Ann Wolfe: “This is not a circus act for me”
Interview; Part 1 by "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (September 1, 2005)
A disgrace, freak show, black eye to boxing, or a circus act, take your pick because although this match up has been billed as ‘Ann versus Man’ it has been called anything and everything but that, and the harsh critics have even more to offer in their bag of insults, but what about the key player in this debacle?
What does Ann Wolfe have to say about this controversial card?
The lady warrior known as ‘Brown Sugar’ isn’t afraid to fight anybody, but who will fight her? Despite her unbeaten record and loud mouth manager Laila Ali has never stepped up to the plate for whatever reason her management can think of, while Ann has beaten everybody else including her last bout which was the trilogy with Valerie Mahfood, so who is left?
To the disbelief and disapproval from many on October 15th in Biloxi, MS, Ann Wolfe 22-1 (15) will lace up the gloves and duke it out against the Mississippian Roy Skipper 11-3-2 (7) who simply goes by the name of Bo. What does this bout have to offer the boxing world, nothing, and what does it offer to Ann, just another fight to stay busy and another payday, can you blame the girl?
Ann came from the streets, dirt poor and homeless, but she battled on and persevered, Wolfe is a fighter. And that is how Ann sees this bout with Bo, just another fight, you got to do what you got to do to survive and she will, and once again she shall overcome. Ann stepped in the professional ranks in 1998 and since that point in time has caused havoc to her opponents. Wolfe has faced off against the likes of Gina Nichols, who she has two KO wins over, and in 2004 she squared off against the then undefeated 6’6” Vonda Ward and at 1:08 in the opening round laid the giant to rest with a massive right hand. And just recently Ann defeated nemesis Valerie Mahfood in a ten round unanimous decision to successfully defend her IBA light heavyweight title. She’s tough, she’s a champ and she is willing to fight all.
So why will she face a male, there has to be a logical explanation right?
Well, in this two part candid interview Ann goes into detail about her upcoming controversial bout against Bo Skipper. You may call it a circus act and you have the right to feel the way you do, but listen to Ann’s point of view before passing judgment, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: First off I just want to say thank you for taking the time out to give your thoughts to the Doghouse readers it is greatly appreciated. Congratulations on your victory over Valerie Mahfood give us your thoughts on the victory and the over all fight itself.
Ann Wolfe: Well, I think that people think that Valerie is hard for me to fight but she isn’t, this is boxing and I could have boxed with her brawled with her it doesn’t matter. A lot of people think I can’t box so you watch this fight and you know I can.
BH: You defeated a girl who actually handed you your first and only loss to your record, this is the second time since that point you have beat her, even though this is the second victory over Valerie knowing that this was the trilogy did it make this victory that much sweeter maybe even enough to rank this victory above others?
AW: No, because I knew in my heart that I could beat Valerie, the first time Valerie I truly beat myself, but I had to give her the props on that night. I didn’t have a lot of experience in that bout, but you know, this was one of the easiest fights I had, it wasn’t hard at all. I mean I trained just as hard but with the more fights I get the more comfortable I get. The first fight I had with Valerie where I lost was actually me best victory because I learned a lot in that fight.
BH: Okay, now we will get to your next fight, which will be on October 15th in Biloxi, MS, when you step in with Roy Skipper, a male boxer, the only question that comes to my mind at this point is pretty simply, why, why a man?
AW: Here is what I think, I am not going to go by my manager or what anybody else thinks because it is what I think, because at first I didn’t want to fight a male fighter but you know the first time I fought Valerie I made one dollar, I got one dollar. I fought at least four or five fights for one dollar; I gave my opponent more than half of my purse in order for them to fight because the promoters didn’t want to come up with any more money. The first title I won I was supposed to get three thousand dollars I had to give her two of mine, I ended up with a thousand she ended up with five. Now, the girls now that whenever they step in that ring, win lose or draw or what ever it is they know I am going to do something to them. Not all but most want more money, they want twenty-five thousand, fifty thousand and one hundred thousand, and they want me to do what I have been doing. Do you know that I am a junior middleweight, I am a natural junior middleweight and I am fighting girls at one hundred and seventy, one hundred and eighty, girls like Vonda Ward. I have to give up all the money in order for the girls to fight me and all the weight, we are talking about twenty pounds of weight, no matter how big I get or what I look like I am a junior middleweight. I have given up the weight and the money. It is so difficult to get opponents it is pitiful, what am I supposed to do, retire?
Dana Venard (Ann’s PR): You know what Benny she is making a real good point here, in 2002 when she fought on ESPN she was supposed to fight junior middleweight but three days before she was supposed to fight failed her physical so we had three days to scramble because she was the main event on ESPN, we didn’t have a choice, we couldn’t get an opponent. The only thing we could do to in order for it to be a world title fight was to move up to super middle, Ann went from junior to super in three days because she didn’t have a choice. This launched her into holding the world’s record four titles in four different weight classes. That wasn’t something that we planned, what else was she going to do?
AW: I have already given up all the money and weight that I can give up. I train seven days a week, when ever I fight I believe that I come so close to hell that I can smell smoke, because that is how hard I train.
BH: I know you want to prosper in the fight world, I know that you want women’s boxing to prosper and advance into something more than a novelty to most, but how does fighting a man help the sport of boxing, particularly women’s boxing?
AW: How does it help out? You might not want me to say how it helps out. Where were they when I was getting a dollar a fight, why weren’t they asking that question, let’s pay Ann more than a damn dollar. I am training all the time and missing out on so much with my kid’s school, all I do is train. None of the girls in this sport or the boxing commission is worried about my best interest. They were going to allow two girls to fight for a million dollars, but I am supposed to fight for a dollar and that is justified? I am fighting for nothing when you got two girls fighting for a million dollars who I think I am just as good as, I am not saying that I am better I am just saying I am as good as. This isn’t about women’s boxing, this is about Ann Wolfe. What am I supposed to do, just retire? This is not about me fighting a man, this has something to do with me still having fight left in me, boxing saved my life. I don’t see black, white, green, blue men or women, I see a fight. I see this through my eyes not your eyes, and I am not going to tell you what to see, we as Americans can agree to disagree. I can understand the people saying this is ridiculous because that is what they believe, I would not even try to talk them into believing what I believe.
BH: That leads into a questions I was going to ask, you take your career very seriously and I know you have a family to feed and you will do whatever it takes to support them, I respect you and I respect what you do in and out of the ring, but what about the harsh critics, the ones who say this is more of a side show, Ann versus Man is a circus act, what do or what could you possibly say to the naysayers that would change their thoughts on this bout and actually accept it or does it matter?
AW: I am not going to try to change their minds, this is at my level and I am not going to deal with no circus act, to some people it just might be, but to me it isn’t anything but another fight. I can’t change the way they feel because that is the ay they feel. I know in my heart this is not a circus act and I know when people see me fight they say I am for real, because I am for real. If this is a circus act to other people I don’t care, a lot of people think wrestling is a circus act, I know wrestling ain’t real but you can’t tell my grandmother that it ain’t real. This is not a circus act for me. I think this is drawing as much controversy as it is because they know I can fight, and I come to fight.
Dana Venard: Do you think it is a circus act for women to join men’s golf or auto racing?
AW: I understand what they are saying because them girls aren’t getting punched in their face, I understand on both sides. When I get into the gym I can out run, out lift and out train a whole bunch of guys. Of course if I got in there with Bernard Hopkins or Jermain Taylor then they could say this was crazy.
BH: Okay, back in June I interviewed a male fighter out of Shreveport, LA by the name of James Johnson who on three or four occasions stated to me and this is on record that he signed the contract to fight you, he said you called him out so he accepted the fight. Your promoter even had this match penciled in on their website schedule for August 20th. Now Roy Skipper is your opponent and he even stated that you called him, why didn’t the Johnson bout materialize, and did you call out these men, and if yes why these fighters in particular?
AW: Can I tell you something, if the managers called him out or the promoters called him out whoever called him out; they did, not me, that ain’t in my character. These guys are going to try to blow this up any kind of way they want. I am not making this a circus act, but whoever else is involved if they are making this a circus act then that is where I get pulled in. And if it ever gets to where I think that this is a circus act or I think this is a bunch of bull, I told Bo Skipper to shut his mouth up because he is talking about stuff that is not even important. If it ever gets pulled into a circus act, then I will retire. Ann Wolfe knows how to hustle, is it illegal to hustle, no, but I know how to survive, so I don’t care what anybody says. You know what a circus act is, allowing of women and children to sleep on the street, allowing people right here in America to be homeless, that is a circus act to me. I am trying to feed my children and that is no circus act. Look how much child abuse and sexual predators, rape, tell them to talk about some of that, that is what I call a circus act.
Dana Venard: Even a half a million dollars will not get Laila in the ring, and we never signed a contract with James Johnson, never.
AW: I have only called out one girl in my life and that was Laila, I deserve my just due to fight Laila.
I would like to thank Dana Venard for her help on this interview and a big shout out goes to Ann for her time and thoughts. Ann is also the first lady of www.fighters-of-faith.com
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