Longtime readers will recall welterweight Holly Lawson as one of the few female boxers that have been featured on this site. After scoring a split decision win over Sarah Kuhn in September, Holly has been waiting patiently to secure her first fight of 2013. In the meantime, those unfamiliar with her background can catch up via this appropriately titled video short. Holly’s a riot on Twitter, so be sure to check her out there and on Instagram @lilbearlawson.
Posts Tagged ‘Holly Lawson’
Tags: Boxing, feature, Holly Lawson, Interview, Los Angeles, training, video, welterweight
Tags: Boxing, Brook D'Leau, Holly Lawson, J*Davey, Jack Davey, New Designer Drug, video
J*Davey’s Brook D’Leau gets some boxing pointers from the homie Holly Lawson is this new video for ”Little Tramp$.” I was lucky enough to get some early details on this idea from Ms. Lawson while in Vegas this past May for the Mayweather-Cotto fight. J*Davey’s latest project, New Designer Drug, is available now. Get familiar with Holly Lawson here be sure to follow her on Twitter @lilbearlawson as she prepares for a September 20 fight in Hollywood.
Tags: Boxing, Floyd Mayweather, Holly Lawson, Interview, lil bear, Manny Pacquiao
Welcome to Part two of boxer Holly “Li’l Bear” Lawson’s exclusive interview with Beats, Boxing & Mayhem. The proceedings became more casual conversation than formal interview, and Lawson supplied a unique perspective on Manny Pacquiao’s contract issues with Floyd Mayweather, her favorite fights and modern vs. golden age boxing. Part one can be read HERE.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Being that you’ve trained with Manny Pacquiao for about seven years, what’s your opinion on the contract issues he’s had with Floyd Mayweather over the last two years?
Holly Lawson: As far as boxing goes, I want to be more like Floyd than Manny to be honest. Floyd is just a beautiful boxer and his skill level is amazing. He’s a very throwback fighter. With that said, the way he’s approached this fight and the persona he’s built up for himself has made it hard for anyone to hear the valid things he’s saying. I feel he’s coming forward with actual legitimate concerns and I don’t feel he’s out of place. If I felt someone had been taking something I’d want tests done too. If he truly feels that I don’t think he’s out of line asking for testing.
I’ve talked to Freddie [Roach] about it. The thing is if they don’t have this fight it’ll eat Floyd up. Floyd would have another 4-5 fights and probably go into the Hall of Fame undefeated with millions of dollars. But it wouldn’t matter because for the rest of his life people would ask him about Manny and why they didn’t fight. It would consume him. Now if they didn’t fight, Manny wouldn’t care. It’s not that big of a concern to him; he’s had losses. For some reason the way they both look it and how it affects them is different.
Honestly I don’t see them fighting next year. There are still other, easier fights that can make them millions. The way the Arum-Golden Boy thing is with their lack of communication and the stories they put out to the media that turn out to be false, I just don’t see either side conceding. Do you?
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: The last time I talked to Manny one on one was right before the Margarito fight. We actually got to talk for about a half hour and he told me point blank he’d be willing to test the day of the fight and in between rounds if necessary. I doubt he‘s the problem. Golden Boy and Top Rank have so much animosity and options in house that they feel content continually putting it off.
The way things are going the fight may just happen when it means little to anyone. With them in their mid 30s, an upset or bad night can happen. The fact this has been going on for two years is disrespectful to the boxing fans and their legacies.
This is the biggest challenge for both of them. If it doesn’t happen it hurts both of their standings. It would be like if Ali and Frazier’s Fight of the Century never happened over a contract impasse. It’s mind-boggling and embarrassing to have to cover it…
Lawson: I’ve heard Manny in person say he’ll take the test. Manny would fight him in a heartbeat. The politics just won’t allow it.
My thing with Floyd is you build yourself this persona to help you sell fights. Paulie Malignaggi has also done that. Paulie is the coolest guy on the planet. Before I met him I thought he was going to be the biggest jerk. I was pleasantly surprised. Floyd is similar; he’s a really nice dude whenever I’ve encountered him.
The persona has totally worked for him. He’s made more money that anyone else. But now he’s confronted with this other persona in Manny who’s built himself as the nice guy and people’s champion. What Floyd doesn’t understand is that no one wants to hear his valid points because he’s built himself into the bad guy. And he’s also done things that make it so he can’t reverse the image.
He’s in a place where he’s stuck being that dude. He’s always gonna come off as that whiny, bratty and mean dude even though I don’t think he is. Floyd is really smart and did what he needed to do to make a lot of money. I have a lot of respect for him. It would help if the people around him did a better job of censoring him.
If Floyd really wanted to fight Manny he’d have went through Golden Boy and had some big negotiator came through with a contract. Going public was the safe way because I think he knew it would never happen [that way]. To be honest I think Floyd is scared of Manny…
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Remember that Arum did the public countdown on Floyd last summer. I’m sure a tit for tat payback factored into Floyd’s May 5 announcement.
Lawson: You’re right. And with Bob Arum that’s a whole ‘nother thing. [laughs]
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: You touched on an interesting point about Floyd not being able to shake the “bad guy” role. To his credit he’s played it so well people were even criticizing him about announcing he’d pay for Joe Frazier’s funeral. Nothing he does is accepted at face value.
Lawson: I couldn’t believe that. It’s so evil for anyone to say anything about that because no one else stepped up to do it.
I can’t give Floyd enough props but he continually shoots himself in the foot. The reason Floyd is so good is he lives a really clean life and trains every day even when he shouldn’t. Floyd doesn’t drink alcohol or really party like that or engage in the shenanigans like he makes it out to be. He just has a paid entourage. Other than that he’s very regimented and disciplined athlete. I have so much respect for him in that capacity.
Floyd just doesn’t go out and buy Bentley’s every day. He doesn’t wild out 24/7. As an athlete I respect and admire his work ethic. He’s also not really bad with women. [laughs] People don’t know that and he’s really shot himself in the foot because he’s put out the image that he is all of those things. I think he and his people never really considered the long term repercussions to that image.
I feel like he’s this little kid that gets talked into stuff and when he has a little bit of a temper tantrum, the people around him allow him to go like “yeah, let’s get on TV and talk into stacks of cash! That’s a really good idea!” No, it’s really not. [laughs]
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Now that Andre Ward vs. Lucian Bute is the big fight at super-middleweight, who do you favor in that bout?
Lawson: [Pauses] I’ve not seen enough Bute to really call that one. But he’s Canadian so by default I have to favor my fellow Canadian.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Bute has a very good uppercut and I’d like to see how Ward would handle it if he got caught. But Ward is a better skilled overall and has a speed edge.
Lawson: Ward can get a little sloppy at times when he gets comfortable. The openings are there.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: What five boxing matches had the biggest impact on you?
Lawson: Hagler-Hearns. I’m a big fan of both. I loved the Hopkins-De La Hoya fight – I’m probably the only person that did. [laughs] There are so many. I’m a Mike Tyson fan, too. I’m drawing blanks… I do watch a lot of Sugar Ray Robinson. To me he wasn’t the greatest, but he’s the best boxer ever.
He was so smooth. The way boxing was back then they moved differently than we do. He was one of the people who changed that. The way he slipped [punches], we do that now. A lot of modern boxers got their stuff from him. He would just roll off and come back with something. All those fighters who would fight 15 round fights every week, I have so much respect for them.
Sugar Ray’s determination was evident every time he fought. Every time I think about the culture back then and what he had to live through, you see it in the ring. That’s one of the reasons I think Muhammad Ali was the greatest. I’ve never been a big fan of flashy footwork, but every time he got in the ring, regardless of how many he talked, he showed his confidence and life experiences. What he said, he did it. I’m somebody with social and political awareness and I can’t imagine what he had to battle through. It showed his character as a person.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: You mentioned the older fighters being able to fight big fights multiple times a month. You try anything like that now, as seen in the Super Six, and guys seem to physically fall apart. Do you think that’s because the boxers back then were tougher or due to fighters being stronger now and delivering more damaging blows?
Lawson: I want to fight every month. One time I almost got to fight twice in a month. That was six rounds, though. If you’re fighting 15 rounds and every two weeks that’s pretty crazy and a toll on your body. I just think it’s a different type of durability. The way we train now is for immediate output. It’s gotten a little more specific and scientific being that we train more aerobically. That’s not conducive to fighting multiple fights over a short period of time. The body will need that rest.
I don’t think boxers hit harder now. We just exert more energy. On the flip side of that can you imagine getting hit with those older gloves? I wear eight ounce gloves and they feel like nothing. I couldn’t even imagine big guys, heavyweights, hitting with them.
I also think what we are physically capable of comes down to the limitations we place on ourselves.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: It’s been great speaking with you, Holly. Any closing thoughts?
Lawson: I want to be world champion but I think there’s really a gap in Western culture for women athletes. There are not a lot of women out there who are good examples for young women. And those that are don’t get the shine that they need to. In female boxing there isn’t anyone in that role now. That is what I would like to own.
There are a lot of social causes I’m interested in. I really would like to use my boxing to step into other things to build myself as a brand so when I stop boxing I can do other things. Because of how women’s boxing is I feel I can be in a more powerful position if I can build myself outside the ring. That is when the top promoters will really be interested in me. When you hold the cards in your hands, then you’re in a position of power.
I really want to make sure I’m always represented in a way that I feel is appropriate and makes a difference. I’ve been offered stuff I refuse to take because I don’t believe in the company or what I have to do or look like. I want to be someone who makes it so a little girl somewhere realizes she doesn’t have to be hyper-sexualized or bow down. You can get there by working really hard and perfecting your craft. These are the things I personally care about.
Stay updated on Holly “Li’l Bear” Lawson’s career by following her @lilbearlawson
Tags: Boxing, Holly Lawson, Interview, lil bear
One of the keys to a productive life is finding something you love and figuring out how to get someone to pay you good money to do it. But what happens when there currently isn’t much “good money” in your passion? That is the challenge facing Holly Lawson (1-1), an ambitious year 33-year-old welterweight that began her professional career last October. Based out of LA’s famous Wildcard Gym, Lawson has been able to hone her craft while sharing training tips with boxing elites like Manny Pacquiao. Although becoming world champion is an obsessive goal, equally important to Lawson in doing so while maintaining her dignity and self-respect. Read how the fighter known affectionately as “Li’l Bear” balances both through the perils of the boxing industry.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: How did you develop a passion for the Sweet Science?
Holly Lawson: I took up boxing class about seven years ago and I really liked it. I had a natural aptitude for it and the instructor told me I should go try out a boxing gym. I took a couple amateur fights but they were really hard to come by and being an adult with a career didn’t make it any easier.
A few years ago I had a breaking point with a lot of things in my life. I truly believe I have what it takes to be world champion. A lot of people said that to me before but I lacked self-confidence. I acknowledged it and moved forward and started working harder by making it my main focus. I started at the Wildcard Gym because it was close to my job and it has been my home forever.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: You touched briefly on the difficulty in getting amateur fights as a female boxer. Recently you had a situation where a professional fight was cancelled. What’s the overall difficulty in getting fights now?
Lawson: It’s so hard. [Sighs] I generally give a very PC answer, but the first reason I feel women’s boxing is not on a higher level is because men are the people who watch boxing. Realistically, men don’t want to see women who look like men boxing. A lot of the women boxers fall into that tough, butchy category and they tend to be wild without a lot of skill. They’re just really tough women and that’s not appealing to a male audience.
The flip side is that if you have a bunch of “Perfect 10” boxing girls who look cute but don’t have any skills at all – that’s almost as unappealing because the male audience does want to see some type of technical skill. What’s happened is that a lot of women have been able to get by on how they look and that diminished people’s respect for the sport.
That’s what I see when I look around. It’s sad because the deeper I get into it, the more I meet other female athletes on a certain level I realize it’s not just in my sport. The dynamics between men and women in boxing is very interesting. An upstart male boxer would have a manager. That manager would pay everything: your opponents, your fights, living costs and everything until you get on your feet and become a contender.
With females they don’t see us as viable because the purses aren’t there in America. They’re really, really low. Every woman boxer I know that has a manager or investor putting up money is in more of a sugar daddy situation or they have family. I don’t do either since I’ve been by myself since I was 14. I’ve made a conscious decision to not play into the stereotypes to look a certain way and do certain things to get ahead. In Los Angeles you know this is already prevalent in the entertainment industry, but it’s sad to see it in athletics as well.
The things I know girls do to get somewhere with these “managers” is pretty crazy. I’m not willing to go there. I know the strength of my abilities and I’ve been able to turn people into fans. I have a guy who referees title fights for the IBF and WBC and he’s my biggest fan and has gone to every promoter to vouch for me. Right now I’m going fight to fight. The last fight I was on the undercard to one of the guys I train with, Roberto Garcia. That whole card got cancelled and that’s been happening in general because of the current standing of the sport.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Because you have to do everything on your own, how has that affected your training? Like you said, most male boxers get to focus exclusively on the fights.
Lawson: I’m sure my physical condition would be in much better shape if I was able to have that support system. I’m sick right now and I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m stressed out. I work then I train and juggle everything in life. I don’t want to say my performance would be better because I’m really good. Every single guy that sees me says “I didn’t expect you to fight like that. You fight like a dude. You box like a man. That’s crazy!”
I’m a fan of the sport and I study it. My skill is there. I’m sure if I was fighting more often I’d be more comfortable. The support system gives you that extra edge. Like anything in life, if you could focus 100% on your passion things are easier.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Is your day job part of your support system or do you have to keep the boxing completely separate?
Lawson: I’m a private trainer which is good because I get to be my own boss right now. I’m hustling and I have to make the decision often if I’m going to work or train. The money isn’t doing too good right now because I’m putting all my faith in the fact what I’m doing will take me where I want to go. My clients are very supportive. [In boxing] I’ve had my nose broken and I was working as a bartender and they were like “Good Lord, you gotta get outta here!” [laughs] I couldn’t be in there with two black eyes. But other than that everyone has been supportive. People are really shocked at first but the turning point is when they see me box.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Let’s touch on that. How would you describe your style in the ring?
Lawson: I would say I’m a boxer-puncher. My idols are Philly fighters; Bernard Hopkins is like my living idol. Another favorite fighter is Miguel Cotto. I like technical fighters that can actually punch. I admire finesse boxers like Floyd Mayweather. I’m pretty straight up technical and tall for my weight class and use that to my advantage. I do hear often I fight like a black dude. [laughs] That’s funny because I don’t have a Detroit style but I have a lot of confidence.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Does boxing complicate your dating life?
Lawson: I’m always upfront about everything – I don’t have a poker face and strongly believe in telling the truth in everything. Most men are intrigued by it and the first question is can we spar? I’m always like dude; I would break your ribs! [laughs] I have a boyfriend now and he’s my biggest fan. He was at my fight in April. It was pretty funny – my best friend told me he almost killed her squeezing her hand. He almost got into a fight with the opponent’s father that was sitting in front of them. He’s real supportive and I try to make him proud.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Your debut was a loss last October. How were your nerves and feelings before and after the fight?
Lawson: I was insanely nervous but really confident leading up to it. I lost but actually won that fight. The girl brawled with haymakers and I boxed. I feel like I easily won behind the jab and right hand the whole night. The referee came up to me afterward and said they robbed me and I should petition the judges. I didn’t understand then you could go before the California State Athletic Commission and do that.
It was very disappointing because I lost on a split decision because she was aggressive even though I blocked a lot of her shots. Someone told me afterward that California likes aggression. I was landing most of my shots and her face was all busted up. I looked fine that night.
I was so nervous I didn’t sleep the night before. In my life I’ve always wrestled with self-confidence. I put in all this time training and the person I had training me at the time didn’t show up to the fight. I had two friends with me in my corner and a guy from Wildcard to help wrap my hands. I know when I stepped in there I wasn’t as confident as I could or should have been.
My last fight I had the best time which is why I’m so disappointed I haven’t been able to get another fight. There are new things I’ve been working on in the gym.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Some fighters have told me they get off on seeing the damage they inflict in the ring. What stimulates you in the ring?
Lawson: It does feel good to land a very good punch. To me, it’s being able to slip the punches. In my last fight I did that and came back with three punch combinations. My trainer is Eric Brown who also trains Peter Quillin, who fought recently on HBO. He’s from Detroit and treats me like one of the guys. He has certain combinations he teaches all of us. One of his things is the jab. I’m tall and really long so everything works off that. We’ve worked on the jab, stepping in with the uppercut; throw a quick hook and then the right hand.
In order to do that you have to be really fast and confident that those first three left hand punches are gonna land to set up the right hand, my money punch. There was a point in my last fight I was able to do that and it was the best feeling in the whole world. With any true boxer that’s probably going to be the answer. You want to hit people but you don’t really want to hurt them. I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but you know what the game is. Most boxers don’t go in there to tear someone’s head off.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Switching gears, what are your music tastes?
Lawson: It’s funny because I don’t like really aggressive music when I’m working out. I prefer melodic, R&B and pop. Of course I listen to Jay-Z, Kanye, Eminem and the basics. I noticed you’re friends with Murs who is one of my dearest friends in the whole world. I love his music. I like Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy and the LA basics. My dirty little secret is that I’m the biggest Jeezy fan on the planet. I love him. [laughs] My first fight I came out to a Jeezy song.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Knowing your take on how women are treated in boxing, how do you feel about your gender’s representation in Hip-Hop?
Lawson: I’m torn on that. On one hand I do like some of the most ignorant Hip-Hop ever. Murs would confirm this. You don’t want to tell an artist what they can or cannot say. I’d like to see artists be a little bit more conscious of what they’re doing and saying to their peers. It’s a fine line, but I feel like it’s almost happening now. There’s a wave of rappers if you read the lyrics you can see the respect to the women who raised them and who they are with. I’d like to see a place in society in general where men would feel comfortable talking about the fact they love women and the reasons why.
Check back in Christmas Eve (December 24) for part two as Holly Lawson gives her take on friend Manny Pacquiao’s contract issues with Floyd Mayweather, old vs. new fighters, and her favorite fights of all time. Follow her on Twitter @lilbearlawson.
Tags: Boxing, Holly Lawson, lil bear, video
The sport of boxing has brought many diverse and talented people into my life. One such individual is Holly “Lil Bear Lawson,” a female boxer who just began her professional career in late 2010. This short video is a collection of her boxing training routine. As you can hear from music, she keeps it very Hip-Hop. Be on the lookout for more web episodes from her as she builds her career. In the meantime, you can follow her on Twitter @lilbearlawson.