Of late, he’s gotten rock-solid reviews as an analyst, but BJ Flores made it quite clear to me where his heart his, where he feels most engaged: the ring, for sure, not at the mic, ring-side.
The 36-year-old cruiserweight started TV work on NBC cable and has transitioned to doing PBC work. But talk is out the window and the analysis that will most matter is how he asesses Beibut Shumenov, his foe on Saturday night, on a card bnfolding in Vegas, and on NBC Sports Network.
Yeah, no, not that card…This one is in a modest room, the Pearl at the Palms, and a bigger fish-fry, pitting Sergey Kovalev, will unfold at Mandalay Bay; that one runs on HBO. Flores (31-1-1, vs 15-2 for Shumy) brought some candid style, which I appreciated, when I asked him about that Vegas double booking.
“Sergey’s fight might end a little early and then fans can come over to our fight,” he said. (The PBC card kicks off at 9 PM ET). “I hope his fight won’t be that long, and people come watch me. He’s one of my favorite fighters to watch, too.”
He said that no doubt about it, the TV work is fun but he’s guns a blazin’ to fight for the first time this year. He hasn’t been that busy all the time since turning pro in 2003, because, he told me, of promotional and managerial issues. But while he does expect a minor coating of rust, he figures after a couple rounds, he gets warmed up, sees what Shumenov offers, makes adjustments, and is fully in a flow. “It will be a good fight for the fans to watch. I’d much rather be inside the ring than outside, looking in…I love what I do, boxing is a part of me, it’s my passion.” We could see Flores, who hasn’t met a fighter who has been in as tough as Shumy has to this point, winning by “being one step ahead of Shumenov, make him fight my fight, my plan is to have him chasing me, then walk him back later on…I think he fades as the fight goes on.”
Shumy is coming up from 175, so, Flores said, he’s not assuming he will fight to form in that way. But in the past…”He may be stronger at 200 but going off his track record…”
Readers, who do you like in the Flores-Shumenov clash?