"This role gave me the opportunity to kind of spread my wings and play a darker character...we kind of pulled the curtain back a little bit and showed you what goes on behind the scenes when you're dealing with managers and the boxing world itself. Boxing is the Wild Wild West. There are no unions. They have boxing commissions, but as far as for the individual fighter, there is no basis on purses or how the money is distributed or regulated...you have to applaud a person like Floyd Mayweather and how he was able to handle the business side as well as be undefeated and take on all challengers and win and still keep his eye on the prize," stated Allen Maldonado, actor and co-star of the new TV One Original Movie, 'Ringside', which debuts this Sunday. Check out what else he had to say about the movie, his role, and much more.
PC: Allen, what's up my man?
AM: I'm doing excellent. How you doing, chief?
PC: Everything is great, man, thanks for asking. I'll get right into it, I watched the movie; really enjoyed it, man. Tell us a little bit about Spencer "Timber" Collier, who you play in 'Ringside.'
AM: Ah man, he's the champion of the world, baby! He's arrogant, cocky, and wealthy; everything you need from a champ (laughing).
PC: I have watched you play other roles and you didn't look this menacing, man. Where did this menacing character come from?
AM: (Laughing) Yeah, Spencer Collier is a maniac, man. He's a fighter, he's aggressive, and he's getting a little help (laughing) as far as getting his tenacity out. This role gave me the opportunity to kind of spread my wings and play a darker character. Most people forget in the early part of my career, I played more dramatic roles because I had long hair and I had braids; some people don't really recognize me from back then. But man, I had roles on "The Shield" and "Judging Amy," and all type of stuff like that. This kind of just got me back to what I did at the beginning of my career.
PC: When the call came through, was this something you had to think about or did you really want to be a part of this, and were you a boxing fan prior to this role?
AM: Yeah! As soon as I saw the breakdown for it, I called my team and I was like, "Look, I need to go in there for this and I need to get this." I've been a fan of boxing for a very long time and I've been boxing myself as far as training boxing for the last 3 ½ years. It's been a love of mine that really grew quickly. I box, I train, and I actually just got done training today. So when the opportunity came to act in it and it was boxing, that was the perfect combination. So when I got the call, we went and wrapped it up and we took it to another level.
PC: I think what you just touched on is why the appreciation for boxing movies has always been there because you guys are willing to do the work of a fighter to play out these characters and portray these roles.
AM: I think they are the most trained athletes in the world. Rarely in a competitive sport, aside from football, you're getting hit by an opponent as hard as they can hit you. They are trying to take your head off so to speak and you still have to be able to react and keep your stamina and your strategy and your mental stability intact while being hit by an extreme amount of force. So these athletes are strong-willed, strong physically, and strong-minded. So in order to portray that in a movie, I think you have to really dive into that world and really get in the ring. I often spar myself, even though they try and stop me (laughing). But I like to spar; I like to get in there and mix it up. The one thing is pads don't hit back. In order to get that real feel and the adrenaline rush of fighting, you gotta get in there and catch some blows and throw some blows.
PC: Everything you just said is tough enough to deal with being a fighter, but one thing that the movie touched on that is also a difficult part of the game is the business aspect of it and the scandal, groupies, and betrayal.
AM: You touched on it correctly. In this particular film, we kind of pulled the curtain back a little bit and showed you what goes on behind the scenes when you're dealing with managers and the boxing world itself. Boxing is the Wild Wild West. There are no unions. They have boxing commissions, but as far as for the individual fighter, there is no basis on purses or how the money is distributed or regulated. So a lot of times, boxers are so caught up, which they have to be because they have to be so focused and dialed in on their opponents, that sometimes their opponents become the business. And it's hard for some boxers to stand in both arenas. That's why you have to applaud a person like Floyd Mayweather and how he was able to handle the business side as well as be undefeated and take on all challengers and win and still keep his eye on the prize. I don't think people really appreciate him as an overall boxer and what he's done for the boxing business and how people can just follow his blueprint and succeed as well.
PC: Are there any fighters out there who you would like to meet?
AM: Wow man, definitely Floyd. I haven't had a chance to meet him in person. We met in passing a couple of times at different events, but never really got to meet him. I would love to just pick his brain as far as fighting and preparation and, again, the outside of the business aspect and how to be able to overcome all of the obstacles and putting together a fight that was worth over $300 million. That's big business and that's a lot of pressure for an individual and to execute it as great as he has, I would love to sit down and have a conversation with him.
PC: You ever get that itch when you're training to perhaps take a fight or attempt an amateur bout?
AM: Nah man, I have the utmost respect for these fighters. I mean, I love to spar and do all of those things. It's more of a respect thing, man; I'm not even going to play myself like that (laughing). I ain't gonna play myself like that. Again, what it takes to train and what it takes to get to that level as an amateur takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice, which I respectfully bow out of. I won't ever try to do any kind of fight.
PC: Were you enlightened in any kind of way on anything about the sport during the taping of this show or was it pretty much what you expected going in?
AM: I think it was pretty much what I expected, man. Where I do my boxing training at, shout out to Flash Boxing Gym, I train with pro fighters in there. We talk about a lot of different aspects in things in the gym and details that go into boxing and preparing for a fight and trying to even get a fight is tedious. It was more of what I expected.
PC: You have dealt with your own personal adversity and a lot of fighters come from adverse situations. You were hit by a drunk driver that nearly ruined your career. What were the keys to bouncing back for you?
AM: It's the thing of; I talk all the time about nothing is negative or positive, it's just how you see it. No matter what you go through, it's how you see it. You want to see it as negative, me being hit by a drunk driver, you want to see it as negative; my leg was broke, my face exploded basically. I almost lost my bottom lip and my spine was curved. What I take from that is my faith in God is unmatched. I'm totally fearless of anything or anyone. I know I'm here for a purpose, meaning that when it's my time to go, it's my time to go; it has nothing to do with anything or anyone. Just my value of every minute of every second of the day and knowing that you don't have forever and that moment of having everything taken away from you is enlightening. It all depends on how people want to see things. For me, it's all about perspective and seeing things in a positive way. Sometimes I win and sometimes I don't, but I never lose. Every day is a lesson learned and every day I wake up, I'm able to become better than I was yesterday. That's just my tidbit and the way I see things.
PC: When viewers watch 'Ringside' on TV One Sunday night at 7 pm, what would you like for them to take away from this movie?
AM: We are hoping to take this thing to a series, man. If everybody show up and show up for the premier, I think TV One is going to make that happen. It's one of those things if the people want it, then we are going to give it to them. So people have to show up. I think what people can take from this is another example of black excellence. This cast is predominantly black and it showcases a group of young talented individuals putting in hard work and entertaining the people with something of quality and in a different light; a positive light. Even through all of the adversity and anger and obstacles, these are just two athletes that are trying to compete at the highest level and sometimes you make some bad decisions within that, but overall, it's another example of black excellence.
PC: I know you guys are staying very busy. Do you have any other projects you have your hands on right now that we should know about?
AM: Oh yes, man, I have an app coming out January, 2017 called, "Everybody Digital." "Everybody Digital" is a short film app where we will be licensing short films from around the world. We will basically be the short film version of Netflix. We are going to have streaming of short films along with original content that will be released throughout the calendar year of 2017. So attention to all of the short film makers and short film media, if you want the opportunity to have your short film featured on the app, please visit us at www.everybodydigital.com. It's going to be transforming for the entertainment and movie genre and there is going to be a huge void for short films that we're going to fulfill. I have "Blackish" coming out, I have a show called "You're the Worst," I have "Survivor's Remorse" and I'm also a writer on the show as well. I have a movie coming out called "Where'$ the Money," with Mike Epps, Terry Crews, Kat Graham and a slew of other things. We are working with video games and cartoons. I got a lot, man. I'm everywhere right now.
PC: When do you sleep (laughing)?
AM: That's the one place I'm not (laughing). You just found the one place I'm not and that's sleeping.
PC: Where can people keep up with you on social media/? What are your handles?
AM: Man @allen_maldonado on Twitter, but "Maldonado is Everywhere" is my handle and that is the movement. Sunday, September 4th on TV One at 7 pm, be sure to tune in to 'Ringside!' We have an encore at 9pm, so if you running in late, get there at 9 and check it out again.
PC: Set those DVRs.
AM: That's right, set them bad boys up (laughing)!
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]