Sharmba Mitchell (49-3, 29 KOs), Vince Phillips (44-6-1, 32 KOs), Ross Thompson (25-6-1, 17
KOs) and Jeff Lacy (11-0, 10 KOs) discussed their upcoming fights on Saturday (live on Showtime). In a crossroads
featuring two former 140-pound world champions, Mitchell will take on
Phillips in the main event. In the co-featured main event, Thompson will
his first title defense when he battles the unbeaten, hard-hitting Lacy.
Question: How is training going?
Mitchell: Camp is going great. I have been training hard, and I am ready
fight. I have been boxing with a lot of different guys. This is picking my
spirits up. I am doing what I have to do to be successful.
Phillips: Training is going great. I have been with my trainer, Cassius
Green. We have been working on certain things. My fundamentals are
and will help me reach a new level after I fight Mitchell. We are doing what
is best to help me be successful.
Thompson: Camp is going great. I have been training hard and getting good
sparring. I have watched tape on Lacy. I have been sparring with a guy Lacy
fought in the Olympic trials, Jason Rivelo, and he knows about Lacy. Lacy is
a good fighter. He has a lot of talent, but I think this is too much of a
step up for him. He will have a bright future.
Lacy: Camp is going great for me. I have had great sparring. I am getting
ready. It will be a great fight next Saturday.
Question: Sharmba, will Buddy McGirt be in your corner on Nov. 9?
Mitchell: McGirt will be there to lend his helping hand along with my
trainer Marvin Sims. Those two have great chemistry. Marvin and I work well
with Buddy. It brings a lot out of me. We have not really been working on
new things. I have been boxing for 24 years, so it is not a matter of
on new things, but putting old things back together.
Question: Sharmba and Vince, what is your game plan for the fight?
Mitchell: The game plan is to go in there and do what I do. I need to
if I have to fight, win if I have to win, and just focus. The main thing is
to win the fight to get back what is rightfully mine.
Phillips: My game plan is not to expose it, but to show it on Nov. 9. I
know Mitchell has good movement and speed. That is what I have to cut down.
have to stop him from doing what he wants to do.
Question: Sharmba, will re-injuring your leg be in the back of your mind?
Mitchell: Re-injuring my leg will not be in the back of my mind. That is
what I had surgery for, to fix my leg. Whatever is going to happen is going
to happen. My leg is 80 percent right now. It will never be 100 percent
unless I can grow a new leg. I work on it everyday, and I am training with
everyday. It is going to be what it is going to be.
Question: What are your thoughts on your comeback fight after the surgery?
Mitchell: I thought I did really great during the comeback fight on ESPN.
boxed well, but I did not put my combinations together. The next fight, I
thought I put my combinations together, but I did not box well. I criticized
myself in both fights. This is my third fight back, so I have to put
Question: Did you find Zab Judah's reaction after losing to Kostya Tszyu
interesting, considering his comments about your reaction to losing to
Mitchell: You mean with a tear coming down his eye and him throwing a
temper tantrum like a girl? I thought it was funny. Kids are going to be
kids. Big-mouthed people are going to be big-mouthed people. I have to take
my hat off to his (Judah's) promotional company. They promoted someone that
is not on our level, but got him in the position to fight for a title. This
is what happens to young fighters that have great promoters. They made him
out to be someone he is not.
Question: Vince, what was the key to the Nick Acevedo fight?
Phillips: I have a very good trainer, and no one knows of his expertise. I
love going to the gym. I have never wanted to go to the gym so much. That is
where it lies with me. On Nov. 9, a lot of it will be showing again. I am
about action. I am ready to fight right now. I do not want to talk about it.
I am about action.
Question: Sharmba and Vince, why do you think this fight should be an IBF
eliminator for Tszyu?
Gary Shaw: I can answer this. One guy beat Tszyu, and the other guy was
before he hurt his knee. These are two guys that are willing to fight one
another, and then be willing to fight Tszyu. I am not sure that Mickey Ward
and Arturo Gatti want to fight for a title.
Mitchell: I have to go along with Gary. One guy knocked out Tszyu. I was
beating him with one leg. Why shouldn't we get another shot? We are willing
to fight each other and let Tszyu off the hook by fighting only one of us
instead of both of us.
Phillips: I beat Tszyu and took the IBF title from him. I beat Ward.
Mitchell beat Millet, who I lost the title to. We have beaten the people
the IBF is putting at the top of their ratings. That should put us in the
mix. I beat their world champion and the No. 3 contender. Mitchell beat
Millet. They have to recognize us.
Question: Why are you not listed in the IBF's top-15?
Shaw: I think it is for promotional reasons why neither one is rated.
are two great fighters. There is no one in the press that would not say both
fighters are legitimate contenders. They are willing to fight one another
that says a lot. Only one of them is going to come out victorious. That
true heart and makes a true champion. I think the IBF recognizes it. I am
saying they are going to make this the IBF mandatory, but I believe they are
sensitive to it.
Leonard: I can echo Shaw's sentiments. These guys wanted a rematch with
Tszyu. These guys are warriors. This is what boxing should be about;
champions fighting champions. These guys are willing to fight the best to be
Question: Would you fight the winner of Ward-Arturo Gatti?
Leonard: I am keeping my focus here, and want my guy to win this fight
first before I answer.
Shaw: Mitchell will fight anyone. If Mitchell wins this fight and we have
to fight winner of Ward-Gatti to get a shot at Tszyu, I would certainly ask
Mitchell to take that fight.
Question: Ross, where do you think everything sits in your career?
Thompson: It just comes down to me living up to my ability. I have been a
career underachiever. I had a big amateur background coming up. I had a lot
of ability and potential. I never have lived up to my ability. It is all
about putting it together. I had my bumps and bruises coming up. If I am not
going to do it now, I am never going to do it. You never know when someone
going to put it together and be successful.
Question: Jeff, do you approach Thompson with caution?
Lacy: Of course I approach him with caution. I respect him. I am going to
have my caution lights up just as I would against any fighter, but
because he has been around. He has fought a lot of big name fighters. I will
just go in and do what I do. I need someone like Ross in my career to get to
the next step.
Question: Ross, what are your thoughts on Lacy's comments?
Thompson: This is what he is supposed to think. I think it is a mistake.
Lacy is a real promising fighter, but there are a lot of other fighters they
could have chosen. I think highly of Lacy, but they put him in a bad
situation. A lot of people would not want to put their fighters in this
situation. They never know which Ross Thompson is going to show up. If the
"real" Thompson is in shape, he is unbeatable.
Question: Gary, is this a risky fight for Lacy?
Shaw: This absolutely is a risky fight. Lacy and Roger Bloodworth know
there is a risk. Thompson can fight and swing. He reminds me a lot of Bert
Cooper. Lacy could have his hands full. I really believe in Lacy. I do not
think they look at him as a guy that can box. I could do what they do with
some other fighters who bring their fighters along against bums. I believe
you have to believe in your fighter and the fighter has to believe in
himself. I am a firm believer that the only fight that counts is the one on
Nov. 9. I think he knocks Thompson out, but we will see. I could have put
Lacy in another 3- or 4-round fight, but it does not do him any good.
Question: Vince, who is training you?
Phillips: Cassius Green is my trainer. We have been together for the past
three fights. We have been training in Hollywood at the Bomb Squad gym.
Question: What advantages do you have over Mitchell?
Phillips: My determination to go in and win the fight is an advantage, and
so is my good speed that people underestimate. I am a good boxer-puncher. I
know what to do when to do it.
Question: Sharmba, do you have any concerns about fighting Phillips?
Mitchell: I have much respect for a man that picks himself off the ground
and gets in the position that he is in. I respect his will to win and the
great determination that he has. I have that will to win too. I think
can tell you. We want to win and we will do what it takes to win.
Question: Do both fighters consider that bout a crossroads fight?
Mitchell: I have only viewed this fight in one way. I have viewed this
fight that I am going to go in there and win. I cannot look at the next step
until I complete the first step.
Phillips: This is a great opportunity for me to take the next step to
or whomever. I want to go in and knock Mitchell out. I am going to do things
to him that never have been done before. He is not Sugar Ray Leonard. I will
show him how I am able to free fighters. I have fought some of the best
fighters in the world and knocked out Tszyu. It is just a matter of me going
in and doing what I have to do.
Question: Sharmba, is your injured knee the same one you hurt a few years
Mitchell: Yes, it is the same knee I hurt a few years ago. My knee was
hurting before the Tszyu fight and I tried to get doctors to look at it. It
was my decision to go in and fight anyway. I had Tszyu hurt two or three
times, but I could not deliver the punch I wanted to because of the pressure
on my leg. The leg felt fine at the start of the fight, but the pain would
go in and out. After the seventh round, I could not stand up at all because
had no feeling in the leg.
Question: Because of the knee injury, does that cause you to change your
Mitchell: My boxing style will be the same. The leg is 80 percent and you
work with the wheels that you have.
Shaw: Mitchell's knee is 80 percent, but his head is 100 percent.
Question: Vince, how did you make weight?
Phillips: I made weight by training, eating right and doing what I have to
do. I am at weight right now. I weigh 147 pounds. This is a great
opportunity, and I am not going to do anything to jeopardize this. I am
looking forward to fighting Mitchell. Come Nov. 9, you can run, but you
Question: Gary, what is the contracted weight for the fight?
Shaw: The contracted weight is 141 pounds, give or take a pound.
Question: Vince, is there any extra pressure because of your age?
Phillips: I was told by my people that when I knocked out Tszyu and
Sanchez, I was just like wine. I get better with age. I am still very
My age does not dictate how I fight. Leonard has given me a great
to showcase what I have. I am not going to let him down.
Question: Sharmba, what are your thoughts?
Mitchell: I have someone in front of me that has the same experience. He
someone that will pick me up to the next plateau.
Question: Should Tszyu be ranked among the top-10 pound-for-pound
Mitchell: I do not think Tszyu should be ranked among the top-10
pound-for-pound fighters. He has unfinished business. Let me ask you. Do you
rate him being the best? I do not think so until he picks up that unfinished
Question: Vince, why do you think Tszyu will not fight you?
Phillips: No matter how old I am, I am still too dangerous. I give
the utmost respect. For Sharmba to step up to the plate, I give him great
respect. I do feel he should be in the top-10. They did not give me the
opportunity to be pound-for-pound champion. Tszyu beat Mitchell and Judah. I
feel he should be in the top-10 pound-for-pound.
Question: Vince, you have learned a lot of good things from Cassius Green.
How did you meet up with him?
Phillips: I was getting ready for a fight the night Tszyu knocked out
Judah. He was showing me skills that I wanted him to keep giving to me. Just
like Krispy Kreme donuts, I want him and need him. I wanted him to take over
my career and put me back in position to be a top fighter at 140 pounds. He
is a warrior. He teaches me how to win.
Question: Ross, can you give us an update on your weight?
Thompson: My weight is good. I am at 171 pounds right now. In the Aaron
Davis fight, they were trying to make me weigh 166, not 168. I came in at
¼. I will be at 167 or 168. I feel really strong. I have been changing my
diet. All I have been drinking is water.
Question: Sharmba, since you have the same trainer as Gatti, do you spare
Mitchell: I have not sparred with him. We play golf together. I try to
apart from Gatti in the gym because we may fight some time. He does not need
a speedy southpaw right now.
Question: Vince, do you look back on the Millet fight with regret?
Phillips: I was very foolish. I was champion of the world, but I was
partying too much and eating a lot of Krispy Kreme donuts. Now, I am much
older and experienced. I take my career a lot more seriously than I did in
the past. After I beat Mitchell, I will have a dozen and a half donuts
waiting for me in the hotel room.