"I think it changed when the Olympic committee tried to take it away from us; when they put that white circle on the front of the gloves and you have to hit with that to make contact for it to count as points, you know? All that has something to do with it, man. I don't know, it's just a different breed of fighters now, and I think back in the day, there was a better breed of people that enjoyed the fights. Not very many enjoy them now. They are good with the little guys, but everyone knows that the Heavyweights are where it's at and the Heavyweight division right now in the United States is not looking good. I don't know what changed, man. It's like a new era in boxing. I just don't know what's wrong," stated former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer, who shared his thoughts on the current state of boxing, the chances of the US Olympic boxing teams to bring home gold, and much more. Check it out!
NS: How you been doin', Ray? What have you been up to?
RM: I've been doin' great, man, basically just making appearances as a part of the organization. It's a non- profit organization. You donate money and it's to help the kids; not only the kids, its grown-ups, young people, in whatever they want to do, whether it be schooling or mixed martial arts or boxing. We got gyms going, you know, and everything.
NS: what is the name of the organization, Ray?
RM: Find a Dream. You can go to findadream.org. It'll tell you everything about it, man. We got all kinds of kids doing all kinds of things, man. It's just giving back, that's all.
NS: That's awesome, man. We all definitely need to give back
RM: All donations are tax free, man. You don't have to pay taxes on that. We're just trying to give back to the kids, man.
NS: I've been dying to ask you about a particular fight in your career, back in 96, the Lennox Lewis fight. Man, my buddies and I were watching that live. We all thought , matter of fact, we were convinced, you were gonna get the decision from the judges. What were you feeling when you heard the decision go to Lewis and what were the judges watching?
RM: I don't know, man. I was just hurt because, I mean, we were in my own backyard. You know, he represented his country in the Olympics and I represented mine the same year. We both won Gold medals. He came to the United States to fight and, you know, it was a good fight. I feel like I whooped that ass and everybody else thought so also. You know, for them to be here and me to lose a fight like that, man, I was devastated. I couldn't believe it. I was just hurtin' for the country. I mean, here we are in this country, everybody screaming "USA! USA!" and all that, and he had a little handful of people, and we in New York, man. I mean, I don't know.
NS: Yeah, we were all upset by that decision. Talking about the Olympics, you were in one of the last Olympic classes that had multiple medalists in boxing. You had Michael Carbajal, Kennedy Mckinney, Romallis Ellis, Kenneth Gould, Roy Jones Jr., Andrew Maynard , Riddick Bowe and yourself. What do you think has happened to our boxing programs that we are not producing as many top notch Olympic boxers?
RM: I don't know. We were in one of the last groups to come out that gave a shit about real boxing. I don't know what they are doing nowadays. They are on vitamins, lifting a ton of weights. You know, boxing now, they're not stronger; at the end of the day, they just changed. I think it changed when the Olympic committee tried to take it away from us; when they put that white circle on the front of the gloves and you have to hit with that to make contact for it to count as points, you know? All that has something to do with it, man. I don't know, it's just a different breed of fighters now, and I think back in the day, there was a better breed of people that enjoyed the fights. Not very many enjoy them now. They are good with the little guys, but everyone knows that the Heavyweights are where it's at and the Heavyweight division right now in the United States is not looking good. I don't know what changed, man. It's like a new era in boxing. I just don't know what's wrong.
NS: Do you keep in contact with any of your old Olympic boxing teammates?
RM: Oh yeah, I talk to Michael Carbajal , Andrew Maynard , Roy [Jones Jr.]. I talked to Riddick Bowe about 3 weeks ago; we all keep in touch.
NS: I live in Phoenix and I have run into Carbajal at some local establishments. He's a good guy
RM: Yeah, Michael Carbajal , I talk to him all the time.
NS: Getting back to the Heavyweight Division, does it shock you that the Klitschko brothers have been dominating that division basically over the last decade?
RM: No, not really. They got probably the best trainer in the world in Emanuel Steward. Sometimes, you feel with Emanuel Steward, if he is in your corner, you're gonna win. I feel like he's that type of trainer that he brings that to the table. I mean, he's an automatic in your mind - I'm gonna win because he knows what he's talking about kind of thing, yeah , cause he really do. He can make a fight a whole lot easier for ya. That's why every time he trains somebody, they become champion. I just haven't been fortunate enough to have him as my trainer. But I had a good trainer in Mr. Tommy Parks, but you know he passed away, and he was also Bobby Czyz's trainer.
NS: I asked you earlier about your Olympic teammates, but what about your Triple Threat teammates - Al "Ice" Cole and Charles Murray? How much have you kept in contact with those guys?
RM: Of course, I talked to Charles about 2 months ago. He's up in Rochester , New York. He's training guys, he has a couple good guys, and Al Cole, he is just making appearances, man, and you know, just being Al. I talk to him all the time. I see him too. I seen him within the last couple of months.
NS: I was a huge fan of the Triple Threat. I used to love watching you guys fight.
RM: Yeah, thank you.
NS: Who in your boxing days hit the hardest?
RM: Hmmm, Tommy Morrison was hittin' hard back in them days. Bert Cooper, all them guys, they hit hard, man.
NS: What do you miss the most about fighting?
RM: Hmm, the checks. I gotta make checks in other ways other than boxing
NS: In your boxing career, is there anything you would've done differently? I know after the Morrison fight, you relinquished your title. Is that something you would do different ; not give up that title?
RM: I would have fought Michael Moorer. I would've kept my title. That is one thing I would do different is take that fight with Moorer, but we were going through management changes. This manager wants you to do this, he's taking over, and you know, I think I was the victim of a management argument or a transaction. But I definitely should've fought Michael Moorer and kept my title.
NS: Yeah, I remember that was the Heavyweight fight that everyone wanted to see back then, other than Tyson vs. Holyfield.
RM: Yeah, it was.
NS: You know Ray, we see issues in boxing nowadays, like the Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. situation; everyone wants to see that fight, but it seems there is a "he said, he said" struggle with the promoters on why the fight is not happening. Why do you think fights like that are so hard to make nowadays?
RM: I have no idea man, but money, 9 times out of 10, it's money. It's a money issue. That's the only thing I can tell you. Both of them are tough fighters; nobody is scared of each other. It's just a money issue. That's the only thing I can tell you.
NS: Do you think certain promoters have too much power or maybe just too many promoters out there?
RM: Um, yeah, I think the promoters definitely have a lot of power, but they are the ones that make the fights. They're gonna have the power; you just gotta hope you get the right one.
NS: You had a pretty smooth career from Olympics to Pro. Who was your management team when you were having the most success?
RM: Marc Roberts for the Triple Threat. He was my manager for most of my career, the earlier part of my career. We were successful. He was a decent guy, but there is a lot that I would do different.
NS: Since boxing, you took up a fight with former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia. You knocked him out in 9 seconds. What was that experience like? I remember that there was a big controversy prior to the match. It was supposed to be a boxing match, then it turned into a MMA match
RM: They said there was no commission to grant that Boxing/MMA, so they couldn't do it, so what we had to do is if I'm gonna take the fight and bring some money home, I had to do it MMA and I did. I got satisfaction out of it cause he was just talking so much trash, like because we were fighting in his sport, and I can understand that 'cause if it were a boxing match, I felt like there's no way he can beat me, so we were doing his thing and he thought that. So I went out there and one punch and I caught him. With one punch. I meant to throw it; I meant to hit him just like I hit him and that was it. I got satisfaction out of that, man. That was my last fight matter of fact.
NS: Yeah, that was awesome, man. I remember watching that fight the next day on YouTube and sitting there thinking, "Holy Crap! That was a vicious KO!" If I remember correctly, it was an overhand right?
RM: It was just a right hand. Really no name for it; just a straight right.
NS: I want to go back and talk some more Olympic boxing. With it having started over the weekend, are you gonna be watching or paying any attention to it? And do you think any of the guys and/or girls have a shot of being good pros?
RM: I think they do. It's the Olympic team, you know. This is gonna propel them into their professional career. How far they make it in these Olympics , this is gonna propel them in the professional ranks. You know this is real important, these Olympics, and I think we have a good team that can go in there and win some medals. I'm hopin' and prayin' that they do.
NS: I am too, as is the rest of the country. I think we have an opportunity to bring back the glory of Olympic boxing, this team does. I hope they all bring home some Gold for us like you guys did.
RM: Yeah, me too, man.
NS: Well Ray, I really thank you for the opportunity you gave me to sit down with you and talk some Sweet Science. Is there anything you would like to say in closing this interview? Anyone you want to thank or mention from findadream.org?
RM: Yeah, from Find a Dream , Rod Ricciardi, he's a great guy , loves kids. He put the thing here together. We all need just to help. W e know the economy is bad and all, but we still have to look out for our kids, man, and the young people and that's what we are doing. Like I said, you can go to findadream.org and get more information on it. All the money goes towards the kids, believe me. We are building a gym in Myrtle Beach pretty soon and we are gonna be holding some fights, all kinds of events: MMA, boxing matches, everything for kids. We're training them in the gym and all that!
NS: Other than yourself, will there be more professional fighters there that will be coaching?
RM: Yeah, there is Don Steele, he is out of South Carolina. I had the pleasure of fighting him in my career. He's there he was born and raised there. There's a couple of professional MMA fighters that are there. We've got all kinds of help, you know, for the kids.
NS: Well again, thank you very much Ray, and I will be more than happy to spread the word about your foundation/organization findadream.org and help get some donations in there.
RM: I appreciate that man.
[WRITER'S NOTE: Please visit findadream.org to get more information and to make a donation. Every little bit counts.]