by Ryan Burton
On Saturday night Ryan Coyne (21-0) will face off against Marcus Oliveira (24-0-1) at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. At stake for the two unbeated light heavyweights is the mandatory position to face WBA champion Beibut Shumenov. This fight was originally slated to take place on March 9th in support of the Bernard Hopkins-Tavoris Cloud clash but was postponed when Coyne suffered a nasty cut in sparring.
In this interview the 30-year-old Coyne talks about the Oliveira fight, his relationship with Don King and more.
BoxingScene: First off is your cut 100% healed? Do you think it could open back up in this fight?
Ryan Coyne: The cut is healed. Like new. I sparred over 150 rounds after I picked it up and we had no issues. Just one of those unfortunate timing circumstances. Sure it could open up. I could cut on the other eye. Where ever. Cuts happen in boxing. While I've not picked one up in quite a while, since The Contender, I learned to fight with them early in my career and not to be bothered by it. I just rely on my great cutman Gerry Leyshock to do his job and I do mine.
BoxingScene: This fight was originally scheduled for March 9th but was postponed when you were cut in sparring. How much time did you take off? How are you feeling heading into the biggest fight of your career?
Ryan Coyne: I really took no time off. I've been training at a very high level since last year when Marcus Oliveira was a Welshman named Nathan Cleverly (in reference to his aborted fight versus the WBO champion that was blocked by his promoter Don King). I've been pretty vocal about not being a fan of long layoffs and you have to be ready to back up your words. We were notified of the April 12th reschedule and we were ready to pick up without missing a beat. For the first time in a while I really feel good. Damn good. Not so much I'm in great shape, I'm always in great shape. More so that I feel of sound body and mind. I'm not dealing with ailments and I've separated my mind from the legal/promotional bullshit that has driven me mad the last 6 months.
BoxingScene: What do you know about Oliveira? What is the key to the fight?
Ryan Coyne: I know enough. This dude can fight. He's not a name guy that is gonna pop up on a lot of boxing radars out there. He's been trapped in the Don King dungeon too. He was a couple units down from me on the same cell block. Serving hard time away from the exposure he surely deserves. Just as pissed as I have been I'd bet. He's a very athletic guy, a former collegiate athlete like myself. A hard puncher. In football you have trap games. This is a trap fight. A lot of risk without a lot of upside in a win. Beat him, he's just an undefeated guy no one has ever seen fight. But don't tell him he's just some guy and don't think for one second I'm not approaching this with the utmost preparation and craft. The key to winning this fight is elevating my skill set, intensity, and ring IQ to a new level. I spent the better part of the summer in Big Bear training with Gennady Golovkin and his trainer Abel Sanchez at The Summit. I really learned a lot in my time there. Soaked in every nuance. I learned to press myself to the elite level in every facet of my training regimen. I really enjoy being around driven successful people. It's contagious and that's a phenomenal environment.
BoxingScene: If you get the win as planned you will be Beibut Shumenov's mandatory challenger. He hasn't been very active. Do you think you would be able to face him this year?
Ryan Coyne: Respectfully, I'm not going to answer that question. My complete and total focus is on Marcus Oliveira. I look past him for a split second and Beibut's activity, or lack thereof, will be none of my concern and I plan to be very concerned with it in proper due time. Right now it's time to execute my gameplan in order to win convincingly against a very worthy opponent in Marcus Olivera.
BoxingScene: As you just alluded to, you have had a rocky relationship with your promoter Don King. Has your relationship improved at all since he got you this fight?
Ryan Coyne: Don King is not my promoter. I'm not really sure who or what he promotes anymore. Last time I was browsing the net I saw him carrying on about the Iron Chef or some other incoherent garbage. He bids on fights, signs contracts, and never follows through on them. His hustle is tired. Professional promotional outfits don't conduct business in that manner. Things can never improve when one party refuses to treat the other like a human being, so of course not. Make no mistake, this fight is a setup. He doesn't want this legal spat anymore than I do. It's pointless with nothing to gain. King wants to see me get beat, but a setup blows up in your face when you send the hitman back to the boss in a duffle bag. I'm well aware of the factors at play here and I'm coming to wreck plans.
BoxingScene: You have promoted a lot of your own shows back home in St Louis. Do you plan on fighting back home anytime soon?
Ryan Coyne: I've had to take the bull by the horns and play a very active role in promoting my own career when it was abandoned. I have a great following in St. Louis. A tremendous network of friends, fans and of course among the Irish and without them none of this would be possible. That's what boxing is really about, raucous frenzied crowds of enthusiastic fans. You see Golden Boy doing it, packing them in with Canelo. Main Events really getting back to that spirit with the great work they've done on the NBC Sports Network. Now obviously I'm not bringing them in anywhere in the way Canelo is, but I have my own promoters license now and I would really love to fight in St. Louis again soon.
BoxingScene: What is your prediction on your fight?
Ryan Coyne: Win! I don't care how. Brutal knockout, methodical decision, grunt it out physical battle. Winning this fight is the only thing that matters. I've been through so much turmoil the last 7 months with the dark side of this business. My resolve is iron clad and my will to overcome has endured. I'm coming to win and I'm walking out of that ring #1. It's as simple as that.
BoxingScene: Do you have a message for the fans?
Ryan Coyne: I sailed into a nasty storm sometime back, and on April 12th it starts to break. A lot of people jumped ship, but many stayed the course and braved stormy seas with me. I am deeply grateful to all of you who were there for me when I needed it the most. You all know who you are and I can never thank you enough. On Friday I look forward putting it in the rear view and getting back to boxing. Check out all the latest happenings with all events, products, and ongoing news at www.irishoutlawboxing.com
Send questions or comments to [email protected] Follow Ryan on Twitter @ringsidewriter and tune in to BoxingScene Radio, BoxingScene's official audio on Tuesdays from 6-8PM PST. The show is hosted by Ernie Gabion, Luis Sandoval and Ryan Burton