Michael Grant: “To all the critics who doubted me, you are going to eat your words.”
Interview by "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (March 12, 2005)
After a year lay off the ‘big’ man is set to return to the ring April 8th in Ft. Lauderdale to face an unnamed opponent but is eager to retain his grasp on the heavyweight division that Michael Grant, 39-3 (30), set on fire almost eleven years ago. After attending the Holyfield-Bowe bout in 1992 the youngster felt he could compete in the boxing world and left college to move to Vegas to embark on a boxing career of his own.
As an amateur Grant compiled an 11-1 record winning the Bronze medal in the National Golden Gloves and hit the professional scene July 21, 1994, knocking out his first six opponents. After pounding out a 26-0 (18) record and stopping eight in the first round and earning the IBC heavyweight title, Grant made his HBO debut facing 20-2 David Izon. Five rounds later the boxing world would know the name Michael Grant. After disposing of three more of his opposition Grant was set to defend his NABF title against Polish bad boy Andrew Golota, who was mostly known for his transgressions against Riddick Bowe three years earlier. This would prove to be one of Grant’s toughest opponents after Golota dropped Grant for the first time in his career with a short right hand and then once more before the first round ended. Grant came back little by little and in the tenth grounded Golota to get the win after the Pole wouldn’t continue.
In 2000 the 6’7” Michael Grant would face the 6’5” undisputed champion Lennox Lewis at Madison Square Garden. Three times Grant would taste the canvas and tore a ligament in his knee. In the second round Grant was fed a show stopping uppercut that gave Michael his first loss as a professional. After a year lay off Michael was set to step back in the ring and would face Jameel McCline, one round one punch and one torn ligament later, Grant would face defeat once again. Michael went on to knock out seven of his opponents before stepping in with young gun Dominick Guinn in June of ’03. Grant would be dropped four times en route to another disappointing loss.
Michael Grant came back and outclassed and defeated over matched Charles Hatcher February of ’04 but has been on a thirteen month hiatus from the ring until now. Now he is set to make another run at the heavyweight division. Will he be successful in doing so? Can he restructure his career and become victorious against today’s top elite and hush the naysayers that have publicly doubted him? Grant certainly thinks so and he stopped by the Doghouse to talk the critics and about his career and what the future holds. Enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: It has been over a year since you last stepped in the boxing ring, do you plan on returning, and if yes when?
Michael Grant: Yeah, actually I’ll be returning April 8th in Ft. Lauderdale.
BH: Is there any opponent in mind at this time?
MG: Not at this time, no.
BH: What have you been doing with your time off?
MG: Actually I have been in camp, believe it or not. Last year after my fight in January I was supposed to fight again in June against Terrance Lewis but the fight got cancelled because the promoters didn’t have the money so they snatched the whole card. That was the week of the fight and it kind of blindsided me on that one, so from June till the end of the year I stayed with my family at home. When January 4th came around I got back in camp and I have a date scheduled for April 8th.
BH: A lot of the media and others have said that you have been on a so called ‘downward spiral’ since your loss in 2000. What do you say about that and do you feel you can ever restructure your career and be successful once more?
MG: Absolutely man. I will be honest with you, if you want to look at it like that, that is a sad way to look at it because you got characters out there like Glen Johnson and everybody counted him out from the door. You have Vernon Forrest, Shane Mosley, I mean these guys people were calling washed up and they went through those moments and then they got their selves back on track.
BH: In your opinion is there anything you should have done differently in your career, and if yes what would it have been?
MG: If I would have done anything differently, I would have possibly from the start got better leadership from a trainer, I would have changed the regime of my trainers. Let me rephrase that, I would have changed the direction of my trainers.
BH: Out of your thirty-nine wins which one are you most proud of, or is the most unforgettable?
MG: I’m most proud of all of them pretty much to be honest with you because I didn’t think I would [laughs] pretty much be at thirty-nine wins. I didn’t know where I was going to be, I didn’t know how my life was going to pretty much unfold. I’m happy with what I have been through and I don’t regret anything that I have done. The most memorable one would probably be the Golota fight, that was a fight I had to definitely fight all nine rounds.
BH: If you could step in the ring with any title holder at this time, who would it be, and why?
MG: The next one that I am looking forward to is April 8th and from that point on I am moving forward as far as fighting any of the contenders out there right now. I don’t think anyone holds the value of the championship status, especially the three title holders right now, I don’t think they have any value, Chris Byrd might have a little value but he is not a threat. The other guys [laughs] I’ll be honest with you, they’re old people, every last one of them.
BH: You are a man of faith, so how much of a positive impact has that played in your life?
MG: A lot, I’ll be honest with you I didn’t have to work to hard early on coming up in this game because I was blessed with a lot of talents and a lot of gifts. I had the right connections and with those talents I had favor, I had good favor in my life. Now I’m on the back side of it and I still have the talents, the ability and the connections now it is more that I have to prove myself to thee individuals now. Before I didn’t have to prove myself, everybody was wondering if I could fight and then after the Golota fight people knew I could fight. Now I am on the back side of it and everybody knows I can fight but I feel I have to prove myself and back then I didn’t feel that I had to prove myself. With my thinking that I have to prove myself now, that gives me the greater mindset to go out there and work as I should to be the best that I can be.
BH: Are you nervous about your comeback, and is there anybody in particular that you would like to return against?
MG: Oh, I’m not because basically at this point and time I’m working with fighters right now that are pretty much climbing the ladder. Got a guy now I have been working with in the gym that is like 34-0 and is ranked in the top 12 I think. Well, I was just manhandling him in the ring but I didn’t want to deteriorate his confidence so I started working with him to help him catch up and start looking at the game differently. So as I was working with him I could see that he was getting himself together. The sky is the limit with what I want to do in this heavyweight division; I pretty much feel it is wide open.
BH: You excited about your return?
MG: Absolutely, ain’t anybody in this division who can handle me, I am my worst enemy.
BH: Is there anything you would like to add to this?
MG: To all the critics and everybody who doubted me and everything, they are going to eat their words. And even to those promoters who didn’t want to handle me anymore because they felt that the hype and everything was true with what some commentator said about me, they are going to eat there words. I do remember you, I do remember you.
I would like to thank Ted Bodenrader of New England Ringside for his help on this interview, I would like to give Michael a big shout out for his time and thoughts for the readers, it is greatly appreciated.
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