FELON: How many titles have you won and in what division?
FM: If you wanna be honest, I’m really a four-time world champ. I beat Angel Manfredy, Angel beat Auturo Gotti, Auturo had the IBF (International Boxing Federation) title. There are three major titles: IBF,WBA, and WBC. Diego Corrales knocked out Roberto Gracia then I knocked him (Gracia) out and he had the IBF but I never received it. I beat Genaro Hernandez from East LA (WBC) so that was the first title I really won. I beat Jose Luis Castillo for the WBC belt but they said the fight was controversial so I came back and done it again. Can’t none of these ‘cats’ beat me. I’m the best and my record is 29-0 with 20 knockouts.
FELON: How old are you?
FELON: Did you fight in the Olympics?
FM: I went to the ’96 Olympic game. I lost on some controversy.
FELON: What kind of controversy?
FM: I lost by one point. I was up by 2-3 points and going to the last round I lost by one point. I fought the defending world champion; the dude who was the favorite to win the Olympics. I really beat him but I put it all in God’s hands and he was showing me something with that fight. Never take your skills for granted.
FELON: I saw your last fight. How do you make your work in the ring look so easy?
FM: Hard work and dedication. Running five miles a day. Working with my strength trainer. He’s my best friend also. Hard work pays off. I go play basketball; a lot of blessings from God and having a strong team around you.
FELON: Who’s your strength trainer?
FM: Leonard Ellerbeee.
FELON:How is your relationship with your promoter Bob Aurm? I heard he only promotes Mexican fighters.
FM:That’s true. Bob Aurm—he’s what he is. He’s no good and I don’t like him. He don’t like me at all and I want to get out this chokehold so I can promote myself. With my talent, my skill and me all around as a person I can be bigger than what I am. Oscar De La Hoya left him and I became his #1 fighter. I’ve been with him since ’96—it’s 2003 and I haven’t even fought on Pay-Per-View yet. That shows you how he feels about me.
FELON: Why is he still your promoter?
FM:Because I’m in a chokehold. I’m in a f***ed up contract with him.
FELON: How much longer will you be under contract?
FM:A few more fights. I just wanna get away from him. He caters to Hispanic fighters. I don’t like to call anyone a racist because that’s not my style. I got love for everybody. If you respect me and treat me good—I’m gonna do the same to you. He’s (Bob Aurm) the worst promoter in the world. I wouldn’t advise any fighters to go with him. The best thing to do is to have a good team and good people around you that’s gonna tell you the truth.
FELON: What do you think about Don King?
FM: I think Don King is unbelievable.
FELON: In what sense?
FM: He’s a black man who came from rags and went to riches
FELON: What about the controversy about his ethics in boxing?
FM: You gotta realize, Bob Aurm does it but he doesn’t get chewed out about it. Don King is a flamboyant black man and he gets chewed out about it. If you notice the WWF can talk s*** all day and be flashy and talk mean and that sport is loved! ‘He’s very exciting when he talks; that makes him bigger as a fighter or wrestler if a white guy does it.’ If a black guy does it then you know what they say, ‘he’s cocky—he shouldn’t act like that, he’s big-headed.’ Why we can’t be flashy and be good at what we do.
FELON: After your contract is fulfilled do you plan to promote yourself?
FM: I plan on branching off and doing a lot of big things. I got my record label gettin’ ready to jump off.
FELON: What’s the name of your record label?
FM: #1 Philthy Rich Records. Like I said before, we’re gonna be #1 in this game. I’m in the game to win.
FELON: How many artists do you have?
FM: I’m working on Dirt Bomb’s project. He’s from Chicago, IL. I’m from the mid-west—Grand Rapids, MI and God had blessed me. I’m gettin’ it.
FELON: Tell me about the concert you threw for Jay-Z in ’96. Weren’t you just a teenager at the time?
FM: I met Jay-Z in ’96 when his album first came out. Some older ‘cats’ wanted to do a Jay-Z show out here in Club Utopia. They didn’t have no money; I was just moving out here. One of my other cats was gettin’ money through the streets and one of my other boys’ was gettin’ money through boxing but, of course, I’m the leader of the pact. I had six figures then—so I was like, ‘yo, you ain’t got the money then I’ll take care of it.’ I took care of it. It was poppin’. It was all right. It didn’t reach what we wanted it to reach but Jay-Z is a remarkable artist.
FELON: How is your relationship with other rappers?
FM: I ain’t got no problem with rappers.
FELON: Not necessarily a problem. Who do you enjoy right now besides Jay-Z?
FM: Like I said before, Jay-Z—he’s the next Biggie Smalls—the next 2Pac. I like 50, Jay-Z, Nas.
FELON: Are you close with 50?
FM: We talk. We talked a few times.
FELON:What about your relationship with Murder Inc.?
FM: They cool. If I hang with Fifty and we kickin’ it then me and Fifty’s business is me and Fifty’s business. When I hang with Ja Rule then that’s me and his business. I ain’t tryin’ to get in the middle of their beef. They business is they business. I’m tryin’ to work with both artists’. If I can get one of them to get on a song with my man Dirt Bomb that’s what I’m gonna do. If I can get one of them on my label—that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m not tryin’ to steal nobody artists but I’m just tryin’ to have it and treat people with respect and get the same in return.
FELON: I hear your have a studio in Las Vegas?
FM: Philthy Rich House. Everybody that comes in that house we plan on makin’ them Philthy Rich. That’s my goal. My goal ain’t just for me to eat. I’m eatin’ good already! I’ll tell you the truth. I got the Bentley outside—I got the 740LI outside—I got the Hummer outside—I got the 500 outside—I got the Corvette—I got the Lexus. I got 3-4 Benzs—2-3 Rolexs—Bentleys.
FELON: How many cars do you have total and which is your favorite?
FM: To be honest—10-13 cars. I’m not sure. My Geo Prism is my favorite.
FM: My dad was a hustler so he always had paper.harder. My mother always struggled so she never really had too much money and she raised my two sisters by herself. My oldest sister always drove the Geo Prism and that’s one of the cars in my family that I will not get rid of. Every time I train—when I come home I look at that car. Anything I do—before I go fight I look at that car and I don’t’ wanna go back to driving those type of cars—it motivates me to work harder.
FELON: Was your father a gangsta in Grand Rapids?
FM: Yeah. My dad was a gangsta. Me and my daddy don’t have the greatest relationship but I’m gonna always have love for my daddy. I’m gonna always respect my daddy because it takes two to bring somebody into this world. My dad is a helluva a trainer.
FELON: They say your dad and your Uncle Roger are the best trainers in boxing.
FM: My Uncle Roger…he’s the best. If you go with my dad or Uncle Roger you can’t go wrong.
FELON: Why is the relationship between you and your father sour?
FM: My dad left me—he got locked up when I was sixteen. He came back in my life when I was twenty-one or twenty-two. Things change. I’m a man now. I’ve been on my own six years. That’s something he had to respect. No, I didn’t ever have the father/son relationship I would have liked us to have. My daddy is a straight gangsta. My daddy don’t go for no bulls***. My daddy get busy and that’s the same way I am—I don’t go for no bulls***. These rappers out here beefin’ on tape—talkin’ bout I’ll do this—do that. You f*** with me and I’m gonna come for ya ass. I ain’t with all that talkin’. ‘Yeah. I’m gonna pop you.’ I don’t play all that shit. If I see you and, you come on my turf I’m knockin’ you out—straight up. We gonna stomp ya ass out because we don’t go for the bulls***.
FELON: Have you ever been a hustler?
FM: I got the gift of gab. All my n***** is hustlers. I can’t say outright I was a hustler. All my n***** around me was hustlers and they knew I had a bright future. All the hustlers looked out for me. As far as gettin’ busy—fightin’—crackin’ a n***** head was a regular thing for me. Bustin’ a motherf***** head who gets out of hand. I respect any man that’s a man, first. Before I respect any rapper as a rapper—I respect him as a man first and he gonna do the same to me. I would never disrespect a female because I have a mother and a sister. Any male that gets with my mother or sisters; treat them with the utmost respect because I’m gonna do the same to your sister. She could a prostitute, drug addict—it doesn’t matter. I’m gonna always respect black sisters because that’s how I was brought up. That’s what my grandmother taught me—my mother and my dad. The strongest person in my life is my mother. A lot of things my mother told me came to life. In my younger days (amateur career) it was my grandmother because I lived with her the majority of my life.
FELON: Is this your maternal grandmother or your paternal grandmother?
FM: My father’s mother. I came up with the majority of my father’s side of the family.
FELON: How many children do you have?
FM: I have three and a half. I got a baby on the way.
FELON: Different baby mamas?
FM: Nah. One woman.
FELON: That’s beautiful. Are you married?
FM: I’m looking forward to it in the future. I don’t know what the future holds for me but one thing I can say, ‘my kids’ mother—she’s great.’ I couldn’t choose a better woman. She stuck with me through thick and thin—through my ups and downs—through trials and tribulations. She was there for me and stuck by my side no matter what nobody said about me.