Virgil Hunter: "Everyone else can find somebody to fight but we can’t find anyone to fight Andre Ward"
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Virgil Hunter: "Everyone else can find somebody to fight but we can’t find anyone to fight Andre Ward"
By Jenna J, ON THE ROPES BOXING RADIO, Doghouse Boxing (June 1, 2013)

OTR- Virgil Hunter
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In recent years trainer Virgil Hunter has garnered a great deal of respect around the boxing circles due to his work as Andre Ward's long time trainer, and is now one of the most highly sought after trainers in the sport. I recently had a chance to speak with Virgil Hunter to discuss the boxing scene and get his views on what is next for some of the fighters he works with. Hunter talked about Lucas Matthysse’s arrival at Light Welterweight, his thoughts on a potential Matthysse-Khan fight, Amir Khan's future and what's next for Andre Ward. Here is what Virgil had to say.

Jenna J: Virgil, you train a couple of fighters that campaign at 140lbs. What are your thoughts on a fighter that has popped on the scene with a KO victory over Lamont Peterson and now has everyone talking - Lucas Matthysse?

Virgil Hunter: Pretty impressive performance, can’t really sum up any more than that. He’s announced his arrival as a force in the 140lbs division, most definitely.

Jenna: You trained a fighter to face Lucas Matthysse before, that being Mike Dallas Jr. Have you seen any improvements from Lucas Matthysse since then, or is he the same fighter you have seen before?

Hunter: In Mike’s (Dallas Jr.) case we knew what we were up against. He’s a fighter, he’s got a family he has to support, if he had been in any other position which he was fighting, he wouldn’t of taken that fight. But I was confident in the fact that he could survive the fight, but he and I both knew it was a dangerous fight but true to Mike’s warrior mentality, he kind of went away from the game plan, and just said “ok” me and you, which was kind of suicidal, but we laugh about it today. But you got to give Lucas Matthysse his due now.

Jenna: I spoke to Amir Khan during a recent edition of my show and he said he is very interested in a possible fight with Lucas Matthysse. He believes he has the style to beat Matthysse based on the way he fought Maidana. What do you think about Amir Khan vs. Lucas Matthysse?

Hunter: If Amir commits to training in the off season, when he doesn’t have a fight. And that’s what we’re working on now. You look at Amir’s competition, they’re with their coaches all the time. Lamont with Berry all the time, and Devon with Kevin all the time. I’ve been with Amir for maybe only a few weeks, maybe 10 weeks, which is not enough time for us to correct some of the things we need to correct. So I would be much more confident if we went to the drawing board and made some of the corrections, where he doesn’t have a fight scheduled. And when he becomes a gym rat and allows himself to regiment himself to work on those flaws. Personally I wouldn’t be interested in that fight from a coaches point of view.

Jenna: Lets talk a little about Amir's last fight, you know a lot of people criticize him because he does get hurt in fights but you know he also shows tremendous heart. What do you think is the biggest in flaw in Amir Khan?

Hunter: Well again it goes back to what I just said, he has to allow himself time in the gym, during the time when he doesn’t have a fight in the books, to correct those flaws. If anyone takes time to look at the punches that he gets hit with, the punches that hurt him, they would realize he doesn’t see them, and the reason why is because he really needs time to correct some of those mistakes. He realizes competition is catching up and if he goes back to the drawing board and regroups, and puts forth the effort and desire to keep coming forward and progressing then he should be fine.

Jenna: Virgil as a trainer and coach, when you look at the boxing scene, and you look at the fights that are being offered to him(Amir), they’re talking about Devon Alexander and they've even mentioned Mayweather Jr. down the line after his fight with Canelo. What do you think of the options out there?

Hunter: Well again if you have the opportunity to fight Floyd Mayweather, you go and fight that fight. But every fight is a tough fight for Amir, there is no one particular opponent I would choose over the other. Every fight he’s in is going to be a tough fight for him now. Over a period of time as he applies himself, does he have the ability to pull away from the competition? Sure, but it’s going to take work, and every fight Amir is going to be in is going to be a tough fight, and he knows that and I know that, so it helps us prepare for such, and I think this last fight put a lot of things in perspective for him. I expect him to grow from his last fight.

Jenna: Alright, lets turn things to another one of your fighters, that being Andre Ward. When are you expecting him to return to the ring?

Hunter: I don’t know any dates that I can give you but his health is at a level now that he is ready to go, and it’s a just matter of when and where; and hopefully we would like to get 2 fights this year.

Jenna: Well Virgil, it's not just a matter of when, it's also a matter of who Andre fights next. Who do you think is out there that will make for an interesting fight?

Hunter: Well I think he needs to get the appropriate opponent and we’ll go from there. But it’s kind of interesting in boxing that everyone else can find somebody to fight but we can’t find anyone to fight Andre, and he is a victim of his own success, so we just take each fight at a time, we don’t know why these things happen but we just take one fight a time and continue to try, drive, and excel and be successful and that’s all we can do.

*Special thanks goes out to Tim for his help bringing this article to Doghouse Boxing readers

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