1. What were your thoughts on Errol Spence’s win over Chris Algieri last weekend?
ICE: I thought Errol looked very good and obviously impressively took out a guy in Algieri who doesn’t get taken out. Errol just seems so strong for a welterweight and he obviously officially stamped himself as a real player in the division now. He’s a great addition to the weight class that boasts guys like Garcia, Porter, Thurman and Brook. Hottest division in the game right now.
2. Does a win over Algieri mean Spence is ready for the top fighters at 147 right now?
ICE: I would say so. It wasn’t just the win but the manner in which he delivered it. His power and skills are pretty obvious. He’s obviously not a flash in the pan as far as I can tell and I think that performance put him on the radar of everyone who follows boxing and controls boxing. I would say that he shouldn’t jump into these fights right away, they’ve got to take the time to build the bigger fights for the division over the next year and a half or so, but he’s definitely in that mix now.
3. From a fighter/trainer’s eye do you see any weakness in Spence that can be exploited by the more experienced big names at 147?
ICE: I don’t see a weakness in his toughness exactly because so far he hasn’t really had to prove it yet. He hasn’t had to prove how well he can swim in deep water and take punches and come back from it. So its a question mark but its a question mark for most good fighters who continually win so impressively. I would say there is a question mark as to wether he will stand up in the second half of an extremely tough fight and I’m sure the top names and their trainers will look to take him there to see what’s what.
4. How much does a win over Alexander Povetkin in Russia do for Deontay Wilder’s popularity & resume? Do you feel the deck is stacked against Wilder in this fight and a win will be huge here for him?
ICE: I think that boxing insiders will see it as proof of something and will see it as the biggest win of his career. If he can ever score a KO then I think his bandwagon will see a lot more members on the train soon after. I do feel that it is an odd situation for a reigning and defending heavyweight champion, though. I don’t know any of the logistics behind the scenes in the making of the fight or anything but it’s eye opening that a defending hot commodity heavyweight champion is having to go to Russia to fight such a formidable opponent there. I think somewhere along the line someone here may have had to make a concession that they may not be fully comfortable with in order to get this fight.
Now we have to see if it was a great business move or a terrible one.
5. With Anthony Joshua running through Charles Martin to become IBF Champion, do you feel we can rate Joshua as high as he looks to be from the Martin win or do we need to see him beat someone like David Haye or Luis Ortiz first?
ICEMAN: I personally would like to see a win over another highly ranked guy like Ortiz. Nothing against Martin whatsoever but because his title win came under such unusual circumstances, I personally never really got to see him perform before so I don’t know what he is really all about. Joshua looks legit, of course, but boxing people can be a fickle bunch and I think it’s for sure that we need to see him against someone more proven before we anoint him 100 percent.
6. Gut reaction…Do you feel Manny Pacquiao’s win over Timothy Bradley was his last fight?
ICEMAN: Assuming Floyd doesn’t make a comeback or that Floyd isn’t sending signals behind the scenes that a rematch is possible then I’d say Manny is done. But I’m pretty sure the Floyd return is on his mind and he’s hopeful of it. He may be retired but I don’t think both feet are fully out the door just yet.
7. Some fans/media have tried to drum up interest in a Mayweather vs Pacquiao rematch based off Pacquiao’s win.Do you feel that fight has had its day and if Floyd were to come back it would likely be to face one of the younger fighters like Broner, Thurman etc.?
ICEMAN: Personally, being 100 percent truthful and realistic, I didn’t even care very much about their first fight because of the way they dragged it on. In 2009 I thought it was a great fight but by the time it finally happened not only didn’t I have much interest in it but I felt that it was going to go exactly as it did. Manny is a great fighter, at elite level, but Floyd is something else and I see absolutely no reason to believe a rematch would be any different than the first fight.
8. Canelo vs Khan is right around the corner…What are they keys to this fight for both fighters?
ICEMAN: I think Canelo clearly needs to utilize his advantage in strength and physicality and make it that kind of fight. Use a strong jab, a double jab, and get to that body and not allow Khan to set himself and think clearly.
I think Khan needs to box, use his long jab, put in combinations and stay out of the corners and off the ropes. Sometimes boxing isn’t nearly as difficult to figure as many think it is. Some things are obvious and some aren’t. For me, maneuvering and positioning and footwork are the keys for Khan.
9. Khan has looked to put on some muscle in preparation for this fight. Do you agree with that concept of more power will help Khan keep Canelo off him or should Khan use what has won him many fights in his career..speed and work rate?
ICE: Personally I think the belief that you have to go and get stronger and bulk up to fight a bigger man is a bit overrated. I mean, the guy is already naturally bigger than you and stronger than you and I don’t think a couple months of strength training and more weight is going to significantly change that. I think Roy Jones showed a brilliant plan when moving up to fight the much bigger John Ruiz for the heavyweight title. He didn’t even get up to 195 pounds so at the weigh-in he still was outweighed by more than 30 pounds. He had obviously chosen to highlight his speed and rhythm as opposed to bulking up to get stronger against a guy who was going to be bigger than him and stronger than him no matter what he did. He didn’t need strength, he needed boxing acumen. He just needed enough weight and strength to stay strong for himself and that’s what worked beautifully. I think trying to sort of artificially gain too much weight and strength isn’t realistic. It would be like the bigger guy trying to get looser and much lighter so that he could keep up with you instead of enjoying his natural advantages. I think people worry too much these days about the other guy instead of worrying about getting themselves ready to be the best they can be within their means.
10.How much of an upset would it be historically if Khan were to somehow upset Canelo?
ICE: On the one hand I think it would be huge. The initial perception is that Khan is a somewhat fragile welterweight while Canelo is a strong brutal body punching machine but by the same token, this is a different era. Back as recently as the 1980’s and especially before the 1980’s, it was always a given rule of thumb that smaller fighters rarely move up and beat the good bigger fighters. It was a relative rarity and, really, many guys never even attempted it because it was such a unique and difficult thing.
“A good big man always beats a good little man” is one of the oldest sayings in boxing but if you really think about it, that has ran its course.
Good smaller fighters move up on a regular basis now and beat good bigger fighters. From Ray Leonard beating Hagler to Hopkins going all the way up to light heavyweight to beat Tarver, it’s happened numerous times over the years.
Khan at 147 going up to fight a middleweight who often weighs in the mid 150’s isn’t nearly as much of a jump as some other fighters have successfully pulled off over the last 10 or 15 years so with the right discipline, conditioning and game plan Khan very well could be right in this fight!
With that said, all things considered, it would be a significant upset simply because of the fact that at the lower weight Khan has shown great skills and power but not the chin of a Hagler or a Chuvalo. So that’s a huge negative for a specific situation and fight like this.
Quote: “The wait in the dressing room before a professional boxing match -that last hour- could be enough to strip a man who never boxed before of whatever pride, desire and heart he THOUGHT he had” – Iceman John Scully, April 2002