Ray Austin - "I'd Fight Again Tomorrow If I Could"

boxingExclusive interview by James Slater, photo by David Martin Warr - DKP - Fresh off his upset 1st round retirement win over Andrew Golota in China, 38-year-old Ray "The Rain Man" Austin is understandably feeling good at the moment. Almost certainly retiring Golota with his quick victory, Austin, 26-4-4(17) rejuvenated his own career on November 7th. Now 2-0 since his bad loss to IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, Austin is back and looking for another big opportunity.

Very kindly taking time out to speak with this writer today, Ray had the following answers to my questions.

James Slater: Congratulations on the win over Andrew Golota. You must be very happy with the quick win?

Ray Austin: Oh, yes, I'm pretty happy right now..

J.S: Do you feel you shut up a few critics with the win?

R.A: Definitely. I was the underdog going into the fight, but I knew I had to go in there and handle my business.

J.S: You sure did that. Were you surprised yourself when Golota went down so fast in the opening round?

R.A: Yes, I was as surprised as everybody else when that happened. We had our game-plan - to see what he had and then take it from there. I knew I was going to attack him in the 1st round and then see whether or not he could take it. If he had taken it I would've boxed him from then on in.

J.S: Is there any word yet on what's next for you. Will there be any kind of title shot by way of a reward for your good win?

R.A: You have to ask Don [King] about that. But anything is possible.

J.S: You have a number of draws on your record, were they bad decisions?

R.A: Those draws were really wins. The one with Sultan Ibragimov was a great win for me but they took it from me and called it a draw. It's really a no-brainer that I won that fight when they called it a draw in his home-town and when the fight was held in his promoter's casino. They felt they were going to blow me out of the water in that fight, but I was in shape and I was ready.

J.S: Am I right in saying you weighed your lowest ever at 228 pounds for the Golota fight?

R.A: That's right, the lowest ever. That weight is ideal for me. That's the game-plan now, to stay at that weight. I'm strong there, I'm fast there and I'm flexible there.

J.S: Just talking about your 2nd round loss to Wladimir Klitschko last year. Was it a mental thing or was he just a huge puncher?

R.A: It was a mental thing. I was inexperienced and some other fighters have told me they think I froze in there. I wish I could tell you what happened, but that just wasn't me in there. I'm a much better fighter than I looked in that fight.

J.S: Would you like a rematch?

R.A: Definitely.

J.S: When do you plan to fight again? When will you get back in training?

R.A: I sparred four rounds today. I want to get back in the ring soon. I'd fight again tomorrow if I could, I'd fight again next month. I'm on a roll at the moment and you definitely want to keep that going. The flight to and from China was like a break for me (laughs). That was a very long flight.

J.S: Do you think Don King will promote more shows in China?

R.A: It's possible, yes. The people over there were real hospitable and supportive. That's what we fighters need from the fans, support. Without the fans we wouldn't be boxing.

J.S: Golota was reportedly in the frame for a shot at WBA champion Nikolai Valuev if he'd beaten you, but now it looks like Evander Holyfield will fight Valuev. What do you think about that, has Holyfield got any chance?

R.A: You never know with Holyfield, he's so unpredictable. He looks like he's finished and then he pulls something out of the blue (laughs). I thought Hasim Rahman was going to beat him and you know what happened there, he beat him instead. So now I never doubt him.

J.S: Do you wish it were you going in there against Valuev though?

R.A: Of course, but it is what it is. Don's [King] got some other plan in mind for me. After over 30 years in the sport he knows what he's doing (laughs). I have faith in Don.

J.S: Just a quick word about our guy in Britain, David Haye. What do you think of him as a fighter?

R.A: Well, I know Monte Barrett personally but I've only heard about Haye. I've heard that he's a good fighter and a force to be reckoned with. But Monte is coming to fight (on November 15th). I know he's not coming to lie down. So if Haye can beat him he'll have proven he is a real force.

J.S: It's been great speaking with you, Ray. For my final question, how did you get the nickname "Rain Man?"

R.A: It's because I always throw lots of punches in a fight, like I did in the 1st round against Golota. Back when I was fighting one time a commentator made the remark that I was throwing so many punches I was raining down punches on my opponent. So ever since then I've been "The Rain Man!"

J.S: Thank you for talking to me, Ray. We look forward to your next fight.

R.A: Okay, thank you.

Article posted on 12.11.2008

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