“When you are fighting? It’s brutal. Another man is trying to knock you out. Render you unconscious. That is some bullshit. You have to prepare for somebody who is trying to kill you.” – Ann Wolfe
Ann experienced a wide array of struggles. She was homeless for a long period of her life. Her parents died at an early age. She was a single mom working to feed her children, then one fateful day boxing called to Ann’s soul.
Like Floyd Mayweather, JR., likes to say: Hard work…dedication…we got see Ann Wolfe become a world champion. Then on May 8th, 2004, she set her mark in boxing history to be the first fighter to hold three world titles in three different weight classes at the same time. She is regarded as the hardest hitting female boxer to lace up the gloves. Currently, she trains young men and women the sweet science and through boxing it has helped shaped their lives forever.
Ann was born a fighter and the heart and soul that she has passes onto her students. We can see it in the most recent fight with James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo and she now shares her stories and future ambitions in this exclusive interview.
MA: If you were Angulo’s trainer what advice would you have given him?
Number one – not saying he wasn’t in shape, but he shouldn’t have punched himself out. Number two – after you knocked him down, don’t just go crazy. When James had him hurt, he picked his shots. He hit Angulo with two or three hard ones. Watch him; he hit him with two or three hard ones. Don’t go all out because sometimes the emotions get the best of you and that spends you worse than punching and doing the shots. I don’t think he was in top shape. It’s like he lost his cool to me in a way. It was like he forgot where he was at. He had him down and should have remained calm and killed him. Once he had him down, he could have killed him and needed to latch his teeth around that throat and don’t let go.
MA; In the past you have spoken about tapping into your dark side, what does that do to a fighter tapping into your full range of emotions?
I guess my whole life I had to because I was homeless and my parents died. I was always hungry…didn’t have nothing to eat. I always had to survive my whole entire life and I overcame. You have to look deep down in your soul and say “I am going to overcome this”. A lot of times in the middle of the night people would come after me, trying to steal, trying to kill, all type of stuff when I was out on the streets and you have to stay calm and dig into that fight or flight, but be calm. Sometimes I would have to work 60 hours a week in a 110 degree heat and just mentally say I got to do it. Some nights would be so cold I thought I would freeze, because I would wrap my kids up in a blanket so I had to tell myself you want to live. I have been so hungry till I mentally just say I am full. So I know that everybody is capable of doing that…everyone. You just got to know how to do it.
MA: Ideally, which opponent would you like to have Kirkland fight next?
Right now what I am thinking is we want the tougher guys, but we want to get paid for it. They sent us down there to get beat. We didn’t make that much money. So we are willing to fight anybody as long as we get paid. He showed that he is worth being paid. You can’t get on the internet or anywhere and not find people saying they would have paid for that fight. Last couple of PPV’s I wanted my money back. I felt like I got robbed.
MA: Wealth, does that change a fighters mindset and make them soft?
Sometimes, but let’s say for instance. I have a decent home, a regular home. I turn the water on and its hot water. I used to not have running water. Wealth doesn’t make you soft, you do it to yourself. I know where I came from. Sometimes people see me in my raggedy truck and they are like, “that’s Ann Wolfe.” I still eat fried baloney. You have to know yourself and say, “this is where I came from. This is what it takes for me to win. This is what I have to do right here. “You know Mayweather still does what he has to do to win. And Pacquiao still does what he does because they found the formula: is don’t change what you been doing you can make whole lot of money. I guarantee the both of them, the pound for pounds, the real top guys. I guarantee you they have not changed. They didn’t change their training and that’s what has made them successful. You have never seen either one of them out of shape. I have never seen Floyd Mayweather, JR. gassed in a fight… ever. Manny Pacquiao… never…no. That’s the formula. I think they both understand. Don’t forget where you came from because you can go right back to the same place.
MA: How do you see the Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Manny Pacquiao fight going down?
I never say who is going win. Because you are crazy, I don’t give predications or none of that. What I saw in Manny Pacquiao was this man has done this before so I am going get in shape and I don’t care how old he is. I don’t care what nobody says about him, that’s what make me like Pacquiao. When you look at Pacquiao, he still gives to people who are less fortunate than him. His sparring partners, he buys houses and he still believes in God. When you sit down and talk to him, he still believes in God. He still looks at people not thinking that he is better than them and knowing that that man can whoop his ass. He trains like a mad man. So I think you are going get the same thing. I think that Manny Pacquiao isn’t going to understatement him, its going be a hell of fight. I think Manny Pacquiao thinks this time he is going stop him because he didn’t change anything.
Then you look at it. You look at Marquez; he is like I got something to prove I almost whooped your ass. I am going to try to whoop you again. I am 38 and if I whoop you my whole life changes. Everybody thinks it’s not going to be, but I think it’s going to be a hell of fight. I just think from what I see in him. I don’t think Marquez is going lay down. But I can tell you this, I don’t think you are going get what you saw last Saturday either. I think both of them are the type of warriors to do that, but I don’t think Marquez’s body can withstand it.
MA: What do you do to spoil yourself?
Me? Nothing, I spend time with my kids. Back when my little boy turned three I got him a little Go-Cart. I train other kids. I don’t believe in being spoiled. I believe in being blessed and I turn the TV on and I can watch what I want. I lay in bed and I don’t have to lay on the floor. Turn the water on, hot water comes out. Refrigerator has food in it.
MA: Are kids harder to train?
No, kids are easier to teach because they believe in you more. They don’t say no let me try it like this or that. So it’s easier to teach them. My little boy has been in the gym since he was two weeks old. My daughter’s have been in the gym since they were 2 and 4. My daughter is the girl version of James Kirkland. If you teach them, kids are easier to teach. My personality alone, when I walk into the gym they know what time it is. Time to get with it! They know they can lose 100 fights and I will stand up in the corner with them. They know if they win a fight and I get down they know they did something they were not supposed to do. So as coach the discipline for me is… I am there. James Kirkland will tell you: “Ann Wolfe does not miss a minute… not 30 seconds of whatever I do she is right there with me”…when he runs, when he eats. everything. I don’t have a conditioning coach, I don’t have a nutritionist, I don’t have a pad man, I don’t have this or that. I don’t have a let me wipe your face with a towel man. In the middle of that ring, nobody is wiping your face. I don’t have any of that.
MA: That’s hardcore.
When you are fighting? It’s brutal. Another man is trying to knock you out. Render you unconscious. That is some bullshit. You have to prepare for somebody who is trying to kill you. And that is how I look at boxing. If James did to Angulo on anybody else, he is going to prison. You can legally kill another man. We are gladiators! That is what we do. That is what people like, but you have to be prepared. At the time, I had no mercy on Angulo. Now, I hope he is okay. I hope that his mom is not tripping out because that is her baby. I hope his wife and girl are okay after looking at his daddy. That could have been James coming home. I feel, like I have been thinking about his mother, because I met her, I have been thinking about his girlfriend a lot. That’s what I do when I go back. I go… I wonder how that man feels; I wonder how he is coping with what is going on. But when we were fighting, if James could have killed him. I would have said, kill him. You are in the middle of battle. You show no mercy. No mercy at all. If you show mercy, you don’t need to box. When it’s over…it’s over. You don’t have ill will. Like Vonda Ward, I disliked her. She said she would be signing autographs after the fight. When they took her to the hospital she should know better. That was disrespect. Angulo didn’t disrespect James and James didn’t disrespect Angulo. They had mutual respect when they fought. Angulo has been one of my favorites because he comes to fight. My heart goes out to him after this fight. I knew every blow he took he deserved because he was looking to do the same thing to James.
MA: What do you say to those parents that think you are too hardcore?
Say for instance, you have a 10 year old? You are not going to press a 10 year old like James Kirkland. But you are going to press a 10 year old to understand. My daughter when she wanted to box. I said as soon as you step into the ring you are no longer my daughter you are a fighter. However, since you are my daughter, I am going be even harder on you. My daughter cried for five years straight everyday, but I asked my daughter if she wanted to quit. If she is a bitch? She said no. I would say you want to quit? Then get out of my gym. You can play the piano and I would never say another word to you about boxing. Now my little girl is a beast when it comes to that boxing ring. She doesn’t cry because she understood. When she didn’t make weight I was bumping her with the car. Do you want to cry now or do you want to get knocked out in the ring and everybody is going look at you lying on your back. She would rather cry now.
MA: What do you think it would take for HBO to main event a female boxer?
I think it will be a long time coming. I don’t see it. Just like male boxing took years to develop. You are going take 40 to 50 years, nobody is really showing it. With Laila Ali and me it was there, but you don’t even see a women’s match on ESPN anymore.
MA: Do you think with women finally being in the Olympics for boxing, will it help?
Nope, I think women going to the Olympics made it even worse. Because my little girl was ranked number one, but she wasn’t at the weight class. She was at 142; they are not taking that weight class. So what happens is… You are getting girl fighters. You have a girl who is 152, she is upstate. She is one of the best fighters I have seen in my life that is female. She is not even going because she didn’t make the weight. Number two; female boxing is going to be like male boxing. Now a day’s most of the real champions don’t win the Olympics or don’t even go to the Olympics. Guess why? If I were to go to the tournament at the nationals, I would pick the number three or four because they know how to win and they know how to lose. They spar in an amateur way and they rarely make it. Andre Ward is the exception. When you are coming say 2000 you have a few, but not a lot. They are making it pitter’er and pattier, you learn to pitty-patter and don’t sit on your shots as soon as you turn pro you are like what the … Roy Jones, JR. and Mayweather back then .. They were fighting back then. Now it’s like touch. Paint brush.
MA: Future plans and goals?
I teach kids and put in my time. Now I teach people that are not even into boxing. You get in that type of shape you can be an elite athlete. I want to prove to people that I want people to know, because I do motivational speeches also. Whatever you put your mind to you can do and if you get into physical shape, I feel you won’t allow certain things to happen to you. I go to women’s shelters and I tell them first thing I would do if I were you, I would get in top physical shape. It’s not to fight him physically, when you are top shape physically you can get into top shape mentally.
Nickname: “Brown Sugar”
Division: Light Heavyweight
Professional Record: 24-1, 16 KO’s
2006-08-04 Lisa Ested Memphis, US W UD 6
2006-04-29 Cassandra Giger Kinder, US W KO 2
2005-08-20 Valerie Mahfood Biloxi, US W UD 10
International Boxing Association female Light Heavyweight Title
WIBA Women’s International Boxing Association Light Heavyweight Title
2005-07-19 Monica Nunez Lula, US W TKO 7
2005-06-18 Marsha Valley Memphis, US W TKO 6
International Boxing Association female Light Heavyweight Title
2005-03-05 Genevia Buckhalter Biloxi, US W TKO 1
2004-11-05 Cassandra Giger Tunica, US W UD 6
2004-05-08 Vonda Ward Biloxi, US W KO 1
vacant International Boxing Association female Light Heavyweight Title
WIBA Women’s International Boxing Association Light Heavyweight Title
2003-10-11 Deborah Fettkether Kinder, US W UD 8
2003-08-23 Valerie Mahfood Biloxi, US W UD 10
2002-12-21 Marsha Valley Fort Lauderdale, US W TKO 10
2002-09-25 Genevia Buckhalter Houston, US W KO 2
2002-06-21 Marsha Valley Waco, US W TKO 6
vacant IFBA International Female Boxers Association Middleweight Title
2002-04-25 Shirvelle Williams Laredo, US W TKO 1
2001-11-16 Gina Nicholas Austin, US W TKO 3
WIBA Women’s International Boxing Association Light Middleweight Title
International Boxing Association female Light Middleweight Title
2001-07-14 Diane Clarke Denver, US W TKO 4
2001-05-15 Vienna Williams Honolulu, US W UD 10
vacant IFBA International Female Boxers Association Light Middleweight Title
2001-04-19 Patricia Linton Houston, US W TKO 1
2001-02-02 Kelly Whaley Reno, US W TKO 5
2000-11-30 Valerie Mahfood Houston, US L TKO 3
2000-05-24 Christine Robinson Kenner, US NC NC 1
2000-04-26 Gina Nicholas New Orleans, US W KO 2
2000-02-11 Mary Ann Almager Kenner, US W TKO 1
2000-01-20 Demetra Jones Houston, US W TKO 1
1999-10-09 Dakota Stone Seattle, US W UD 4