Feature Story

Q&A: Lovemore Ndou

By Ray Wheatley–World of Boxing

Looks like newly crowned IBO welterweight champion Lovemore Ndou will make his first defense against Matthew Hatton, brother of Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton. The camps are said to be in serious talks with the fight being confirmed as soon as this weekend. Ndou recently spoke to Fightnews and hold us how happy he is with promoter Rodney Berman who will promote him later this year and also why he wants to unify with the newly crowned IBF 147 pound titleholder Isaac Hlatswayo. He is also prepared to give away weight and step up and challenge the former WBA super middleweight champion Anthony Mundine.

You scored a great win over Phillip Ndou to win the IBO welterweight crown in South Africa, the land of your birth. Please give me your thoughts on having this win in South Africa.

This was probably one of my best performances in a very long time. Not only did I display my fighting skills but I also proved that I still got a lot left in the tank in terms of my speed, fitness and ring-craftiness. When I chose to brawl, I out-brawled Phillip. And when I chose to box, I out-boxed him despite his height and reach advantage. I out-jabbed the taller man. To sum it up, it was a matter of the master taking a kid to school. I said it before the fight that I was his “Team Captain” when we were coming up as amateurs and on fight night I kept reminding him who the “Captain” was as I was beating him up. I could have stopped him if I wanted to but I was having way too much fun in there and so were all the boxing fans who were watching the fight.

I did exactly as my trainer, Harold Volbrecht, wanted me to. He told me to keep touching him to the body early in the fight and then pick up the pace from the fourth or fifth round. I did just that and the body shots started taking their toll and from the third round on Phillip was already wounded from the body punishment. I then started unleashing with my jabs followed by combination’s and lead left hooks. It was all text book material. With that win I guess I proved that I’m still one of the best welterweights there is out there. The good thing about it is the fact that this division is so competitive and there is a lot of fights that can be made for me. The likes of Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Andre Berto, Manny Pacquiao, etc.

Recently there has been stories about Shane Mosley not getting fights. Well, I will fight him. I think Shane is one of the best fighters that ever walked planet Earth but it will be an honor to fight and beat him. He’s got the WBA title and I have the IBO, lets unify. The same goes for Andre Berto, the WBC champ whom I don’t really rate much. Of all the current champions in the 147 pounds division I feel he is the most protected species out there. He even struggled in his last fight in beating a C-rated smaller fighter in Juan Urango. Miguel Cotto, the WBO champ, I have already fought and lost a close points decision in a fight I took in less than 10 days notice. With enough time to prepare I believe I can give him nightmares.

Anyway, going back to South Africa, it was a really pleasure fighting in my country of my birth after nearly 14 years. I was more touched by the reception I received and it made me realize how much I have missed my country of birth. At first I was worried that I might be looked at as an outsider considering the fact that Phillip is a home-based fighter and I have been living in Australia for the last 15 years or so. But no, my people made me feel at home and continued to show me the love. The Mayor from my town of birth, Musina, showed up with a busload of supporters. They were singing and chanting love all-night. It was in fact one of the best fight-nights I have been involved in many years. All thanks to the promoter, Rodney Berman, of Golden Gloves Promotions. Not forgetting to thank the Emperors Palace Casino at Kempton Park, the fight venue and hotel, where I stayed. The staff there treated me so well and so did all the staff from Golden Gloves Promotions, especially Shona MacTaggart.

Promoter Rodney Berman will be promoting you again later this year against Mathew Hatton. Is that correct? Will you be confident against him?

I am very pleased to be associated with Rodney Berman. Apart from being an astute businessman he is also a man of his word. That to me means everything. I respect anyone that lives up to their promises and believe me there aren’t too many in this sport. Rodney Berman is one of the few people in this sport that I have worked with so far that I can truly and proudly call a man of his word. To answer your question, Rodney Berman will be promoting me for many years to come. And I can’t wait to get back to South Africa and shine again.

Yes there is talk of a Mathew Hatton fight. I guess Mathew needs to decide whether he wants a piece of me or a piece of Zab Judah. I say this because there is also talk of him fighting Zab Judah on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather. I believe he doesn’t want to come get a beating in South Africa. Well, I’m prepared to bring the beating to him in Manchester. I have already fought there before so it won’t bother me to go there again and fight. I’m giving him a shot at my title and I’m also prepared to go to his backyard. So it’s up to him and his team to decide what’s best for him. At this stage I really don’t concern myself about whom I’m fighting next or where, I just leave all that to my Promoter. I believe everything he does is for my best interest and that’s why I choose to leave all that to him.

Isaac Hlatswayo recently won the vacant IBF crown. Are you confident in challenging Hlatswayo and becoming IBF champion for the second time and why?

Nick Durandt, Isaacs’ trainer, has already said in the South African media that they will unify with me….he even said he believes that I will be the easiest fight for Isaac. But again that’s just Nick Durandt speaking through his ‘poop’ hole again instead of his mouth. Surely it will be a big fight in South Africa….It will be an honor to add an IBF belt to my collection.

You have stated you are interested in getting Anthony Mundine in the ring. He is a middleweight. Would he be to big for you? What tactics would you use to defeat him?

I believe it has already been proven many times before that size is nothing. He might have a bigger frame but I have a bigger brain. And brain beats frame. Boxing is a game of skills, toughness, self-belief and fitness. I possess all four and I believe Mundine only probably possess one and half of that. Not to mention the size of his brain. That’s all I can say. Mundine and his people have my number and when they grow balls big enough to wanna take on a real fighter that will come to fight they can call me. Mundine is scared of anyone that will give him competition. That’s why he chose to relinquish his WBA title than face the likes of Kessler. He talks about fighting Sturm or Pavlik but we all know that is all a load of BS. He won’t fight them. He will run like a little girl if offered that opportunity. He won’t even fight Sakio Bika. And we all know why. He will continue to fight washed-up or less talented Australian fighters. Or some Argentinean who wants to make a quick dollar. Mundine only fights people that he knows he can beat. I call that robbing boxing fans of their money.

You are a regular sparring partner of Vic Darchinyan. Can he comeback successfully after that loss to Joseph Agbeko for IBF 118 title?

I am more of a friend to Vic than a sparring partner. I help him out with sparring whenever he needs it but I’m not his sparring partner. Vic has proved it before that he can bounce back from a loss. And he always comes back better and stronger. He had a bad night and this happens many times in boxing. He is not the first one to lose while at the top of their game but the difference with him is he is one of those few fighters who can come back stronger after a devastating loss. It’s just a little setback but he will be back. People should not write him off because of that loss. In fact people should remember that he is still an undisputed world champion in the lower division. I believe if given a rematch with Agbeko and with the right preparation and right mental attitude going into the fight it could be a different story the second time.

Danny green will be facing the great Roy Jones Jr. in Australia later this year. Who wins this fight and why?

This will be a very interesting fight. I am a mad fan of Roy Jones Jr. I am also a great fan of Danny and I know him from a personal point of view. Based on all that I will be a bad judge for this fight. Jones has had his ups and downs recently but he is that kinda of fighter that you can never write off. He is so fast and can throw punches from all angles. He is just God-gifted. He is a natural athlete. Green on the other hand, at light heavyweight he has proved to be so strong. In fact I watched him spar two days ago and he looked so good. He showed a lot of power, mobility and speed, especially with his left jab which was so accurate and razor-sharp. The best way to put it is the best man on the night will win.

Your former opponent Miguel Cotto will box Many Pacquiao. Your thoughts on this fight?

It should be a great fight. I don’t really rate Manny Pacquiao as pound for pound the best like everyone says. I think he is just one of those lucky fighters. Boxing is all about timing. He is beating some big name fighters at the right time. Meaning he is fighting them at the time when they are ready to be taken. A few years back he wouldn’t have beaten Oscar De la Hoya. De la Hoya would have slaughtered him. He fought De la Hoya at the time when De la Hoya already lost interest in the sport. And you can’t blame him. He made enough money as a fighter and continues to make more as a promoter. Where is the hunger gonna come from if the De la Hoya family doesn’t have to worry about how they gonna pay for the next loaf of bread tomorrow? We have seen this happen many times before. When De la Hoya was coming up he was lucky too to fight the likes of Pernell Whittaker and Julio Cezar Chavez at the right time. At their prime they would have slaughtered him too. It’s all about timing.

The same can be said about Ricky Hatton. Ricky has been in many wars before. And that has taken a lot out of him. And his eating and binge-drinking habits do not help his case. The body can only take so much abuse and eventually it gives up on you. Pacquiao got him at the right time. Apart from that, Ricky has always struggled against southpaws. For instance against Juan Urango, Luis Collazo, etc. I believe Pacquiao could also be fighting Miguel Cotto at the right time. Cotto got beat up really bad by Margaritto. And he struggled against Clottey. Based on that it could be a Pacquiao fight.

You were sparring partner to Floyd Mayweather. Tell me about those sessions. Can Floyd beat Marquez and Pacquiao?

Like I said before it was an honor working with Floyd. He is one natural-talented fighter. Like him or hate him you cannot take that away from him. Floyd will beat both Marquez and Pacquiao with one hand tied at the back.

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