|PART ONE CAN BE VIEWED HERE|
Dean: “Anatoly Loma and where he has his fighters at, both in terms of ability level and world placement, I’d find it hard pressed to disagree. Both Vasyl & Usyk had serious pedigree and natural ability in abundance.
Do you think Loma Sr was always on too something special with those two due to their natural ability and level? His father/son bond with Vasyl? Obviously, Usyk came under Papa L’s tutelage just a couple of years ago, but if memory serves correctly he trained him during one of his gold medal-winning Olympics. I guess what I’m asking is does he have it easy due to their skill, or do they graft even harder to make sure those high levels are met and maintained?”
Paul: “It certainly helps but Anatoly being a solid amateur fighter himself knew what was needed to make an impact and learned on his way the intricacies of making the complete fighter, stories of him submerging Vasyl underwater as he shadow boxes for Minutes at a time or him doing handstands to improve his balance to the ones which saw his father make him go to dance classes for two hours every day for four years in correcting his footwork are all things that have made Loma the fighter he is today, teachings which are now being passed on to Usyk. He is a mad scientist.”
Dean: “Beautifully put, whilst also showing the lengths a boxer will go to master their craft. During that you used the words “complete fighter”, is that indeed how you see Vasyl Loma? To me, his footwork, and actual all-around movement is immense to view, boxing porn at times. Is he as close to complete as a fighter gets in your eyes?”
Paul: “I view Loma as the most complete fighter in the sport currently for good reason, he’s aptly superior to all in defence, offence and whilst others play checkers, he is playing chess, always seemingly being two moves ahead of the opposition. I have often found himself marvelling over fighters but I believe Loma to be the most complete since a prime Roy Jones Jr, maybe jumping the gun a little.”
Dean: “He’s certainly one of my favourites, I can’t give him any higher compliment than I smile, ear-to-ear when watching him, nobody else brings that out in me, the man’s special.
Obviously, he was served a loss very early into his professional career, something he’s clearly learned from. It seemingly brought out another gear from himself. Canelo is another one, currently considered elite, one of the world’s best, with a defeat on his record.
In today’s day and age where fighters and fans seem to value a zero in the loss column monumentally, something I disagree with. Highly rated prospects get written off or stalled on when tasting defeat.
What’s your view on the whole situation? Can a loss actually improve a fighter overall? Is too much impetus put on having a clean L column?”
Paul: “I still don’t consider Salido’s victory over Loma a just one, he came into the bout overweight, fouled his way throughout the distance and I still believe Vasyl won the fight but regardless it hasn’t mentally affected him in any way whatsoever.
Way too much emphasis is put on the W which means nothing in reality, like the old heads in boxing would say ‘a record is for playing’ I much rather see a fighter challenge himself against the best opposition available, if he comes up short so be it but I still have much more respect for the challenge than hiding behind a record and a promoter.
A loss can work as the most valuable learning curve a fighter could be gifted used correctly and that individual as the mindset to be of the thought process of, “Okay what could I have done differently?” and “What can I do going forward to improve?”
Dean: “Floyd Mayweather, Rocky Marciano and Joe Calzaghe are some of the few to go undefeated throughout their career. A perfect record is something of a rarity, as to be expected in combat sport. It seems a little different nowadays, however.
Joshua, Wilder, Usyk, Callum Smith, Billy J Saunders, Munguia, Prograis, Thurman, Crawford, Spence Jr, Vargas… And countless others all have 18-40 fights under their belts, without a loss or draw.
Now granted not all of those will retire undefeated, it’s highly unlikely, but I’d wager a few of them do. Keep in mind that list doesn’t mention up and comers like Haney, Taylor, Kelly, R. Garcia etc. Question conducted before Joshua/Ruiz Jr
Is a gulf of class from the great to elite level responsible for the change from maybe seeing a career undefeated fighter once an era to today and potentially numerous? Or is it likely most of those mentioned will taste defeat before they hang up the gloves?”
Paul: “I think there is a big jump from a solid fighter within the division to an elite class, the names already mentioned I don’t believe any of them come out of this without a loss on his record or at least the majority of them won’t.
The difference between the era we live in now to the ones that would throw up legends is that the legends of the bygone era were prepared to challenge themselves, inevitably handing them defeats but we never talk about SRR and say he couldn’t be the best because he has this amount of losses on his record, we don’t really care. Hope that kind of answers the question although I did ramble a bit haha.”
Dean: “Answers it perfectly, and honestly mirrors my own opinion, almost to the letter. Canelo is the only one you can look at and honestly say you feel he’d fight any and all challengers. Loma and Inoue don’t shirk fights either but the challenges available to them at their weight I feel don’t pose any real threat.
Last few questions if you don’t mind Paul. We’ve touched on numerous topics, but I’d like to switch it up ever so slightly. I’m going to mention an aspect of boxing and I’d like you to come up with what you believe is the biggest pro & con of said subject.”
Dean: “Final/Title Eliminators”
Paul: “PROS – Puts a fighter in position to win a world title – In an ideal world you get the two best after the champion facing off to take on the world champion of the time – CONS – fighters sometimes give up the chance with a fee to step aside – some fighters get in position to fight for a world title by padding their record against sub-par opposition, kind of like Anthony Yarde for instance as done – The Organisations of the eliminator make the decision which can sometimes result in bad matchmaking.”
Dean: “Regular & Interim belts?”
Paul: “Whoa I’m left scratching my head at the pros of this one as I would love each division to have just one title but at the most each organisation to have one title – Regular and Interim titles have confused the more casual observer so I can’t see any Pros to them – sorry mate.”
Dean: “HBO bowing out of the fight game?”
Paul: “PROS – There is now the chance to see fighters on a different platform instead of being contractually tied to HBO – Fighters are able to now negotiate different deals which sometimes can be more lucrative in Canelo’s case for example – CONS – HBO Boxing breathed air into the lungs of the boxing fan I am today, I remember watching countless fights from stateside of the greats that would perform on HBO and for a long time, HBO was synonymous with boxing for most people, I, like many others were sad to see it move in a new direction but will forever be indebted for me becoming the fight fan I am today.”
Dean: “Stadium fights becoming the norm?”
Paul: “Stadium Fights becoming the Norm – PROS – It gives more people access to our sport, I think less than a handful of fighter here in the Uk are able to fill a stadium but the hype that surrounds, say an Anthony Joshua fight gives the sport more exposure which can only be a good thing – CONS – I would say the atmosphere is missing when you get a stadium fight, I would much rather the small hall shows myself. You also get a lot of the more casual viewers when there is a huge fight trying to put their opinion across which I have no issue with but some come across as Mr know it all and it’s their way or the highway kind of attitude.”
Dean: “The current state of PPV? (I.E back In the day PPV was for the can’t miss fights, whereas today seems there is PPV’s twice a month between all the networks).”
Paul: “I think it’s gotten way out of hand and now it seems every fight card is PPV even ranked outsiders without a fan base, which is a shame because if they performed on a free platform they could build a fan base and eventually become a fighter who is worthy of PPV status – I do moan a lot about this subject but I suppose we get a fairer deal than the States in that regard.”
Dean: “Last and final question Paul… In a nutshell, what is it that keeps you coming back time after time, keeps you dedicating and contributing to this beautiful sport of warriors?”
Paul: “Don’t get me wrong It’s a lot of hard work for no financial gain and we see on a monthly basis an influx of websites folding or ceasing to exist because some believe it is somehow a lucrative avenue, that couldn’t be further from the truth, the reality is that I still do this because I live and breath this sport of ours and am constantly fascinated on the trajectory that the site as taken, and that’s not just because of my commitment but it’s wonderful writers like yourself who have consistently submitting incredible article after incredible article, It’s a team effort and I honestly look at it as a family affair, so would like to take this opportunity to say Thank you to the team and those that support us in the hope we are bringing something fresh to the table and giving fight fans a voice.”
Dean: “Paul I appreciate you taking the time to do this, and putting up with my all over the place questioning. My plan was to just let the substance of your answers decide what the next question would be.
It’s been fascinating and insightful doing this over the last two weekends with yourself. Because of your website, people like myself get the opportunity to discuss, appreciate, vent and share our opinions on this wonderful sport. Something which I know, certainly personally, wouldn’t happen without TopClassBoxing. Massive thanks for both the opportunity to post on your site and partaking in this interview, it’s been a pleasure…
To round it off, I’m opening the floor to yourself to say whatever you wish, over to you Paul.”
Paul: “Firstly thank you Dean, your questioning has been quality throughout and loved every second of it, it’s refreshing to be the one interviewed and not the other way around which is often the case.
As I touched on in the previous question, It’s an absolute pleasure to work alongside you guys and I’ve always said that this is as much your site as it is mine, I love the differences in the writers styles that we have on the team and all with one common goal in mind, to expose the sport to a wider audience.
I hope that it will be around for a while longer with excitement at the possibilities available to us.
Thank you again, Dean, for taking the time to do this with me and your patience in reading through my mountainous ramblings.
From the mind of a mad man, the pleasure is always mine and I appreciate you mate .”
That concludes the first, of what I hope will end up being many, question and answer sessions with those of topclassboxing.co.uk.
Paul is the owner/operator behind said site, but more than that he is a tremendous and vast boxing mind who I truly enjoyed having the pleasure of picking his brains. Hopefully, Paul enjoyed participating, as much as I enjoyed conducting, until next time!
Interview Conducted by Dean Toth