Do the math. This story is about math, if you think about it, but more so it’s about love, and quality time spent and seemingly forgotten. It’s about loyalty.
Andre Rozier believes he’s done the right thing all the way through. He would not watch Daniel Jacobs fighting his first bout at 168, against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Phoenix on Friday night and on DAZN, because he is still pissed off at how he was treated by Danny.
Do the math. Rozier started working with Jacobs when Jacobs was just 14. It’s not at all a stretch to say he was a paternal figure to the boy, now a man, a man who ascended to the peak of earning power in this savage game.
Pep talks, hours upon hours upon hours. He offered instruction on technique, and instruction and insights into how to live and be. And that’s why he was hurt when it was money that mattered, seemingly,more than anything else, as Jacobs was matched with Canelo Alvarez on May 4, 2019.
Math again: Jacobs was due to get a $15 million purse to battle the Mexican icon. Rozier was going to get five percent cut. That’s not a crazy figure; if you had told me that the guy who’d been there since Danny was using Clearasil was getting 10 percent, I would have said that’s fair.
But the check was in the mail after Danny took his third loss, and when it came, Rozier gulped.
Looked at it, stared at it.
$100,000. Good chunk. But not five percent of $15 million.
Sean Nam wrote about the money matter on Hannibal Boxing, and I will be up front and say: Good.
Too often, these sorts of matters don’t get fully aired out, because people are weird about money. Is it impolite to talk about money? Really? Or just when the context is not aligned with the preferred narrative of the person or people in power. The CEO and management don’t want the lowlies comparing notes on salary. And when a Warbucks stiffs or shorts a worker bee, modesty often prevents that development from getting to the grapevine. Maybe people are too polite, don’t want to make waves.
Anyway, Jacobs said he split with Rozier due to “some small differences.”
“It came at the best time,” Jacobs said to BoxingScene.com. “I am fully in control of my career and things that happen. I’m just happy to have that liberty to move how I want to move. I have the best team, and now that I have this new trainer, I’m looking forward to learning and implementing new things. … It’s a new chapter. I’m excited.”
And Rozier won’t pretend; he’s disappointed in the kid.
He knows, he remembers the pep talks, the times he was there to be a shoulder to lean on. And yes, OK, he wasn’t sure what was going on in that camp for the Canelo fight. Danny wasn’t listening like he used to. A pal warned Rozier: Danny is looking to make a move, jet.
Nah, Rozier said, figuring that time had bonded them.
The prep was poor, Rozier told me. Danny didn’t train like he wanted or needed to win. He didn’t fight like that either, Rozier thought. And that check came, and he hasn’t heard from Danny since.
“My issue with Danny was ... the disrespect factor,” Rozier said to Nam. “The second thing was that he just treated me like a common, off-the-street second. I’ve been with Danny since he was a teenager. This was the biggest fight of our lives, and we were all supposed to revel in the glory of it but when it came down to the nuts and bolts he not only didn’t speak to me, but he went on to pay me less than one percent of the net purse which was the hugest slap in the face ever.”
From the Hannibal Boxing story: Rozier said he received a check in the mail for $100,000, when he was originally due for five percent of a purse that was reported to be as high as a $15 million.
“He sent it to me without an explanation,” Rozier said to Nam. “Besides the fact that he treated me like I was nowhere near family to him, it’s the biggest slap that anybody could ever give a trainer.
“So I just said, ‘I can’t, I can’t.’”
And on fight night, as he hears that Fareed Samad will corner his kid — check that, Danny, someone who used to be his kid — it is clear that more time will need to pass for trespasses to be forgiven.
Most people don’t know this, but Rozier’s life isn’t all smooth roads, isn’t drama free. Rozier has a 25-year-old son with autism. People close to him know; they know the strides the boy has made, but they also know Rozier gives ample time to his blood. So, when he hears sniping that he missed a training session or what have you, he shakes his head, and mutters. He’s there for his boy, and he was there for Danny. And when time came for the feast, because they, as a team, had made it, his invite was second class. The message was this, maybe some would infer: “We didn’t do this, I did this.”
Why doesn’t Danny remember the totality of their marriage? Does Danny not remember telling CNN, ”It was the hardest challenge in my life and I couldn’t do it alone,” Jacobs said of his face-off with cancer. “Andre supported me through that time 100 percent. ... I love him to death.”
Yeah, Danny and Rozier know all the ins, and why they are on the outs. But the optics, no bueno. What timing. They have made it, now is the time to soak up the spoils — but now it’s time to part ways?
Math, again. Y’all know how hard the taxmen bite on $100,000, right? Off a $15 million purse, no, it’s not a favorable split for a person who thought at one time he was like family to the fighter.
Time will march on. Rozier won’t sneak a peek to see how Danny looks, if the move to 168 will be a difference-maker for him. He will more so concentrate on other clients. He enthuses, hard, about the middleweight Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
Sergey works his ass off in camp, listens, respects him.
If Danny had called him, said, “Hey, coach, I need a change,” that would have helped, Rozier told me. But the radio silence still stings. Danny isn’t who Rozier thought he was, and that’s why he shared the details on the purse cut. No, Jacobs hasn’t publicly refuted Rozier’s account of that purse discrepancy, for the record. But it’s best for Rozier to, as much as possible, look forward.
It’s hard though. He read that Nam story.
”Jacobs was frustrated that Rozier would disappear for a day or two during training camp for the Alvarez fight to corner one of his other fighters’ bouts,” he read.
Um, hello, the guy works, he has to earn, especially if his cut for the Danny fight would be enough to pay for one year’s tuition at a good college. Not enough to coast, or to be totally exclusive to the one client.
”To compound matters, Rozier also missed the group flight to Las Vegas for fight week,” an “insider” told Nam. Oh, and that’s enough of a transgression to warrant dumping the trainer who was with you for about 18 years? Rhetorical question.
Derevyanchenko, he says, if we wanna get real, handled Gennadiy Golovkin better than Danny did. He loves working with the Russian, it’s a dream, and so he looks forward to what’s next for Sergiy.
Who would Rozier like to see Derevyanchenko get a scrap with?
WBC titleholder Jermall Charlo, who just fought and beat Dennis Hogan. That would draw well in New York. Also, Rozier thinks highly of Chris Eubank Jr, now looking to make his mark in the States. Me, I don’t think Eubank would want that work, but maybe he’ll pleasantly surprise me.
Right now, Rozier has been amassing more clients, a larger stable. He said he wants to work with humble souls and not have drama. My three cents: it will take more time for him to make better sense of that split with Jacobs. Boxers do fire walks and the trainer is right there with them, absorbing some of that heat. The fighter does combat and trainer is there to hear what is said in the fox hole during scary nights. The bond that can result is akin to a marriage.
And sure, divorces are not infrequent. But no, we didn’t see this one coming, and so it stings some of us, outside looking in, who appreciated the depth of the bond that seemed to be there for Jacobs and Rozier. I won’t pretend, it looks like money drove a wedge between people who essentially functioned as family, and that’s never not sad.
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