Tyrone James works on the back of a garbage truck, collecting trash for Nassau County. He likes the job, likes the hours. And it’s guaranteed that no one in that sanitation department owns nicknames like his: “Pretty Boy” and “The Jackpot.”
“I’m the only Pretty Boy/Jackpot, man,” James said. “I love the name, and it sticks with me. The fans love it, so I love it.”
Nicknames come with boxing, James’ other job. His nicknames are embroidered in gold on the waistband of his trunks. James says his full-time sanitation job is the equivalent of lifting weights and helps get him in shape for the ring.
The 26-year-old fighter from Elmont was working the night shift Saturday at NYCB Live, aka Nassau Coliseum, boxing at the big arena for the first time. He was part of the undercard of the main event between middleweights Danny Jacobs and Luis Arias.
James, who weighed in 2.6 above the 147-pound welterweight limit, arrived undefeated in five fights with three knockouts in his two-year pro career. Daniel Sostre arrived at 13-14-1 with five KOs. But James knocked Sostre down in the third round and pounded out a unanimous six-round decision in what was considered a junior middleweight fight.
“It was a great fight, great experience,” James said. “The guy was very tough, very rugged. And he took it all six rounds, so I take my hat off to him . . . You couldn’t wish for anything better than this. I feel like this is the top out of all the places I ever fought at. I love it and I can’t wait to do it again.”
His dad, Darryl, played pro football as a running back for the 1984 Oklahoma Outlaws of the USFL. Now “Pretty Boy” is a father of two.
“My long-term goal is to make sure my family is OK,” James said. “I box for myself, but I also box for my two boys, Dylan and Tyrone Jr. I want to give them a life that I didn’t have, so they never have to want for anything. Not that I had to want for everything, but a life better than mine. I do it all for them, so they don’t have to take the punches.”
Rainone falls to Sosa. Tommy “The Razor” Rainone, born in Rockville Centre, raised in Elmont and Plainview, and now living in Farmingdale, was also punching and taking punches on the undercard. George Sosa was the opponent for his six-round junior middleweight bout.
When it was over, one judge scored it 59-55 for Sosa. The other two had it 57-57 — a majority draw.
“I said to myself, ‘I thought I lost that sixth round. If I win that sixth round, I win the fight, end of story,’ ” Rainone said. “He pulled it out . . . It was a close fight. The elbows were ridiculous. He was literally elbowing me to hit me. The elbows bugged the hell out of me, the back of my head, everywhere.
“But he was a tough guy. I don’t care if you’re knocking out cabdrivers. If you have 15 wins and all 15 wins are by knockouts, you can punch a little bit . . . He might be one of the top two or three hardest punchers I ever fought. Very hard puncher. Buzzed me. All respect for him.”
Rainone’s record is 26-8-2. He’s 37 and plans to consider whether he had fought for the last time. He didn’t want to make an emotional choice, saying, “I want to give it a couple of weeks, let the dust settle and make a logical, levelheaded decision.”