Exclusive Interview With Lamon Brewster - "My Whole Life Is Boxing"

boxingby James Slater - Former WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster picked up his second comeback win this past Saturday, as he clearly out-pointed useful Brit Michael Sprott in Germany. Now a member of the Sauerland Event stable, the 35-year-old warrior is looking to get back to the top of the tree in his division.

Now sporting a record of 35-4(30), "Relentless" is planning to have one or two more tune-up type bouts, before getting what he hopes will be a title shot - hopefully one against the man he has both defeated and lost to, in Wladimir Klitschko. Now healthy again after having undergone retinal surgery, Brewster is feeling better than ever - as he told me earlier today in a telephone interview..

Very kindly taking time out, Lamon gave the following answers to my questions.

James Slater: It's great that you have taken the time to speak with me, Lamon. Firstly, I know you gave yourself a one-to-ten rating after your last fight, against Danny Batchelder. How would you rate your win over Michael Sprott on Saturday?

Lamon Brewster: Well, I got the W, which is the most important thing. I'd probably give myself a five. Something that I did, which I probably shouldn't have done, affected me in the fight. I'm not taking anything away from the fight my man [Sprott] gave me, because he fought a tremendously smart fight. He was faster than I thought, and he was smart enough not to mix it with me and go toe-to-toe. What happened was, I took some Benadryl to help me sleep - because of the time difference in America and Germany I was having trouble. I took it all week and the day of the fight I slept for like sixteen hours. I was in the fight, don't get me wrong, but it was like my mind and my body were on two different pages.

J.S: It was a good, rust-removing win for you. At one point, though, it looked like it might be a short fight. Were you surprised when he got back up from that sweet left hook you put him down with in the 3rd round?

L.B: Not really. He's been around the block and he's no walk in the park for any fighter. He was using all his experience so as not to get caught with my power shots. You know, he's a veteran and I commend him on a good fight. I didn't want a quick KO in the fight anyway. I wanted some rounds to get some more rust off me. In fact, I'd say I need two more fights like that. I don't want to score KO's, unless they're late in the fight. I felt good on Saturday, but at the same time I think I could've done better. I was sparring with the great James Toney beforehand and he got me real sharp. James Toney don't take it easy on anybody in sparring (laughs). If you make a mistake he lets you know not to make another one by hitting you with a good punch!

J.S: Those sure would be some rounds of sparring to see, Lamon! Can I ask you, how did your deal with Sauerland come about?

L.B: I had met Mr. Sauerland Senior, who is a real good guy - just look at his track record, I had only heard good things about him. We met and we spoke, and I said, 'Ok, let me see who's going to give me not only the best deal - but who also has class and has the power to get me somewhere.' Not only that, but Germany is like a second home to me. I am always well received by the German people and I like to fight there. I mean, I love my country, but boxing is just not as hot as it once was in America - like it is in Germany and in Europe right now.

J.S: How soon do you plan on fighting again?

L.B: May or June. I want to say, I'm pushing for a fight with Martin Rogan. That would be a really good fight. He's making a name for himself now - he beat Matt Skelton, right?

J.S: Yes, he stopped him late on.

L.B: Exactly. I'd come to the UK to fight him. I am ready to fight anywhere. I believe that you cannot be a world champion if you are afraid to travel. How can you be the best in the world if you're scared to fight out of your home country? If we have a ring, let's fight. That's my philosophy.

J.S: I read that you also want a rubber-match with Wladimir Klitschko. Is that a priority for you?

L.B: Absolutely, Yes. The second fight I wasn't right, but I did the best I could. What people have to realise is, before that fight I was face down in a hospital bed, recovering from surgery. As soon as I got out [of hospital] they called me and offered me the rematch with Klitschko. They offered me so much money, more than when I was (WBO) champion. I would have been a fool to turn it down! But now I want to set the record straight. We're tied now, and we have to see who the real champion is. He beat me in the second fight, but I destroyed him in the first fight. How can he be happy with himself the way he beat me? I'd been out for fifteen months - that's a long time! How can he be content with the win over me when he knew I wasn't healthy. I wanted a tune-up - I asked for a tune-up - but they wouldn't let me have one. They wanted to get me while I was hurt. When I had the belt you never heard him [Wladimir] mention my name at all! He never called me out, until I had to have retinal surgery.

J.S: You really believe you can win the series with Klitschko, and that the third fight has to happen?

L.B: Yes, of course. You know, Wladimir might have gotten a little stronger, he may have gotten a little more skilful - but he's still the same person. In our first fight I took away his skills and when it came down to it it became a fight involving heart. All those big muscles don't mean a thing if you haven't the heart to win. And that's what the first fight came down to. But I didn't make any excuses after I lost the rematch. I did the best I could and I sucked it up like a man. Now let's see who wins after I've had time to get back to my best; when I'm ready and totally healthy. Let's see who the real champion is!

J.S: Should that third fight with Klitschko not come off, who else would you like to fight? It seems as though Klitschko will fight either David Haye or Chris Arreola soon. Who would you like instead, for the time being at least?

L.B: Whoever has a belt. No-one who has a belt and who is at the top of the mountain is safe. I want to get back to the top of the mountain myself, so whoever has a belt when I get there [I will fight].

J.S: What do you think of David Haye? Being a Brit myself, I'd like your opinion of him.

L.B: For me, it's too early to say. I know he beat the gatekeeper of the heavyweight division in Monte Barrett, but let's see him in with two more heavyweights to see how he handles himself. We'll see. Time will tell, really.

J.S: Is that a fight you'd take if it was offered to you?

L.B: Yeah. I'd fight anyone. But I want the rust to be off first. I want to get rid of the rust by fighting experienced guys, and make sure I'm right. I'd definitely take that fight this year, but not for my next fight. I'd need one more fight first.

J.S: I know you were WBO heavyweight champ, but do you feel it's your destiny to become the REAL heavyweight champion before you retire?

L.B: Yes. My whole life is boxing - all roads lead back to boxing. I can't go around without it, all roads lead back to it. I feel now that I'm better than I've ever been. I have a great team around me, and I feel that with this team and with God on my side how can I lose? I have picked up so much knowledge to go with my skills now, and I'm in great shape. I'm on an exercise bike right now, while I'm speaking to you. I've been working out the whole thirty-six minutes.

J.S: I never would have guessed! You don't sound out of breath at all.

L.B: Well, I'm a little out of breath (laughs). But I'm very excited about my life. You know, I must admit, when my career was threatened during the retinal surgery, I didn't fully realise at first how much my career meant to me. I asked God for one more chance to use the gift he's given me, and I said that I would show all my gifts in the ring this time. I know I can be heavyweight champion because none of the other fighters at the top have the skills I have. And with God on my side how can I lose? Can't no-one be against you if you have God's help. It doesn't matter who you fight or where you fight.

J.S: I know you are a very spiritual person, Lamon. I remember your interview after the win over Klitschko, and understandably you were very emotional.

L.B: Bill Slayton, my first trainer, who was like a father to me - he had passed away before that fight. He was actually in hospital and he would say to me that he was going to get better so that we could win the world title together. I was his last protégée, he was like Cus D' Amato to me. Bill Slayton had worked with Ken Norton, Michael Dokes and with Jerry Quarry a little. He worked with so many fighters. But right before my biggest win he passed away. He taught me everything. I really wanted him to see me win that fight.

J.S: It was a great moment for you, winning that fight and dedicating it to him. It's been great speaking with you, Lamon. I wish you good luck with the rest of your career and I hope you get the big fights you want.

L.B: Thank you and God bless.

Article posted on 17.03.2009

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