INTRODUCING TRACY ROLLINS, JR.
Press Release: Welterweight Tracy Rollins, Jr. (4-0, 2 KOs) is somewhat of an anomaly, at least in boxing. Not only is he an extremely gifted athlete, the 20 year-old also has strong academic credentials and business acumen. Born in Oakland and raised in Chicago, Rollins has overcome major obstacles, including promotional and managerial problems and injuries suffered in a scooter accident, which derailed his professional career for several years.
After winning 78 of 84 amateur bouts, highlighted by his bronze-medal performance at the National Golden Gloves Tournament, Rollins chose boxing over business. He had graduated from Homewood-Flossmoor High School (Chicago) in only three years, finishing with a nearly straight "A" average, and founded several successful computer repair businesses by the time he was 16.
His circuitous journey took him from Chicago to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and finally Fort Lauderdale. Rollins finally made his pro on November 6, 2010, stopping Kevin Riding (2-1) in the first round of their fight in Tucson, Arizona. His next fight wasn't until eight months later, in Hollywood (FL), in which he won a four-round decision over Eddie Gates. The Seminole tribe, however, got out of the boxing business and Rollins' promoter was left without a supportive venue for his shows.
An extremely frustrated Rollins stepped back from boxing in 2011, applied to a few colleges, and flew to Las Vegas to stay with his mother. He returned to Chicago to take care of his sick father, his girlfriend pulled some strings to get him enrolled at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and he was actively running his businesses again. He had a nice apartment but still kept in touch with his last trainer in Florida, Guy Laieta.
One day, Laieta called Tracy to say that he had found a legitimate boxing manager he was training, John Seip, who had inquired about landing some blue-chip good prospects to handle. Laieta asked Rollins to scout talent for them in Chicago.
"I went to some gyms for two months trying to recruit for Coach Laieta," Tracy remembered, "but nobody wanted to leave Chicago for Florida. I weighed 210 pounds at that time from lifting weights and drinking protein shakes. I had made a lot of sacrifices and wasn't happy with the way things ended. I was watching guys fight on TV who came-up with me in the amateurs. I missed boxing and didn't want any regrets when I got older.
"Coach Laieta thought that I'd quit boxing and people in the Chicago gyms kept asking me why I'd quit. So, I flew to Florida and met John. He negotiated to buy me out of my old managerial and promotional contracts. It was an emotional time for me because my father was non-supportive of my decision. We'd never met so many shady people before and then I had contract problems. I had led a much-protected life. I started training again in Florida with Coach Laieta and John as my manager."
Rollin's fortunes dramatically changed for the better when he hooked-up with Seip, a Wall Street broker who now lives in Florida. His major client is WBO middleweight titleholder Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin.
Today, Rollins only has to be concerned with training. Seip has gotten him two fights in short two months - Daniel Rodriguez (W4) and Jose Angel Sanchez (TKO1) - more than Tracy had during the three previous years.
"Everything is now the way I had pictured it two years ago," Rollins noted. "With his connections in boxing, John has me on a route to fight for a world title in about 2½ years."
Seip doesn't throw superlatives around easily, so his words about Rollins' potential are sincere: "Tracy Rollins has the potential to be something very special," Seip remarked. "He's a throwback-style fighter, one to watch. At 147 pounds, Tracy will be difficult to handle. He is a true boxer-puncher, in that order.
"Tracy gets better every day and he's very coachable. The level of sparring in South Florida is incredible. In addition to traveling to different gyms for sparring, most of his schooling is done at Boxing Fitness in Oakland Park and the famed 5th St. Boxing Gym in South Beach. Dino Spencer, from 5th St. Gym, is his conditioning coach. Tracy weighed 200 pounds when he started working with Dino. Six months later, he is a welterweight. Louie Perez, from Boxing Fitness, acts as Coach Laieta's second. I feel that we have a formidable team in place to create a very exciting fighter. Stay tuned!"
Laieta has watched Rollins develop from a smart kid who liked to box into a dedicated, dangerous fighter. "He never trained hard and got by on his athletic ability," Laieta spoke about his fighter. "He was likeable but difficult, immature with a bad attitude. I was getting frustrated because he wasn't working hard. This was his job but he had been lied to for his entire pro boxing career. Now, he has a big-time boxing manager who believes in him and his talent. There's nothing he can't do in the ring. I'm sold. He's very coachable now, a really good fighter who can hit hard, take a good punch and is fast. I think he can win a world title within three years."
Quite a turnaround a kid who is such an avid reader -- books about business, real estate, micro-economics, computer science and Republican conservatism - that he didn't own a television until Laieta recently forced him to purchase one in order to watch fights and different style fighters. Rollin is also taking Harvard Extension School on-line courses and is two years shy of his degree.
Rollins' boxing career is no longer in a holding pattern, but why did he decide to box rather than pursue his entrepreneurial goals? "I have a passion for the sport, plus, I ran the numbers," Rollins quickly answered. "I figure I can make my first million a lot quicker boxing and then I'll have plenty of time, when I'm a little older, to make a lot more money in business. I also want to bring education into boxing."