Brad “King” Solomon: “Mentally, I like to break a guy down…that’s when he’s finished”
by Pavel Yakovlev: One of boxing’s hottest up-and-coming fighters is welterweight Brad “King” Solomon. A former three time National Golden Gloves champion, Solomon is currently 14-0 (six KO’s) as a professional. Rated tenth by the WBC and fifth by the WBA, the 27-year-old Solomon has bedazzled fans and media with his blinding hand and foot speed, superb athleticism, slick boxing tactics, and blazing combination punching. On November 25th, Solomon faces his toughest opponent to date when he squares off against Kazakhstan’s Vitaly Demyanenko. Given that the undefeated Demyanenko (19-0, 12 KO’s) is rated ninth by the WBA and fourth by the WBO, the winner of this bout is likely to become the mandatory challenger for the WBC, WBA, or WBO welterweight world titles in the near future.
Article posted on 28.10.2010
Recently, Solomon spoke with ESB about his career and possible future opponents.
ESB: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN BOXING? WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO FIGHT?
SOLOMON: Boxing was something I always wanted to try, and there were lots of gyms in my neighborhood in Lafayette, Louisiana. When I was a teenager, I went to the gyms a lot. I liked the aggressive contact, the fighting. It came naturally to me..
ESB: MOST OF YOUR AMATEUR LOSSES OCCURRED IN THE 2008 OLYMPIC TRIALS. WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF THOSE FIGHTS? WERE THE DECISIONS FAIR?
SOLOMON: I feel that I won all my fights in the Olympic Trials. The decisions against me weren't fair. In one of those losses, the computer punch stats had me way ahead, but the officials gave the decision to the other guy.
ESB: YOUR FIGHTING STYLE AND ATHLETIC MOVEMENT ARE REMINISCENT OF SUGAR RAY ROBINSON, ESPECIALLY WHEN ROBINSON WAS A WELTERWEIGHT. DO YOU WATCH FILMS OF ROBINSON, AND ARE YOU EMULATING HIS FIGHTING STYLE?
SOLOMON: Yeah, I study Robinson. But I also study the films of all the great fighters, not just Robinson. I like the way Robinson used his jab -- everything comes off of the jab -- so I use that tactic. I also liked the way Robinson threw his left hook; he set it up off of his jab. Robinson’s opponents thought he was throwing a jab, but a left hook was really coming. I like that.
ESB: WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A FIGHTER?
SOLOMON: My speed and my thinking ability. I like to use my head in the ring, to make a guy think I'm going to his body when really I'm going upstairs. Or, to make a guy think I'm going to his head, but really I'm hitting downstairs. Mentally, I like to break a guy down. Once a guy is broken down in the ring mentally, he's finished.
ESB: ARE THERE ANY TACTICAL AREAS WHERE YOU WOULD LIKE TO IMPROVE?
SOLOMON: In boxing, you can never stop learning. I have lots to learn. What I'm doing now is learning to be patient, to wait for things to happen naturally, instead of getting over-excited and trying to rush things. Patience is something that's acquired only by lots of work in the gym.
ESB: YOUR BOXING NICKNAME IS “KING." YOU ARE KNOWN AS BRAD "KING" SOLOMON. HOW DID YOU GET THAT NICKNAME?
SOLOMON: It's from King Solomon, who was the wisest man in the bible. I am like King Solomon in the ring, because I'm a thinking fighter. I'm always out-thinking my opponents.
ESB: WHAT DOES YOUR TRAINING REGIMEN CONSIST OF? IN ADDITION TO SPARRING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO? HOW DO YOU INSURE THAT YOU ARE PROPERLY CONDITIONED?
SOLOMON: Sparring, shadow boxing, wind sprints, hitting the bags. Shadow boxing is especially important; in the old days, Sugar Ray Robinson did a lot of shadow boxing. Hitting the mitts and calisthenics are important, too. I do roadwork every day, early in the morning. The shortest I run is five miles; the longest I run is eight miles.
ESB: WHO HAS BEEN YOUR TOUGHEST OPPONENT SO FAR, AND WHY?
SOLOMON: In the pros, I want to say, Ray Robinson (note: this Robinson is no relation to the original Sugar Ray Robinson). I say this because he turned the fight into a chess match, he did lots of thinking. The last guy I fought, Pablo Vasquez, I would say he was tough, but I beat him easily. He came with his best game...he must have watched the films of me, and known I was a boxer. He came right after me, trying to fight and beat me down. But I just boxed him, countered him, and finally got him out of there.
ESB: WHAT ARE YOU THOUGHTS ABOUT YOUR NEXT OPPONENT, WORLD-RATED VITALY DEMYANENKO? IN TERMS OF THE QUALITY OF YOUR OPPOSITION, DEMYANENKO REPRESENTS A MAJOR STEP UP FOR YOU.
SOLOMON: He's a southpaw, and he's unorthodox. But I'm good with southpaws; I beat three of them already. Demyanenko’s tough, he ain't got no losses, he's coming to fight. I'm looking forward to a good fight, but I'm staying undefeated.
ESB: ARE YOU READY TO FIGHT FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.? ASSUMING YOU GUYS FOUGHT, HOW WOULD THE ACTION UNFOLD IN THE RING?
SOLOMON: Yeah. Whenever the time comes, I'm ready for Mayweather. I'd fight him by doing everything off the jab. I would make a lot of movement, and keep the jab in his face at all times. I would watch him at all times, to see what kind of counterpunches he throws over my jab. He could counter with a straight right, a left hook, or a jab. I would make sure I keep all my punches sharp. You can't afford to make any mistakes with Mayweather. I would wait for him to come at me, and I would counter everything. He's fast, so for me, it would be all about timing. We'd be playing chess, but I'd win the rounds with my jab.
ESB: ARE YOU READY TO FIGHT MANNY PACQUIAO? HOW WOULD THIS FIGHT PLAY OUT IN THE RING?
SOLOMON: Yes, I'm ready for Pacquiao. He can punch; he'll punch the whole fight. I'd box him, I'd let him punch, and catch him with my counters. He'd be wide open when he punches. My best punches would be the right uppercut and the left hook. I think I can dominate him. I might knock him out, because his chin is suspect.
ESB: HOW WOULD YOU FIGHT SHANE MOSLEY?
SOLOMON: I'd break Shane down mentally. I'd use the jabs, and the one-two, and the left hook. Shane's fast, but he slows down later in the fight. By the sixth round I'd be coming on.
ESB: HOW ABOUT ANDRE BERTO? HOW WOULD THIS FIGHT TURN OUT FOR YOU?
SOLOMON: Easy win for Brad Solomon. Berto is too flat-footed to fight with me.
ESB: ANY FINAL COMMENTS FOR THE FANS?
SOLOMON: I want to let my fans I love them. I want to keep winning for them. It won't be long before I have the world title belt.
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