To tell you that Amir Mansour has had a long and hard journey through his time in boxing is an understatement. Luckily, all things will finally seem to turn around for the heavyweight as he approaches a Jan. 25th fight with Domonique Alexander (23-15-1, 13 knockouts).
This bout will mark Mansour’s first bout in two years, his last outing being a TKO victory over Epifanio Mendoza in the 6th round. Since then, Mansour had a brief return to prison, but has spent most of his time training for the inevitable bout.
“Well, I’ve been training since July. I only stopped training for about three and a half months, but even then I was able to still exercise and do things like that. Since July 12th I’ve been training, so the only lay-off is that I haven’t had a fight, but as far as not being in the gym and me not training, that doesn’t exist. So it’s just business as usual.”
In Alexander, Mansour is looking to get back into the mode of fighting regularly. Although Alexander is widely regarded as nothing more than a journeyman, he could be just what Mansour needs as he looks to gain some of the momentum lost with his time away from the ring. As he continues the rigors of training it’s interesting to see the things have have and haven’t changed. One such example, his reluctance to study tape of his opponent.
“Honestly, I can’t tell you much [about Alexander]. I can tell you what my trainer told me I’m gonna knock him out with, but that’s how it usually goes. I never watch films of guys I’m gonna fight. I never watch their tape because you just never know who’s gonna show up. Only thing I focus on is how many wins they have. I don’t focus on the guy’s losses or anything like that. He’s been able to get in the ring and win 23-times, so that’s all I’m concerned about. So I prepare for my fights from that perspective of how many times a guy won, and I come in there prepared to fight someone with a winning attitude.
As the fight date looms closer and closer, many wonder how ring-rust will affect Mansour’s return. As vehemently as he may deny it, ring-rust has surfaced in the careers of many great boxers who have spent far too much time in between fights. To some, it’s nothing more than a slow start, but to others it’s a complete falling apart come fight-time. Still, there is always that rare example among athlete’s who seems to be cut from a different cloth. One look at Mansour’s ripped, 40-year old frame may be all one needs to realize that he is an example of one-such athlete.
“Well, you know, you spar in the gym, you train in the gym, and it’s just something I’m very good at. Just think, Floyd Mayweather hasn’t fought in over a year now, he’s got a fight coming up in May, and when you see him you’re not gonna see any ring-rust. Why? Because he’s a great fighter, and he’s a great champion. That’s how I view myself, but I just haven’t had that shot at a world title. The little titles that I’ve fought for so far, I’ve been successful and won those bouts. I consider myself a champion, and that’s the mentality that I have. A few months off to me is nothing.”
The only question people are left asking now is just what kind of fight will Alexander try to pull Amir into. Alexander has shown to be decent in almost every facet of the game, but will he try to goad Mansour into a brawl? Perhaps something a bit more tactical, and less fan friendly? Could it be a fight that forces both fighters to use every tool at their disposal?
“Any fighter in this day and age would have to be out of their mind if they were to brawl with me. They would have to be crazy to want to sit there and brawl with Amir Mansour. So I’m not anticipating any kind of brawl, and if I do it’ll go in my favor. If I get a brawl out of anybody it will always go in my favor. I’m faster than these guys, and I hit way harder than these guys. They aren’t taking my punch or speed, so that will go in my favor if it’s a brawl. I expect this guy to challenge me and put up a fight, but I know that when he feels my power, he’s going to get on his bike, and I’ll have to chase him, corner him, and eventually dispose of him.”
Unfortunately, Amir Mansour can never be brought up without having mentioned the name Seth Mitchell. Ever since Mitchell won Mansour’s vacated NABO title, Mansour has made no secret of his desire to face the then undefeated American heavyweight. With Mitchell earning a stoppage loss at the hands of Johnathon Banks, all talk of Mansour vs. Mitchell seems finally have evaporated, as he now has his eyes set on someone else.
“I watched his fight with Chazz Witherspoon, and I also watched his fight with Johnathon Banks. In his fight with Chazz Witherspoon, they fought for the NABO Heavyweight title that I actually vacated. I wanted to fight him (Mitchell) for the NABO title, but those guys didn’t want to fight us. Golden Boy didn’t want to fight us. As soon as I vacate the title, they fight for it. Okay, fine. So I really was hoping that it would be a no-brainer that he and I should fight for it, or he should at least defend it against me because he didn’t win it by beating the champ, I had to vacate it. It’s nobody’s fault but mine that I had to vacate it, but I didn’t lose it in the ring, I lost it outside the ring. So it seemed like a no-brainer that a good fight in the Heavyweight division as far as American Heavyweights could have been Amir Mansour versus Seth Mitchell, but then they went and fought Johnathon Banks, and rightly so because I couldn’t fight any time before December 21st anyways, but watching him and Johnathon Banks only confirmed what I’ve been telling people for the longest, that Seth Mitchell can’t take a punch. He can’t take a punch, and we already know that Johnathon Banks is nowhere near the bracket of Amir Mansour. Taking nothing away from Johnathon Banks, he fought a smart fight, he stood his ground, and he did what he had to do. I commend him, and I take my hat off to him for that, but the reality is that he doesn’t hit like I hit. Seth Mitchell would never be able to take one of my punches, and at this point he’s been pretty much exposed. So now if he and I fight, I wouldn’t be having the element of me surprising the people by knocking him out. It just wouldn’t be there anymore because we know that he can’t take a punch. This guy grew up playing football being exposed to helmet-to-helmet hits, and they just released a few stories on HBO and other channels about how many concussions the average football player has throughout his career, up through high-school and college. Seth Mitchell played all the way up to the college level. He was a good player, but his body would no longer allow him to play football then jump into boxing. When you come into boxing with two blown out knees, and obviously having suffered a bunch of concussions, this ain’t the sport for you brother. When you get in the ring with somebody who can fight, they’re going to knock you out. Let’s be realistic, as big as he is he should be able to take some kind of punch. He can’t take a punch at all. So as far as Seth Mitchell versus Amir Mansour goes, I just don’t believe in it anymore. I’d like to fight a Johnathon Banks, Thomasz Adamek, or someone who may have a chance of actually beating me. Seth Mitchell doesn’t have a chance in the world. ”
Mansour’s future is still an uncertain one, but the one thing he does promise is an active 2013.
“I will be very busy this year. I feel like this is my year. We have all of our ducks lined up, everything we need, good people behind us, everything else that we need behind us, a good training spirit, good discipline when it comes to training, so I’m really anticipating on fighting regularly this year. I hope to get in at least 6 to 7 fights this year, and I’ll continue to say it, and I’m not talking trash, but I want to fight anybody in the top-5 in the entire world. Whoever is in the top-5, I promise you that I’m going to have my management contact your people, and make the fight happen. Usually those are the types of fights that people want to see, but people don’t realize that we’ve asked so many of these fighters to fight. Even with some of these “future champs of the sport”, we’ve asked them, “can you fight Amir”, and it isn’t because a lack of money, but they just don’t want to fight me. They turn us down constantly. I can’t even tell you how many Heavyweights have turned us down in an attempt to get a fight that people really want to see.”
If everything plays out like he plans, 2013 could be Mansour’s break out year, with 2014 ushering in a fight against a top-5 opponent. Sure, all of this is just speculation, but it just goes to show that Mansour is a fighter to keep an eye on.
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