Pettway doesn't rank high on Rosi's list of concerns

September 17, 1994|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS -- Junior middleweight champion Gianfranco Rosi says he is not taking Vincent Pettway's challenge lightly, but his attitude before tonight's International Boxing Federation title rematch says otherwise.

Rosi has spent most of his time here campaigning vigorously for a showdown with World Boxing Council champion Terry Norris, seldom mentioning Pettway's name.

As a further slight, Rosi announced his plans to make love to his wife, Patrizia, on the eve of the fight.

Reminded that trainers traditionally regard pre-fight sex as taboo, the Italian champion responded, "That is a rule for other fighters, not for Gianfranco Rosi."

After hearing Pettway predict a knockout victory, Rosi said, "I've never met a fighter who was afraid of me. They all make threats to beat me badly, but in the end, I am always the winner."

Keeping cool

Junior welterweight Frankie Randall harbors no bitterness over the controversial split decision that cost him his WBC title in his rematch last May with Julio Cesar Chavez.

After suffering a cut eye in the eighth round after an accidental butt, Chavez benefited from a rule that deducted a point from Randall, who was judged the perpetrator.

While just about everyone in the crowd that night said he was robbed, Randall put away the memory of the Chavez fight the best way he could -- by staying busy.

The Tennessee native will be seeking a new title tonight when he challenges World Boxing Association champion Juan Coggi of Argentina.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have made Randall a 5-to-1 favorite.

"The fight with Chavez is over," he said. "Everybody asks about it, but I can't change what happened, so why worry about it? I'm from the school of hard knocks. If you keep your mind and dream in focus, good things will happen to you."

Randall postponed building a new home in Florida to train diligently for Coggi.

"People wanted me to fight Chavez again right away," said Randall, who handed the Mexican ring legend his first defeat after 89 consecutive wins.

"But I've been put in a position of having to beat Coggi first. I don't think Chavez wants a third fight with me. Otherwise, he would have insisted on taking me right back."

Instead, Chavez appears on Don King's six-bout card fighting a rematch against Meldrick Taylor.

Fast lane

Little is known of Coggi (66-2-2), who made his only appearance in the United States last December when he stopped Eder Gonzales in three rounds in Las Vegas.

But Coggi is a free spirit who enjoys pushing himself to the limit. His favorite pastimes are racing sports cars and hunting wild boar.

"I love excitement and action," he said. "But mostly I love boxing, and it's given me a good life and all I could want. If I die and I'm reborn, I would like to come back as a boxer."

Coggi has one other dream -- a showdown with Chavez. "Then I could say I touched heaven with my hands."

Concerned corner

Emanuel Steward, Chavez's veteran trainer, believes that Chavez's recent struggles and narrow escapes robbed the Mexican warrior of the intimidation factor.

"That used to be Julio's greatest weapon," Steward said. "But people aren't afraid of him anymore."

Just plain fun

Winning isn't everything to Jesse James Leija, the WBC super-featherweight champion who makes his first title defense against Gabriel Ruelas.

"For me, doing the best I can is No. 1 in my book. With that kind of attitude, I'm undefeated ," said the young Texan (28-0-2), who upset Azumah Nelson to win the crown here last May.

"This is a big fight, but it won't drive me crazy. That's the difference between boxing for fun and boxing for money. I don't put a lot of pressure on myself. I just do the best I can."

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