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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Interview with Russ Anber: The TSN Analyst Discusses David Lemieux, Jean Pascal, Lucian Bute, Pacquiao/Clottey, Mayweather/Mosley & The Super Six

The Boxing Bulletin's Ivan Montiel caught up with trainer and TSN boxing analyst Russ Anber.

Ivan Montiel: Thanks for taking the time to talk with The Boxing Bulletin, Russ. Let’s start things off your fighter David Lemieux. He’s going to be in action this Saturday against Jason Naugler. How’s he looking in the gym?

Russ Anber: Good. I am happy with the way he’s looking. Fighting at 168 is not exactly what I wanted, but I think this is a good fight for him. It’s a chance to get his hands on the Canadian title and it should be an exciting fight as well. Naugler is a tough experienced fighter and this is a good fight for David to step up in competition.

IM: Can you tell us a bit about Naugler?

RA: I’ve known Jason for quite a while now, and if you take a look at his record you will notice that he isn’t one to stray away from a challenge. He was supposed to be fighting Sergio Mora on the Mosley/Berto under-card, but of course that card got cancelled and Naugler became available. He is a very tough guy with lots of experience, and he’s fought here in Montreal before. His most recent outing was against Nicholson Poulard in which Jason showed incredible stamina. He backed Nicholson up the entire night, and he’s capable of really testing David’s resilience.

IM: That’s if David doesn’t knock him out early.

RA: Obviously it’s no secret that David has explosive power. He doesn’t just hit hard, but he picks his spots and lands good clean punches. I think we saw evidence of that in his recent fights with both Donnie McCrary and Delray Raines. He really picked his punches well and landed quality shots. But based on Jason’s record, I believe he will probably give David some rounds to work and test him at least. That’s what we’re preparing for.

IM: From what I’ve noticed, David keeps improving with each outing.

RA: Yes, his fight against Delray Raines was certainly a testament to the improvements that David has made. I think if we take a look at the last year and the quality of opponents that David has fought, he’s really progressed well and matured as a pro. As a fighter matures, they start to understand what goes on inside the ring, and with that understanding, they become a better fighter. Age and experience do that for a fighter.

IM: Let’s move on to Jean Pascal. He looked really good against Diaconu in his most recent battle, but of course hurt his shoulder. Can you tell us how the shoulder is coming along?

RA: Pascal more than hurt his shoulder. He actually broke a bone in his shoulder, but he has had surgery and is on the mend. To the people who wrote on the message boards questioning his injury, I tell you it’s amazing how some people can sit at their laptop typing nonsense without knowing what’s really going on. I actually got into a big argument with a local radio station here in Montreal that accused Pascal of faking his injury and saying that it was just showmanship on his part. It’s unbelievable how people can say stupid things, yet none of those same people say a word after hearing that Pascal had surgery. He had a broken bone on the back of his shoulder blade. Thank God that the surgery went fine and now let’s hope we can see him back in the ring come June.

IM: Any word as to the opponent?

RA: I work Pascal’s hands and cuts, and assist his trainer Marc Ramsay but Ramsay is the man who guides Pascal’s career, therefore you would have to speak with him. I honestly couldn’t tell you who’s next, but Pascal versus Bute would be a great match-up.

IM: Many fans want to see him fight Dawson.

RA: Fans might want a fight with Dawson, but there isn’t a fight on earth that could be worth more money to Jean than against Bute… and the same goes for Bute. It would be a great move for him too. He could try to avenge the loss of his friend Diaconu and fight for a second world title at the same time. Bute is huge in Montreal, and can you imagine how well a fight with Jean Pascal would do?

IM: You’re probably right. Montreal is crazy for boxing.

RA: Boxing is part of Quebecois, its part of Montreal’s soul and has an important role in Quebec sports. The blue collar Quebecois identifies with boxing.

IM: Speaking of Quebec and its most popular fighter, rumours are that Bute’s next opponent will be Edison Miranda. Any word on that?

RA: I heard Jesse Brinkley could be a possible opponent after beating Curtis Stevens in a elimination bout. I did hear about Edison Miranda as well, yet unfortunately I don’t know any details.

IM: Fair enough. Let’s move on to the latest big news in boxing which is of course Mayweather versus Mosley. What do you think about this great match up?

RA: After reading Dan Rafael’s column, the fight isn’t official since Floyd hasn’t signed yet, but I think the fight will happen and I’m happy it’s being made. But as great a fight as this is, a certain lustre has been lost. If this fight would have been made prior to talks regarding Mayweather vs Pacquaio, it would have been huge bombshell for boxing and made a great impact. It would have gone into the mainstream, yet I get the feeling the belief now is that Mayweather vs Mosley is a second best offering. We didn’t get Mayweather vs Pacquiao and that’s unfortunate.

IM: Speaking of Pacquiao, how do you see his fight with Clottey going?

RA: Clottey is a tough strong fighter; this guy will give heck to anybody put in front of him and he’ll try and wear Pacquiao down. But at the same time, I just can’t see Clottey being able to handle Pacquiao’s speed. I think it will be a tough fight that goes the distance, and even if Pacquiao wins 12-0, Manny will have to work hard to win every round, because Clottey makes you work hard to beat him.

IM: The next round of the Super Six is starting soon. Who’s your pick to win the tournament?

RA: I liked Kessler, but he looks somewhat exposed after not firing away with the confidence he once had. Arthur Abraham is going to give anybody trouble with the style he has. Andre Ward was my dark horse and I am leaning towards him. He’s a versatile fighter, and I don’t think anybody will have an easy time against him. He’s capable of getting on his bike and moving and that speed is very frustrating for any opponent and anyone that plans of beating him, better not just be ready physically but also mentally. I believe the only fighter in the tournament to beat Ward could be Abraham, but if Abraham doesn’t get to him then Ward will win it. Who do you pick Ivan?

IM: I like Abraham, and I still believe he will be the last man standing. One last question, Russ. This Saturday, Edwin Valero is facing Antonio DeMarco. Who do you see winning the match-up?

RA: I like Valero; I’ll take him in this fight, it should be a good one!

IM: It looks like it definitely will be a good one. I’m also picking Valero, but it wouldn’t surprise me if DeMarco pulls the upset. Thanks again Russ, for talking with us at The Boxing Bulletin. As always, it was a pleasure talking boxing with you.

RA: Anytime Ivan, adios!

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