GL: How has everything been since becoming the IBF super middleweight champ?
"One of the main things is, so many people from this area were viewing the fight, saw me win my championship and it's made this area that much hotter because now we have three world champions in the same neighborhood. But it's a been like a night and day change because now people are coming up to me saying that was one of the best fights they saw in a long time. It makes me feel happy that I have real fans who are behind me and support me. (Antonio Tarver and Winky Wright are the other two)GL: Was there anything about Vanderpool that surprised you, and were you surprised that he was able to take control in the early rounds?
Jeff Lacy: "I wasn't surprised because I knew when he came out he was going to be on top of his game. I just had to go out and put enough pressure on him to where it happened like we predicted, in the later rounds. I was surprised that he was able to take some of the power shots I was throwing early in the fight.GL: Prior to the Vanderpool fight coming to fruition, I remember that Vitaly Tsypko was supposed to have next. Is that still the case?
JL: "Basically when me and Vitaly fought, it ended in no contest. So it's only right. No one got the decision when we fought, but it made sense for the fighter who wasn't cut to fight for the title. We said, 'look, offer him a step aside or ask the IBF to let me fight for the world title and then once the title has been captured, give Vitaly Tsypko.' Everything went like I told you, I ended up fighting him and I will be taking that title.
"There's already some talk that I could be going back into the ring on December 4. And that's up against Vitaly Tsypko."GL: Not to disrespect Tsypko, but is it important for you to get that fight out of the way so you can move on to some of the bigger, more lucrative fights at super middleweight?
JL: "Of course. But I'm a man of my word. I said I would fight him when I became the champion and now we've just got to take care of that."GL: Some people feel that the stoppage against Vanderpool was a bit premature. Do you feel that way?
JL: "No I don't. This guy was taking a lot of hard shots earlier. You can see that he was weakening in the later rounds and I began to catch him with cleaner shots. There was only 1:37 left in the eighth round. I would've jumped right back on him and went for the kill. And if I didn't get it in the eighth it would have been the ninth of tenth. It was just a matter of time before I caught up with him. My choo-choo train was rolling and when that's the case, there's no stopping it."GL: Does becoming the first champion from the 2000 Olympic Team to win a major title mean something to you? Or is that kind of stuff for writers and fans to debate over?
JL: "That fight was all about me. It was about me going out and capturing a world title inside four years. I wasn't in a race with the other Olympians. It was in my contract to fight for the title within my first four years."GL: Vanderpool was you first big fight. Some people picked him to win because you would learning under fire...
JL: (cutting in) "You know what Greg? I love being the underdog, and as I've told you before in previous interviews, when someone comes to fight it brings the best out of me. And I proved that against Vanderpool. He came to fight but that brought that anger out of me, that's what you saw at the end of the fight. When I raised my hand, I knew I had a lot of people doubting me, I jumped on the ropes and let that frustration out.
"I knew people were doubting me because he's tough. And I take my hat off to Syd Vanderpool, he's a tough fighter and I knew I had to rise to the occassion. Anytime people are counting me out and the other guy comes to fight, that' the best position I could be in."GL: It's interesting you say that Jeff because the biggest fight at 168 is you and Joe Calzaghe in a unification bout. You would be the underdog in that fight and Calzaghe definitely comes to fight. How do you feel about that fight?
JL: "You know I like that fight and I confident that I'm walking away with two super middleweight titles in that fight. I love a challenge and I know fighting Joe Calzaghe would be that. He comes to fight and when someone comes to fight the best comes out of me. It's going to be another great action packed fight where people say, 'damn, Jeff rose to the occassion again.' Calzaghe is no pushover and that's a fight that helps take my career to another level."
"I would love to fight Joe Calzaghe over here, but it's all about money. I don't mind going over there to fight him as long as the TV Camera's are there. He's been talking about coming to the United States and I would love to make it happen over here, but I have no problem going there to fight him as long as the TV is there too."GL: In the several fights that I've seen Joe Calzaghe in, he's a guy who comes right at you. He doesn't fight any other way. In a way, does that make him the perfect fight for you, in terms of bringing the best out of you?
JL: "I know you see it Greg. That's going to be an explosive fight and you know what happens when people come to me. What you just said makes me smile. When I fight Joe Calzaghe you're going to be on the edge of your seat because I know he comes to fight and he's going to bring it to me. But I LOVE that, I'm not scared...TRUST ME. I guarantee me and Calzaghe would go down as fight of the year for 2005!GL: Do you feel you need to work on putting your punches together better so you're not in a position where you're relying on power?
JL: "Yes. It would be good for me to put my punches together, but you need to remember December 13 was the last time I went some real rounds. Coming off that, I believe I did very well fighting for my first world championship. I was a little off and it showed and that's why I started late. I had to get into the fight. I'm a slow starter, but once I warm up it's like getting that train started and once it begins on that down slope you definitely don't want to be in front of it.
CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THIS MUST READ INTERVIEW
Send questions and comments to: email@example.com