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Talkin’ Boxing with Philip H. Anselmo

Boxing historian, columnist/musician/Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints supporter and friend, Philip H. Anselmo recently discussed boxing and music…

Anselmo, who has trained boxing for decades and actually had a boxing trainer accompany him on concert tours, discusses his own boxing style and which boxers exemplify it:

“Well, my weight is around super middle/light heavy and I am a boxer/puncher. I would say Roberto Duran is a good example, because of his aggression, and Joe Calzaghe, for the way he was able to improvise, adapt, and make the opponent fight his fight. Also, I liked the way Calzaghe threw the hook off the jab. I am not a southpaw, but I could hit you anyway I want with my left.”

On the connection and similarities between boxing and heavy metal music:

“When I was with Pantera, for example, the shows were very physical, demanding, and unpredictable. When I play live, I feel the crowd and try to make contact with as many people as I can. You start recognizing or noticing a few people during the first song and by the end you get to know all of them. Each night the crowd could have been crazier than the night before, or I could have been crazier than the previous gig. To keep up with that, you need to live a sporting lifestyle and take good care of yourself, or you could get injuries. Especially if jumping from a PA. The same is true of boxing: if you don’t live the lifestyle, it’s going to show in the ring and it’s going to get you.”

An example of a song you wrote that was inspired by a boxing match or a boxer:

“‘Mouth For War’, the first song on the second Pantera album “Vulgar Display of Power”. I wrote that song when I was 21 or 22 and it was inspired by James Toney. Around that time, when he was fighting at middle and super middleweight, before he started struggling to make the weight, James Toney really talked the talk and walked the walk.”

The corruption in boxing and the microcosm aspect of boxing as life:

“Well, fight fixing is an expression of the nature of human kind. Man is a hostile organism. Civilization started from chaos, and greed and warfare go hand in hand. Throughout history, men travelled all around the world in the pursuit of land, money, and value. Boxing is a microcosm which represents the world on a smaller scale. About the sanctioning bodies, how many are there, 32 or 33? Each has its own agenda. You are a young man, a fighter, you make your way up the rankings to win the title, and once you have that belt around your waist you have to pay a sanctioning body to be allowed to bring it into a ring? That on its own is crap. A good case in point of these absurdities would be the Heavyweight situation of the WBA, who seems to have their own rules and rating systems compared to anybody else.”

On his message to David Haye:

“We know his game in America
. We know why he pulled out of a fight with Wladimir Klitschko. Here is my message: you can’t beat Wlad. If you are ever going to fight him, he will jab right through you, keep you off balance and you won’t be able to counter. All you could do is running, but he would torture you for 12 rounds and then knock you out.”

Anselmo’s favorite fighter of all time:

“Impossible to pick one, there are too many. In the modern days, it would have to be Wladimir Klitschko. He is impenetrable. Definitely one of the most underrated fighters of all time. He will be appreciated after he is retired. Other names that come to mind: Larry Holmes, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr, Joe Calzaghe, Rocky Marciano, and Ali.”

Anselmo’s current pound-for-pound top three:

“Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, and Wladimir Klitschko. Nonito Donaire is a close no.4. I do not understand how guys like Vasquez or Rafael Marquez are considered pound-for-pound material when they come off the ring with all kind of cuts and marks on their faces.”

On Floyd Mayweather, particularly after the Mosley win:

“I always thought he is a good fighter. The best thing about him is his right hand, which he throws as naturally as if he was just scratching his head. He feints first and you know it’s coming, but you just can’t stop it. That being said, most fighters who are considered pound-for-pound challenged themselves by taking on bigger and better fighters. Floyd takes always the easy way out by picking smaller or older guys. In Mosley, he picked an older guy. Also, for all his talent, as a person he is very ugly inside and is hated because of some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth. I know how the latter feels, so my advice to him is: Shut up, Floyd. Be nice to people and let the punches do the talking.”

Philip Anselmo’s musical group “Down” will perform and headline the “High Voltage Festival” on Sunday July 25 at London Victoria Park. Day tickets are £75 and are available at

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