Exclusive Interview: Lou Savarese
28.06.07 - By Geoffrey Ciani: The other night, I was afforded the opportunity to have a brief chat with former heavyweight contender, Lou Savarese, as he enters his final preparations for his upcoming bout with former champion, Evander Holyfield. Savarese was in great spirits and appeared confident he would beat Holyfield on Saturday night. Lou is a real class-act—it was a pleasure speaking with him.
Article posted on 29.06.2007
Here’s how our brief talk went down:
G. Ciani: How is everything going in terms of training and preparation?
L. Savarese: Everything was great. We're just tapering down now. We had a good camp. I spent two weeks in Houston and it will be almost four weeks from fight time that I was training out near El Paso in Las Cruces, New Mexico, up in the Organ Mountains up there.
GC: Have you trained there before?
LS: No, that was my first time. We have a friend, Louie Burke—who actually used to be a good fighter, and was David Rodriguez's trainer—and he has a gym up there, it's called "The Sammy Burke PAL", so we went there for the past month.
GC: Lou, you've been near the top before. Did you ever think you'd be afforded another opportunity like the one you have coming up Saturday night?
LS: When I started back, you know, it was kind of a reason I wanted to comeback. When I beat (Matt) Hicks, I was kind of hoping something would come along, but I never thought it would be something as big as Evander. I was still just trying to work my way back, but when this came about and there was an opportunity, I told my manager, Bob Spagnola, "Hey, let's take this!" We took the fight. I just liked the fight. And no matter what you want to say about Evander, he's a tough guy—and he does draw a lot of attention, too, so I think this will be a great fight to look good in—to look great, actually. So if we do everything we're supposed to do, it will put us in a good spot.
GC: In recent fights, Holyfield has been unable to throw a large volume of punches: How do you plan to capitalize on that?
LS: That's a good observation. During the first two rounds, he really comes out gangbuster, like against Oquendo. He came out quick in the first round, but then he kind of really just falls off the shelf. For me, I think that's kind of my strong point—the longer I go, the more punches I'll throw, the better. I just have to be smart, keep him on the end of the jab, and just be busy with him. We've been practicing and sparring for a lot of punches and I've been very busy. I'm in great shape, and the fight is only ten rounds, so I should be able to throw a lot of punches consistently for the full ten rounds. I think he's going to try and come out fast. It's kind of a strange thing, but I came up here the week before, I'm not over-confident, and I'm ready to go. It's really valuable and it helps to get out here a little earlier.
GC: If you win on Saturday, what's next, Lou?
LS: You know, I don't know, I'm not looking past this. I think a day is a year in the heavyweight division. As long as I look good doing it I think we'll be in good shape. I think I'm still somewhat marketable, and also, without having a promoter I think that will be more tempting for other promoters because they won't have to divvy up their pot with anyone else.
GC: Of the four current champions, which one do you think you match up best against?
LS: Maskaev is one of the champions whom I've sparred with before. He's a little bit of everything, he's big and he's a strong guy, and he's got a tough fight coming up himself. Ibragimov would be a tough fight for me, but he's beatable. He's very beatable. He's quick and he's a lefty, and I'm not sure how I'd do against the quicker guys, but I saw him get hurt against Mount Whitakar, and Austin hurt him, too. I'd say out of everybody, it would probably against Maskaev. You know, with Klitschko, he is a big strong guy. He's impressive and he can hit, but he can also be hit. It's funny, because HBO, two or three times, has talked about Klitschko looking bad. He's a big strong guy and he's tough. Probably against Maskaev would be my best chance right now.
GC: A bit off topic, but I hear you've recently delved into the realm of acting? Tell me about that.
LS: (laughs) You know, I'm a boxer; that's my specialty. I told everybody that. Everybody always said I should try, and people would say "Well, you should do both", and I'd tell them, I can't do both. Anyway, it kind of just fell into my lap. An agent had came to me, and I tried it out, and it's kind of fun. I'm getting some small parts, but people in the business tell me I'm doing good. So I guess I could have been doing this kind of thing. I'm not getting any sensitive-guy roles, but I'm getting a lot of Grunt #1's and "Joey Fuhgeddaboudit" and stuff like that. It's been fun, it's kind of cool, and I'd love to just pursue it, and maybe get something bigger. I've played some bigger parts. I was involved on an ESPN documentary based on the Cinderella Man story where I got to play Max Baer. I did a short film with Johnny Ventimiglia from The Sopranos. Things have been pretty fun. I’m also in a new film coming out called Knock Knock.
GC: Cool stuff. I'm an aspiring filmmaker myself, so perhaps we can collaborate on a project sometime?
LS: I'd love to. Have you done anything?
GC: I'm actually finishing up my second effort at a feature right now—Seeking Madam Mushroom.
LS: What's the premise of the film?
GC: It's a spoof reality show based on a fictitious beauty pageant. Somehow or another, we convinced eight aspiring actresses to join us in the filming of this project, so we took 'em down to North Carolina for filming.
LS: It's a tough job, but somebody had to do it, huh? (laughs)
GC: (laughs) It was fun.
LS: I'd love to see it.
GC: Back to boxing, how would you like the fans to remember you when your career is all said and done?
LS: That's a great question. Actually Max Kellerman—I couldn't have scripted this any better—but Max Kellerman, one day he said, I forget who I was fighting, but he said "One thing you have to say about Savarese is he gave it his best and he had a good old-school career." I love that, to me, I'm a fighter so being called an "old school fighter"—I loved that. You know, I gave it my all. Sometimes you lose, but I always still tried, and for myself, I always trained as hard as I could possibly train. So when you lose, not to be corny or cliché, but if you gave it 100%, you don't kick yourself too much.
GC: Anything else you'd like to add, Lou?
LS: I'm excited. You know, I'm not a real 'bragg-a-docious' kind, I'm not a big talker, but it seems I'm a huge underdog—which is great—because it reminds me of Douglas and Foreman, so I kind of thrive on that. It’s going to be a great fight.
GC: Good luck on Saturday night, Lou.
LS: Thank you. Some day we'll work on a huge movie project together.
Be sure to tune in Saturday night!
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