|Edner Cherry: "I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao and Nate Campbell right now!"
Interview by Bob Carroll, Doghouse Boxing (July 18, 2008) DoghouseBoxing.com
The Tampa, Florida area has become a hot bed of boxing in the last few years with the emergence of fighters like Nate Campbell, Jeff Lacy, Antonio Tarver and Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright. Another fighter included in this list, lightweight Edner ‘Cherry Bomb’ Cherry 24-5-2 (12), has emerged more quietly, winning minor lightweight titles such as the WBC CABOFE (Caribbean Boxing Federation), NABA and NABF. Edner is a staple on ESPN Friday Night Fights, even winning the ESPN Friday Night Fights Fighter of the Year award in 2006, over nominees such as Delvin Rodriguez, Sergio Mora and Anthony Peterson. In his latest fight in May, Edner scored a tenth round KO of former WBC lightweight champion Stevie Johnston. The problem that Edner seems to have is the lack of top opponents willing to risk taking a fight against him. Edner recently expressed his frustration in a press release saying, "it is time for these guys to step up!"
I have interviewed Edner twice on my radio show Fightin’ Words, and have spoken to him numerous times off the air and off the record. I can tell you that Edner is one of the nicest people you want to meet in the world of boxing, a good family man and very spiritual, so I can sense the deep frustration Edner is feeling in his voice. Doghouse Boxing recently sat down with Edner and got his thoughts on the recent boxing scene as well as other aspects of the business.
Bob Carroll: Edner, first let me ask you how your wife and children are doing.
Edner Cherry: My wife and kids are doing great. They are keeping me going, especially my daughter who is disabled. They really keep me going. It’s a blessing to be a parent, and when you have a child with a disability you have to take care of her all of the time. I love my wife and kids, they keep me going. My wife is always working, taking care of her and my other kids. She keeps me going. I love my wife and children and everything they do for me.
BC: You recently released a general statement to the press regarding the lack of top flight opponents willing to risk fighting you. What prompted this release?
EC: You want a better, bigger fight and have these guys saying they are the best. You look at their records at say 27-0. These guys have not been tested. They are looking for a big fight and they want to get the big fights, but are not willing to be tested. Right now they could put me in with anybody and I can handle it. You have Nate Campbell and Manny Pacquiao getting big fights, I’m here saying I’ll fight any of you.
BC: You named several fighters in this statement. Is there one fighter in specific that this is targeting?
EC: It does not matter right now. Nate has the title and everyone is trying to get a fight with him. He is the one I want. I want the title, so why go around it. Nate is the guy. We can be friends before the fight and we will be after the bell rings, but during the fight, he has the belts I want, so I will try to take it.
BC: If you had your pick of the fighters you named, which one would suit your fighting style the best?
EC: I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao and Nate Campbell right now. Joel Casamayor is another guy I’d love to fight. Nate and Joel do not have much time left in their careers. Nate won the belts late in his career and will not hold it much longer. He and I would make a great fight.
BC: In 2007, you went against Paulie Malignaggi, dropping a unanimous decision to him. He went on to win the IBF light welterweight title in his next bout. What do you think went wrong for you against Malignaggi?
EC: For some reason in that fight, I just couldn’t get off. I couldn’t get a sweat going. He was running and I had to keep starting over in my game plan. He wouldn’t stand and fight with me. He hit and moved, which was his plan to fight me, and he stuck to it. Now he has a title and I take my hat off to him for winning that title and defending it a couple of times. I really wish him the best with his career. I learned a lot from that fight. I learned to pressure guys more during fights.
BC: Would a rematch with Malignaggi be of any interest with you?
EC: I have no idea. People ask me about a rematch with him, but I don’t know if it would be something in the works. When I fought him, I moved up in weight. I’m naturally at 135 and he is a natural 140. I would move up if it was for a belt and the pay was right. If I rematched him, he would be running around again and I’d have to go to him and put the pressure on him.
BC: Also in 2007, you fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. protégé, Wes Ferguson twice, both ending in victories. Did you feel any interest start to build at that point?
EC: Yes and no. Some attention was given, especially after the first win, with him being a protégé of Floyd Mayweather Jr. I think his people thought if they fought me a second time, they could beat me. Edner Cherry never fights the same way twice. When I fought him the second time, in his hometown, on pay-per-view and knocked him out, people were saying “Wow, who is this guy beating Wes Ferguson, not only once, but knocking him out the second fight!” I learned to walk these guys down until they tire out, then knock them out.
BC: In your most recent fight you scored a tenth round KO of Stevie Johnston in May. Have you had any offers come your way since that win?
EC: Not really. People are just working on things. I’m staying in the gym and training so when they tell me “This is the guy who you are fighting”, I will be ready. I am preparing myself the best I can so when the fight is here, I can be in the best possible shape.
BC: I spoke earlier in the article about your spirituality. How big a part of your life does spirituality play?
EC: I always put God first in everything I do. He is the one who provides everything I need. Everywhere I go and everything I do, God is there for me. I make mistakes but I ask god for his guidance to help me correct the mistakes. People do not want to be around negative people. I want to show people love and respect everywhere I go so that they will look at Edner Cherry and say that I’m a nice guy. I want to continue to give God praise for everything he has provided for me. I will continue to praise God, win or lose, after a fight. He has given me the opportunity to be a boxer, and he needs thanks for giving me that gift.
BC: Do you find yourself ever asking the Lord for guidance before or during a fight?
EC: Yes, absolutely. In life, you never ask Christ for victory, but ask for his guidance. He always has a plan and if you ask him for a victory that may not be what he had planned for you. I ask him for guidance and to protect both myself and my opponent from harm. When I fought Wes Ferguson, I talked to a friend of mine who said, “Do not ask Christ for a victory. He will provide you with what you need, and His will will be done. However this fight goes, God’s will will be done.” In life, we as humans want everything now. If it is God’s will, it will be done.
BC: When you sign your autograph for people, you also include a bible verse. At a recent event you and I attended for Nancy Evans and Warriors 4 Christ, I witnessed you speak to two youngsters about the meaning behind that verse to them. How important do you feel it is to your youth to be involved with God and the bible?
EC: It’s very important, especially when I sign an autograph for them and write ‘Psalm 23' underneath the signature. They may not understand what it is, but they will go home and ask their parents about it, or even look it up themselves and read the verse. If they look it up and read it, they will understand the message I am trying to give to them about Christ. I write this Psalm in every autograph I sign so I can help people in their lives. I hope they will keep that autograph and when they pull it out again, they will see what I wrote, look it up in the bible and read it. They may not understand what it means when they read it, but reading over, they will understand the message that Christ has for them. Every time they read it, they will remember Edner Cherry and say “I can see why he wrote this with his autograph”, and they can grow stronger with Christ.
BC: Years from now, when boxing is over for you and you’ve retired, what do you want people to remember about Edner Cherry ?
EC: I want people to remember that Edner Cherry was a great boxer, a good person, always took time to sign autographs and especially that I took time out to speak to children. I want to be a boxer who people will think back on and say “Edner always talked to me, not just gave me an autograph, then walked away. He spent the time to talk with me.” I want to leave a legacy that people feel is positive. God blessed me to be able to make money and be successful. I know where I came from and I want to make sure I never forget. I don’t let the fact that I may be a celebrity or that I am on TV, get to my head. I love to work and talk to kids. Anytime someone approaches me and says, “I have something for you to do with a children’s’ group”, I will be there. After all is said and done I want people to be able to say “Edner was a great boxer and person, and now we miss him in this sport.”
BC: Do you have any final words you would like to say to your fans and the readers of Doghouse Boxing?
EC: Oh, my fans. I really want to thank my fans, locally and world wide, for everything they have done for me, I would be nothing without them. My fans push me to always be my best, in and out of the ring. I want to thank my wife and children, without their love and support, I couldn’t be the fighter or man I am today. I want to thank Starfight Productions, my trainer Pete Fernandez and his helper Joe Ponce for all they do for me and my family. I want to tell all of the readers that they can do anything they want, as long as they put Christ first and work hard. Believe he is in your heart and believe in yourself. If you believe in Christ, you can do anything.
Writer’s note: Every time I have met Edner at an event, he has spent a lot of time talking with my wife and daughter. Edner takes a special amount of time to speak with my daughter, making sure he impresses the importance of school and being a good person. This has made a deep positive impression on me about the type of good person that is Edner Cherry.
I’d like to thank Edner Cherry for taking time out of his day to speak to me. Stay tuned to Fightin’ Words Radio Show for updates on Edner Cherry and the rest of the world of boxing. You can listen to Bob Carroll and his co-hosts Butch and Benny Henderson Jr, Wednesday nights, 6-7pm eastern standard on http://1490wwpr.com.
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