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"You're Erin Toughill"
By Bernie McCoy
May 5, 2005
(MAY 5) You're Erin Toughill and you talk tough. In fact, you are tough and your rapid climb to near the top of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts is a pretty good indication of just how tough. When you went looking for new challenges, you turned your focus to boxing and after losing your first bout on a split decision, which you largely attribute to still having a "kick boxing mind-set", you regrouped and went seven bouts without a defeat.

You know that there's still a distinct difference between MMA and boxing, but, it all comes down to honing your skills and imposing your will on the opponent coming out of the other corner: "My MMA skills (are) at the top....as far as anyone being able to beat me because they have ' better skills "....as of right now, there is no one. I would not say my boxing is on the same level as my MMA game (but) it's getting there. Patience and hard work is the key."

You're Erin Toughill and you don't look around for shortcuts. In your fourth boxing bout, in June ' 02, you climbed into the ring with Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, in her hometown of Philadelphia. Frazier, at that point, had won eight of nine fights, her only loss coming to Laila Ali. To you, it wasn't that big a deal, "I thought she'd hit pretty hard because of her KO ratio (all of Frazier's eight wins were by knockout), but that wasn't true. I got hit a couple of times and I laughed at her." An accidental head butt, in the third round, ended the bout as a no-contest. "(I thought) she was a true competitor, (but) I lost that feeling pretty quickly; a competitor would have given me a rematch which she never did. She's just another ' name ' anyway."

You're Erin Toughill and as far as you're concerned "names" are just names. On June 11, in Washington, D.C., underneath the Mike Tyson/Kevin McBride fight, you'll take on one of the bigger "names" in the sport of Women's boxing, Laila Ali, unbeaten in 20 fights. Many "experts" have speculated that this bout is number five in a recent series of "walkover" bouts for Ali. Instead of responding to the on-going challenge from Ann Wolfe, Ali has, instead, taken on Nikki Eplion, Gwendolyn O'Neil, Monica Nunez and Cassandra Geigger and won each bout without seeming to break much of a sweat. You are, so the theory goes, the next "set up". Not surprisingly, you have a somewhat contrasting view: "I don't really care (what the pre-fight talk is). Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I can only tell you what I'm going to do...but that needs to be done (in the ring) not talked about. So even if people (are clamoring for) Ali/Wolfe, these two are dancing around as if they think they're going to draw like Gatti/Mayweather or Barrera/Morales. Get real. I'm the one in the ring in D.C. on June 11 and that's what counts."

You're Erin Toughill and, in addition to constantly seeking challenges, you remain cool and confident and ooze attitude: "Who is she (Laila Ali) to me? Am I supposed to be scared or something? When people try so hard to act tough, it's so transparent. I think she's really been able to intimidate her opponents because they were not mentally strong and did not have the determination and drive (that I have). I am just not scared, not intimidated by her. Yes, on paper the records look to be very one-sided. It looks like it should be another easy fight for her; that's what makes it so easy on my side. I have (less than) half as many boxing bouts as (Ali), but just as many professional fights (including MMA). Fighting around the world in huge shows will also be to my advantage. I'm used to it. I love it. There are a lot of things that can be capitalized on (Ali's) fighting style, but you already know I can't tell you that."

You're Erin Toughill and you're always looking ahead and trying to get there as quickly as possible: "I still love MMA, but I have to go where I can fight more and that's boxing, right now. I am still young (and) in the next couple of years...we'll see (what opportunities present themselves). Right now, all my focus is on boxing. I'm going to win every belt possible in my division and then go from there. That has always been my ultimate goal; to be the only woman in the world who is number one in both sports (MMA and boxing). I don't know one woman who would be close to being able to claim that.....in fact there isn't."

You're Erin Toughill and you talk tough. But you also know, better than most, that talk is just talk. "I use the word ' tough ' loosely....anyone who fights (is) tough in one way. To get in the ring and fight is a brave thing to do-win or lose. But like the Clint Eastwood character, in "Million Dollar Baby" said, ' tough ain't enough ', I loved that line." Thus far, you've "walked the talk" and you've backed up the talk in the rings of two tough sports. On June 11, in the nation's capital and on PPV television, you step up to another level in the sport of boxing. Tough talk, as "Frankie Dunn" said "ain't enough", but you seem more than tough talk. Another tough guy, George Patton, once said, "Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with the results."

You're Erin Toughill and nobody has to tell you how to do things, you've "been there, done that". On June 11 your plan is to deliver some surprising results.

Bernie McCoy
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