September, 2005 Q&A
Sounds like your last bout was poorly arranged.
What changes were made before fight night?
Originally, I was scheduled to fight Carlos Bojorquez
August 11. Then the date and opponent changed to September - now
I was to fight Eddie Sanchez. And once again, the date and opponent
changed to August, 26th with about a week and a half notice -
my opponent changed back to Carlos Bojorquez. It was way too confusing.
Before the final venue change, I was sparring
against a guy who was 6-foot-3 to get ready for Sanchez (who stands
6-2), getting myself in a mindset to fight a whole different kind
of guy. With all of the changes, I had a hard time being focused.
It was a lot to overcome.
I trained four months, which I believe was too
long. Really, I think I was over-trained. That's too long to be
away from home, away from your family. You just get bored. They
really should have sent me home for a couple of weeks, then brought
me back. I can't dwell on the past, but I certainly don't want
to go through that confusion again.
It's clear that there was some miscommunication
regarding the ring size with the Carlos Bojorquez fight. What
was the confusion all about?
I was stunned to discover on fight night that
I'd be battling Bojorquez in an unusually small, 16-foot ring
(most are 18-20 feet). It was like fighting in a phone booth -
not what I trained for, there was no room to move. My management
should have told me in advance.
I listened to my corner during the fight, but
the tiny ring didn't work with the original game plan. Familton
and Garcia should have adjusted the tactics when they found out
about the small ring.
Do you have any resentment toward Garcia Boxing
after the fallout?
I was disappointed more than anything. When the
Garcias didn't talk to me after the fight, I felt completely disrespected.
We are a team during training, and during the fight, and if I
win, then everything's great. But when I lost this fight, it seemed
like I lost by myself. I really felt alone.
There's no bad blood - we just have a difference
of opinion. My career is far from over and I think great things
are in my future. Hopefully Max and Kathy and I can still be friends.
What is your boxing career plan now?
After taking some time to reflect and learn from
the unfortunate outcome of my last fight, I'm now back in training.
Hopefully, my friendship with world-class featherweight Robbie
Peden can help me establish a working relationship with promoter
Dan Goossen and trainer Joe Goossen, two of the bigger names in
returning to Illinois and reuniting with family, friends and my
devotion for boxing, redemption is inevitable.
April, 2005 Q&A
do you consider your "boxing hometown"?
I grew up in Granite City, IL, a few miles from St. Louis, Mo.,
but professional boxing around St. Louis has been disregarded
and it's hard to build much of a fan-base there. Ever since I
moved to the west-coast for training, I have noticed that boxing
is welcomed and respected as any other professional sport. So
I have had no choice but to consider myself now as a Salinas,
California fighter. Some say boxing is dead in St. Louis, and
now I understand why - there's just no support or exposure for
the sport there."
do west-coast boxers compare to boxers in the mid-west?
fought a lot of guys in St. Louis, but they're not as tough as
the guys out here. I always have to bring my A-game when I come
a pro boxer, how much pressure is on you and how do you deal with
there's pressure, because people want to see me shine. Hey, I
want to see myself shine. But all I can do is prepare 110 percent
for every fight, physically, mentally and emotionally. I look
at all my bouts as the biggest fight of my career. That's the
only way you can keep moving up."
do you feel about your new WBE junior middleweight title?
very proud of this. I'm going to build on this and continue working
with Garcia Boxing - and I'm going to keep learning. Their training
methods are all still brand-new to me, but I'm learning and I'm
improving every day."
does it feel to hold a new belt?
a stepping stone. This belt is new, from a (sanctioning body)
that popped up when the World Boxing Council was going under,
and it's important to me. Whoever holds the belt is the person
who makes the belt -- that's how I look at it. I plan on carrying
it well, and hopefully it will be the first of many."