Ten questions for IBF super-middleweight champ Jeff Lacy (21-0, 17 KOs) who is scheduled to fight undefeated WBO champion Joe Calzaghe (40-0, 31 KOs) on March 4 in Manchester, England. Lacy was originally scheduled to fight Calzaghe in England this past Nov. 5, but Calzaghe broke his hand in a tune-up fight, leaving Lacy to fight Scott Pemberton instead. A native of St. Petersburg, FL, Lacy stopped Pemberton in the second round of their fight in Lake Tahoe.
TheSweetScience.com: What are your feelings about fighting Joe Calzaghe in England?
JL: I never had a problem going to [England] to fight him, just like before. We were supposed to fight on the fifth of November. I have no problem going to someone else’s country to fight. That shows the heart and will of a true champion.
TheSweetScience.com: Do you think Calzaghe has been ducking you?
JL: Yes. But I think he worked up to me. They say he had a broken hand, but he could do many things if he didn‘t want to fight. If I didn‘t want to fight someone, I‘d tell my trainer not to wrap my hand as good. Leave some bandages off where I go in there and hurt my hand in a fight. I saw no reason for him to take a fight two months out. You see how big this fight is and it’s still three or four months away. I didn’t see any reason for him to take that tune-up fight. On top of that, he talked about injuring himself even before the fight happened.
TheSweetScience.com: Who is the toughest fighter you’ve ever faced?
JL: I would say, with the most skill, was Syd Vanderpool (for the IBF title).
TheSweetScience.com: Who was your favorite fighter growing up?
JL: Evander Holyfield. I saw myself following in his same footsteps as a fighter. Not outside the ring, but as a fighter – that warrior mentality – him taking on anybody and everybody.
TheSweetScience.com: Your thoughts on the recent retirement of heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko, who left the ring after suffering a third injury inside a year.
JL: It opens your eyes. Something you love and cherish can be taken away from you at any moment in time. If you tiptoe through life, if you tiptoe through boxing and it is suddenly all taken away from you, you sit there and wonder what you could have done. That’s why I’m running with the ball. I want to fight the best that’s out there.
TheSweetScience.com: Bernard Hopkins or Jermain Taylor, and why?
JL: I’ll take Taylor. The big factor is, Taylor is a younger guy and this fight is almost a year later (than the first one). Taylor went into the first fight really questioning himself whether he could do it against a guy who has been on top for so long. There were a lot of different things Jermain had to work with in his mind once he got in there. This time, he knows a lot more about Hopkins. He’s more determined and he’s got the title and he’s more hungry. And he’s younger.
TheSweetScience.com: What’s your favorite sport outside of boxing?
JL: Ah, I’d have to say bowling.
TheSweetScience.com: What do you like to do away from boxing?
JL: You know what? With me training and fighting as much as I am, I like to sit back. Like now, I’m sitting back and not taking some phone calls, and just relaxing. Coming down off a cloud to where you’re not always in the public eye. I like it when I’m by myself, when it’s quiet, where I can analyze everything, my future. And that’s what I like to do. I like to spend a lot of time by myself.
TheSweetScience.com: How does it feel to be a famous sports star?
JL: I don’t see myself being a famous figure. I just see myself – and I think that’s what keeps me levelheaded – I see myself as doing something I like to do and it just allows me to be on TV. I don’t see myself as someone who is higher than anybody else. I just see myself as a normal human being. Anyone can come up and talk to me any time.
TheSweetScience.com: Any predictions on the Calzaghe fight?
JL: I’m very excited this fight has finally been signed. It’s all downhill now. As it gets closer and closer to the fight, I’m going to be more motivated. It’s a huge fight. The super-middleweight division hasn’t been unified since Leonard, Hearns and Hagler, those guys. For me to be able to do it, it’s great for boxing. When I return back to the United States with his title, it’s going to be even better, because I’m going to come back here right after the fight and have my first title defense at the St. Pete Times Forum. That’s my goal. But my prediction on fighting Calzaghe in his hometown is: I’m going over there to knock him out. I’m not looking for a decision. I’m never the type of person that does a lot of talking or says anything like I’m saying now, but I’m not traveling all the way to England to fight in his hometown to get robbed by a decision. I’m going to leave the decision in my own hands. I will be going over there to knock him out.