Pocket Rocket wants a farewell fight in Belfast

By Darren “D-Loaf” Nichols


Pocket Rocket wants a farewell fight in Belfast

Even though he lost his last fight against Oscar Larios, a fight that was stopped by the ringside physician rather than his opponent, Wayne “The Pocket Rocket” McCullough has received a WBC award that could take him farther than obtaining any of their belts.  BoxingTalk caught up with The Pocket Rocket to get his thoughts on his last Larios fight, what his future boxing career plans are, and the details of his new title as WBC Ambassador.

BoxingTalk: Wayne, what’s the latest with you and your boxing career?

Wayne McCullough: Right now I’m still taking it easy, figuring things out, and deciding what we’re going to do next.

BoxingTalk: What is your manager/wife Cheryl telling you?

Wayne McCullough: We both disagree with the ringside physician’s decision to stop the fight.  I begged her for six more minutes - my wife and I were watching the Corrales-Castillo fight today, and I didn’t take one-hundredth of what they took in one round.

BoxingTalk: How was fighting Oscar Larios different for you in July than when you fought him last February?

Wayne McCullough: He expected him to come out for the first few rounds trying to get me out of there, which is what he did.  I told HBO that was going to spend those rounds picking my shots, and I thought I was doing pretty well.  Everybody thinks I fight one way: going forward, but in the amateurs I went back for most of my career and used my jab.  You have to fight that way in the amateurs, especially with the computer scoring.

BoxingTalk: I have to ask, is retirement an option for you?

Wayne McCullough: It’s been mentioned by everyone except for me and my wife.  The way I look at it is I was stopped by a doctor, I wasn’t stopped by a fighter.  Larios’ people told him in the 9th round, and you can hear this when you watch it on HBO, to stop going forward looking for the knockout, and to go back instead, because they knew he couldn’t knock me out.

BoxingTalk: What did your trainer Freddie Roach tell you after the fight?

Wayne McCullough: I did a lot of stupid stuff, like when I dropped my hands, but I do that against guys I know can’t knock me out.  When I fought Erik Morales and he hit me, I’d grit my teeth saying, “Come on, let’s go.”  I didn’t drop my hands when he hit me, but with Larios I could do that.  I’m not taking anything away from him, but fighting in Vegas and knowing Dr. Margaret Goodman personally, I think it was too close for comfort.  The way I look at is when I fought Larios last time I came back in the last three rounds.  When I fought Morales I came back in the last three rounds.  When I fought Naseem Hamed I came back in the last three rounds.  When I fought Daniel Zaragoza I had the best final three rounds of my career.  I never got that chance against Larios.  There was nothing wrong with me, but the doctor told me it was her personal opinion to stop the fight.  I think you should only be able to stop fights based on medical opinions.

BoxingTalk: What is Freddie telling you about what you should do next?

Wayne McCullough: Freddie would like me to be his assistant coach at the Wild Card Gym.  We are both from the Eddie Futch school of boxing, but he hasn’t said anything about retiring.  I love boxing so much, I haven’t got it out of my system.  Regardless of what I choose to do though, I will have one last fight in my hometown of Belfast, Ireland. 

BoxingTalk: What did Dr. Goodman say to you when you were in the ring with her?

Wayne McCullough: She just kept saying that she respected me so much.  She took six minutes away from me when I could have used those to win the fight, and my track record proves that I’m a 15-round fighter.  Referee Tony Weeks didn’t stop the fight after Diego Corrales went down two times, and I wasn’t even close to going down against Larios.

BoxingTalk: What will the deciding factor be for making your decision about your boxing career?

Wayne McCullough: I believe that God has a reason for everything, and that we’re only promised today.  Whatever happens down the line, nobody knows.  I haven’t even thought about retiring.

BoxingTalk: Wayne could you explain the award that the WBC recently bestowed upon you?

Wayne McCullough: I am their World Ambassador for Peace and Goodwill in Sports.  I will have to go to their convention in October in Spain.  I will be a role model for the youth of the world.  This is the first time they gave away an award like this.  They gave it to me because they felt that I have always carried myself well both in and out of the ring.

BoxingTalk: What would you like to say to your fans who have supported you all this time?

Wayne McCullough: I thank them for their support.  After my last fight with Larios, I received over 100 emails from all over the world.  Before the fight I received an email from an American soldier in Iraq who stayed up to watch the fight.  I have received support from all over the world, and I want to thank them for supporting me through thick and thin. 

BoxingTalk congratulate Mr. McCullough on his recent award, and we wish him continued success both in and out of the ring.


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