Former two time WBO Heavyweight Champion Herbie Hide has returned to the sport of boxing after two years of inactivity and is now campaigning as a cruiserweight. His long awaited return to the ring saw Hide blow away one Mitch Hicks in a single round earlier this month. Now based in Las Vegas, the British fighter is excited at the prospect of “shaking up” his new division and earlier this week, Herbie graciously granted SaddoBoxing the following interview.
SaddoBoxing: First of all, congratulations on the comeback win. Did it feel good getting back in the ring after being out for over two years?
Herbie Hide: "Well, I was never really two years out, Mick (Hennessy) couldn't seem to get me a fight. I'd never retired, I was always in the gym training. At the time, Mickey was trying to get a deal going but he couldn't get no fights. But I was always in the gym anyway."
SB: Was it frustrating? Were you dying to get back in the ring?
HH: "Yeah, I was dying to get back because I knew I was gonna be a cruiserweight and that was a new excitement to me. I was never really a heavyweight, I fought them because I could beat heavyweights, but I was never a heavyweight. Danny Williams and Audley Harrison and all them guys are probably thinking, 'oh, yeah, he’s gone down to cruiserweight, good.'
"Oh, they'll be thinking that, because I was never a heavyweight anyway, but I'd still fight them now! I haven't heard too much about Audley, I've not heard too much from him, because that sucker lives in Vegas. He knows I'm only a phone call away, so he’s been keeping quiet, because he knows if he bad mouths me, I'll come to his gym and beat the hell out of him! And I aren't talking about with gloves on, I mean outside!"
SB: Yeah, that was a fight I thought might have happened, between you and Harrison.
HH: "Yeah well, Audley lives here in Vegas now, so he’s not slagging me off no more, he’s trying to be a friend of mine now. So he’s not saying a word about me, because he knows if I get to hear bullshit, I'll go round to his gym and beat the hell out of him. I'm talking about out of the ring!
"I want these guys to know that I never weighed in right as a heavyweight. I used to
have weights on around my waist and around my ankles. I never weighed in my underwear, it was always in a tracksuit. I was never a heavyweight!"
SB: You were always fearless in the ring, especially to have taken on such huge guys when you were so small. Do you now think you'll be unbeatable at cruiserweight?
HH: "Hold on, hold on. David Haye! Anybody that knows about boxing, how can they think he has a chance against me? I'm a better boxer than David Haye, I punch harder, I'm faster and I'm physically stronger than him. He'd get knocked to pulp! And Mark Hobson is fighting that guy from Wales, I don't even know his name! (I inform Herbie that Hobson is fighting Enzo Maccarinelli) Mark Hobson ,all of them, will get knocked out in one or two rounds against me!
"Call Barry Hearn, he will tell you. When I fought Riddick Bowe, I weighed under fourteen stone before the fight. So when we went for the weigh-in, I had about ten pounds of weights hidden under my track suit. I had breakfast before I weighed in, to put more weight on! Some of these fighters today think I must have lost weight to be a cruiserweight. I haven't lost no weight! I'm weighing in properly now."
SB: So you now have an advantage then, mentally, knowing that...
HH: "Hold on, hold on. There isn't no cruiserweight out there who can touch me. This kid, (Hicks) every punch I threw knocked him over, even the ones that missed put him on the floor. Don't worry about that, he was feeling the punches!"
SB: Well, you're obviously still incredibly fast and you punch hard; who are the names at cruiserweight that you're after? Is it David Haye, or do you want a world title?
HH: "Let me tell you something, this boy in England everybody’s talking about right now (Haye), his cruiserweight division’s a dead weight, there isn't nothing at cruiserweight. But I'm gonna make it exciting. All these guys, David Haye, Mark Hobson, the guy from Wales, they can't fight a lick!
"I'll fight three of them on the same night! For real. I had four sparring partners at the same time. I had Williams, the guy from London (?), Audley Harrison and I had Scott Welch, all on the same day. They couldn't go six rounds with me! So how can any cruiserweight show me?"
SB: You clearly still have tons of ambition. You're thirty-five now, which isn't old, but how long do you intend to stay in boxing?
HH: "Until as long as it takes to beat upâ€¦. I'm gonna come over there and see what happens with David Haye. Frank Warren or Frank Maloney better not be wasting their money on him, because Herbie Hide be coming along! They better not be wasting their money on those punks because I'm gonna knock all of them out. I was fighting heavyweights, even though I wasn't one, because I've got a heart like a lion."
SB: I've go to say, Herbie, it’s going to be exciting seeing you in there with some big names at cruiserweight.
HH: "I will shake it up! I will shake it up! You need to tell Frank Warren that. He better bring that Maccarinelli, or whatever he’s called, I want him. I've already told the British Boxing Board of Control, they better make me number one contender for the British title. But they told me that there is no competition for me at cruiserweight in Britain. They told me I will
have to go after the world title. Simon Block and Robert Smith, they said 'to be quite honest Herbie, you will have no competition as a cruiserweight at British level.' They said that!
SB: Do you live full time in America now?
HH: "Oh, I still have my house in England. I have a house in Portugal, too. My house in England, I'm not sure if you remember, but I bought it for about one million pounds right after I fought Riddick Bowe."
SB: You're still a popular fighter in England; people are talking about you coming back as a cruiser. What's it like working in America with new trainer Eddie Mustapha Muhammad?
HH: "I've worked with Floyd (Mayweather) senior as well, and a guy called Thorli, he’s British but lives out here. I'm working with him and K.C., Kenny Croom. The reason why I'm working with them is because, here in America they have different kinds of ways than the British fighters. They're training me now. Thorli does all my conditioning, like Jimmy McDonnell used to years ago, before I fought Michael Bentt. Jimmy is one of the best conditioners on the
planet. But my new guy does it exactly the same way. Jimmy was someone I looked up to, and Thorli’s the same way, he acts like Jimmy."
SB: Are you fighting again on October the 28th?
HH: "I was supposed to fight again this coming Saturday, my promoter was trying to line something up, because I wanna stay busy. But this Saturday is not confirmed yet. I will be fighting in the next week or so though, believe me."
SB: How would you fancy a fight with O'Neill Bell?
HH: "I've seen him fight; he couldn't even clean my toilet! Anybody that knows about boxing, knows he wouldn't go four or five rounds with me. But charity begins at home, I want to clean up the British scene first."
SB: Will you have some more fights over here in the UK?
HH: "When I'm in the ring, I fly the British flag. I'm British for real, I just train out here. Back in Norwich, where I was, I had nothing but police problems. Because I say how I feel, I say what I mean. I aren't scared of nothing, I say my piece. It was kind of mixed up, the police were kind of jealous of me, my house and money and everything."
SB: When you're in the ring, Herbie, do you pride yourself on giving exciting fights? You're never in a dull fight are you?
HH: "You're right, because that’s how I fight. I've got quick hands, you could never see me in a boring fight. I just fight, that’s my only way, to come and get you."
SB: Well, I'd love to see you in with a world champion or a big name...
HH: (Raising his voice even more than he had previously) "Call Frank Warren! Tell him I'll fight the winner of Hobson and Maccarinelli. Tell him I don't want no money for it either. Tell him the deal. I'll fight them for free! I mean that, you put me on the record saying that. Frank will say, 'hell, no', though. Because he knows I will knock them out! But the fight will come off anyway, because I'm a two time WBO heavyweight champion. They will have to rank me, they will have to rank me very high."
SB: I know you've always been confident, are you more so now as a cruiserweight?
HH: "I tell you this, I'd still fight at heavyweight, against Danny Williams. I'd knock that punk out! Danny was in Vegas when he was fighting Vitali Klitschko, and all his sparring partners kept coming back to me saying, 'Herbie, Danny says you're a good fighter, he speaks highly of you, he likes you.'
"That punk, he’s a two-faced dog! He was only saying that because he knew they might tell me if he said anything bad about me. He knew I'd go round to his gym and beat the hell out of him. It’s just the same with Audley Harrison, he don't say shit right now, because he knows I'm only a phone call away. All right man?"
SB: Yes, I want to thank you for your time, Herbie, I appreciate it.
HH: "Okay man, no problem. Bye."