All aboard! If you are going to jump on the Steve Cunningham bandwagon here’s your chance because the ship has arrived. The slick Philly fighter has just earned his way to the number one spot in the World Boxing Council with his recent split decision victory over the fight veteran Guillermo Jones which was on the undercard of the exciting Wayne Braithwaite vs. Jean Marc Mormeck bout. That win now brings his career total to a whopping seventeen straight wins, no losses and nine knockouts, and he has just begun. The twenty-eight year old cruiserweight has made his mark on the division since he stepped in the professional ranks in 2000.
In his first two bouts as a professional Cunningham showcased his speed and ability to box to gain two wins by points but after his 2-0 start Steve decided to administer his power and stopped eight straight victims by knockout, including five in the first round, and four of those first round stoppages were all back to back. In May of ’04 Cunningham traveled to South Africa to defeat hometown hero Sebastian Rothmann in a ten round majority decision victory and in doing so won over the crowd with his skill and entertaining performance. In a division that isn’t as highlighted as the bigger fellows Cunningham looks to bring light to the division with his unrelenting work ethic and ability to put on a show for the fans. The boxer/puncher looks to continue his undefeated run in the near future and there is no doubt he will be champion. Steve stopped by the Doghouse to talk boxing and gave his thoughts on his career, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: Well my brother I just want to congratulate you on your recent victory over Guillermo Jones, you stepped up and answered the call didn’t you?
Steve Cunningham: Yeah that was a step up actually it was a step up and I underestimated him a bit in the beginning, I underestimated him on appearance. I quickly fine tuned after the second round. We had tapes on him but he was craftier than I thought, but that’s the good thing about being able to box, brawl and do everything if you can adjust in the ring.
BH: Just give us your thoughts on the victory and do you feel this win over a very notable fighter will finally get you some recognition?
SC: Hum, yeah, me personally though being my biggest critic, I think I could have did better. I think I could have done better but I did good enough. I just would have like to have done better, maybe a KO but I still feel good about the victory and I think it does say something about the ‘USS’ Cunningham that he’s coming and he isn’t playing and experience means nothing because I have sparred with some of the best. I am constantly in the gym so inexperience means nothing to stamina and determination.
BH: The new rankings are out and you are #1 in the WBC, #9 in the WBA, #8 in the IBF and the WBO, and #7 in Ring magazine; what an accomplishment, who do you want next?
SC: We would be cool with fighting for a title right now even Mormeck or the winner out of Bell versus Brown, Ritchie and me already sit down and talked and we would like at least another fight before that though, at the most two at the least one because there are still some things that we want to work on and perfect. We aren’t going to rush into anything, it will be there, and after another fight or two we will step up and start calling names. Even now I heard that Braithwaite is calling for me now because I got that number one ranking, but I’m like we don’t need him right now (Laughs).
BH: He should have answered the call before correct?
SC: Exactly, I have talked with some of his people and they are claiming that they didn’t hear about the October 2nd match but of course that’s a business part, his manager or his Mom probably didn’t even tell him, she probably shot that down from the beginning because it was a good business move. Like I said he is calling me out, he wants Steve Cunningham or he wants this guy Kelvin Davis or whoever. I’m like whatever, right now I’m in a position where we can choose who we want to fight to keep us going, we can choose the title or some other guy. Now we ain’t going to be choosing any bums of course I want to fight the top guys, that’s a blessing, that’s the one thing I said at the beginning of this year because that’s the only thing that legitimizes where you are in the rankings is who you fight who you beat. I’m looking for the competition to get even stiffer so we are back in the gym working even harder.
BH: What did you think of the Braithwaite-Mormeck bout?
SC: I thought it was great actually, if that wasn’t good for the cruiserweight division I don’t know what’s going to be good for it. My prediction came true because I personally sparred with Jean Mormeck last year in South Africa and I got a change to feel how much power he has and he has power, you’re not going to sit there with Mormeck and bang with him you know what I mean, knowing Braithwaite and the way he fought in the past and him being called ‘Big Truck’ and all he’s thinking he’s going to run Mormeck over with his power. At the weigh in when Mormeck came in at 198 lbs. and Braithwaite at 188 lbs. I new Mormeck was going to be stronger; so I went with Mormeck I thought it was going to be a knock out but Braithwaite has a good chin. I was an explosive fight.
BH: You have been in the professional ranks for just about five years know, what has been the biggest lesson you have learned fighting as a pro in these past few years?
SC: The biggest lesson fighting, as a pro totally has been getting better, continue to get better. Consistency and growth and your skill, you have to keep getting better because as you keep going on and God willing you keep winning the opposition gets better. You have to be on top of your game even more, once you become champ that’s when the real work starts. I work harder after every fight to be better in the next fight.
BH: For the ones who may not have seen you fight how would you describe your style?
SC: Ritchie calls me a boxer puncher I would like to be more of just a boxer but the good thing about me coming up in the amateurs being with my old trainer Anthony Chase he taught me back then how to box on the inside and not get hit and box on the outside and control the tempo of the fight. I go with what I am today and Ritchie says I am a boxer puncher because I choose to trade or I chose to box. Like my last fight with Jones his jab was hitting me more than mine hitting him in the beginning of the first few rounds so I had to adjust, now if I wasn’t able to switch up styles and aggressiveness and box and punch he probably would have been doing that all night, but, I thank God that I am willing to switch up and have different styles and different looks and different angles.
BH: Anything you want to say in closing?
SC: I would like to say what I have said before to the fans, boxing is a very hard sport in the ring and outside. The only guys who do it are the guys who love it so please just keep supporting boxing, keep looking out for the new guys and the prospects and just get behind your fighters. Thanks
I want to thank Aron Bloom for his help on setting up this interview and once again I want to give a big shout out Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham for his time, it was greatly appreciated.
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