|Rockin’ Rodney Moore, King of the Blue!
Interview by Ken Hissner (May 6, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
One cannot talk about Philly’s legendary Blue Horizon without mentioning the king of the Blue, Rockin’ Rodney Moore. Self proclaimed “one of Philly’s all time greats”. In 29 appearances he only lost once along with a draw there. He was inducted into the prestigious New Jersey International Hall of Fame in 2004 and the prestigious Pennsylvania Hall of Fame in 2007. I caught up with Moore and he was good enough to do a Q&A with me in spite of his busy schedule as President/CEO of “Fight To Learn”. This is an after school program to help boys and girls 5-12 to improve on their academics, life skills training
and athletics in improving their lives. Past funders and contributors have been HBO Sports, the Evander Holyfield and the George Foreman Foundation’s.
Ken Hissner: Let’s start at the beginning. Who was your trainer, manager and what gym did you work out of?
Rodney Moore: Fred Jenkins was my trainer and manager. We worked out of the ABC Recreation Center, 26th & Masters, in Philadelphia. In sparring with guys like Marvin Garris, Ernest Jackson, Bryan “Boogaloo” Jones and Andre Sharpe Richardson, it taught me how to fight. I learned from those early beatings. Jenkins was quoted as saying “I took a guy with no ability and made him into a world class fighter. Adding, “he was a fighter than listened well to instruction.” To that Moore replied, “I believe my trainer Fred Jenkins saw some possible talent in me early in my career. Fighting those very rough and tough experienced guys when I was inexperienced and none of them inflicted any damage to me or really hurt me. I was put in over my head (a lot in my first 15 fights) at the very beginning and survived any serious physical beatings.
Therefore, after all that Fred realized that he had a guy that can potentially become a future world champion. Fred is one of those “good” trainers that should get more recognition than he has gotten. After all he has produced so many quality fighters that came from his stable.
KH: There have been some world champions and top contenders come out of there.
RM: Olympic gold medalist and world champion David Reid, along with IBF lightweight champion Charley “Choo Choo” Brown were two of the world champions.
KH: You lost 3 of your first 5 fights. Were you discouraged?
RM: No, because I first fought Tyrone Trice, a top amateur out of Detroit’s Kronk gym. In losing a close fight to him I knew I could fight. I was also put in over my head in my 5th fight with Ricky Young in NY. That was another
KH: Then you reeled off 8 straight wins before being put in with contender Brian Baronet (29-2) of South Africa and losing a split decision.
RM: It was my first 10 rounder. I jumped from a 6 to a 10. (Baronet had won a WBA eliminator match the year before).
KH: You also lost to Miguel Santana (18-0) but would reverse it 2 years later.
RM: I was much more experienced by then.
KH: You were put in with former title challenger Terrence Ali (32-4-2) after that.
RM: By the 9th round my nose had swelled up and I couldn’t continue.
KH: You then went on a 20 fight unbeaten streak including 2 draws.
RM: The one draw was with Bryant Paden on 4 days notice and I had to lose 15 pounds.
KH: In that win streak you beat some good fighters. Names like Santana, Olympic gold medalist Jerry Page, future world champ Sammy Fuentes, Tony Baltazar and Victorio Belcher. Tell us about some of those bouts.
RM: When I was to fight Belcher (30-2-1) I overheard his manager at ringside, Lou Duva say “you’ll get him out of there quick. He’s nothing but a gym worker.” He was talking about his fighter Belcher whom he signed so he didn’t have to put his other fighter Meldrick Taylor in with him. I stopped him in the 5th. I watched Page (11-3) in the amateurs and won but just couldn’t get him out of there. (He was surprised when I told him it was Page’s last fight). Fuentes was a hard puncher. I was able to get him out of there early. Baltazar was the second hardest puncher I ever fought. (Felix Trinidad would later become the first)
KH: After the Baltazar fight you lost what would be your only loss at the legendary Blue Horizon by split decision to a Mexican boxer named Ramon Zavala (13-7).
RM: For some strange reason I used my bathroom scale while in training. It kept showing a high weight and I believe I over trained not realizing I was on weight.
KH: You win back to back fights over Louie Lomeli (33-3) and former WBA lightweight champion Livingstone Bramble (34-9-2) to earn a title bout in 1993.
RM: I fought Charles Murray (28-1) for the vacant IBF light welter title. I trained like never before, doing more than I ever did. I think I left my fight in the gym. I made the mistake of trying to knock him out while he was scoring punches by boxing.
KH: After scoring a knockout win in your next fight you go 9 months without a fight and get your second title shot against Frankie Randall (51-3-1) for his WBA light welter title in December of 1994 in Mexico.
RM: I don’t like using excuses but I had trouble making weight. It would be my last fight as a junior welterweight. Don King was my promoter and promised me if I took this fight he would get me another shot if I didn’t win.
KH: You were stopped in the 7th round. Then you beat 3 guys with losing record’s and are put in with IBF welter champ Felix Trinidad (27-0).
RM: That was for taking the Randall fight. Trinidad was the hardest puncher I ever fought. I knew my career was coming to an end after that loss.
KH: Over a year later you beat Tony Ortiz (8-3-1) in 3 rounds ending your career. Did you know it would be your last fight?
RM: I pretty much knew it because I was starting to complain to my wife about training. She said “the fire is out of your eyes.” We both knew I was finished after that fight.
KH: I have your record as 38-10-2 with 20 knockouts. I know you have it a little different, and better I must say. One thing for sure you can’t help to think about the Blue Horizon without thinking about Rockin’ Rodney Moore.
RM: I had 29 fights at the Blue Horizon losing only once. I was given the nickname “Mr. Blue Horizon”. It would be upgraded to “King of the Blue Horizon”. I’m glad we finally got together. I look forward to reading the article.
e-mail Ken at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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