Bobby Rooney has been in charge of the Bayonne Police Athletic League’s Boxing Club for almost a decade. Prior to taking over the Bayonne PAL program from his father, professional boxer Bob Rooney, Sr., who ran it for more than 30 years, Bobby Rooney was a professional fighter. He went pro in 2003, winning the WBF Continental Light Heavyweight Title in 2009, and finishing with a win-loss record of 12-3; 7 of his 12 victories were knock-outs, 4 of the victories against previously-undefeated boxers.
Rooney’s work with the Bayonne PAL often has him rubbing elbows with top talent, and not been by coincidence. His father was a sparring partner with Chuck Wepner – the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky – who often offers assistance to the Bayonne PAL. Robert Terry is a recent success story of the program, competing at the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions in Salt Lake City last month. Continue reading LORD OF THE RING-Bayonne native Bobby Rooney reflects on 30+Years in Boxing →
“They used Golden Gloves as a jumpstart to professional careers,” Botti says.
Herkin DeLaRosa, 20, of Union City, has 26 fights under his belt and sees a Golden Gloves title as his opportunity to go pro.
“Everybody wants to be a Golden Gloves champion,” DeLaRosa says. “It means a lot of hard work. It’s like a goal to me. I get to compete in the Nationals.”
DeLaRosa is one of ten boxers at the Union City Gym who will be competing in the 2012 New Jersey Golden Gloves amateur boxing championship’s preliminaries for a shot at the nationals.
The team also includes Felix Tejada, Jose Aviles and Johnny Hernandez of Union City; William Arevalo, Anthony Valentini, Jarrett Blair and Gino Montero of Jersey City; Carlos Lopez of North Bergen; and Hector Melendez of Hoboken.
Melendez, 17, has won 20 fights and two Diamond Glove championships. He also takes AP classes at Hoboken High School and plans to major in economics in college.
“I want 70 amateur fights before I go pro,” Melendez says. “I want to travel, spar in different places. I’m trying to get experience. I only lost one fight. I think boxing will open doors for me.”
Melendez also has high praises for his trainer.
“Joe Botti, he’s great,” Melendez says. “It’s not about money; he does this for free. He cares about his fighters. He does a lot for us and we do for him. I fight hard in the ring. It’s my way of paying him back. It’s not always about boxing. It’s about family. He’s like a dad.”