The Ring

Q&A: Wolak discusses fight with Rodriguez and eye injury


New Jersey junior middleweight Pawel Wolak spoke to about his thrilling 10-round majority draw with Delvin Rodriguez on Friday night in New York.

Wolak (29-1-1, 19 knockouts) fought from the sixth round on with a large and grotesque hematoma over his right eye that extended down his right cheek and made him a one-eyed fighter.

Wolak had to settle for the draw but he extended his unbeaten streak to 8-0-1, including five knockouts. He was coming off a sixth-round stoppage of former WBA champion Yuri Foreman (28-2, eight KOs) in March.

Wolak on Sunday discussed the fight and his eye injury in this Q&A. How is the right eye?

Pawel Wolak: I'm seeing through my eye a little bit now, but the swelling has kind of moved down. It was on my eye and around my upper cheekbone, but now it has sort of moved down to my lower cheek. It's close to my chin now. I guess the gravity is pulling all of the water down.

It's gone down around my eye a little bit, but I'm still black and blue and a little discolored. I can actually see through my right eye now, though, if I close my left eye. This was just this morning. Can you talk about your post-fight experience as far as the trip to the hospital?

PW: Well, I went to Bellview Hospital in Manhattan. They basically did some CAT scans to see if there were any bones broken around the eye. I knew that there weren't any bones broken.

It was tender, but I knew that there wouldn't be any bones broken. I mean it was swollen to hell, but the eye doctor pried it open and examined the eye. I could see light and I could read letters.

I could move my eye left, right and up and down. He used a gadget to check the pressure in the eye, and determined that it was all right. Everything in the eye was OK, it's just swollen now. What did they suggest you do to treat it?

PW: They just told me to take some pain medication. It's more uncomfortable because my eye is swollen and half shut.  We just have to wait it out and give it some time. For the first day after the fight, I had ice on my face the whole time. So now, I'm just sitting around doing nothing. It's going to take time.

Ice is good in the beginning, but now, I've just got to wait it out. The blood and everything has to be flushed out of your face. It just takes time. It's just the flesh. Everything on the inside of the eye is fine. They said that it would be swollen for about three weeks. How long will you be out of the ring and away from training as well as from your construction job?

PW: The commission doctor suspended me for a month. So I personally think that within a week, I've got to move and do some shadowboxing. Obviously sparring is out of the question for a while. Just keep in decent shape and shadowbox and hit the bag. I'm going to take this week off and just heal up.

But my body is feeling better than I have ever felt after a fight. Usually, I'm sore in my back and my shoulders or whatever. But I feel perfectly fine, even though it was a 10-round fight. There's no bruising on my body. Nothing's wrong with my shoulders, my legs or my back. Everything's fine. It's just this ridiculous swelling. What caused the swelling?

PW: I started swelling early in the fight, by like the first or second round. I knew that there was a light little cut on the right side, but I think that it came from a head butt. Right in the early rounds. Then as the fight progressed, he must have been hitting me with some good left hooks and probably even more head butts because I remember that he was staying low.

By Round 6, man, it was like very big. From that round on, I was only seeing through one eye. I couldn't see through it much at all. As the fight went on, there was like nothing to see. What kept you going?

PW: I just didn't want it stopped. The fight was close, but I wasn't getting beaten down. I was getting hit on the inside, and I was trying to keep my right hand up. I was thinking, “If I can get in close, then I can stop the left hook.” I felt like I could either block it or slip under it. It was a close fight, especially after the sixth round. Each round was very close.

I wasn't getting beat up. I'm glad that the doctors made the right decision. I couldn't see much, but I wasn't hurt. So I was glad with the decision. What sort of reaction have you received from your fans?

PW: I have gotten a lot of messages. A lot. I did not get one negative comment yet. Twitter, stuff like that. Even other boxers have sent me messages like, “Great fight, man.” That's very important to me. It's all about winning the fans and getting more of them.

Around the web