Tough Texan Troy Dorsey holds a unique distinction: he is the first man in history to have become a world champion in both kickboxing and boxing. Also a deeply religious man who has been married since 1986, Troy, who walked away with a somewhat deceptive-looking 16-11-4(11) ledger, say his Lord and saviour “protected” him, and that is why he is in good health today.
“I had 68 fights in total – 33 in boxing and 35 in kickboxing,” Troy said to this writer a while back.
“Let me tell you, both sports are tough, but getting kicked is a whole lot different to getting punched! But I’m fine physically and mentally today, because God looked after me. That’s the only way I can put it. I do at times have some memory problems, but I don’t think that’s due to fighting. I’m just so busy at my karate gym. I have over 400 students, and it’s a lot of work with the phone calls and everything and knowing each one personally.”
Father of two Dorsey is best known to boxing fans for his two close decisions with Jorge Paez and for his amazing slugfest with Kevin Kelley. Troy never won either encounter, yet he feels he was certainly “ripped off” in at least two of those featherweight encounters.
“The first Paez fight, on February the 4th 1990, I won that fight. The thing is, I don’t want anyone to think Troy Dorsey is a whiner, who complains about his defeats. But I get fan mail to this day telling me I won that fight [with Paez]. And the second fight, well, any time you get a draw with a defending world champion, I think that speaks volumes. But I have no hard feelings. I finally won the [IBF] title so it all came good through the grace of God.”
Dorsey KO’d Alfred Angel in a round just over a year after the return with Paez, but he feels his becoming champion took a lot longer than the record books read.
“After all I’d been through with the Paez fights – I had five cuts against Paez, where I had blood all over – I dropped to my knees and prayed when I beat Alfred Rangel. I won in a round but the way I look at it, it took me 25 rounds to become world champion!”
Dorsey’s 1992 war with the then unbeaten Kevin Kelley has become a you-tube favourite, the fight having an extraordinary punch output from both men.
“I threw 1,570 punches against Kelley. With my kickboxing background and the training I did with Casey Malone, who passed away some years ago, I had the stamina to do that. The human mind is the greatest tool we have, it really is! Again, no bad feelings, but I think I won that fight. To have not gotten the decision – after all those punches! I was on him all night but I guess they had big things planned for him. But yes, I was tired after that fight. But I wasn’t as exhausted as he was – in the 11th-round he dropped his hands and he looked ready to go. But we are also friends today. I’m glad the fans enjoyed that fight.
“That wasn‘t my toughest fight though; that was my fight with Jesse James Leija. I had such a tough time making weight and he gave it everything he had for five-rounds, before they wouldn‘t let me out for the sixth.”
Dorsey, hampered by cuts, soldiered on, winning some and losing others after the Leija defeat, before finally hanging ’em up in 1998. Troy didn’t want to walk away.
“It was extremely difficult to retire when I did. But I had suffered so many bad cuts, to the point where I underwent surgery; I had the bones over my eyebrows shaved to prevent further cuts. And I was 35-years-old and, let’s face it, I never slipped too many punches! When I got cut after the surgery, my parents and my wife, my biggest supporters, wanted me to walk away. The cut in the Oscar De La Hoya fight (in 1993) was especially bad.
“But the funny thing is, Oscar broke his hand in that fight, and he had to punch a different way for the rest of his career. Ring Magazine called me when Oscar retired. That was the reason why they called me. Not too many people knew he had to change his whole style of punching. That’s what he got for hitting me (laughs).”
Dorsey says he would have been an MMA fighter had that avenue been open to him in his prime years, and he isn’t too much of a boxing fans these days.
“I did like watching Manny Pacquiao. But I prefer MMA. But I’m proud of achieving what I did in boxing; of becoming a world champion there after I’d won the world title at kickboxing. That was my main goal. I love both sports, but I wanted to make as much money as I could for my family, and boxing allowed me to do that.”