By Ben Jacobs
Few fighters in the sport of boxing are more straight-talking than Amir Mansour. The Delaware-based heavyweight will finally have the chance to show what he can do against a name opponent in front of a nationwide audience when he faces Steve Cunningham on April 4.
Mansour may be unknown to the wider public, but hardcore fans are aware of his abilities and some view him as the best American hope for a heavyweight champion of the world in the near future.
Speaking from an undisclosed location where he has set up training camp, Mansour spoke on a number of subjects including his upcoming bout with Cunningham, Bryant Jennings, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
BoxingScene.com: How pleased are you that you will have the chance to show your talent against a respected name like Steve Cunningham?
I’m very pleased, man. My hat goes off to him for having the courage to fight me. A lot of guys don’t want to fight me and after a little negotiation he said, ‘let’s make it happen.’ It’s going down April 4.
BoxingScene.com: Do you know him on a personal level?
Of course, Philadelphia’s not that huge. Steve Cunningham has made a name for himself by being in the cruiserweight division and by stepping up to the heavyweight division, so it’s going to be a great experience for me, a catapult. I’ve finally got someone in front of me that has all the bells and whistles, and at the same time this guy can fight, he knows what he’s doing in that ring. So I’m going to come in on my A game and do what I usually do.
Me and Steve Cunningham is a good fight for the heavyweight division, it’s a fight a lot of people are anticipating. It gives him a chance to show that he deserves to be in the division and gives me a chance to prove what I say time after time after time, that I am America’s only hope to bring that world title back across the shores. That’s what I want to display every time. I want people to look at me and say, ‘this guy can beat a Klitschko.’ That is what I want to display in the ring, with my tenacity and resilience. I will fight as if my life is on the line. A lot of these guys aren’t ready to risk their lives in there. I don’t have any quit in me, I’m relentless. The type of training I’m doing now, this is the first camp I’m doing for a fight in 20 fights, this is my first training camp so you can only imagine what kind of shape I’ll be in and the fury I’m going to unleash on April 4.
BoxingScene.com: Are you training in the Philadelphia area?
I’m training somewhere nice and warm; I’m out there as I speak to you in 80 degrees. It’s snowing a lot up in the Philadelphia area and that’s interfering with training and transportation so I don’t want to take any chances going into this fight. I’ve packed my bags and taken off to my training to camp where the weather’s nice and I can get in really good shape.
BoxingScene.com: Do you feel your power will be the difference in this fight?
I’m not going in there banking on my power; I’m going in there using speed, footwork and angles. I bring so much to the table, there’s so much I can do in the ring, it’s not just my power, it’s my overall ability to fight and then on top of that I hit like Mike Tyson. Do I think he can withstand my pressure? No. I don’t think any man on this planet can withstand it.
You can hit a guy and daze him or you can render him senseless, and that’s what I’ve been doing. These guys don’t get up and if they do you can tell they’re really hurt. That just comes from precision punching, making sure the punches land in the right place. When I connect I’m moving my whole arm a certain way and being precise and accurate, that’s why I get the type of knockouts that I get.
Do you think you might fight Tyson Fury later in the year if you win on April 4 considering he beat Cunningham?
Tyson Fury is not going to fight me, just like Tomas Adamek won’t fight. There are a few guys out there that have been adamant they won’t fight me. They’re very serious about not fighting. Adamek is one of them. I thought he was a warrior, you know, but he’s been ducking me for the longest. But I think you’ll see me and Adamek fight before me and Fury.
He [Fury] can’t take my punch, I don’t think he’s a good fighter either. The fact that his glass chin is so suspect and so huge, they don’t want to take a chance with a puncher like me.
BoxingScene.com: Considering that Wladimir Klitschko is fighting another boxer who the public are unaware of, do you feel like you should be getting a shot against him soon?
I can’t take anything away from the Klitschkos. Everybody they put in front of them they demolish, man. A lot of these heavyweights over here think they deserve another title shot but when they went over there they got their butts whipped, didn’t even put up a good fight, all of a sudden two or three fights later they’re going to beat this guy? Bull crap. I understand you have to try to make money. [Wladimir] Klitschko has fought everybody they put in front of him. He’s fighting mandatories, or they give him someone to pick and choose. He’s a very big guy, he knows what he’s doing and he’s dominating his division. But at the same time, he’s got a suspect chin too. Of course, I will chin check him. He probably doesn’t want to take a risk with somebody like me. I look at it like this, I can beg these guys to fight me all I want, my strategy is to get every big fight I can get, win impressively, and become a mandatory to whoever has a belt. I feel that’s the only way I’ll get a title shot; otherwise these guys will run from me as long as they can.
BoxingScene.com: Could you go down the WBC route to fight the winner of Bermane Stiverne – Chris Arreola?
I would love to fight the winner, the only one that should be fighting for a world title is Stiverne, I mean he beat Arreola up. He deserves a shot. I don’t know how Arreola got back in the mix of things. A lot of these guys already fought for the title, went and got their butts whipped, now they’re recycled and they’re trying to fight for the title again. They’re just a bunch of recycled, wannabe champions. They had their chance. We can’t even line up three American heavyweights who fought for the world title in the last five years that truly went over there and gave it their all. These guys, as soon as war starts coming, they break like little girls, they break down like little girls, take a knee and let the ref count them out.
BoxingScene.com: Do you see yourself fighting another local fighter who is on the world scene such as Bryant Jennings?
Yeah I’ll probably fight Bryant Jennings one day and I’m sure he’ll say yes to the same question, but me and Bryant know our worth, you’re not going to put me and Bryant in the ring for a couple thousand dollars and the winner only gets bragging rights. The winner should get at least a top three spot or a mandatory title shot, for that type of fight. We will get it on, so you can best believe the winner will have some type of gift or bonus of going away to a world title shot.
Boxing fans have to stop supporting these recycled heavyweight fights, in fact they already have. You had Klitschko and David Haye fighting and it wasn’t even a PPV event over here in America, and it was the first time in history where there were two world heavyweight champions and it wasn’t even on PPV, so that’s how boring these guys have made this division. These guys in the lower weights are dominating PPVs. Klitschko would fight Jennings or Wilder but he won’t fight me. Wilder ain’t got no chin, he ain’t fought nobody. You look at my record and guys that I’ve beat up, they’re winning fights now.
I’ve beat guys with high knockout ratios, I didn’t fight a bunch of bums. Wilder fought a bunch of truck drivers and lawnmower men, he ain’t fought real fighters. Malik Scott will whoop his ass, you heard that from me. He’s gonna beat Wilder up. He has no chin. He’s tall, has a nice reach, he can hit pretty good but he’s not ready for me. Anybody over 6’4, more than 200lbs should be able to knock guys out! I don’t even like Wilder’s name mentioned in the same sentence as mine.