Rayco Saunders has some things to say about his recent visit to Minnesota, and they aren’t all good.
On Saturday, January 24 Saunders appeared in a light heavyweight boxing match at Grand Casino Hinckley, losing a majority decision to 17-0-1 Marcus Oliveria of Kansas. This writer reported live round-by-round from the event, and when it was over Saunders didn’t like all I had written about his performance. His first objection was that I reported he was spitting blood near the end of the fight, and the conversation begins there.
I ask the reader to keep in mind that these comments come from a fighter who is bitterly disappointed that the judges didn’t give him a win he feels he earned. I don’t know Saunders and I’m not saying he’s right or wrong, but I asked for his opinion and I feel obligated to convey it in full. One thing I’m reluctant to do, however, is to get in the middle of a he said/he said dispute between fighter and promoter, so I ask all involved not to shoot the messenger.
Fistic Mystic: About whether you were bleeding from the mouth – If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I thought I saw you spitting blood. It wouldn’t be honest for me to change my report after the fact so I won’t, but I appreciate your setting the record straight.
Rayco Saunders: Yes, you were very wrong! I was never even hit in the mouth! I work hard on defense, and I feel mine is pretty damn good.
Fistic: Please tell me a little bit about your strategy. What did you know about Oliveria coming in, and what was the reasoning of your corner in reining you in during the early rounds? What do you think would have happened if the fight had gone on longer?
Rayco: Artie Thompson, who worked my corner, although he is a good trainer, is not my trainer. He was a fill-in guy because my guy couldn’t make it. I informed him that Oliveria’s favorite punch was his overhand right. Our strategy was to take that away from him, as we did. Show him things that he’s never seen before, as we did. Touch that body, as I did. And break him down, as I started to do, which forced him to literally run away from the fight…but you didn’t write that! [ed: I did write repeatedly that Oliveria was retreating and that Saunders was the aggressor in the later rounds, read it for yourself.] Where I disagreed with my team, was I wanted to take Oliveria to war from the opening bell. But I pay these guys for their instruction, so I listen to them. Every bell from the first till I became the aggressor, I told my corner I wanted to go get him. They instructed me to move to my right, put the jab on him, and keep moving my head. The round that I came out as the aggressor, I couldn’t take moving and jabbing anymore. Artie gave me the go-ahead to become the hunter. After the fight, Artie informed me that he thought it was a 10 round fight, and apologized for being misinformed. Before the fight I told Tony Grygelko and Tom Brown that Oliveria was not ready for me. I told Tony that I would stop him. If he wouldn’t have ran, literally he would have got stopped! If it was ten [rounds] like Artie thought, he would have got stopped!
Fistic: Please give me a scouting report on Oliveria. What does it take to beat him, and what would you do differently if you had another chance?
Rayco: Oliveria is still learning. He still does very amateur things. There is something that he does not do, but I won’t open his eyes to it because of the possibility of a rematch. If I fight him again, I take him to war as I wanted to do, and stop him early.
Fistic: How were you treated on your visit to Minnesota, and would you return for another fight?
Rayco: My treatment in Minnesota by Seconds Out Promotions was terrible! I was told that me and my team would be brought in on 22 January, 2009. We weren’t brought in until [the next day]. While I’m on the plane to Minnesota, I was informed through text message that the weigh in would be held at 7pm on 23 January. When we were picked up from the airport, it took us two hours to ge to the hotel. After the ride left us we found out that we were dropped off at the wrong hotel! 45 minutes later, at 6:30pm, we get to the correct hotel. At this moment Tony Grygelko asks me did I get his text about the weigh-in taking place at 7pm, and to meet him in a few minutes so we can go back to the hotel from which we just came from, where the weigh-in will take place. Then after the fight, at 12:55am, I received another text from Tony Grygelko stating, “The limo will pick up fighters at 7am. If any fighter misses the pickup, they will have to find their own transportation to the airport.” My flight didn’t leave Minnesota till 2pm! Then two of the judges give those terrible scores. They can’t count too good neither. Add the scores up! You asked would I return for another fight…absolutely! There are people in this world whose struggles are far worse than what I went through in those few days. I would definitely come back. Especially if it’s to fight one of Seconds Out Promotions’ fighters. The people of Minnesota treated us well. They also know who won the fight, as was evident by the cheers for me and the boos for Oliveria.