Eric “The Outlaw” Hunter (17-2, 9 KO) is poised to meet Mike Oliver (25-5, 8 KO) in a scheduled 10-round bout for the vacant NABA USA featherweight title Friday night at Harrah’s in Chester, PA.
Hunter has never taken the easy way out when it comes to his career, grinding it out and doing it with guts and perseverance.
On “Q” Sports caught up with “The Outlaw” for a couple of moments to talk about his title shot, how he has turned around his career and the myth behind a boxer taking a fight on short notice.
Rich: Eric, how are things going, how was training for Friday’s fight?
Eric: “Training is good, it went well, I feel real good mentality, I am ready to go man. I got in some good sparring with Lamont Peterson, and I am ready. Good sparring, some sparring against southpaws and I am feeling real good, I am excited. It is going to be a great fight.”
Rich: What do you know about Mike Oliver?
Eric: “I watched him a few times, not a lot to be honest, I watched him fight Gary Stark Jr, I though he lost, they cheated Gary. But you know, I guess he is ok. I think he is like other guys I fought. I won’t know too much until we get in the ring. He took this fight on short notice.
Rich: Does you mindset change knowing he took the fight on short notice, that can be tricky at times; maybe you change your approach?
Eric: “No, not at all. Really, if you can fight you can fight. Look he took the fight I think last Friday or so, signed the contract Saturday or Sunday, so I know he has not really been active. I respect him, but again man we don’t know until we step into the ring. You watch, you will see if he is there for the money, or mentality ready to go and try to kick my ass. He has not out boxed or sweated any one; he is not on my level. First round will tell if he is there to fight or not.”
Rich: So know concern that you really do not know what to expect?
Eric: “No man, shit. I don’t think he is faster than me; he does not have a chin like me, balls like me I don’t think he is going win. I’m not predicting a KO or anything like that because I do not do that, but I predict I will win. Because I do and did what I had to do in the gym, and again a guy that took a fight on five days’ notice, he is not in the gym as much. I think he wants the money to be honest, but shit that is not my job to think about shit like that. I am not going sweat it. I am not going be sweet or anything, he is going to have to earn it, because it is my time.”
Rich: Did the way you lost and your defeat against Luis Franco sour you or make you bitter?
Eric: “Man, I get tired of talking about that shit, yeah I just got tired of the sport, I got tired that people did not see the best of me. Ok, no one saw the best in me.”
Rich: Did you make any changes within your circle after that loss?
Eric: “Yeah man, you know people who are or you thought were there for you, man, they were not. I let that shit go, I cut a lot of people out of my life after that and I had to. Like I said, I deserve this now, it is my time. You know things happen for a reason, I didn’t take the chances that I should have and that is ok, it happens, I am here now. I am ready, it is my time.”
Rich: Was your win against Jerry Belmontes a career-defining win for you?
Eric: “Every fight is a career-defining fight for me; it is always do or die. That was a great win for me, and I out boxed him and I earned that win. It was do or die for me. It is do or die for me on Friday night.”
Rich: Would you then consider Friday night’s fight, a cross-roads fight for you?
Eric: “It will be a great fight, my job is to my thing, and not worry about the other shit, it is my time, like I said, I worked hard and I deserve this, this is my shot, my time. I want to fight on the big stages. Man, ESPN, HBO, Showtime, I want to fight on those venues. If I do not why am I doing this?”
Rich: Without looking ahead, but for argument sakes humor me. Is there anyone you want to fight going forward?
Eric: “I never disrespect my opponent ahead of me, and I will not do that know. But I want to stay active and I will fight anyone. That is why we are in the sport, this is my job, and this is how we get paid. We get paid to fight, you know that. I tell everyone this all the time. The money has to be right to make the fight. At end of the day, this is a business.”
Rich: There have been some big-time boxers coming out of Philly. And you young guys are paving the way. You see more growth?
Eric: “Man, we have some pretty dam good fighters, Damon Allen, Jesse Hart; I am a huge fan of Hart, just some really good boxers.”
Rich: How about Danny Garcia, prediction Saturday night?
Eric: “He is all that, he is going to win”
Rich: Floyd or Canelo?
Rich: Tell me about the nickname “The Outlaw”
Eric: (Laughing) “I got that nickname when I was like 10 or 11, because I was beating everyone’s ass in the gym, they knew I tough man, just whopping up on people.”
Rich: Your fast KO reputation got me thinking how your name fits you. It is like you are riding into town during the night, and stealing everyone’s gold and riding away again into the sunset.
Eric: “Yeah, I like that, you got it done perfectly, and that is true”