Michael Grant: “Adamek doesn’t have the power to keep you off of him”

by Geoffrey Ciani - This week’s 95th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with former heavyweight world title challenger Michael Grant (46-4, 34 KOs). In his most recent outing, Grant lost a unanimous decision against Tomasz Adamek back in August. Grant spoke about his future and the possibility of an upcoming fight against Jean Marc Mormeck. He also discussed his fight with Adamek, reflected back on various moments of his career, and gave insight and opinions on the current boxing landscape. Here is some of what he had to say:

His assessment of his performance against Tomasz Adamek:

“I give myself probably a C. I don’t think I basically maximized all of my potential in it at all. Actually, I did too much standing around and wasn’t unleashing a lot of the weapons in my arsenal. “

On how disappointed he was that he could not finish Adamek when he had him hurt:

“Actually a lot of those times that he was really hurt came later in the rounds, basically at the end of the round. He was able to recuperate better where at the end of the round he got that minute rest. What I displayed in the twelfth round—I didn’t realize how badly he was hurt in the seventh round, as well—but what I displayed in the twelfth round, it kind of gave me a blueprint as to how the rest of my fights are going to go. I’m going to basically put it out there instead of sitting back and waiting for an opportunity, when I know I have to make an opportunity. I was definitely disappointed with my performance because I worked hard in training camp and I just didn’t set myself up to do better.”

On where he sees himself going next:

“We were actually trying to set up a fight with Arreola. We placed a couple of phone calls and the calls didn’t come back. We got a phone call from the heavyweight over in France, Mormeck. He’s an up and coming guy who’s trying to establish himself in the heavyweight division. There are some people who believe in him. He’s got a good audience over there, but it is a good opportunity for me to basically launch myself back into the scene. What I’d like is hopefully I can fight one of the Klitschkos. I know if I had a bigger puncher in there but somebody my height or a little bit heavier, basically you can move at their speed. At this point with the Adamek fight, I knew that I was forced to fight at his speed and everything and I had the opportunity, but I didn’t set myself up to perform better. I know that.”

On whether a fight against Jean Marc Mormeck is the fight he is most interested in right now:

“Yeah, actually they gave us a call I want to say the month after the Adamek fight. It actually was recently. I wanted to get a fight and they rang the phone and I said, ‘Hey, that would be great to get this opportunity. Let’s try to fill it in stone and make it concrete so I can start getting prepared for that’. I haven’t heard back from them in I’d say about a week, so at this point it’s not concrete.”

On what was going through his mind when he was dropped in the first round in his fight with Andrew Golota:

“There was so much built up in me. It’s about belief. I believed in myself truly in my ability and basically, when I got knocked down for the first time I couldn’t believe it. So I was going through a wild moment. Then I got my wits back together, and when I went back to the corner and the round ended, I said I was going to start off the round like I started off the first round. Jab him first. It was all about being first, being first, being first, and by that happening, that kinds of breaks the spirit of fighters because that kid keeps coming out and popping me with that jab because he wants to be first. Late in the rounds, a lot of people kind of like fade away and they don’t expect you to be first, but I stayed first the whole fight. I wanted to pop him with the jab first, and move, pop him with the jab first, and move. In just the first thirty seconds you can break the spirit of a person, and that’s what was going on basically in those rounds. He was getting some great shots in there, man. Golota was a strong kid. He was definitely not the Golota that Adamek had fought—definitely, by far. I had him when he was younger, obviously. He was strong. I think Golota was probably one of the guys who hit me the hardest in my career. It’s funny, because I say ‘the hardest’ and I still stood there and absorbed the punch, and when you’re still standing there and absorbing the punch it hurts. Throughout those rounds, I just continued to believe in myself, and believe in myself, and knew that I was going to come out victorious no matter what the circumstances were.”

On whether he was surprised by the way his fight with Golota ended when Golota chose not to continue after rising from a knockdown:

“Was I surprised? You know what, I have to say yeah because I wasn’t expecting him to quit, by far. I was not expecting him to quit. Once I had him knocked down, I knew he was going to come back out and I knew that I was well enough to finish him off because I knew that he was dazed. So I was going to walk him down with the jab continually and then get the opportunity to launch the big right hand again, but yes that was a surprise to me that he did quit.”

On whether “The Heir Apparent” label and high expectations gave him any added pressure in his career as he was climbing through the ranks prior to his title shot against Lennox Lewis:

“Right. I was a kid, man. I was 27 years old. America had great expectations for me. It was like they were moving me too fast, so to speak. So it was pressure added only when the fight magnitude got greater. If I would have stayed fighting opponents like Golota, and opponents like David Izon, Lou Savarese and opponents like Shannon Briggs as the list goes on, if I would have stayed on HBO network fighting those guys, I was basically building myself up. Those were foundation blocks I was building. It was basically putting a comfort level on my arsenal. When I jumped in with Lennox, I knew at that point in time I wasn’t ready. He had the experience. I have to say it. He had the experience, definitely. By him being around for so long he knew what to do to make me have a successful camp and an unsuccessful camp. Nobody knows this, but when I was going to fight Lennox, Lennox had monopolized all of the big heavyweights. He paid all the guys to come to his camp just to sit still, and then I didn’t have a sparring partner. So it was a good educational move for him to do that, because that’s how you monopolize the game. That was definitely one of the things that he did.”

His views on whether he still has what it takes to fulfill “The Heir Apparent” label placed on him more than ten years ago:

“Yes I do. I think that it’s like throughout these years, I’ve learned. I’ve learned throughout all those years when I had to. See a breakthrough is basically on its way. When you learn so much and you have to, you can’t wait to do it. You still feel young, you’re living good, you’re not out there drinking and partying and all of that stuff. So I put all of my energy basically into two things—into my career as far as boxing and into my children. I put a gym in my house basically to keep myself on point. I keep myself sharp, man. It’s funny because people were expecting to see a fat Michael Grant come into the ring. I couldn’t believe that. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t get myself out of shape or out of position for no reason or circumstances. I still have that dream and that desire to be heavyweight champion, to fight on the level of the Klitschkos, and to be the best heavyweight in America, or in the world, period. The Klitschkos were a group of guys whom I sparred with in Houston where basically Don Turner was kind of looking over them a little bit as well. So we all sparred together. If we could put that fight together I think it will be a hell of a show. I think I showed America that even though it was disappointing for me with the loss, that I’m right there where I’m not out of shape. I’m actually fighting. There is heart in me and I’m not a quitter. That’s what it is. I’m going to give you my all.”

His views on his experiences working with trainer Teddy Atlas:

“You know what, I say this to everyone. Every trainer cannot teach every fighter. They can teach them something, but that’s about it. The relationship is only for a season. Some trainers are for some people. I have to say that. Maybe some things are missing for people that Teddy could also teach them. For me, I had adoration for Teddy to come into my camp. I’m thinking that he can teach me something new under the sun, but actually there wasn’t anything new that he taught me under the sun. Don Turner had already basically put the foundation there and I was used to hard work. So there was nothing new that I learned from Teddy. I think I was expecting something unfamiliar when it didn’t happen. No disrespect, Teddy is a wonderful trainer but I think I handicapped myself when I did that because I was expecting something more and it wasn’t there. It came down to be a disappointment for me. I was looking for something to be better. Teddy was trying to work with me mentally and I didn’t have a problem mentally. Mentally I was strong. I didn’t come from a broken home. I came from a solid home with foundation. My parents and my home, I went to college. I was structured. I think a mental statement wasn’t the issue for me. It was basically a physical thing with me trying to learn new things to better beat my opponents, and he didn’t offer that to me. Like I said, he’s a great trainer for certain fighters.”

On whether he believes Teddy Atlas can help the career of Alexander Povetkin:

“I can say this, if Povetkin has any structure, basically mentally good structure, I think he can’t do anything for him. But if Povetkin is struggling mentally, I think he can help Povetkin.”

His views on what he learned from fighting a smaller opponent like Adamek:

“Man, you know what, I’ve fought smaller opponents before but they were smaller in height but not in weight. Adamek was smaller in height and weight. He had fast hands, man. His hands were fast, but he didn’t have a punch at all. What I’ve learned from it is I need to impose my will earlier than later, because it hurt me. I’m glad that I didn’t bring disappointment to the American heavyweight. I brought stability because we’re there. We’re still there. I will say this, I’m there. At least they know I’m there and I’m going to give you 100%. I wish that I would have imposed my will a little bit earlier than later. If I had a little bit of a heavier heavyweight, the height doesn’t bother me but if he was a little bit pudgier that would have slowed things down and more bombs would have been thrown from both parties. People like that. People like excitement and that’s what makes a heavyweight fight.”

On whether he believes Adamek has the power to test any of the heavyweight champions:

“As far as power-wise, no because he doesn’t have enough to keep you off of him. I mean I told the reporters after the fight, I said, ‘If they make a move right there with the Klitschko’s, you’re trying to cash out because I know you’re not trying to win this’. Adamek doesn’t have the power to keep you off of him. The reason why I was trying to keep off of him is because I was just trying to land a big boom, but as far as power-wise, no. He does not have the power to keep you off of him. He is deficient in that department.”

His views on Manny Pacquiao as a fighter and his upcoming fight against Antonio Margarito:

“As a fighter, I think he’s a very fast fighter. He’s determined. You can’t teach Pacquiao’s fighting style because he throws punches that you don’t teach in the gym. It’s like he throws punches off-balance and you teach fighters to throw punches on balance. As a fighter I think that he’s a unique fighter where he has some extraordinary things about him, by punching off balance and hurting guys. I think he’s a gifted fighter in that aspect. As far as his fight with Antonio Margarito coming up, Antonio is definitely not a pushover man. I think it’s going to be some rock’em, sock’em going on in that fight. I don’t have an outcome on that fight. We’ve all seen Antonio get down. He’s a hell of a fighter. There are a lot of rumors about Pacquiao using some type of steroid, him using steroids. I don’t know, man. It’s just people are always talking but fighters don’t always know what’s going on. I think favor is leaning on Pacquiao because he’s coming in with a winning streak and the momentum of the fan base. It’s like his spirit is there, you know what I’m saying? Antonio’s been active, but he’s not been active. He’s like the shadow and a lot of that can take place in a fight. Those are my thoughts on it where you can be the shadow or you can be the spirit who’s moving and doing things, and right now Pacquiao is the spirit moving and doing things and Antonio is the shadow.”

On how soon he expects himself to get back inside the ring if he does not get a fight with Mormeck:

“I’m fighting December 1, either or. It will be just to keep moving. It will be somebody who’s just a random name that we can keep moving on. It’s either going to be in New York or Memphis just to stay active. They gave me a phone call on that yesterday. Either or, if we’re not going to France we’re going to one of those two places.”


For those interested in listening to the Michael Grant interview in its entirety, it begins approximately five minutes into the program.


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Article posted on 17.10.2010

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