Rizwaan Zahid

Troy Ross, still "young" at 35, wants another shot at Cunningham

Cunningham's thumb,
not his fists,
ended fight with Troy Ross
By Rizwaan Zahid
Just outside Toronto, a man works hard outside on his lawn, digging away, planting trees and mowing on a Sunday afternoon. Seems like any other lawn in Toronto, doesn’t it?
Riz, is that you?” a voice calls out.
“Yes it is,” I reply back.
The voice is no ordinary man. This is the IBF mandatory challenger for the cruiserweight title. Back from his controversial loss against Steve Cunningham in Germany, Troy Ross is back in Brampton, Canada, working on his lawn and being a regular family guy. This is the Troy Ross outside of training camp and the ring.
In that fight against Cunningham, Ross was seemingly thumbed in the eye, which caused a severe laceration, but the gash was ruled to be the result of a legal punch, giving Cunningham the questionable victory. Ross had Cunningham down in round four before the fight was called to a halt at the end of the stanza.
Troy says the eye is doing well now, however.
“It’s pretty much healed up,” Ross said. “We lost the appeal and they said there has to be proof that the tip of the thumb went into the eye in order to define it as thumbing”.
Troy indicated that he wasn’t all that impressed with what Cunningham brought to the table.
“He didn’t do a thing that surprised me. He was more surprised by me. Their plan was for me to come forward. I’m a stronger guy and they expected me to go directly toward him. I know I can box, so we just did that from the outside and counterpunched.”
After the fight Cunningham stated that he thought he proved that he was better then Troy Ross. A statement that Ross disagrees with.
“My assessment was that he didn’t prove anything in the ring. I didn’t have to say anything in regard to that because every one else did, including the media. They were saying I didn’t lose the fight. Dan Rafael from ESPN moved me up in the rankings instead of moving me down. I was clearly the better boxer.”
Despite knocking Cunningham down in the fourth round, neither judge gave Ross the 10-8 round. Ross has accepted the event and is ready to move on and wants to make another fight with Cunningham.
“A rematch is a must, I think, because the fans want to see it and the media wants it. Everyone wants it. Clearly, Cunningham was not the winner of the fight. There should be a rematch. As a boxer and a man, Cunningham shouldn’t want to become a champion that way. I would automatically grant him one if I won it like that, and ‘say lets do it again, I don’t want it this way.’ Not for a world title.”
Ross understands that at 35 he's reached an age where most fighters are heading into the twilight of their careers and are on the decline. Ross however feels like a young 35, indicating that his body is still performing at its peak.
“I’m thinking I got another 2-3 years that I would like to dedicate to the sport. Physically my body is still performing. Honestly, I have no idea when I’m going to retire. Every fight I fight like it’s my last fight. That brings the best out of me, and that’s why I would always like to fight the best.”
The cut Ross assures has healed up nicely and is ready to get back in the ring.
Ross is now looking at a date in late October on home ground against what he is hoping will be a top 10 cruiserweight. Ideally, he’d like to get a title shot right away. There is clearly unfinished business between himself and Cunningham. And for Troy, unprofessional business is personal.


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Rizwaan Zahid

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Rizwaan Zahid is a recent graduate from Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication Program, and is currently pursuing his aspiration of becoming a professional sports journalist.
Although relatively young, Rizwaan has shown his passion of writing the beautiful sport of boxing and has worked with Bragging Rights Corner, Boxing Banter, Diamond Boxing,
Fightfan.com, East Side Boxing as well as The Fight Network for over three years. With Fightfan.com, Rizwaan has been awarded the feature article of the month numerous times.
Over these past few years, Rizwaan has interviewed and conducted conferences with fighters and trainers such as Jeff Mayweather, Jermaine Taylor, Kelly Pavlik, Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr., Jackie Kallen, Wayne McCullough, Manny Pacquaio, Wladimir Klitsckho and Emmanuel Steward.
  Rizwaan still has a strong passion for many other sports and has covered various sports in The Charlatan, Carleton University's newspaper. Rizwaan has also worked with PHASE 1 Basketball, a camp based out of Toronto which is a showcase for the best basketball Canada has to offer on various levels, as well as the Out of Left Field blog which attracts numerous readers daily.
Rizwaan Zahid hopes to continue his efforts in journalism in the world of sports.

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