by David P. Greisman
Entering this year, DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley had lost eight of his last nine, including six in a row dating back to 2010.
This year, however, he’s undefeated, winning a decision over Gabriel Bracero in January and then scoring a technical knockout victory last month over former world-title challenger Paul McCloskey.
It’s been a dramatic turnaround for a 38-year-old fighter and former junior-welterweight titleholder who is trying to get another shot at a major belt.
Corley, now 39-19-1 with 23 knockouts, spoke with BoxingScene.com in early June.
BoxingScene.com: It’s been about a month since your big win over McCloskey. You’d promised beforehand that McCloskey wasn’t going to last 12, and he didn’t last 12. What did you know to be able to make that prediction and then make it come true?
Corley: “My performance leading up to the fight, my training, the way my training was going. The Wednesday the week before the fight, we worked 15 rounds of sparring. I knew if I could fight at this pace for 15 rounds with three different sparring partners, I knew I could break Paul down within 12 rounds of fighting. And I knew I’d knock him out.”
BoxingScene.com: What was it you saw with McCloskey to be able to break him down and knock him out?
Corley: “He has a lot of mistakes he makes, by him being a southpaw just like me. He leaves his left hand down in his pocket a lot, and he pulls back, and his hand is not up when he pulls back. I knew if I threw a combination and finished with my right hook, I would land pretty much every time.”
BoxingScene.com: What is it that’s changed with you? You had a rough stretch where you lost several fights in a row for some time, and now you’ve put two big wins together. Is there something that’s changed in training to allow you to turn things around?
Corley: “(laughs) It’s funny you say ‘change in training,’ because me and my trainer, it wasn’t a falling out, but the trainer who worked with me the last few fights (Tyrone Jones) just went MIA on me. I had to go back to my old trainer who I won my old title with in 2001 (Bernard Roach). We’re back working together. Now I haven’t heard from [Jones]. We haven’t spoken since May 12. I don’t know where he’s at. He hasn’t returned any of my texts or my calls.
“I’m still training the same way. I’m just taking some supplements from West Africa that’s helping me with my performance and my endurance level. That’s pretty much it. My drive — I wanted it more the last couple fights, and I lost, and me not winning the fights, where I won the fights but not getting the decision just made me fight harder. I know every time I’m in the ring I got to fight harder from now on. I can’t just fight hard and not push it to the limit, because I’m always going against someone in their backyard or I’m the underdog.”
BoxingScene.com: What are the supplements that you’re taking? And what is the difference that you feel because of them?
Corley: “The supplements, everybody wants to know what I’m taking because of what Andre Berto went through and what Lamont Peterson just went through with steroids and stuff, but my stuff is certified with the USADA. It’s just natural herbs. It’s some herbs that I’m taking. When it’s time for me to say what I’m taking, then I’ll tell. But until then, I’ma keep it a secret (laughs).”
BoxingScene.com: And how do you feel different because of them?
Corley: “My performance level. I can get in there and fight at a pace like I’m young again. I mean, my last few fights, I’m fighting at a higher level now. I just had a birthday. I’m 38 years old and I feel I’m performing as an 18-year-old right now. I just started back training and I don’t feel no slacking or none of that in my workouts right now. Ready to go.”
BoxingScene.com: Had you ever taken anything before, or is this your first time turning to this kind of thing?
Corley: “This is my first time. It was on ‘Dr. Oz.’ You can drink it in a tea or you can take it in pills or you can put it in a protein shake. It’s for high blood pressure, diabetes and everything. If I keep pitching it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It was on ‘Dr. Oz,’ and a lot of people are taking it, but a lot of people don’t know about it.”
BoxingScene.com: What did you feel like before you were taking it?
Corley: “When I fought Ruslan Provodnikov, I was in the gym and had just started taking it in December. I beat that guy, and it really took a lot out of me for them not to give me the decision. I knew that the stuff had really given me an edge. In the 10th round I was on him and putting combinations together. I wasn’t tired. I was never winded, but before the Ruslan fight, I faded a little bit like in the ninth and 10th rounds when I fought the other Russian.”
BoxingScene.com: Before the McCloskey fight you said you wanted a title shot afterward either at junior welterweight against Danny Garcia or at lightweight against Antonio DeMarco. Now Garcia is fighting Amir Khan and DeMarco looks like he’ll be facing John Molina. Where does that leave you with what’s next?
Corley: “It leaves me just setting in the wind. I spoke with my promoter, Lou DiBella, and right now nobody wants to fight me. Lou has to keep on trying to get a fight for me. Nobody wants to take a chance of getting in the ring with me. I’m dangerous. I’m a threat. I need to defend my NABF title, so we can fight the No. 1 guy for that, but we’re looking for a big name right now.”
BoxingScene.com: Are you willing to stay busy and face somebody who’s not a big name right now?
Corley: “Of course. I mean I’m not young, but I got to stay busy. I got to keep the oil in my car moving. I look at my body as a car. I just can’t sit on the shelf. I’m 38 years old.”
BoxingScene.com: Are you still willing to play the part of road warrior and keep traveling to these other guys backyards, if need be?
Corley: “If I have to go to Mexico, I’ll fight [Juan Manuel] Marquez. Other than that, I want to fight in the States now. I know they’re still looking for an opponent for Marquez to fight in Mexico now. We’ve been trying to get the Marquez fight. They said Marquez would fight the winner between me and Paul, but they changed their mind.”
BoxingScene.com: At the same time, you’re a southpaw and Marquez does want to face only southpaws because he’s vying for Manny Pacquiao.
Corley: “Yeah, but he was willing to fight Zab [Judah]. Zab’s name was mentioned. Why not mention my name? I’m available. Zab might not want to go to Mexico.”
BoxingScene.com: What else do you want people to know?
Corley: “I guarantee my next fight will be a knockout. That’s my game plan is to go in there and knock out whoever I fight. It won’t go the distance. I can predict that because of the performance that I’m putting out in the gym and the supplements that I’m taking.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]