by David P. Greisman
BoxingScene.com recently caught up with Troy Ross to talk about his new promoter, his comeback fight on Feb. 4, and the promise of another shot soon at a cruiserweight world title, including the chance at getting a rematch at Steve Cunningham.
Ross lost to Cunningham in June 2010 on what was ruled a technical knockout due to a cut — a cut that actually appeared to have been caused by a thumb to the eye. The 36-year-old Canadian last fought in October 2010, a decision win over Carl Handy that brought his record of 24-2 (16 knockouts).
His comeback opponent is Billy Boyle, who is 13-14 (7 KOs).
BoxingScene.com: It was recently announced that you signed with Sauerland Event to promote you over in Europe. What made you go in that direction?
Ross: “The cruiserweight division is big over in Europe, and I need to be busy. It’s been a year that I haven’t fought. Everything is being canceled over here, so I’m looking forward to having a prosperous career and keeping busy. Sauerland is providing that for me.
“We’ve got fights lined up. We’ve got to get the first one out of the way and then we’re fighting for a world title. I’m looking forward to working with Sauerland, because I know they’re a very big organization over in Germany. They’ve got the best fighters in the world there.”
BoxingScene.com: What’s your understanding of what’s going to happen? Is it Billy Boyle on Feb. 4, and then a title shot next?
Ross: “Yes, Billy Boyle, and then a world title shot — whoever wins out of Cunningham and Hernandez is who I will be fighting.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you have a preference?
Ross: “I would love to get Cunningham back in the ring to settle unfinished business, but to me it doesn’t matter whoever wins the fight, because I believe I can beat them both. I’m just expecting a good fight, and maybe even a 12-round fight. Hopefully they beat each other up, because they’re going to get another beating from me.”
BoxingScene.com: Who do you favor to win the Cunningham-Hernandez rematch?
Ross: “The first time around I said it was going to be Hernandez, coming from his amateur background, and I know he can box and has some power pretty much in both hands. I thought he would win the fight, and he did. I think I would want to say again it would be Hernandez to win the fight, just because of his boxing background, and he’s got power in both hands.”
BoxingScene.com: Stylistically speaking, who do you think you match up better with?
Ross: “Cunningham is a boxer, and I love to fight boxers, because I box as well. I can box and I can punch, so I would love to fight Cunningham.”
BoxingScene.com: You mentioned the long layoff you had. Why’ve you been out of the ring for so long?
Ross: “Well pretty much it’s been a lot of cancellations. We were supposed to fight Feb. 4 of last year. We had a cancellation. And then we were supposed to fight Herbie Hide for the title eliminator. Herbie Hide could not come into the country because he had some pending charges against him. And then we were supposed to fight a title eliminator [against Garrett Wilson] Nov. 19, and that never happened.”
BoxingScene.com: Has this long layoff left you rusty or been to your detriment, physically or mentally?
Ross: “Oh, absolutely not. I’ve been training. I’ve always been training. I’ve always been in the gym. I’m always in the gym working no matter what, so when I get that phone call that day of the fight, I’m already in shape. Come Feb. 4, you’ll be looking forward to seeing a trim and well-conditioned athlete going in to fight and to perform to the best of his ability. I’m always on weight. I usually walk around 198, 197, somewhere around there. I have no problem making weight.”
BoxingScene.com: With no rust, do you want to go rounds against Boyle or are you looking to get him out of there quickly?
Ross: “For me, I’m not a predictor of how long the fight’s going to happen, because I got power in both hands. Any one of my hands will do damage. I always prepare to go the distance. If the fight will be an eight round fight, I’m prepared to go eight rounds. And if it so happens that the fight ends early, whether it’s the first round or the eighth round, it’s always a bonus.”
BoxingScene.com: You’ve fought in Germany once before when you first faced Cunningham. What was your experience like fighting overseas?
Ross: “I have a lengthy amateur background, so fighting on the road and traveling has never been a problem for me. The main thing is as long as we get there with enough time to acclimatize, then everything will be fine. We’re going to be there way in advance, so I won’t have any problems acclimatizing.”
BoxingScene.com: Some fighters seem to be making a second home and building a fan base in Germany. Is that what might end up happening with you, now that you’re fighting for a European promoter in a division full of European fighters?
Ross: “It’s not that I’m looking for it. It’s just that that’s exactly where the fights are. The cruiserweight division is very big over in Germany, so for me to go over there and make pretty much a big impact over there, yes, I will definitely have to fight there a few times. People will have to see me, and they’ll have to like what they see. Definitely I want to go over there and make a big impact, fighting Billy Boyle and then for a world title.
“It’s not that I’m making it my second home. It’s just that’s where we have to go to fight, because they have the champions. They got the Cunninghams, the Hernandezes, the Marco Hucks. I got to go over there where the fights are. This is my job, This is what I do. Fighting is what I do, and I also like to perform to the best of my ability. So wherever the fight is, I will be there.”
BoxingScene.com: I doubt being Germany would make a difference facing Cunningham or Hernandez, neither of whom is from there, but could there be a potential hometown advantage for when you get in the ring over there against other foes?
Ross: “There is always room for error where it’s a hometown advantage, and a disadvantage for me, but my coach always says, ‘You got to bring your tools to the job.’ And my tools are my right and my left. So I got to make sure they’re ready to perform and I’m ready to perform. So no matter what, when you got 12 rounds in the ring, you’ve got to go in there 100 percent. That’s exactly what I have to be. I have to be well-conditioned and well-prepared.”
BoxingScene.com: Out of the ring last year, new promoter now and title shot on the horizon this year. You must be excited to make a splash in 2012.
Ross: “Oh, definitely, we’re going to make a big splash. I haven’t been in the ring for a little while. I don’t feel rusty at all, because, like I said, I’ve always been in the gym. It’s just unfortunately the cancellations that happened. I’m looking forward to starting 2012 with a really good start, with a big bang. Look forward to seeing Troy Ross in 2012 and also wearing that world title belt around his waist, the IBF title.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]