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MEET THEIR SON, THE WORLD CHAMPION
Pat Putnam
December 18, 1978
Mom is Jewish, Dad is Italian, and Mike Rossman—the Star of David tattooed on his calf—is the WBA light-heavyweight titleholder
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December 18, 1978

Meet Their Son, The World Champion

Mom is Jewish, Dad is Italian, and Mike Rossman—the Star of David tattooed on his calf—is the WBA light-heavyweight titleholder

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Jimmy DePiano was plumped into a chair in his Miami Beach hotel room when the telephone rang. He spoke above the sounds of the surf coming from the open window, uttering another bad word. DePiano is a short but immense man, built the way Christopher Columbus said the earth was built—but with three times the equator. Sighing, DePiano pushed himself erect. "The damn phone hasn't stopped ringing since Mike Rossman won the championship," he said.

The caller identified himself as an advertising man from Chicago. The ad man told DePiano—who is Rossman's father as well as his manager—that a client just might be able to use the new WBA world light-heavyweight champ in a television commercial. But there was, well, a contingency. The caller from Chicago said he first must ask Rossman a dozen questions. And if all of the questions were answered correctly....

The sentence seemed to trail off.

A thick cloud of smoke burst from the end of the long, fat cigar located in one corner of DePiano's mouth, and a slow flush of anger colored his face.

"You kidding me or something?" he said into the telephone. "Tell you what. You ask me them questions and I'll answer for Rossman. I know all Rossman's answers."

"That will be fine," said the caller. "Now. Does Mike use an underarm deodorant?"

"Bleep, yes," DePiano said, his eyes widening. Angrily he jerked the cigar from his mouth. "What the bleep do you think he is, some kind of a bleeping slob?"

"He uses a deodorant," the ad man said slowly, the way one does when writing something into a notebook. "Fine. Now, what does he use for his dandruff?"

"Dandruff? Bleep, bleep. Dandruff? He ain't got no bleeping dandruff. He don't use nothing. What the bleep kind of questions are you asking? Tell you what: I'll ask you three questions and—if you get all of them right, then maybe we'll do the commercial."

"What three questions?" the ad man asked.

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