B.J. Flores: Talking The Talk, Walking The Walk
By Derek Bonnett: At thirty years old, unbeaten cruiserweight contender, BJ Flores, 23-0-1 (14), is on the verge of a world championship bout. Since outpointing the hard-hitting Darnell Wilson on ESPN to claim the USBA cruiserweight title in 2008, Flores has annexed the WBO-NABO crown with a comprehensive victory over the dangerous Jose Luis Herrera. After 10 rounds, it was "El Peligroso", as Flores is called, who turned out to be the more "dangerous" contender.
Flores’ face has now been seen twice in 2009 in the ring, but his voice has also been added to the equation as he’s now twice been seated in the ESPN studio as a guest boxing analyst for the network’s weekly boxing series. The response to Flores’ out of the ring work has been positive along boxing message boards. The cruiserweight contender has a good mind for the sport and comes off as a knowledgeable fan in addition to being one of its participants.
Flores, a Chandler, Arizona native, was very willing to speak with Secondsout about his recent developments, the cruiserweight division, and some upcoming bouts on the boxing horizon. This is what the top ranked cruiserweight had to offer our readers:
DB: You’ve got off to a quick start in 2009 with two victories. What happened to the proposed Adamek bout and is there any chance it could still happen?
BF: The Adamek fight was never a sure thing. Main events had called us into their office to discuss it. They said they would make us a fair offer. One week later the email came through and they offered us $30K for the fight. There was never any more discussion about it. Never a signed contract, [no one] ever pulled out.
DB: Jose Luis Herrera is a very TV friendly fighter who had never heard the sound of the bell ending one of his professional fights. Did it matter to you that you did not score a stoppage? Was the victory any less in your eyes?
BF: I wanted to score a stoppage, but I believe a combination of my hand injury and the ring rust didn’t allow it. It is true; Herrera has always been stopped, but as a cruiserweight he is 2-1 with victories over undefeated prospect Aaron Williams and George Blades, [who was] 23-3, which shows he is very capable at cruiserweight. His only other loss was to top ten rated Enad Licina in a fight which Herrera had Licina down and out in the first round and it was a very competitive fight until the eighth round KO. Herrera told me how he would never return to Germany because he arrived only two days before the fight! Due to jet lag, traveling, and not enough time to acclimate, I don’t think it was the same Herrera in Germany that showed up to fight me in Pensacola.
DB: Where does your comfort behind the camera as a boxing analyst come from? Is this something you hope to fall into once you decide to no longer lace up the gloves?
BF: Not sure. I’m just relaxed in front of the camera. I just have fun with it!
DB: Compare the current cruiser division to eras of the past. Does the current top ten stack up well against previous elites like Holyfield, Norris, Cole, De Leon, etc. Who would you say is in the top five today?
BF: I think the cruiserweight division stacks up well overall, but maybe there isn’t a champion who is a dominant as Evander Holyfield or Carlos De Leon. But overall, with the 10 pound addition (190 to 200) it makes the division much deeper and more exciting.
DB: Being more of a stylish boxer, do you think it hurts your popularity when guys like Adamek and Guillermo Jones are there to brawl in a more TV friendly style?
BF: I am a stylish boxer, but if I was fighting guys who weren’t big punchers or if I had been active over the last two years you would see a different fighter. Look, in two of my last three fights I have fought two of the biggest punchers in the division (Herrera and Wilson). Both of which I was coming off long layoffs. All styles have to be fought in a different way. When I am back in my grove, there will be a lot more punching. I just need to be more active and we are off to a good start in 2009.
DB: ESPN has had you back on the air to do commentary, but have they expressed any interest in putting you in there with a fellow contender on their airwaves?
BF: Of course, I have been talking to Nick Davis and they would be very interested in putting me on their network. The problem is, the majority of the guys in my division are European and the budget doesn’t really allow for two top rated guys to face each other unless more money is offered for the show. With that being said, ESPN always has a very high level card and even higher level production. Brian Kenny, Joe Tessitore, and Teddy Atlas are real pros!
DB: Are you familiar with the recent Contender Champion Troy Ross? What did you think of his efforts in winning the tournament?
BF: Troy Ross is an excellent fighter and would give anyone in the division a lot of problems. It would be a great fight for me in the future.
DB: How does it make you feel as a contender when guys like Bernard Hopkins can move up in weight and steal the spotlight? There was serious talk of Adamek fighting Bernard and now there’s rumors of Glen Johnson getting a shot. What’s your take on this?
BF: Bernard has taken every weight division by storm, not just mine. But realistically, he wasn’t all that interested in facing Adamek. This is obvious by the offer made to Tomasz and his team. I think he just wanted to make it look like he wanted the fight, when in reality, it was his way of saying no thanks.
DB: Map out the rest of 2009 for us. What would you like to see happen and who would you fight if you had your choice?
BF: 2009 will see me fighting again on June 20, against another top rated guy, defending my NABO title. I need this fight and maybe one more, depending on how I feel after this one before I am ready for the top guys. I have been inactive for almost two years and I am just getting my rhythm back. By June 20, I will have fought three times by mid-year and that is exactly what I need. Hopefully, by that time, the division will have opened up and there will be champions willing to defend their titles against me.
DB: You seem like a fight fan. Give us your picks for these upcoming bouts: Jermain Taylor-Carl Froch, Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton, and David Haye-Wladimir Klitschko.
BF: Jermain Taylor, Ricky Hatton, and David Haye!
In a world where there is any justice, good things should be happening for the cruiserweights. Good guys like BJ Flores deserve their shot, but unlike a lot of fighters, Flores doesn’t seem to be getting ahead of himself. He knows he has to earn his shot and he doesn’t want it until he is in the position to make good on it. He doesn’t talk badly about his fellow contenders and he thinks highly of the champions he holds as targets. Behind the microphone, Flores has been able to talk the talk and when in the ring with fellow contenders he’s capably walked the walk.
April 17, 2009