Interview with Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy
Interview by Ed Ludwig (November 5, 2004) 
Jeff 'Left Hook' Lacy
On December 4th from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, the new IBF Super Middleweight champion Jeff Lacy (17-0 14 KO’s) and the first 2000 American Olympian to win a world title will step into the ring and square off against former title challenger Omar Sheika (26-6 17 KO’s). Lacy is coming off and impressive eighth round TKO over veteran Syd Vanderpool this past October. The native of Florida is looking to keep busy against top flight competition and at the same time be paid accordingly. Many boxing fans had questions about the new champion, wondering if he could step up to the next level prior to the Vanderpool bout and he did just that! To Lacy’s credit he has faced fighters who were there just to survive and not fight. In his title winning effort he defeated a true ring warrior. Omar Sheika presents a different challenge yet Lacy is very confident and not over confident. Lacy is looking forward to starting off the Christmas season with a real bang and then carry it over well into the new-year and beyond. Make sure to tune in on December 4th as this great fight card also featuring Jose Luis Castillo vs. Joel Casamayor will be broadcast live on Showtime. I would like to thank Jeff Lacy for taking the time to speak with Doghouse Boxing and thanks to the readers who submitted questions for the champ.

Ed Ludwig: First off, I want to congratulate you on your very impressive victory against Syd Vanderpool.

Jeff Lacy: Thank you. It was a good fight.

EL: Did the fight go as expected for you or were you surprised at all?

JL: I wasn’t surprised because I am a puncher and you can never count a puncher out because anything could happen at any moment. Being a puncher I wasn’t surprised that I stopped him.

EL: Do you feel you fought to the level that was expected of you as some people in the industry have said you fight to the level of your opponents?

JL: The difference with the last fight from Richard Grant and stuff is that Syd came to fight and he brought out the best in me. It’s hard to fight when someone doesn’t want to fight you. I had guys run away from me throughout a fight and Vanderpool didn’t run from me. It’s kind of different too when you are fighting someone for a world title and someone who is there just to fight and survive. I really have to take my hat off to Vanderpool because he came to do what he was supposed to do and he came to fight and not talk trash.

EL: I have some questions for you from our DHB readers. The first is from Chris who hails from Louisiana and he was wondering if you plan to challenge Joe Calzaghe and eventually move up to Light Heavyweight?

JL: I am looking to fight Joe Calzaghe when the money is right. I’d fight him right now if the money was right. That is a fight I am looking to have in the near future. As for moving up to Light Heavyweight I do see that in the near future but first I want to fight the champions or champion at 160 and right now that is Bernard Hopkins. Maybe we could fight at a catch weight.

EL: A question from DHB reader Jeff, he asks if you would ever want to challenge Jermain Taylor?

JL: Both Hopkins and Taylor are money fights and boxing fans want to see these fights. Jeff is asking about what people want to see and boxing needs these fights.

EL: Joey from Kentucky was wondering what weight class you see yourself in for the majority of your career?

JL: I would say I would fill out as a Light Heavyweight and fight there.

EL: Why did Vitali Tsypko opt out of a rematch with you and choose to fight someone else in Europe?

JL: I was wondering the same thing. Backing out of a world title fight makes no sense to me and I just don’t understand. His handlers were smart in stopping the fight when they did when we fought. Maybe his handlers want to keep his undefeated record intact and maybe win a world title and then challenge me for more money.

EL: Your next fight is against a very tough and rugged Omar Sheika. What are your thoughts about him?

JL: I really feel like this is a fight that the fans will like and rekindle the talk about boxing and I think it’s going to be a real treat for fans. There will be a lot of fire works and it could be fought in a phone booth.

EL: The next question comes from Coyote in Illinois and he wanted to know with so many people asking you about moving up in weight would you fight the best in your division now and attract new names to 168?

JL: That’s what we are trying to do. When you become a world champion you have a name and there is not a lot in this weight class right now so for me to fight Joe Calzaghe for example it comes back to money. I have wanted to fight him for a long time, well before I was champion.

EL: Rick from Delaware asks the following, “What does Jeff attribute his sharpness in his last fight? I thought he looked a little flat against Vitali Tsypko and Richard Grant but he turned into a human windmill against Syd Vanderpool.”

JL: Like I was saying earlier, it’s tough when you have fighters who don’t want to fight and you can’t work on what you worked on in the gym because you don’t all of a sudden expect someone to stop fighting and run but when you have a competitive guy in front of you then that is when your mind comes into play and you rise to the next level. That is when you know a great fighter, when he thinks in the ring. That’s the difference you saw in the Richard Grant and Ross Thompson fights. They were two guys who didn’t want to fight me and Vanderpool did.

EL: Have you been following the powerful Aussie, Danny Green?

JL: I haven’t seen Danny Green fight. Joe Calzaghe is the name and not many people know about Green right now.

EL: A DHB reader asks about William Joppy claiming he ran you out of the ring with a beating awhile back. What is your side of the story?

JL: I did answer this before and I will tell you now, it was all a lie. He should be thinking about Jermain Taylor and not me and for him to say what he said made me very angry and I spoke about it the next day.

EL: DHB reader Jeff was wondering which type of boxer presents the biggest challenge for you stylistically, a slugger, traditional boxer or a boxer - puncher?

JL: I would have to say just a boxer with no punching power who does not want to fight.

EL: Any chance of a possible rematch between you and Syd Vanderpool down the road?

JL: I broke Syd down but I would give him another chance if the money is right and I will not duck him. In that Vanderpool fight and this is the god’s honest truth, he did not hurt me, not once. He hit me but not where it really caught my attention. He did move me with some of his shots as he moved forward and I’m telling you straight up if anyone hurt me I would give him full credit. I was in tremendous shape and I was not going to lose. Syd had the experience and I thought to myself that I am going to take my time and not rush myself like I did in the amateurs. The southpaw style made no difference either as I have sparred with one of the best in Winky Wright. He is a great southpaw and I have no problems fighting them.

EL: A little off topic, will you be part of EA Sports Fight Night 2005?

JL: Yes, I just did a photo shoot in Los Angeles a few weeks ago.

EL: Jumping ahead to 2005, if everything falls into place how often would you like to fight next year?

JL: The last fight I had really cleared any cobwebs

I may have had plus I haven’t really gone a lot of rounds so I would like to stay busy and fight at least three or four times next year.

EL: It’s a dream of every fighter to be a world champion and more so an undisputed champion. Do you feel like sometimes it’s not worth thinking about because each sanctioning body has their own number one contender and you can’t please everybody?

JL: It’s all about being labeled undisputed. The rules should change and have some kind of clause in it. Winky Wright was unfairly stripped of one of his titles because he wouldn’t defend against Kassim Ouma but Winky had the rematch clause with Shane Mosley.

EL: What do you feel is in the future for Roy Jones Jr.?

JL: Roy does not need boxing anymore. He has made a lot of money and accomplished a lot and I’m sure he doesn’t care what I think but maybe it is time for him to go. Recovering from a knockout is really tough and Roy has suffered two in a row plus he will always have that in the back of his mind when and if he returns.

EL: Any comments for your fans?

JL: This is going to be a great fight with Sheika and it will be the fight of the night. There will be a lot of fireworks and I doubt it will go the distance but if it does it will still be a great fight.

EL: Thank you very much for your time and all the best on December 4th.

JL: Thanks Ed!
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