Rowland Bryant: One Man, One Mission.....
by Vivek Wallace: The sport of Boxing is often referred to as the "theater of the unexpected", and thus far this year alone we've seen this very mantra play itself out on several fronts. Back in February, light heavyweight Rowland Bryant had a signed contract to square off against Russian Denis Grachev. Withstanding strong interest from both sides, politics would prevent the fight from happening, forcing the men to find new dancing partners. Fate would place both men under contract against opponents many viewed them to be inferior to. For Grachev it was the undefeated Ismayl Sillaykh, and for Rowland it was Librado Andrade. Unable to test skills against one another, individually these two men would not only take the challenge, but subsequently shock the world, opening many eyes and serving notice to an already loaded light heavyweight division. division.
Article posted on 21.05.2012
In the aftermath of his solid victory over the same Librado Andrade that took the dangerous Lucian Bute to the brink, I had a chance to talk to Rowland Bryant.. Here's what he had to say:
VW: How's it going, my man! Thanks for the opportunity to sit and talk fight game. Obviously you just had a pretty big fight against Librado Andrade. Tell me, what was it like going into that fight, considering the caliber of fighter Andrade is?
RB: I knew it was a step up in competition, compared to others I had faced. I knew he throws a lot of punches and keeps a high energy pace, so I came into the fight knowing that I would have to rise to the occasion.....and I did.
VW: Considering the big jump in competition, how were you entering the ring? Did you feel prepared? Did you have to adjust? What was the story stepping into the ring that night?
RB: No. I just think back to being in the locker room and seeing other fighters who fought before me who used that locker room come back bloody, bruised, and swollen. All of them that used the locker room prior to me had pretty much lost, so as I was getting taped up I just kept telling myself, "that's not gonna be me"! And when the bell rang I did what I needed to make sure it wasn't.
VW: One of the things I noticed about the fight was that as much as we see the fan friendly side of the sport....guys looking to display offense.....you showed some great defense in spurts, slipping punches and so forth. How do you like describe your style?
RB: I like to watch a lot of the old school fighters. I was a huge fan of Mike Tyson, but also a very great fan of guys like Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles, Archie Moore, and Jack Johnson. Those guys in that era really impress me. I always find myself asking like, how can these guys fight until they're like, 40, or so, and have one or two hundred fights and still remain motivated. That's a dangerous person! How can a guy last that long and still have the same mindset to be hungry and give it his all to the point where they could find success like that? Guys now days, 25, 30 fights or so and they want to kick back and don't want to train hard. I like to keep that old school mentality....mentally strong, and physically tough.
VW: Speaking about old school, obviously, today is a much different era. What are your thoughts about today's fight game?
RB: I think the game today is very watered down. You have a lot of trainers who don't know what they're doing, training fighters who don't know what they're doing, and it's just like a big cycle. Bad techniques and incomplete skills are being handed down and passed around, and honestly....it's like the sport is just diluted. And today, no one wants to fight a threat. People get caught up in what Floyd Mayweather is doing, and his undefeated record, but he's actually taking risk! Many fighters today try to hard to protect their "O" but not take risk. It's a big difference.
VW: Talking about young fighters who have that highly coveted "O", soon we get a chance to see one (fighter) who hasn't really tried to protect his "O" against a fighter who's definitely a threat to take it. How do you see the Manny Pacquiao/Timothy Bradley fight playing out?
RB: I give any man a shot who has something to prove. Bradley has a shot. But what it all comes down to is Pacquiao can take a Bradley shot.....but can Bradley take a Pacquiao shot? Over the years you had guys like Foreman who could chop you down with one punch. Then you had guys like Tyson who could literally pick you up with a shot, then put you down with the next one to follow! With Pacquiao......he hits with so much velocity he literally cuts you deeper with every shot! You have to love and respect him.
VW: Before we shut down, taking a quick look at your own division, if you could pick a fighter out there right now that you feel would bring out the absolute best in you, who would it be? Someone who would bring out every ounce of your talent and take you to the maximum to gain that "W", who would it be?
RB: I'd say Chad Dawson and probably Tavoris Cloud. Dawson is a skilled fighter, so it's a chess match. Cloud is a gutsy fighter who is tough and can punch too. Those two fights I think would allow me to showcase my overall skills and I hope to land them one day!
VW: Yeah, Cloud can punch....but with 11KOs in 16 pro fights, you aren't too shabby yourself! (Laughs). Hopefully we'll get a chance to see some more of that real soon. Prior to Andrade you were under the radar but now everyone knows who you are so stay sharp! (Laughs). Thanks again for dropping by, champ! Look forward to doing it again some time soon!
RB: Definitely. Thanks for everything! To all the fight fans out there, be on the look out. And regarding no longer being under the radar, I prefer it that way. I feel I've always been ready for this! You have your thoughts as a fighter, but once the bell rings, it's time to fight! But thanks again! Take care.
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