Q & A with Steve ďUSSĒ Cunningham

By Tim Donaldson


On December 11, I was fortunate enough to be witness to one of the great fights in the history of boxing.  The fight between Steve ďUSSĒ Cunningham and Tomasz ďGoralĒ Adamek resulted in a split decision with Adamek holding the IBF Cruiserweight Title.  I recently had the privilege to speak to Steve Cunningham and get his thoughts on the fight and find out why he believes that there should be a rematch.


P4P:  How does it make you feel that so many people all around the world are calling for a rematch?


Steve:  It makes me feel much better than most the other fights.  Weíve been fighting all over the world, and the American fan base has finally got a chance to see us, and to see what type of fighter I am.  Weíre able to do everything, box, go toe to toe, show heart, show some discipline.  Iím very happy to be able to get another chance to be champion again.


P4P:  Can you give us any news on the possibility of a rematch, any new developments?


Steve:  From what Iíve heard, they [Adamek] are trying to get a fight in between, an easy fight quote, unquote.  At this level there are no easy fights.  I heard theyíre saying itís not good to go back to back with fights like that.  But I didnít take any punishment.  But Tomasz has to take an easy fight and get a little break.  Iím ready to roll as soon as possible.

P4P:  Adamek has said that he would like to fight for another belt; do you think that he should fight you first?


Steve:  This is the thing.  Everyone is saying that boxing is dying, and there are no good matches in boxing.  After the fight on December 11, Iíve talked to people who have said theyíve talked to people and theyíre like, ĎMan Iím a boxing fan again.  That fight made me love boxing.  It was the most exciting fight Iíve seen in years.í  Now the power is in the fighterís hands to give the people what they want.  So we should do it.  We should give the people what they want because boxing is hurting.  You see some bad matches, bad decisions, but we had a very beautiful show.  We gave the fight fans exactly what they were looking for.  We gave them skill.  We gave them determination and heart.  We gave them everything, so why not do it again.  Him going after the other belt; itís him looking for money.  But there is money in the rematch.  There is no other Cruiserweight fight out there, but me.


P4P:  So a rematch would be in Adamekís interest?


Steve:  Exactly, he said it himself at the press conference.  Money and television.  I heard Showtime and HBO are very interested.  Money comes with that.  So letís go ahead and do it.  Letís give the fans what they want.  Letís give boxing what it needs, and letís go ahead and do the rematch


P4P:  When you watched the fight, what was your overall impression?


Steve:  My overall impression was that it should have been a draw.  Another thing was the only rounds that I thought he won were the rounds that he knocked me down.  And one of those rounds, round 4, I was totally dominating him for two minutes and then he comes around and hits me and knocks me down with the right hand, that round should have been scored 10-9 for him, not a 10-8 for him.  But there are some discrepancies in the scoring.  That round should be a text book round for the sanctioning bodies to show their judges how you do you score this round.  Because that would have made a total difference.


P4P:  Adamek has been quoted as saying that he felt that you were fighting defensively, is that how you see it?


Steve:  No, did you see his face after the fight versus mine?  There is no way I was fighting defensively.  I was fighting trying to keep my belt, stay champion, and I was actually trying to knock him down.  I fought the way I normally fought.  The guy is the champion now.  He can say whatever and people will believe him. 


P4P:  Yes, I was surprised at that comment.


Steve:  Thatís the thing.  What did the fans see?  Thatís what really matters.  Because I can say that I went out there to do this and do that all day, and he can say I thought this and I thought that, but what did the fans see?


P4P:  After the fight you said that you shouldnít have deviated from your strategy, what did you mean by that?


Steve:  Well, after the first knock down, I went into urgency mode because he got two points ahead of me with the knock down, and weíre only two rounds in, and Iím thinking heís up on score cards.  We still stayed with the game plan.  After I was hitting him with good right hands, I thought I could get him down and out.  I kind of went for him a little more than I have in the past.  We worked on so many different things in the gym.  There were just a few things I deviated off of.  Those little things caused me to get knocked down.  There still serious to me and my camp.  Weíre like wow, Iíve been fighting for a long time and Iíve only been knocked down once in my professional career, and that was 2002, and here it is I get knocked down three times in the same fight.  They were just flash knock downs.  I wasnít hurt at all.  And then Iím hitting this guy with the kitchen sink, and heís not falling.  Iím like heís got this mysterious power; heís got this mysterious chin.  Iím like whatís going on.  Whatever.  The rematch will be even better.


P4P:  Is there anything you would have done differently in the fight?


Steve:  I know that I can knock that guy out.  I know that I can get him out of here.  I know that he canít stand up to my boxing skill and my boxing drive.  Iím going to do what I should have done in the first fight.  Heís going to be out of there.  His eyes were rolling in the back of his head.  He was wobbling; he was buckling.  So I just take my shots a little more and heís gone.


P4P:  Do you think the judges were influenced by the crowd?


Steve:  Thatís possible.  You look at that one judge and he had the fight 116-110.  Thatís ridiculous.  Even with the three knock downs.  Going into the tenth round I thought I need these last three rounds in order to get a draw.  And truthfully I was thinking when the bell rung this should be a draw.  With his three knock downs, but with my fighting, winning the rounds like I did, he should be embarrassed that he went to a split decision with a guy he knocked down three times


P4P:  With so many calling this the fight of the year, do you think that this has actually helped your career?


Steve:  Indeed, this is one of those things.  You lose but you still win.  Because in boxing, as youíve seen it before, fighters that get there butt kicked, but they keep coming back.  Theyíre back on HBO and back on Showtime.  Why?  Because they got a fan base.  These are the type of fights that build your fan base.  People love to see me fight like that.  They love to see fights like that, and Iíve gotten so much more respect and love from that fight then I did from any fight my whole career.  So itís awesome for me.  Itís helped me big time


P4P:  Final thoughts.


Steve:  Iím still confident about the rematch.  It makes sense mentally and for the pockets.  If the networks get involved there is going to be money there.  I donít see why the rematch shouldnít happen.


If you would like to see a rematch between Cunningham and Adamek, you can go to www.wewantarematch.com and sign the petition.