The two boxers widely recognized as the most talented in the exciting cruiserweight division will square off when undefeated WBC champion Wayne “Big Truck” Braithwaite (21-0, 17 KOs) faces his WBA counterpart Jean-Marc Mormeck (30-2, 21 KOs) in an eagerly anticipated world title unification bout this Saturday, April 2, on Showtime Championship Boxing.
The two fighters met the boxing press via telephone.
Question: Wayne, how are things going and what are your thoughts going into this fight?
Braithwaite: I am very confident. I am training very hard. This fight was supposed to happen on October 2, but unfortunately Mormeck got hurt. I was disappointed because I was looking forward to fighting, but I will be ready to fight April 2. I am keeping my fingers crossed in the hopes that no one will get injured, so that we can put on a good show for the boxing fans.
Question: Jean-Marc, how are you feeling coming into this fight and what are your thoughts?
Mormeck: I have been getting a lot of training for this fight and I am in good shape. I am very excited and anxious for April 2 and am very happy to that this fight with Braithwaite will happen.
Question: Wayne, you really do not have a lot of fights for a reigning champion. Do you think you are underrated to the mainstream fans and to hardcore boxing fans?
Braithwaite: I am underrated because they did not know about me until I fought Dale Brown. People saw that I beat Dale Brown easily. It will be a whole different thing on April 2.
Question: Wayne, you started your career in Guyana, fought in Australia, and then settled down in the States. How was the transition? Are you a totally different fighter now?
Braithwaite: Yeah, I am a totally different fighter from when I was back in Guyana, because you could not get as many fights or sparring as you can get here. So I think I am a lot more relaxed.
Question: Wayne, why do you feel that you are the real champion of the cruiserweight division?
Braithwaite: I feel I am the champion because you can look at my career. My career was not easy and I never had anything given to me. I have had to fight for everything I have in my career.
Question: Wayne, you are both very personable and polite. How do you go about getting prepared for a fighter that you do not dislike?
Braithwaite: Boxing is a business and you do what you have to do because you do not have any friends in the ring. Out of the ring, we are friends. You have to prepare yourself for that.
Question: Jean-Marc, what kind of message will your fight send to the rest of the division?
Mormeck: Well, I feel sorry for them, because after April 2 I would like to go after the IBF title.
Question: How does it play in your mind that this fight has been on and off three or four times?
Braithwaite: I am prepared for this fight. Like I said, the fight was postponed and it takes a toll on your body. So it is very hard. But I am in good shape and ready.
Mormeck: For April 2, I am feeling good and ready to go. In boxing, sometimes a fighter gets hurt and you have to be in good shape on the day of the fight. That is the case here.
Question: What are your thoughts on the cruiserweight division?
Braithwaite: I think the cruiserweight division is in need of a star and on April 2, a star will be made.
Question: Wayne, is there anything about Mormeck that scares you?
Braithwaite: I do not see anything that scares me because Mormeck is a fighter like any other fighter.
Question: Jean-Marc, is there anything about Braithwaite that scares you?
Mormeck: I have no fears.
Question: Wayne, now that the division has been broadened to 200 pounds, do you feel that you can bring attention to it? How do you feel about staying in the cruiserweight division?
Braithwaite: The cruiserweight division needs a star and I am going to be that star. But right now I am not thinking about that. All my focus is on April 2. After I do what I have to do, I will think about something else. I am only focused on Mormeck now.
Question: Jean-Marc, both of you are straight ahead boxer-punchers. Do you prefer to face this style of boxer and why does it suit you?
Mormeck: The nickname of Wayne Braithwaite is “Big Truck.” So maybe you will have a big truck in front of a train. When that happens, the train is going to go ahead and the truck is going to go behind.
Question: Jean-Marc, do you expect any problems fighting against a southpaw?
Mormeck: Two years ago in Vegas, I fought a southpaw. If you look at the result of that fight, you will know that I have no problems fighting a southpaw.
Question: What are your thoughts about expanding the cruiserweight division to 200 pounds and how did you react when that became official?
Braithwaite: I do not think it is a good idea because it makes it easier for the lazy cruiser or fighter who does not want to train to make the list. I do not think it is a good idea, but it is fine with me.
Mormeck: The 10 pounds difference is not a big deal. It is just a different weight, and I have no concern about that.
Question: Wayne, is this the first time you have headlined a main event?
Braithwaite: I have headlined a main event in Miami.
Question: Have you ever headlined on a Showtime, or a card of this magnitude?
Braithwaite: No. But this is a real big fight for me. It is very important because it could make or break me. It is a big fight for both of us because no one has ever really fought from champion to champion, so I think it is a real good fight for me and for Mormeck. I am always the star. Every time I fight, I show something different and people are always telling me they should put my fight on television. But I am going to be the star and April 2, and be on television.
Mormeck: Because I was asking for this unification, I will give a gift – not a victory, but a gift – to Wayne Braithwaite to fight minivans and sure things.
Question: Jean-Marc, is this fight any different from any of the main events in France?
Mormeck: Yes, there is a big difference because it is in the United States and it is on Showtime. It is a unification bout so it is different. But it is still a fight.
Question: The last time there was a unification fight in the division was in 1988 when Evander Holyfield became the undisputed champion. Why do you think it has taken so many years for there to be two champions in against each other, or promoters willing to put their guys together to step in and make a unification fight in the division?
Braithwaite: I think right now it is just the politics in boxing.
Mormeck: Maybe it is because the champion of the division was not asking for unification or was not willing to make unification. This time, I was asking for unification. Braithwaite also wants to also make the unification so that is why it has happened just now.
Question: Do you think a reason that the division has not gotten much attention or respect is because it has been so long since the best guys have been willing to fight each other?
Braithwaite: I think one of the problems is that champions do not want to fight each other. Also, there is not a lot of money in the division. I am hoping that after this fight, the division will get a star and will generate a lot of excitement and a lot of money in the division.
Mormeck: Maybe so, or maybe because the cruiserweight champion moved up to the heavyweight division.
Question: Jean-Marc, you lost two fights early in your career. What was your mindset at that point in your career and how did you get past the disappointment of those losses to become a world champion?
Mormeck: Those two losses at the beginning of my career were not really losses. They were close fights that took place outside the country. Now I am stronger and more confident because I learned from these losses.
Braithwaite: Jean-Marc, talk is cheap. Just show up on April 2. I am not going to be easy. You have never fought anybody like me. I do not think Jean-Marc will beat me on April 2. I am confident that at the end of the fight, my hand will be raised in the air and I will be the unified champion. If the knockout comes, it comes and if not, I am prepared for 12 rounds and I will win the fight. It will be a short night for him and a happy night for me.
Mormeck: It will be a tough fight, but there is something that is for sure - “Big Truck” will be “Baby Truck” and I will return to France because it is my country and I will return with both belts.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV