Tavoris Cloud - "I Want To Dominate The Light-Heavyweight Division!"

Tavoris CloudExclusive Interview by James Slater - Unbeaten 27-year-old Tavoris Cloud meets Sheffield, England's Clinton Woods on August 28th at The Hard Rock casino in Hollywood, Florida. Fighting the Sheffield man for the IBF light-heavyweight title Chad Dawson relinquished, big puncher Cloud, 19-0(18) is looking forward to what will be his first fight in over a year. Former IBF champ Woods will have something to say about it, naturally, but the impressively muscled Cloud says he wants to not only become the next star of the weight class, but that he also wants to unify all the belts there.

Cloud first must get past Clinton - the more proven fighter of the two men at top level - but assuming he does so, the 5'10" contender says he will then pursue a fight with the aforementioned "Bad" Chad Dawson and all the other top man at 175..

Speaking to me over the phone from former fighter Danny Santiago's Central Florida Boxing Gym, Cloud first spoke about how his preparations have been going for the August 28th fight Vs. Woods.
"Training's been good, it's been hard," Cloud told me, in a most laid back and chilled out manner.

"I've been sparring for about a month now, with three different sparring partners (Cloud refused to tell me who the fighters were), they're all similar to Woods - they're all tall and fight like he does."

Although he says he respects Woods as a former IBF world champion, Cloud did not exactly come across as a guy who is overly concerned or impressed by the 42-4-1(24) warrior.

"There's nothing new about Woods, there's nothing different about him now than when he started, basically. He has already been a world champion. I'm fighting for the title and it's my time now. It's all good and I can't wait."

Interestingly, though he still craves a fight with Dawson (who he spoke of, in a negative fashion, quite a bit) Cloud says he is not angry at how he has been, as he says, avoided. More amused than angry, Cloud says it shows him that many fighters are not the tough guys they make out they are.

"I'd say I was more amused by it [not getting anyone to accept a fight with me]. I wanted to fight, obviously, but I laugh at the way you think it is when you are a boxer on way up - when you think that when you get there all the champs will fight you. Instead it's not like that at all. You find out that most fighters are just well managed, protected and it's all about money. I mean, there's nothing wrong with a couple of money fights. But I won't be a champion who just defends against old men - like the last champion did (a dig at Dawson)."

Cloud is pumped about the Woods fight, and he is also happy the fight will be fought in his home country.

"It's always good to fight on your home turf, you know? Now I'm not expecting a KO, or anything else - just so long as I get the win, which I will."

Cloud, who first began his boxing at age sixteen and had an amateur record of around 31-9 or 32-8 (he isn't exactly sure), says he is not yet at his peak at age 27, and that there is more work to be done first.

"I'm not at my best yet. I'd say another two more years and I'll be there. I'm still improving and doing the hard work. The more dangerous fighters I fight, the more I'm pushed - the better I'll get. I'm a boxer/puncher, and I showed that in my win over Julio Gonzalez. He was so tough, the toughest guy I've ever fought, and he kept coming and would not go down. So I had to box and fight. I'm getting better all the time. And I can say honestly, I've never been hurt once in all nineteen of my pro fights."

I asked if the fight with Woods - a man who has been stopped just once, by Roy Jones - could be an even tougher fight for Cloud than the Gonzalez bout. Tavoris didn't seem too concerned that it might be, letting me know the extent of how far he is willing to go to win.

"It may be my toughest fight, any fight could be. I'm prepared for absolutely anything and everything."

Upon asking Cloud what his best punch is, the contender laughed.

"The sucker punch is my best punch!" No, actually, I think I hit hard with either hand. I like my jab, too. I'm a boxer/puncher. I do what I have to do to win. Like I say, I'm getting better all the time."

Cloud was serious when talking about the boxers he grew up watching and admiring.

"I was into Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, I watched their fights on T.V. One of my real favourites is Marvin Hagler. I also admire Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. I like guys like that, tough guys who gave their fans excitement."

Although he says he is not at all looking ahead and underestimating Woods, Cloud did tell me about what he hopes to achieve after he wins the IBF belt in August.

"I want to unify [the titles]. My goal is to make exciting fights and make the sport better - not just build my record by fighting old men, old guys you know you won't get a graze against. I want Dawson and I want to fight all the best out there - go to every country necessary to become unified champ. I want fights with [Jean] Pascal, [Zsolt] Erdei; all the champions. I also want to fight Glen Johnson, just because he's still a hell of a fighter. This is what's missing from boxing today - my attitude. I want the best, and I want to dominate."

37-year-old Clinton Woods has one tough fight on his hands!

Article posted on 01.08.2009

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