30 year old heavyweight Grover Young, a man who started his pro career down a few weight divisions and “worked my way up to heavyweight ‘cos there were no good heavyweights around at the time,” is set to face former WBC champ Oliver McCall in New Mexico on September 28th.
And Young, 13-27-3(9), and stopped six times, is aiming to make one helluva name for himself by stopping McCall, becoming the first man to have done so (barring the infamous return fight mental breakdown McCall had with Lennox Lewis way back in 1997).
Young, who has faced a number of world champions and has had absolutely no favors tossed his way along the way, kindly took time out to speak with Eastside Boxing. Here is what the warrior from Memphis had to say:
Q: Is the McCall fight 100 percent a done deal?
Grover Young: “I can’t say it’s 100 percent. The fight should be signed today (September 10). I think it’s gonna happen, in New Mexico, yeah.”
Q: You are a young guy at age 30 – why do you think all these veterans stay around so long and cannot seem to retire?
G.Y: “Well, it’s the love of the sport, I think. The love of the sport that they all have. They can’t hang it up. But they have to understand how the sport has changed. We young guys are hungrier, a lot hungrier, and they [old guys carrying on] can become a name on our records. That’s what I’m looking at, and that’s what I’m gonna do. They [Team-McCall] are looking at this as an easy fight, but no way. It won’t be the easy fight they think it will be.”
Q: Are you looking at getting a points win? McCall is 54 years old now.
G.Y: “I don’t know if the fight will be set for six-rounds, eight-rounds, or ten. But I think it will suit me to take him into the deep waters, into the later rounds where I will make him feel his age. But I am a puncher and I’ll also be looking to take him outta there early.”
Q: Wow, you sure would make headlines if you became the very first man to stop McCall. He’s never been down in any fight of course.
G.Y: “I’m looking to do it. Like I say, I’m a puncher, and I have skills. I ain’t looking to make any friends in this fight. I don’t care what he did in the past. I’m looking at what I can do. I ain’t no fan of nobody! The past is the past.”
Q: You have been in with some big names: Sergey Kovalev, Badou Jack and Malik Scott, to name three…
G.Y: “I beat Badou Jack (a UD going to a 9-0 Jack back in 2012), but they gave the fight to him. Kovalev, I reached out for a rematch but I never heard anything back (Kovalev, then 16-0, hit Young with a shot to the ear and wound up going home with a TD in 2011). I’ve fought a lot of guys and it seems I have a lot of losses. [Malik] Scott, he hit me with a low blow [Scott scoring a TKO over Young in 2014). I never had any management, I just took fights. I really believe, with my skills, if I’d had people behind me, I’d be world champion.”
Q: Guys such as yourself really are the backbone of the sport; you fight anyone, anywhere, any time.
G.Y: “I just fight. I don’t care who I fight. I’m not a natural southpaw, but I switch so as to give any man I fight even more problems to deal with.”
Q: Best wishes for the McCall fight. We hope we get to see it.
G.Y: “Thanks, man. I’ll drop everything for any fight!”