News May 2019

Tommy “The Razor” Rainone looks toward 2014, expertly weighs up Khan vs Floyd and calls out Harris


By Michael J Jones

The Razor Rainone

A quick-fisted southpaw, the popular Tommy “The Razor” Rainone is currently 20-5 (4) as he looks to make 2014 the best season of his seven-year pro career. The New York welterweight has only boxed once this year winning a split six-round decision over 15-7 James Winchester in May.

The boxing story of Tommy Rainone starts as many do with a troublesome kid growing up in a tough area…

“As many fighters do I grew up in humble beginnings” Tommy tells Livefight. “It was a tough neighbourhood and I got into a lot of fights. I was always in trouble.”

The youngster would start boxing in his mid teens at the Westbury Boxing Gym but quickly found the amateur ranks a tough proposition. The gritty southpaw was forced to face the cream of the unpaid code right from the start as he was repeatedly matched tough.

“With the guys I was regularly facing it was hard to gain any momentum or confidence” explains 33-year-old Tommy. “They’d call my name, I’d roll my eyes and I’d just have to fight these guys who were some of the toughest fighters in New York. I had 30 amateur fights and ten were against guys ranked in the top ten in the National rankings.”

Two of those defeats came against future WBA champion Luis Collazo in all-southpaw encounters.

“I lost a few fights but I was competitive in them and was never knocked down or dominated” says Rainone proudly before admitting “I also cut a lot of corners in my amateur days, partying with friends and you need to be 100% dedicated in boxing.”

At 23-years-old the talented southpaw decided to take a break from boxing to “have fun, be young and travel.” Tommy swore if he ever returned it would be as a fully-dedicated pro. After initially planning a two-year break, Rainone’s hiatus from the ring lasted three whole years.

“All of my friends and family thought that was it with me and boxing” smiles the likable American. “I kept saying I was going back to training but it just never happened. I was partying a lot, having fun with my friends, then one weekend I decided it would be my last one of fun.”

“I remember it well it was March 2006 in Miami and I told my friend after that weekend I was going to start training again. That’s just what I did the following Monday…it was like starting from scratch I was exhausted after just two rounds of sparring!”

After a gruelling six months in camp, Tommy would make his ring return in September 06’ at the age of 26. Inside of two years he would be a perfect 11-0 (3) with one of those victories occurring at the legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia.

“That was incredible fighting there” remembers the 5’8” contender of the October 2007 bout. Tommy would out-score Jaime Morales just two years before the much-loved Philly venue would close indefinitely. “As a kid I’d watched Tuesday Night Fights and knew of the reputation of the Blue Horizon.”

“I’d never been there before but I visited with my girlfriend and loved it immediately. I said I had to fight there and my friend got me on a show just months later. My opponent was only 4-4 and from one of the local gyms but he was tough and, with the crowd against me for the first time in my career, I had to keep my composure. I out-boxed and out-fought him but the crowd went wild with every thing he did.”

The confident New Yorker would have his unbeaten record snapped by Manuel Guzman in June 2008 and would then disappointingly drop another close decision just three months later to Henry White Jr. Both losses were split votes yet Tommy is clinical in his opinion of both results.

“The first loss to Manuel Guzman, I know every fighter has bullsh*t excuses for losing, but I thought I won that fight. It was a competitive fight but I thought I did enough to win (Tommy was also hampered by a cut suffered two weeks before the fight which reopened during the four-rounder). It was a terrible way to lose my unbeaten record as there’s no way I lost that fight.

My second defeat was fair and square and due to my over-confidence. The guy (Henry White Jr) was only 2-2-1 but what I didn’t realise was he’d had a good amateur career and had fought some high level of opponents there. The better man won that night.”

Following two straight reverses, Rainone would venture to Buenos Aires for his next bout to take on local fighter Santos Galli in a none-title fight. The contest’s importance in the career of the visitor was imperative yet he would produce one of his best performances with a resounding seventh-round stoppage.

“He was a good fighter and I had sparred his brother (former WBO lightweight title challenger) Wilson before the fight. My trainer (Jorge Gallardo) is from Argentina and that’s how the fight came about. I got there off the back of two straight losses to box my first eight-rounder so it was make or break for me that fight.”

“I came in tremendous shape and really did my thing out there. I hit him with a straight left and then went to the body and he quit. I got treated great there in Argentina.”

Despite only fighting outside the US that one time, the well-supported Rainone has featured on some of the best fight cards of recent years under names such as Nonito Donaire, Miguel Cotto and Andre Berto. He lists both the Blue Horizon and Madison Square Garden as his favourite fight venues.

Tough kid: Rainone wants to step up

“With living in New York you just get off the train and you’re there at Madison Square Garden” says Rainone. “I’d been there several times before I fought there for concerts and shows and it was honour to get to fight there.”

In Tommy’s first fight at the Garden he out-pointed Gerardo Cesar Prieto over four rounds, 21 months later he would box awkward Brad Jackson on the Nonito Donaire-Omar Narvaez bill.

“Brad Jackson gave me all kinds of problems” reveals Rainone who would score a unanimous decision. “I’d never seen him fight before, he was tall and had a long reach and, although he was skinny; he was muscular with it. He fought very defensive-mindedly and it gave me little to work with. Though it wasn’t the most exciting fight, I was proud of that performance as he made me think my way through to victory.”

Since going unbeaten in his first eleven contests, Tommy has gone just 9-5 since but bare facts do little justice to the tough contender. He hits far harder than his knock-out percentage shows and all of his defeats have been close and disputed. One of those losses came four years ago to Daniel Sostre and clearly still rankles with Tommy.

“There was no way I lost that fight” insists the self-managed southpaw. The USA New York state welterweight title was scored unanimously to Sostre to the disgust of the man adjudged the loser after the eight-rounder.

“I controlled the fight, maybe I tired the last two rounds but I though I’d won at least 5-3…I thought I deserved a draw at the very least. After the fight his manager told me he had it 4-4 even a clean draw and they had under-estimated me. He said there should be a rematch yet it never materialised.”

Despite dropping two more close decisions since then, Tommy is presently on a winning run of three and a year ago clearly out-scored Robbie Cannon to win the IBA Americas belt, scoring two knock-downs in the process.

With 20 pro wins to date I ask which of them showed the best of Tommy Rainone but he is unable to pick just one…

“Back in 2011 I fought twice inside two-and-a half months against Arthur Medina and Norman Allen (winning both on points over six). I mean, the opponents weren’t the greatest but I really boxed well and was happy with my performances. The speed, defence and combinations in each of those fights…I was just on fire in both.”

What does the future hold for Rainone as he nears his 34th year?

“I still have ambition” Tommy says firmly. “It’s been a slow year and I’ve only fought once, but ideally I’ll be out five or six times next year. I’m also hoping to get a fight in December all being well. I feel a little behind in my career boxing six-rounders when I should really be fighting ten or twelve-round title fights right now.”

“Being self-promoted makes it tough to get fights lined up and the trouble with boxing on other people’s shows is the promoter wants the best deal possible. If he can get a guy who is 14-12 to box for a fraction of the price of a guy who is 15-3, he’ll go with the cheaper option.”

Who does the New Yorker feel would bring the best out in him as an opponent?

“Vivian Harris” he replies immediately. “I’d take that fight next week if I was offered. He’s obviously still got some power and the experience but I think I could overcome him. I’m at the stage now where I want to make things happen in my career and if it means travelling to fights or taking tough opponents then so be it.”

Tommy Rainone

Away from the ring, Rainone has worked at the Hilton Hotel for nine years. His duties mainly revolve around accounting and working out tax figures. He has also appeared on the off-Broadway hit ‘Kid Shamrock’ alongside Irishman John Duddy in 2011/12. Despite his many talents though the New Yorker is a boxing man through-and-through.

I ask his thoughts on the much-discussed Amir Khan-Floyd Mayweather fight, rumoured to be in the works for next year.

“Firstly I want to say Amir Khan is a very under-estimated fighter. He’s a very talented guy who did well in the Olympics when he was just 17-years-old and has done little wrong in the pro’s. I have admired his talent and think his hand-speed could give Mayweather some trouble.”

“I thought that Khan beat Lamon Peterson in that fight and, when they said he was facing Danny Garcia next, I thought it would be a mismatch; like a world class fighter vs a novice. I did not see any way how Garcia could win that but Amir showed he had no boxing IQ. He got greedy trying to throw five and six punch combinations instead of sticking to three and four punch combinations.”

“All Garcia could do was to try and time that (right hook) over and over that was his only way of winning. Khan didn’t read the signs and paid the price. A guy like that in my opinion will never beat Mayweather.”

Rainone offers this advice to the Bolton star.

“I don’t think Khan has ever put it all together but he can be like Wladimir Klitschko and be a dominant champion if he can find the right trainer. Klitschko is another guy who had a lot of talent but got knocked out and had to make adjustments. Amir can do that too.”

I also ask “The Razor” if Gennedy Golovkin is as good a fighter as the boxing world seems to think after a relentless run of knock-out victories in the middleweight division?

“Golovkin is incredible…one of the best fighters I’ve seen in a long time” praises Tommy. “He’s the total package and can do anything; box, punch, he doesn’t waste any punches, cuts the ring off well, goes to the body…..I don’t see anyone at 160 beating him.”

Not even Sergio Martinez?

“I think with Martinez the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr fight took something out of him. He dominated all but the last round but that last-round beating had an affect. He wasn’t the same in the Martin Murray fight. Martinez has been a good fighter for a long time but tried making his name fighting smaller guys like Pacquiao.”

“The only guy who can possibly beat Golovkin is Andre Ward…but the leap from 160 to 168lbs is huge.”

Evidently a true student of the game, Rainone lists Arturo Gatti as his favourite ever fighter and had this final message to conclude our interview:-

“I’m looking forward to a big 2014, I’m training hard and am ready for being focussed. I want to thank my family, friends and followers for their continued support.”

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