Its only days away, the showdown between Minnesota’s middleweight champ Andy “Kaos” Kolle and Matt Vanda April 2 at Hinckley Grand Casino. There have been several big MN vs MN showdowns, but few live up to the hype. Vanda/Kolle 1 did more than live up to the hype, it was a fan friendly war in the ring with Kaos coming away with the win and in his words “a great time.” I have yet to talk to anybody who was not entertained by the first installment of the fight. Kolle/Vanda 2 should be all that and more. Vanda has much to prove after Manfredo as well as just needing another good win to stay in the mix nationally. Kolle has much more to lose in this fight; he already has a win against Vanda, he is the Minnesota middleweight champ, he is coming off of three impressive KO’s. But the bottom line is this, Kolle/Vanda 2 has all the makings for the biggest event of the year. Neither Kolle or Vanda are going to back down from anybody and that includes each other. No matter who you are pulling for, this fight should please. Below is a recent conversation we had with Andy “Kaos” Kolle.
M….After having that huge victory over Bonsante and following it up with another great KO of Shuler, was it hard watching guys like Vanda and Truax having all those fights in 2009?
Kolle….Yes, very hard. Especially after winning that fight against Bonsante, we really wanted to ride that out, and were hoping to be able to do that nationally, unfortunately that’s not how it worked out. It is what it is.
M…. Why do you think it has been difficult to get some national fights?
Kolle…. I’m the type of fighter right now that without that big money backing, its high risk low reward for them to fight somebody who has been knocking people out.
M…. Do you see any big fights coming to the twin ports in the near future?
Kolle….I honestly don’t know about that, that’s Chucks business. Too much political stuff that I don’t get in to.
M….A lot of guys seem to be very hands-on as far as career path and active in helping to pick out who they fight next, how involved are you in that process or do you let Chuck Horton do most of that?
Kolle….I will let him know if there is somebody Id like to fight. But just like with Bonsante and Vanda, Chuck will bring up the name and I will say yes.
M….One of the really cool things I have been able to see over the last year and a half is the growth in skill and physicality of some of Minnesota’s boxers. You are one those who really has grown both physically and mentally. Can you share some of what you have been doing?
I take this job very seriously, its my life. I wake up in the morning and I have a workout routine I go through. Its different every day, Kettle Bells, Tire slams, unconventional kinds of stuff, and then I go to the gym for a few hours in the afternoon and do my running at night, running the hills of Duluth. Over the last year and a half I have really taken my mind out of everything else and concentrated on boxing. Ever since that Paul Williams fight I have wanted to come back and make a statement in a major way.
M….Do you workout everyday of the week? Are there any days you take off?
Kolle….Sundays, 4 days a week strength, 5 days a week boxing, 6 days a week running and Sunday I don’t do anything. I think rest is also very important.
M….Your last fight against Pat Coleman was at First Ave in MPLS, how did it feel to have such crowd support in the twin cities?
Kolle….It felt awesome. It was a smaller show, club show, but it was awesome knowing I had the whole crowd that was backing me, not just the crowd thats been following me for years but new people as well. It felt good.
M….Most people were quite impressed with you in your last fight against Coleman. Did you feel any ring rust getting in there?
Kolle….No, I didn’t feel any ring rust at all. I stay active even when I don’t have a fight, I’m always working out and sparring.
M….How did it feel fighting Coleman? To me it almost seemed like he was willing to just stand in his shell and maybe just get through the night?
Kolle….He seemed like he was just trying to survive. He had a good guard and would get in his shell, that’s why I had to do a few things different and get him to open up.
M….Coleman’s corner kept yelling for him to through the right. Is that something you heard, were you trying to draw him in?
Kolle….Thats just basic boxing 101 from a trainer that didn’t have any idea what he should do. That’s the first thing to tell a right-handed fighter who is fighting a southpaw.
M….154, that is a weight we had talked about a year ago, is it just really hard to find fights there right now?
Kolle….Also when we talked about that I told you unless its a Minnesota fight, then I will defend at 160. Last summer I was ready to fight at 154 but my opponent came in way over. I still weighed in at 155.
M….So the plan is to stay at 154 for national fights?
Kolle….That’s what I want. I feel that is the size for me on the national level. Those guys are big, even look at the size Pat Coleman was in my last fight.
M….Matt Vanda, what comes to mind?
Kolle….He is the type of fighter that fans like to see. He has proven himself and he has that fan base for a good reason, he gives them what they want. Even on the national level, he’s been beaten, but he always shows up.
M….There are those who see this as a high risk low reward type fight. Why this fight and why now?
Kolle….After our last fight, I told him I would give him another. He has earned that rematch with what he has done since then. I gave him my word.
M….Does the fact that Vanda lost almost every round to Manfredo make this fight hard from the standpoint of what you have to do to make it worth it?
Kolle….No, Ive just got to beat him and it really doesn’t matter how you do it. Styles make fights and Manfredo has a different style than I do and John Duddy has a different style than I do and so on. My goal is to win every round I fight, but I don’t have to, I just need to win more rounds than him. I would like to take him out, but my goal is to win.
M….Speaking of some of those guys Vanda has had the good fortune to get in the ring with, Manfredo, Duddy, Chaves Jr., Would you like the chance to get in there with them and how different would the outcomes be?
Kolle….I would love to get in the ring with Duddy or Chaves. They have talked about fighting at 154 and I would love to do it. We had an offer for Duddy but his team decided they didnt want it.
M….Given that the names we mentioned were unable to take Matt out, does that give you added motivation for the KO and do you think that would get you more national exposure?
Kolle….It would maybe open eyes but probably close some checkbooks.
M….There are those who think you are trying to avoid Caleb Truax, I don’t think either of you are avoiding the other, but what are your thoughts?
Kolle….There is no part of me avoiding Caleb Truax, I would fight that kid anytime and anywhere. Now he’s fighting Phil. I am ready for you Caleb anytime you want it.
M….So its just been that there has not been a date, contract, money or any details ever hammered out?
Kolle….To be honest I dont know all the ins and outs. All I know is after the Target Center show I came in the ring and asked for Matt and Caleb. Matt came to the table first. Caleb had a cut I think. Im not saying Caleb’s scared. We both have managers and guys that take care of our fights. I am ready to fight him any time.
M….Andy Kolle vs Matt Vanda to many people is the biggest fight out there in Minnesota, how do you see it?
I do believe it is the biggest fight in Minnesota right now, I have the belt for Minnesota and he brings one of the biggest challenges. You know going to a Vanda fight you will get your money’s worth and you know I am going to bring it every time too. Two guys who are not afraid to throw punches, you wont see lulls in action like you do in some others.
M…. As a guy who likes to go after it himself, is it extra exciting to fight a guy like Vanda who you know will bring it?
Kolle….That first fight with Vanda was the most fun I have ever had in the ring, just going at it, throwing all caution to the wind, that was a blast. That probably wasn’t the way I should have fought him, but it was my first big fight and I wanted everyone to know I am right here too. That’s another reason I wanted that rematch because that first one was a blast.
M….I have watched your first fight with Vanda many times, and every time I have you winning on points pretty clearly, but there are some Vanda fans who just don’t see it that way. How do you feel about that victory?
Kolle….The fans that say he won that fight are the same ones who feel he won the Garr fight. They are good fans and they are sticking up for their boy, but I won that fight. When I watch it I think I maybe lost two rounds, one being the round Igot knocked down.
M….There has been much talk about the one knock down from your fight with Vanda, tell us about it.
Kolle….. It was the first time I had been down so I took my time getting back up. I’ve seen fighters to eager to get off the mat only to get hit again. I took my time and dominated the rest of that round and fight.
M….Matt Vanda has had big wins against Phil Williams, Ted Muller, and Tocker Pudwill in the last 12 months. Do you think Vanda is better today than the guy you fought a couple years ago?
Kolle….Yeah, that is another reason for the rematch. He has gotten better and earned it. That’s what I want, I want a challenge. I have gotten better since our fight, I don’t want the same Vanda I fought two years ago, I want the challenge of a better Vanda.
M….What makes Vanda better today?
Kolle….I think he is a lot stronger and more comfortable in the ring. He is more of a polished pro now.
M….Most people who have fought Vanda talk about how tough he is to get down. Does that play on your mind at all, make you want to take him out that much more?
Kolle….Everybody wants to be the first guy to put somebody down. That’s not really my thoughts on this fight, get the win and move on.
M….How many fights would you like to have this year? Or are you more to the point of just wanting quality fights?
Kolle….I’d rather have quality fights than number of fights. 5 fights in a year is a pretty stacked schedule for someone who is fighting 10 rounders all the time.
M….After Vanda, would you like to continue to clean up the state or would you like to begin to again test the national waters?
Kolle….I have big dreams. I would like to fight outside of Minnesota and help establish this thing our boxing has going here. If your from New York or California you don’t want to be the best in your state, you want to compete with the best from all over.
M….So you are more than ready to go on another promoters card from New York or Vegas as long as it is a well matched opportunity?
Kolle….Like I said, I would love to fight guys like Duddy or Chaves Jr.
M….Any thoughts on Phil Williams vs Caleb Truax?
Kolle….I don’t really know, I think its going to be who gets to who first. I don’t know that it will go the distance. I am pulling for Truax to win it.
M….You have already said you would fight Truax, what about Williams if he were to win?
Kolle….Absolutely, if Williams can come in and make 160. That’s the same with Truax, its 160lbs.
M….What are your thoughts on Gary Eyer vs Brad Patraw?
Kolle….Im excited for that fight. Gary goes for it every time, and from what I have seen of Brad, he isn’t afraid of throwing punches either. That should be a fun one while it lasts, but I don’t expect it to make the distance.
M….The battle of your buddies, Tyler Hultin vs Tim Taggard. I know you’re friends with both guys, but how do you see this fight?
Kolle….That’s a tough fight for me, Tyler has been my boy for a long time and Timmy has become a friend of mine, he lived with me for a while. The only thing I can say about that fight is you are not going to want to blink. It will be all out while it lasts.