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Charles “The Hatchet” Brewer Speaks On His Career: “Joe Calzaghe Had Ridiculous Combinations!”



By James Slater – Philly warrior Charles Brewer, a man who captured the IBF super-middleweight crown in June of ‘97 and held on to it until dropping a controversial points loss to Sven Ottke in October of the following year, fought two greats from these shores – in Herol Graham and Joe Calzaghe – and “The Hatchet” rates both Brits very highly. The 168-pounder from Joe Frazier country was blessed with fine boxing skills, yet he was quite often involved in slugfests; his classic with Calzaghe a notable example.

Having retired in 2005, with a somewhat deceptive 40-11(28) ledger, Brewer has some exciting career to look back on. Here he does so for ESB:

On his best-ever performance in the ring:

“My best night, and there is no doubt at all, has to be when I became world champion. I beat Gary Ballard by 5th-round stoppage and at that moment, all the sacrifice, all the commitment, all the pain, was worth it. Having my hands raised with the [IBF] belt around my waist, that felt oh, so good! That is a feeling that only comes once in a lifetime – to fighters who are able to make their dream come true. That night, that made sure that fans, people who recognise me, would know I was no joke. I was the real deal – a world class athlete.”

On the hardest fight he ever had:

“My toughest night is also very clear to me: the night I met your guy, Herol Graham in Atlantic City. Of all the wins I had, this one was the one I was most grateful of. In the 3rd-round he hit me with a left hand straight down the pipe and I went down, tearing two ligaments in my ankle as I went down. I can’t describe the pain! But, as the fight went on, I got to enjoy the pain. I was so determined to put this man to sleep! I couldn’t put any pressure on my right ankle, but I managed to catch him with a looping right hand in the 10th and the rest is history. Herol was so crafty, so to come back and KO him, that was special.”

On the “robbery” he suffered against Ottke, a fighter he met twice:

“My worst night, and I don’t even like talking about it, is the night I was robbed of my title by Sven Ottke. That was a shameless thing and they stole my belt. The thing that made it even worse is, Ottke had had just 12 fights at the time, and no way – no way – could any fighter with just 12 pro fights beat me. That loss hurt me because I had just got the ball rolling, as far as big, big fights went, and that robbery put the breaks on all of that. I’m still angry today. No way he beat me, and the rematch was another robbery.”

On the hardest hitter he ever faced:

“The hardest puncher I fought (long pause) that’s a real tough one. I dished out a lot more punishment than I ever took. But I’d have to say Joe Calzaghe. Joe was not a one-punch KO kind of guy, but he overwhelmed guys; he had those ridiculous combinations! And I deviated from my game-plan that night, and we just warred; we went two-to-toe for 12-rounds. It was a battle of heart and guts. Joe was just a great technical, mentally draining, puncher.”

On sparring the very best:

“Being a Philly fighter, I sparred everybody. I sparred Bernard Hopkins, I sparred heavyweights, like Alex Stewart and Gerald Nobles, “The Jedi” -his punches should have been made illegal! He punched so hard. But the man I give the most credit to has to be Will “Stretch” Taylor (19-4 light-heavyweight who fought Reggie Johnson twice, David Telesco, and Ernest Mateen amongst others) . He passed away this year (in March). Me and he sparred so many rounds. He was the guy I loved to hate. He had a great jab and a hard right hand. He was taller than me, he was quick and he made me work at all times. He was slick, skilled and just a great talent.”

On how content he is in retirement:

“The only thing I’d say that isn’t great about being retired is, I still have the urge to fight. But I know I never will again. I am content. I can honestly say, I miss nothing of the mid-ring action. I did all I could when I was on top, I lived the life and gave it my all for sixteen years, and I’m proud that I had that longevity. I’m satisfied. I have a computer business now, and though I still love boxing, I have no so called tough part of being retired. The only regret I have is, I wish I’d had a piece of Roy Jones Junior. I so wish I’d fought that guy. But I’m pleased I have my respect and I’m happy that the fane recognise all I accomplished.”

On today’s best fighters:

“Andre Ward is a guy I can’t say enough about. He’s the most well-rounded athlete I’ve seen today at 168-pounds. Hands down. He’s level-headed and he’s modest. Ward has hand speed, he can box and he’s elusive, but he will engage you also. He will have a battle with you. And that’s me as a fight fan nowadays: I want to be entertained. I Like Floyd [Mayweather] and I like Pac-Man, but I could care less if they fight or not. All I’ll say is, I want to be entertained if they do meet. There’s nothing worse than a ballet meet in the ring.

“I also look at guys like [Carl] Froch and other guys, and I do think quite a lot about how I’d have done if I’d fought them. I look at Froch – a guy I have to give credit to, he’s the real deal and he will fight anyone – and I know in my heart how I’d have done against him. The same with Roy Jones, the one guy I really wish I’d had a piece of – I’d have been too much for them both. But I’ve never thought that way about Andre Ward, not yet anyway. I actually got in tough with Joe Calzaghe recently, to ask him how he’d have coped with Ward and with Froch, and I’m waiting to hear from Joe. But really, I like fighters who fight, not guys who just come for a pay day. Like me, that’s who I was; a fighter.”