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Home / ring observations / Scoop Malinowski / Biofile: Mark Breland Interview

Biofile: Mark Breland Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Former Welterweight champion. Retired in 1997 with a record of 35-3-1, 25 KOs.

DOB: May 11, 1963 In: Brooklyn, NY

Childhood Hero: “Sugar Ray Robinson.”

Nicknames: “Little Hitman. Neck Piece – when I was playin’ basketball, ’cause I had a long neck.”

Childhood Dream: “I didn’t want to work [chuckles]. But I always knew I was gonna be somebody.”

Pre-Fight Feeling: “Butterflies in my stomach. Just think about winning. (Visualize?) Very much. Think about animals, which is strange. The way they would strike and how they would attack. Bears, panthers…it was strange but it worked [laughs].”

Funny Boxing Memory: “The Golden Gloves. I hit this guy Morales-something. And he went outside the ring. He was standing on the apron outside the ring. He said, ‘I’ll be right there.’ He was out of it.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Winning the Olympics in 1984 (Los Angeles). The fight in the quarterfinals, when I fought the Mexican (Genaro Leon). They were saying he was gonna knock me out. He was knocking everybody out. And the two fights before that I didn’t look great. And I came out and knocked him out in the first round with a straight right hand.”

Most Painful Moment: “I fought Rafael Pineda. Pernell (Whitaker) fought him too. I beat him (fifth round KO) but I tore ligaments in my knee in the second round. Very painful. When we were clinching, he stuck his knee into the side of my knee. I went down. I don’t know how I got up and kept fighting but I did.”

Hardest Puncher: “Hmmm. That guy Pineda. I felt real woozy from an overhand right in the second round.”

Toughest Opponents: “Marlon Starling … very awkward. Aaron Davis … very tough.”

Favorite Movies: “Slingblade. Marked For Death. Boomerang. All kinds of comedies, action movies.”

Favorite Meal: “Spaghetti with sauce.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Vanilla.”

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: “Honey Nut Cheerios.”

First Job: “Library. Stacking books for School 33 in Brooklyn. I started at 9 am, stacked three shelves and I thought I was finished. And the guy said, ‘There’s lunch break.’ I said, ‘Well I’m finished with all my shelves.’ He said, ‘No, you have the other three when you come back.’ I said, ‘No problem.’ That was the last job I had [laughs].”

First Car: “Pontiac Grand Prix 1976, cream color.”

Favorite Boxers: “Thomas Hearns. Pernell Whitaker. Roberto Duran. Muhammad Ali. Ray Robinson. Wilfred Benitez.”

Closest Boxing Friend: “Pernell.”

Funniest Boxer Encountered: “Pernell. He’s just silly. He’ll just pop off.”

Which Fight Did You Feel At Your Best: “In the Olympics. All of my amateur career. It was better than my pro career. Because I had fun.”

Interesting Fact: “I just like people. They’re what makes the world go round. I’ve always said I don’t want to be known as a great fighter. I want to be known as a good person.”

How Would You Like To Be Remembered By Boxing: “As one of the good guys. I don’t want to be known as a great champion but just as someone who loved the sport and helped people.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “I don’t like to see arrogance in people. I like to see somone who’s friendly, but to themself. Or can be outspoken when they need to be.”

Future Ambition: “Help kids. Get back to film. Doing some movies and theater. My main thing is help a lot of kids. Growing up in Bed-Stuy, there’s a lot of kids that need some more people to give them ambition and determination to do other things than boxing or sports.”

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About Scoop Malinowski

Author of six books including "Muhammad Ali: Portrait of a Champion" and "Heavyweight Armageddon: The Lewis versus Tyson Championship Battle" available at amazon