Ross closing in on a title shot -- again
In the eight years since Brampton's Troy Ross turned pro his boxing career has settled into a frustratingly familiar pattern. He'll move to the cusp of something big after a string of wins and then disappear, sidelined by canceled fights, changes in management or a stint on the silver screen.
Last winter's win in the reality TV series "The Contender" should have set Ross up for a summertime shot at the WBO title, but when proposed opponent Ola Afolabi couldn't secure the proper visa Ross settled for a stay-busy fight against Michael Simms.
After regrouping Ross re-entered the championship picture, and was supposed to fight an IBF title in early spring provided he survived yet another stay-busy bout against Brazilian Daniel Bispo.
He did that with a single body shot.
Impressive win against an outclassed opponent, but in the following months we heard an achingly familiar sound from Ross' camp.
But promoter Yvon Michel is making noise (and moves) behind the scenes and says he's closing in on an IBF title eliminator for Ross this summer against Russia's Grigory Drozd.
Like Ross, Drozd turned pro in April 2001, and like Ross he has lingered on the fringes of the big time but never quite transitioned from prospect to superstar. The winner would face the winner of March 26 showdown between Steve Cunningham and Matt Godfrey for the vacant title.
Michel hopes to finalize the deal by March 6, when he'll be in Connecticut to watch another GYM fighter, Juan Urango, challenge for Devon Alexander's 140-pound title.
A July fight would mean another extended layoff for Ross, who has already had inactive stretches of 22, 20 and 11 months as a pro. But Michel maintains it's the price of doing business. Once Ross signs to fight a title eliminator IBF rules prevent him from taking fights in the interim. At 34 Ross no longer has time to substitute tuneup bouts for title shots, so his only option -- provided Michel can finalize the deal -- is to wait for July.
But an 8-month layoff is a small obstacle for a fighter with Ross' history of inactivity. And Drozd hasn't fought since July 2009, so if this fight takes place Ross would actually be the less rusty of the two fighters.