At 35, Medford heavyweight Derric Rossy may not get too many more nights like this. He's been a professional boxer since 2004 and at times has come close to fighting for a heavyweight title. But the coveted title shot has always been just beyond his grasp.
On Friday night in Las Vegas, he fights unbeaten contender Trevor Bryan on Showtime and the winner will put himself into the heavyweight title mix. The promoters and the networks, of course, expect Bryan to win.
"With every fight we go into right now, we know we are going into the Lion's Den," Rossy said. "It has been the norm as of late, but it doesn't affect me. We just go in and fight and do the best we can."
Rossy, a linebacker who won Newsday's Hansen Award at Patchogue-Medford High School in 1997, played college football at Boston College. Rather than pursue a career in the NFL, like B.C. teammate Matthias Kiwanuka, he chose boxing. Rossy seemed to make the right decision until he was derailed by Eddie Chambers on ESPN in 2007. A year later, Rossy rebounded and beat former champ Ray Mercer. But he then lost to some of the division's top fighters -- Maurice Harris, Audley Harrison, Fres Oquendo -- and the title kept slipping further away.
Things started to turn in the right direction again for Rossy in May of 2014 when he beat Joe Hanks, who was 21-1 at the time. He then lost a disputed decision to top-10 contender Vyacheslav Glazkov and followed that with a win over then-unbeaten prospect Akhor Muralimov.
Still, Rossy (30-9) knows Bryan (15-0) represents the A side on Friday night. Bryan, a former national amateur champion, is promoted by Don King.
"This is a great test for Trevor," King said. "This fight is going to be a dream maker or a dream breaker. Trevor has demonstrated that he has great potential. He's undefeated, he has great skill, now we are looking for the intangibles, the heart, the spirit. If he demonstrates that, he's going to be a champion."
Of Rossy, King said, "He is a monumental threat. Rossy also wants to be the champion of the world. He's standing in the doorway and he's going to fight like hell to get through the door."
Rossy said he's never felt better in the ring.
"Having a little bit of a late start, it took me a little longer to catch up to those guys who have had 300 amateur fights," said Rossy. "But I am having a resurgence. I am coming into my own right now. This kid is pretty solid, but we've fought everybody. We are not going into this worried. I'm in it to win it all. Just like everybody who gets into this, I want a shot at the heavyweight title. And I know he does too. We are trying to take that away from him."