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Home Boxing Convicted Artist Magazine Catches Up With Scotty “The Bulldog” Olson.
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Convicted Artist Magazine Catches Up With Scotty “The Bulldog” Olson.

scotty-olsonI have been a fight fan for many years now. Growing up in the city of Philadelphia, it is sort of bred into you to be a fight fan. Fighters like Matthew Saad Muhammad, Tim Witherspoon, Charlie “Choo Choo” Brown, Meldrick Taylor and Joe Frazier were staples of the Philadelphia scene when I was growing up. My dad Butch, an avid fight fan, dragged my brother Frank and I from the Blue Horizon, to the Arena and over to the Spectrum (after it opened) to watch the greatest group of fighters in the world at that time. Given the team that I still love today, the Philadelphia Flyers, were named the “Broad Street Bullies” and were beating the hell out of everyone in their path, the city’s toughness is cemented into history. Philly is the toughest city in the world by far and growing up there made me appreciate the tougher, slugging style of boxers. Fast forward to the 1990's when a fighter named Scotty “The Bulldog” Olson came onto the fight scene, fresh from Canada. The style of slugging that Scotty brought to boxing caught the attention of me, and all of the friends that got together to watch “USA Tuesday Night Fights” and “ESPN Friday Night Fights” in the 1990's. Scotty actually caught so much attention from our group that we started an unofficial Scotty “The Bulldog” Olson fan club at my house and had “watch” party’s when he fought, attended by as many as 150 people, all cheering on Olson. Scotty fought for 12 years and suffered many broken hands over his punching power and non-stop, push ahead style. Recently I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with a man who I followed his whole career, a true legend to me, Scotty Olson.

Bob Carroll (BC): Scotty, first I want to thank you for taking time out to speak with someone who has been quite a fan of yours for many years!
Scotty Olson (SO): Oh wow, thank you and it is great to be able to speak with you. I never knew that people still remembered my fighting days, but I am honored!

BC: Yes sir, very big fan! So Scotty, what brought you into boxing?

SO: Well, It was a bit of a funny story. Growing up I had no bit of athletic ability, but I liked sports and the competition it represented. The problem was that I couldn’t do any of the sports well, so I jumped around from sport to sport, trying to find the right fit. In baseball I sat on the bench and in soccer, nobody kicked the ball to me. Then I met a Canadian boxer named Al Ford, he was a former Canadian lightweight champion, he fought European Boxing Union champion Ken Buchanan at one point, a great lightweight champion. Ford told me a great gym to go down to in the event I wanted to take up boxing. So when Al Ford and it was funny that he had all of these scars over his eyes and his nose was bent up, he told me about the gym and what it took to be a fighter, I wanted to be like him when I grew up. But when you are a mother and you have a son that absolutely no athletic ability, the very last sport you want your son get into was boxing. So anyway, my mom bought me a heavy bag and I beat that thing up for eight months up unto I was skipping school all the time, just so I could train and hit the heavy bag. My mother then realized that at that point there was a passion for boxing inside me. My mother made a deal with me that if I stayed in school, she would let me pursue boxing. When I got into the ring, I started to starch guys pretty quick.

BC: In 1990, your first year of boxing, you fought ten times. How taxing was that on you and the body?

SO: Well, I loved fighting and I was with Top Rank, Bob Arum and Bruce Tramper, my match maker. I would have fought for them and of course my manager Bruce “The Mouse” Strauss and my trainer Richie Sandoval at that time. I fought every single chance I got, but my first pro fight was in January 1990 on ESPN. My second fight on ESPN was in February and in that fight I broke my hand. In those two fights, I went the distance. I told Top Rank that I was a KO artist and with that knowledge, I thought they would let me go, since I went the distance and had to have hand surgery where they had to put a plate in my hand. ESPN said “Scotty we will give you another shot but we need you to fight in May” (Scotty laughed). So to recover from an operation and to fight in only two and a half months, I was very happy to be able to knock out the next twelve in a row. So yeah Bob, I would have fought every week if they would have allowed me too.

BC: You fought and won your first title, the USBA title, in your twentieth fight, a ninth round TKO over Pedro Feliciano. What was it like to hold a title belt over your head?

SO: Well, it was really, uh, just a really fulfilling feeling. It made me feel like I was on the precipice of becoming a pretty darn good fighter. It was a good stepping stone, That belt meant a lot to me! Winning it fairly early in my career was just a blessing; I really enjoyed having that championship. Like you said, I fought Feliciano in that fight and he was a tough guy from Puerto Rico. I saw him fight another flyweight champion Dave McAuley. He had gone the distance with McAuley, so when I got into the ring with him, I was surprised how strong I was against such a quality fight like Feliciano. It was a good stepping stone to move on to tougher and better fighters afterwards.

BC: You lost that belt to future world title contender Jose Luis Zepeda by a majority decision in December 1992.  Did you feel that you had done enough to win that fight?

SO: Yeah, you know that was a tough fight. The bout I had before the Zepeda fight was against Jose Luis Velarde, which was a main event fight on ESPN. I had broken my hand during that fight, I think it was the fifth round and I knocked him out in the eighth round. My hand was not healed, even leading up to September, the hand was bothering me and I didn’t feel that strong. So I fought Zepeda in December and I had some severe weight problems going on at that time. I did everything I could to win that fight, but I broke my hand in that fight during the second or third round. I’ll tell you, it’s a long day at the office in a twelve round fight when you break your hand so early in the fight, especially against a tough Mexican fighter who a lot of people would not fight. When they offered me the fight and said it was on pay per view, I said “Sure, I’ll do it! I’ll fight this kid!” But anyway Zepeda looked like he was part truck. He looked like a veteran fighter with all of the scar tissue over his eyes, his nose buggered up and a real tough nut, a real tough fighter. He had like a 23-12 record and he had fought some of the top fighters in the world like Ricardo Lopez. Michael Carbajal didn’t want any part of Jose Luis Zepeda, but I took the fight gladly. That fight, I’m pretty sure, I believe I at least deserved a draw and we could have done it again for a bigger crowd, but I felt that I should have gotten at least a draw in that fight, even though I broke my hand early. 

BC: What goes on with a fighter after losing a close fight? What are the feelings swirling around your head at that point?

SO: Well for me it was one of the only times I didn’t achieve one of my goals. The last setback prior to that was the Olympics when I lost in the quarter finals to Michael Carbajal, whom I had beaten prior to the Olympics. We had actually split a couple of fights. Then he beat me when we met in the Olympics. So losing to Zepeda was a pretty big deal. It was the first loss of my professional career and it was a tough one to swallow. I was sitting on the gurney with my hand in a cast, my eyes swollen shut, I was peeing blood, so I called my manager Mouse Strauss and my trainer Richie over to the gurney and I said “Listen guys, I think I’m retiring. That’s enough for me!” That night I had the very best sleep knowing that I would not have to do all the training, the road work and all of the fighting anymore. That lasted until I woke up the next morning and I realized that I couldn’t wait to get back in the gym. So it was my shortest retirement of all time (both laugh). Very devastating for your first loss, I was 23-0 (18) when I took my first loss.

BC: You picked yourself up and went on to win the next five fights before losing another close battle, this time a split decision loss to Jorge Luis Roman. This loss did not seem to hurt, as the next fight you defeated Roger Espanola for the IBO flyweight title. Did winning this belt help heal the close loss to Roman?

SO: Well, Jorge Luis Roman was a tough, tough kid. He didn’t have the greatest record of all time, but he was a tough, tough fighter. His brother was a fight named Gilberto Roman, who was a world super flyweight champion. In the Roman fight, that was another big setback. It was the next loss after the Zepeda fight. I broke my hand in the second round of that fight also. I dropped him with a shot, but he got back up (laughing). In that fight, I boxed my butt off. I did things I didn’t even know I could do and deserved a win on that one, but I lost it on a point, fighting at the LA Forum. I think Carbajal lost on that card also, so us both losing on the same card cost us about a $750,000 pay day. Then I finally got the chance to fight for a world championship, which was the IBO world championship, I couldn’t get a shot against any of the other champions, they wouldn’t give me a shot. Top Rank was trying hard to match me with Dave McAuley. They were even trying to give the top ranked fighters step aside money so I could get the shot, win and then they would be my first defense, but that wasn’t working out, so having a chance to fight for the IBO championship meant the world to me. I certainly was not going to turn that one down, I gave it my best shot and I won. So when you get your first world title that is pretty special! 

BC: You never lost the title in the ring, did you relinquish the title?

SO: Well, I had about five defenses of the title, but it was just getting so darn tough to keep my weight down at that time. Incidentally, when I won the IBO title, I gave Jorge Luis Roman the first shot in my title defense and wound up avenging the one loss that I had to him. I successfully defended it five times, but I could not make the weight. I had such weight problems and could not make the 112 mark, so I was sort of stripped of that title, never lost it in the ring. They let two other guys fight for it, two guys who were able to make the weight. You know, that was fair. I didn’t like giving up my title in that way, I’d rather lose it in the ring, but no, I was champion and never lost the title.

BC: Around the time of these fights, you became a huge fan draw for USA’s Tuesday Night Fights. I can tell you that I always had a huge crowd at my house when you fought, sort of an unofficial Scotty “The Bulldog” Olson fan club. How much do you feel that program helped your career and popularity?

SO: (Laughs) That is awesome about the unofficial fan club! USA was great to me. That was around the time that Sean O’Grady was doing the commentating, and Sean was a great guy. I love Sean and he was always fair in any comments he made about a lot of the fighters that I have heard him commentate about. The USA boxing program was absolutely incredible. I was happy to be a small part of people’s enjoyment when they turned on the TV to watch boxing. 

BC: During the 1990’s, three names that were continually spoken about in the flyweight division, Scotty Olson, Humberto Gonzalez and Michael Carbajal. It seemed that you and Carbajal were constantly spoken about as “the fight”. Did you feel the pressure to meet up with Carbajal?

SO: Well, I thought it made sense. We were both promoted by Top Rank and they have done well by promoting fighters in their stable and matching them against each other. That is a great thing. I just couldn’t get Michael to fight me. I had broken my hand in several fights, so that caused a setback, and Carbajal was injury free, so he was able to continue to fight and set up other opportunities that he had to fulfill. It would have been nice to have had the chance to fight him sooner. I think it would have been fireworks in there.

BC: In 1997, you and Carbajal finally met in the ring for the IBA light flyweight title. The fight was a typical all action Scotty Olson fight, but ended in a KO loss for you. How good was Carbajal and was he as good as you thought he would be?

SO: Well, I’m a fighter and I hate for this to come across as an excuse, but the main thing behind that loss, and it is not an excuse by any means, was the fact that I was not able to make 112 anymore. I had some operations, I had a couple over my eyes and two on my knee leading up to the Carbajal fight, but the last one was on my knee. So finally I get the call that Carbajal will fight me, so I said “Right on! That’s fantastic! How much time do I have to prepare?” Well, I only had five and a half weeks, I was already having problems making 112, but now I had to get down to 108 to fight Carbajal. With the surgery on my knee being fresh, I couldn’t really train and get into top shape. I couldn’t train hard enough to get into top shape. At that point I was 130, coupled with the fact that I was having problems getting to 112, and NOW I have to get to 108! All of the training to get to the target weight just zapped me. I’m glad that when he finally offered me the fight, I did not turn it down, because I couldn’t get the fight any other time, so the offer kind of caught me at a time when I was vulnerable. I was very sad that I was not able to put up a better effort. I fought him at about 35%, if I were able to get up to 60-70%, I win the fight hands down. I just couldn’t sustain my momentum, I lost my punching power. My defense was good, I was rocking and rolling. I thought I was even up with him after about 7, 8 or 9 rounds; it was a pretty good fight. I just couldn’t move him with my punches. To let you know Bob, how hard it is mentally, to be throwing some hard shots but you’re not moving somebody, being known as a guy who can hit hard, It was crazy! I was whacking away a little bit, but I could not move him with my shots, because of the lack of strength I had from losing the weight. Anyway, I fought him, I lost (laughs) and that is just the way it goes Bob. But in answering the question about Carbajal, Michael was a truly great fighter.  Very fluid and a lot like Alexis Arguello in my opinion.  He had a ton of ability.  Outstanding technique, good power and his defense was really solid.  An A+ fighter.  I was offered a fight with Humberto “Chiquita" Gonzalez, though my manager "Mouse" turned down the offer as my hand was not healed properly yet.  The Mouse was the best of managers and protected me perfectly.  At the end of the day, the decision not to fight Chiquita was the right decision, as I could have not fought such a great fighter as him with one hand. 

BC: After this fight, you continued to fight finally retiring in 2002, after losing to future world champion Steve Molitor. A lot of fighters make comebacks after retiring; did you ever consider a comeback?

SO: Oh, I’m still considering it (laughs), I don’t think that is ever going to go away. I have been doing other things in my life now. It was not this last December, but the December previous, I told my employer that I was going to make a comeback, and they were all for it because they wanted to see me fight again. They thought it was a great idea, but it would take me about 3 ½ months to get ready. I started training, making some pretty good progress and getting my groove back, but that 3 ½ months that I said it would take me suddenly grew to 7 months (both laugh) to get ready, or at least get myself back to where I wanted to be, I just couldn’t take the time off of work or I would have continued fighting. It still bugs me now, I wouldn’t mind having a fight or two against some of the guys out there today, that I could beat and enjoy another day in the sun. That would mean a lot to me, but with a young family, two young girls that I have, I have more to lose in fighting. I have to not just live for myself, because I have others to live for too.

BC: During your career, you were suffered numerous times by broken hands. How do you feel these injuries hampered your career?

SO: Well Bob, very good question. My hand injuries really didn’t cause me to fight badly, because even when I broke my hand, it wasn’t like I broke my hand and then stopped. So it is not like you break your leg, which is harder. You have so many bones in your hand and it hurts like heck when you break your hand and have to keep throwing it all night. I normally would be using it, even after breaking it. It hurt a lot, but I think it may have helped me a bit because it gave me some time off between fights, and I had mentioned earlier, I would have fought each month, every three weeks, whenever they wanted me to go, I would fight. So breaking my hand gave me a little bit of rest, kept the mileage down on my head, so that I can still speak well, still able to remember things. So if I hadn’t broken my hand, I may have had well over a hundred fights now. So breaking my hand was probably a good thing for me as it kept my pace of fighting down. 

BC: You were one of many great fighters to come from the great white north. How popular is boxing in your home nation of Canada?

SO: It’s actually pretty good. We have Molitor who won his title back earlier this year, and he is now a two time champion. I don’t think that there are enough former fighters that know enough about the game, myself included, that are coaching the youth of today. I don’t think we have the absolute best coaching in the country, but we do have some really good ones in Ontario and Quebec for sure. But if we had ex-fighters like myself that know what they are doing, I think if we were handing down our information, and our knowledge to the young fighters, I think it would be a lot better and we would have a lot better fighters. We would be able to compete on an amateur level on an international stage, doing well, getting the fighters to the Olympics, and then turning them pro. I think that is something that we are missing that the United States has the best of there. In the US there are so many great trainers and there is a lot ex-fighters to help with the youth program.

BC: What is Scotty Olson up to today?

SO: Well Bob, what I’ve been doing is, I had about a two year period between my last fight and when I started selling cars. I have been a car salesman, selling new and used cars and have been doing so for about seven years now. I have probably sold about 850 cars. I have an absolute blast at it, I never get beat up doing it which is nice (both laugh). I have been enjoying doing what I do and selling cars means I am always talking to people and having fun making, for some people, the second biggest purchase of their life. They are entrusting me to help them, and so I bring a lot of “funess” and I think I do a great job at providing my customers the very best of service. 

BC: So when people realize that they are speaking Scotty Olson and most people will recognize you as one of the idols of boxing from the 1990's and early 2000's.  Have you ever realized a sale from your name?

SO: Well (laughs), yeah I sure have. I would be lying if I said no.  It doesn’t always help sell a car, but it does help get my foot in the door. Gives me and the customer a little rapport, something to talk about and lower their defenses so they feel more comfortable around me. There is a handful of guys that I sell some trucks to every now and then, that get a kick out of the fact that they are buying the trucks from “The Bulldog” It’s very flattering, and with all of the TV exposure, I had even more TV exposure in the US, so I could be selling cars in California, Vegas, more so on the west side of the US. I think I would do very well in any of those places and if they put my name in the paper it may bring a few folks down. 

BC: The podium is yours Scotty. What would you like to say to the readers of Convicted Artist Boxing Magazine and all of your fans worldwide?

SO: Well, it has been an absolute thrill for me when I was a fighter, to entertain you. Out of the 40 professional fights I have had and the 82 amateur fights I had, there wasn’t one time in any fight that I had, and hopefully my fights on TV showed this, there wasn’t any fight that I had that I left anything in the locker room. I was able to defeat a number of guys who were better than me based on my wanting to win. Hopefully my desire to win was something that was worthwhile and I hope that in every fight I had that my desire was able to show well enough for people to enjoy me. I had a blast and I would have never had been a fighter if people didn’t enjoy watching me. I would have not been the fighter I was without my team.  Bruce Strauss was the very best of managers, Richie Sandoval and Jerome Coffee were awesome as trainers, Lee Samuels did a great job as publicist, Miguel Diaz, and Rafael were the best of cut men.  Top Rank Inc. gave me such an opportunity.  For that, I will always be grateful.  Bob Arum as my promoter!  A fighter's dream come true.  Bruce Trampler, an iconic matchmaker, did so much for me.  I could never thank him enough.  All of the Top Rank Inc staff made my time in the U.S. so enjoyable, and it was the people behind me that made me into the fighter I was.  So, thank you to all of the fight fans in the U.S. for their support during my career.

Bob Carroll
www.convictedartist.com

From the best in boxing, sports, punk rock and the sound of 80’s metal, listen to the Fightin’ Words Radio Network. Monday, 7-9PM, bring you Frank “The Punk Rock Pirate” Carroll with San Clemente Punk, Tuesday, 8-9PM brings Big Dog Radio, hosted by Convicted Artist writers “The Big Dog” Benny Henderson and Bob Carroll, Wednesday night 7-9PM, brings you Sports Tonite with Tommy G., Thursday night, 7-9PM, sees Rock N Sports hosted by Frank Carroll and heavyweight contender Danny Batchelder, Friday night, 8-10 PM put on the parachute pants and mullets as Bob Carroll transports you back to the 80’s hair metal era with “All Hail Hair” and Saturday night from 6-7 PM, the flagship show of the network, Fightin’ Words, hosted by Bob Carroll and Butch is on the air. All shows are also archived on the Fightin’ Words Radio Network show page. To listen to any of the shows on the Fightin’ Words Radio Network, click here
 

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