Peter McNeeley speaks to Doghouse Boxing
By Benny Henderson Jr. (June 21, 2004)
Massachusetts fighter 'Hurricane' Peter McNeeley, 47-7 (36), best known for his 89 second throw-down with Mike Tyson, has had his share of ups and downs in and out of the ring. Whether it was the record breaking Pay-Per-View event with Tyson that skyrocketed his career, or his addiction to drugs and alcohol that brought it back down, Peter McNeeley was still Peter McNeeley: a fast talking, balls of steel, shoot from the hip kinda of guy that we can all relate to in some form or fashion. He is a third generation boxer whose father, Tom McNeeley Jr., fought for the World Heavyweight Championship against Floyd Patterson in 1961. His grandfather Tom McNeeley Sr. fought for the 1928 US Olympic team and was also on the first fight card ever to be held at the Boston Garden that same year. So it's a safe bet to say that Peter McNeeley has a boxing pedigree. Win, lose or draw, the 'Hurricane' would always put on a show for the fans. And for the fans, the 'Hurricane' agreed to talk with Doghouse Boxing.
Benny Henderson Jr.: What have you been up to since you left the ring?
Peter McNeeley: Actually I have never left the ring, I'm not even officially retired yet. It has been more like I've been on call.
BH: Do you have any plans to step back in the ring anytime soon?
PM: Well I was supposed to fight last May 15, at Cape Cod. But my opponent got injured or something like that so it didn't end up happening. I've been with Vinnie Vecchione my entire professional career. He has rejected more offers the last two years than you can even imagine. He knows what's best for me, and you got to go with the best people you can get. I've had 54 pro fights and I'm thirty-five years old, and you can't last forever. So maybe at the most I'd say two more fights but I can't give a timeline on those fights. I'll say this, we are working on doing some things down the road other than boxing, but something still to do with fighting. But I'm not gonna say what it is just yet.
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BH: Has boxing changed you?
PM: No, I have always tried to be just a regular guy. In the 90's things took off for me press wise. A year before the Tyson fight and years after that I got to be world wide, but I still tried to be one of the guys. Right now I'm working, I got a girlfriend, just bought a new Condo and I'm sitting here with some friends getting ready to watch boxing on TV, just like a regular guy.
BH: How did you get the nick name 'Hurricane'?
PM: I turned pro August 23, 1991. It was my first bout and I didn't even have a nickname. The fight was outdoors at Boston University, and it was almost cancelled when we got hit by Hurricane Bob. So the name 'Hurricane' Peter McNeeley was born.
BH: I know you'll fight anybody if giving the chance. But are there any fighters in the heavyweight division at this present time you would like to step in the ring with?
PM: That's a good question, but I couldn't give you a definitive answer. But, I'll say this. If they asked me to fight Joe Blow, Tyson or whoever, it would have to be about the money.
BH: Well I appreciate your honesty.
PM: Well there is no question for my love of the game, and I hate to be that way, but at thirty-five, it would have to be about the money.
BH: What happened in the Butterbean fight?
PM: When I left Boston for Vegas I was ready for the fight. The Tyson fight I was there a month before the fight, so I got used to the climate and time change. Before the Butterbean fight I was there a week. I flew in there late, got up the next day early to fly to LA for a press conference. The time change messed up my sleep, so I didn't rest five days before the fight. When I stepped into the ring I was worn out. But this isn't the amateurs, I never hit the canvas. Jay Nady stopped the fight right as the bell rang. The bottom line is that Butterbean did what he had to do. He got the better of me that night, but not by much. But it was stopped prematurely. Jay Nady could have let the fight continue. Just like the Tarver-Jones fight. I am not taking away anything from Tarver, he caught him good. But when Jones got up he was alright, Nady didn't have to stop the fight at that point either. That's an excuse but it is the truth.
BH: I read an article somewhere that said you do a lot of charity work. Can you name a few of your favorite causes?
PM: I don't have a particular or favorite cause. I get a ton of charity requests on the Hurricane Hotline and my website. I fulfill every one of the requests that I possibly can.
BH: Your bout with Tyson, you showed absolutely no fear. You charged right at him and went toe-to-toe with that guy. Was that your actual fight plan? Or were you just overly excited with the fact of being in the ring with Tyson?
PM: That has always been my fight plan to go toe-to-toe with the fighter. I really wanted to hit Tyson so I stuck to my style of fighting. He just got back after being off four years, so he was lacking confidence and I really wanted to ruffle his feathers a bit.
BH: How was your experience working with Don King, and how do you feel about him?
PM: Love him, just love the guy. He is a genius. The whole time I was with him he treated me like royalty. I did two years of a four year contact, and I got every last nickle he owed me and then some.
BH: Your fight with Larry Menefee was one month after the death of your friend Chris Farley. How emotional was it for you to step in the ring and dedicate the fight to your late friend?
PM: Chris Farley was a great guy and a good friend. He passed away right before Christmas and my fight was just after Christmas so it wasn't even a month really, so I dedicated the fight to him. I wish it had never happened but it did and I just felt like I was giving my props to my buddy.
BH: It is fair to say that you haven't been treated with a lot of respect throughout the years by the boxing media. How did that affect you and how does the general public treat you when they meet you?
PM: Well, the area that I'm from is the toughest sports press in the world. There is so much competition here. Football, basketball, boxing, baseball, soccer, hockey. It can get crazy and people can be harsh and cold at times. But hey, I know that I am not the greatest fighter in the world, but I got heart and I got balls and I always come to fight. People always get entertained whether I win or lose. But the people who say bad things about me, how many times have they heard the bell ring? Do they know what three minutes is all about? Some ask if I would do it all over again, you bet your sweet ass I would. I am just carrying on the family business, and that aspect of it is an honor and pleasure for me, so I can't really complain on how people treat me.
BH: What advice would you give to somebody who wanted to lace up the gloves and start a career in boxing?
PM: Remember the movie 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High'?
BH: Yes I do.
PM: Well the dude walked in the store and that guy was showing him the rules on the board. Remember what he said? He said "Learn It, Know It, Live It. That's what I would say to them.
BH: Any last comments you want to make to the McNeeley fans?
PM: I'll say this. This magic mystery tour of boxing that I've taken is coming to an end shortly. Thanks for being there, it was beautiful. And as long as there is a fan around I am happy.
I would like to thank Dan Lewis for going out of his way to get this interview done for me. And I would like to personally thank Peter McNeeley for his time. It was a blast, and no matter what the media has said about him in the past, I thought the 'Hurricane' was comical and very honest with his comments. For any additional information on Peter McNeeley, visit his website Hurricane Watch: The Peter McNeeley Website. There you will be able to find a full biography, latest news and fight photos of the 'Hurricane'. For any information on Peter McNeeley boxing memorabilia contact Bill at LAND OF LEGENDS.
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