Steve Forbes Talks Loma vs. Rigo, Mayweather, & Modern Boxers

By Caryn A. Tate on December 8, 2017
Steve Forbes Talks Loma vs. Rigo, Mayweather, & Modern Boxers
“I tell people, it may get dark for a second but it’s gonna lighten up. You gotta be calm.”

“You know what, I like Errol Spence. I really like Keith Thurman. I like the tenacity and grittiness of Shawn Porter. He’s just gritty and I like that…”

Former IBF super featherweight world champion Steve “2Pounds” Forbes and partner Christina Lunzman have joined forces to promote boxing in Forbes’ hometown of Portland, Oregon. 2 Pounds Sports and Entertainment is hosting their first event, “2 Pounds Fight Night,” this Saturday, December 9 at Jackson Armory.

On top of promoting an exciting card filled with local talent, Forbes and Lunzman are motivated to do what they can to help those in need. “I have a big heart for feeding the homeless,” Steve said. “We’re looking for people coming out if they can bring a can of food, or a little toy. There are kids who don’t get gifts at Christmas. So we’re looking to feed the homeless and hopefully give the kids some presents. We believe in looking after people because if you got it, you’ll feel so much better about helping somebody.

“My grandma, she opened up a free clinic for people who can’t afford health insurance, called North By Northeast. Throughout her life she donated and gave food to families. Matter of fact, when Hurricane Katrina happened, she sold one of her houses in Arizona and brought 40 families here to Oregon to get away from that and get them houses up. So I’m looking to carry on her tradition.”

Forbes and Lunzman plan on producing events in Portland frequently going forward. Said Steve, “We are hoping to go every three months or so. We want to do at least four fights a year.”

When he’s not promoting or training, Forbes is still an avid boxing fan. He offered some of his thoughts about current fighters in the sport, as well as upcoming and potential match-ups.

“You know what, I like Errol Spence,” Steve said. “I really like Keith Thurman. I like the tenacity and grittiness of Shawn Porter. He’s just gritty and I like that. He doesn’t try to change anything, he just—he became really good at the way he fights.

“I like Anthony Joshua. I like Wilder. I believe they have to fight each other. I know Wilder but at first I really liked Joshua because when I looked at him, I was like, that’s what a heavyweight champion should look like. But with Wilder, he’s been impressing me lately too. So it’s hard for me to pick. At first I would’ve picked Joshua. Right now, I’m leaning towards Wilder. Just a little bit. I think mentally, because he wants the fight. I’ve been seeing the things he says and it sounds accurate.

“One of my favorite fighters technically is Mikey Garcia. I really like him. He does everything well. He’s patient, he can box, he can punch, he kinda does it all.

“I like Bud (Terence Crawford). He’s got a lot of skills. I would love to see him in the mix with the welterweights. I’d love to see him fight Keith Thurman or Errol Spence, any of those guys. That would be action-packed.”

Taking place the same night as Forbes’ first promotional event is Saturday’s Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux bout. “I like that fight. It’s sad I won’t see it live—I’m happy because I’ve got my own show, but that’s what DVRs are for,” Forbes said, laughing. “I like both guys. I really like Lomachenko—I think he’s really good. But I don’t know if the fight took too long to make. That’s kinda my feeling. It’s hard to say that for a guy with not even ten fights, but…Rigondeaux, he’s a smaller guy but he’s so skilled. I think the promotion kinda let him fizzle out a bit, or kinda put him on hold too much. I would favor Lomachenko, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rigondeaux can pull it off. He’s so skilled and I don’t think he gets enough credit for his abilities. He beats guys so much that it’s ‘boring,’ you know, but it’s masterful, I think.”

Aside from current fighters, Forbes has always looked up to and studied a variety of older fighters. Despite being a highly accomplished and skilled fighter himself, when talking about his favorite old-school boxers, Steve became excited and sounded like a fan who simply loves the sport. “I love those old-timers. I loved Roger Mayweather—I got to sleep on his couch, which is great. The Mayweathers kinda taught me pro boxing. I credit them with all the things I learned in pro boxing. I liked Terry Norris and Meldrick Taylor. I remember as an amateur, when I started going to the nationals and stuff like that, a lot of guys called me Meldrick—I was known for speed, combination punching, stuff like that.

“James Toney is my all-time favorite fighter. I got to kinda be around when he was still fighting. We fought on the same cards and stuff like that. I became cool with James. And that was a big thrill for me because I remember watching him when I was like 14 years old. What I loved about him—he was old school, he sits in the pocket like that, but he’ll fight anybody. And he stayed really busy. That’s what I liked about the old-time fighters. They would fight a big fight, and then when there’s not a big fight, a couple months later they’re back in the ring again. It sharpens you up.

“That’s what I felt about my career.  For me to be really sharp, I would have to be busy. The year I won the title, I fought eight times that year. I loved that I was so active. I always have this analogy—it’s like a surgeon. You can have a great surgeon, but his confidence won’t be really high if he only does one operation a year. But if he’s an active surgeon, and he’s busy even doing small ones, he’s gonna be so much better when it comes to the really big, hours long surgeries. That’s my belief.”

One of the tactics that Forbes was incredibly good at when he was an active fighter was the ability to slip and avoid punches while standing in the pocket. He didn’t typically box all around the ring, yet he didn’t take much punishment at all. It’s a tremendous skill for a boxer to have, and one not seen too often, particularly in modern boxing.

Steve provided some insight as to how he developed that ability. “I’ll tell you a story,” he said with obvious affection for the memory that came to mind. “Archie Moore came to town—Archie Moore, Michael Spinks, and Muhammad Ali. I got into a conversation with Moore when I was twelve years old I’ll never forget. I used to study a lot of the fighters. But I was really fascinated that his career was so long.

“So I asked him, how did you last that long? He was like, ‘I never took full blows, but I didn’t have to run around the ring. I used every part of my body. My elbows, my shoulders, my waist.’ So I started practicing doing that stuff in the gym. He said, ‘The best thing you’ve gotta do, you’ve gotta watch old films.’

“I’d already watched old films anyway, but I wanted to watch guys from way back. So I started watching a lot of him and other guys like Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott, and a lot of these guys that knew how to slip and slide with punches. I was thinking, you know, I don’t really have to move my feet that much. I can just kinda take little steps.

“And then when I moved to Vegas, of course I trained with the Mayweathers, and their whole thing was that type of style. Floyd could move a little bit more. But me working with Roger, he told me I didn’t have to move as much. I could use my shoulders.

“So I just kind of adopted that, and it kept me safe. I never really took a lot of punishment.”

Forbes explained how the anticipation of what an opponent is going to do, before they do it, is a very important aspect of being a good defensive fighter. “You have to know certain moves. If I step a certain way, and I’m in a position, there’s only one or two punches you can throw. And I put myself in that position where I can use the shoulders and the elbows. If I take a half inch step to my right, say I’m fighting an orthodox guy, and let my shoulder be the lead? He only has one shot with real power on it—that would be the right hand. His left hook, if it’s strong, I’ll be aware of it. If he throws the left hook, I can just put my hand right on his glove and he won’t’ be able to get that shot off.

“That’s how I used to study. What I loved about Archie Moore is—he used to have these charts on the human body. So I started practicing this stuff in the gym. If I position myself in this way, then a guy can’t land certain shots.

“And I [learned] that from sparring with all these guys. I had a big reputation throughout my career of sparring with pretty much any fighter getting ready for a big fight. Even when I was world champion, I would just get work, to get experience.

“So being in the ring with so many different guys…I would try different things, so in a fight I knew—he may only have one or two shots. It won’t be solid. So that’s how I kinda figured out the anticipation of a shot.”

Steve spoke about one of the most important strategies that applies to any combat sport, including boxing. “There’s a saying I always kinda thought in my head. Any combat sport is the only thing where you actually go towards the damage. So if a guy is throwing a right hand at me, I’m gonna go towards that right hand and slip just a bit to get out of the way of it, so I can counter attack.”

During his career as a boxer, it was well known that while Forbes may not have been a huge puncher himself, he knew how to deal with opponents who were. “You watch, with the guys who are punchers—they panic [if you stay in the pocket]. Because their reputation is built off fear: ‘I’m a puncher, this guy is gonna move around.’ But when you actually walk to them, and come to them, they change. They have to come up with another plan or they realize, ‘You know what, I’m not gonna be able to knock this person out, and I better be careful.’ That’s what my thought was when I fought Berto, when I fought De La Hoya, I was like, you know what, I’m not gonna run. And everybody will see that. I’m gonna sit right in the pocket, and you’re not gonna be able to land any real good solid shots on me. Guys that can punch—it’s a scary feeling to get hit by a big puncher. But I try to tell people, it may get dark for a second but it’s gonna lighten up, man. You gotta be calm.”

Forbes believes that some heavy-handed fighters have become so reliant on their power that they sometimes neglect other boxing skills. “Absolutely. But when I fought big punchers, I think they worked more on their boxing game. Because they knew, most likely, this guy is not gonna fall for this stuff and he’s not afraid or intimidated. That came too with how I was born weighing two pounds and having difficulty as a kid growing up. So there was no fear in me. I just wanted to see how well I could do with all these guys.”

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