It’s been just over a month since Mason Menard suffered his second career defeat to Raymundo Beltran, who put a stop to his impressive 30-fight win streak. Coming off the heels of two dramatic KO victories on ShoBox, Menard seemed unstoppable. But, he was stopped for just the second time in his career, and the first time since his third fight in 2008. After taking some time to recover and reflect, we spoke with Mason Menard about what he could have done differently in the Beltran fight, life outside of boxing, and why he’s in Philly right now.
YOU TOOK THE FIGHT ON SHORT NOTICE AND REPLACED JUAN DIAZ. LOOKING BACK, WAS THAT THE RIGHT DECISION?
I was already in the gym, I don’t think it was the wrong decision. But all in all, it’s only my second loss; it’s a learning lesson. I really think my body was fatiguing from hitting camp after camp. I just fought and then I got right back in the gym to get ready for October 27. I did a full camp and then the day of weigh-in, I was on weight, they canceled the fight. I took a few days off to get ready for a December 15 fight and then the Ray Beltran fight came up December 10. While in that camp . . . I just felt drained, I just felt fatigued. As a fighter, we try not to make excuses and we try to suck it up and pull it out. But come fight night, you could definitely tell I wasn’t myself inside the ring with Ray Beltran. Nothing against him, taking nothing from Beltran, he was on his A-game and he was the better fighter that night.
HOW WAS YOUR TRAINING CAMP LEADING UP TO THE FIGHT?
Boxing is an intense sport when you get to training for a fight. It takes a toll on the body, and doing camp after camp like that, I think it just wore me down and drained me physically. And . . . I need better sparring when I’m gonna be fighting that caliber of fighter. The sparring I had was bigger guys who box. It doesn’t make sense to spar guys who box, who are six foot tall and 154lbs, who box and run around. Rather than sparring some guys who’s gonna be like the guy you’re fighting, that pressures, comes forward, and throws a bunch of punches. That also made a difference I believe in the fight. But all in all, I think I was just physically worn down.
WERE THERE ANY DISTRACTIONS OUTSIDE OF THE GYM THAT MAY HAVE AFFECTED YOUR PERFORMANCE?
I’m pretty strong-minded; it’s hard to get to me mentally. I don’t see anywhere where I was mentally affected by the fight. Physically . . . just wearing down, muscle fatigue. I had days I would spar one or two rounds and then I was just dead. I was in shape but I was just dead. I had nothing left in the tank. In training camps you usually have one day out the week where your body . . . you’ve been pushing it, pushing it, pushing it, and then you just have to pull back some and let that body recover, ‘cause recovery is a big thing. But I would have at least two days out the week where I was like, ‘I’m drained, I have nothing, I can’t go.’ That messed me up and it showed in the ring.
The first round I came out and I looked pretty good, then all of a sudden, I just went flat.
NOW THAT YOU’VE HAD TIME TO REFLECT, WHAT WERE SOME THINGS THAT WENT WRONG IN THE RING?
I didn’t fight how I fight; I stood in front of him. I took some shots. I tried to make the best of it; I tried to do what I could. I didn’t feel strong like I usually do, didn’t feel as fast, didn’t move as good as I do. The first round I came out and I looked pretty good, then all of a sudden, I just went flat. And that’s how I would do in the gym. I’d come out first round or so and I would do good and then I would just flat line. I tried to dig through it and do the best I could. I got caught . . . he never hurt me in the fight where it was like, ‘man, he can really punch.’ He caught me with some good shots, no doubt. But none was like where it was brutal. I just think my body fatigued and when he hit me with that shot I just wasn’t all there. I got up and everything, and I remember talking to the doctor in the corner . . . but I didn’t realize what I got hit with when I got dropped, so I did blackout for a little bit and I had to go back and watch the film to see exactly how it went.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO OUTSIDE OF BOXING SINCE THE BELTRAN FIGHT?
Just spending time with my daughter, spending time with friends. Doing some hobbies: some hunting, some fishing. Just everyday things and enjoying life a little bit. Of course, eating (laughs). Eating a little bit and enjoying that . . . I’m up to a point where I’m not craving anything no more and I’m ready to get back on track. Ready to diet and ready to get back in the ring.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
I’m waiting to see what comes next. I just got to Philadelphia; I just got here last night. I’m in training camp with Danny Garcia and I’ma be out here for a few weeks, and then I’ma head back and hopefully by then they’ll have something drawn up for me. I’d like to fight in March or April.
I always said this: I think it’s a 50-50 fight, any guy can take it.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO A GYM IN THE NORTHEAST?
No, I’ve never been to any gyms up here, this is my first time in Philly. Like I said, I just got here late last night. I got settled in at 2:00a.m. in my hotel room. I’m waiting to hit the gym this afternoon and see how that goes.
HOW’S YOUR WEIGHT RIGHT NOW?
I’m at 160, actually, right now. I’ve lost a few pounds. I got up to 165. I lost a few pounds in the last week because when I got called to come to Danny’s camp I got in the gym and started doing a little bit so I’m not too rusty or too badly out of shape, so I can go some rounds with him.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT DANNY’S UPCOMING FIGHT WITH KEITH THURMAN?
I always said this: I think it’s a 50-50 fight, any guy can take it. Danny always finds a way. The level of opposition he fights, he always finds (a way) to do a little better. No matter if they’re lower level or higher level. And what he did with the Matthysse fight, nobody thought he was gonna do that to Lucas Matthysse. That put a stamp that he’s a real deal fighter. And then Thurman, I don’t think he’s been fighting to his full potential . . . of course he’s a great fighter, he’s very good. I just think he has more to him than what he’s been showcasing in his last few fights.
For more on Mason Menard, follow him @roockhardmighty