*No I did not interview myself; these are the edited transcripts from a radio interview I recently gave.
Mike Tyson. He’s the reason I got into the sport in the first place.
2.What do you think of MMA and the UFC?
I enjoy MMA; I believe the sports (boxing and MMA) can co-exist & that boxing can learn a great deal from the way the UFC has marketed their brand & achieved widespread popularity for their sport in a relatively short space of time. I don’t though think boxing, with its rich history, a history indelibly intertwined with many of the most significant societal, cultural and socio-political events of the last one hundred and thirty years (segregation (Jack Johnson); World War Two (Joe Louis & Max Schmelling); Vietnam (Mohammed Ali) and so on) has much to fear from the emergence of another combat sport with significant widespread appeal. Boxing, can though learn and should do so to secure its future as a sport of the people.
3. What’s your favourite fight of all-time?
So many to pick from – Gatti vs Ward I; Chavez vs Taylor; Hagler vs Hearns… not entirely sure I can pick one without a feeling of remorse for not including one of the others but gun to my head I’d have to go with David Haye vs Wladimir Klitschko (just clowning); I’d have to say… Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvellous Marvin Hagler. I like fights with an ambience, with a storyline going in and a storyline coming out – and this one had the before, during and after. Add to that two Hall of Famers pushing themselves to extremes & the timeless boxing debate the judges scorecards instigated I’d settle on Leonard vs Hagler as my all-time favourite match up.
4. Best KO you’ve ever seen?
Marquez vs Ramos (just clowning, again)… Marciano KO vs Joe Walcott
5. Your opinion on the state of the sport from a marketing and commercial stand point?
I think that boxing’s popularity and standing within the wider spectrum of sports and entertainment is on an upward trajectory. I honestly feel that the worst of the stagnation within the sport as a commercial entity is over and that the next three to five years will usher in a period of renewed interest in the sport – both from an increasing number of hardcore fans and from the mainstream in the larger, more media friendly PPV events. I think/hope that boxing has learnt a few lessons as to the requirements of being a factor and remaining a factor as a marquee sport in the digital age.
6. If you could change one thing about boxing or the way it is run, presented or managed, what would it be and why?
I’d do away with all but the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO belts. The rest are simply adding confusion and a reflected insignificance or dilution in value to the legitimate belts. I also look for a body to oversee those four organisations that would mandate a schedule for unification bouts that is based more on the desire to establish a unified champion in a division than on any other vested commercial interests.
7. Should Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao eventually throw down – who ya got?
Floyd. For two reasons. Firstly, he’s been studying Pacquiao from the first moment this matchup was muted and has kept his time in the ring – and hence, his ring age – limited. Like both fighters; love Manny’s style; but in my heart of hearts I think Mayweather takes this on points. The fight has shades of Leonard vs Hagler to it; and I’d not be surprised were it to end similarly – that is, with a highly contested decision victory for the boxer (Mayweather).
8. What is your opinion of the boxing talent in South Africa and of African fighters more generally?
Africa, much as it does in football or soccer, has an abundance of talent yet a complete lack of organisation when it comes to rearing boxing talent. There are a handful of very competent trainers and managers out here but they are too few and often get the fighters too late in the day to be able to instil in them the level of professional discipline required to compete with the best fighters in the world.
9. How far do you think Amir Khan will go in the sport?
I think/hope he will become a part of a new chapter in the 140lbs to 154lbs weight divisions – with three or four other marquee fighters participating in a second golden generation of welterweight (ish) fighters. I don’t think he will quite reach the status of a Pound for Pound #1 as he still has that suspect chin and sooner or later will run into trouble against a heavy handed opponent; but his handspeed is something to behold and, though flawed, should enjoy a good, long run as a pound for pound list stalwart.
10. Describe Ricky Hatton in one word.
11. Favorite quote from a boxer?
“How dare these mortals try to enter my realm” Mike Tyson
12. Does Ortiz have a realistic chance of beating Floyd Mayweather?
I can’t see it, honestly speaking I think he’ll be outmatched and torn down progressively from the early-middle rounds onwards and quite possibly get KO’d or TKO’d inside nine rounds.