous conversation, when Rodriguez indicated he didn’t want to face him, as proof that he knows the fight is not going to be a cakewalk. And for $20,000, which Rosinsky said the two are making for the fight, the risk wasn’t worth the reward.
“I think he had cold feet in the beginning because he knows that when I come to fight, I work hard in the gym and it’s going to be harder than his fights with James McGirt Jr. and Aaron Pryor Jr.,” Rosinsky said. "I’m going to come to fight.”
Rosinsky also believes that Rodriguez’s camp might be making the mistake of overlooking him for bigger fights down the road. If that’s the case, and Rodriguez is looking past him, Rosinsky, a four-time Golden Gloves champion, believes they’re making a huge mistake.
“I’m bothered that I’m the underdog in this fight,” he says. “I’m used to being the guy who everyone wants to see in New York. I’m ready for this fight. The timing is good for me. If I win this fight, it opens a lot of doors for me. People will know me outside of New York, and that’s what I’m looking to do: expand my fan base and keep moving up the ladder.”
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.