Last week David Mayo, fight scribe for the Grand Rapids Press, brought forth the news that local fight hero and Howard City, Michigan native Troy Rowland was calling it a career after turning down a proposed fight in Germany against IBF Middleweight champion Arthur Abraham on March 4, 2006. Rowland’s longtime girlfriend is expecting the couples' first child near the end of February. Combine that with what was a very trying 2005 that saw Rowland bite through his tongue in March in a losing effort to Fernando Zuniga and then stop Ted Muller in October but suffer a broken jaw in the process and it’s no surprise that Rowland, 30, decided to pursue other interests.
If his retirement sticks, Rowland will leave boxing with a record of 23-2 with 6 KOs, and despite never beating any top-ten fighters and turning down a title shot at the end of his career, Rowland should get one last standing ovation from the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan for everything he did while fighting at the Delta Plex.
The Delta Plex is a small arena in downtown Grand Rapids. Rowland changed all of that with the success he had in that venue during his professional career. For those people who could not afford a ticket to see pound-for-pound picasso and Grand Rapids born Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight every three years at the Van Andel Arena, Troy Rowland was always at the Delta Plex fighting where tickets would usually cost under twenty dollars at the gate.
Rowland fought 14 of his 25 bouts at the Delta Plex and I always did my best to try to attend each and every one that would fit my schedule. During the time I spent at the Delta Plex I met a lot of interesting people. These people were not the rich Las Vegas type, but rather hard working blue collar men and women who enjoyed boxing as much as the next person. Boxing is no longer a mainstream like football, baseball or basketball so talking about the sport to most people seems like an endless chore with no benefit.
That wasn’t the case with Troy Rowland bouts.
As much as I looked forward to watching Troy fight, I also was there to talk boxing with other people outside of the internet. I would test my skills debating on who the best fighter in the game was, the state of the heavyweight division, and of course, how Troy Rowland might have done against a champion like Jermain Taylor or Winky Wright.
Rowland did not have achieved the goal of becoming the middleweight champion of the world, but from a personal standpoint he was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. He was always available to talk boxing with you and he always made time to come support the Michigan Golden Gloves each and every year.
The qualities Rowland showed as a human being will always outweigh the shortcomings of his boxing career. Hopefully Rowland will continue to help promote boxing in the city of Grand Rapids and at the Delta Plex. But no matter what he does with his free time Grand Rapids will always have his support.
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