So you think I’m a bum? Paying homage to the so called Tomato Cans Part Two
INTERVIEW By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (November 19, 2005)
If you lose a fight, does it make you lesser of a man?
Photo © Benny Henderson Jr.
Bums, tomato cans, stepping stones, record builders, easy victories, the opponent, limited opposition and the guy who just got knocked the @%$! out! They have carried many titles but champion isn’t one of them. Yep, it is the very men who get in the ring and taste leather for the enjoyment of the fans, and I mean the kind of leather that usually puts you face first on the canvas. Even though their chances at a championship is very bleak and they are accustomed to losing, does that make them less than the elite, all though their record is less than respectable do they deserve any respect?
Of course they do, any man or woman that gets into the ring and gets hit in the face for your entertainment deserves something. Not all that steps in the ring will be the victor, not all who have the dream will be successful, but all that fight should get respect. The road warriors of the ‘sweet science’ taking fights on days notice, traveling to the hometowns to face the hometown hero dealing with the hometown judges, the biased refs, and lets not forget the ever so joyful hometown hostile crowds, it’s a hard knocks life but somebody has to do it, and over all, it is all about the love of the sport, and to fight on after your chances of being a champion are shot you have to love it, and we as fans should respect them for doing it.
For instance you have a guy who has fought in sixty-one bouts with forty-eight ending in knock out, just from this you would probably say that this guy has paid his dues. Now, let breakdown the numbers, thirty were victories, out of the twenty-nine left one was a draw. The forty-eight KO’s, let’s juts say that twenty-five of them he gave and the other twenty-three he received. So now look at the stats, a record of 30-28-1 (25) what would be your first initial thought?
Get my point?
All though the man who holds this record will never be a world champion, and he has tasted defeat more than what a lot of fighters have fought their entire career, does he deserve respect. Yes, all who step into the ring deserve some amount of respect, and their voice deserves to be heard. In this article we will dive into the career of a well-known journeyman, he has been called a bum, a loser, a tomato can, but he goes by the name of Marcus Rhode a heavyweight who has pretty much faced anybody and everybody, and has been knocked out by some unforgettable names in the sport, but hey, who’s counting? A fighter who stepped in the rough sport at the age of thirteen and competed in around one hundred amateur bouts and went toe to toe with numerous big name fighters.
Marcus has faced the likes of Tommy Morrison, Lamon Brewster, Vitali Klitschko, Shannon Briggs, Andrew Golota, Calvin Brock and Riddick Bowe just to name a few, and despite being shocked dropped and stopped by all those mentioned above, he continues on. Why? You have a guy here with a college degree and four years of colligate football under his belt, but yet he still continues own despite his record and the Nay Sayers. In this interview we will get the thoughts from the fighter who walks on the less than spectacular side of boxing, let him tell his side of the story in his own words, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: Give us your thoughts on being called a bum fighter.
Marcus Rhode: If I looked at someone’s record like myself from the outside and didn’t know what I know I would probably think that too. It is just real life that’s all. Like the Riddick Bowe fight, people don’t know that I got called for that fight eight days prior, when you see the highlights on TV they don’t show that first round, they didn’t know that I hurt him, and he said I did. I got the fight on eight days notice, I was fighting an ex world champion, a man that out weighed me and we go to war and these guys call us bums. It isn’t rigged but the fights are so heavily against us, you know I am working one minute on my job and they call me and I am on a plane to Germany to fight their guy the next minute. If I could have gotten two or three months of training I think I could have beaten him. I am not trying to put the man down or be disrespectful that is just how I feel. I would love the opportunity to fight Riddick Bowe again with three months notice.
BH: What inspired you to want to put on the gloves and box?
MR: Well back in the day where I lived on the north side we were the poor kids and it was an opportunity where we didn’t need much money to do it because up in Minnesota you either play basketball or hockey and hockey was so expensive we couldn’t afford it and I wasn’t any good at basketball so I got wrapped up in boxing.
BH: Who were your boxing heroes?
MR: Bob Foster, he was real good. But I really liked a lot of guys that I boxed with, like a lot of local guys.
BH: Out of your fifty-nine opponents that you faced whom would you rank as the three hardest hitters?
MR: Lamon Brewster would be number one; he is also a great guy, a real stand up guy. Joe Hipp is number two; he caught me with a body shot. Number three… it is tough to say because I have been hit by a lot of people.
BH: You fought Tommy Morrison after he tested positive for the HIV virus, why did you take that fight, was you concerned about your health?
MR: There is a phobia about AIDS, it is something that is here and running and hiding from it isn’t going to help. There were stipulations on that fight so it wasn’t as dangerous as everybody thinks it was.
BH: With all your years of fighting you have never have earned a title shot, and to be honest with you looking at your record now you will never get that chance. Why do you continue knowing that you will never be a champion or be among the elite?
MR: The simple fact is that you have to be real with yourself, at one point in your career you have to ask yourself if you will ever be a world champion or am I going to use boxing for the most that I possibly can? The situation I was in I couldn’t be in the gym all the time like world champions do, I feel that I can beat anybody on any given night but honestly I don’t if I ever could have been a world champion. With all the punches I have tasted and the times that I have been knocked down I have always got up, I could have stayed down and nobody would have said nothing but I always got up because if you beat the guy you can get better pay. If I had beaten Riddick Bowe you know how much my next payday would have been, it would have been incredible. I am in it for the financial stability. If I clip one of these guys that is my belt, that fifty thousand dollar fight. I am just being honest, I have never ducked I have never took a dive in my life because I am always trying to get that next payday. I am in it for the money.
BH: As a fighter with a less than spectacular record you have faced harsh criticism and probably been called everything from a loser, to a bum all the way to a tomato can, how do you react to all the negative criticism?
MR: It doesn’t bother me because the simple fact is half these guys have never put the leather on, they have never been hit, never been nothing. It doesn’t bother me because all they can do is run their mouth because if they could get in the ring they would have gotten in there, it is just part of the game. We are boxers, we are fighters, but we are also entertainers. They always like to jeer someone and if they feel better about their selves after booing me and talking down to me then let them build their selves up on me. It doesn’t bother me. All I can do is all I can do. A funny story, you know Tommy Morrison beat me pretty quick, well this one time I was at a country bar in Missouri and this guy came up and he said I am going to call you ninety-eight, and the whole night he called me ninety-eight. I couldn’t figure it out why he was calling me that so finally at the end of the night I asked him, he said I call you ninety-eight because you only lasted ninety-eight seconds with Tommy Morrison and he started laughing. So I told him I was going to call him three hundred and sixty-five and he asked why I was calling him that, and I told him because that is how many days you are going to have to work to make as much money as I did in those ninety-eight seconds, and he just shut up. (Laughs) They called me to take the Morrison fight at eight o’clock in the morning and explained it to me and told me when it was, I told them no because it was to short of a notice and I needed to train then they told me how much I was going to make and then I told then yeah I am ready. (Laughs) They flew me out that day at three in the evening.
BH: Some would look at your career and say there couldn’t be any highlights to a career as such, do you have any?
MR: I have made money off of boxing and I have met a lot of people. I have been the VIP at the Las Vegas Hilton, I have had juice and donuts with the president of Argentina, and the mayor of Austria that is what life is about. I have been to almost every continent in the world, I have sat next to Shane Mosely and watched Floyd Mayweather Jr. beat Chico Hernandez, the friends I have made and Tom Cummings, how much time do you have? You can’t even put it into words with what boxing has done for me. All of it is a high point.
BH: At what point in your career did you come to grips with yourself in knowing that you would never be a champion?
MR: It is like Tom Cummings said; you have to be level headed. I just made a decision to fight, I thought I was that good but I had a family and that is the most and for most thing for me, I couldn’t get to the gym. You just keep going.
BH: You have a long list of big name fighters, before you end your career is there anybody in particular that you would like to fight to just say that you fought them?
MR: This may sound crazy but you know who I would like to fight and I would feel real confident who I would beat, Mike Tyson.
BH: You serious?
MR: Yeah, because I fought Kevin McBride in Boston and I was whipping him and he caught me with a body shot and I got so tired. I am not putting Kevin down but he isn’t a great fighter and he beat Tyson. If I would have been in shape I would have beat him, I would love to fight Mike Tyson. Tell Mike Tyson I want to fight him.
BH: You have any regrets?
MR: None. Just gaining the friendship with Tom Cummings through my career is good enough, I am happy. I have met a lot of people. I do wish I had taken it more seriously though.
BH: To be brutally honest, how would you define your career?
MR: In my eyes, just one big fantasy fulfilled.
BH: For the readers that will be reading this story what do you hope they get out of it?
MR: Well, that we are not bums; we are not tomatoes cans, we are doing the best we can do and if they don’t respect us then they don’t respect us.
Part 1: So you think I'm a Bum?
I would like to thank Marcus Rhode for his time and thoughts, it was greatly appreciated.
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