Next Saturday night on Showtime (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on West Coast) there will be one less cruiserweight champion. If undefeated WBC Champ Wayne Braithwaite has his way ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. will proclaim him WBC/WBA king when the smoke clears at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA, on April second. On that night Braithwaite faces his toughest opponent as a professional in WBA champion Jean-Marc Mormeck of France.
Photo © Tom Casino, SHOWTIME
Both men are coming off long layoffs, as this bout was to take place back in October when an injury suffered by Mormeck postponed the bout. When they meet in Worcester it will be the first time Braithwaite’s been inside a ring since April of `04 and for Mormeck, the news is only slightly better, his last bout was a decision win over Virgil Hill in May. But don’t think the inactivity has killed Wayne Braithwaite’s motivation or desire.
“No, it won’t be a problem for me because I was always in the gym. I never lay around or anything. I always keep in shape. I don’t know about him, but I was always in shape.”
Braithwaite has been WBC champ since an October of 2002 knockout of Vincenzo Cantatore. With the added pressure of a partial title unification has Braithwaite added any new wrinkles to his training regimen?
“Ah, nothing really…No, nothing different. I’m training like I prepare for a fight. I’m not doing anything special, really. Other than just getting into good shape.”
Some fighters watch lots of video of their opponent, envisioning how he fights and what it will look like when he’s right in front of you. Braithwaite is no exception.
“I saw his last fight with Virgil Hill. I see a couple of mistakes I can capitalize on.”
In the ring the ambidextrous Braithwaite can switch styles on an opponent with ease. He may start fighting southpaw and in one smooth movement he’s suddenly coming forward from the orthodox stance.
“Yeah, I kinda mix it up,” says Braithwaite. And what if Mormeck wants to go head-to-head and slug with the Big Truck? “Oh, yeah. Bring that. I’m happy to.”
Slugging has paid off for a fighter with Braithwaite’s power. His nickname, “Big Truck” was earned because when he hits someone it’s like getting crunched by a monster diesel machine.
Braithwaite’s publicist, Joel Rivera reminded Doghouse fans that Wayne went five years straight without going the distance in a 15 fight kayo streak.
“Wayne’s the best kept secret of the big men of boxing. We all know the heavyweight division has been a little mediocre. How many boxers can say that for five years, from 98-2003, he knocked out all of his opponents? Wayne’s usually in the most exciting bout in an event, whether he’s the main event or not.”
Braithwaite was born in Guyana and now fights out of Brooklyn, NY. In May, he was home in Guyana to visit friends and family and there he is treated more like a star than here in the States.
“Back home in Guyana it’s like I’m a big celebrity. A lot of people respect me…Listen, out here[in NYC] you gotta be a real big celebrity…Back home in Guyana everywhere I go people know me, people respect me.”
A win versus Mormeck may change all that. With the heavyweight division suffering a sort of clinical depression, a strong cruiserweight with power may be able to cause a stir with the smaller heavies of the division. Moving up in weight has been a thought that has entered Braithwaite’s mind before, but it’s not something he distracts himself with now.
“Right now I’m not thinking of that. Right now all my focus is Mormeck…I’m not thinking about nothing else but this fight coming up on April second.”
Not only is Braithwaite focused on Mormeck, the Guyana-born New Yorker isn’t even entertaining the notion of anything less than victory versus the Frenchman.
“This fight, I will win. At the end of the fight my hand will be lifted…On April second, a new star will be born. On April second I’m going to be victorious…They couldn’t get two better cruiserweights to fight in the division. You got the two best. We’re number one and number two. You couldn’t get a better match-up than this. …I think Don King made a good fight for next weekend…I’m more hungry for this fight than I was for my world title…This fight could make you or break you.”
With so much riding on this fight, Wayne Big-Truck Braithwaite will be using all gears to barrel right over his competition and roll on to even bigger challenges.
Fight shown on Showtime (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on West Coast).
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