By Ryan Burton
Welterweight Tommy "The Razor" Rainone had a year to forget in 2009. He lost in his attempt to win the USA NY State welterweight title against Daniel Sostre in May. He had planned to return to the ring a couple months later when he injured his ankle while running in training and then his string of bad luck continued as he was promised spots on fight cards that never materialized. After the longest layoff of his career "The Razor" returned, albeit with a hand injury, and defeated Gerardo Prieto on the undercard of the Juan Manuel Lopez and Steven Luevano fight. See what the New Yorker had to say in this exclusive interview.
BoxingScene.com: Congrats on the win over Gerardo Prieto on Saturday. How do you grade your performance?
Tommy Rainone: Considering I went into the fight with an injury I would say a seven out of ten. I came into the fight with a hurt hand. I injured the hand on Monday. I injured it in my last sparring session. I went to throw a right hook to the body and I hit him on the point of his elbow. When I went back to the gym on Tuesday the first right hook I through when I was working the pads with my trainer I doubled over and that was it. I couldn't hit anymore till the night of the fight.
I didn't really know what was going to happen until the bell rang. I was a little concerned about the hand but when I was warming up in the dressing room the hand felt ok. Once you start hitting someone in the head there is no way around re-injuring it when its only been five days since the injury happened. I knew I had to bite down and the hand was going to bother me. I wasn't able to throw the combinations I wanted to throw. They also cut my fight from six rounds to four rounds because HBO wanted to go live at 9:45pm. They had to cut a couple fights short.
I think that if I had six rounds I would have gotten rid of him in the fifth round even with the bad hand because I dropped him and I had him cut in the fourth. In the fourth he was exhausted and running from me. In the fifth round I would have got him and taken care of him. Considering the adversity I go the win pretty easy but I am definitely better than what I showed Saturday.
BoxingScene.com: You hadn't fought since last May. Why such a long layoff?
Tommy Rainone: What happened is I fought for the NY State title back in May. I was supposed to fight in July in Franklin Square and the week prior to the fight I hurt my ankle bad while running. The combination of not being able to put weight on it and then not being able to make weight for the fight anyway I had to pull out of it. Then I just had a string of bad luck, a few empty promises from promoters, and just not being able to get anything going. Considering coming into this fight after the longest layoff of my career and a bad right hand I didn't exactly have everything in my favor going into this.
BoxingScene.com: Now that you are back in the win column what do you have planned for 2010?
Tommy Rainone: I am staying in shape. I am in great fight shape already. I need to rest the hand probably two weeks and not hit anything as far as sparring, the heavy bag, pads or anything. I am going to hit the double end bag, the speed bag, I am going to shadow box and jump rope, go running and just stay in shape. I am waiting to hear about something in Jersey in possibly late February. There is also the chance of my trainer taking me back to South America to fight in either Uruguay or Argentina at the end of February or the beginning of March probably March 12th. I am going to stay busy any which way. 09 was a nightmare year for me and 2010 is off to the right start with the fight at The Garden. I just need to build off of the fight and keep the momentum.
BoxingScene.com: Speaking of Argentina, how was your experience fighting Santos Galli in Argentina in 2008?
Tommy Rainone: That was excellent. They treated me great down there. They love their fighters down there. My trainer Jorge Gallardo is from down there, he had like 21 or 22 fights. He is very well known in that area even though he hasn't been there in a few years. They treated me really great. It was an easy fight. I came down in great shape and I won every round of the fight and I stopped him in the seventh round. It was a great experience and I am definitely going back down there soon.
BoxingScene.com: What did you think of Gamboa's performance?
Tommy Rainone: To tell you the truth I saw it on TV. I didn't see it live at The Garden. I had a ton of people there probably 150 or 160 people and probably 70% of them after my fight were ready to go to the bar or go eat so I hung out and I left in the middle of the Pawel Wolack fight. I had a feeling a feeling his fight was going to go 10 rounds. He is a good tough fighter but his fights usually go the distance and then with Duddy following Wolack and he has been going the distance lately I was saying to myself by the time Gamboa gets in the ring I am looking at another hour and a half so I actually didn't see it live. I did see it on HBO a couple times and he was unbelievable. His handspeed is incredible.
BoxingScene.com: Who wins Pacquiao or Clottey?
Tommy Rainone: I got Pacquiao winning the fight. It will be a tough fight. I think that Clottey will be Pacquiao's toughest fight. He is durable and has great defense. This is the first legitimate welterweight well Cotto was but honestly Cotto is on the downside of his career already. The Margarito fight took a lot out of Cotto and the Clottey fight took something out of his too. I see Pacquiao winning a 12 round decision. I think Pacquiao is going to be too busy for him. Clottey is good but he can be outworked because he covers up too much. He has a good size advantage so I don't see how Pacquiao is going to hurt him because I have never even seen Clottey stunned in there. Pacquiao 12 round decision by outhustling him all night.
BoxingScene.com: Is there anyone in particular you are looking to fight this year?
Tommy Rainone: I am definitely looking at stepping up and getting better opponents. It is very difficult when you don't have a promoter and I don't even have a manager. I manage myself. I kind of have everything going against me in a way so it doesn't make it easier. The only thing that makes my life easier is that I sell a lot of tickets for the promoters so they put me on. As far as opponents they are always looking for the cheapest opponents they can find so I end up fighting against not the best competition out there.
Top Rank told me they would bring me back on the undercard of the Yuri Formeman vs. Miguel Cotto card but that isn't till June of course. I am looking to get a couple good wins in and start stepping up before then. I am going to look into possibly getting a manager and I had a couple of inquiries in the last couple days from promoters. We will see what falls in line. Once I have a promoter and some backing, life will get a little easier and we can spend a little more money on opponents and get the right guys and take it to the next level.
BoxingScene.com: Do you have a message for the fans?
Tommy Rainone: 2009 was a disaster personally and professionally. So far in 2010 I have had more success than I had in all of 2009 since I lost the one fight I had in 2009. I am looking to improve in every fight. On Saturday I did what I had to do to win and it was a great experience to fight at Madison Square Garden. It was a dream come true. Now we have to move forward and do more.
Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org