By Dave Spencer
He’s walked away before, and just when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in. The first time was for more than four years after he made his pro debut in 2004. The second time and most recent hiatus has been close to three, but with a fight happening five minutes from his house in Windsor Ontario, heavyweight Ali Mansour wasn’t going to miss this one for the world. Mansour takes on Caleb Grummet this Friday night and FightNews caught up with the heavyweight to see what he was up to.
FightNews: So tell me who it came to be that you’re fighting on the card. Did you approach them or did they come to you asking you to be on the show?
Mansour: It’s a local fight and they’re looking for the best local talent there is which was me. They tried getting Adam Trupish and it didn’t go through and they were trying to put on a show with some local guys. I was supposed to be fighting the main event but I didn’t get the couple of fights I needed to challenge for the title and do the main event as a title fight. I wasn’t approved by the commission to fight for ten rounds because I haven’t fought in three years. I couldn’t get a couple of fights in time beforehand so I’m fighting a six rounder.
FightNews: I know your first absence from the ring was as a result of opening up your garages and getting your business going. What’s kept you away from the game this time?
Mansour: The absence this time? There was a couple of times I was supposed to have fought and shows and it didn’t go through, it doesn’t go through, it doesn’t go through…then I got fed up of it. That’s straight up if you want the real answer. I train, I miss time from work, I miss time from family to put time into this sport. I thought it was a bad decision to get back into the sport after I left the first time. I was training hard and then fight doesn’t go through. So I got discouraged again and I said the hell with it.
I’m not putting all this time into it and it’s not paying off. At the age I am, there’s not big interest in me from big promoters. You know the game more than anybody, you need investors and right now there’s nobody to invest and I don’t have time to go running after people. To go out and have people to sponsor and invest in me, and I don’t have the people around me for that…the hell with it. But the sport is like a drug, it’s something I’ve done all my life. I turn my back and then I watch TV and see guys that I think I’m better, maybe I am, I don’t know, but I see them making it and I say, fuck it, I should get back in the ring and then I get big in the gym and I say why the hell am I doing it again?
For real! For the level, if I was just amateur dude doing it, I’d say yeah, I understand. I’ve been top five amateur in the world and I’ve been out there. It’s a lot of work to get back to the shape I want to be to contend and be in the top of the world. If I’m going to fight, I’m going to fight to be the top in the world. I’m not going to fight for paydays because there’s no money in it right now…and we both know that. So it’s not worth it, me putting all my heart into it and not getting the fights. Then it’s decide to fight for free or you’re not going to fight. You make more money working at a gas station.
FightNews: I know with the cost of building a heavyweight the cost of opponents can be really prohibitive, sometimes staggering. You bring in a guy with barely a heartbeat and if he has a 21-7 record, he’s going to cost a fortune.
Mansour: I’ll give you a small example; I was trying to get a couple of fights before this show. I wanted to fight for the title, for the Canadian title and I thought that would be enough to do it. Okay, I want to get two fights in. I’m working with a gentleman here his name is Ray Taylor, he’s managing me now helping me get fights. To get me in the ring, just to pay for an opponent, to bring in an a guy it was going to cost five grand. Then flying to Montreal or wherever I was going to fight, take me down there with my trainer, it going to cost another two or three grand in expenses.
That $8,000 him spending and so far he hasn’t paid me a penny. I told him he was crazy to spend that kind of money. I told him I wouldn’t let him spend that kind of money. I’m fighting for free and you’re going to spend seven or eight grand to get me a fight? It’s ridiculous. Now managers pay to have their fighters and opponents put on shows. Why would they pay me and an opponent when they already have a fight for free. That’s what it is now is a business and you have to have guys behind you with balls to get you there.
I’m 8-0. Try to get an opponent for a couple of grand. It’s ‘Oh my God, this guy is 8-0, I won’t fight him for a couple of grand.’ They always want more money.
FightNews: And you never know what you get for that kind of money, sometimes they go down at the weigh-in.
Mansour: Here in Ontario they don’t let you fight bums; they want somebody durable which is fine. All I needed was to get on a card and fight a fight; I don’t care much about the money to be honest with you. At the same time I’m spending money on my training, on my trainer, on my food. It costs money. You spend time away from work, from family, and it costs money. It’s not a one man show, it’s teamwork and you need somebody who believes in you. It’s hard to find somebody like that, not that I’m even looking at this point.