Herenton goes one-on-one with Action News 5; says he is ready for fight

When it comes to taking on Joe Frazier in the ring, Mayor Herenton says don't take his boxing skills lightly, and Herenton has a long list of boxing "victories" to back him up...

"I won my first championship on Beale Street the Tri-State Fly Weight Champion," he said, "and then the next year I was the AAU Lightweight, Welter Weight, Middle Weight, uh, Kentucky Golden Gloves..."

The mayor said his inspiration to become a fighter came from boxer Joe Louis, but after high school he turned down several boxing scholarships, instead going into education and then politics - a field that for Herenton has lots of comparisons to boxing.

"Sometimes in the political arena it's like I'm in a fight," Herenton said. "I'm either fighting with the media, I'm fighting with some of my colleagues on the city council, or different activists in the community."

When it comes to fighting Joe Frazier, the mayor is respectful of the former champ's skills, so he plans to train hard and avoid Frazier's powerful punches.

"I got to get my body really fine tuned, so that when Frazier and I have this exhibition I won't embarrass myself," he said.

And if the fight is held at the Peabody, Mayor Herenton will be returning to the hotel where he declared his first mayoral election victory back in 1991.

"I don't want to sound arrogant about this but, I've always been the type of guy who if I got into something, I got into it to win," he said. "It's the same thing with me with boxing."

The mayor said no matter what happens, his fight with Joe Frazier will be entertaining and it will help good causes, including LeyMone Owen College and the city's drug court.