by David P. Greisman
Cruiserweight contender BJ Flores was in Bethlehem, Pa., to call the NBC broadcast of the rematch between Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham. But while he’d been hinting at an eventual move to heavyweight in the future, the 33-year-old with a record of 28 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw and 18 knockouts told BoxingScene.com that he first wanted to finish some business in his current division.
Flores spoke with BoxingScene.com shortly after Adamek and Cunningham weighed in.
BoxingScene.com: This is a semi-serious question: How soon into the NBC broadcast until you call out the winner of the main event?
Flores (laughing): “I’m not, actually. I’ve got a lot of business at cruiserweight first. I’ve been sticking around this division for a long time, and I’m finally rated No. 1 by the WBO now, No. 2 by the WBA. I’m not thinking about anything except one of the cruiserweight champions. That’s really all I’m worried about right now.”
BoxingScene.com: The WBO and WBA, who does that get you a shot at?
Flores: “I don’t know. I think Marco Huck and Ola Afolabi are going to fight sometime in February/March. I’d like to fight whoever wins that fight. Or obviously Denis Lebedev just had a great win over [Santander] Silgado. That’d be another great fight. Also, if Danny Green’s going to continue to fight, I’d love to have a rematch with him — at 200 pounds. And with the level of activity I’ve had lately, it’d be a lot different fight.”
BoxingScene.com: This continues to be a waiting game for you, though. When do you think you’re finally going to get the title shot that you’ve been waiting for?
Flores: “You know, I don’t know. Hopefully after this next fight. Hopefully soon. Here’s the thing: These guys got to continue to fight and stay active, and I’m right there and have been there for a while. I’ve been consistent. I’ve been active lately. I’ve had four fights in the last 15 months, have a fight every three or four months, am staying busy and knocking out middle of the road opposition that you’ve got to knock out if you want to fight for a title. I haven’t had the chance to step up against a good fighter, a world champion yet, and I’m looking for that opportunity.”
BoxingScene.com: When’s the next bout for you?
Flores: “I don’t have anything planned right now. Now that I’m in the No. 1 position, we’re kind of waiting to see what happens. I’m just in the gym training, working, and I’ll be ready for the shot when it comes. I’ve improved a lot over the last two years, and kind of went back to the drawing board, revamped and changed my style a little bit. I’m more aggressive now, more explosive. And I’m a strong cruiserweight. We knew we had to change some things up, if you want to beat top-level opposition. I feel like I’ve done that, and I’m ready to prove it.”
BoxingScene.com: It’s kind of like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. You want to stay active, but if you do that you also might be keeping yourself from getting a title shot you’ve been waiting for by not being available.
Flores: “It’s tough, and in this division timing is everything. If I plan a fight, another stay-busy fight, and one of the champions calls me to fight and I’m already in a contract, it just makes it difficult. At this point where I’m at now, I’d rather just stay idle until I see what one of the champions’ concrete next move is. Once they have a concrete move, then I can go based on that.”
BoxingScene.com: Are you anticipating another fight at home in Missouri?
Flores: “Not for the next one, no. We’ve had four fights there over 15 months. I don’t expect to fight one of the champions in Springfield, Mo., no. It’s not a problem. I’ll go wherever. I’m fine. I’ve been active. I’ve been busy. I don’t have a problem going anywhere at this point as long as I have the full six-week preparation and we come in at 200 pounds.”
BoxingScene.com: Changing gears, what are your predictions for Adamek-Cunningham 2?
Flores: “Oh, man. I don’t know. I think if Steve sticks to the game plan, he could have a good night. But he’s got to fight a perfect fight. Adamek’s been at this weight for, what, 11 fights now? He’s been in with some very strong guys. I think it’s a tough second heavyweight for Steve. In his second heavyweight fight, he’s fighting a really good guy. And Adamek’s had more time up there. But with all that said, styles make fights, and Steve’s style gives Adamek problems. But he’s got to fight a perfect fight. He can’t get in the trenches. Adamek’s too heavy-handed.”
BoxingScene.com: You’ve been calling matches for a little bit now. How does it feel to be calling a fight on national TV on NBC?
Flores: “It feels great. It’s just a blessing. It’s exciting. These guys treat me so good. I love coming to work. I’m excited about it. It’s a lot of fun. It’s something I would do for free, to be honest with you. I grew up with a lot of these guys, fighting in the amateurs together, so it’s good to see where they are now in their career and that they’re doing well."
“If I can shed some light on a fight from a fighters’ perspective, as far as what’s going on, I think fighters deserve that. Fighters deserve a fighter calling their fight, if he’s capable of doing it, because a lot of times people who’ve never been in the ring, it’s very difficult to understand all the things a fighter’s going through. So it gives some extra perspective.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]