An Exclusive Interview: ESB Speaks With Lamon Brewster
16.11.05 - Interview by Geoff McKay
Article posted on 16.11.2005
ESB: Hello Mr. Brewster, Geoff McKay here from eastsideboxing.com.
LB: Oh yeah.
ESB: Youíre familiar with the site?
LB: Oh yeah!
ESB: Was there anything you wanted to say to begin with?
LB: Well, I guess to open up I just want to clear the record for something that I feel that I was almost misquoted. I did an interview, and I believe it was with you guys, Iím not really sure, but the comments were that, some guys were saying that, ďOh well, Brewster, this and thatĒ about making a lot of money but, you know, just to set the record straight I have not made a lot of money, because, you know, when you take into consideration the taxes you have to pay, and your cut men, and your managers and everything, it doesnít really leave a lot for a fighter once he gets his purse.. So, because I havenít made large purses yet, which Iím hoping now since Iím in a better position that I will start to make big purses. You know I just wanted to clear that up because some guys were making some comments on the commentary where they were saying ďOh, we donít feel sorry for Brewster, he said he just wants to take care of his familyĒ. What I mean by taking care of my family is that I canít box for another ten years where somebody with a steady nine to five, they can do it for the rest of their life. You know I got a short window, and the minute you lose a fight your stock goes down, and you unfortunately wonít make that kind of money, you know, itís no set salary, so I just wanted to say that to clear up the record. But then also I wanted to say, because another comment was said that I wouldnít fight unless I made a lot of money.
Well, the thing is, I fought all this time without making money, and now Iím at the position where Iím at the top, and so therefore, I should make money, so I shouldnít take any fights that doesnít make money just to get my head knocked around and prove to somebody that ohh, Iíll fight anybody. I will fight anybody. I have a family, I have a wife and kids that I have to support, so it doesnít make sense if you take fights just to try and prove to somebody that Iíll fight anybody, when, at the end of the day, I walk away with nothing. So you know, I think ignorance runs great, sometimes, with people, and you know, especially with people who are fans of other fighters, like, I take it the guys that I was having the conversation with were Klitschko fans, because they were saying Klitschko beat me, and this and that, but thereís two ways to skin a cat. When I fought Klitschko, my whole thing was to put pressure on him, and to hit him with body shots and wear him down.
I wasnít concerned with trying to win rounds, which, I want to set that record straight, because when I fought Klitschko, heís a good fighter, so why would I want to go out there and capitalize on his strengths? I wanted to capitalize on his weakness. His weaknesses are that his stamina aint that good, and that he donít take that good of a punch. So why go out there and make myself tired trying to throw punch for punch with him, when all I had to do was go out there, put pressure on him, hit him with body shots, and thatís what made him wonder why he was so tired, and then knock him out, and thatís what I did. But I also said to the guy, because Iím a nice person and everybody knows that, that donít take my kindness for weakness, because the guy, I felt like he was disrespecting me, whoever he was, so I made an open invitation to anybody who thinks Iím soft, we aint gotta get in the ring, we can, you know what I mean, Iím from the street man, Iím not no punk so, if you think your tough enough to take me on, and take on my crew, take on my boys, anybodyís welcome, anybodyís welcome.
ESB: You mentioned Wladimir. I happened to be on the phone with him when he received word that you had knocked out Krasniqi. I asked him if this meant he would seek a rematch with you, and he responded that because of Don King, that fight would be very hard to make. Any comments?
LB: Well, I donít know man, I canít answer that, because, you know, I donít know what Donís whole intention is, I know thereís a lot of people that get frustrated with Don, I think itís because he wants them to sign rights, where, if he wins or whatnot, you have to give him so many fights. Thatís how he got Evander Holyfield, when he fought Mike Tyson, is that in order to fight Mike for his titles, he had to sign some type of a fight deal where Don got to promote his next few fights. So, I canít answer that, you know, anything is possible man, I mean, anything is absolutely possible. I donít know, but I think that now with Vitali gone, itís a marketable fight. Now I would fight Wladimir, and he is my mandatory, and if he chooses to fight me, well then that is definitely a fight that I would want to take because, now my head is right. Now Iím not mourning the loss of my trainer, now Iím not confused about what I need to do in the ring because my trainers voice isnít there anymore, so I feel like now I can go out there and show how good I really am.
ESB: Okay. In preparation for the interview I read through the last one you did with Ike, and there was a comment left that I thought might have been you but wasnít sure.
LB: Yeah, that was me, and I never do, thatís the first time I ever made any kind of comment, but you know, they just caught me at the right time, and I was upset man, because I was like, I was just whole heartedly trying to be an honest person and be a good person and give a good interview, and the just, that kind of remark, like wow man, that hurt my feelings. Iím fighting, trying to put on a good show for you guys, trying to be a role model for your kids, and this is how you treat me?
ESB: I read an interview you did a while back, where you said that things werenít right in your training camp while you prepared for Kali Meehan. You stated you would clear that up at a later date. Can you do that now?
LB: Yeah sure. What I meant by that is that my camp was arguing with each other man, because it was like, well, Iíll just put it like this, my trainer at the time, HeÖ I donít even know how to say this properly, but he, he kinda had let his ego get in the way, where he made some comments about my team because he was new to the team, and they started resenting him. So everything he did, they kinda just was like, against him, and everything that they did, he kinda was against them, so then instead of him, like, necessarily talking to me about it, trying to resolve it, it kinda went through my manager, and he wasnít in camp, and then my manager calling me, so now Iím in between both of them, you know, feuding with each other, it was just little things like that man. It really threw the camp of because itís like, you know, aint nobody in the gym speaking to each other but we trying to do a job, you know. And then it was like, well, you had Kali in camp so all you gotta do is just show up in shape, youíll beat him.
I thought that too, you know, because, he was a friend, and oh yeah, this will be a good fight, you know, this will keep me busy, and I aint got to worry about going in there trying to knock this guy out, because Iíve sparred with him, but I underestimated him, because, I forgot, or what I didnít realize, was that, any man fighting for a world title for the first time, especially from a country whoís never had a heavyweight champion, heís gonna be up!. He was so up for that fight man, and what I did was I went in to the fight, because, everybody said, Ohh, your gonna knock him out, your gonna knock him out, so I didnít try to knock him out. Never did I really try to knock him out, I just tried to win. So what I realized is that he started getting his confidence together by the third round, and then, Iím like, Holdup man, Iím starting to, this guy is really pouring it on, (laughs). So when I realized that it was the eight round, and so thatís why the eight, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth, I really came out and started putting the pressure on him, because I knew at that point, Iím like, ďIím going to lose this fightĒ.
And so, thatís why when people say that it was a close fight, yeah it was a close fight, because I was counting the rounds. I felt like I won the early rounds, then I gave him all the middle rounds, cause he got confident, cause Iím sittin out there looking at him. You canít look at a tall guy whoís a boxer and think your gonna beat him being a strut fighter. He did a good job man, and I commend him for it, and thatís why I apologized for so many months to all my fans, because, I almost gave up my title, due to my own ignorance, but by the grace of god, I guess I hit me like a lightning bolt that I was down, I was losing, I had to pull it out, and those last few rounds I did. I definitely felt that I won. That wonít happen no more though, because I told Don King, I said listen, Iíll never fight another friend again. I said, youíll have to take my title from me before I fight another friend. I know people talk about me and Chris Bird, being cousins. Weíll fight, because I saw him and James Toney, the same night, and that was the night when James Toney fought in Temecula, and he said that they both were so, so mad at me. He was like ďman, we know how good you are, and if you ever fight like that again, your gonna have to fight me, and if you fight me, you had better do the best you can or Iím gonna try to knock you outĒ, and that really just woke me up. That was my reality call, so that will never happen again (laughs).
ESB: Can you tell us a little about the pressure of fighting in Germany on Max Schmelingís birthday?
LB: First of all, I didnít feel any pressure, at all. The only thing that kind off worried me is when I went to the weigh in, or the press conference, and I heard him say through translation that heíd been in camp for twelve weeks. They didnít tell me about the fight until nine weeks out, and I was in Jamaica on the beach with my wife, probably sipping on a Pina Colada or something, and so I felt like I was being shafted, because you know, here I am already here, how this guy knew about the fight, been in camp for twelve weeks, I was only in camp for like, seven weeks so I was like, How is this possible? Iím the champ. With that being said, I had no fear because I knew, if I didnít knock him out I wasnít going to win, but my whole intention when I went over there was to knock him out, so thatís why, I fought the way I fought, constant pressure, just taking his body from him, to knock him out. I didnít care about him winning rounds. Even if I would have won the rounds, they still would have given them to him, how do you think your gonna win in a mans backyard?
ESB: Other fighters have said they have experienced problems of that nature.
LB: Yeah, but the difference in they canít punch like me. My claim is that I am the hardest puncher in the division, and if they donít believe it, just fight me.
ESB: How about the atmosphere? How were you received by the people?
LB: Well, they were okay, I mean hey man, you know, they was cheering for their home town boy, and I donít blame them. I canít take anything away from their actions whatsoever, but at least I didnít get hit with trash this time like I did when I fought Golota which added to his knockout.
ESB: I didnít realize you had been hit with trash when you fought Golota.
LB: They were throwing stuff at me when I was walking into the ring, and in all my life, that has never happened, I mean I didnít even have to fight Golota. He wasnít my mandatory, Iím doing them a favor, and thatís how they treat me, so I took it out on him.
ESB: So did you expect such a quick knockout when you fought Golota?
LB: No, I just know that in the history of my life, no man has ever stood toe to toe with me, and the fact that he did, he learned the hard way too. See when I lost to Etienne, he didnít stand toe to toe with me, he threw his punches and then he covered up in his little shell.
ESB: There are those that say you have a big heart, but your fighting style causes you to take too much punishment. What is your response to this?
LB: Well, I mean, I think they need to go back and look at some tapes of other heavyweight fighters man, I mean, they got hit as much as I did. Watch some of the times when I get hit, the punches I get hit with, they are not all solid punches, they are glancing blows that actually glance off of me, and those punches donít affect you in any way. If the punches are solid, it does affect you. They just need to pay more attention to that, it isnít that I donít get hit, because of course I do, but then show me any great fighter who doesnít get hit.
ESB: Why do you think it is that big recognition still eludes you even after your recent victories?
LB: Whatís holding me back is two reasons. One thatís holding me back is because people donít understand, they donít understand the strategy, they donít understand that boxing is a science. My science of beating Wladimir Klitschko was to go in there, put pressure on him, and make him wear himself out, not to go in there and win every round and knock him out. Thatís what they wanted to see, obviously, you know, I didnít look good in their eyes winning the fight, which I can accept. So therefore, I mean, I am not going to say that they are not boxing fans, but if you know the history of boxing you would know about strategy. Strategy is not about going into the ring and just hitting a man and winning every round, itís about setting a man up and wearing him down. Obviously they have never seen a dogfight before. With that being said, the second thing was, you know Wladimir Klitschko, when I did beat him, this is a Ď96 Olympic gold medalist. Heís gonna go and tell the whole world, ya, I feel foul play, poisoned, so all the millions of fans heís got across the world, instead of being a real man, he wantís to hurt the sport of boxing by putting another dark cloud in the eyes and the ears of people, making them think boxing is more corrupt than it already is. So by him saying that he hurt the sport and he hurt my reputation, because whoís going to believe a no-body, Lamon Brewster, over a guy like Wladimir Klitschko.
ESB: I donít know who would consider you a no-body though.
LB: Well, Iím saying, at the time, a 10 to 1 underdog that everybody knew Klitschko was going to knock out but, you know, itís okay man, but that leads me to one other thing that I can add. God says, if you love me they will hate you, and because I always try to represent the Lord in everything I do, because of my faith, through just what heís brought me through, people who donít know God, they always tend to look down upon you when you try to tell them that God is the reason why you are successful. So, itís like, the fear of the unknown is what makes a man turn away from you so to speak, you know. But itís okay man, you know, if they believe me they do, if they donít they donít, but the most important thing is that I believe in myself, and that I have faith in God, and thatís what Iím always trying to tell kids, is that, like myself, if people donít believe in you, your mother or your father, your friends, your family, your uncle, it donít matter, believe in yourself, like Lamon Brewster. When nobody else believed in me, I believed in me and thatís the only thing that matters in the world, is you believing in yourself.
ESB: It sounds like you would love to fight Wladimir again?
LB: Yeah, I canít wait to fight him again man, because itís like, what I want to do to him now, is show, oh my gosh, man, I mean, see like when I fought him, I was still trying to mourn the loss of my trainer, and if youíve ever lost somebody, and then had something you had to do, well then you would know how difficult it is to try to put that out of your heart, out of your head, because Iím used to coming back to the corner, hearing my trainer, and he always wanted me to become heavyweight champion of the world, that was his dying wish, so right before he died, I finally get my wish, and heís not there with me. He wasnít just like a trainer; he was like a father to me. So now that Iím right, now that my head is clear, and it took a while, I mean, that was another reason, with Kali Meehan, it was like, now Iím heavyweight champion of the world but they telling me I gotta turn around and fight Kali right away, and I wasnít ready, so I mean, that was just one more reason why I didnít put on a good performance, because it was like, it hadnít really dawned on me yet that I was the heavyweight champion of the world, I mean, it hadnít soaked in yet, I was fairly shocked. (Laughs).
ESB: A lot of people would like to see you fight Sam Peter. Whatís your opinion of him as a fighter, and is that a fight that you see a doable?
LB: Right now Samuel Peterís gotta prove himself, you know, because when he stepped up to fight a guy like Wladimir Klitschko, I think he just lost on the fact of experience. Instead of having the experience to say, OK, this guys running, I gotta cut him off, ok, heís a tall guy, and heís using his reach, OK, Iíve got to stop swinging for his head, Iíve got to swing for his body and cut him off. Once he gets that experience, and he has a couple more fights I think that it would definitely happen, I think that heís definitely a good fighter, you canít take anything away from him, but at the same time heís not experienced enough yet. I have to say that we would make a good fight because styles make fights, but all the same, itís like, if I beat him now, what would they say, Oh, well, Wladimir Klitschko beat him, heís a bum.
ESB: How do you think a smaller fighter like James Toney would handle heavy shots from a puncher like yourself?
LB: Well, I wonít really speak on James Toney, now Iíll tell you why, because me and James spent many years together, I donít make it a secret that I idolized James growing up. As a kid, I watched him fight many fights when I was a teenager and young man, and so, I donít want to say anything bad about James, Iíll just say that it will be a great fight if we fight?
ESB: Do I detect a possibility that you may be negotiating to fight James Toney?
LB: No, and if we are, I donít know, because right now the only thing Iím gonna focus on, is, I donít know if itís been known, but I signed with Al Heeman, and he is now my representative, and I have complete confidence in his ability and so, whoever he feels is best or whatís best for me, thatís the direction Iím going to go in. I will say this though,
Iím very hungry, I canít explain it too you but Iím hungrier now before I had my title. Iím hungrier now than Iíve ever been in my professional career, and I canít wait to fight anybody, (emphatic).
ESB: Is it true that you practice a martial arts technique that allows you to be more resistant to punishment?
LB: Yeah, actually there is, I wish I could name the technique, but I studied it but I canít name it, but, itís like a recoil, where you take that persons punch and you give it back to them with your power. Thatís my secret; Iím going to have to kill you now that I told you that, (laughs).
ESB: (laughing nervously) Ok. You have also stated that hip hop save your life. Can you explain a little bit?
LB: Yeah man, because, there was a group by the name of Public Enemy, who I am sure is no stranger to you, and you know, instead of the rap out there talking about shooting and drive byís, you know, I was at a time in my life when I was just sitting there and listening to the radio, and sometimes when you first hear a song, you might just listen to the tune and it might move you but you donít really take the words in, and so what I did was I just listened to it over and over. I started listening to the words of Chuck D, and he just started saying things about this, about that, you know, about being black, about having pride, about how it takes a village to raise a child, each one teach one, you know, just conscience rap. So you know, it was things like that that really opened my eyes to being a role model and a leader not just to my people but to the whole world. What I realized is that a lot of kids look up to me, so what I do, and how I act, what I wear, will affect our community, and will affect the world. So I tried to the best of my ability to be a gentleman, and be well spoken, and not ignorant, as a lot of other people try to do. I donít talk about eating nobodyís kids, or nothing like that, you know, so, Iím like the army, I have to try to be all I can be.
ESB: Whatís the Playboy Mansion like?
LB: Iíve never been man, I had the chance to go and I passed it up man. (laughing)
ESB: Passed up the Playboy Mansion? (laughing)
LB: Passed it up. I canít remember what it was man, it could have been my wife, she could have been, like, you ain't going without me, ain't no telling man, (laughs). I didnít go, thatís all I can tell you. (laughs) But itís one of my dreams, believe that. (laughing)
ESB: Okay Lamon, last question. When I get the chance to interview a fighter I like to give one fan a chance to ask a question. This question comes from Kevin Kincade, who claims to be your biggest fan.
ESB: Here it is; ďLamon, now that Vitali has called it a career, which of the three other titlists do you feel is best suited for your style and why?Ē
LB: It would be between Hasim Rahman and John Ruiz. Why, because they are gonna be right there in front of me, they aint gonna run from me, and 99.999% of the time, any man that has ever stood in front of me has been knocked out. (Laughing)
ESB: Thank you for the Interview Mr. Brewster
Authorís note: After the interview ended, Mr. Brewster spoke for several minutes about his passion for boxing, and how much it has done for him and others like himself. He talked about his upcoming Lamon Brewster workout camp where youth will get the opportunity to meet and train with him. He stressed that he wants to bring back the golden age of boxing, when fighters like his hero Joe Louis, dressed classy, and acted with class, but ďfought like the devilĒ. He certainly was a class act during this interview, and I would like to extend my gratitude to him for answering all of my questions openly, and honestly.
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