"Bermane was very disciplined. We got 8 years in this thing and I told Bermane we are too close to mess up. I told him to be patient and go to the movies every day if he had to, but be patient, we gonna get there...since he went into the deep water and went 12 rounds and he really finished that fight, he let the whole world see this boy can fight. He got skills, he got speed, he got body work and movement and a jab, and ring generalship, and he knows how to tie guys up and push them off. He know how to get out of the way; he got it all," stated world-class trainer Don House, who talked about Bermane Stiverne's impressive victory over Chris Arreola, their future plans, and much more. Check it out!
PC: Congratulations on the big win with Bermane Stiverne.
DH: Man, thank you. Thank you. It took a minute to get there, but we got there. We did what we were supposed to do.
PC: What was the preparation like for the fight against Chris Arreola?
DH: Well, we been preparing for Chris Arreola when we got the first call back in June of 2012. The fight was supposed to be in August or September, and then it didn't happen in November or December, and then January and February, and then March (laughing). It's like, man, when are you guys gonna fight us. Now I understand where they coming from. They trying to get to the title like we are. And I understand why fight a guy like Bermane when we can try to bypass him. I think that's what they were working on trying to do. But Chris already been to the mountain top and he couldn't do it. He got a second chance to try and get there and to get there, he had to go through us. Like I told Chris Arreola, it was an honor to fight him. I knew that Chris was going to bring everything that Chris Arreola can bring. One thing about Chris, he gonna come, so I knew that we had to be in dog shape and we had to throw a thousand punches a round. That was basically our strategy and if you notice, his punch stats were very, very high.
PC: Was it hard keeping him motivated through all of the postponements and setbacks?
DH: We would keep him in the gym and then pull him out. He would take a week or two off; even when he took off, he would always train. He would never get out of shape because we know Chris. When Chris is out of the gym, he is going to screw up. Bermane was very disciplined. We got 8 years in this thing and I told Bermane we are too close to mess up. I told him to be patient and go to the movies every day if he had to, but be patient, we gonna get there. But I told him when we get there, we can't do another Ray Austin. We gotta shine. We fought Ray Austin in the eliminator and even though we knocked Ray out, we looked bad doing it. It wasn't sellable. Hey, it's not HBO's fault it's not sellable. He had a fever and was feeling bad going into the fight, but we are at the level where we can't pull out. We got to fight anybody and everything coming. We are in the car now. We got a seat. We not in the driver's seat, but at least we are in the car. We might be able to tell the driver turn left or turn right, and he might do it or he might not, but if we take care of that boy over there in Germany, we own the car (laughing).
PC: He dropped Chris in the 3rd round. I don't know what you said to him in between rounds because he dropped him with no time left in the round, but he didn't come out going nuts in the 4th round. What did you tell him?
DH: Well, I done been in this situation many of times and I done seen guys go out there a little bit more rambunctious man, when a guy hurt, that's when they dangerous. They are very dangerous when they hurt because they have nothing to lose now. I done hit the canvas, I got up, and now it's time to go for it. The thing fighters fear most is, I don't want to get knocked out and I don't want to get knocked down. So once you get knocked down in a fight, you have already survived one of your worst fears, so they get up and they get up mean. He had a whole minute to recover and sit down because, remember, it was right at the bell, so I told Bermane, "Take your time; we got him now. You have to remember, Chris is still a dangerous fighter." He is a fighter that you still want to take your time with and break him down slowly because that boy was still dangerous.
PC: You're right because I have seen Chris fight harder after being dropped or hurt, so he's definitely still a threat in those moments.
DH: You better believe it, man. Chris is a real soldier. To be honest with you, Chris is a lot better than his team. He carries his team. I would love to have a Chris Arreola. That boy got heart, balls, chin, and will. Boy, look if I give me Chris Arreola, shit. That's a tough dude, boy.
PC: That was a tough fight for both men. How soon would you like to see Bermane step in and face a Vitali Klitschko?
DH: We wanna give him about 5 months. It was a big fight for him; that will give him a chance to bask in the glory, sign some autographs, and hang out with fighters. We still gonna train though. He's running and we ain't stopping now because we just got started.
PC: I know some fighters who got swallowed up by the Las Vegas night life. Is it tough keeping Bermane focused or is he not that type of guy and it's not a problem at all?
DH: If a fighter gets swallowed up by Las Vegas, then he ain't no real fighter. If he gonna let the city lights screw him up, then he need to go find him a job. Bermane lives down there in Miami. I have been down to Miami and I put it this way, we had training camps on South Beach, you understand what I'm saying.
PC: Yeah, you have seen it all (laughing).
DH: Exactly. It don't bother us. That life gonna be there. That life ain't never going nowhere. You and I know if we go back to the club right now and look around, it's like, damn, it's the same people (laughing). I seen you 20 years ago in here. They be in the same club doing the same crap. He already know that, man, and he is a true boxer. And that was the good thing about this fight for him, trust me. I would have took a knockout, but I didn't really want a knockout too quick. Let's say Chris wouldn't have got up in the 3rd round. Alright, then its still questions about, "Alright, Bermane Stiverne is a strong fighter and strong puncher. Those first two rounds looked okay, but he really didn't show you anything." If he would have knocked him out in the 3rd round, it would have been like, "Well, he's a strong puncher." But since he went into the deep water and went 12 rounds and he really finished that fight, he let the whole world see this boy can fight. He got skills, he got speed, he got body work and movement and a jab, and ring generalship, and he knows how to tie guys up and push them off. He know how to get out of the way; he got it all.
PC: The fact that he was still throwing not only a lot of punches, but some heavy leather late in that fight and even taking some heavy leather being thrown back at him said a lot in my opinion.
DH: Yeah, he got caught and he got hit. He said, "That boy cracked me a couple of times," and I said, "Good, now you know that you can take it and you can dish it out." That's when you know you got a real soldier. It's easy to beat up on people all of the time, but you don't know it until you get cracked. Chris was bringing it and he is no quitter. That boy was getting off of the stool. I mean, he was slumped over on the stool and then all of a sudden, he would spring up and I'm like, what in the hell is this boy on.
PC: He was hurt very badly in that 3rd round and fought hard every moment after.
DH: He was a dead man walking, but somehow he came off of that stool and fought. And Bermane thought we could jump on him, but I said, "Nah, just keep doing what you doing; keep that jab in his face and break him down slowly." I wanted the world to see what this guy had. He even shocked Chris. Chris said, "Man, I didn't know this guy can box. I thought I was going to box circles around him." Nah brother; nah man, you ain't boxing circles around this guy. Bermane can box. He thought he was just a puncher. Nah man! He is a boxer-puncher.
PC: Do you believe that the heavyweight division is in bad shape or do you think that they have a ton of quality fights that can be made, they just have to make them?
DH: There is a lot of excitement in the heavyweight division. Everybody says, "Well, the belts are overseas." There is a lot of good fights right here in the United States that are quality fights that can be made. There are a lot of good heavyweights out there. These promoters and everybody waiting on Bermane to come up to the plate and everybody ride his coattail. It's like, go out there and promote these guys and get behind these guys, man. Look at Don King; this is 8 years in the making. Come on Don, you could have done better than this. Now, it's my fighter, my this and that, and I said, "Don, please." I pushed him out the way. Come on, man; this is 8 years. I saw the talent in Bermane back in 2005. All I asked you was to keep pushing him and pushing him and keep us fighting. And a year off here and 8 months off there and it's like, come on, man; we can't become world champion like this. But you know what? Bermane was patient and his day will come.
PC: Congrats again and I wish you guys the best of luck. Definitely keep me posted and we will talk soon. Is there anything else you want to add?
DH: I'm glad my guy was patient and it paid off and hopefully we are gonna get our shot and bring those titles back to the country where they belong and go from there. I'm excited. Jose Sulaiman and HBO said that was the best heavyweight fight they had seen in many years. I'm proud of the guy, and from a coaching standpoint, you know, we always want more, but I'm gonna let that go for a minute and take this for what it is. He did a great job. We are gonna get him back in the gym and sharpen him up a little bit more.