I caught up with nine-time world champion Rocky “Bam Bam” Ripley recently and tried to find out what makes the legendary fighter and former bantamweight, junior-featherweight, featherweight, junior-lightweight, lightweight, junior-welterweight, welterweight, welterweight and middleweight champion, tick.*
ME: Excuse me, Rocky, you got a minute?
ROCKY: You got 60 seconds.
ME: I'll try to be short. What do you expect in your upcoming fight against Benny “The Raging Horde” Bennett?
ROCKY: Expect? I expect to be charged with assault by the end of the third round. I expect Bennett to spend most of fight night in intensive care at Good Samaritan. I expect he'll have to be carried screaming and kicking into the ring by his corner. And I expect to make a lot of money. More money then you've ever seen in your pathetic life, you cockroach.
ME: So you're training pretty hard for this fight, huh? You look like you still have a few pounds to lose.
ROCKY: What kind of a dumb-ass question is that? See, that's what I'm talking about. If you knew the real me, you'd know I always train hard. Sure, I'm a little heavy right now, but the fight is still a week away. This my walking around weight. It's right where I want it. I'm right on schedule. I'm about 234 right now, but I expect to be back down to my fighting weight of 147 by fight time. I still got seven days, ya know.
ME: Are you expecting Bennett to come right at you in this fight?
ROCKY: Of course not, you idiot. He's a mama's boy, just like you. He doesn't want to commit suicide, and that's what it will be if he comes right at me. I'm the best fighter in the world. No one can beat me. Would you come right at me? Would you charge a tank head-on? Of course not, you moron. I'd kill ya. Bennett will be dancing away from me from the opening bell. I'll have to chase him all night. I just hope I can catch him. He'll be crying for his mommy by the end of the first round.
ME: So you think Bennett will move around a lot and try to out-box you?
ROCKY: I didn't say that. Did I say that? No, I didn't say that. Are you listening to me? Are you trying to put words in my mouth sissy boy? What do you want from me? You think I'm some kind of ape or something? You newspaper guys are all alike. Did you ever fight? Did you ever climb up those steps and crawl into the ring and fight?
ME: As a matter of fact, I did have 60 amateur and 22 pro.
ROCKY: I didn't think so. How can you call yourself a boxing writer if you never been in there? You don't know what it's about, man. Why you asking me these stupid questions? Why you hassling me? Listen, I'm only going to tell you this one more time. I am the best fighter out there and I'm not afraid of anyone. I fight the best in the world. Line them up and I'll knock 'em down. I don't dodge nobody. I'm fighting the best in the world and beating them like a drum.
ME: That's fine, Rocky, but what about Bennett? He hasn't been in the ring in four years and he hasn't won a fight since 1996. He's 0-9-1 in his last 10 fights, and he took this fight on short notice. And on top of everything else, he's 47.
ROCKY: See! See what I'm saying? You newspaper guys don't know what you're talking about. You don't understand. How do you know how tough he is? Are you the guy who is fighting him? No, I didn't think so. It's me who's fighting him. I'm the one going into the arena. I'm the guy who is putting his life on the line and all you can do is give me crap. I'm done. This interview is over.
* Note: Any similarity between the fictional Rocky Ripley and several real-life fighters is strictly intentional.