BJ Flores Speaks Out
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani - Saturday night, undefeated cruiserweight contender BJ Flores scored an impressive stoppage victory against Epifanio Mendoza. Before the fight Flores had wanted to make a statement to the fansóand make a statement he did, in what might well have been his most impressive performance to date. I was afforded the opportunity to have a brief chat with Flores to discuss his performance and his future. Here is what he had to say:
Article posted on 20.08.2009
Q: First off BJ, congratulations on your impressive victory against Epifanio Mendoza. Going into that fight, a lot of people thought Mendoza would be able to give you some problems, but instead, you thoroughly dominated the action. What were you able to do that enabled you to dictate the terms of the fight?
I went out there and I had two healthy hands. A lot of people have this misconception that Iím a passive fighter and that maybe Iím not aggressive, but when Iím healthy and Iím in shape, Iím going to be aggressive with any cruiserweight. This guy had 25 knockouts and 29 wins. We were going after him, our plan was to knock him out and not win by decision.. I went out there and I showed that I could be aggressive . I could definitely be aggressive and I could definitely take the fight to somebody, and thatís what I did on Saturday night.
Speaking of the knockout, watching the fight from my perspective, it seemed that it was only a matter of time before you were going to score a knockout. Did you feel cheated out of the KO victory when Mendoza hurt his shoulder?
A little bit. I mean I wanted to land a clean shot and score an impressive knockout. Any fight I have ever been in where I have been landing my jab like that, itís only a matter of time before I knock him out, because when Iím touching him up with the jab like that I started to catch him in the third round with my other power punches. Every time I hit him I felt like I rattled him and he was hurt. I think it was just a matter of time before I landed the clean shot. If he really injured his shoulder then I hope he recovers well. I would definitely have liked to have scored a knockout, but Iíll take a stoppage victory anyway I can get it.
BJ, when I last had the opportunity to speak with you it was on the On the Ropes Boxing Radio Program, and on the show, you had said that you wanted to make a statement on August 15. In your mind, did you accomplish what you set out to do in that regard?
I didnít score a clean knockout like I would have liked, but through the four rounds I was in control. I felt like I was showing hand speed, I was showing power, I was showing combination punching, and just showing thatóeven though a lot of people thought this guy was going to give me a lot of problemsówhen I am on top of my game I can make things work. I think thatís what it was on Saturday night. I was seeing everything in slow motion and it was just one of those situations where I felt like I was able to see everything he was doing. My punches were coming off fast and hard and every time I connected I could see I was physically hurting him. It was just one of those nights.
Thatís why you work so hard in the gym. Unfortunately, at this level that Iím at now, you have to have one of those nights every single time out. You canít afford a bad night because everyone will make it be known if you are not on top of your game. So thatís why I work so hard in training camp.
Ideally, when will we see you in the ring again and who would you like to fight next?
Iím already scheduled to fight November 21 in Australia on the Danny Green-Roy Jones under card. They are getting somebody for me, right now, I guess. I believe they have somebody in mind already. Iím not sure who the opponent will be. To be honest, there were eight different guys who we offered this (last) fight to, and Epifanio Mendoza was really the one who, on three weeks notice, said, ďYeah, Iíll take it. I got 25 knockouts so Iíll knock BJ out.Ē I respected him for coming in and taking the fight, but we offered it to a lot of different guys and they didnít want it, so this is going to be exciting to get an opponent this far in advance for this November 21 fight. Whoever they get me, Iím good to go. I have faith in my promoters, and whoever they get me, Iíll be ready for it.
Speaking of Roy Jones, what did you think of his performance on Saturday?
ĎSpectacularí is my thoughts on it. I donít care how old he is, he has the fastest hands in boxing, period. People say he isnít what he once was, but I think that right now, he is as physically gifted as he has ever been and I think he knows how to fight a little smarter now. I think he just went through a little down time when he lost to (Antonio) Tarver and (Glenn) Johnson, because he was coming back down from heavyweight and his body wasnít fully recovered from losing all that weight. Since then he has had time to settle in and regained his confidence. I think he will give any light heavyweight in the world problems right now. I think he beats Jean Pascal, I think he beats Zsolt Erdeióthe WBC and WBO champions. The only one who you canít say Roy is almost a clear-cut winner to beat is Chad Dawson. Chad Dawson has earned the title and he is now the best light heavyweight in the world, but I think that Roy is the only one who really matches up with Chad physically. I think that would be a very exciting fight down the road.
All of the other light heavyweights on the landscapeóI think Roy beats them. If you look at Adrian Diaconu, and you look at some of those other light heavyweights, I think Roy just has his way with those guys. Heís too fast, heís too strong, and heís too smart, so I just donít see those guys beating him.
Rumors have recently surfaced about a possible comeback for former cruiserweight champion Vassiliy Jirov. What are your thoughts on his comeback and would you perhaps be interested in fighting him?
Oh, of course. We heard about Vassiliyís comeback, and we actually offered him this (last) fight. They said they wanted to get another comeback fight or two before they looked in our direction. Vassiliy Jirov was a great champion and he has a great name. Heís been out of the ring for a little while but heís still got a good game and he has very, very good credentials. Heís a gold medalist and heís very tough, and he is one of the biggest names in the division. Heís one of the few cruiserweights who has established his name, so that would be a very interesting fight for me. I think heís earned everything heís gotten so far, and I think it would be a very tough and very entertaining fight. If my people want to put me in that fight, then I am all for it.
Assuming the Tomasz Adamek-Steve Cunningham rematch happens, which is not definite by any means yet, who do you think would win that fight and where do you think you would personally fit in amongst the cruiserweight landscape once all the dust has settled?
I think Cunningham wins the rematch, and the reason I think that is because of the addition of Nazim Richardson in his corner. I think heís going to box Adamek smart the second time and be more intelligent, and I think he would have won the first time if he had been a little more intelligent. With that being said, I think Adamek is very tough, but if Cunningham sticks to the game plan then Cunningham beats him.
And how I match up with Cunningham? Cunningham is an outstanding boxer. He is in fantastic shape, heís a former world champion and he is very physical and very good. Itís impossible to say how I would do against Cunningham, but I think I would be very competitive. People saw a little glimpse of me on Saturday night of my jab and my straight punches and the body shots and what I have. Thatís kind of what I have known the whole time and have said the whole time, and people may have been a little surprised when they saw me at the top of my game, and I think Saturday was a little glimpse of that for a few rounds. I wasnít trying to rush anything and wasnít trying to rush a knockout, I was just following my game plan. Everyone told me when I got out of the ring, ďYou look bigger, you look faster, you look stronger. I donít know what happened to you.Ē Right now, mentally, I am in a very good place and Iím very excited.
In my opinion, that was one of the best performances, if not the best performance, I have ever seen from you. You had everything working nicely. You had the jab going well, you were sneaking the right in behind it, you were throwing good combos, and you were mixing it up to the head and body very well. How do you attribute everything coming together for you so perfectly in your last fight? Was it something in your preparations?
I think sometimes it just takes awhile to get comfortable in the ring as a professional. Saturday night was a fight where I wanted to go in and make a statement. I knew my back was kind of against a wall, and it really just kind of relaxed me to be honest with you. I was totally relaxed getting in the ring and I knew that there was nothing Mendoza would be able to do to stop me that night. I said at the Press Conference, when everyone was saying ďif I winĒ, ďif I winĒ, I said, ďListen, on Saturday night, thereís nothing Mendozaís going to do to stop me from winningóI will win.Ē I was very calm and very confident and very relaxed, and I think it was because of my preparations. I want to thank my strength coach Ray Franklin, my trainer Jacob Chavez, and my father Frank Flores, and also my management teamóJerry and Meganóthey all combined to come together as a team to make it possible to where I donít have to worry about anything else except boxing. That right there is what makes it possible for me to go out and perform like I did on Saturday, because my team has come together and put me in a situation where my only concern is boxing. Thatís what I can do when I am at my best and donít have any other distractions.
And I have a lot more than that, people just saw a little bit of it. Thereís going to be a lot more of that. I can do that consistently, I could have done that all night. Trust me, Mendoza wouldnít have stuck around all night if I would have just done that for a couple of more rounds. I can do that all night, I can do that for ten rounds, I can do it for fifteen rounds.
BJ, is there anything else you would like to say to all of your fans over at East Side Boxing?
I just want to say that I wanted to go out and make a statement in this fight and I know that I have to be entertaining and thatís what I tried to do on Saturday. In the future youíre going to see a more aggressive BJ Floresóone who wants to go out and put on a good show and be entertaining. Iím coming up now and Iím in my prime now. I love my life, I love my job, and everyday I wake up and Iím excited, so Iím in a very good place right now. Thatís pretty much the message I want people to know. I love boxing and Iím very excited about where I am right now.
I would like to thank BJ Flores for his time and wish him the best of luck in all future endeavors both inside and outside the ring.
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