Monday, July 4, 2011
Interview with "Merciless" Ray Mercer
It’s not everyday that you get to sit down and straight shoot with a former Olympic Gold Medalist and former World Heavyweight Boxing champion – especially when you’ve been a fan of the sport since you were two years old. So a couple of weeks ago, I got the chance to meet one of the heavyweight greats, “Merciless” Ray Mercer.
We were both attending a local MMA Expo Event in Atlantic City, NJ and just happened to end up sitting next to each other when we got so board out of our minds, we had nothing better to do than to make fun of the fights and fighter were were watching. After a couple of beers, Ray and I talked a little shop about the state of the boxing industry and the growth of the MMA world. Collectively, we thought this would make some good content to record and show off to the fans of both worlds. But after chugging nearly a case of Red Stripe beer, who wanted to work that night? So we ultimately agreed to meet up the next morning at the meet and greet convention to shoot from where Ray was scheduled to be signing autographs.
After getting to know Ray somewhat over a couple of brewski’s, I got a better sense of his humor. One thing that you rarely get to see in interviews is both the interviewer and interviewee loosening up and getting the opportunity to speak the truth. How often do newscasters and reporters carefully construct their questions and rebuttals? Even when delivering hard hitting questions, reporters maintain a safe distance while beating around the bush of what they really want to ask. At the same time, the person being interviewed must maintain their composure and carefully field the questions in an effort uphold their public image. You immediately sense the stiffness and often wish that the broadcast journalist and subject would just loosen up and conduct themselves like “two guys talking”.
The personalities who have the confidence to pull it off – or at least have the gall to give it a shot – are few and far between. Figures like Howard Stern and Bill Mahr deliver the burning questions and witty comebacks that any journalist secretly wishes they could execute on a public forum. You may argue that the barriers between professional journalistic integrity and entertainment are worlds apart. To some extent I agree. Sometimes viewers rather have their “news” fed to them in a manner that is socially acceptable and prefer not to stray from what they’ve only ever known…. But that’s where I differ. And that is where the DieHard Derek persona becomes more unique than the others who hold the mic. This is what makes the content more unique than the same repackaged material that is being broadcast on multiple networks through the constant boredom of cloned stiff talking heads.
You know who appreciates it more than anyone else?… The person being interviewed. They’re relaxed and at ease with the freedom to smile, laugh and be normal, rather than the puppets the public perceives them as. For a moment you share a bond and strengthen your comfort levels at the risk of spontaneity. If you don’t believe me – then you’ll notice the shift in mood during this interview which starts off as your ordinary “stiff” exchange of question and answers, and quickly shifts gears to two guys having a blast talking to each other. You be the judge!
In this interview, Ray Mercer talks about his infamous fight with Tommy Morrison, the state of the sport of boxing, his transition to MMA and his fights with Tim Sylvia and Kimbo Slice, and some choice words for HBO boxing commentator Larry Merchant!
at 2:46 PM