Boxing

Ray Mercer Talks About His Canadian Debut, Possible Rematches With Tommy Morrison, Bert Cooper

By James Slater: As fans may have read, 1990ís heavyweight stars Ray Mercer and Tommy Morrison are set to return to the ring on Feb. 25th, in Canada. The two will meet Canadian opposition, but already fans are suggesting the two may wind up meeting each other in a 20-years-later rematch of their Oct. 1991 fight!

I called up 49-year-old ďMercilessĒ yesterday evening UK time, to ask him if the Canadian card (which will also feature Joe Gatti in action, Joe the brother of the late, great Arturo Gatti) is a definite, and he confirmed that it is.

Here is what the always-friendly former WBO heavyweight champ had to say in answer to my questions:


James Slater: Itís always great to speak with you, Champ. Itís on various sites on the internet that you are fighting in Canada on Feb. 25th - is it a definite?

Ray Mercer: Yes it is, and I look forward to fighting in Canada.

J.S: What do you know about this guy you are facing, Stephane Tessier?

R.M: I know heís a tough guy; his record (3-26-1) doesnít speak for his actions. Heís a real tough guy and I wonít fall for that; Iíll make sure Iím ready.

J.S: Have you fought in Canada before, amateur or pro?

R.M: No I havenít. Iím looking forward to it.

J.S: The promoter of the card is new to the game, or so I read. How did it come about, you fighting over there?

R.M: I donít know (laughs). I just got the call and I said okay!

J.S: Is it true Tommy Morrison will also be on the card?

R.M: As far as I know, yes it is.

J.S: Itís almost twenty years since you KOíd Tommy in what was one of the most brutal KOís ever. Have you seen Tommy since then, or recently?

R.M: I saw him a couple of months ago, yes.

J.S: And how did he look physically?

R.M: He looked good, he looked to be in shape.

J.S: Itís been suggested already by some fans that you might wind up fighting him again if you both win in February. Tommy still insists he is not HIV positive, that he was given a false positive way back when. Would you fight him again?

R.M: (pause) Iím not sure. Theyíd have to do the tests, make sure everything was safe.

J.S: You think youíd KO him again if you fought again though?

R.M: I believe I would do so, yes.

J.S: Will you perhaps fight in Canada again after this fight?

R.M: Of course. I will maybe do two or three more. But this year could be my last in the sport, weíll see. Iím still fighting because I love the game. I started late, too, so itís only natural that I am still fighting at a late age (Ray turned pro at age 28).

J.S: You fought in a great era - where there was yourself, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Morrison and all those other big names. What do you think of heavyweight boxing today?

R.M: I think itís in real bad shape. Itís so hard to get a fight here in the United States. Itís really slow right now, thereís no action. Thatís why I got into the MMA stuff.

J.S: Talking about that, you destroyed Tim Sylvia inside ten seconds in early 2009 - what have you been doing since, were any more MMA fights in the pipeline?

R.M: No, theyíre scared of boxers.

J.S: Werenít you supposed to fight a guy, Ron Sparks I think his name is, in MMA last year?

R.M: Ron Sparks, yeah. I donít know, I think something went wrong with his promotional team or something. Iím not sure.

J.S: James Toney didnít do as well as you did when he tried MMA!

R.M: I really donít think he trained. You have to train hard for those guys.

J.S: Do you think guys like yourself are still fighting due to the way the heavyweight division fails to give the fans the excitement it used to in the older days?

R.M: Well, Iím still doing it because I love the game, as I said. But the action fights donít occur now. You have the Klitschkos, and theyíre big and strong and everything, but theyíre not giving the fans the type of fights they wanna see.

J.S: Bert Cooper, another guy you know well - he fought again and won recently, and Razor Ruddock was also supposed to be making a comeback. Would you fight Cooper again, and Razor, the man you never faced in the í90s?

R.M: Iíll fight anybody (laughs). I would love to fight Bert Cooper again. That would bring some of the magic back. Those are the type of fights people want to see here.

J.S: Well, itís been great speaking with you, Ray. Best of luck for the Feb. 25th fight. Do you feel youíll be rusty, and when will you leave for Canada?

R.M: I wonít be rusty, itís no big deal [that Iíve been out for so long]. Like I said, Iíve been in the gym, Iím in good shape. I will arrive around a week before the fight.

J.S: Best wishes and letís see what a win leads to.

R.M: Okay, bye.

Article posted on 12.01.2011



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