Interview with Vince Phillips: Looking for Another Shot at Glory
INTERVIEW by Tom Dickey (October 13, 2005)
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Vince Phillips
At 42 years of age, Vince Phillips just keeps on trekking along in his Boxing career, fighting whoever will challenge him. The former IBF junior welterweight champion is still fighting, and hoping for that one last big payday or title shot.

Phillips is a guy who gets forgotten about a lot. He has been in the ring with just about everybody, including Ricky Hatton, Ray Oliveira, Vernon Forrest, Freddie Pendleton, Micky Ward, Ike Quartey, and most notably Kostya Tszyu. Phillips may be best known for pulling off the upset of the year in 1997, when he knocked out Kostya Tszyu to capture the IBF junior welterweight title. It was the first loss for the legendary Tszyu. Phillips would defend the belt three times before losing to Terron Millett.

He continues pushing along, playing the spoiler role. In his last fight he went to Mexico and upset Mauro Lucero in front of his home crowd. He also holds a win over Nick Acevedo, who at the time was an undefeated prospect. On October 14th, Phillips will try to play spoiler again when he takes on Brazilian Kelson Pinto in Ontario, California. Phillips has been in Puerto Rico, and had been sparring with Miguel Cotto. He's ready for an upset on the 14th. Phillips took some time to talk to us at a recent press conference, and here's what he had to say:

QUESTION: You have been on a good streak of late having won four in a row, do you feel you're getting close to the top again?

Yeah, this will be the real test right here, fighting Kelson Pinto. He's 22-1 with 20 KOs, but I haven't really seen him ranked by the sanctioning bodies, but he fought Miguel Cotto who is considered one of the top 140 pounders, and is the WBO champ. I'm hoping this fight will give me the opportunity to get back in the limelight, and prove to everybody that I'm back.

QUESTION: You've been playing the spoiler role recently, and many consider you the underdog in this fight, do you like being the underdog?

Yeah, because I've been pretty much the underdog my whole life, and most do consider me the underdog in this fight. I don't actually like being the underdog, but I don't care and it doesn't bother me. If they feel that I'm too old and I don't have what I used to have, then I don't care, I'm used to hearing things like that and I've been overcoming it through my whole career. I just got to go out there and show everybody that I still have it.

QUESTION: What do you hope to gain from this fight?

The WBC continental title, and I'm hoping that after this fight I can get a good fight. I asked Shane Mosley for a fight and he said NO. I asked Cory Spinks for a fight and he said NO. I asked Zab Judah and he said he would fight. I even asked Winky Wright, I'm just trying to get a fight. I asked De La Hoya, and he said it's not a marquee fight. I'm just trying to get a fight. So, right now I'm just focused on winning this fight. After that I'll sit down with my handlers, and hopefully find a good promoter and get some good money fights.

QUESTION: You have fought both Ricky Hatton and Kostya Tszyu, were you surprised with the outcome when they fought?

Yes, I was very surprised. Hatton had not fought many guys who could punch like Tszyu, and I didn't give him much of a chance. Kostya Tszyu is the hardest hitting guy that I've ever fought, and I was surprised that Ricky Hatton was able to dethrone Tszyu the way he did. I think the pressure really caught Kostya, and he wasn't able to handle it. I call Ricky a young Rocky Marciano, he's like the Energizer bunny. He was able to stay on top of him, throw his punches, and make him submit and I give him all the respect for being able to do that.

QUESTION: If you threw all the politics out of the way and could fight one guy, who would it be?

I'd fight Oscar. After I beat Kostya Tszyu, Bob Arum told me that I would get a shot at Oscar. Instead I never got Oscar, or Kostya in a rematch. I say Oscar but that's such a long shot, so I'd love to fight Tszyu again.

QUESTION: I have a feeling I know what you're going to say here, but what fight do you consider your defining fight?

It's gotta be Kostya, because that put a world title belt around my waist.

QUESTION: At 42 years of age what keeps you going in your Boxing career?

The grace of God, I know he has something planned for me. I know there's one more shot for me out there. I want to put an exclamation point on my career, and go into the Hall of Fame.

QUESTION: If you could change one thing about Boxing, inside or outside or the ring, what would it be?

I'd like to see fighters quit ducking fights. Have fighters fighting each other that deserve to fight each other. Give fighters that deserve big fights what they have earned. Just because so and so is not as marketable as others may be, doesn't mean he should have trouble getting fights. If a guy is tough enough to earn a shot, then he should get a shot. I'll fight anybody, I don't care if he's a marquee fighter or not. If he deserves the shot, then I would give him the shot. If he's in position, I would give him a shot.

"Cool" Vince Phillips will be in action on Thursday, October 13th, at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, California.
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