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Up Close and Personal with Former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Charles "The Hatchet" Brewer
I had the honor of interviewing Charles Brewer and was pleased to meet a man who possesses the qualities of a true champion both in and out of the ring. A funny and articulate family man with a determined spirit to succeed no matter what the sacrifice he faces and gives us his honest opinions on the division, his career, bad decisions and who deserves a to come to America to get beat on our soil.
W.R.: What’s in store for Charles Brewer in the coming year?
Well, I’m certainly looking forward to fighting for and recapturing the super middleweight title very soon. Stay tuned…
W.R.: You are scheduled to face Mads Larsen in March, is this match still going to take place?
No, the fight isn’t happening. Larsen has pulled out due to an alleged injury, however I later found out Larsen is going to get a shot at Anthony Mundine’s WBA title. I was then told Mikkel Kessler would be replacing him and that his promoters) were going to make the match between Kessler and me as a WBC eliminator, but this isn’t possible because Kessler is already rated #1 by the WBC.
I had agreed to fight Larsen only because the IBF ordered the match if either of us wanted an opportunity to challenge Sven Ottke (IBF, WBA SUPER-CHAMPION) as a mandatory challenger so I was willing to take the risk of facing him on his own turf. Granted Larsen is from Denmark but Kessler, on the other hand, is undefeated and from Copenhagen, Denmark, which is where the fight was to be held. I know from past experience that fighting him in Copenhagen is like him fighting me in Philadelphia. So I turned it down
W.R.: Sven Ottke, Joe Calzaghe, Markus Beyer and Anthony Mundine are the current belt holders in your division. How do you feel you rank amongst them?
The only one that I can give any kind of credibility to is Joe Calzaghe. I found him to be tougher than I thought. But, I would have to say I rate above them all based on the fact that I have been willing to fight internationally to prove myself as being one of, if not the best in my division. It’s easy to stay in your safe haven and only fight locally in your country.
W.R.: If you could choose to fight one of the above mentioned champions next time out, who would you like to challenge and why?
Personally, if it could happen, which I know would be a dream I would love to beat Sven Ottke in front of the American public. In fact I would love to have the fight staged right here in Philly.
W.R.: You won the IBF title in 1997 with a knockout win over Gary Ballard, describe the feeling of winning a world title.
It was the most gratifying feeling of my career. It finally felt like all the time, effort, hard work and dedication and oh yeah, discipline I had invested had paid off.
W.R.: You were a very active champion defending four times in a year. How do you feel about champions who choose to defend only once per year, and are they living up to the responsibility of being a belt holder?
I personally think it’s up to the individual. If you’re a person like let’s say, Oscar De la Hoya (a person who has proven himself for the most part) and can demand $10+ million per fight and get it. Why sweat it? After all, once we all get pass the prospect and contender stage, the focus then becomes money, simply put the fighters who are dedicated, hungry and true to the game are the ones who reap these rewards. But, I also think champs should showcase themselves at least twice a year in fights that the boxing public really wants to see. I know this is sometimes easier said than done, but the attempt to bring forward these types of fights should be made.
W.R.: Sven Ottke was awarded your belt in what many feel was a controversial decision in his home country of Germany when you faced him. Did you think you would have a problem with biased judging when you signed for the fight?
No, not at all (how foolish). I had watched Ottke fight on the undercard of my fight against Antoine Byrd in Germany. I felt as though I was going to knock him out which I almost did. So when the decision was announced, it was crushing. I knew I had been done wrong; the title I had worked so hard to get was stolen from me. It was an experience that I have vowed to never let happen to me again.
Germany, for the most part, is one place where, unless I had no other options, I would never venture into again. The biased decisions, judging and refereeing that have taken place there, takes any and all creditability from Ottke as being a legitimate champ. He’s nothing more than a protected asset in Germany and once he loses, it’s over for him. It’s gotten so bad, even European’s are complaining about the decisions and the refs that are involved with his fights. (Robin Reid is currently awaiting a ruling by the I.B.F. to find out if he will be granted a rematch with Ottke.
W.R.: It must be emotionally draining when a questionable decision goes against you. Did you find hard to get motivated to fight again? And where did you find inspiration to continue?
First of all, I thrive off of negativity. In fact, I grew up in the midst of it. I tend to use it as a motivating factor and I never once lost confidence in myself. I am a very self confident, ambitious man and I knew that my skills, abilities and determination would bring me be back to the top
W.R.: It seems everybody is jumping around weight classes these days. Have you ever considered this and if so, who would you like to face?
If I were to say no I’d be telling a lie. Of course I have thought about it, after all it’s about opportunity and money. I currently happen to be in a very good position in the super middleweight division and hopefully I will be fighting for a world title in a few months. (Patience is a virtue), but I can also see opportunities in the light heavyweight division as well by facing boxers like Roy Jones, JR. Glencoffe Johnson, and Antonio Tarver.
W.R.: In your opinion what happened in the Antwon Echols fight? Why did the referee stop the fight?
You know what? I lost it in that fight. I was beating this guy, using my boxing skills, jabbing him, keeping at a distance, executing good defense then I threw one of the best right hands I have ever thrown in my career. I had him hurt badly not once, not twice, but three times and the ref chose not to stop the fight. (Why, I‘ll never understand).
I had so much adrenaline flowing through me all I wanted to do was finish this guy off, In fact, I don’t remember one word said to me by my trainer in the corner after the second round. I was so focused on just trying to take this guys head off the next round. And well we all know what happened next. I was the one who ended up getting hurt (not down and sure as hell not out) just rocked a little. The ref now decides that he should stop the fight. Why?
He should have given me the same opportunity he allowed Echols. The call was BS. But I must say, I should have displayed more patience, shown a little more ring savvy and taken him out like a true veteran would.
W.R.: Which fight are you most proud of and feel best exemplifies your skills?
I would have to say, my toughest fight was against Herol Graham. Although he was 36 at the time, he was still very cagey and difficult to hit. To make matters worse, in the third round I twisted my right ankle tearing three ligaments which really hurt. A consequence of getting hit with a straight left hand, but I dug deep and knocked him out in the tenth round.
I told my trainer at the end of the third round that I had injured my right ankle, but I refused to let it show. Even as the rounds progressed, my ankle started to throb like hell. I had too much determination to stop; in fact, it only angered and agitated me more. By mid rounds, I told my trainer “when I catch this “mutha fu---” he’s going to sleep!
W.R.: How would you best describe your fighting style?
I am boxer / puncher. I have very good boxing skills, but lately I haven’t had to use them extensively because my recent opponents have enabled me to dominate them by just basically pressing forward and being the aggressor. As a result, I have acquired the rep for being a puncher.
W.R.: Being a fighter from Philly carries a reputation for extreme toughness. Are the gym wars as brutal as they say?
Absolutely! And I’ve had my fair share of them, but I’ve seen more than I have actually been involved in.
A lot of fighters and some trainers don’t realize that when you constantly are getting banged around in the gym, it only hurts rather than help your career and actually shortens it. Some trainers believe that placing a green fighter in the ring with a veteran is smart and that the green fighter can learn from him. Well, that may hold true if the vet is in the “teaching mode”, but if not, then get the band aids, heating pads, smelling salts and aspirin ready.
I have certainly had my share of head-bangers, but now I do the distribution of the butt whipping.
W.R.: What has helped you get up from knockdowns and go on to knock your opponents out?
I am very determined, train hard, along with very confident in my skills and abilities.
W.R.: Do you think too much importance is placed on a fighter’s record?
Yes, I do. Fighters nowadays love to have that xx (victories) and 0(defeats) who wouldn’t. But lets be real as a fighter you have to look at your record and say “I have all of these victories, but who the heck are these guys that I have defeated?” There will come a point in your career when you’re going to have to prove yourself and you won’t be able to hide behind that undefeated record.
W.R.: After fifteen years as a pro what have you learned?
Let’s see, after fifteen years I’ve learned many things. One - Be good to boxing and boxing will be good to you. Two- Always be a student of the game and never stop learning.
Most importantly, I have learned to be more involved in my career outside of the ring just as well as in the ring and I’ve become more attentive of the business end of my career.
W.R.: Have you ever given any thought about getting into promoting or working as a trainer after you choose to retire?
RETIRE? Don’t say that word! As far as promoting, no I’m just not interested in it, but being a trainer, that’s a thought. Although it would have to be with people who are willing make the sacrifices to become successful. I know the kind of mentality it takes to maintain a championship level in boxing. It’s tough to find especially if they’re young.
W.R.: What has boxing done for you and where would you be without it?
Boxing matured me at a young age and kept me from going astray. It taught me discipline and instilled confidence and determination in me. I have learned to apply these same traits to my everyday life to become a successful man both in and out of the ring.
Without boxing, I would still be successful in whatever I choose to do because I want too much out of life and I don’t mind working hard for it. In fact, I’d rather work hard for it because when I acquire success, I’ll know it’s a result of sacrifice and determination.
W.R.: Are you involved in the community in anyway?
At one particular time I was. I would talk with kids in grade schools, libraries and other events, but unfortunately I just don’t have the time anymore. In fact, last evening I graduated from The Chubb Institute, completing a Network Administrator course. I had to maintain a crazy schedule to finish this course but it’s all about determination and sacrifice. I worked 6 days a week (Sun- Fri), went to school 2 nights a week from 6pm-11pm and every other Saturday from 9AM 2PM. I trained 3 days a week and on the Saturdays when I went to school, I went to the gym afterwards. With a wife and 2 kids (wife Sophia, son Charles JR., and a daughter named Jasmine), my free time is limited. If I could just add 4 more hours onto a day I’d be OK.
W.R.: Where does the nickname “The Hatchet” come from?
The name was given to me by my trainer, Bobby “Bogaloo” Watts. Back when I was an amateur I had a stable mate who had a similar name (William “the Hammer” Jones). I don’t know maybe Bobby has a thing for carpenter’s tools.
W.R.: Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the fans?
Please be patient. You will be seeing a lot more of me very soon. This time there will be no weight issues (I promise) and hopefully I will be fighting for, and acquiring a world championship in the near future. God Bless.
Amateur Record: Amateur: 17 fights; 14+, 3-
Professional Record: 49 fights; 40+ (28 KO), 9-
1996-1997: United States Super middleweight
1997-1998: I.B.F. Super middleweight
2001: North America Super middleweight
- 1989 -
+ (Aug-3-1989, Philadelphia) Jerome Johnson ko 3
+ (Sep-25-1989, Atlantic City) Robert Edmonds 4
+ (Oct-3-1989, Philadelphia) Ron Reid kot 3
+ (Nov-7-1989, Atlantic City) Eric RHINEHART kot 3
+ (Dec-19-1989, Atlantic City) John MC CLENDON 4
- 1990 -
+ (Jan-14-1990, Atlantic City) John MC CLENDON kot 4
+ (Mar-18-1990, Atlantic City) Roberto Perez kot 3
+ (Apr-29-1990, Atlantic City) Willie Douglas 8
+ (Jun-24-1990, Atlantic City) Willie Douglas 6
+ (Sep-21-1990, Atlantic City) Fred Rivera kot 4
+ (Dec-28-1990, Atlantic City) Freddy Sanchez 6
- 1991 -
+ (Mar-8-1991, Atlantic City) Eddie Evans kot 3
+ (May-16-1991, Atlantic City) Mark Buchanan 8
+ (Aug-9-1991, Atlantic City) Joaquin VELASQUEZ kot 2
- (Sep-20-1991, Philadelphia) Robert THOMAS 6
- 1992 -
- (Jan-12-1992, Atlantic City) Robert THOMAS 8
+ (Jun-25-1992, Philadelphia) Willie Harris ko 1
+ (Aug-14-1992, Atlantic City) Ernest KENNEDY ko 1
+ (Sep-11-1992, Atlantic City) Ricky STACKHOUSE kot 3
+ (Oct-13-1992, Philadelphia) Danny MITCHELL ko 3
- 1993 -
+ (Jan-26-1993, Philadelphia) Aaron Smith kot 4
+ (May-11-1993, Philadelphia) Carl Sullivan ko 6
+ (Jul-20-1993, Philadelphia) Steve Darnell kot 2
+ (Nov-23-1993, Philadelphia) Mario Munoz kot 1
- 1994 -
- (Feb-1-1994, Philadelphia) Lonnie BEASLEY kot 1
- (Jun-14-1994, Philadelphia) Rafael WILLIAMS kot 6
+ (Oct-20-1994, Ledyard) Terry SEAY ko 2
- (Nov-8-1994, Mashantucket) Rodney TONEY 10
- 1995 -
+ (Aug-1-1995, Philadelphia) Adam GARLAND kot 3
+ (Oct-17-1995, Philadelphia) Mark Buchanan ko 2
- 1996 -
+ (Mar-12-1996, Philadelphia) Frank RHODES 12 (United States, Super middleweight)
+ (Oct-4-1996, New York) Fermin CHIRINOS 8
- 1997 -
+ (Feb-18-1997, Philadelphia) Greg WRIGHT 12 (United States, Super middleweight)
+ (Jun-21-1997, Tampa) Gary BALLARD kot 5 (I.B.F., Super middleweight)
+ (Dec-2-1997, Philadelphia) Joey DE GRANDIS 12 (I.B.F., Super middleweight)
- 1998 -
+ (Mar-28-1998, Atlantic City) Herol GRAHAM kot 10 (I.B.F., Super middleweight)
+ (Aug-22-1998, Leipzig) Antoine BYRD kot 3 (I.B.F., Super middleweight)
- (Oct-24-1998, Dusseldorf) Sven OTTKE 12 (I.B.F., Super middleweight)
- 1999 -
+ (May-8-1999, Dusseldorf) Carlton HOLLAND kot 2
+ (Oct-29-1999, Indianapolis) Reggie STRICKLAND kot 2
- 2000 -
+ (Mar-3-2000, Verona) Laverne CLARK ko 2
- (Sep-2-2000, Magdebourg) Sven OTTKE 12 (I.B.F., Supermiddleweight)
+ (Dec-8-2000, Philadelphia) Esteban CERVANTES kot 1
- 2001 -
- (May-19-2001, Uncasville) Antwun ECHOLS kot 3
+ (Oct-5-2001, Philadelphia) Fernando ZUNIGA 12 (North America, Super middleweight)
- 2002 -
- (Apr-20-2002, Cardiff) Joe CALZAGHE 12 (W.B.O., Super middleweight)
+ (Aug-2-2002, Ledyard) Scott PEMBERTON kot 6
- 2003 -
+ (Jan-31-2003, Atlantic City) Etianne WHITAKER 10
+ (Sep-19-2003, Toms River) Freeman BARR kot 5 .
Email Wayne with questions or comments at: email@example.com