Q and A With heavyweight Crowd-Pleaser Vinny Maddalone
05.01.07 - By James Slater: I recently had the pleasure of speaking with exciting heavyweight slugger Vinny Maddalone. Talking to me over the telephone from his home in Flushing, New York, the thirty-three year old nice guy was keen to speak on any and every subject regarding his up and down boxing career. Here is how the interview went.
Article posted on 05.01.2007
James Slater: Firstly Vinny, can I talk to you about your last fight, with Julius Long? What are your thoughts regarding that fight?
Vinny Maddalone: Yes, we fought on December 15th and that fight we took on two days notice because two other guys fell out. There was no real skill in that fight, he was just throwing elbows and head butts at me.. I was a little thrown off due to his size (Long stands at over seven feet) and I couldn't really nail him cleanly. But when I did catch him, in the second round for instance, I had him nearly out on his feet. In the end they stopped the fight in the fifth round because of the head butt he cut me with on my forehead, I had over twenty stitches, and it went to the cards. But the three judges had never scored a pro fight before. They scored points for all his amateur stuff, you know. I felt as though I won, but he got the win.
J.S: But then, of course, the verdict was changed to a no-contest because he failed the post-fight drug test. What had he taken?
V.M: Well, in New York they test you for cocaine and marijuana. So I guess he came up positive on that.
J.S: Would you fight the guy again?
V.M: Oh, without a doubt. Whatever Joe (DeGuardia, Vinny's manager) has in store, that's what we'll do. If I'd have just landed that one shot I think the fight would've been over with, that's what I was waiting for. But without a doubt, I'd fight him again and I think I'd do a lot better the second time around.
J.S: The cut was a bad one. Will that keep you out for a while?
V.M: No, not really. The doctor said about two months to two and a half months. The stitches are out now and in a month or so I'll start sparring again.
J.S: So you're as ambitious as ever then?
V.M: Oh, without a doubt. I'm looking forward to getting in there again. I'd have got back in there the next day with the stitches in if I could have, but I don't think that would've been OK (laughs).
J.S: Well I look forward to seeing you back in action, Vinny. I've got to tell you, I'm definitely a fan. I don't know if you guys get Boxing News over in America, it's the trade paper here in the U.K. The reason I mention it is because they pay you a great compliment- calling you "the closest real life similarity to the gutsy Rocky Balboa.." I think that's a great tribute.
V.M: (laughing) Oh, that's great. That's what it's about, you know. I'm the first to admit I'm not one of the most skilled boxers out there. I just go in and try to give the people their money's worth, they pay to be there or to watch it on T.V and I try to give it everything I have.
J.S: Oh, you're a crowd pleaser, without a doubt. Can I just touch on some of your earlier fights? I've got to talk about your fight with Shannon Miller, that was a real barn-burner. What are your recollections there?
V.M: Oh, me and Shannon still speak today, he was a good person to begin with. In the ring he's just tough as nails, the guy. I hit him with shots that other guys wouldn't have been able to get back up from, but he bounced right back up twice in the first round. I knew I had my hands full after that. It was just back and forth. And the response I got after that fight from people was great, they started off as his fans but they fell in love with me, you know. The admiration towards both of us was great.
J.S: What did (commentator) Teddy Atlas say to you after the fight when he interviewed you?
V.M: He just said that I have all the heart in the world, but that I should move my head a little bit more. Teddy's covered a lot of my fights and he doesn't want me to get hit as much as I do. I respect him for that because he's just looking out for my best interests, as he does all boxers. You know, as a fighter you don't see the results right now (from getting hit) and the damage that's happening. It's later on through the years that something could be wrong physically. So I know where Teddy was coming from. Defence and head movement is what I'm working on right now with my trainer Al Certo.
J.S: Al Certo who worked with Buddy McGirt, right?
V.M: Yes, he worked with Buddy, yeah.
J.S: In the Miller fight, you knocked the guy down with a right hand twice, but you finished him with a left. What is your power hand?
V.M: That's funny, I always thought I had a good left hook. Until that fight everyone was talking about my left hook, but I think I have good power in both hands. My overhand right and my left hook are my two best punches so I think it's about equal.
J.S: Your two fights with Brian Minto were also classics. Unfortunately he beat you though. Any thoughts?
V.M: Yeah, he and Shannon Miller are the two toughest guys I've fought. But Brian Minto, I can't take nothing away from him, he's doing really well for himself right now. The first fight me and him had was a great fight, but in the tenth round he just caught me with a left hook. I was so tired, you know. That was the first time I'd been down in my career. Ever. Even in
sparring, amateur, whatever. I was just dead tired exhausted. But I give it to him, I was ahead on all the scorecards but he won it. In the second fight, he out boxed me. And once again I got cut up pretty bad, in that fight. I didn't go down in the second fight but the referee stopped it in the seventh round. There's nothing I want to take away from Brian, they were great exciting fights and I would love to do it again, because when me and him get in there the people enjoy the fight very much.
J.S: What was your amateur background, Vinny?
V.M: I didn't have too many fights. I fought for about two years in the Golden gloves, I'd say about ten fights, and before that I started in tough man contests, when I was in college down south. That was my initiation into boxing. People say they don't teach you the fundamentals, but I think they teach you something else, like heart. There's no doubt, they are the reason
I'm where I'm at today as a fighter.
J.S: So with the tough man contests you came up in a similar way to Tommy Morrison?
V.M: Yeah, Tommy Morrison started out in them too.
J.S: The reason I mention him, Vinny, is because we hear he's going to be fighting again later on in January. What do you think about that?
V.M: Yeah, I've read a couple of things about that. I guess he's saying the test for the HIV or the AIDS was a negative test, but I think he should definitely get re-tested again. You know, it's dangerous. With a fight there's gonna be blood, and you don't want to put another man in danger.
J.S: If the fight was offered to you would you consider it?
V.M: Oh, well. You know, it's like anything. If the test was found to be OK in new York State and he passed everything else, it's a possibility. I pretty much leave everything up to Joe, my promoter at Star Boxing. I just get in shape and fight whoever he gets for me, I just do my job, you know.
J.S: Who are your fight heroes and influences, Vinny?
V.M: Oh, I like watching the old time fighters, guys like Jake LaMotta and Rocky Marciano. They're kind of like my style in that they wanted to win so much. They may not have been the most skilled fighters in the world but no-one could ever question their heart. I love watching them on tape.
J.S: Are you a guy who loves training?
V.M: Without a doubt. I'm a gym rat, you know. If I stay out of the gym for a day or two I say to myself, "I gotta get back in there. I'm getting fat, I'm getting weak." I've always gotta be in the gym, that's my thing.
J.S: Out of the four heavyweight champs, who do you think is the best today?
V.M: It's probably Wladimir Klitschko. He's the most established guy so I'd say him. But there's another champion who people don't seem to want to give much credit to, in Oleg Maskaev. Me and Oleg go back a long way from sparring together in Gleason's gym here. I tell everyone, Oleg can punch with that right hand. People kind of wrote him off because he lost three in a row by KO. But I feel good for Oleg, he's a thirty-seven year old guy and I wish him the best.
J.S: Would you like to fight him though?
V.M: Oh, without a doubt. To get a shot at the heavyweight title, it can be your friend, it can be your father, you know, it doesn't matter. That's my dream fight. That's what it's all about, every day. I would love to get in there and fight for the title.
J.S: And Shannon Briggs has the WBO title. Weren't you supposed to fight him a while back actually?
V.M: Yeah, A while back. It was supposed to be on the under card of the Tarver-Jones fight in Florida. But the money fell through and the fight never happened.
J.S: Would you love to fight him still?
V.M: Absolutely. I would jump on that without a doubt. He's one of the champions and fighting for the title is my dream. He (Briggs) knocked out Liakhovich but his style's perfect for me. He's not gonna run around the ring, he'll stand right in front of me and I'm not gonna go no-where. It'll make for a great fight and that's what the fans wanna see.
J.S: Well, I wish you all the best with your future, Vinny. It's been great speaking with you. I appreciate your time.
V.M: Oh, thank you, James, I appreciate it pal.
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