Exclusive Interview With Lamon Brewster

I have to admit that it is hard not to root for a guy like Lamon Brewster.  The former WBO heavyweight titlist is one of the most humble and amiable guys you will ever meet.  Though at times, watching him fight was a maddening experience.  For a fighter of Brewster’s considerable talents, there were times when he seemed disenchanted inside the ropes.

Since taking a shellacking in a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, Brewster has reinvented himself in the newfound role of boxing promoter.  Brewster’s Relentless Events has already promoted a modestly sucessful card in Cincinnati and this Saturday Brewster’s outfit will host its second card in his hometown of Indianapolis, IN.

Given that both Tim and I share roots in the Hoosier state, I decided to speak with the former heavyweight titlist about his upcoming pormotion, and the importance of fighting in his hometown.

Q:  First of all, how is training going?

A:  Oh training has been excellent.  Training with one of the best fighters in the world – James Toney – and I have one of the best trainers in the world in Shadeed Suluki, you really couldn’t ask for more.  They both push me, in and out of the gym, and my wife, she really stepped up to help me get my diet together with the nutritionist so things are going really good.

Q:  And how long have you been in training camp?

A:  Well I’ve been training since the last fight on August 30th.  I mean I took off maybe a week but I’ve been back on the trail ever since then.

Q:  Explain how you got involved in the promotional side of things?

A:  Once I was released from my contract with Don King I had met a guy by the name of Colin Bates and he was a big boxing fan and I went to negotiate with some of these boxing promoters, and I was like ‘why would I give him all my rights when I paid my dues to have my name?’  You know, it’s like the only thing I would be doing is making you money, when if I get some people who believe in me, I can make my own money and write my own checks.  So I talked to Colin and told him what I wanted to do and he came on board.  We did our first show August 30 in which I won a NABA title and now I’m looking forward to having a title defense fighting Bruce Seldon once again under my own promotion Relentless Events.  I’m hoping to be able to add something to boxing that has been missing out of boxing which is real fighters fighting real fighters, not guys in their trying to get a paycheck.

Q:  And how did your first show go in Cinncinatti?

A:  It went well.  We had a turnout of like six to seven thousand.  They said that was one of the largest crowds they had ever had in a boxing event in a very long time.  Ezzard Charles actually fought there before, that’s how long the history goes back.  They were very pleased.  You know, we are looking forward to putting on an even better show, a bigger show so to speak.  This show will be in my hometown of Indianapolis which I haven’t fought in since I was 17 years old.  Now I’m 35 and looking forward to going home and giving the people a great show and show the whole world that I’m back.  I’m taking my time.  I’m not jumping up to the front to fight Wladimir Klitschko again; I’m getting the trust off of me if you will.  After about two more fights I will be ready for world title contention.

Q:  So how important is it for you to put on a show in your hometown?  You know Indianapolis is not really considered a “fight town”.  Is that something you hope to change?

A:  I am looking to change that being that I am Indiana’s first world heavyweight champion.  I was born and raised there as you know.  I’m from Riverside.  I know at one point there was a great history of boxing with the Golden Gloves and everything.  So what I’m trying to do is make it worthwhile for people around Indiana to want to come and have a great show.  It won’t just be a fight, it will be an event.  From the fight we put on, to the concerts and the after party, and even VIP parties, so we are really trying to bring some new blood to the sport of boxing.  We would like to do it right, starting in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Q:  So you’re not just looking to promote a fight, but rather a whole interactive event, is that safe to say?

A:  Yeah absolutely.  I mean, you never get to intermingle with the champ after a fight, but you’ll be able to come to the same party I’ll be at, talk to me, hold hands, take pictures, whatever you want to do.  Then, at the same time, we are trying to bring (R&B singers) Aaron Hall, Jon B, or both to Indiana and maybe even pass out turkeys.  You know, we are really trying to make it something to where you will say ‘aw man that was a great event.  Friday I went to a great prefight party, Saturday, the fight was great, and after that we had a nice little concert and we had a nice party afterward.’  We rally want to give you something that when you look back on your life, you say ‘that was a great time’.

Q:  As a new promoter, what has been the most surprising aspect, the most shocking or biggest headache you have had to deal with in the new role?

A:   Fighters not wanting to fight each other.  You have these guys like they are the greatest fighter when they won’t eve leave their city.  If they do leave their city, they want to make sure it’s against a guy they can beat; you know what I’m saying?  Or you want to fight a dude, say your record is 20-0, you want to fight a dude that’s 0-20 and been knocked out 20 times, and you want to get paid an arm and a leg for it.  Yet you claim yourself to be a champion?

Q:  That has got to grate your nerves, seeing as how you routinely traveled to other countries to fight.  Did that ever wear on you, having to travel to an opponent’s backyard to defend your title?

A:  No man.  I loved it.  I love traveling to people’s backyards because the pressure is on them. I ain’t got nothing to lose.  You want my title, and I can come to your house and say do you want to take it?

Q:  Your opponent for the evening is Bruce Seldon.  Is it hard to maintain focus for a fighter many consider to be below your level, in addition to having to run a promotional company at the same time?

A:  The thing of it is I’ve been blessed to have such a great, wonderful partner in Colin Bates.  At this point he’s like ‘look champ, I don’t want you to be concerned whatsoever on anything but boxing.’  They all stepped up so that Lamon Brewster don’t have to worry about nothing but being Lamon Brewster the night of the fight.  And it’s really rewarding because I know they can work in synch as the promotional team to back me up.  If they get to a point where they can’t cross a bridge, then they come to me.  So it’s really easy for me to give nothing but 100% for this fight.  At the same time, Bruce Seldon, I don’t put him or any fighter on a level below me.  I let the people do that.  I think that Bruce Seldon is a dangerous guy because out of his 39 wins, 35 of them are by way of knockout.  If you know about boxing, you know the last thing to leave a man is his power.  So I got go in there and be careful.  At his age of 41 he has to be wise and be treacherous, as most old men are.  I’m not running in there looking for a knockout because then you get knocked out.  I’m going in there like we are playing a game of chess and when I see an opening; I’m going to take it.



About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.