Kevin Rooney

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Kevin Rooney (born May 4, 1956 in Staten Island, New York) is an American former boxer and a current boxing trainer. He was portrayed by Clark Gregg in the 1995 movie Tyson[1] and by Aaron Eckhart in the 2016 movie Bleed for This.

Amateur boxing career[edit]

Rooney won the 1975 147 lb Sub-Novice New York Golden Gloves Championship.[citation needed] He defeated Kevin Higgins of West Point in the finals. Rooney trained at the Police Athletic Leagues 120th Precinct in Staten Island, New York.[citation needed]

Professional boxing career[edit]

Rooney began professionally boxing in 1979 and acquired a record of twenty-one wins, four losses, and one draw. In his most important fight as a professional, on July 31, 1982, Rooney lost to three division world champion Alexis Argüello, who was making his first fight in the Junior Welterweight division, by a second-round knockout. He also lost to future WBA world Junior Middleweight champion Davey Moore, who avenged an amateur loss to Rooney, by a knockout in seven rounds, on June 21, 1981.[2]

Career as trainer[edit]

Rooney trained world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson from the start of his professional career in 1985 until Tyson's bout with Michael Spinks in 1988.

During the period when Rooney was Tyson's trainer, Tyson had a record of 35 fights, 35 wins (31 wins by KO). Rooney was then fired at the urging of Don King, who had successfully urged Tyson to break all ties with the D'Amato stable. Tyson's mobility skills in the boxing ring noticeably declined after Rooney's firing and Tyson suffered his first loss in a professional fight 18 months after Rooney's departure.

Rooney was the second-closest trainer to young Mike Tyson, after D'Amato himself, who was also Tyson's adoptive father and is most familiar with Cus D'Amato's famed "Peek-a-Boo" boxing style. Rooney has continued to train fighters, working most notably with Vinny Paz who after hooking up with Rooney, won the light middleweight title.

Criminal arrest[edit]

In November 1994, after being stopped by State Police in Connecticut for erratic driving, Rooney refused to take sobriety tests and assaulted a State Trooper. Rooney was subsequently taken into custody and charged with driving under the influence along with assaulting a police officer and interfering.[3]


Kevin Rooney continues to train young boxers in Catskill, New York, at the same gym that he trained under Cus D'Amato. He was involved on a Comedy Central comedy show, "Punch Line", alongside Bert Sugar, former world Middleweight champion Vito Antuofermo and former world Middleweight and Super Middleweight champion Iran Barkley.[4]

Rooney successfully sued Mike Tyson for over four million dollars claiming Tyson broke a contract by firing Rooney in 1988. [1]

As of 2010, Kevin is acting in a consultative capacity on a stageplay and screenplay written by Dianna Lefas about the life of Cus D'Amato, entitled KNOCKOUT: The Cus D'Amato Story.


  1. ^ "Tyson". IMDb. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Kevin Rooney". BoxRec. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Rooney Faces Intoxication Charge". The New York Times. Associated Press. 1 November 1994. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Kevin Rooney Interview". Retrieved 20 September 2017.

External links[edit]