|Josh Thomson: “I’ll take a win any way I can get it” - Part Two
Interview by Gabriel Montoya (Sept 16, 2008) DoghouseBoxing.com
This Saturday night live from the Playboy Mansion here in Los Angeles, CA, Strike Force Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson takes on Ashe Bowman in the first defense of his title.
In part two of this interview Thomson speaks about his prepartion for this fight, the stars of MMA, and what it means to be fighting at the legendary Playboy Mansion.
Gabriel Montoya: You talk about that hard road you travel. How quickly the trial by fire begins, do you think that is why in MMA, losses don’t seem to mean as much in your sport as it does in boxing?
Josh Thomson: It depends on where you're at when you it happens.
GM: That’s true.
JT: In my career, right now, a loss means a lot. Somebody just starting out, it doesn't pay to lose. Say for me, it would set my pay scale back 50 to 60 per fight. That’s a big jump for a lot of people. In boxing, you may not set your pay scale back that far. But that’s also their opportunity. That’s five pay per view shows airing for me vs. like the De La Hoya / Mayorga fight on TV. Get me on the undercard of one of their shows. That’s paid nickel and dime. That’s what the difference is.
You know, the big shows like Strike Force and the UFC and now Affliction, they air five good fights and each fighter is getting $100,000 or $200,000, some $400,000 and up and up. They are making a good living. Whereas when De La Hoya fights, he's the show. He makes all the money and the undercard guys make like $10,000. Hey, he knows he's the draw. He's a smart guy. Can't knock him for that.
GM: Yeah. The guy doesn't even win his fights anymore and he's still making $40 million. How can you argue with him? (Laughs)
GM: Let's get back to your fight. Ashe Bowman. What do you know about him? Break him down.
JT: You know, I really don’t know much about him. He's a grappler; I'm assuming he's a decent wrestler with some good grappling. A black belt in jiu-jitsu. I really don't ... I've fought a few black belts. Dave Camarillo. Jon Fitch. Bobby Southworth. So I trained with a lot of top guys that are good grapplers. I can't say he is better than them. I haven’t seen him work. But I don’t foresee him being better than them and I train with them every day. He might get me in something I wasn't expecting but to be honest, I highly doubt it.
GM: How's you training going?
JT: (Laughing) It went really well. Everything was good. There's injury or stuff like that. People that say they are 100% didn't train hard enough and will probably gas out halfway through the fight. I feel good. I feel healthy. I spent a lot of time traveling for this fight. Went down to L.A. to work with Rob McCullough a lot. I did some training up in Northern Idaho with Trevor Prangley and some of those guys. I did some traveling to try and experiment a little bit with my training. I figured with this fight I had a little bit of leeway with him without trying to underestimate him. Make sure I am in shape and pushing myself as far as possible but I wanted to see other places just in case something came up. If I ever had to go somewhere else to train, then I have someone there to rely on.
GM: Going into the Melendez fight, you were coming off have a shoulder surgically repaired. You were testing it out for the first time. Having successfully completed the test, do you feel over that mental hump?
JT: I think that there was a mental hump as far as the shoulder and the surgery, yeah. But I mean, people don’t realize that no matter what, it is always going to be there, that little mental note, " Is it going to pop out? Is it going to hurt? What’s going on?" You always think. And the shoulder is never going to be 100% with the range of motion. And the strength is going to take a lot longer than six months to get the strength back 100%. But I won the fight and I thought it went well. I just have to constantly stay on it. It's just like anything else. So...
GM: This is kind of weird question but... you've been on the big stage. You've done UFC. You're a Strike Force champion. But is there added pressure fighting at the Playboy Mansion? I mean... no one wants to get their ass kicked in front of a bunny, you know?
JT: (Laughs) Yeah, people say that. I laugh about it. Kind of snicker about it, to be honest. But to be honest, it doesn't really bother me. You gotta remember that it is still a fight. And you gotta remember that you are still going out there. And that guy across the ring still wants to kick your ass. It really doesn’t change a damn thing, to be honest. I focus on that guy across the ring from the moment I get in the cage. So that has to be the only focus. If it isn't, I might end up with that loss on my record.
GM: Just curious. I'd be extra nervous if I had to fight. I don't know.
JT: (Laughs) I fought there last year and so I think the nerves are probably gone. It was fine. I was happy with my performance last year and I don't see this year being any different. I just have to go out there and perform. That's the biggest thing: just go out there and perform.
GM: Do you think it's possible... everyone is looking for that super-athlete. Tiger Woods. Tyson. Do you think it's possible for a guy to be a big star in boxing and a big star in MMA? The guy that crosses over, in my opinion, would be that kind of star.
JT: I think right now, Brock Lesnar. He is someone that came from the WWE. He is a superstar in the WWE and he is coming over to the MMA. He had a great showing against Heath Herring, one of the top heavyweights. [Herring] beat some tough guys. He lost to some tough guys and he has fought all the best. Brock now is going to fight Randy Couture who is probably the best in the sport right now as far as heavyweight. [Lesnar] is bringing in that WWE crowd. And the WWE is bringing all their fans. You talk about the boxing aspect of it but I think the WWE fans are bigger and broader than the average boxing fans. I think they are more willing to convert over and watch one of their guys in the WWE really fight a real fight. Whereas boxing people are old and stubborn, stuck in their ways. Not wanting to convert. "Oh that sport is stupid." They come from the old school. And the new guys will come along and push them out. They don’t have to. They could co-exist and I think they can. Until you see the promoters leave each other alone, it will be like this for a while.
GM: I think that is the smart thing that MMA does is while they have different leagues, you are kind of aligned with each other on some level. There's a bunch of personalities arguing with each other in boxing. Its an added element that doesn’t' need to be there.
What are you're ultimate goals in fighting? Where is all this leading?
JT: My ultimate goal in fighting is to really increase my money (laughs). To be really honest with you. I've reached the goal of being a champ now and now it's just holding onto that title and keep making money. What other goals should I have right now, you know? To provide a life for yourself and take the least amount of damage as possible and keep sure of what I am doing. That’s what it comes down to do?
GM: Final prediction?
JT: Final prediction for my fight?
JT: A win. Any way I can get it. (Laughs). I don't like making predictions. I'm not saying I’m going to win but I feel pretty confident in this fight and I'll take a win any way I can get. If he's bouncing up and down before the fight and he sprains his ankle and can't fight, I'll take it. I really don't care. I don’t care if I edge him out in a three round war, as long as I get the win. That's all I care about.
GM: Well, alright man. It was great talking to you.
JT: Take care
Gabriel at: Coyotefeather@gmail.com .
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