Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Apr 30 2015, Page 45

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - April 30, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE D4 D 4 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 2015 SPORTS winnipegfreepress. com WIECEK: We’ve got that Manny Pacquiao- Floyd Mayweather fight coming up on Saturday and I’ve been reading some pieces where they’re talking this will be a $ 350- million payday these guys are going to split. You made $ 6 million on the Leonard fight. What goes through your mind when you hear $ 350 million for these guys. LALONDE: It’s surreal. It’s really hard to completely put together. I mean back in the day... that was the most money Ray Leonard ever made when we fought. So those are just the times — add a zero every 10, 20 years. I’m all for everybody doing well and doing as well as they can. It just means there’s a tremendous amount of interest in the sport and the fight. WIECEK: There’s all this focus on this fight and everyone’s been waiting years and years for this fight. But there’s also the suggestion that this is a bit of a sideshow and that actually boxing is in a fight for its survival right now, with all the attention on head injuries and the long term effects of concussions... Some people wonder if there’s even a place in society anymore for boxing. What do you think? LALONDE: Boxing is a whole lot more than the end result of some people staying in the game too long, referees not doing a good job stopping ( the fights early enough), people not knowing natural ways that you can rehabilitate damaged cells in your brain. There’s lots of natural ways to do that. I know western medicine doesn’t say that but there’s many natural ways to do that in medicine that’s been around for 10,000 years... Society and contact sport? I’m really a peaceful guy. And watching this MMA stuff, for example, in a sense revolts me. I appreciate the art, again. And I don’t want to demean the people who do it because it’s a very, very difficult thing to do. It’s a lot of art and it’s beautiful for what it is. But the violence of it is not something I’m turned on by. Whereas boxing is the art of self- defence. And it’s something I believe will always be around and something that brings so much to a person’s life. I know it did mine and it has many other boxers. WIECEK: I was reading an interview with you in which you were talking about the fight against Eddie Davis where you won the light- heavyweight title. And you described the punch that knocked him out as the hardest punch you’ve ever thrown. And you described standing over him — and I’m using your words — you said he was “ quivering” on the canvas and you worried about him. In light of what we now know about the long- term effect of these head injuries, what goes through your head when you think back to Eddie Davis lying there and you having inflicted that on him? LALONDE: I wish they’d stopped that fight before that final punch, which they ought to have done. He was hurt enough before that to say, ‘ OK, that’s enough.’ And to me, that’s part of the boxing thing: You don’t have to wait until someone’s unconscious to end a fight. It can be fairly evident a fight ought to be stopped much earlier. And I think that’s something that could be looked at in the sport to make it a lot safer. But what goes through your head? As I mentioned, at the time I was very concerned for him. And not long after that, I was training after the Leonard loss... and I hit a sparring partner and his eyes went back and he fell back into the ropes. And I just walked away and I told my manager and my trainer to take off my gloves. And he said, ‘ What do you mean?’ And I said, ‘ I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.’ WIECEK: Bob Arum, who of course is promoting the Pacquiao fight and used to promote Muhammad Ali, was quoted in the New York Times this week — and I’m quoting — ' No parent in their right mind would let their kids go into boxing today.' You’re a father — what do you think? LALONDE: I have a son and if he wanted to box, I’d want to be the guy in the corner who’s going to make sure it’s going to be stopped at the right time. But again — it provides so many positive things, I would not deprive him of that... Boxing is a metaphor for life. And if you can overcome things in that little microcosm, it gives you the belief and the faith that you can do it in a bigger scene like the world. WIECEK: Do you deal with any post- concussion syndrome? LALONDE: I’ve defintely felt impact from boxing on my brain... But as long as I’m on my health regime, I feel very healthy. And if I’m not, it’s nothing dramatic — just a little slower, just thinking less, not as much energy, don’t get to have that jump in the morning where you want to get up and do stuff. So yeah, I feel the effect, it’s there and it’s part of contact sports. WIECEK: In 47 fights, are there nights you don’t remember because of the beating you took? LALONDE: The Bobby Czyz fight... In the first minute of the fight, I throw a lazy right hand and he catches me with a left hook that I don’t see. I fall flat on my face and I don’t wake up until the fifth round. And I won three of the next four rounds. Because when you’re unconscious you fight actually better — that’s the idea, get your mind out of the game so you’re not thinking, you’re just boxing. So anyway, in the fifth round, I’m like, ‘ Jeez, that’s Bobby Czyz, I’m boxing Bobby Czyz.’ And then I heard this crowd, ‘ Wow, there’s people here.’ So I still today don’t remember any of those rounds. WIECEK: Teddy Atlas, your former trainer... was very bitter that he didn’t cash in on your big Sugar Ray Leonard payday. He writes in his book that he tracked you down in your apartment in Manhattan, he had a gun on him, he went up to knock on your apartment door and I’m quoting here, he writes, ‘ If ( Donny) had opened the door, he was dead.’ He was going to shoot you dead... Do you believe that story? LALONDE: The funny part is I didn’t live in that apartment anymore. He says he talked to my girlfriend and ( she) said I wasn’t home. I didn’t even live there... I had great trainers. Teddy Atlas was not one of them. WIECEK: So I find this interesting — he knocked on the wrong door in any event? You were never coming to that door that night, right? LALONDE: I didn’t live there. I lived close — about a mile down the road. But I had lived there. WIECEK: A couple of things strike me about you. One, you’re still married to the same woman ( you met at the Leonard fight) decades later. Two, you’ve still got all your money. Both of those things make you different than a lot of retired boxers... How is it you’ve been able to keep it all together — relationships, your finances, physical health, mental health — when other boxers don’t seem to be able to? LALONDE: First of all, I have gone through things you don’t know about. But commitment is one of them — I’m committed to my health, commited to my wife, committed to my family. My ( abusive) Dad showed me everything I don’t want to be. But my wife ( of 24 years) and I have had huge struggles, we’ve had enormous challenges and been very close a number of times... But we’ve stuck it out. And I’ve been bankrupt, I’ve lost everything. WIECEK: This is during your fight with Revenue Canada, right? But you put it all back together, it seems? LALONDE: I had two kids, ( a wife) and $ 11,000. WIECEK: So of that $ 6 million ( made in Leonard fight), you were down to your last 11 grand? LALONDE: I was forced into bankruptcy... I don’t know if you’d call it declaring it. It was voluntary or forced, but I went through it. I don’t remember because it was such a traumatic time. You have to remember, we had a house in Whistler, a beautiful house in Victoria, a Rolls, a Mercedes... WIECEK: You had a Rolls? LALONDE: I did. It wasn’t brand new. WIECEK: Oh, well, a used Rolls. LALONDE: It was just a thing to have for fun. But anyway, the bottom line is we had a lot of money. And when we got to Costa Rica ( where he still lives with his family) we had $ 11,000 in cash in the bank... And so I got back into the real estate business... and we did great, we did very, very well. WIECEK: What’s the ride in a Rolls like? LALONDE: It’s really nice. WIECEK: It better be for that price. WIECEK: Twenty- seven years since the Leonard fight, with the benefit of hindsight, I wonder if there’s anything you think you could’ve done differently that night to have brought about a different result. LALONDE: In preparation for that night, or that night? WIECEK: You can answer it anyway you want. Because I imagine with a huge moment like that in your life, there must be some nights as you fall asleep that you kind of turn it over in your head and wonder, ‘ Hey, what if?’ LALONDE: I’m not sure there’s been 24 hours that have gone by since that happened ( that he hasn’t thought about the Leonard fight). Honestly. So yeah, two points. One is in the fourth round, when I knocked him down and he was against the ropes, all I had to do was throw non- stop straight punches and it was over. But I had this thing in my mind, ‘ Just be patient’... I thought I didn’t hit him clean and the next time I hit him, this thing is over. And so from that point on, if you look at the fight, I fought completely different... I should’ve finished him the fourth round and that I’d say was my mistake the night of the fight. And in preparation for the fight, I overtrained... Me at 163 ( pounds) is just not a good equation for going 12 rounds in a championship fight. By the fourth round, I saw triple — I was dehydrated... I was weak in the fight. WIECEK: It strikes me that you say that all these years later, there’s still not 24 hours that go by that you don’t think about that fight. Is it a regret? Is it a resentment? Is it a torment? LALONDE: Maybe a torment. If it has to be one of those three, maybe a torment. It’s just like you say, that moment flashes in your mind and you think, ‘ Why didn’t I just do this?’ I had him hurt — all I had to do was ding him one more time and it was over. WIECEK: I’d read that one of the things you like about ( living in) Costa Rica so much is that country hasn’t had a military since 1948... And you’ve also been very critical over the years about Canada’s foreign policy and the U. S.’ s foreign policy. You’ve said you thought it’s overly militaristic. What I’m getting to here is I find it interesting that a guy who made a living — and a good living, for a lot of years — knocking guys out has become in your later years what sounds like a pacifist. Take me through that evolution. LALONDE: I’m not a pacifist and I’ve never been a violent person. Boxing, like I say, is an art... It’s just such a fascinating art to stand in a ring with somebody — and I got it right from the beginning — and they try to hit you and you just try to make them miss and hit them back. To me, it was like a chess game and it was always so much fun... And the physical part of it — I hated to hit somebody and they got hurt. That was never something I enjoyed... I obviously had pain and violence inside of me from my childhood, that was expressed through boxing. For sure. But it wasn’t intellectually about that. And I haven’t changed my stance. Nothing in this world, in man’s world, has been cured through violence. I believe love cures everything. I believe in compassion, I believe in understanding, I believe in diplomacy, I believe in democracy... Peace and love are how we’re going to cure this world. WIECEK: Last thing, Saturday night — Pacquiao or Mayweather? LALONDE: I predict Mayweather winning a 12- round unanimous decision... ( but) I’m always wrong when I pick. paul. wiecek@ freepress. mb. ca Fight night WINNIPEG’S Olivia Gerula will take on Simone Duarte of Brazil for a WIBA world boxing title tonight at Club Regent Casino. The women’s title fight is the main event of seven fights scheduled in a card being promoted by King John Boxing. It’s the first King John Boxing card in Winnipeg since 2013 and the first at Club Regent. The event centre inside the casino will hold 940 spectators for boxing. Promoter John Vernaus said Wednesday that all 500 table seats are sold, but there were still a couple hundred theatre seats available as of Wednesday afternoon. Doors open at 6 p. m. and the fights begin at 7 p. m. Here’s the card: 1. Kelly Page ( Winnipeg) vs. Dia Grant ( Vancouver) 165 pounds — four rounds 2. Stephan Zea ( Toronto) vs. James Owens ( Wisconsin) 135 pounds — four rounds 3. Kyle Oliveira ( Winnipeg) vs. Antwan Robertson ( Minnesota) 130 pounds — four rounds 4. Lee Laquette ( Winnipeg) vs. Roberto Mendoza ( Winnipeg) 154 pounds — four rounds 5. Michael Brandon ( Toronto) vs. Star Roberts ( Minnesota) 154 pounds — four rounds 6. Jason Douglas ( Calgary) vs. Wayne John ( Montreal) Heavyweight — six rounds 7. Olivia Gerula ( Winnipeg) vs. Simone Da Silva ( Brazil) 126 pounds — 10 rounds Lalonde Continued from D 1 12 Rounds with Donny Lalonde . 1. April 24, 1980: Lalonde wins his first professional fight, defeating Ken ‘ Boilermaker’ Nichols in a second- round TKO. . 2. March 6, 1981: After winning his first four professional fights, Lalonde loses his first fight in a second- round TKO to Wilbert ( Vampire) Johnson. . 3. July 4, 1983: Lalonde wins the Canadian light- heavyweight title, defeating Roddy Mac- Donald in a 10th- round TKO. . 4. Feb. 11, 1984: Lalonde successfully defends his Canadian title, defeating Jimmy Gradson in a first- round TKO. . 5. Sept. 8, 1984: Lalonde successfully defends his Canadian title again, defeating Don Hurtle with a sixth- round TKO. . 6. May 16, 1985: Fighting for the NABF light- heavyweight title, Lalonde loses to Willie “ Sandman” Edwards in a ninth- round TKO. . 7. May 7, 1987: Lalonde wins the WBC Continental Americas light- heavyweight title, defeating Mustafa Hamsho in a unanimous 12- round decision. . 8. Nov. 27, 1987: Lalonde wins the WBC world light- heavyweight title, defeating Eddie Davis in a second- round TKO. . 9. May 29, 1988: Lalonde successfully defends his WBC title, defeating Leslie ( Laventille Tiger) Stewart in a fifth- round TKO. . 10. Nov. 7, 1988: Fighting to defend his WBC title and also for a super- middleweight title, Lalonde loses to Sugar Ray Leonard in a ninthround TKO. . 11. May 8, 1992: Fighting for a WBA world cruiserweight title, Lalonde loses a unanimous 12- round decision to Bobby ( Matinee Idol) Czyz. . 12. July 5, 2003: In his final fight, Lalonde loses a unanimous 10- round decision to Virgil ( Quicksilver) Hill. THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Leonard and Lalonde before their 1988 fight. PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Donny Lalonde beat Benito Fernandez with a ninth- round TKO in 1986. MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS D_ 04_ Apr- 30- 15_ FP_ 01. indd D4 4/ 29/ 15 7: 57: 55 PM

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