8CN Interview: Mason Menard

8CN’s David Hopper caught up with lightweight standout Mason Menard (26-1, 19 KOs). The 25-year-old Louisiana native will fight Edgar Llanes of Mexico on December 6 at the Evangeline Downs Casino in Opelousas, Louisiana.

DH: You have a fight scheduled for Dec. 6 at the Evangeline Downs Casino in Opelousas, Louisiana. It will be your 7th time fighting there. You will headline the card, right?

MM: Yes sir.

DH: Do you know who your opponent will be?

MM: Edgar Llanes

DH: What do you know about Llanes? Have you watched any film of him?

MM: No, honestly I don’t watch film on fighters. My game plan is to always go out there and feel them out. My promoters and a couple close friends of mine who are big into boxing and watch boxing all the time give me input on how they fight. They go watch videos and stuff like that. The only thing I’ll ever do is really just Boxrec.com or something like that.

DH: I just pulled up Edgar Llanes on BoxRec. He’s 12-5 with 7 KOs. He’s coming off two KO losses. He’s Mexican and all of his fights were in Mexico.

MM: Yeah, he’s been fighting from 130 something pounds to his last one was at 147.

DH: Are you expecting a big, strong lightweight since he has fought in heavier divisions?

MM: Yeah, he’s 5-10. He fluctuates in weight so apparently he does have some size, especially on a 5-10 frame. I’m giving him the credibility of having some power.

DH: How many times have you headlined a card at Evangeline Downs?

MM: If I’m not mistaken I’ve headlined every last one of them.

DH: Have you begun training camp for this fight?

MM: Yes, I started training and I started sparring. This will be an 8-round fight. Right now I’m just doing six rounds sparring. We just started sparring this week. We’re getting back in the groove of things then we’ll pick up the pace.

DH: For those who haven’t seen you fight, how would you describe your fighting style?

MM: The way I fight is with explosion. I have a lot of explosion when I fight. I have a lot of speed and a lot of power. I bring the fight every time I step in the ring. It’s always an exciting fight. Out of the 20 something fights I’ve had, of course, I lost one so that wasn’t very exciting, and then after all the other fights I just had one that was lackluster. That was the day my amateur coach died and I found out about it. I really didn’t perform to my standard, but I used my ring smarts and outboxed the guy. For the most part, I’m explosive and I bring the fight and I’m exciting to watch.

DH: All 27 of your pro bouts have taken place in Louisiana, many of them near your hometown of Rayne. I would you imagine you have built a sizable fan base in Louisiana. Have you?

MM: Yes sir, every fight that I’ve headlined here has always been a sell out crowd. A lot of the same people continue to watch me because they’re that loyal to me. I put on that good of a show for them to keep coming back.

DH: Have you had any offers to fight outside of Louisiana? 

MM: I’ve had a couple offers. I had one that I was interested in but business wise it didn’t make sense. I’m just waiting on the right opportunity to present itself, and I’ll show to the boxing world that I’m bigger than just a local fighter.

DH: I would think if you were to get the opportunity to fight one of the top lightweights, it would likely take place outside of Louisiana, maybe in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. It would also likely be televised, which would, of course, give you a lot of exposure. Do you see getting a TV date or a fight outside Louisiana happening within the next year or so?

MM: Definitely in 2014, it’s God’s will.

DH: This upcoming fight will be your fifth fight of 2013. You also had five fights in 2012. Do you think you’ll have around five fights in 2014 as well?

MM: Depending on how things go and depending on what kind of offers I get, I would love to fight another five times. Hopefully they start recognizing that I am a threat in the lightweight division and they give me a chance to present my talent and beat one of these top lightweights because I know I can.

DH: The South isn’t known for being a boxing hotbed. Do you ever have trouble finding opponents and sparring partners from the area?

MM: Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve even fought anybody that’s even from this area. Sparring partners, we have a couple guys coming out of Baton Rouge and a couple guys around here. It is harder to find sparring partners but I do get them and I do get my sparring in. Hopefully a big fight will come up and I can showcase my talent and one of the big promoters or one of the big fighters will be interested in bringing me in to their training camp.

DH: You have won many of your fights by early KO. You had only one fight go a full 12 rounds, a unanimous decision win over Lonnie Smith for the UBO lightweight title in June 2012. Granted, most of your fights have been scheduled 8-rounders. Would you consider that fight with Smith your toughest so far?

MM: Yeah, I would say he was the toughest. It went the 12 rounds. I dropped him twice earlier in the fight. He got up and he survived. They took the fight because they figured it would be a good win for Lonnie. Since I’m a down South kid, they didn’t expect a guy of my standards. They saw what I did. They weren’t expecting me to be that good. I’ve just been keeping busy. I’m keeping fights coming. One day they’re going to realize that I am a threat. Most of my fights are 8-round fights due to the fact that guys don’t want to come down here and fight a 12-round fight against me for the offering that my promoter and my manager is offering.

DH: Do you feel like you’re often underestimated because you’re from the South and have been, like you said, a local fighter?

MM: Who really from up north respects fighters from down South? Teddy Atlas on ESPN, every time a down South fighter gets on the TV, he has nothing really good to say about us. I’m going to make them realize that they do have good fighters down South. Now is my time. I just got to 25 years old. I feel the manpower kicking in now. I’m hungry. We’ll get this last win for this year and hopefully we’ll get some big names in 2014.

DH: Do you feel like you’re continuing to improve with each fight?

MM: Definitely, there’s always improvement each and every fight.

DH: How would you say you’re a better fighter now from when you made your pro debut in 2007?

MM: Just all around the board, technical wise, thinking wise, being more precise with my punches, not just letting them go, making them count every time I throw. Defense, offense, just around the board better.

DH: When do you hope to fight for a world title? Do you think about a title shot?

MM: Yeah, definitely, one of the main straps. Hopefully I can get a shot next year.

DH: I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the lightweight division. Adrien Broner was, for a period, the only well-known fighter in the division, at least to casual fans. It appears Broner won’t be returning to lightweight with all the big fights available at 140 and 147. The top guys in the division, according to Ring Magazine, are Miguel Vazquez, Richard Abril, Ricky Burns, and Raymundo Beltran. Have you seen the top guys fight? If so, what do you think of their boxing abilities?

MM: Yeah, I’ve definitely seen some of them fight. I feel that I can hang and beat any one of those guys.

DH: Do you think there’s the opportunity to become a star in the lightweight division with the guys out there?

MM: In the division there’s the opportunity to become a star and to become well-known. I’m able to fight lightweight. I make lightweight pretty easily. I never have to kill myself to make weight. I train hard. I’ll be able to take over the lightweight division for the next two years before I decide to move up.

DH: Anything you’d like to add or say to the boxing fans out there?

MM: I’d like to thank everybody for coming out to support me. I’d like to thank God for allowing me to live this dream.

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