Gladiator- glad-i-a-tor (noun) (1) a person, usually a professional combatant, trained to entertain the public by engaging in mortal combat with another person or wild animal as like in the ancient Roman arena (2) a person engaged in a controversy or debate, especially in public; a disputant (3) sports: a professional fighter.
'Merciless' Ray Mercer
And that is just what Ray Mercer is: a professional combatant trained to entertain the public by opening a can of Whoop Ass on his opponents. With a career record of 33-5-1 (25), the former 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist shows nothing but respect for others out of the ring, but in the ring he becomes 'Merciless'. In 1991 he was challenged for his WBO heavyweight title by then unbeaten Tommy 'The Duke' Morrison. In the fifth round he delivered one of the most brutal KO's in boxing history. Over his 15 year boxing career he has stepped in the ring with some of the best. A fearless fighter with an iron chin, Mercer has only been on the canvas three times in his career and two of the knockdowns came after the age of 40. On May 26 of this year the former WBO heavyweight champion announced his retirement from the world of boxing. He will always be remembered by the boxing world as a true Gladiator. The champ stopped by the Doghouse to talk about his career.
Benny Henderson: Well, how is retirement from boxing treating you?
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Ray Mercer: Retirement from boxing is treating me great, I don't have to deal with all the snakes anymore.
BH: Do you feel that you may ever return to the boxing ring again? And do you plan on continuing to compete in K-1?
RM: Yes, I do believe that I will compete in K-1 again. As you know K-1 is not boxing, K-1 is three 3 minute rounds of fighting. In K-1 you can use your fists elbows feet back hands, the only way that I can describe it is it's the WWE but for real.
BH: You had a controversial loss to Lennox Lewis in 1996. A lot of fans thought you won the fight. What do you think?
RM: I know that I won the fight, as a matter of fact Lewis stated to the press after the fight that he was going to send me half of his check LOL!!!! Lewis is a pussy, you can tell him I said it.
BH: Looking back on your 15 years as a boxer. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
RM: Winning and defending the WBO World title.
BH: You have fought some big punchers in your time and have taken some tremendous shots. Out of all the fighters you have faced which three would you say hit the hardest?
RM: Bert Cooper by far, whooooo, could he hit, Tommy hit pretty hard as well, there was a fighter that I fought his name was Leo Loiacono (a big Italian white boy) he hit real hard as well.
BH: Let's just say you could start your career all over again. What would you do different this time around?
RM: Have Vinny LaManna as my manager from the start. Vinny has been a friend and confidant of mine for 12 years, he has always gave me good advice in the boxing world. If any fighters are looking for management, be sure to find a guy like Vinny, he is the best.
BH: Since your vicious knock out of Tommy Morrison there has been some debate amongst the boxing fans. Some say you went to far, some say the ref should have stopped in sooner, some say you was doing what you are paid to do. What are your thoughts on the fight?
RM: I think after watching the fight on tape the reff should have stopped the fight after the eight or ninth punch, but remember I was only doing my job.
BH: Out of your 39 bouts, which one are you most proud of?
RM: I am most proud of my title defense with Morrison.
BH: Is there any fighter you didn't get to step in the ring with that you wish you could have fought?
RM: Bowe and Tyson, I would have loved to fight them in our prime.
BH: What advice would you give to a young fighter?
RM: My advice to a young fighter would be not to do this fight thing half hearted, the is a dangerous sport and is to be taken seriously.
BH: How do you want to be remembered by the boxing fans?
RM: I would like to be remembered as a gladiator, a man that would war with anyone but any one would not war with me.
BH: In closing, is there anything you would like to say to the closing fans?
RM: I would like to say to all my fans, thanks for the times that we had together, thanks for the memories that we have shared, and one last thing: without all the Mercer fans their would have been no 'Merciless' Ray Mercer. If any of my fans see me walking down the street, please stop me and say 'Ray I am a fan', this way I will know who my fans really are.
I would like to thank CL. Jones and Ray's manager Vinny LaManna of Bam Sports for setting up this interview for me. I would personally like to thank Ray Mercer for his time and kindness. Ray would like to mention that his career was for the fans and without his fans he would be nothing. And his time with manager Vinny LaManna is time well spent.
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