Junior middleweight James Moore, a native of County Wicklow, Ireland, who fights out of Queens, New York, lost the first fight of his pro career against Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado on June 4 on ESPN 2. Although he was knocked down once in the eight round fight, commentator Teddy Atlas still thought the always aggressive Moore did enough to win a decision.
Although many of those in attendance agreed with Atlas, the three judges gave the fight to Rosado. Like he has done with most obstacles in his life, Moore, now 15-1 (10 KOS), was a bit angry at first but realized that losing is just part of the pro game.
“I took a little bit of time off, but then realized that time was wasting and I better get back in the gym,” said the 30-year-old Moore, a veteran of 314 amateur fights and the former captain of the Irish national amateur team that included John Duddy and Andy Lee.
Moore’s father, also named James, was the longtime coach of the team. He is now in Beijing, China, where he is serving as the head coach of the five-man Irish boxing team at the Summer Olympics.
“I did some fishing and thought things out,” continued Moore. “All fighters lose at one time or another. Hopefully there won’t be another one for me for a while.”
Moore is now being trained by Lennox Blackmoore, who once challenged the immortal Aaron Pryor for the junior welterweight title. He will get back in the ring for the first time since that loss on August 6, when he takes on the seasoned veteran Lloyd Christian Joseph, 12-6-3 (5 KOS), a native of the Virgin Islands who fights out of New York.
The bout, which is part of DiBella Entertainment’s (DBE) Broadway Boxing series, will be held at B.B. Kings Blues Club and Grill in the heart of New York City’s Times Square. The show is being called “Hot Fights, Summer in the City.”
The headline bouts will feature former world lightweight champion Randall Bailey, 36-6 (33 KOS), of Miami, vs. Dairo Esalas, 31-13 (25 KOS), of Colombia and popular New York heavyweight Vinny Maddalone, 29-4 (20 KOS), against an opponent to be determined.
Also scheduled to appear is red-hot featherweight Dat Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American who resides in Vero Beach, Florida, and three amateur stars who will be making their pro debuts.
Light heavyweight Will Rosinsky, a recent graduate of Queens College, is a four time New York City Golden Gloves champion, and hard-punching middleweight Philip Jackson-Benson of Brooklyn is a two-time Golden Gloves titlist. Lightweight Ryan Kielczewski of Lowell, Massachusetts, will also be lacing them up for the first time as a pro.
For Moore, this fight is about more than vindication. His first pro loss, against Rosado, took place on his wife Leann’s birthday. The comeback fight, against Joseph, will take place on their first anniversary.
“Hopefully I can give her a good anniversary present,” said the eternally optimistic Moore, who has the words “One Life One Love” tattooed on the undersigned of his right arm.
When asked about his huge Irish fan base, Moore said they give him a tremendous amount of strength.
“I never take my fans for granted because I know that without them I would not be where I am today,” he explained. “They work hard and use their hard-earned dollars to come see me fight and cheer me on. They deserve to see me in shape, and doing everything I can to win.”
“James is a very fan-friendly fighter whose body attack alone makes him entertaining,” said Steve Farhood, one of the commentators for Broadway Boxing. “Every time out, his vast wealth of amateur experience provides a solid foundation for him. He’s the type of fighter who adds value to every card he appears on.”
Although Moore is promoted by Celtic Gloves Promotions, he is in high demand by New York area promoters because of his ability to sell so many tickets, “I love his body punching,” said Lou DiBella. “When you combine that with his tenacity in the ring, it is hard to imagine him ever being in a bad fight.”
DiBella also praised Moore for accepting the tough and durable Joseph as an opponent, so soon after incurring his first loss.
“That shows me that James is a real fighter,” said DiBella. “I hope to do lots more fights with him in the future. He was willing to get right back on the horse against a guy who is not a pitty-pat opponent.”
Joseph has not only been in the ring with many champions and contenders, he defeated future titlist Keith Mullings, who was then 13-1, by decision in 1997. In Joseph’s next fight, he battled to a draw with Aaron Mitchell, who was 12-1 at the time.
Joseph was stopped in the fifth round by Verno Phillips in 2002, but did go the 10 round distance in a losing effort against the exceptionally tough Joshua Clottey in 2004.
“I don’t expect Joseph to be a walk in the park,” said the realistic Moore. “But I want tough fights. Even after what happened with Rosado, I want tough fights. The only way to move up and get ahead is by fighting tough fights.”
On the evening of July 24, Moore appeared on the nationally syndicated Joey Reynolds radio show on WOR. Earlier that day Reynolds received word that his show was the highest rated overnight radio show among all demographic audiences in the country. He praised Moore for being such a good fighter, as well as an exemplary role model and terrific guest.
“You really deserve a lot of respect for what you do,” said Reynolds.
Moore, who had appeared on the show in the past, was genuinely moved by Reynolds’ comments. He thanked him for having him on the show, and in an offhanded way also thanked the United States for enabling him to try and achieve his longtime ambition of becoming a world champion.
“The United States is the greatest country in the world,” asserted Moore, who has fought all over the world. “It has given me tremendous opportunities, and I am very grateful for that.”
Moore was penciled in to appear on the undercard of the now cancelled September 20 extravaganza at Madison Square Garden featuring Joe Calzaghe against Roy Jones Jr. As disappointed as he is by the demise of that show, he still has a bright outlook for the immediate future.
Assuming he beats Joseph, the always determined and enthusiastic Moore vows to not stay idle for long.
“I’ll find somewhere else to fight,” he said. “I’m a fighter, so that’s what I do. I try to focus on one fight at a time, but I can’t help dreaming about what the future holds. I’m going to just continue doing what I’ve always done. Train hard and fight to win. If I do that, everything else will fall into place.”
B.B. Kings is located at 237 West 42 Street in Manhattan. Tickets are priced from $60 to $160. Very few tickets are still available. Call DBE at 212-947-2577 for more information.