1. What are your thoughts on the robberies at the Olympics this year?
ICEMAN: I remember back in 1984 after the Olympics in Los Angeles a South Korean official was quoted in The Ring magazine, basically saying that they felt that they were the victims of some questionable judging but that we would get our comeuppance when the 1988 Olympics were held in their country.
Sure enough, the robbed Roy Jones there in 1988 in the finals in what I would consider to be the worst decision in the history of boxing, amateur or professional.
I think the potential for robberies and corruption is as high as it has been right now than as any other time in history. There are so many political implications now that can come with certain judges and referees being involved with certain fights. I mean, could you fully trust a judge from Cuba to officiate a bout between a guy from the USA and someone from a former USSR state or an Israeli judge working a bout between Iraq and the USA?
AIBA has been apparently heading off the rails for quite a while now and at this point it seems like it’s almost chaos in amateur boxing. Ultimately it is the sport itself that is suffering because the fighters, if not the fans, are going to grow so sick of it and they’re not going to want to even bother staying amateur to compete in events that they don’t feel they even have a real chance to win anymore.
2. With the new insurance increases coming in New York do you feel there will be a resolution or is boxing in NY in trouble in the future?
ICEMAN: It’s definitely a huge hurdle in the road right now. I’ve seen something similar before. I turned pro in 1988 at the Hartford (CT) Civic Center and back then in the 1980’s there were many shows held in that building. Marlon Starling boxed there pretty frequently. They even did local and international amateur shows there. Freddy Roach even fought there as an amateur in 1976 against a guy from Hartford named Miguel Quiles.
What happened, though, is that for some reason they raised the rent there by ridiculous amounts and as a result, since around 1990 there has only been around three or four shows in that building. So in an attempt to get more money for rent they essentially wiped out professional boxing in their building for the last 26 years.
New York might very well be headed for a similar fate and that’s almost criminal to me. New York shows, especially the club show circuit, was among the most vibrant in the entire world at one time. Hopefully there is a politician somewhere in New York who is also a big, big boxing fan.
3. How impressed were you with Errol Spence stopping Bundu who has never been stopped even against Keith Thurman?
ICEMAN: Errol has arrived with a loud bang, I guess you could say. He reminds me of Clubber Lang in ROCKY III, just showing up creating havoc everywhere he goes. As a young guy who isn’t even close to his full powers yet it’s going to be very interesting to see how things go against the bigger names. And of course there will eventually come the talks where people are wondering what he could do if Floyd were to come out retirement?
His presence brings a new and very interesting dimension to the game today.
4. Spence wants Kell Brook next but first Brook takes on Gennady Golovkin next month. With the fight almost here, do you feel any different about this fight than when it was announced?
ICEMAN: Not particularly, no. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised to see that not only did Kell weigh considerably more than GGG at the official 30 day weigh-in but also in photographs he apparently has put on weight in spectacular fashion. I can’t recall seeing a guy move up two weight classes in one jump and looking as good physically as Kell does, especially so far out from the actual date of the fight.
But when push comes to shove, it’s still GGG and I just can’t seen him losing.
5. Manny Pacquiao chose to face Jesse Vargas in his comeback fight instead of Terence Crawford…smart move by Pacquiao to not get in there with Crawford after a long layoff?
ICEMAN: I think business-wise as much as anything it’s a smart move because that is a fight that could be built up to be much, much bigger a few months down the line. There are many, many fights that could be made today that would be interesting and competitive but in terms of maximizing exposure and earnings, you have to be smart and wait for the right time to make them. A lot of people in the boxing game feel that Crawford could beat Manny right now but you need to wait until many more casual fans are saying the same thing. Then you’ll have a legitimate PPV fight.
6. There’s also the possibility that they want to build up Pacquiao vs Crawford a bit. Do you see that as a passing of the torch fight for Top Rank?
ICEMAN: I think it’s just another really good potential fight in the game today. I’m actually not one to write Pacman off so easily just yet. I think he’s looked good since the Mayweather fight and hasn’t shown me any significant drop off. It’s not like Floyd was banging him around and abusing him physically. I’ve seen guys lose a lot more in fights than Pac lost in that fight so, again, I’m not gonna’ rush to write him off and see him as a guy who needs so much protection from the young guys. He’s still a handful for all of them.
But with that said, if he does match up with Crawford down the line and loses, then it solidifies Terrance and puts him into a whole new stratosphere.
7. Do you feel Danny Jacobs vs Sergio Mora 2 will be a competitive fight? The first one was for a few rounds before Mora broke his leg but Jacobs still seems like he’s on a different level than Mora.
ICEMAN: I could see it being a solid and interesting fight, Sergio obviously has experience and skills and will be motivated highly but it seems like they are just at two very different points in their careers and that Danny is probably on a much higher motivational plane right now. He’s very, very close to big, big fights right now and that along with the motivation to straighten things out with Sergio will more than likely see him not be denied.
8. Canelo’s upcoming fight against Liam Smith has the least amount of buzz for a Canelo fight since he became popular in the U.S. But are the fans underestimating Smith who is still a world champion and undefeated?
ICEMAN: I believe they are and I say that in part because I didn’t even realize they were actually fighting each other until you just asked me about it. I’ve seen no articles, no real buzz about it. The thing is, though, at any level, you simply cannot overlook anyone in the game. I’ve said it a million times, just because a guy isn’t super famous or undefeated doesn’t mean he can’t fight. I know plenty of little known guys who could do some real damage if they got the opportunities. If Canelo were to treat this like its a gimme’ fight and a walk in the park it could prove to be the biggest mistake of his entire boxing career.
9. Jarrell Miller has been calling out the big names in the heavyweight division. Do you feel he is ready to step in with the top guys yet?
ICEMAN: I know he has been calling them out and he’s gung-ho about it and that’s one way to get your name out there but I still think it’s a bit premature to actually go and match up with the elite guys at this point. If I was involved with him I would want to keep getting my name out there but if you’re in it for the long haul then obviously you still need to develop your game and get real experience under your belt. I would have to think he’d be much more comfortable after having a fight against a solid guy over 10 rounds on television first.
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