ESB Exclusive Interview: Calvin Brock: The Boxing Banker Battles Adversity
26.12.05 - By Troy Ondrizek: After going winless in his first six fights as an amateur; a ten year old Calvin Brock almost gave up boxing. Calvin’s dad helped him overcome his ring-related setbacks, and purchased him some boxing instructional tapes. At that moment a contender was born. Calvin went on to become the first fighter to ever receive a college degree before competing in the Olympics. He overcame his adverse conditions of time consuming studying and the dedicated training in takes to be an Olympic fighter.
Article posted on 27.12.2005
All of this helped mold him into the fighter and man he is today. Calvin is now a spokesperson for the African-American community. He is featured on AOL”s BlackVoices.com, a respected African-American website, and is featured in the current issue of Jet magazine in a wedding photo of him and his new bride. Calvin isn’t only making waves in the African-American community. He is making a splash on the heavyweight scene as well. He is undefeated and twenty-seven pro fights. He holds victories over Jameel McCline and Clifford Etienne. Calvin desperately wants to be champion, and he feels now is his time to overcome the other contenders and champions to achieve his goal; boxing greatness. Calvin took the time to tell me about his hurdles he has faced in the division, and how he plans to eradicate any doubt about himself as a fighter.
Troy: First off, Calvin I would like to wish you happy holidays.
Calvin: “Thank you, I am, and the same to you.”
Troy: Before you went to the Olympics or even became a professional boxer; you went and received your college degree in finance. What was the motivation behind that move?
Calvin: “Well Troy my parents always stressed education, and to make something out of myself. They wanted me to be well-rounded. I wanted to be respected for more than just my boxing skills. I wanted to have another option than just boxing. I wanted to have something else than just having boxing to define me. I had setup a job at Bank of America if I didn’t do boxing.”
Troy: So were you always planning on becoming a professional boxer?
Calvin: “Yes, I mean that is what I always wanted to do. Even before the Olympics I knew I was going to be a great professional fighter. I just wanted to make myself a complete person.”
Troy: Earlier this year you had a title fight setup with Vitali Klitschko, but that fell through. Since then you have fought David Bostice and you are fighting Zuri Lawrence in February; are you disappointed about not having another title fight or marquee fight since Jameel McCline?
Calvin. “Yes definitely so. I want to fight the best. I want to be champion. The reason I haven’t had another shot is because the money isn’t there. Television people like HBO and Showtime haven’t made a large enough offer for me to fight big fights. They want to pay us fighters nothing to make loads of money for their networks. Until they pony up the cash, I will keep on fighting the quality but no-name fighters like David Bostice and Zuri.”
Troy: You supposedly had a high profile fight with David Tua; what caused that fight to never happen?
Calvin: “We hadn’t set a date or anything like that. We had originally talked about a fight, and that was it. HBO didn’t have a date or were willing to pay us. Showtime was the same. David and I would’ve been a big fight. People wanted to see us fight. We would’ve brought a lot of attention to the division. It boiled down to the television studios not wanting to pay us for the fight. They would’ve made a lot of money from the fight. If they pay us fighters enough money to put our careers on the line, then we would have a lot more big fights. It’s a business Troy, everyone’s in it to make money, and if the television studios want to rip us off, then they will suffer too. I will fight anybody in the division though. I don’t care who it is. I will beat them. I would’ve beat Tua. It’s just that the studios have to be willing pay for the big fights. Fighters need to be compensated for doing the grunt work, and the studios can’t use us to profit from.”
Troy: Your next fight is with Zuri Lawrence. He recently beat Jameel McCline, and has a victory over Paolo Vidoz, and has a draw with Ray Austin. What do you expect from Lawrence?
Calvin: “I will train hard, and expect him to come in and try to win. He is a good fighter, but doesn’t have a big name. I will not take him lightly, but I will beat him, no doubt.”
Troy: After the Lawrence fight; is there a marquee fight you are looking for?
Calvin: “I am looking to take on any champion. If not a championship; I will take on any fighter in the division.”
Troy: If you can’t get a title shot; how about a box-off with Ray Austin?
Calvin: “Yeah absolutely. Ray has called me out and I am more than willing to fight him. He is ranked higher than me in the WBC, WBA, and IBF. A fight with Austin would definitely interest me. If the money is right we could easily make this fight happen. I am looking to fight top ten fighters all the time.”
Troy: You are ranked no lower than seventh in all the governing bodies. With that being said; there shouldn’t be any problems with the sanctioning bodies for you to fight for a title. So is there a specific champion you are gunning for their belt?
Calvin: “No. I will fight them all. It’s up to how much exposure they bring to the sport and the fight. It also depends how well I am compensated for the fight. I know I will be champion, it’s just I want to make sure my future is monetarily set.”
Troy: You and Samuel Peter were featured in the same Olympics. You both have come up the ranks together. However, you have defeated the better competition and still have an undefeated record. Does Samuel Peter getting more opportunities for the bigger fights and more recognition for a title shot bother you?
Calvin: “No. I like Samuel Peter and wish him well in his career. This isn’t between him and me. This is about promotions. This about whose people fight harder for whom. Peter is a good guy; he fights hard and with skill. Maybe Duva Promotions is fighting for the bigger fights just hard enough. I deserve the same shots he is getting. I was offered a considerable less amount of money for the same fight. I would like to be paid the same as Samuel for the same fights. Although they try, maybe Main Events is unable to get me the same shots. I’m sure their trying, but I’m not getting the same exposure and the same big money fights as Samuel. The politics in this game is hard, and Main Events might have their hands tied, sort to speak.”
Troy: Are you happy with Main Events promotions?
Calvin: “Yes, it’s not them I’m blaming. It’s just maybe other promoters are the problem.”
Troy: So do you think big time promoters like Don King pose a problem for you achieving your goal as champion?
Calvin: “No, it might be a problem, but I really don’t think so. I just need better exposure and some big fights.”
Troy: On a lighter note; you are in the new EA Sports Fight Nights video game. How did that opportunity happen, and how cool is it to be in the best boxing game around?
Calvin: “Man Troy it is incredibly cool to be able to play the game as myself. It’s a fun game, and a great way to market boxing. I was able to be in the game when a representative from EA was at my fight with McCline. He saw me and wanted to use me in their game. I had no problem saying yes.”
Troy: Do you have a prediction on the Rahman/Toney fight?
Calvin: “No. I hope it’s a good fight. I hope it brings us a good champion, and gives the division some respect.”
Troy: You have some international appeal. A fan of from Sweden, where boxing is now illegal, wanted to know if you think Lamon Brewster is for real.
Calvin: “Is boxing really illegal in Sweden? That makes sense. To be honest with you, I haven’t heard of their amateur boxing since 1992. Anyways yeah I think Brewster is. He has fought some tough and exciting fights. He has a real good style for being a champion. He punches with authority and has a great chin. I would love to fight him. It would be an exciting fight for the division. It would bring in the fans. Our styles would make it entertaining throughout. You know he was a real good amateur, and has a lot of talent. He seems willing to fight all comers. If we fought it would bring in a lot of money into the sport. It would also make boxing popular again I see a fight between us being that big. Boxing desperately needs to become more popular. We are losing fans. Every boxer needs to be marketed right, and the sport needs to be marketed better. There are such poor fights being made, because there isn’t as much money in it. Therefore television studios aren’t paying us the money. So the big fights aren’t happening. Lamon is real good for this sport. He is a classy guy, who fights hard, and is exciting to watch. He is the real champion today. I would like to fight him anytime.”
Troy: Any last words for your fans?
Calvin: “No. I mean beside thank you for your support. Basically all the questions were good and covered all the points I wanted to make.”
Troy: well then, one last question before you leave. What do you predict for yourself in 2006?
Calvin. I predict I’ll have a champion by the end of the year. I have the talent, and I know I can beat anybody. It’s just up to the matchmakers who’ll decide who I’ll beat. Thank you Troy and Have a nice day.
Troy: Thank you Calvin for your time and good luck in the coming year.
I would like to thank Calvin for taking his time out to talk. I want to give a Special Thanks to Trayce Zimmermann for setting this up. This year will tell us a substantial amount about the division as a whole, and about Calvin’s claim to becoming a champion. His potential rise to the top is just one of many exciting stories that can possibly play out this coming year.
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