Popular New York welterweight Tommy Rainone (13-3) talks to BoxingScene.com about his upcoming bout versus Terry Buterbaugh. Rainone won his last bout, a unanimous decision over Gerardo Cesar Prieto in March and is looking to make it two wins in a row on the undercard to the Cotto-Foreman clash at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Rainone talks about training for the fight, his ticket sales success and also gives his opinion on who will win the main event in this exclusive interview.
BoxingScene.com: Give us your thoughts on your upcoming fight versus Terry Buterbaugh.
Tommy Rainone: I am ready to go. I wish the fight was tomorrow or last week. I trained my ass for six seven weeks. This isn't the best training camp I have ever had to be honest with you but I grinded through it. Things don't always go your way. I had a couple things I had to deal with to train for this fight but I got through it. I am pretty much already at weight. I had my last sparring session last night. I sparred eight straight rounds and its 83 degrees in New York right now. I train in a basement gym and its just a dungeon. It must have been 110 degrees down there. I feel good and I ready to go. The hard part is over and I am just maintaining till the fight.
BoxingScene.com: You answered my next question which is how did training go. You said it wasn't the best training camp you have had. Can you be specific in what went wrong?
Tommy Rainone: I got a little sick and had to take antibiotics. I guess it was from the weather change. It went from 65 to over 80 degrees over night so I missed a little bit of sparring. That is just some of the bullshit you have to deal with while training for a fight. I am not the first fighter to have to deal with it nor will I be the last fighter to deal with it. You just get through it. Sometimes training for a fight goes smooth and sometimes it doesn't. I am ready to go now. I am ready to rock.
BoxingScene.com: We haven't spoken since your last fight against Prieto in which you won a unanimous decision. Give us your thoughts on your performace in that fight?
Tommy Rainone: In that one I had a complication in training as well. I hurt my hand. It was documented. I had hurt my hand while sparring with Mike Ruiz while getting ready for the fight. I went to throw a right hook to the body and he blocked it with his elbow. I felt a little pain and when the sparring session was over I couldn't even close my hand. The next day on the pads I doubled over in pain when I started throwing it. It was worse hand injury I have ever had yet as a pro and I have had a few. We were worried. It was five days before the fight in my last sparring session. We wrapped it good for the fight and I was a little cautious early. It started to really bother me in the third round and then once it numbed up everything was good. Then I really started kicking it in gear in the fourth round. I had dropped him in the second. By the fourth round I was on automatic pilot so to speak. I was whipping his ass. I had him cut. I had him running. If there was a fifth round I would have gotten him out of there. They cut me from a six rounder to a four rounder. They cut a couple of fights short because HBO (Lopez-Luevano) had to go on the air at a certain time. Overall it was a good performance but I wish I would have had six rounds because I would have gotten rid of him bad hand and all in the fifth. Like I said the fourth round was one of the best rounds my career. I was really feeling good. I was landing everything. I was making him miss and I was countering. I cut him and I rocked him a couple of times. It was a good experience.
BoxingScene.com: How does it feel to be part of the first card at the new Yankee Stadium?
Tommy Rainone: Of course it is and honor but it hasn't really hit me yet. I have only been to the stadium to see baseball games. Only the HBO fights are having their press conferences there and the weigh ins for the undercard fighters isn't at the stadium either. The weigh ins are separate. To tell you the truth it is like I am preparing for any other fight. Maybe it will hit me a little bit more at the weigh in but I think it will really hit me when I arrive at the stadium a few hours before the fight. Then I will get really excited. I treat this like any other fight. I am going to handle business and do what I gotta do. A ring is a ring. I gotta go out there regardless of the crowd or where I am fighting. After the fight I am really going to soak it in and enjoy the night. I was able to block all that out before I fought at Madison Square Garden in my last fight. I didn't get it in my head that I was fighting there even though it was something I wanted for a long time and it was a dream come true. As soon as I walked out of the dressing room it was like any other fight. As soon as the fight was over then I was like "Oh shit I just fought at Madison Square Garden." Then I let it soak in a little bit. It will be pretty much the same thing in this fight, handle business and enjoy it afterwards.
BoxingScene.com: You are a pretty big local attraction in New York. Have you heard how ticket sales are going?
Tommy Rainone: I personally know that I sold well over $20,000 worth of tickets. I have a lot of people going that I know of and a lot of people that I don't know of. Overall I don't know how ticket sales are doing. I guess I will see on fight night. I read on one website that they sold over 20,000 tickets and were looking at 30,000 to 35,000 on fight night. Then I read on ESPN that as of last week they had only sold 12,000 tickets and that tickets were moving slow for the fight. I guess I won't know how the crowd will be till fight night. If you asked me earlier how this fight would do I would have said around 25,000. I think that the week of the fight and even the night of the fight a lot of people will buy tickets. Overall it should be a real nice crowd. For myself I can't imagine any of the other undercard fighters having as many people as I am going to have. I am going to have a ton of people there. It got to the point I had to tell people to just go to ticketmaster because we were so close to the fight. I just didn't want to worry about these things anymore so close to the fight. I know I have well over 300 people going to the fight at least.
BoxingScene.com: Who do you think wins between Cotto and Foreman?
Tommy Rainone: I have been asked that a couple times and I am biased because I am friends with Yuri and he is a New York fighter. Legitimately I think this is as close to a 50-50 fight on paper as you are going to see. I think a lot of it has to do with what Cotto has left. He certainly is not getting any better. We will see what he has left after the Pacquiao fight. On the other end of the spectrum usually when a guy wins a world title he improves 20%. If Yuri improves 20% on fight night he is going to be a hell of a lot for Cotto to deal with. Ultimately I see Yuri winning a 12 round decision with Cotto having a lot of moments in the fight. I think it is going to be a competitive fight. I don't think it will be a one sided fight either way but I see Yuri winning a decision.
BoxingScene.com: Do you have a message for the fans?
Tommy Rainone: I want to thank everybody, my family, my friends, my fans for their support. Without them I wouldn't be able to get on big shows like this at Yankee Stadium or Madison Square Garden. I worked my ass off and I am ready to handle business on Saturday night and enjoy the sun a little bit.
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