Kevin Rooney won the 1975 147lb Sub-Novice New York Golden Gloves Championship. Rooney defeated Kevin Higgins of West Point in the finals. Rooney trained at the Police Athletic Leagues 120th Precinct in Staten Island, New York.
The highlight of Rooney's professional career came in 1982, when he faced Alexis Arguello, in Arguello's debut in the 140 pound weight class. Rooney who had generally fought at welterweight in his career up to that point, was knocked out in the 2nd round. He also lost to future World Light Middleweight Champion Davey Moore by 7th round TKO, in Moore's 7th pro bout.
Career as a Trainer
Rooney was the trainer of World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson from the start of his professional career in 1985, up until Tyson's bout with Michael Spinks in 1988. It has been the viewpoint of most boxing observers, that Tyson's skills began to decline with his firing of Rooney after his bout with Spinks. Tyson began to alter his training approach, focusing more on weight training and becoming more stationary, with less bobbing and head movement than in his earlier career.
Rooney has continued to train fighters, working most notably with Vinny Pazienza.