Undefeated cruiserweight contender Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham 18-0 (9) wants his due, he wants the winner out of O’Neil Bell and Jean Marc Mormeck and most of all he wants the title. But before he can face the victor and get his hands on a strap the Philly fighter has to slap down the fight savvy Jamaican Lloyd Bryan to keep his harmonious march intact.
Steve 'USS' Cunningham
The twenty-nine year old has ripped through the ranks defeating all in his pathway in his pursuit of greatness, and with his classic slick style Cunningham has disrupted other combatants road to the high ranks earning W after W on his climb to the top.
The former amateur stand out began his journey in 2000, ruining the debut of Norman Jones via four round split decision victory. The smooth pugilist can prove to be a heavy hitter as well with five stoppages coming in the opening round and has stepped up and handed out losses to former world champion Sebastian Rothmann, powerhouse Panamanian Guillermo Jones and most recently Tyson-twin Kelvin Davis last August.
With his accomplishments the much-needed prize is at hand and with a win over Lloyd Bryan January 7th at Madison Square Garden Cunningham should get a crack at the winner of the cruiserweight clash between Bell and Mormeck which will serve as the main event on Showtime. Will Steve reach his goals and in the process get his due? Stay tuned because the war ship is ready to fire off.
Cunningham took the time out to speak to the Doghouse and gave his thoughts on his upcoming match-up as well as his thoughts on Bell and Mormeck, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: First of Steve I just want to say thanks for taking the time out to speak to the Doghouse, how has training camp been?
Steve Cunningham: Training camp has been good we have been sparring with two guys from Cleveland who came out to the King camp. I have gotten some great work and it has just been some good training.
BH: You are scheduled to fight Lloyd Bryan the seventh of January at Madison Square Garden, what are your thoughts on this match up, I know it isn’t particularly the fight you wanted.
SC: Yeah of course we were supposed to fight O’Neil Bell this month for the IBF title but he chose to fight Mormeck so we decided to go in and fight Lloyd and basically do what we do. I am not looking at Bryan as an easy fight or anything because I look at every opponent as a world champion so I don’t get caught sleeping.
BH: Your last two victories have been against Guillermo Jones and Kelvin but to be honest instead of getting recognition you seem to still but under the radar a bit, in your opinion why is that?
SC: A lot of people I talk to that know the accomplishments that we have done this year and basically in my career in beating former world champions and beating Jones and Davis this year. It seems like we are in the shadows because number one we haven’t been in television, that is the main thing. No television exposure equals a limited fan base in a sense and we have been what we can to get the word out that USS Cunningham is serious and a force to look out to in the future but without television you can’t get that nation wide or worldwide fan base. A few of my fights like the Kelvin Davis fight has been aired overseas on Showtime as well as a couple more and I have gotten emails from guys from New Zealand and England and all over the world asking for pictures and just telling me what a good boxer I am, so that is pretty much worth it.
BH: What happen to your bout against O’Neil Bell? Weren’t you two in negotiations and didn’t you say he wanted to fight Mormeck?
SC: Yeah, it basically boils down to is unifying the titles and me personally if I was in his position I wouldn’t worry about the number one contender I would try to make history and unify the titles myself and that is why I am not making a fuss about that because that is part of the business. You have guys who have options and they take them, we even knew that after we beat Kelvin why would Bell take a chance at me right now when he can try to unify the titles. So I pray that the best man wins and I want the winner.
BH: What will it take to get the respect you deserve, I mean you are ranked within the top five of three sanctioning bodies but still no TV?
SC: From some other boxers I get respect of course because they know and they are there, I get it from my weight class and others outside of my weight class and in the gym as well they recognize me as one of the top fighters and soon to be champion. But outside of boxing like normal fans I don’t get recognized or that fan base you would think a guy would in my position and it kind of frustrated me for a bit but me just knowing that I don’t have the television and there that word is again television (laughs) because I don’t have that TV that is basically what is slowing me down. It cuts out the fanfare but I have faith in God and know that everything works in his plan and all I have to do is be patient and I am going to have everything that I deserve or I am supposed to have and possibly even more.
BH: What about Lloyd, he had an eight fight losing streak but recently upset undefeated Jeff Baker?
SC: I never heard of Jeff Baker but I am hoping that he is looking to upset me because that will mean it will be a good fight, I am looking to go in there and come out at 19-0 after the fight so I don’t care who he upset, he hasn’t fought me yet.
BH: I know that you aren’t overlooking your opponent and we know what you want, but whom do you want, I guess I am asking for your prediction?
SC: Whom do I want; first off I want the best I want to fight the best. Whoever the public says is the best fighter out there with the titles that I am in line to get I want that guy. If O’Neil Bell wins I want Bell and if Mormeck wins I want Mormeck. I am just going to fight and then sit down with my family and view the main event between Mormeck and Bell and I am just going to enjoy an exciting night because both of those guys can punch and both are unique in their styles, it is going to be an awesome fight.
BH: I will say myself that Mormeck takes it.
SC: This is the thing, you have O’Neil Bell who can punch, he is a powerful puncher and then you have Mormeck who is a powerful puncher. So it boils down to who catches whom first, who deviates from the game plan before the other one. Like I said we are in for an exciting night because both of those guys can fight.
BH: How would you define the cruiserweight division?
SC: It is probably one of the top three weight classes in boxing right now, a few guys I have talked to say that it is one of the most exciting weight classes in boxing right now. We have a lot of talented colorful fighters that have skill and the cruiserweight division isn’t just overblown light heavyweights, we are legitimate fighters and skillful guys. Our problem is the networks, here we go again that word television (laughs) we don’t get televised bouts like we should, but it is coming and things are going to happen.
BH: Is there anything you want to add or say in closing of this interview?
SC: Just for the fans who listen to me and who believe in prayer, when you hear a fight card about to go on prayer that every fighter has prepared himself properly so that he may perform properly and defend himself properly and that everyone walks out of that ring the way they came in on their own. Recently we have Leavander Johnson pass away and sometimes this sport can mean death and injury, it can harm your family with people seeing Daddy coming home stuttering or whatever. So just pray for every match that you attend, see or hear about that everybody stays safe and protected. We can all enjoy ourselves win or lose.
I would like to thank Steve Cunningham for his time and thoughts, as always it is greatly appreciated. Steve is on team Fighters of Faith and you can find out more on the undefeated one by visiting his website: www.usscunningham.com.
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