Interview by Sam Geraci
On April 12th at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, MI, rising undefeated light heavyweight Cedric Agnew (25-0, 13 KOs) of Chicago, IL, looks to position himself as America’s next light heavyweight prospect when he takes on former world title challenger Yusaf Mack (31-5-2, 17 KOS) of Philadelphia, PA, for Mack’s USBA light heavyweight title.
While Mack has been a perennial contender for the last decade, Agnew is a relatively unknown commodity outside of Chicago, Texas and the amateur circuit. At 26, despite his undefeated record and a compilation of more than 100 amateur wins and several significant amateur championships, Agnew has yet to garner national attention as a legitimate contender and potential star. On Friday at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, MI, much like fellow Chicagoan Adrian Granados did against aging veteran Kermit Cintron on March 22nd in Chicago, Agnew intends to prove that he belongs among the game’s elite and that, as he put it in the following interview, he’s “one helluva fighter.”
Cedric, this is your first fight against a top-twenty type fighter. After boxing for nearly twenty years, how does it feel to be breaking into these types of matchups?
It feels good; I don’t have any concerns. I’m ready to go out there and perform.
How has your extensive amateur experience helped you prepare for this fight?
It just helps you overall as a boxer. It helps you calm down, and it exposes you to different types of fighters.
Despite your undefeated record and extensive amateur experience, you are relatively untested and unknown as a pro. What makes you prepared for this fight?
I just know I’m ready. I’ve been fighting most of my life, and in the last couple of years, I’ve been fighting the right opponents to build me up. It’s been a long time coming, and now that it’s here, I’m ready to make a name for myself.
Why did it take so long?
It’s a typical boxing story—you know, too many problems with my early management.
How familiar are you with Mack?
I believe he is a decent and durable fighter. I don’t know that much about him, but I know enough and I am confident.
Do you think he is shot as a fighter?
You don’t really know too much about a guy until you get in with him. We’ll find out everything on Friday night.
Mack has been knocked out in each of his five losses. Are you going for the knockout?
No, I’m not going for the knockout. I’m just going in there mentally and physically prepared. I’ve trained to go twelve rounds, so if I have to go twelve rounds, I’ll go twelve. If it ends earlier, that’s a blessing.
If the knockout doesn’t come early, what are you going to do to combat Mack’s awkwardness?
Just pressure him and fight smart.
Pressuring him is not necessarily your style. How would you describe your style?
I’m a boxer-counter puncher.
If you had to compare your style to a fighter who the fans would know, whose would it be?
It’s difficult to say because I’m trying to be my own fighter. (Pause) I’ve got the speed of Roy Jones, but I have the defense of Winky Wright.
What do you do best as a fighter?
Win fights (laughs) and throw combinations.
What would your trainers say you still need to work on?
I could increase my punch output.
Where would an impressive win against Mack put you in the division?
I really can’t say because I’m not the kind of fighter that follows other fighters like that.
Which fighters in your division do you follow?
Really, none of them. Maybe a little of Bernard Hopkins, but that’s it.
What do you think people are going to be saying about Cedric Agnew after this fight?
He’s one helluva fighter.
Finally, in gyms all across Chicago, you are seen as a role model of how to make it as a young fighter, especially by young black fighters. What advice do you have for Chicago fighters trying to make it?
Just keep working hard. Keep pushing and stay dedicated to your sport and your craft, and you’ll have your break.
What advice do you have for young fighters when they are selecting trainers and managers?
Stay humble and stay away from drugs and bad people. Look at your surroundings and the people around you and be sure it’s where you want to be and with whom you want to be.
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Agnew-Mack headlines “Battle of the Week at Silver Creek” on April 12th at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, MI. The event is presented by Lava Promotions in association with the Four Winds Casino and Resort. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or at the door. Doors open at 7 PM EST.
The undercard features a cruiserweight bout between “Gentleman” James Shorter (3-1, 3 KOs), a US Olympic Qualifier, and Jamal Woods (2-6, 2 KOs). Also in action are Andrew “Warrior” Campbell (Pro Debut) against Michael Picket (1-2), Sam Gipson (4-5, 2 KOs) against Angel Figueroa (2-0), and Ryan St. Germain (2-6, 2 KOs) against Rayshawn Myers (4-16, 3 KOs).