By Keith Idec
Pawel Wolak’s co-trainer thinks the junior middleweight contender’s retirement is very temporary.
“I’m sure he’s going to fight again,” said Aroz Gist, who trains Wolak along with Tommy Brooks. “He’ll definitely be back in the ring later this year.”
The 30-year-old Wolak (29-2-1, 19 KOs) abruptly announced his retirement on his Facebook page and Twitter account four days after suffering a one-sided decision defeat to Delvin Rodriguez in their 10-round, junior middleweight rematch Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden. Their first fight, which resulted in a majority draw July 15 in New York, was one of the most entertaining action fights of 2011.
But Wolak wasn’t his usual relentless self during their rematch and clearly lost a unanimous decision to Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KOs) on the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito undercard. He alluded to no longer possessing the necessary passion to continue a boxing career that took off last March 12, when Wolak stopped favored former WBA super welterweight champion Yuri Foreman (28-2, 8 KOs, 1 NC) in Las Vegas.
Still, not long after announcing his retirement, Wolak returned to Ike’s & Randy’s Boxing Gym in Paterson, N.J. Gist has seen the Polish-born Wolak, of nearby Rockaway, N.J., virtually every day since he returned to the gym last month.
“He said he retired, but ever since he retired he’s been in the gym every day, training hard as hell,” Gist said. “I’m like, ‘Yo, man. I thought you retired?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, but I still want to come to the gym and train.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you take some time off?’ But he’s still at Ike’s Gym every day at 12 o’clock. He opens it up. He’s got his own key, so he goes there, he trains. He wants to start sparring, but I said no. [Co-trainer] Tommy [Brooks] told him no, too, so he’s just training right now.”
Gist knows it’s just a matter of time, however, before Wolak starts sparring to get ready for his 33rd professional fight.
“I thought maybe he would stop for a little bit,” Gist said, “but did I think he would stop for a long time? No. He loves the sport. And if he stopped boxing, I think he would think about going to M M A, fighting M M A, because he’s got a wrestling background. Fighting is in his blood, so I doubt he would stop fighting, period.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.