Quick, name a contemporary boxer who retired with more than 100 victories. How many guys can you name?
Did you come up with Harold Brazier?
Brazier got a late start in boxing, turning pro in 1982 at the age of 26. A real throwback to fighters of an earlier era, he would fight 124 times during his career. Brazier was a well respected fighter during his day and tough as nails. During his long career he was stopped only twice in those 124 bouts. Along the way he would win several titles, however, a world title eluded him. Brazier won the Indiana State Light Welterweight Title, NABF Light Welterweight Title, Indiana State Welterweight Title, and the IBF Inter-Continental Light Welterweight Title. Brazier fought such notables as Kevin Pompey, Livingstone Bramble, Micky Ward, Pernell Whitaker, Roger Mayweather, Meldrick Taylor, Juan Coggi and Lloyd Honeyghan. Brazier retired in 2004 with a final record of 105-18-1 with 64 KOs.
(SM) Harold, how are you feeling today?
(HB) I'm feeling great Shawn. I still run about four miles a day, try to stay in
(SM) When did you first take up boxing?
(HB) I was about twenty-four years old. I was actually a black belt at the time,
just got married. I was watching boxing on television and thought to
myself, “I can do that.” I went to a local gym and it turned out to be a lot
harder than I thought because I was sparring with a lot bigger guys. I just
would not give up though, told myself that it was what I wanted to do.
(SM) How long was your amateur career?
(HB) I had about thirty-one fights and won about nineteen. Never won a state
title as an amateur but I had a lot of fun.
(SM) As a pro, did you always train yourself?
(HB) Yes, I trained myself. I went from local gyms to Chicago, Indianapolis,
Ohio and Michigan. I sparred a lot of fighters and watched a lot on
television. It wasn't until I went with Pete Susens in 1983 that I really
learned how to fight, I never had proper training until then. I just learned
from watching a lot of fighters.
(SM) Who was your first big name opponent, Lloyd Honeyghan?
(HB) You know Shawn, I was just an opponent for a lot of guys. I lost three out
of four of my last fights. When I fought Lloyd Honeyghan I didn't know who
he was, I was just an opponent for him. I fought a lot of good guys up until
Honeyghan so I don’t really know who my first big opponent was.
(SM) Let me throw some names out of guys you fought and give me your
thoughts. Meldrick Taylor?
(HB) Very good fighter. We were supposed to fight at 135lbs and he came in
heavy. I really over-trained for that fight, but it was very close, very
competitive. He was young, very young and they called me an old man.
(SM) Roger Mayweather in 1988?
(HB) Very controversial decision. I think I won the fight, most of the world
thought I won the fight. I did some things before that fight that nobody
knows. I didn’t manage my weight very well and had to run a ton of
miles to lose the last four pounds to make weight. We both trained hard
and I was in great shape. I think I tried too hard. In the eighth or ninth
round I threw all the punches I had to try and get him out of there. I just
overextended myself. I punched myself out and he came back strong.
(SM) Livingstone Bramble?
(HB) I had torn my rotator cuff in a previous fight. I was off about three months
and then trained about three months. In the gym I couldn't lift my left arm
up. I was originally supposed to fight Micky Ward but he got into some
trouble or something. So Bramble filled in for him. My manager didn't
want me to fight him. He just hit me with a couple right hands and I
couldn't get my left hand up. He caught me, stunned me and the referee
stopped the fight.
(SM) Pernell Whitaker?
(HB) Very slick fighter. I didn't know how to handle a southpaw like Whitaker
until after I retired and came back against the guy from Canada, Brooke
Wellby. I had the punch, the height and power but I just didn't know how
to fight a slick southpaw like Whitaker.
(SM) Kevin Pompey?
(HB) I felt terrible about that decision in the first fight. I thought I was hurting
him during the whole fight and had the more effective punches. I was
thankful that most of the public thought I won. I fought a lot of guys in
their hometown area that got the decisions. I had to beat Rob Bleakley to
secure a championship fight, the second Bleakley fight that is. I trained
hard for that fight. I hit him and had him hurt all the way through the
fight. When I finally stopped him, I was behind on two of three judges
scorecards. All the politics of boxing was upsetting to me.
(SM) You were off from 1998-2003, why?
(HB) I was still doing a lot of running; I was never completely out of boxing.
I think I got up to 175 lbs before I got my weight down. I was training
hard and my punches were sharp again. I just wanted to come back and
have another fight. There were people that were really down on me
because of my age and they were skeptical about giving me a license.
I told them if I failed the physical or there were any glitches at all then I
wouldn’t fight at all again. My first fight back I beat Wellby by unanimous
(SM) How upset were you by the Julio Cesar Chavez fight not coming off?
(HB) It was very disappointing because I trained so hard for that fight. I was
walking around weeks before the fight at 140 lbs, in great shape. He came
in at 150lbs, out of shape. His nose was supposedly cut and they saw my
conditioning. I told them that I wanted to see the cut! It wouldn't have
been a good fight for Chavez. He was a great fighter, but for that fight he
had everything to lose and I had everything to gain. Business-wise I
wouldn’t have taken that fight if I were him. Some guys I shouldn't have
fought either, like Juan Coggi. I took him on to get a shot at a world title.
Guys like Meldrick Taylor and others wouldn’t fight him because he was
very awkward and a southpaw.
(SM) Who was the toughest fighter for you?
(HB) I would say John Meekins out of New York. He was like a little Mike
Tyson. Both fights he hurt me, he caught me with some good shots. I
was able to weather the storm though.
(SM) What was your proudest moments as a fighter?
(HB) When I went to South Africa to fight Brian Baronet. I learned a lot over
there. It was really my first training camp. I had him hurt in several
rounds but he won a unanimous decision. After that I beat him in Atlantic
City for the vacant NABF Light Welterweight title. That was a very proud
fight for me, what a great moment.
(SM) Any regrets looking back?
(HB) You know, I did it my way. But I never really was exposed to great fighters.
In the area where I lived, I trained with kids, not great fighters. And I never
had good sparing partners. I couldn’t do it any other way. Don King told
me once that I should have hooked up with him in the beginning. I tell
guys now that I wasn't a great fighter, I never saw myself as great. I wasn't
the hardest puncher or best boxer but I always made sure I trained hard. I
learnt a lot from just watching fighters and studying them. I just was never
exposed to great fighters and trainers.
(SM) Are you involved in boxing today or still follow it?
(HB) No, I'm a full-time husband now. I have endless energy and still run and
keep myself in great shape. I don't want to gain a lot of weight like most
boxers do. I'm going to start a boxing aerobics class soon too. And I
still work full-time as well. As far as following boxing, I still watch it a little
(SM) Harold, anything else you want to mention?
(HB) Just that I appreciate everybody who supported me in boxing. Pete
Susens was a big help to me. He took me from scratch to the top. I
really appreciated my time in boxing.