The date is August 1, 1975. The place is the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Two of the top middleweight prospects are meeting in a rematch of a May 19th bout in Binghamton, N.Y. On that occasion Mike Nixon, the brother-in-law of Jerry and Mike Quarry, beat Mike Rossman. The loss that night to Nixon was the first of Rossman's budding career – and he vowed to avenge it. The return saw nip and tuck action all the way with Rossman boxing well behind an educated left jab, but Nixon came on some in the middle rounds. Although Rossman was probably in front, Nixon was closing the gap quickly.
Then, in the seventh round, a full swing Rossman right from out of nowhere caught Nixon and just like that the show was over. It was one of the most decisive one punch knockouts I have ever seen. I'll always remember Mike Rossman for two things: (1) that memorable KO clout against Nixon and (2) how he upset Victor Galindez in their first encounter to become the WBA light heavyweight champion.
Mike Rossman had a turbulent career. On his way to his doubleheader with Nixon, Rossman beat some capable veterans, guys like Mike Baker, Harold Richardson and Matt Donovan. After he bombed Nixon, Rossman met Mike Quarry. Quarry out-cuted Mike to win the decision. Two fights later Rossman drew with tough Clevelander Casey Gacic.
In June of 1976 Rossman lost a verdict to the crafty Tony Licata. He then halted Christy Elliot in three rounds. A few weeks letter Rossman and Elliot battled to a draw. Mike then embarked on his road to glory. Rossman outscored Mike Quarry. Then he halted Akron, Ohio's long time contender Ray Anderson in four rounds. Mike Quarry tried again but was stopped in six. Marcel Clay went in one and Gary Summerhays went the ten round route.
Then came a bump in the road toward a title fight, a bump named Alvaro “Yaqui” Lopez. They met on March 2, 1978 at New York's Madison Square Garden. Lopez proved why he was one best fighters to never win a world title. He took Rossman to school that night and battered him for a sixth round KO.
To Mike's credit he jumped right back in with solid KO wins over Lonnie Bennett and Matt Ross. Then on September 15, 1978 Mike met Victor Galindez for the WBA light heavyweight title in New Orleans. In a tremendous upset, Rossman beat Galindez at his own game. He bloodied, battered and outfought the champion to win the title on a thirteenth round TKO.
Shaky is the crown that rests upon the King's head. That was Mike Rossman after he beat Galindez. He defended against a safe opponent in Aldo Traversaro. Then came the rematch with the highly motivated Galindez. Mike lost the title back to Victor in ten rounds. Five months after losing to Galindez, Rossman lost on stunning kayo at the hands of Ramon Ranquello.
Mike put together a modest win streak to put him back in contention. He won decisions over Don Addison, Al Bolden and a pair of verdicts over rough Luke Capuano. Then, in his last chance at the big time, he was paired with the streaking Dwight Qawi. It ended in the seventh round and so in reality did Rossman's career. Mike would win four more fights and then hang them up.
During his tenure as light heavyweight champion there was actually talk of him meeting Muhammad Ali. The “Greatest” was always willing to give a talented and viable white contender a shot at immortality.
Mike Rossman may not have been the best light heavyweight of all time, but he was a solid and formidable professional.