TheBoxingBar.com : Why did you choose the topic of boxing for your movie/documentary "El Boxeo”? And more specifically why about Latinos in boxing?
Alan Swyer (Filmmaker) : I participated in three sports while growing up: baseball, basketball, and boxing. I made a film called "Rebound" about basketball for HBO, plus a documentary about the Latinization of baseball, called "Beisbol." That left one sport that was important to me: boxing. Having moved to L.A. while the Olympic Auditorium was still functioning, I got to see first-hand how important - and great - West Coast boxing was. So I decided not merely to document the fact that the sport was becoming largely Latin both in the ring and in the stands, but also to show how that trend meant that the center of the boxing world had moved from New York and Madison Square Garden to Southern California and Las Vegas. That also allowed me to look back at the history here, which meant everyone from Art Aragon to Don Chargin, Bobby Chacon, “El Gato” Gonzalez, Carlos Palomino, Armando Muniz, plus Oscar, Fernando Vargas, and the guys who came to train in SoCal like Sergio Martinez and Canelo.
TheBoxingBar.com : Most of your fights were won by KO. Did you naturally have a strong punch or did you have to work at it with technique and all?
Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik - (former WBC & WBO World middleweight champion) : “It all came when I turned 17, I won natinal tournaments on straight boxing, I was slick as hell boxing wise, but my trainer molded me into a banger.”
TheBoxingBar.com : You've always been a fun and exciting fighter to watch. What can we expect to see in your next performance?
Edner Cherry : Just be me in there like always trying to work that jab more and put more pressure. That's what the fans like. A good fight!
TheBoxingBar.com : You fought mainly as a super middleweight and light-heavyweight which are weight classes that are rare to see a Mexican fighter get to the level you got to. Did you feel like an oddity?
Librado Andrade - (former Top contender):(translated) It was something special for me. Of course I did. That was a time when the super-middleweight division was full of talent. I fought against the best. I fought three times for a world title. In one of those occasions I blame the referee for not becoming the first Mexican world champion of that weight class when I dropped Lucian Bute in the last round! Oxnard IsBoxing : Bute just fought recently is still considered one of the best in his weight. Was he one of your most difficult opponents? LA : Yes, because he was a southpaw and the way he moved around the ring which he does not do anymore. He is just a shadow of what he once was at the time like when I fought him.
TheBoxingBar.com : At the 1984 Olympics you won the gold medal for the USA in what was considered by most as the best American boxing team ever. You also became the first Mexican-American gold medalist. You won the Val Barker award for “Outstanding Boxer” of those Olympics. The first American gold medalist ever of that weight class, light flyweight. Add to all that, those Olympic Games were in your hometown of Los Angeles. What do you think about when you think of all this?
“The Super Fly” Paul Gonzales - (1984 USA Olympic gold medalist / former pro boxer) : First, I want to give thanks to God our father and to his son Jesus Christ for giving me the focus and the drive to keep fighting through my injuries and the pain. I also want to give thanks to Officer Al Stankie of the LAPD and the many people who supported me along the way. When I went to the Olympics I was on a mission. A mission from God, and I could not be stopped. A mission that took me from the ghettos of Boyle Heights, around the world, and back to the Los Angeles Sports Arena where I gave a boxing lesson to all of my opponents. In doing so, I educated the world in the art of amateur Olympic style boxing. I was awarded the Olympic Gold Medal for my performance in the light-flyweight division and becoming the first Mexican-American in the history of the Olympic Games to ever win an Olympic gold medal. I also became the first American and only American to win an Olympic Gold Medal in the light-flyweight division. Could it get any better? Yes it could. Then I was awarded the Val Barker Cup as the most "Outstanding Boxer" pound for pound of the 1984 Olympic Games. Man, I was on Cloud 20 and I was not coming down. And to do it all in my home town? Where all my family, friends, supporters, and haters all had the chance to watch me … a kid from the ghetto, gang member, welfare child, you name it they called me that and then some. When I think of my journey now I think about my travels and all the places I've been, all of the people I've known, and all of the great experiences I've had. I consider myself a fortunate guy who has been blessed. I now work with young men and women who have the same dreams I had of Olympic Gold. I hope that being the first, I will not be the last!
TheBoxingBar.com : What was it like representing the USA on the Olympic team in 1992?
Pepe Reilly - (1992 USA Olympian/Trainer) : Representing America in the Olympics for me was a very important experience because it represented the door that opened up to the rest of the world. Arriving upon the Olympic Village in Barcelona, Spain I had a chance for the first time to see people I had never seen before, and more importantly where they were from. Being a young person at that time, it certainly did make a big impression on me. I felt l left that experience more of a man than I did going in. The air of the competition was unreal. It was thick with magnitude. I could feel the weight of the possibilities upon me. The competition with the other countries was nothing more than brother against brother. We just lived in different parts of the world, and our families only knew each other through these experiences. Even though I didn't win the ultimate prize, I came out a much bigger winner as a person with an experience.
TheBoxingBar.com : Amigo, what was it like to compete for the USA in the Olympics for you? What was that experience like?
Jeff Lacy : Amigo, it was one of the greatest feelings ever across from seeing my kids being born. The opening ceremony for that Olympics was breath-taking. I couldn't believe all my hard work payed off. Years of emotions stand before you at that moment. Your heart races like crazy! No other feeling of accomplishment in such a positive and unbelievable feeling. No one can ever take away from me.
TheBoxingBar.com : Are you happy with how your career transferred over to the pros?
Jeff Lacy : One hundred percent I am. Hell yes! I became two-time world champion and known across this world. What more could anyone ask for? I see it like this … in my life I have accomplished top shelf in both as an amateur and professional. So I am very happy with my outcome for my kids to have a blueprint on how far they can go. Plus, the challenge to beat me at everything I have done. That's what's great about it. Nothing like knowing your seed will see, hear, and go after much better goals in their life.
TheBoxingBar.com : When you fought Julio Cesar Chavez in February 1993 in Mexico City's Estadio Azteca in front of the biggest crowd (over 135,000 people) in history. Due to the "Tijuana taxi cab driver" comment you made that was taken to another level by the media and boxing fans, you were a true villain going into this fight. What was the long ring walk like for you and your team through the sea of people that were in attendance to see Mexico’s biggest icon, Chavez, take you on?
Greg Haugen - (former IBF/WBO World lightweight champion) : They were throwing pesos from the third level, cups of piss, bags of s—t, and trying to poke us with the Mexican flags that had a poker on the end of them. It was 300 yards to the ring. It was fun as hell!
TheBoxingBar.com : Your father, Tom, fought Heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson who was a fighter of legendary trainer Cus D'Amato in 1961. You would later fight another Cus D' Amato fighter, Mike Tyson, in 1995 in his first fight after being in prison. What do you think about that?
Peter McNeeley : History repeated itself. (laughs)
TheBoxingBar.com : You were one of the last fighters from a historic gym, The Main Street Gym in L.A.. What are some of the most obvious and important differences from gyms like those of the past and the gyms of today?
Rudy Hernandez - (cornerman/cutman, ex-pro fighter) : I was the last fighter to train at the old Main Street Gym. They closed their doors when I left the building. Back then you had great fighters there training on a regular basis. World Champions. Top contenders. Main event fighters at all times. And not to mention really good amateur fighters. Back then they all would spar each other on a daily basis. Today God forbid that happens. Today they're too many fighters being pampered and the men aren't what they used to be. I'm nothing like my father's generation, but our generation is still by far stronger than this today. I recently posted how everyone now is a trainer, coach, cutman and of course those great coaches with the mitts. Washed boxing. It's now funny. Like a joke. (laughs)
TheBoxingBar.com : In 1988 you fought and beat Rocky Lockridge for the IBF world super featherweight title which earned you the title and 1988 Ring Magazine "Fight of the Year" honors. This all happened in your hometown of Sacramento at the Arco Arena. What was your city like that night inside of that venue?
Tony “The Tiger” Lopez - (former multi-world champion) : I don’t know if I could even explain it. But just before I was to walk out for the fight, I was in the back Wide World of Sports TV was in front of me waiting, there was noise of 14,000 people. I was just moving to keep warm then the TV lights came on. The crowd was so loud that I was still in the back around cement and the noise was vibrating my whole body. It was AMAZING! I got in the zone and walked out! Crazy!
TheBoxingBar.com : After almost a few decades as a pro boxer, what keeps you hungry to still be fighting today?
Vivian Harris - (former WBA world Jr. welterweight champion) : It's something I like doing. I like competing against someone and God still gives me the strength and determination to still get up and go running, and go in the gym to get ready for a fight. And the next thing is when they have to do dirty things to beat you in the ring. Like what they did to me in Mexico my last fight with Ramon Alvarez when I went up to 154 to fight him.
TheBoxingBar.com : How did you feel right after you were announced the new WBC World Middleweight champion after your fight against Quincy Taylor back in March of 1996?
Keith Holmes - (former WBC World middleweight champion) : Well one would know that it's a great feeling but it was to no surprise because I worked hard to achieve that great success. It actually registered later that I was the WBC world champion.
TheBoxingBar.com : What was it like to make it onto the 1984 USA Olympic team to represent your country in the games and in your training grounds in L.A?
Henry Tillman : It was hard work but so worth the work. It was really special because my parents, friends, and my school teachers was able to see me win the gold medal.
TheBoxingBar.com : In your opinion, why do you think it's important for people to recognize and remember the great fighters of the past?
Rick Farris - (Founder and President of The West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame / ex-pro boxer) : Because without it there is no future. Without lessons from the masters, you do not have true boxing skill, just punching. To understand boxing one must understand the art, or it is just mindless fist fighting. As time has progressed, the art has been slipping away and replaced by extreme athleticism. Also, the sport is no longer the same. Just as what we saw in the 1950's was different from what we saw in the late 1800's. What we see today is different than in the 50's. Careers last longer, but consist of much fewer bouts. There were more boxers and less dollars. That is why it is impossible to match then and now in boxing. Mayweather is great for this era, Henry Armstrong was brilliant for his era. I mainly enjoy honoring fighters who have drifted off the radar. Not boxers who are active or currently making their history. It kind of hurts a fighters feelings and pride when he suddenly yesterday's news, and the money and fans are gone.
TheBoxingBar.com : You're the first and only boxing world champion of El Salvador. You fought the top fighters of your time, had a hit documentary about your life, and even have an arena named after you in El Salvador. What is it like to be that one and only guy and "The Pride" of your country?
Carlos “Famoso” Hernandez (former IBF World super featherweight champion) : It feels great! I was able to capture my dream and become a figure for my people and an example for future generations, most importantly for the kids. We're a country of almost eight million people. The smallest nation in the region and one of the most violent. I became champion and reached my goal but my goal now is to make boxing a part of life in El Salvador. I want to make future champs for this poor country.
TheBoxingBar.com : At the moment that are not too many big named Mexican boxing fighters that are popular here in the U.S.. But you have a very good following. What do you think of that and your fans?
Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas : (translated) Well I’m really happy about that. I try hard to give the boxing fans great fights. I want to be one of those Mexican fighters that everybody follows.
TheBoxingBar.com : You've promoted may fights with guys like Hagler, Chacon, Hearns, Emile Griffith, Yaqui Lopez, ect.. And also promoted in the historic venues in Philly like the Blur Horizon and the Spectrum. Many top pro fighters and professional wrestlers call those venues their favorites to perform in. Is there a personal time or era that you hold close to your heart in your time as a boxing promoter?
J. Russell Peltz - (Boxing Promoter) : The 1970s, the last Golden Era of boxing in Philadelphia. That was the best. The years 1986-2001 when we were selling out the Blue Horizon on a steady basis--those years also were great. Didn't have to worry about ticket sellers because every show was SRO (standing room only).
TheBoxingBar.com : You had many fun to watch matches in your career. I remember the fights you had with Omar Sheika. I remember thinking he was going to win before the first fight, but you made your point you were for real. Was that one of the highlights of your career? And was he one of your toughest opponents you had?
Scott “The Sandman” Pemberton : That was one of my highlights of my career. The second fight, because Teddy Atlas asked me what I was going to do different in the second fight that I didn't do in the first. I told him I'm going to win more convincingly! And he wasn't my toughest opponent. Charles Brewer probably was. “The Hatchet” was a bad mother!
TheBoxingBar.com : Going into your fight with Arturo Gatti you were very prepared. What do you remember about that fight?
Angel Manfredy : How we went toe to toe the whole fight!
TheBoxingBar.com : Several months back Oscar De La Hoya reached out to you for your help with amateur fighters since he saw you working closely with them like your sons or the kids from your gym, Feroz Factory, in Las Vegas. Why is it important for you personally to help these youngsters in the amateurs and hopefully down the line as professionals?
“Ferocious” Fernando Vargas : It's important for me to help young amateurs because if I didn’t find amateur boxing as a troubled 10 year old kid in a broken home, I’d be dead or in jail for the rest of my life! So it's important for me to give back to a sport that rid me of a life of crime or death. That's why I do amateur shows here in Las Vegas and I've put them on TV. I know for a fact that there are many young troubled "Fernando Vargas’ " that need something like boxing that will teach them discipline and morals just like it did to me.
TheBoxingBar.com : You were on the 2000 Mexican Olympic team and people had some very high expectations before even your first pro fight. Do you think it was too much pressure too early in your career/life for you to handle looking back at it now?
Francisco “Panchito” Bojado - (2000 Olympian – Mexico / pro fighter) : In my opinion/experience, it wasn't too much pressure too soon because as an amateur I was fighting in world class tournaments. Pan-Am games, The World's, and the Olympics. It was constant pressure and high expectations. No one has greater expectations than one’s self. There are more elements in this career that play a huge roll in someone's life. People from the outside viewing in can never understand. If they’re not a family member or very close friend they truly don't know why sometimes a fighter don't get that "W." Fans and even some people from the boxing community always think the typical – “didn't train hard enough”, “not focused”, “Women” or some other type of personal issues. Too much, too soon? I say, “F--k the Critics!” I am a fighter in and outside of the ring. Now I have been asking different types of promoters to put a fighter in front of me. I’m a free agent. S--t I'll fight them for free. I'll take a pay cut. All I want is to finish what I started.
TheBoxingBar.com : You've always had of boxing the respect fans because of all the top fighters you have faced. What does it mean to you personally when you have fans go up to you and ask for an autograph or a picture?
“The Galaxxy Warrior” Nate Campbell - (former multi-world champion) : It means the world to me I am always humbled. I am thankful!
TheBoxingBar.com : Many remember that fight you had against Felix "Tito" Trinidad for the IBF Welterweight title. The referee stopped it in the sixth round thinking you couldn't continue, and you seemed to be upset about it. What do you remember about that fight with him?
Ray Lovato : I remember that fight like it was yesterday. I remember after about the third round that he couldn't do anything with me, and feeling that we were on our way to the title. I know that in the sixth round he caught me with a good shot, but not enough to stop a world title fight. He was a good fighter. I take nothing away from him. But I think I should have been able to continue at that point in the fight. Up until the sixth round, I thought I was ahead on points. And I know if I would have been given a chance, things would have turned out different in that fight. Remember the later rounds are mine.
TheBoxingBar.com : A few fighters have accused Trinidad of having his wraps/gloves tampered with in their fight with him. William Joppy has been very vocal about it. Did you ever think the same?
Ray Lovato : You’re always allowed to have a person from your camp to watch them (your opponent) wrap. If they didn't, then whose mistake is that? All I thought about in that fight was getting my hands on that belt. Unfortunately for me it didn't happen. But I'm still happy. The good Lord allowed me to get as far as I did doing something I loved to do.
TheBoxingBar.com : In your career you fought some very tough fights like with future Hall of Famers Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez. But the most memorable moment that I hear from people that talk about you was when you knocked out Nate Campbell when he put his hands down in the fifth round to taunt you and you knocked him out at that moment. People saw it as a “that’s what you get for playing around” moment and applauded you for that. You would beat him by KO again in a rematch the following year in 2005. Do you mind being remembered for that? Was that a highlight of your career for you?
Robbie Peden : I think everyone will remember me for that. I never fought for pats on the back. I fought for pride. Remember shortly after my second KO of Nate Campbell, he became the unified world lightweight champion. My belief in life is don't ever negotiate money as your first priority. I was signed out of the Olympics to a major international promotional (Main Events), and the first Australian to go from unpaid to pro ever. I wanted to show everyone that anything is possible if you put your work in. But to answer your question, I don't mind being known for that. I also went nine rounds with Juan Manuel Marquez when he was in his prime and I had been in bed for the week before with a viral infection. People don't know how hard it was always being one step behind. I threw up in that fight (laughs.) My career highlight was winning the world title in Australia.
TheBoxingBar.com : What was it was like to be inducted into the IBHOF? What did it mean to you personally?
Orlando Canizales - (former IBF World champion / International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee) : It was a memorable experience and a dream of the ultimate recognition a fighter can receive.
TheBoxingBar.com : In an interview I had with former world champion Ruben Castillo a few years ago, I asked him about his fight with Julio Cesar Chavez. He said Don King showed him a tape of your fight with Chavez to lure him into taking the fight since Ruben had never heard of him at that time. He figured Chavez would be easy to beat since he saw how you had handled him in that match. So he took the fight. Many people thought you should at worst have got a draw. What did you think of that decision? And what do you remember about that fight?
Adrian Arreola - (former pro boxer) : Thanks Champ for those words and making my day. Well I do remember that I was fighting in a higher weight division, so I knew that he was a harder punch then me, so I had to outbox him and beat him to the punch.
TheBoxingBar.com : You're now the head trainer of the legendary Kronk Gym that was ran by one of the all-time best boxing trainers, Emanuel Steward. We've all heard some great stories about that downstairs area. How would you describe fighting out of there during the prime of your career?
Milton McCrory : It was the best boxing team at that time. And just being around a great team was good.
TheBoxingBar.com : Does all the traveling to all the different locations you have to work at make it hard for you?
Joe A. Martinez (Ring announcer) : The traveling is not hard for me but being gone is. I am a family man. I love being with my wife and kids and being away from them is my biggest challenge. That being said, my travels also allow me extra time to get into the word of God. I have that relationship and that gives me peace. As much as I love my family, I know that being here is only temporary. We will have eternity together. This is the preparation phase.
TheBoxingBar.com : A lot of people remember your fight with Roy Jones Jr. You were dropped and then later stopped by the referee. You were very upset by the stoppage. What do you remember about that fight?
Merqui “El Corombo” Sosa - (former pro boxer) : There was not much to remember. And yes I was very upset my dream was gone in seconds.
TheBoxingBar.com : People don't understand what you fighters go through when you get robbed or stopped wrongly. They figure you lost and that's it. But it takes a big effect on fighters. What was it like for you?
Merqui “El Corombo” Sosa : Well there is not a word to make the fans to understand a situation like that. But it was hard on me. All my dream had failed.
TheBoxingBar.com : You were the first to defeat Marco Antonio Barrera at the end of 1996. He walked in with a record of 43-0 that night. You won that fight by DQ after his corner came into the ring while the round was still going while he was badly hurt. About five months later you beat him again by unanimous decision. Does one of these victories mean more to you than the other?
Junior “Poison” Jones - (former multi-world champion) : He is a great fighter. One of the best I fought. And both victories meant equally a lot to me.
TheBoxingBar.com : You've had a great boxing career which we’ll soon see in a film. During your time as a professional fighter you seemed very pumped, passionate, and anxious to get it on before a fight at press conferences, weigh-ins, ect. Why was that? Where did that all come from?
"The Pazmanian Devil" Vinny Pazienza - (former multi-world champion) : I put 100% into everything I do since I started boxing at five years old. Go big or go home!
TheBoxingBar.com : Besides doing ring announcing and being the voice of the professional basketball team “The Nets” at The Barclay's Center. Also, you've done TV shows like “Park Bench” with Steve Buscemi who I love from watching all those crazy characters he plays on Adam Sandler movies. Now you're also in the newly released movie Southpaw. Not to mention your popular Cigar Shop. How do you feel about all these different avenues that have opened up for you? And is a lot of that because of boxing?
David Diamante : It's a blessing to have so many opportunities. Absolutely, boxing has played a role in a lot of these avenues. Boxing has changed my life!
TheBoxingBar.com : You've fought some of the best fighters in the world like Floyd Mayweather Jr, Miguel Cotto, Lucas Mattheyssee, Zab Judah, Ruslan Provodnikov, ect. ... Just to get to that level of fighters like those is a real accomplishment. What do you think about your career thus far?
DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley - (former WBO Jr. welterweight champion) : I am very pleased with my career. Happy that I have accomplished many things. Boxing has been great to me. It has taken me all around the world.
TheBoxingBar.com : Coming into this sport you probably had those people expecting you to fill the shoes of your brother, the great Erik “El Terrible” Morales. Is that how you felt?
“El Nino Maravilla” Ivan Morales - (undefeated pro fighter) :(translated) It would be hard to fill a spot like Erik’s, but I’m not here to fill that spot. I’m here to make my own history. To make the legacy of my family grow.
TheBoxingBar.com : Most remember you as the first guy to take Mike Tyson to the distance after he knocked out his first 19 opponents. Is that a good way to be remembered?
James “Quick” Tillis - (former top heavyweight contender) : Yeah, I got no problem with that given Mikes' exceptional record up to that point. I've got many remarks along the line that I wrote the “blueprint.” Mike has shown nothing but big respect to me and I got the same for him.
TheBoxingBar.com : In 1998 you handed Ricardo “Finito” Lopez the only draw in this undefeated career. Most that witnessed the fight thought you should have won that decision without a doubt. Also many that watched the fight remember how long it took to get the scorecards ready to announce the decision. What do you remember about that night? Was it a tough fight?
“El Bufalo” Rosendo Alvarez : (translated) It was a record 19 minutes of a wait for the result. Supposedly one of the scorecards was lost. Then they ruled it a draw. This failure to have been called the winner caused much disillusion for me. My style was impenetrable to him. He was never able to connect solidly with his punches. I was more agile and better than him in this fight.
TheBoxingBar.com : If that fight would have taken place in Las Vegas, would the result have been different in your opinion with the judges and all?
Rosendo Alvarez : I’m going to tell you something I’ve never said publicly! The WBO sent their supervisor to tell one of the judges of that organization to deliver the scorecards of the fight because Ricardo Lopez was their (the WBO) champion since beating Alex “Nene” Sanchez for the title. But someone there objected to this supervisor to participate and/or to announce me as the winner.
TheBoxingBar.com : If it were not for boxing, what would have become of you?
Alejandro “La Cobrita” Gonzalez - (former WBC World Featherweight champion):(translated) If it weren’t for boxing I would have been a soccer player, and if not … a thug. (laughs) For real.
TheBoxingBar.com : You've been training fighters for decades. Years ago people didn't use conditioning coaches/trainers like they do today. Do you think it is important for a fighter to have a conditioning trainer?
Abel Sanchez (boxing trainer) : In all my years coaching, about 35, I have never had any other coach assist me. Not a conditioning or strength coach, not a nutritionist. I just have a coach I trust help me in the corner. In my opinion, most of those S/C coaches lose track of the reasons they are there by the time they are working with a fighter. It is generally once a boxing coach has developed the fighter that they come in and act and talk like they are the reason for success. In my coaching career I have had some of the strongest fighters around by doing it the old fashioned. The common sense way. In my belief I think progress is great, but not at the expense of the trust and relationship of the fighter and boxing coach My personal opinion at this present time is that there are no so-called S/C coaches that are good for boxing.
TheBoxingBar.com : You were always a busy fighter when you fought holding punch stat records and such. Today it seems fighters hold back a lot in most matches, especially big fights. Why were you different?
Ray "Sucra" Oliviera - (former top Jr. welter/welterweight contender) : Today boxers take it more like business, so that is way they hold back. I say they don’t take risks. They fight for the money, not the love of the sport.
TheBoxingBar.com : Being a ring announcer is like being the host of a show or event whether it be a boxing card, weigh-in, ect.. You have the crowd’s emotions on your hands with how you deliver what you have to say. Do you feel that power when you're on the big stage with a mic in hand? Or do you just try not think about it like that?
Lupe Contreras - (Ring announcer) : I believe you are a host at times and at others you are like a conductor. With the way you deliver certain lines you can guide the audience where you want them to go. A crowd wants to get loud and excited. You have to find the words and the moments that will allow them to do that.
TheBoxingBar.com : Having had a pro boxing career, do you think that helped make you a better referee than if you hadn't been a pro boxer?
Richard Steele - (International Boxing Hall of Fame referee / former pro boxer) : Yes definitely, because I know how it feels to be hurt. I know how much pain a person can take. And I know when it's time for a fighter to throw in the towel.
TheBoxingBar.com : You had a very fan friendly style with all your early knockout. But it seems like many writers and fans are doubting your return because you have lost your last four fights. It's been a year since you've fought. Are you coming back? Maybe to win a world title?
Sechew Powell : I actually just started back in the gym. I've been looking for a good training situation and a promoter who could give me a solid opportunity to fight my way back into tittle contention. But it is because of my highly skilled fight style why I can’t get a good chance to come back properly. The best opportunity I get are like calls to fight Errol Spence on one week’s notice. I mean, not even six week notice? It is what it is, and I'm about to get back into the gym and feel my way back to shape and take it from there.
TheBoxingBar.com : You fought Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez twice. In the first fight, he defeated you to win the WBC light flyweight world title. In the second fight in 1992 you gave him some difficulty, but he was given the decision and took on Michael Carbajal in that great fight they had together just four months later. You would go on to have a winning streak after that until facing Carbajal yourself in 1996. Do you consider “Chiquita” Gonzalez one of the best Mexican boxers in the history of the sport?
Melchor Cob Castro - (former WBC & WBO light flyweight World Champion): (translated) Yes. Humberto was one of the best of that time. In the second fight, the winner was going to take on Carbajal. I feel that they stole that fight from me that second time. I ended up fighting them both. I thought I beat him (Carbajal) too. But the judges said otherwise.
TheBoxingBar.com : Today you have your own boxing gym and you work in the corner of fighters. Is there a difference in the athletes you see today from the athletes in this sport from your day like the ones you fought which wasn’t too long ago?
Israel “El Magnifico” Vazquez - (former WBC/IBF world super bantamweight champion) : (translated) Now that I’m a trainer I’m realizing how difficult it is to communicate to the fighter exactly what you want them to do. Boxing is more than just throwing and dodging punches. I explain it in this way: Coordination, dedication, and patience. Coordination because it’s difficult for someone to stay balanced and throw punches at the same time. Dedication because by practicing you will master the basic fundamentals. By repeating them day after day you will get to a point of perfection when you will be able to make combinations. Last but not least is “patience.” Boxing is very repetitive which can make it a bit boring which is where your patience is tested. If you are the type of person that patience is not your virtue, there are other sports you can jump into. Again, being a boxer is more than knowing how to hit and not get hit. You need to put body, soul, and your heart into it each day you train!
TheBoxingBar.com : In April 1998 you won the WBA featherweight title in Puerto Rico defeating Antonio Cermeno for the vacant title after Vazquez decided to fight Naseem Hamed to vacate the title. What was that win like for you winning that world title in Puerto Rico?
Freddie Norwood : It felt like no other high in the world. I worked my whole life to get my titles. It was a feeling like no other.
TheBoxingBar.com : When an undefeated boxer loses their first fight they seem to go away for a while and get discouraged nowadays. You went a long time before your first loss, but you were back fighting after just a few months. What would you tell a fighter after his first loss?
Vassiliy “The Tiger” Jirov - (former IBF World Cruiserweight champion / 1996 Olympic gold medalist – Kazakhstan) : It's part of life. Sometimes we’re champions, but we are always fighters no matter what happens in the ring. If you’ve never lost a fight it means; 1) You are the best in the World, or 2) You’ve never challenged yourself with the best. Life is a journey. Make it good to be remembered.
Check out these random questions I asked people in 2015 ...
TheBoxingBar.com : What was it like to represent the USA boxing team as you did at the 1996 Olympics?
David Diaz - (1996 USA Olympian / former WBC World lightweight champion) : It was one of the best days of my life! To be able to represent my country on the biggest stage of my amateur career. I had fulfilled a dream!
TheBoxingBar.com : I remember your first defense of the WBA super flyweight title when you took on Eric Morel of Puerto Rico. Because of the Mexico – Puerto Rico boxing rivalry, was it added pressure for you? Was that one of your personal favorite victories?
Martin "El Gallo" Castillo - (former WBA super flyweight World Champion) - (translated) : It wasn’t pressure for me, but I think each fight has its own level of difficulty. Technique, strategy, and Preparation! For that fight I was sure (I would win) because I had fought him as an amateur and I beat him. In reality he was the one with the pressure to get the win. As far as my favorite fight, it would be one that people don’t know of which was when I fought for the WBA interim title in Japan against Ishihara with just a thirty day notice to prepare for it.