On March 11 Mason Menard (32-2, 24KOs) has a fight scheduled against Carlos Cardenas (22-12-1, 14KOs) in his home state of Louisiana. Menard is coming off a round 7 knockout loss to Raymundo Beltran, only the second loss of his career and first since 2008. After the Beltran fight, Menard spent two weeks in training camp with Danny Garcia who was getting ready for his unification bout with Keith Thurman. With just days before his March 11 fight, we spoke with him about camp with Danny, getting in shape, and his next opponent.
YOU RECENTLY CAME BACK FROM TRAINING CAMP WITH DANNY GARCIA, HOW WAS YOUR FIRST VISIT TO PHILADELPHIA AND DID YOU ENJOY THE CITY?
Yeah, I did. The only thing that was killing me was that wind up there. The cold wasn’t that bad. It was cold, yes. But it wasn’t that bad like when we get it down here [Louisiana], when we do get it, because we hardly ever get it. But it was the wind I couldn’t tolerate out there. If I had more proper winter stuff to block the wind . . . I think I would have been better off. All in all, the city itself, I loved it.
DID YOU DO ANY ROAD WORK WHILE YOU WERE PHILLY?
I ran a couple times but due to what I had to wear, it was rough. The hotel they had me in didn’t have a fitness room . . . no treadmills or nothing. That was the downside to it, where they had me at. It was close to the gym, because everything else was like 30 minutes further. That’s something I didn’t like was that it didn’t have a hotel with a gym in it so I could get some work in.
HOW WAS THE SPARRING IN DANNY’S GYM?
The sparring was great. I mainly sparred 90% of the time with Danny. It boosts your confidence when you get in there and you do well and they speak highly about you that you was great work for Danny. Considering I was out there with no training, fat. From the Beltran fight I haven’t done anything. I was big and fat. But the way it went, the sparring rounds, it was always split between me and another guy, so it worked out perfect. The first day we sparred Danny only did four rounds, so I only had to go two. Cause after two I was gassed. So, I was able to build into the rounds. It kept going higher and higher. So, I was able to build into the rounds and do my bag work and stuff and get in decent shape . . . to spar them rounds.
He hits with good accuracy but he doesn’t have enough high punch output.
WERE YOU IMITATING KEITH’S STYLE OR JUST FIGHTING YOUR STYLE?
I was just fighting my style. They brought me up there because I can move well and they seen Thurman can move pretty well. I had a good right hand, Thurman also has a good right hand. Height-wise, I’m an inch shorter than Thurman from what they were saying. So, I was kind of a similar style to Thurman.
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF DANNY AS FAR AS HIS BOXING IQ AND OVERALL ABILITY IN THE RING?
He definitely has a high IQ. His counter-punching is great and he’s strong in both hands. I find he’s a pretty big solid 147. Especially being at 140 I can tell he was really big because at 47 he fits in good so at 40 . . . that was his advantage. I found he had good size on him, five eight and a half. He has a good build. The only thing that was my concern and that was my concern with the fight as well, from previous fights and from sparring him, he doesn’t have a high punch output. He hits with good accuracy but he doesn’t have enough high punch output. That’s what I was scared of against Thurman and it showed. He didn’t get off enough shots that he needed.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FIGHT AND WERE YOU SURPRISED IT WAS A SPLIT DECISION?
My prediction before the fight was a 50/50. I had nobody picked. I was expecting it to be very close, draw material. Split decision just like it was. But I wasn’t happy with the 115-113 for Garcia. Cause at best for him I seen it even. But, I can see it all the way to 116-112 for Thurman. I had it scored myself 114-114 because it had some very close rounds. Danny, I felt, was the aggressor. I gave him them rounds because he was the aggressor and made the fight happen. That’s why I gave him them rounds but I can also see Thurman winning them rounds. And that’s why I said that the least it could have been was a draw and I could see it all the way to 116-112 for Thurman.
DANNY IS KNOWN FOR THROWING SOME AWKWARD PUNCHES, DOES HE SPAR THE SAME WAY HE FIGHTS?
He fights similar, very similar to his style when he’s in the ring. Like I said . . . one of my concerns about him fighting Thurman was his punch output, and he sparred basically the exact same. He only caught me a couple times with a couple of them shots. For the most part I got grazed with them or I dodged them with movement . . . and my speed.
DO YOU LIKE HOW THEIR CAMP IS SETUP AND IS IT SIMILAR TO WHAT YOURE USED TO?
Pretty similar to what I do. I took a couple things from what I learned out there. They spar every other day just like I do. They do bag work and mitt work and strength work. I just kind of took a couple small things in there that I noticed that I liked and added it to mine. It ran like I train except their camps are private, mine are not. I train in a public facility. It’s private owned but it’s for the public. It’s an immaculate gym but everyone is invited in there. You can’t close the gym door for the boxing part of it. It’s closed in but I can’t lock it and have people out while I train. They’re allowed in while I train. I did like that about their camp. He owns his gym. Nice gym. They only allow who they want to allow in there and there’s not a bunch of riffraff.
Blow him out on the scorecards or stop him. Either or. I can’t have a close fight with a guy like this.
DID GOING TO CAMP WITH DANNY KIND OF ACT LIKE A CAMP FOR YOUR MARCH 11 DATE?
I spent the two weeks out there and towards the end it was mentioned they had a March 11 card. When I got back, some things happened for about a week, and then finally the fight got scheduled. But, I was training while I was home that week. Then I really started stepping it up . . . I sparred with three local guys from around here and then my last week of sparring I headed to Houston. I stayed a week in Houston at Main Street boxing gym and I did a week of sparring over there this past week. Got some good work in over there with my cutman Aaron Navarro at Main Street Boxing Gym in Houston. I left after sparring Friday. I did sparring, bag work, and then did my roadwork once I got back. So, I’ve been back since Friday. Now we’re just gonna fine tune ‘til it’s time to weigh-in and fight.
HOW’S THE WEIGHT LOOKING RIGHT NOW?
The weight is doing pretty decent. Like I said, I was very fat. I was 166lbs before I went to the Danny Garcia camp. That’s the biggest I’ve ever gotten. Right now [Monday], my wake up weight is about 42. The fight is at 37 so I‘ve got about five pounds approximate to cut this week. Hopefully it comes off. I’ve been holding around 42, 42.5, 41.5 for the whole weekend. Hopefully tomorrow morning [Tuesday] I’ll be down to 41, 40. Cause that’s how it’s been going consistently, taking off a pound, pound and a half a day.
DO YOU KNOW MUCH ABOUT YOUR OPPONENT?
I know he fought some good guys, that’s where his loses come to. Mickey Bey, Robert Easter, Jr., Juan Diaz. He’s fought the top caliber and went the distance with some of them, a couple of them stopped him. So, he’s a proven veteran. He’s got wins over F, D, C-level fighters. He’s never beaten the A-level guys. So, I’ve got to be able to get in there and do like the other guys did and prove that I’m an elite fighter as well, my last fight don’t define me, that I’ll be back in the win column and ready to step up again. This is a guy that have to beat. I have to be able to do what everybody else did . . . that’s proven to be an elite fighter. Blow him out on the scorecards or stop him. Either or. I can’t have a close fight with a guy like this. I can’t look past a guy like this because they’re savvy veterans. I’m looking forward to it.
IS FIGHTING BACK HOME ANY ADDITIONAL PRESSURE?
That don’t bother me. I’ve been fighting here for years. When I went other places, it’s all the same to me. The crowds don’t bother me; the change don’t bother me. This is my job and this is what I do so no matter where it’s at I gotta handle business.
WELL, THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO TALK AND I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ON TV ON THE NEXT ONE.
Yessir, that’s the plan. Thanks for having this interview with me and I plan on talking to you soon.
For more on Mason Menard, follow him @roockhardmighty