Blair Cobbs loves his fans. Blair Cobbs loves his detractors, because he enjoys winning them over. Blair Cobbs loves the kids and the elderly. Blair Cobbs loves Blair Cobbs. And if you have any joy in your heart, you’ll probably love Blair Cobbs, too.
Traditional boxing labels don’t apply to the 32 year old welterweight. Cobbs (15-0-1, 10 KO) is past prospect age, and he’s not yet ranked highly enough for most people to classify him as a contender.
What he has instead is an aura, a force-of-nature personality, and charisma that steals the spotlight on any show that includes him. He fights with the sort of powerful, aggressive style that wins hearts. He has stage presence to rival a revivalist preacher, a million-dollar smile that makes The Joker look humble, and the sort of microphone skills that might have made him a pro wrestling superstar in another life.
Cobbs started boxing as a teenager while living in Mexico under a series of assumed identities. He was there with his father, Eugene Cobbs, who was on the run from the FBI after crashing a airplane filled with $24 Million worth of cocaine.
Eugene Cobbs was eventually captured and convicted, and Blair ended up back in the United States. His path through the amateur and professional ranks hasn’t been an easy one, inside or outside of the ring. But he’s kept on collecting wins and admirers, steadily building a fan-friendly reputation as a championship level showman.
On March 19th, he’ll face his biggest challenge on his biggest stage, taking on Alexis Rocha (18-1, 12 KO) as the co-main event in support of Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Michael McKinson on DAZN.
Cobbs took a break from training to talk to Bad Left Hook in advance of that fight, and there’s no way to summarize highlights of the conversation without leaving out any number of delightful, over-the-top responses. Just read the whole thing.
Our full conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity, follows.
BAD LEFT HOOK: Blair, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. I’ve been waiting a while for your next fight to talk to you.
BLAIR COBBS: It always seems like forever since the last fight. But, thank goodness we have something going on. We’ve got a big fight coming up, and hopefully can stay active.
There are a lot of exceptionally talented boxers out there who don’t seem to appreciate or recognize that people watch this sport for entertainment. I can’t think of many guys out there right now that obviously get that part of the game anywhere near as well as you do. The way you fight, the way you carry yourself, the way you hype an event, before and after– You are a guy that knows how to give people a good show.
Absolutely, and that’s what I pride myself on. Being the number one most exciting man in boxing.
It’s like this: Being good is not good enough. All these fighters, the young guys and up-and-comers, Conor Benn, a whole lot of really good fighters, they’re not great. To be great, you have to work harder than what they’re doing now.
You have Errol Spence and Terence Crawford; they can barely sell anything. And why they’re not fighting each other? I have no idea. The thing is, these guys are not working hard enough. They’re working hard to be good fighters. But they’re not doing enough to be great. Blair the Flair wants to be great.
You definitely give people a show. Whenever I watch a card with casual fans of boxing and you’re involved, I always make sure they pay attention more closely than they would usually watch an undercard fight.
Obviously, the wrestling comparison comes up a lot, but I’ve also noticed that people who love anime really connect with your style. Any other odd connections or sub-groups in the Blair Cobbs appreciation society?
I’m the kind of guy that’s able to attract a very wide audience. You have black fans, white fans, Mexican fans, Puerto Rican fans. Spanish culture and English culture. Then you have the young, the millennials, and the older fans. I’m bringing a lot of elements to the game.
When it comes to anime, wrestling, the WWE world, even that WWF world from back in the day, I’m bringing a lot of elements and also that excitement inside and outside of the ring. Every single interview? I’m killing it and crushing it. And I’m not afraid to call out the best fighters out there.
Even the faithful, the boxing people that only care about statistics. The Mayweather wannabes, only thinking about statistics, I’m even able to throw them all kinds of curveballs. I’m the only one, with all these other young and up-and-coming fighters getting hand-picked and easy opponents. Then you have me. Coming from the trenches. Fighting as an underdog, don’t care, and calling out the best of the best. You can’t help but respect Blair the Flair.
Like I said, I’ve been looking forward to this conversation, because you’re fun. You are fun, and most guys aren’t like you, and do not understand that they need to put on a show. You have to make people want to watch you. Getting to the top level, the pay-per-view, crossover star level of boxing fame, is not a lifetime achievement award. People want to be entertained.
You mentioned the younger generation– My oldest kid is five, and you’re one of her two favorite boxers. It’s you and Chocolatito, because he has “chocolate” in his name. You’re “The Boy With The Puffy Hair.” It’s not as catchy as “Blair the Flair,” but it comes from a place of love.
I love that! I love that!
One of my biggest fans, my favorite fans, is an eight-year-old named Chase. Little kid, he’s just a big bundle of joy. He literally knows every line I say in every interview. It’s amazing being able to captivate the imagination of the youth.
Getting back into your style and presentation– Anyone you want to acknowledge for your robes or trunks? Anything special planned for next week’s fight?
I’m definitely gonna have some very interesting things happening. I might have a WWE wrestler, maybe a rapper. Should have some interesting things for this fight. It’s gonna be very, very fun.
I want to make it as fun and appealing as possible. And, let’s just be honest: The fight between me and Alexis Rocha is the main event. Me and him, that’s the main event. The main attraction. Every time Blair the Flair steps into the ring, it doesn’t matter who is fighting. Blair the Flair is the main attraction.
We don’t look at the news and see anything from anyone else that fights on the card. We go to the news right after the fight, and who do you see? Blair the Flair. It’s about excitement. And that’s what I’m bringing to the game.
And this fight is gonna be a big, tough fight. Hell, me and Alexis are tougher than the opponent that Vergil Ortiz has right now in front of him.
It’s just ridiculous. Do I have to fight someone like Vergil to become the main event? Because I believe I have my own draw, my own fans, and I can captivate an audience even without fighting a top contender. It’s just ridiculous at this point. How many guys do I have to beat for people to see that Blair the Flair is a top dog in this division? I mean, I don’t mind knocking off some more guys. That seems to be the only thing I’ve done. It’s gonna be fun doing it again and again.
I’m pretty sure the odds are against me in this one, too. Alexis Rocha is a tough contender. But I can’t wait to bet on myself.
Boxing fans, and I say this because I am one and I’ve been guilty of it myself, are generally pretty surly about the sport, and can usually find a way to gripe about almost anything. What’s your method of dealing with complaints from people who dislike the unique energy and style that make you stand out?
I love it. I love everything. I love the boos and I love the woos. I love the fight fans that aren’t truly buying the Blair the Flair movement just yet. They’re just not quite in it yet. I love those fans, because I love turning them!
I’ve always been the type of fighter that comes from nowhere, with nothing, start from the bottom and fight the biggest and toughest fighters. And win! And not just win, but captivate the audience! First they were booing me. Now, they’re giving me woos. That’s what it’s all about.
Boxing is bigger than just two guys throwing, it’s bigger than that. It’s one of the very few things you can watch where you get to see the measure of a man’s heart. The passion. And just true humanity. True God’s grace. You can see something special once in a while.
When you saw Deontay Wilder fight Tyson Fury for the third time? Odds stacked against him, he’s not going to win. But you saw the character of that man getting up every single time to fight to the very last dying breath. It’s that kind of energy that we need to bring back.
We’re getting to the point where there are YouTubers boxing. [Laughs/Scoffs] There are YouTubers boxing! Why? Because boxing is craving entertainment. Boxing is craving a megastar. And Blair the Flair is here to become that megastar.
You’ve talked a lot in the past about your father’s story, and how it led you to the sport of boxing. At what point did you start considering boxing something you could do professionally?
Man, I think that after just winning and winning… Because boxing was really a form of committing suicide. I’m like, what’s the most reckless thing I could possibly do? I’m in Mexico, I have no name, I have nothing to my own self. I have found myself in a position where I could die, and only the two people with me would know. And odds are, if I died, they’d die too. So, if I die? It’s like I never even existed.
I found myself in that situation, and I asked “What’s the most ridiculous, radical thing I can do?” And it was boxing. I started boxing. And after winning quite a bit, I think it was like 20 fights back to back… Because I was going in there reckless. After two weeks of training, it was just fight, fight, fight, fight, fight. Fight every week.
And after those knock down, drag out wars in Mexico, I’m watching Floyd Mayweather just picking guys apart. One time, I remember he had those pink trunks. And I was just in awe of somebody being able to box that brilliantly without getting hit. To have that charisma, and kicking ass while doing it. And I thought, “I might just be able to do that!”
It’s one of those things where you’re just so young and stupid. You let yourself think “That’s possible. I think I could do that!” That’s when I started to realize this is what I want to do.
You’ve been training with Freddie Roach for almost two years now, right?
What sort of things has he brought out of you as a fighter during your time together?
Oh, man. He’s really fortified me in a lot of ways. The sparring, the boxing, everything in that gym is very organized. We have multiple trainers there, watching your every movement. If anything is off, they make sure it gets fixed as soon as possible.
It’s just seasoned me to a level where I’m 100% confident that Terence Crawford has no chance. Top fighters in the weight class have no chance. All it takes is just a matter of time. If you guys remember my last fight? There was a dramatic difference between that and the fight before. Same with that fight and the one before it. And you guys are gonna see a dramatic difference in this fight compared to the last fight.
I’m not just taking small steps. I’m making leaps and bounds towards my true potential. Towards being a seasoned veteran in that ring.
Next for you is a fight with Alexis Rocha in a little over a week. Based on how you discussed him earlier, it seems like you have a lot of respect for him as a fighter. What’s your take on him as an opponent? What do you see when you look at him and prepare to fight him next week?
He’s a good fighter. I wonder, though. If I stop this kid? He’s never been stopped. He’s a good fighter. He’s always had great performances. He’s damn near undefeated. If I stop this guy, do I get my props?
The last person who beat him, he became top 10. And all he did was run and touch, and run and touch, and run and survive. But Blair the Flair don’t just survive. Blair the Flair thrives. So, if I’m in there dominating and whipping this boy’s ass… Do I get my respect compared to these other fighters? That are taking on B-class and C-class guys, old veterans that are coming into the fight with the mentality of losing. Does Blair the Flair get the credit he deserves?
I’m the only one fighting these high risk, low reward fights against guys that truly believe they can beat me. Like, c’mon! Who in the world is truly believing that they’re gonna beat f—ing Vergil? Or Ennis? Or f—ing Conor Benn? None of these guys have fought anybody that gave them resistance. And Blair the Flair is the king of resistance. I’m facing fire every single time I’m in that ring.
Even my last fight, people thought I wasn’t gonna win that fight! But not only did I stop him, I stopped him in tremendous fashion. Even faster than Vergil. And that wasn’t a two week notice Brad Solomon. That was a two month notice Brad Solomon in the top shape of his life.
It’s just a big difference between Blair the Flair and anyone else in this weight class.
Before I let you go… Anyone out there you’d like to mention as someone on the way up to keep an eye on? Maybe a kid that’s been studying at the Blair Cobbs Charisma Academy alongside training in the ring?
[Laughs] Well, I don’t know! It’s all about timing. It’s all about timing. Right now is my time. There’s a lot of people coming up, like this kid named Zepeda. A Mexican kid that’s just dominating and destroying things. He’s amazing. William Zepeda.
I love that guy! He’s like the Mexican version of what I’m doing. He’s a great contender, and I look forward to seeing his future.