Rimmer: "Brian Rose is ready"
It’s said that boxing is the loneliest sport. But as the brave Sky Sports cameraman followed a furious Brian Rose back to his dressing room moments after his first round stoppage defeat to Carson Jones in February, by his side - as ever - was his longtime trainer and friend Bobby Rimmer. The cameras eventually left the pair alone to pick over the bones of the defeat but not before filming an interview in which Rose, 30, desperately called for a rematch with the American.
Part of a trainer’s job is to act as a buffer and draw the sting from a defeat but Rimmer himself was deeply affected by the fight’s outcome. The Manchester-based trainer was fortunate to have the opportunity to put some distance - both literally and figuratively - between himself and the defeat and, when he returned and looked back at the fight through clear eyes, he decided that he had seen enough positives during the two minutes and 27 seconds the fight lasted to ensure that an immediate rematch would be the most sensible and meaningful fight for his long time student.
“For me, we’ve got to be a bit more cautious. That’s all it is,” Rimmer told Boxing Monthly, ahead of the 1 August rematch at Hull’s KC Lightstream Stadium. “We know Carson Jones can whack and has got a bit of a dig on him so let’s be a bit more cautious and get back to what Brian’s good at. Brian Rose has never been beaten on points. It’s very hard to beat him on points because he's such a well-schooled, great boxer. Let’s say that last time the crowd and everything got to him and this time we’ve got to be a little bit more cautious just to ease ourselves in to the fight a bit more.
“Brian’s a lot stronger now. He’s doing weights with Kerry Kayes and working very hard and he’s physically stronger. The problem with Brian’s weight was that we’d get down to 11st 4lbs and the last four pounds would kill him. When we fought Demetrius Andrade it was very tough making the weight. The last four pounds would really take it out of him.
“I have no illusions at all that Brian is going to win this fight,” continued Rimmer. “We had to go back to the drawing board and put things right and that’s what we’ve done. He’s looking forward to it and I’m looking forward to it because although a loss is a loss, if you can then go back and beat the kid it isn’t as bad if you can avenge that defeat.
“It hurt a bit because it’s the first time I’ve had a bad decision. It smarted a bit and I thought I was going to get a big bout of depression over it, but luckily I was flying out to LA the following Tuesday to work with Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson so that took my mind off it. I’ve got no qualms at all about this rematch. I’m happy we’ve got it and, in my heart of hearts, I know Brian’s going come out and do it this time.”
The first fight was unusual in that both fighters’ tactics worked perfectly within the space of a round. Rose (26-3-1, 8 KOs) dominated the early skirmishes behind a jab and his long right hand found it’s mark early and hurt Jones (37-10-3, 27 KOs). For his part, the Oklahoman managed to close the distance and let his hands go. When he hurt Rose, he simply kept on punching until referee Ian John-Lewis stepped in. Too quickly in the opinion of some.
“It was a strange night. We have to be careful because referees have a very difficult job and it’s a split second decision. Sometimes they get it right and sometimes they get it wrong but can you ever say they got it wrong if they’re stopping a kid getting hurt?” said Rimmer.
“I’ve never had a bad decision in all the time I’ve been training fighters myself and even back to when I was helping Billy [Graham] out but that night I had two. In the first Prizefighter fight, I thought Jack Arnfield [another Rimmer prospect] could have lost but he got the decision. In the second fight, I thought he won the first two rounds against Cello Renda and he ended up getting beaten. I had to go back and get Brian ready and then that happened.
“I’ve never said anything. Brian was skating the fight, landing at will and doing what he wanted to do until he got hit behind the ear. Brian backed off onto the ropes and took a couple more shots but then I thought, ‘Oh, he’s alright.’
“With hindsight, I’ve have shouted for him to take a knee to give himself a bit of a break. We don’t have hindsight though, do we? I’m not going to slag Ian John-Lewis off though. What we’ve gotta do is put it behind us and move on.”
Every fight is a test of a fighter’s mental as well as physical abilities but rematches have those extra nuances which mean that controlling what goes on between the ears plays a bigger part than usual in controlling what goes on between the ropes. You don’t need to search too far for examples but a couple spring quickly to mind. David Price headed directly into an immediate rematch with Tony Thompson with the weight of the world on his shoulders whilst Lennox Lewis entered the ring for his return with Hasim Rahman an angry, focused man. The results were vastly different. The Rose jab is usually the most important weapon in his arsenal but Rimmer feels that his ability to ward off psychological warfare will be crucial in the build-up to this fight.
“Brian Rose has been beaten three times,” said Rimmer. “He’s been stopped by Max Maxwell, stopped by Demetrius Andrade [in a WBO light middleweight title shot] and stopped by Jones. He’s very tough and mentally brave, Brian. People don’t see that because he’s such a nice lad but he’s very mentally strong. He got beaten by Maxwell but went on to win the British title/ Frank Maloney asked what he wanted to do for his voluntary and Brian said he wanted Maxwell. He said the same about Carson Jones.
“Lets have it. I don’t mind the rematch. Brian isn’t one of those kids who gets in the ring thinking, ‘He’s already beaten me once I’m going get done here’. He’s not like that. It spurs him on and makes him stronger.
“I can’t get into Brian’s head and I’ve been training him for eight years! Brian just shuts people out. Carson has been saying that his daughter punches harder than him but Brian just said to him that in the first couple of minutes, he looked like he was on ice skates. Carson Jones can say what he wants because he got the victory but this time around we’re going to just change things a bit.”
Rimmer and Rose have shared some big nights. Since joining forces after a chance meeting at a Manchester gym, the duo have defied many expectations and accelerated through Central Area title fights at Bolton Arena to a world title fight in New York City. Given the repercussions a second consecutive defeat to Jones would have on Rose’s career, this may just be the biggest and most important fight the pair have prepared for.
“It’s a massive fight. Brian has got to get back to winning ways,” Rimmer told BM. “It’s very hard for any fighter coming off a loss but we’ve done it before haven’t we? We’re not on unchartered ground here. We’ve walked in these shoes. Brian’s got the bit between his teeth and he’s been out in California working with me and sparring those tough Mexican kids. He was due to fight in Birmingham in May but got a bit of flu so we’ve been back in the gym for a long time. He’s ready for it.”