Paul Thorn Part One: Twenty years after his six rounds against Roberto Duran!
Interview by Benny Henderson Jr - AKA "Big Dog" (April 14, 2008) Doghouse Boxing  
This month marks the twentieth year anniversary of the six rounds Paul Thorn, 14-4-1 (6), went with the legendary Roberto Duran, 103-16 (70). It was a bloody bout that earned Paul a massive split lip and a loss to a legend, but hey, it was a loss to a legend! Since then, Duran fought the likes of Leonard, Pazienza and Camacho, establishing himself as one of the all time greats in boxing. Thorn, after five more professional fights, left the ring for the stage and has established himself as one of the most whole-hearted singer songwriters that today's music world can offer.

Paul was not a bad boxer, but has flourished as a musician. His rock-a-billy blue collar style has earned him a fanbase that is longer than a Texas mile. In this exclusive interview conducted by Doghouse Boxing, Paul talks about the sweet science and his six rounds with the great Roberto Duran, enjoy.

Benny Henderson Jr.: My brother, it has been a long time since we had you in the Doghouse, what has been going down in the world of Paul Thorn?

Paul Thorn:
Well, I have been doing the same thing since the last time I talked with you, touring and doing my shows. I have a new album out "A long way from Tupelo", a lot of good things have happened since my new record came out. For one it is number one on the Americana radio charts, I am really excited about that. I have had a lot of television appearances, a couple of weeks ago I was on the Conan O'Brien Show, that was fun, This month on the twenty-second I will be on the Jimmy Kimmel show. I am doing a lot of radio shows, my profiling is getting up and my shows are selling out now, I am
having a good career. I am really excited and thankful what has come my way.

BH: I remember first hearing you on the Bob and Tom show, you were singing "It's a great day to whip somebody's ass".

That was just a joke song I wrote, people like it and I understand because we have all wanted to whip somebody's ass at some point during the day. Every time I am on the Bob and Tom show I always wish I had an extra day because Marvin Johnson lives around that area and I was a big fan of his and I have always wanted to go shake his hand and tell him I was a fan but I have never got to do it.

BH: It has been twenty-years since you fought the legendary Roberto Duran, what was it like to fight Duran?

Well, it was a surreal experience, the thing I remember and the reason why I was never able to be a world champion boxer because of although I was physically in shape, I lacked mental confidence. When I went into the ring with Duran I got into a scenario that, although I was actually physically stronger than Duran, but I lacked mental strength, which he had. He was at a whole different level than me, not just skill wise but mentally. He was completely relaxed and I was not. That held me back. He beat me; there is no question about it. The good thing about it, boxing gave me the ability to face my fears and gave me coping skills for life and to prepare for things that come up, it gave me a lot of good things that I use in my life. When I am on stage singing, I do have that confidence that I lacked at a fighter. Duran was not born with confidence; he was scared on the inside just like everybody else. His toughness did not come by choice, he lived on the streets and there were days that he had to fight just to get something to eat. I did not go through those hard times, my Mom and Dad always provided for me. His toughness was hard earned; he was not born with it. After living on the streets and stealing a piece of bread just to have something to eat, getting in the ring with me was a piece of cake for a guy like Roberto Duran. He is a real tough guy. You watch a John Wayne movie, John was an actor, and he was not a real tough guy. A lot of these martial artists get mad when I say this about Bruce Lee, but show me one existing film of him defeating somebody who was not an actor, something that was not a staged scene in a movie. Roberto Duran is a real living John Wayne, he is a real living Bruce Lee, Duran was real, and he could really kick your ass. That is all I have to say about him. (Laughs)

BH: Who are some of the guys that you like to watch now?

I like the Klitschko brothers, they are good people, Wladimir conducts himself as a champion should. They set an example for young people who are fans on how to act as people should. I root for Klitschko for that reason. I really like Kelly Pavlik, he reminds me of a throwback fighter from the eighties when fighters came to fight. He has heart, he got up off the floor when Taylor knocked him down, and came back and knocked Taylor out. Talent wise, I have always been a James Toney fan, unfortunately he does not have a champion's mentality although he does have a champion's ability. He comes into the ring out of shape relying on his gifts. It is a damn shame because he is so talented.

BH: A lot of people have this debate that boxing is dead and that the MMA is taking over, what are your thoughts on that subject?

I hate to say it but I think there is some truth that boxing is dying; I used to go to Books a Million, one of the highlights used to be to read the boxing magazines. There used to be KO, Boxing Digest and Ring, you go in there now, you know how many they have now? Zero, not one. That is because the fans are going away from boxing for a lot of reasons. Used to you could see fights on CBS on Saturday, you could see really good fighters, but now you have to pay fifty bucks to see a fight. A lot of fighters are not humble, they are not likable, they are talented but you wind up wanting to see them get beat because they have no class. They fight like champions but they do not act like champions. A champion is not only a fighter, but a representative and an example on how to act, I mean none of us are perfect, but the way some talk and act it is hard to get behind them and root for them.

Some have this delusional thinking that they can go into the MMA and win, which is ludicrous; they have no chance at all against the MMA guys because a boxer is only effective if the other person is only throwing fists. As far as two men fighting with their fists, boxing will rule. In the MMA world you have to be lucky to land a punch because once they close the distance, in a boxing match you clinch the ref breaks it up, in the MMA that is when the fight starts. I heard rumors that Floyd Mayweather thinks that he wants to get into the MMA, well go ahead, but he is going to tote a massive ass whipping when he does. (Laughing) You remember I said that.

I would like to thank Billy Maddox for setting up this interview, and a big thanks goes out to Paul for his time and thoughts. Please be sure to check out part two where Paul gets into his music. And be sure to check out

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