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8CN Exclusive: Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis

David Hopper of 8CN caught up with light welterweight Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis (17-3, 6 KOs). The 26-year-old southpaw from Los Angeles is preparing for a bout with Dierry Jean (24-0, 16 KOs) of Canada.

DH: Last time you spoke with me you were gearing up for a fight against Michael Clark. Talk about your performance in your stoppage victory over Clark back in December.

CP: I knew coming out that I had to be smart against Michael Clark and that’s basically what it was. I went out there and I just outsmarted him. I beat him at the game he wanted to play and he couldn’t beat me at the game that I wanted to play so that’s just how that turned out. He wanted to stay on the outside and box at the end of the day then I stepped to him, combinations, and the fight was over.

DH: You’ve now won six fights in a row. Do you feel like you are improving with each fight?

CP: Yeah, I feel like I’m improving with each fight. Me and my coaches we always get to the gym and go back to the drawing board and just focus and get better. That’s the whole focus, getting better. Being able to show the people that I’m worthy of them purchasing tickets and even just loving the game.

DH: What are some things you feel like you’ve improved on since you first turned pro and what do you want to continue to improve on?

CP: I’ve improved on everything, and I’ve matured right along the way. In the boxing business some things can be against you, some of the things you can be around, but it’s all positive at the end of the day. I’ve become a better person right along with a better person. That’s just what it is. Everything is better.

DH: So it’s looking like you will face Dierry Jean of Canada in May in an IBF title eliminator bout to be televised on Showtime, and the fight will be held in Canada?

CP: Yeah, it’s not going to be in Canada though. It’s going to be in Vegas or Oklahoma City.

DH: What do you know about Dierry Jean?

CP: He comes in shape, but he makes a lot of mistakes. He’s a fighter. He’s a good decent fighter. He had a pretty good amateur career and he’s undefeated as a pro. He’s ranked up there with the best. We have to prove that. Now we have to prove who’s the better man. I feel like I’m better than Dierry Jean. I don’t think he has anything that I haven’t seen before.

DH: What can fans expect from your matchup with Dierry Jean?

CP: Just pure talent, skill, speed and power 

DH: Who’s your trainer?

CP: Chuck Washington

DH: Have you been trained by him for a while?

CP: Yeah, I’ve been knowing him since I was 11.

DH: What’s it like working with him?

CP: It’s good. He’s a teacher. He studies the game and he knows what he’s talking about. It’s always a lovely thing to work him because you have to be interested in learning and want to be the best. You have to be willing to go to extremes in the boxing business. It’s different. You have to treat your body right, all kinds of things.

DH: I read that you have upped your roadwork to 8 miles a day. Is there anything you’re doing differently in the gym to prepare for this upcoming bout?

CP: Just working really hard. Just working hard.

DH: Last time I spoke with you, you said you wanted to avenge your loss to Mauricio Herrera. Do you expect to fight Herrera again this year?

CP: Maybe, maybe not. Right now my focus is on Dierry Jean and getting to the top of the division and winning the world title. Dierry Jean he’s next May 10 and that’s who I’m focused on.

DH: It has been reported that Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer plans to hold a light welterweight tournament where the winner of the Peterson-Matthysse fight will face the winner of the Judah-Garcia fight. The overall winner of the four-man tournament will then be put up against Amir Khan. Who do you think will win the tournament and do you expect to get a shot at the winner?

CP: I really think Amir Khan probably will win the tournament. If you watch Amir Khan fight in any of those main fights you see the activity, the power, the movement. He doesn’t have much head movement, but if he doesn’t get a caught with a punch and get knocked out, he’s accurate and he’s the most accurate fighter out of all of them. The only thing is his chin. If he can hang in there and not get knocked out he probably will win.

DH: Did you happen to see the Timothy Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov fight Saturday night?

CP: Yeah I was there. It was a real good fight. Those guys fought like warriors. You got to take your hat off to them and respect that they came out there and put on a show.

DH: How did you feel about the decision? Did you feel like Bradley did enough to win?

CP: Yeah, Timothy did enough to win. Provodnikov came and he won the rounds that they gave him but he should have fought a little bit more and threw a little bit more punches. He didn’t have to load up too much and then when he did let loose he did. But at the same time, he was still being hit 3-to-1 or 4-to-2.

DH: How do you think the Rios-Alvarado rematch will play out later this month? Do you think it will be like the first one, an all-action fight?

CP: Yeah, I think Rios is going to win again. I think it’s going to be an all out brawl. Rios I think will overwhelm Alvarado again. But if not, if the fight does go on without it being stopped I think Alvarado will probably end up winning on points. Because he was hanging in there, it was a good fight. It was a toe-to-toe match, the rounds were going either way.

DH: The 140-pound division is loaded with talent. You’ve said that you are willing to take on anyone in the division. Would Rios or Alvarado be someone you’d like to fight?

CP: It don’t matter. When you’re ranked in the world you just have to be ready. You have to be willing to go to war and go out there with the rest of them, with the rest of the lions in the jungle and tangle. I love to fight the best. I’d rather people see me beat guys who are worthy.

DH: Do you know when your fight with Jean will be finalized?

CP: That will be up to my manager Warren Wilkerson right now. He hasn’t contacted me with the information. At this point I’m waiting for the confirmation.

DH: How did that matchup with you and Jean come about? Was it something that Showtime saw as a good matchup?

CP: I really can’t speak on what happened in the negotiations as far as how Showtime and everybody sees the fight. I just know that’s the network it’s going on, it’s going on Showtime. It’s time to go out there and show off. It’s showtime.

DH: Will this be your first time fighting on Showtime?

CP: Yeah.

DH: Have you fought on TV before?

CP: No.

DH: Comment on that and the exposure you will get from being on television.

CP: It’s a good feeling. It’s a real good feeling, but I have a job that I have to do so I can’t focus on whether I’m on TV or not. I want to go out there and perform. TV just makes it better because now the world can see it.

DH: Anything you want to add in closing?

CP: I just want to say thank you to you guys for interviewing me and giving me the publicity. I want to give a shout out to Pitbull, the company, my manager, Warren Wilkerson, Ms. Rachel Charles, and I just want to say thanks to everybody and I’m definitely coming out with the W come May 10. I know there’s people that doubt me because of the records an things of that nature but I’ve been in there with the best in the world – (Oscar) De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Diego Corrales, Nate Campbell, Timothy Bradley, Victor Ortiz, (Antonio) Margarito the list goes on. I’ve done helped a lot of guys get ready for fights. I sparred with all those guys. The list goes on.

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