It takes a huge amount of courage for a person to make that ring walk and perform in front of a crowd, if doing so was easy we would have more professional fighters than fans. While we have to admire those brave enough to do so even if just once, it’s those who make the walk for a second time that has every trainer, cutman, promoter, reporter and analyst asking boxing’s “Million dollar question”.
“Do we have ourselves a fighter or just someone who wants to fight?”
In my thirty years involved with this sport, the name of that fighter be it just before his debut or after his 10th win who admitted “There will be a time I come up short or deal with adversity that forces me rethink my career” to my knowledge doesn’t exist.
That moment while no fighter wants to think about it, will happen and when it does boxing’s “Million dollar question” gets its answer.
On May 5th 2005, when cruiserweight Vincenzo “American Nightmare” Carita stopped Derrick Osborne at 2:08 of round one in his pro debut, it didn’t take a second ring walk for those present to ask that “Million dollar question”.
When Carita scored his fourth stoppage in as many fights on March 17th 2006, word about this twenty one year old come forward fighter with dynamite in his hands had started spreading. So did the amount of people asking that “Million dollar question”, eight months later Carita faced fellow unbeaten fighter Chris McInerney and was stopped on cuts in round two after being dropped in the first.
As time passed and no word on a Carita return to the ring, the name Vincenzo Carita slowly stopped being mentioned in boxing circles. It seemed the “Million dollar question” had been answered Carita was just another guy who “Wanted to fight”.
In late March of 2017 while checking my emails, I open a press release from Rivera promotions about an upcoming show and while familiar with names of most fighters on the card one left me scratching my head. So I jump online and sure enough it was the same Vincenzo Carita who had been making noise on the upper east coast a decade ago.
Even more surprising Carita (Now a full time court officer in Brockton Mass) had been fighting regularly since 2013. While he hadn’t been facing names of note, Carita was not only averaging three fights a year but traveling far as Mexico and Trinidad.
So OK Carita has been active but after a seven year layoff with a career away from the sport any boxing person is going to wonder “Is this guy really dedicated or did he just get another itch to step in a ring?”
Then my million dollar question gets answered a few weeks ago when learning Vincenzo Carita brought in Jason Bailey as his trainer. If you’re not familiar with Bailey he is a no nonsense trainer who comes from a boxing family and selective with who if anyone he will work with.
In his time under the highly regarded Pedro Diaz, Bailey worked with Cuban standouts Yan Barthelemy, Yuriorkis Gamboa and former pound for pound ranked Guillermo Rigondeaux to name a few.
With a seven year layoff to reevaluate his career inside boxing, returning on the low and averaging three fights a year since 2013, a new no nonsense trainer in his corner. I think the new “Million Dollar Question” surrounding Carita is “How far can he go from here”?
Only a “Fighter” comes back with that kind of dedication some just take a little longer than others.