|There was a time when many people in the boxing community had written Wayne McCullough off, and if you saw his fight against WBO featherweight champion Scott Harrison, you’d be forgiven for sharing that opinion. However, with persistence and a still burning desire to compete against the best fighters for world titles,|
Wayne McCullough has fought his way back into the general boxing consciousness. Having recently administered a quick stoppage of Mike Juarez, Wayne finds himself in the position of being able to contest world honors once again. He will fight WBC super bantamweight champion Oscar “Chololo” Larios later this year in the hopes that his tireless efforts will result in the achievement of another world championship. Wayne was kind enough to speak to me regarding his upcoming fight, his training and his career in general before his intensive training kicks into high gear.
SaddoBoxing: How has training been going for this fight?
Wayne McCullough: Training is going well. I never stop training so I'm always ready to go. I just came to LA to work with Freddie Roach and he is teaching me tons of new moves - at thirty-four, I'm still willing to learn.
SB: As far as preparation goes, what are you doing differently if anything, to prepare for this fight?
WM: I'm not doing anything differently to prepare for this next one. I train for every fighter as if he were a world champion. That way I am totally prepared for whatever he brings into the ring.
SB: Many people thought that you had finished boxing. Where and what have you been doing with your time while you were away?
WM: I fought again in September knocking out my opponent in the second round. During the time I was out of the ring, I never stopped training. I knew that someday, someone would give me another chance to prove myself. In my spare time, I began personal training. I now train a few guys from the Las Vegas dance troupe "Thunder from Down Under." They are great guys and they even came to my last fight and walked me into the ring.
SB: Has there been a decision made as to where you will be fighting?
WM: I think my promoter is close to making an announcement for my next fight.
SB: Now that you are with Goossen Tutor Promotions and knowing their ability to help past fighters resurrect their careers, do you believe they will be able to help you in the same manner?
WM: I fought on Dan's card in my very first pro fight so that's how far we go back. I saw what he had done for James Toney and Glen Johnson and I knew, given the chance, he could do the same for me.
SB: Do you believe fans as well as critics wrote you off and unfairly judged you on that fight you had against Harrison?
WM: There was a lot that happened before, during and after the Harrison fight that would explain why I fought the way I did that night. I think people looked at that one fight and wrote me off and didn't give me the chance to come back. But that fight is in the past and I am over it.
SB: Well with that being said, you know as well as I know that life is filled with critics and criticism. How do you put that all aside and refocus on the task at hand, which is to fight Larios and win?
WM: From now on, I am going to stay away from the negative press. I know that I will get a lot of bad press if I fight for the title, but that comes with the territory. I am just going to focus on working with Freddie and winning my future fights.
SB: With Freddie Roach in your corner, are their any adjustments being made to your fighting style? Any changes being made?
WM: I don't think Freddie will try to change me. He is just adding to what I have to make it work better for me.
SB: In your loss to Scott Harrison, how devastated did the fight leave you? What did that loss do to you?
WM: I was angry with myself after the Harrison fight because I knew I shouldn't have fought that fight. But I did and paid the consequences. I was very upset that I was being destroyed in the press. It took me a while to get over that loss but I did and I'm only looking to the future, not the past.
SB: How did you get the name "Pocket Rocket"?
WM: My teammate in the 1988 Olympic, Kieron Joyce, gave me that nickname. He said I was small enough to fit into your pocket and I fought like a rocket. The "Pocket Rocket" was born.
SB: What made you want to become a fighter?
WM: I went to the boxing gym with my brothers when I was about eight and liked it so much, I decided to keep going.
SB: How much longer do you plan to fight?
WM: I will continue to fight as long as I am healthy and still have the hunger for it.
On behalf of myself and SaddoBoxing.com, I would like to thank Wayne and his wife Cheryl for taking out the time from their busy schedules to talk with me.
Katrina Walters can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org