Cruiserweight contender, BJ Flores, made his return to the boxing ring in 2014 after a long period of inactivity and fought three times, winning each match. Besides his career as a boxer, Flores has had a successful career a boxing commentator, calling fights for NBC Sports. In this special interview from “On The Ropes” boxing radio, I had a chance to speak to BJ Flores and get his thoughts on his future in the sport. Flores also discussed in detail the return of Manny Pacquiao, and gave his thoughts on Mayweather-Pacquiao possibly being made. Here is what BJ Flores had to say in part 1 of this interview.
Jenna J: You recently returned to the ring in October, you had a third round TKO win. Can you tell the fans about your recent return?
BJ Flores: It was one of those fights where it was just getting me back in the ring. I actually had three fights in a five month period and it was nice to be back in the ring and be active, first round knockout, third round knockout and an eight round decision. I’m trying to get my feet wet again, get back in there.
When you’re off eighteen months, it’s very difficult to just step right back in and face top opposition, so I fought three guys that I was definitely supposed to beat and I beat them the right way. We’re looking for a much bigger challenge in the beginning of 2015.
Jenna J: What exactly are you looking for? Are you looking for a title eliminator or a bout with one of the champions?
BJ Flores: I was actually just in England, I was at the Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly fight, and I’m really interested in a fight with Tony Bellew. He had a good fight with Nathan Cleverly who’s a good name over there in England. I just thought it would make some sense and a fight like that — an eliminator type fight — if I had to fight someone like that to get a shot at a title, that’s fine, I would like to do that.
At this point I’m really not too concerned about whoever they put me in with at this time. I have a good management team and whoever Al (Haymon) thinks I should fight next, I’m more than happy to do it. I know I’m gonna get my shot in 2015, so I’m excited for that and everything is coming together for a big year staring this month.
Jenna J: How important has it been that Al Haymon got involved with your boxing career?
BJ Flores: It’s changed my life. I went from not knowing if I’d have a fight again, not knowing what I was gonna do, not knowing how I was gonna continue my boxing career, to having three fights in five months, being active, having twenty four days on NBC next year for my commentating, knowing that I’m gonna have another guaranteed fight in February.
You can’t be a fighter and not know when you’re fighting and not know what you have coming up and be uncertain about your future and your career. Al has solidified everything, he’s paid me well, he’s taken care of me. It’s been the biggest thing that could possibly happen to any fighter, when Al Haymon steps in and says “Hey, I’m gonna work with you.” It’s been a great blessing and I’m very appreciative and grateful for how much it’s changed my life in the last year.
Jenna J: You’re a commentator and analyst for NBC Sports. I’m curious what you thought of the November fight between Chris Algieri and Manny Pacquiao?
BJ Flores: It was a good fight. It’s tough because Bob Arum only lets people fight Pacquiao that he has control of, it’s frustrating. I want to see Pacquiao against Danny Garcia or Pacquiao against Amir Khan or someone like Keith Thurman. Those names never get mentioned and now we’re hearing that it might fight against Jesse Vargas for his next fight and nobody really wants to see those fights.
I feel like Oscar (De La Hoya) is legitimately trying to put on the best fights now with his fighters and with Bob and I feel like Bob is a little more one sided. He wants to keep everything in house, he wants to have both sides of it and it’s not creating the best match ups.
I think there’s a lot of good match ups for Pacquiao now and when we look back in ten years we’re gonna look at is and say, “Man, there was a lot of people that Pacquiao could have fought.” He’s not fighting because Bob doesn’t have both ends of the promotion, it’s frustrating.
Jenna J: How much of a wake up call do you think it is for Top Rank and Bob Arum, that if the rumor are true, the last Pay-Per-View only did 300,000 buys?
BJ Flores: 300,000 is nothing, you can’t talk about Floyd Mayweather and fighting him when you’re selling 300,000 in PPV. It’s not even close. Manny Pacquiao has shown — especially now after his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez — that he needs a dance partner, and unless he has a good opponent, he’s not gonna sell.
Part of that is because the 24/7’s are just boring. It’s tough to watch them, you watch Manny and he’s playing basketball and he doesn’t really talk a lot of trash and he doesn’t really talk that much at all and it’s just really boring to watch. That’s why people aren’t buying it. If it was exciting or there was a little bit of intrigue to it, then people would be more inclined to buy it, but it’s not so people aren’t. It is what it is.
Jenna J: A lot was made that Pacquiao had six knockdowns against Algieri and then the talk of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao reached a fever pitch again. How much closer do you think we are to that fight?
BJ Flores: I think it’s really gonna depend on if Canelo goes through with his May date. If he fights Cotto in May on that PPV card, then Floyd is gonna have to fight somebody like Pacquiao to be relevant, otherwise he’s gonna steal away a lot of Floyd’s buys.
If that fight with Canelo and Cotto gets made, then Floyd might need to fight Pacquiao or he’s definitely gonna have to fight on a different date because there’s nobody he could really fight that would really compare with that type of match up. He is the man, he does sell the most PPV’s, there’s no question about it, but he’s gonna lose a lot of his PPV buys to Cotto-Canelo.
It doesn’t make sense for the network to pay him that much money if they’re gonna go head to head with a huge PPV mega fight like Canelo and Cotto. I think it’s really gonna depend on what happens there to see with Floyd and Pacquiao. As far as that goes, I don’t think that fight is ever gonna happen because Floyd wants to control everything and he is the A side, there’s no question about it. I don’t know how good the terms are gonna be that Floyd is gonna offer him.
I don’t know if it will ever happen or not but Pacquiao definitely needs it and Floyd maybe needs it, maybe he doesn’t but he tries to really dictate everything and Pacquiao is used to being the A side. It’s tough to work together some times when two guys like that come together.