Interview With Trainer Al Bonanni - “Tavoris Cloud Will Go For The KO As He Always Does!”

boxingBy James Slater: Ahead of his fighter, unbeaten IBF 175-pound king Tavoris Cloud’s big fight with Jean Pascal, trainer Al Bonanni kindly took the time to speak with ESB about the August 11th showdown set for Canada.

J.S: This massive fight with Pascal, is this one of the fights you’ve chased after for such a long time?

Al Bonanni: I wouldn’t say ‘chased,’ but yes, this fight was one of three or four that we’ve wanted for Tavoris. This fight was probably the easiest to make and Don King has done a good job.

J.S: Of the three or four names you wanted for Tavoris, who else was in there?

A.B: Well, we’d like a unification with WBO champ Nathan Cleverly, and also the WBA champ, Shumenov. We’d also still like to fight Hopkins, but he’s not interested. And Chad Dawson, I have no good feeling towards him. He signed to fight us after making us wait for 18 months and then pulled out. He doesn’t have the stomach to fight Cloud. But any of these fights would be good, but we have the Pascal fight; which was the easiest to make..

J.S: You’re happy about your fighter going to Pascal’s backyard, in Canada?

A.B: Well, we were promised neutral officials so if the fight goes the distance they should treat us fairly. But in every Tavoris Cloud fight he goes for the knockout. But if it does go to the cards, we have to hope they’re fair. The reason we went to Canada was because of Cloud’s promoter: he has great sponsorship deals out there, and he has power and Pascal is so big there - we went where the big money is. But Tavoris has fought away from home so many times already - in Corpus Christi and in Chicago and in Missouri - he hardly ever gets to fight at home. So this fight is no different really.

J.S: You expect a physical fight, a toe-to-toe battle?

A.B: I hope so. Like I’ve said before: we’re the bigger fighter, we’re the stronger fighter, we’re the faster fighter, we’re the harder-punching fighter. We’re not going to change our style at all. One thing, we won’t be facing as 6’3” southpaw like we did last time with [Gabriel] Campillo - a fight I wouldn’t have picked myself. But Zsolt Erdei pulled out with less than 4 weeks to go. Anyway, Pascal is a boxer/puncher and he likes to come in. He’s quite easy to hit I think - I may be wrong but I don’t think so - and Cloud will be able to hit him and hurt him. And another thing; people say Pascal is the better boxer. He’s not the better boxer, Tavoris is.

J.S: What fights of Pascal have you been looking at in preparation? What do you like about him?

A.B: So far, I’ve really only watched his fights against southpaws. We have a reel of his fights against right-handers, which I’ll study closer to the fight. Sometimes I don’t like watching too may previous fights heading into a camp, because the other guy can change his style and approach. But what I like about Pascal is the fact that he signed the contract to fight us. He made a mistake. He’s a hard puncher and he’s not slow. But we definitely take a better punch. The only advantage Pascal has is he’s fighting at home.

J.S: I don’t know if you know, Al, but Pascal and our guy in the U.K, Carl Froch, have a verbal agreement to fight again one day. Their war in December of 2008 was a classic. But obviously you want to ruin that, by beating Pascal bad!

A.B: I’ve not seen that fight, but I’ll check it out now that you’ve mentioned it. Let me tell you about Carl Froch; he is a great fighter and a great boxer. He really impressed me. I wasn’t shocked by the win over Bute, because I thought it was a bad fight for Bute, and that the money must have been huge for him to have taken the fight. But Froch is a great example, to the U.K and to the world. Maybe he could face Cloud one day. I’m not sure the fight will happen, but it could.

J.S: Froch has said he may move up to light-heavyweight before he retires. Anyway, does Cloud plan on staying at 175 or maybe going up one day?

A.B: Right now, he’ll stay at light-heavyweight. He’s 5’11” and he makes the weight. It gets harder with age and we need more weeks to make it. Maybe he will go up to cruiserweight one day, but right now he’s staying at light-heavyweight.

J.S: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Al. Best wishes for the fight in August.

A.B: Thanks. It’s good that Cloud is getting on T.V again. He‘s been on Showtime before and on HBO and ESPN. But not as many times as the most exciting fighter in the sport should be on a big network. After this fight, the big, big fights will come in.

Article posted on 02.06.2012

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