Tarvis Simms - "I Want To Prove To The World I Have What It Takes!"
Exclusive Interview by James Slater - Undefeated 37-year-old "Marvellous" Tarvis Simms, the middleweight brother of former 154-pound world champion Travis Simms, is determined to not only get a shot at a version of the middleweight title, but to win it. A pro since October 1997, the gifted southpaw has not yet had the big opportunities his brother received. Now with a record of 24-0-1(11) Tarvis has been very active this year - having three fights in the last three months..
Article posted on 06.12.2008
Speaking to this writer over the phone from his home earlier today, the middleweight contender told me he feels greater than ever and that it is his destiny to become middleweight champion.
A pleasure to talk with, Tarvis gave the following answers to my questions.
James Slater: You've called out Arthur Abraham and Felix Sturm, ideally which champion would you most like out of the two of them?
Tarvis Simms: It really don't matter, I'd take either fight. I would take advantage of either fight. Both fighters offer different challenges as they have different styles, but I feel my style will be able to beat all the middleweight champions out there. I want to prove to the world that I am one of the best middleweights today. And if we can't get either of those two, we could fight Kelly Pavlik. We actually offered a fight to Pavlik and they accepted it and then they turned it down.
J.S: When was that?
T.S: Just last week. Now he's fighting Marco Antonio Rubio, who is his mandatory. I think Pavlik wanted to take his mandatory so he's fighting Rubio. But I'll fight any of the champions out there.
J.S: At age 37, you feel as good as ever?
T.S: I feel great. I don't feel any different now than I did at age 24. I'm wiser now, and I'm stronger physically. I feel like I'm in my prime now. I want to prove to the world I have what it takes. I have supporters out there, and I have critics. They [the critics] talk about the age and all of that, and I want to silence them. I don't just want to win fights, I want to look good winning them.
J.S: I know you've had promotional problems in the past, that have led to enforced layoffs. Who are you with now?
T.S: I'm with Sal Musumeci's Final Forum Boxing, I have a real good team around me. Also, Angelo Campanella, I feel it's a blessing being with him also. If it wasn't for those two guys I maybe wouldn't even be boxing today, wouldn't be giving you this interview now.
J.S: Would you say your boxing style is a clever, cute kind of style - where you outsmart guys? Do you feel your style makes you too clever for opponents?
T.S: Absolutely. My style will be difficult for anyone today. I make adjustments in the ring for anyone I fight. I am what you call a complete fighter - I can box, I can brawl, I have a good chin, and I have speed and power. I can do what I want in the ring. Boxing is my wisdom. The ring is my home. I fight in the pocket, I make my opponents miss and then I counter them. I'm not just defence, I can punch also.
J.S: You've been a pro for over ten years now. Do you feel as though you've been avoided by big names? Are you angry at that?
T.S: I do feel I've been avoided, but at the same time I'm not angry. I mean, God moves in mysterious ways. Maybe it wasn't my time until now. God has given me another chance and I want to prove myself. I just go out there and I fight my fight. I just be myself.
J.S: So far in your career, who has given you your toughest fight? Was it the draw with Robert Frazier?
T.S: Oh, that fight against Frazier was the easiest fight of my career! I beat the piss outta him! He couldn't deal with my power or my speed - I was killing him. It was just a blatant case of favouritism, that fight. The fans came up to me after the fight and told me I won, even Frazier came up and said I won fair and square and that he was sorry for the way the decision went. But that bad decision is in the past and I'm in re-birth now. I'm looking forward and I want the prize.
J.S: So if that wasn't a tough fight, what was the toughest fight you've had so far?
T.S: (long pause) I'd say the fight with Carlos Bojorquez. He was durable. He wasn't too crafty but he did posses decent power. But the thing was, I was sick going into that fight. I had flu. I was down in the 2nd, it was a flash knockdown. But I have a chin of steel and I got straight back up and I spanked him.
J.S: And what was your best-ever performance do you feel?
T.S: I'd say in my last three fights I've been very active. I'm getting sharper. I'd say my last fight was my best, the win over Sam Hill. He has been in with some good fighters, he took Jermain Taylor the distance. He actually told me after our fight, and you can quote me - he said that I was the strongest and most experienced fighter he'd ever faced. He told me I'd be the next champion.
J.S: You have been very active of late, with three fights in as many months. How soon would you be able to fight again?
T.S: I'm ready now. I've not stopped training since the last fight. I'm building off these wins, they're like stepping stones. I'd be able to fight in December if I got the call. I'm just waiting for the opportunity. I want to be middleweight champion of the world. I'll make it so they [the champions] have to fight me eventually.
J.S: Do you and your brother, Travis, spar?
T.S: Yes, we spar. We sparred for my fight with Carl Daniels. Sparring with a world champion, what else do I need? I get all the top class sparring I need.
J.S: Have you always been a middleweight, even as an amateur? Is middleweight just a natural weight for you?
T.S: It's my natural weight. I fought at 165 as an amateur. Ever since I was 15-years-old I've been a middleweight. It can be a challenge making 160 at times, but it's my weight class.
J.S: There aren't too many southpaws in the world middleweight top-ten, aside from you and maybe Winky Wright. Do you feel your stance gives you a big advantage?
T.S: It does, yes. Because I punch from different angles. And my defence is great too. I use all my gifts to my advantage. I'm looking to be a superstar in 2009!
J.S: Would you be willing to go abroad to fight Abraham or Sturm?
T.S: I'd go to Germany, absolutely. If it makes dollars it makes sense. I wouldn't be just going over there for a decision. That's one of the drawbacks of going over there, it seems as long as Abraham is still standing at the end they give him the win. I think he's a great champion, I'm not taking anything away from him and I take my hat off to him. The way he came back from his brutal win over Edison Miranda. But that fight would've been stopped had it taken place anywhere else. I think I would do very well over there and that I would take his title.
J.S: Can Kelly Pavlik come back from the bad loss to Hopkins?
T.S: Kelly can come back. He's proven in the past that he is a great champion. Hopkins is a crafty veteran and he did what you have to do to beat Pavlik. You have to offset him, box him. Kelly is pretty basic, you stay away from the right hand and make sure you don't get in a dog fight with him.
J.S: Do you feel you'd have done to Pavlik what B-Hop did?
T.S: Absolutely. I don't think Hopkins punches as hard as me, but he's a professor. I spent some time in camp with Bernard and I learnt a lot.
J.S: It's been great speaking with you, Tarvis. I hope you get the big chance you want in 2009.
T.S: Thank you. Call me up any time.
(sincere thanks go to Rachel Charles for setting up this interview)
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