Pawel Wolak has announced his retirement from boxing in the wake of his unanimous decision loss to Delvin Rodriguez at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday, a rematch of their majority draw in July.
A 30-year-old married father of a toddler-aged son who split his time as a construction worker and roofer, Wolak (29-2-1, 19 knockouts) was known as “The Raging Bull” for a rugged, in-your-face style that had him riding an unbeaten streak of 8-0-1, with five knockouts, heading into his return bout with Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KOs).
“With heavy heart, I announce my retirement,” wrote Wolak on his Twitter page. “U need heart, passion, desire 2 compete, but the mind needs to know when it is time.”
Wolak’s biggest career victory came in March under former manager Ivan Edwards, when the New Jersey pressure fighter scored a sixth-round stoppage of former WBA 154-pound titleholder Yuri Foreman (28-2, 8 KOs). Prior to that, Wolak rose from a second-round knockdown to stop Jose Pinzon in the seventh round in December.
“He’s a great man, has the heart of a lion and he gave us 120 percent of himself throughout his career,” said Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum. “He’s going to have a wonderful life in whatever craft that he follows. It’s really been a privledge and a pleasure to have been associated with him.”
Wolak could not be reached, but he wrote a longer message on his Facebook page.
“I am at peace with my decision to retire from boxing. I left it all in the ring and I have absolutely no regrets. I got to do what most people will never be able to and I couldn’t be more proud to have been part of the best sport in the world,” stated Wolak.
“I will stay active, busy and in boxing shape as I have done since 17 years old, but I hope to help other fighters in the NY area in their careers. The list of people to thank is too long but you all know who you are.”
Rodriguez-Wolak I is a Fight of the Year candidate, with Rodriguez hammering away at the right eye of Wolak, even as the area around it swelled to the size of ripe grape fruit. Wolak fought the entire second half of the fight while peering through severely cut and swollen eyes, the right side of his face marred by the large hematoma.
Rodriguez-Wolak II took place as part of a stacked undercard whose HBO Pay Per View-televised main event featured RING No. 1-rated WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) scoring a 10th-round knockout over ex-titleholder Antonio Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs).
“Thank you to my core team, my family, my friends and the fans who have made me a better husband, man, father, son and fighter. I am forever grateful. Thank you to Top Rank for always having my back and to the boxing media who have always been fair and treated me with respect,” said Wolak.
“I am not going to do any interviews at this time. While I am retiring, I am staying under contract for the duration of my contract terms with both Top Rank and my manager, Cameron Dunkin. Please direct all questions to Cameron. Onwards and upwards.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org