Wayne 'Big Truck' Braithwaite ready to roll - Jean-Marc Mormeck withdraws

29.09.04 - By Wray Edwards: Twenty-nine year-old WBC Cruiserweight World Champion Wayne “Big Truck” Braithwaite, 21-0-0 (17) and thirty-two year-old WBA Cruiserweight World Champion Jean-Marc Mormeck, 30-2-0 (21) were scheduled to fight this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. They were to appear on the Trinidad/Mayorga undercard in what was to be part of a unification tournament promoted by Don King.

In an exclusive interview this morning with Eastside Boxing, Braithwaite’s public relations agent Joel Rivera disclosed that they were in negotiations with IBF Cruiserweight World Champion Kelvin Davis to replace Mormeck and take the fight on short notice.

Eastside Boxing spoke first with Joel Rivera about the situation. We opened the questioning as if everything was still on.

ESB: How are things going for Wayne approaching this Saturday night’s fight with Mormeck?

Joel Rivera: Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

ESB: The bad news please, after which you can cheer us up with the good news.

Joel Rivera: Mormeck has backed out of the fight with Wayne this Saturday. He says he is injured, but we haven’t been able to confirm that yet.

ESB: We wondered why the fight was not promoted during the Johnson/Jones presentation last Saturday. Are you trying to sign a replacement?

Joel Rivera: Yes. We are trying to sign Kelvin Davis. He said he would accept but is asking too much money. Mr. King does not want to pay him so much, even on short notice.

ESB: Are you still trying?

Joel Rivera: Call me in a few hours and I’ll let you know.

#NOTE: By the afternoon things had changed. The next call was in conference with Wayne on the line also.

ESB: Welcome to Eastside Boxing. How was your camp?

Wayne Braithwaite: It was great, I’m in top shape.

ESB: Mormeck is claiming to be inured. Have you heard what kind of injury he has and how it happened?

Wayne Braithwaite: I don’t know. I don’t think he’s hurt. I think he’s afraid to fight me. He’s afraid he’ll get knocked out.

ESB: Since Mormeck pulled out there have been rumors that you are going to fight Cunningham or Davis. How are the negotiations going and do you feel prepared for whoever accepts the challenge?

Wayne Braithwaite: I don’t care who I fight. I am undefeated and don’t see anyone who can beat me.

#NOTE: At this point in the interview Wayne seemed very frustrated and really sounded off.

Wayne Braithwaite: I’m not going to fight anybody this Saturday. We will make arrangements to have a fight before the end of the year… probably in November.

Mr. Rivera then breaks in with: "Yes, we are definitely going to get a match for Wayne by this November."

ESB: How are your hands since the injury in the Azille fight?

Wayne Braithwaite: They are much better now…one hundred per cent.

ESB: Do you think Gomez moved up to avoid you?

Wayne Braithwaite: Yes. I called him out many times, but he ran away.

ESB: What are your thoughts about Johnson’s KO of Roy Jones?

Wayne Braithwaite: Well, that’s one less guy I’ll have to knock out.

ESB: Some fans might not know you are from The Republic of Guyana. Do your parents still live there and do you travel back-and-forth?

Wayne Braithwaite: My family lives here in the U.S. now, but we do travel to my homeland from time-to-time.

ESB: I have been to Georgetown in Guyana and traveled a bit in your homeland. The competitive spirit of your countrymen seems similar to life in Brooklyn where you live now. Does it remind you of home?

Wayne Braithwaite: Not exactly, but there are a lot of people from my homeland living in New York, and it’s good for me to be around them.

ESB: After you have unified the Cruiserweight titles does a move to heavyweight seem attractive to you?

Wayne Braithwaite: Yes it will probably be the only way for me to find other boxers who are not afraid to fight me.

ESB: Your fans and countrymen are waiting to cheer you on. Hopefully we can speak again as soon as you have scheduled another fight.

Wayne Braithwaite: Yes. We can do that.

ESB: Thank you for taking time to speak to Eastside Boxing.

As a result of this interview, it appears that the boxing world will learn from Eastside Boxing that the fight has been cancelled. Mr. Rivera sounded tentative in the morning, but by the afternoon the whole affair seems to have ended in a no go. The sticking point that Davis was asking for too much money causing Don King nix the deal, combined with Wayne’s reluctance (and who can blame him?) to take on Steve Cunningham ranked WBC/WBA #13 and WBO #9, when he was supposed to have been fighting a unification bout, seems to have brought the whole shooting match to a crashing halt.

Though one cannot generalize too much, it might be conjectured that the IBF stable, with the exception of O’Neil Bell, is inferior (in my opinion) to the WBC lineup. Though Mormeck has pretty good credentials, it is possible that he had second thoughts perhaps, or especially, as a result of seeing what has happened to the last two guys who tried to unseat a champion recently. Translation: He’s probably afraid that Wayne would have knocked him flat on his back.

While we were waiting for Wayne to come to the phone, ESB had a chance to ask Mr. Rivera a few questions about boxing in general.

ESB: Do you think the sport of boxing would be improved with a national or international commission?

Joel Rivera: It might, but you have to understand that there are a few very powerful people who run the sport right now and they’re not likely to want things to change. They like to control things just the way they are already. Besides, there would probably be just as much politics and controversy as there is right now. This has been a good year for boxing with big upsets and judging controversy.

ESB: How would you view the possibility of posting the judge’s scores after each round.

Joel Rivera: That would be very interesting. I believe it would encourage a fighter who was slipping behind to fight harder in a close match and make it more exciting.

ESB: Thank you for your time and please let us know as soon as there is a firm date for Wayne’s next fight.

Well that’s how it stands as of Monday night, September 27th in the year of our hurricanes 2004. Remembering that Sanchez fought Candelo with only one day’s notice, almost anything can happen. The stakes, however, are much higher for a boxer of Braithwaite’s stature, and it would be a rare chance that would bring him to a bout by Saturday night with an opponent who brings enough to the table to get Mr. Braithwaite in the ring. We will keep you posted.

Article posted on 29.09.2004

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