By Sean Crose
“We’re all competitors,” welterweight Chris Algieri (20-1, 8KOs) claimed on a Wednesday conference call, “we’re all out there to win.”
The call, which was to promote Spike TVs live PBC broadcast on May 29th, featured Algieri and his opponent Amir Khan (30-3, 19KOs) along with Paulie Malignaggi (33-6, 7KOs) and Danny O’Connor (25-2 9KOs), who will also be facing off that evening, as well.
“I’m just a very hungry fighter at this point,” Algieri claimed. “Watching Pacquiao and Mayweather fight this past weekend has only spurred me on that much more.”
Algieri is now training is with esteemed ring general John David Jackson, who recently led light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev to a brilliant victory over the legendary Bernard Hopkins. “John has been bringing out a lot of aspects of my style,” Algieri said. “It’s been fun, as well, learning and doing new aspects of the sport I love.”
Algieri’s opponent, Khan, had numerous potential options available after chances for his dream fight with Floyd Mayweather fell through yet again. Adrien Broner was a possibility, but according Khan, Broner wasn’t all that willing.
“Adrien to me seemed to not want the fight,” Khan said simply. Algieri, one the other hand, was happy to take it, even after a lopsided loss to Manny Pacquiao.
“I’ve never been that guy (who takes easy fights),” Algieri explained. “I have not been one of those guys whose been moved along gingerly.”
He should certainly have his hands full with Khan, a highly decorated Brit who now is considered the only man on the planet who has any chance at all to beat the great Floyd Mayweather. Yet Khan made it clear on the call that he isn’t overlooking this month’s fight.
“He’s very skillful,” Khan said of Algieri. “I have to definitely be on my a-game.” Indeed, Khan claimed that he’s a man who has learned from past mistakes.
“I take every fight seriously,” Khan stated. “I made that mistake a long time ago….for example, the Danny Garcia fight.” True enough, people still point to Khan’s loss to Garcia as proof that he isn’t a top caliber fighter.
“I have to be focused,” claimed Khan. “I have to be disciplined.”
Earlier on in the call, Paulie Malignaggi made it clear that he’s now able to be disciplined and focused on more than one thing at a time. For the Brooklyn native is currently pulling double duty as both a boxer and as a broadcaster.
“I’m at a place in my life,” Malignaggi said, “where I’m more mature and I’m able to compartmentalize things in the proper way.”
Malingnaggi has been out of the ring since suffering a decisive loss to Shawn Porter last year. Yet, like Michael Corleone, the man found himself being inexplicably pulled back in. “If you retire from boxing,” he joked, “you should stay away from the boxing game if you’re a fighter because otherwise you’re going to want to fight.”
As a broadcaster, Malignaggi has clearly been unable to stay away. And so he’ll face Boston based fighter Danny O’Connor in front of a live television audience. “It’s New York,” said Malignaggi. “It’s Boston. It’s Italian. It’s Irish…it would have been even bigger (back in the day).”
Indeed, Malignaggi appears to be content. Why wouldn’t he be? He’s one of the few fighters out there with the luxury of not having to look too far ahead. Yet his opponent, O’Connor, isn’t about to let a chance like this slip by.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity to fight Paul,” he claimed with genuine enthusiasm. “I’ve put a lot of effort and a lot of sacrifice to be here.” Indeed, the decorated former armature knows a golden opportunity when he sees one.
“I was excited right off the rip,” O’Connor stated. “I get up for that type of challenge.”
PBC ON SPIKE MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT WITH
AMIR KHAN, CHRIS ALGIERI, PAULIE MALIGNAGGI
& DANNY O’CONNOR
Thanks so much, everyone, for calling in. We have a great call today. This is a great show. I’m going to turn it over to our moderator now, Lou DiBella, president of DiBella Entertainment. Also joining us on the call are Brett Yormark and Jon Slusser.
It’s a great card that’s going to be on Spike at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Friday night, the 29th of May, at Barclays Center. The first bout will be Paulie Malignaggi after a year layoff. Very few guys in boxing can claim to be more Brooklyn and he has his hands full in a bout with Danny O’Connor. Danny is a tough kid who is hungry for this fight. This is a matchup between an Italian-American and an Irish-American, a kid from New York and a kid from Boston.
We’re going to get to Danny first. Danny is going to say a few words, then we’ll open it up to a few questions for him, then turn it over to Paulie.
I want to thank everyone for being here. I’m very excited about this opportunity to fight Paul and to come down to New York and showcase my skills at Barclays Center. I’ve worked my whole career for this. I put a lot of effort and sacrifice in my life to get here. I’m very excited and I’m ready for the task at hand.
Danny, in a situation where you’re fighting a guy who in his last fight was TKO’d, does that make you think of coming in a different way than you ordinarily might, target him and be more aggressive than usual?
No, I don’t. Anything can happen on any given night in boxing. That’s what we do. Because of that, I’m not looking at anything differently.
Paul had some time off to recover and recoup. I’m expecting Paul at his best. I want him at his best. The better he is, the better challenge that lies in front of me. The more excited that makes me.
My game plan is going to be my game plan regardless of his last fight.
What was your reaction when your name was picked? You’re fighting Paulie Malignaggi, a former world champion. Did you think it was a joke or did you see it as you’re getting a fight at an elite fighter that will springboard you?
I was excited right off the rip. That’s what I’ve been working my whole career for, is that shot at something big. To be able to match my skills up against someone like Paul, with his résumé, that’s what excites me. I get up for that type of challenge.
I didn’t want to get my hopes up in case something fell through. Boxing, anything can happen. As it got more and more real it was excitement. It’s all about excitement.
I’ve been working a very long time to get to this spot. I put in a lot of work and I deserve to be here. I’m excited to take this chance and to showcase my skills against Paul.
You have a tremendous amateur record, 110 wins, only 11 losses. Is that part of the training ground that you’ve had to put you into this position now?
Yeah. I think with anything in life, experience is going to get you places. The more experience you have, the more comfortable you’re going to be, the more savvy you’re going to be. The type of person I am, my work ethic, how hard I’ve worked, it’s got me far so far.
A victory over Paulie will put you on top of the radar charts for the other 47-pounders. Is that what you’re looking for?
It’s not even in my mind, man. I don’t look at all past Paul. He’s a tough fighter. I’m focused at the task at hand, and that’s Paul. That’s all I’m looking at.
Paulie is fast. How do you intend to deal with his speed?
Hopefully I’ll be able to neutralize that speed by having my own speed. I’m not too slow myself. I think it’s going to be a battle of the minds.
I’m going to introduce a man I know very well, and who probably didn’t think I’d be making this announcement, but Paulie, would you like to say a few words?
I’m happy to be here. I’m excited about fighting at Barclays Center again. I’ve gotten the desire to fight again over the past year little by little. It started growing more and more. Once you sign up for a fight, you see the event in front of you, you start seeing things like the teleconference and all that we’re doing now, it starts to resonate in your mind that it’s coming up, it’s close, so the excitement kind of builds. I’m happy to be a part of this event, part of this show, and everybody involved with it.
Paulie, you’ve gotten off to a great start in your broadcasting career. Does this take anything away from what you’re achieving in broadcasting or slow your development that way, or do you feel like you can manage both things side by side?
This has been a training camp where I’m kind of getting it all down together. It’s basically a training camp where I haven’t had as much work to do as I have this time around in the past.
The reason I still have the passion for this is I still make time to train every day, find the time to prepare adequately every day.
It’s not always easy with the broadcasting. You have to fight, shut everything down and focus on the fight. It’s not like that anymore. That kind of comes with age, you kind of get into new things in your life and whatnot.
If it was a couple years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. I’m at a place in my life where I can handle it more and compartmentalize things more. The passion shows in and of itself. If I didn’t really want to do this, trust me, I would do the broadcasting, I would half-ass it on my training. Last week was challenging, but every day I was able to get in my training somehow, some way. One workout a day, sometimes two workouts a day.
When you don’t want to train, but you still go out and do it, you have that victory in your mind, you want to persevere and excel. I’m the type of person that wants to do that.
In the end, after this fight, I plan on winning the fight and looking good. I’ve been feeling good in the training camp. After the fight, I’m just taking it one fight at a time. I’m not looking past Danny. It’s a little bit different in my career right now, but at the same time I’m still enjoying the ride.
At some point when you were doing the broadcasting, was there something about being on the sidelines that kind of inspired the feelings that you’d like to be back on the other side of the ropes again? Was it a particular fight or moment?
I wouldn’t say it was anything in particular. I don’t say that was part of the reason, I guess.
At first it was part of the reason why I didn’t want to fight again. I would see these fights from close range, see the violence, some crazy exchanges. “Man, better these guys than me. I’m done.”
Then little by little, as I started feeling better, I would start seeing the same kind of stuff, and I would focus on the crowd reaction, the adrenaline these fighters are feeling. I was starting to slowly change my thinking pattern. It was starting to slowly become more like, I got to feel this again, I got to feel that rush again. It’s something missing in my life.
The transition kind of came slowly. I don’t think it was one particular moment or situation, it just kind of came slowly and developed. Before you know it, you start to hit a couple bags. As with any boxer in general, you start to hit the bag, you start to loosen, before you know it, you start to feel it.
I suppose when you retire from boxing you should stay away from the boxing gym, because otherwise you’re going to want to fight.
Paulie, how much of a factor was the result of your previous fight in motivating you to kind of come back and have a chance to go out with a win if, in fact, that’s what ultimately occurs here?
That had no bearing on any of this. The only bearing in my life that fight had on me was the decision not to fight anymore. When I went into the fight, I didn’t decide it was going to be my last fight. I wasn’t thinking of any of that stuff at all.
When the result happened, I was more so thinking, Maybe this is it. It wasn’t really that particular result as far as me not being able to accept it. It was more so, before the Porter fight, I hadn’t looked bad. I had a dominant victory, but I had one bad night. If I really want to chalk up my entire career to that one bad night and be done, or do I give myself another shot?
I don’t want to go out on a loss, I have more left. The Porter fight doesn’t take away from what I did in the past two or three years. You have a fight like that, take a year off, people expect that’s where you are and that’s it.
I think people are going to draw their own conclusions. The Porter fight had no bearing on what I wanted to do. I felt like, I’m alive and I want to live. For me living is feeling that adrenaline rush, the rush of being in the ring. I’m a competitive person. That’s more what was the motivator. I’m not dead, so I don’t need to live like I’m dead. Some people choose to live like they’re dead. I don’t need to do that. I can feel life. Nothing makes me feel more alive than having the adrenaline of being in a boxing ring in front of a packed crowd.
Paulie, depending on how you look at this fight, if you perform to your highest capabilities, if you win handily, what’s next for you? Do you go challenge for a title, fight one of the better fighters in the division again?
Honestly, it hasn’t even crossed my mind. I want to see not only how I look and feel in the fight. I may look good and say, you know what, I’m good to go again. I may look good and say, you know what, this is taking away too much time from other things I want to enjoy in my life. I may need to feel this adrenaline rush again. I don’t know.
I haven’t given it that much thought yet. I’m only focused on Danny O’Connor right now. I feel like those are possible things that would be crossing my mind, but in reality I haven’t given it enough thought to really have made that kind of decision.
I don’t know yet. I’m focused only on the fight right now. So anything post May 29th I’ll decide post May 29th.
You said you started training, you were feeling good, had no problem training. How much fun are you having again with boxing? Do you feel rejuvenated?
I enjoy a good challenge in life, a challenge that I enjoy. If you put me in a chemistry class, it will be a challenge, but I don’t think I’ll enjoy it too much. Know what I’m saying?
Boxing is a challenge to me, but it’s a challenge I enjoy. I enjoy pushing my body and mind to the limits and seeing if I can succeed. Of course, I’ve been enjoying it.
Sometimes people look at me and tell you, why would you want to fight again? You’re set. You have good money coming in.
It’s not about the money. Well, obviously it’s always about the money. That’s not the main motivator. The motivator is to feel alive. I can be dead when I’m six feet under. Right now I don’t want to feel like that. I want to feel that rush of adrenaline again, feel alive. While I can still do it, I will do it.
Paulie, what made this particular fight the right opportunity to get back into the ring? What does the New York/Boston rivalry add to this fight?
The opportunity to be back in the ring could have came against anyone.
The New York/Boston rivalry, I’ve thought of it a couple times. It’s not Boston/New York, Italian/Irish. It’s like 50 years too late. If it’s 1955, you’re going to have this in a huge stadium, everybody would be into it. It could be a real cool event. Not that it’s not going to be a cool event anyway.
What I’m saying is the perception of the event is different now than it would have been back in the day when the Italian and Irish rivalry, New York and Boston rivalry might have been more. It gives it a fall-back feel to me and that’s good for me.
What do you know about Danny O’Connor? He hasn’t fought a lot of the top-level opponents that you have. What do you see as your strengths and his weaknesses in this fight?
I’ve known Danny for quite some time. Obviously he hasn’t fought at the level that I have. The experience is in my favor.
I knew he had a good amateur career. He’s a solid competitor. He has a Golden Gloves title. When you have that kind of amateur career, you expect yourself to break through in the pros.
I had a good amateur career, I was a national championship as well. I had the expectation I would have a successful pro career as well. At that point you’re used to winning and winning at a high level.
I feel like Danny has that expectancy of himself. Maybe it’s come a little slower. I feel this is an opportunity for him because he has a chance to finally show all the things he had to show in the amateurs.
I can’t take him lightly, and I don’t take him lightly because I know what he’s feeling. I know what it’s like to have that successful amateur career, go into your first professional fight and have those goosebumps. I kind of know what he’s feeling, what’s going through his mind, both the good and the bad.
In that way I guess I have the advantage because I’m prepared for that thing because I’ve already been through it.
Are you able to focus on him as an opponent in this fight rather than all these broader questions about your career arc and all that type of thing?
Yes, of course. I’m preparing for a slick boxer named Danny O’Connor. He’s a southpaw, can sit back on the back foot sometimes. He might bring the kind of fight I intend to bring, my game plan. Every day I’m in the gym working on that.
Although the distractions are nice to talk about, in the end I’m working on the exact plan in the gym every day.
Thank you, Paulie.
Now I’d like to introduce the CEO of Barclays Center, Brett Yormark.
Thank you, Lou. Glad to be here with everyone. Looking forward to hosting Paulie and Danny on the 29th, as well as Amir and Chris.
From a building perspective, obviously we’re committed to boxing. We’re thrilled to be hosting our second PBC fight. Our first event was a resounding success. It was our biggest gate since we opened Barclays Center as it relates to boxing. It was the most highly attended event.
The atmosphere and the environment was electrifying. We think we’ll be able to duplicate and replicate that experience for our fans on the 29th.
I’m thrilled that Spike will be our partner. They have an edgy broadcast, how they do their business. That’s a perfect fit for Brooklyn. Obviously we are excited that Paulie is on the card. It was always about bringing fights that meant something nationally, but it was also about nurturing and fostering the careers of Brooklyn fighters.
There’s no bigger fighter in Brooklyn than Paulie Malignaggi. He’s a friend and has fought many times at the Barclays Center. Welcoming him back after a year away from the sport is terrific for us.
We’re also thrilled to have Danny fight in our building for the first time. I’m also excited to be working with Amir Khan. I always hoped that Amir would call Barclays Center home. He’s been in our building for Nets games and other events.
Then Chris Algieri, he and Provodnikov last June probably had one of the biggest and electrifying fights ever at Barclays Center. For him to come back and fight with us is great for us. He brings a big Long Island fan base, which we hope to tap into again.
This should be a really big night for Brooklyn boxing, boxing in general, and the PBC. We look forward to the 29th and are thrilled to be a partner.
Thank you, Brett.
Now to what will be our other event of the evening on May 29th, the first participant is the pride of Huntington, Long Island. His career best victory took place at the Barclays Center when he established himself as a force in boxing.
Chris Algieri with a record of 20-1, I know is looking forward to this great opportunity versus Amir Khan.
Chris, can you say a few words.
Hello, everybody. I’d like to thank Lou DiBella Entertainment. It’s a pleasure to be back at Barclays Center. We fought a year ago last June, had a great fight, won my first world title. I’m also excited to be fighting on Spike. Thank you for hosting the event. It’s a whole new network to fight on. I’m very excited about it all.
Thank you, Chris.
This next gentleman, I use that word seriously, is one of the most talented fighters in the game. He’s from England. Former world champion with a record of 30-3. Amir Khan.
Hello, everyone. I want to say hi to all the press and media. Brett Yormark is a friend of mine from Barclays Center. I’m very excited to fight at the Barclays Center. I’ve been there a few times. I always said that I want to come over here and give New York a huge fight, bring boxing there. I have a big fan base from New York. I’m sure Chris Algieri also has a big fan base. But we’re going to come and make some noise.
The fight is going to be on Spike, which I’m also excited for. I’m looking forward to the whole event on the 29th of May, on Friday. I hope you’re all going to be there cheering us on. Thank you.
Chris, you’ve had time to work with John David Jackson now. Do you see him changing you in any significant way?
Yeah, absolutely. It’s been a great training camp. We’ve been learning quite a bit. John has been bringing out a lot of aspects of my style, things I can do in the ring that I haven’t had an opportunity to show just yet.
We’re both very excited about this fight, excited about what we’re going to be able to do on fight night the 29th. Learning new aspects in a sport I love has been an eye-opening experience and enjoyable one as well.
Taking someone on like Amir Khan, someone with his experience, the people he’s fought, I know you’ve kind of made the step up in these last two fights to a higher level, but this could have been an opportunity for you to take a little bit easier fight. Why did you keep it this tough right here?
You know, I’ve never been that guy, to take an easy route or an easy fight. I’ve come up very fast in both of the sports I’ve come up in. Even at a young age when I was kickboxing, I took on big fights. In my young boxing career, it’s been a constant step-up my entire career.
I have not been one of those guys who has moved along gingerly. I’ve been excited to tackle big opponents and big fights on big stages. This is par for the course for my career.
Amir, you had a possibility of fighting Mayweather until he made the fight with Pacquiao. They’ve already mentioned your name as a next possible opponent. How critical is winning this fight toward preserving that dream of fighting Mayweather? Do you see it as part of the big picture?
Definitely, winning this fight is everything to me. I’m not looking past this Chris Algieri fight. I know it’s a very dangerous fight for me. Stylistically he’s very dangerous and I’m not going to be looking past it. If I do, I’ll have made a mistake.
I have to be focused. I have to be disciplined in training camp, not looking past this Chris Algieri fight. I know there are big fights out there like Mayweather. I just have to stay focused and win this fight and go from there really.
You call Chris “dangerous”. He’s not known as a big puncher. It could be a good boxing match. What do you see as the danger that Chris poses to you?
Technically I think overall he’s a very good boxer, moves well. He makes a lot of fighters fall short. He’s very skillful. You have to be on your “A” game to beat him.
I’ve been watching a lot of videos. Even the Pacquiao fight, there’s some good things he did there. It could be dangerous for me coming into this fight if I’m not on my “A” game. I have to be one step ahead and make sure I don’t make any mistakes. Chris Algieri is a guy that if you make a mistake, he’s going to make you pay for it.
Amir, you were criticized heavily for taking this fight. What can you do in this fight to put your name up there to get the bigger fights again? Are you going to have to knock out Chris to make a real impression?
Look, there’s people putting this fight down, and I don’t know why. At the end of the day, Chris has won a world title. He’s fought Pacquiao. He’s a very good boxer, moves well, boxes well. I definitely have to be on my “A” game.
All this stuff what people are saying, they’re probably thinking Amir thinks it’s going to be a walk in the park, but he’ll make a mistake and lose this fight.
I take every fight seriously. I’ve made that mistake in the past. I’ve fought some fights that I thought are going to be a walk in the park; I got hurt, I lost the fight. I’m not thinking any fight is going to be easy. Every fight I walk into, every person in front of me is going to be in there to win the fight.
Listening to Chris Algieri, he seems he wants to win this fight. That motivates me and makes me train harder. He wants to win this fight.
I’m not really listening to what people are saying about future fights or where this fight can take me.
There still is pressure on you to deliver because you have to send a message that you’re still a big name.
Definitely there is. There’s a lot of pressure on me in every fight because they want to see me perform. Obviously there’s always the bigger picture of the other side.
At the end of the day I’m still fighting the top guys and I believe Chris is one of the top guys in boxing.
You were quoted on the weekend that saying Leonard Ellerbe has mentioned Mayweather to you. What would be your plan there? Would it be hoping he puts it back to November or could you fight late in September?
To be honest, I’m not looking past this fight. I’ll tell you everything after the fight. At the moment what’s on my mind is the Chris Algieri fight. I don’t have anything else on my mind.
Amir, you left Golden Boy after your contract ran out. You’re with PBC now. What was your thinking behind making that move?
PBC I think is brilliant because it’s going to give more fans the chance to tune in to get to see you. I think it’s going to be good for the boxers. To be on Spike, the viewers are going to be great.
At the end of the day it’s not like I’m making less money or anything. I’m still doing well financially. Obviously I’m getting more people to watch me fight hopefully on Spike and on PBC.
Obviously your name has been linked with Mayweather not just the last three weeks but with the last three years. You’re both with Haymon. Has he ever said what you need to do to get in the ring with Mayweather?
To get that fight, you have to look good. You have to shine really. It’s all about working hard, training hard, putting in good performances in the ring. To turn in the best performances in the ring, I can’t take it easy in camp. I have to be very focused.
There’s been the word there for the last couple years that that fight was going to happen. But I’m going to be taking every fight one step at a time, hopefully put on great performances. If that fight comes, obviously it’s something I’ve always wanted.
Is that what he’s saying to you?
Yes, my trainer, everyone has said. “you have a fight in front of you and Chris Algieri is no joke.” I can’t go into this fight thinking it’s going to be easy. In boxing, there are always guys who are skillful and can beat you. I have to be that one step ahead. I can’t really take this fight lightly and think it’s going to be easy, lose my fight, then all my dreams are shattered to fight all the big names in boxing.
Losing this fight, it would ruin my dreams to fight the big names in boxing. I have to be focused on this fight. I know what it’s like to fight someone in their own backyard. When I fought Lamont Peterson, you have to try harder to win that fight.
I have to be very focused, definitely keep the game plan strong, just win your rounds and win the fight.
Chris, you were in the ring with Pacquiao before. Obviously there’s a shoulder injury he says he’s had for quite some time. Was there anything you felt when you were in there, maybe you saw a difference in him, different from when he fought you?
I didn’t really see anything physically. I saw a little more mental. He seemed more focused from my fight, to tell you the truth. Even at the weigh-in, he was bubbly and smiley. He wasn’t that way with myself when we were in China. That’s neither here nor there. You don’t know whether that could be anything.
That’s kind of a hard question to answer for someone else.
What does this fight mean for you going forward? A win against a top name in boxing would do wonders for your career. Tell us what a win would mean for your career moving forward.
Yeah, I don’t want to speak for Amir or any other fighter out there, but we’re all competitors. We’re all out there to win. There’s a reason we do this at the elite level. You have to have a burning desire to be a winner.
Amir is a champion, a former champion. I’m a former champion, a champion myself. That will and desire to always want to win is there. There’s a lot of questions that are being asked. You have to win this fight. Of course, you have to win this fight. You have to win to get the big fights.
That’s one of the great things about this sport: when you keep winning, good things happen. Of course, we’re all very hungry to get this victory and move on with our careers. I’m in exactly the same place. This is a huge fight, a huge opportunity. As with any other fight, I want to win.
Amir, did you see anything in Mayweather that you would have taken advantage of, something you saw that other people didn’t see? Did he look a step slower? Something you saw that you could take advantage of?
Yeah, I mean, I was there as a boxing fan. I’m only an hour away from Vegas. I went there to watch the fight. I enjoyed the atmosphere and everything.
Mayweather looked great. He did what he had to do to win the fight. His accuracy was nothing but the best. He was catching Pacquiao with some good, clean shots, whereas Pacquiao was falling short.
That’s the way he fights. He’s a very skillful fighter who is very patient and makes his opponent make mistakes. That’s what I liked about him.
His world grade is dropping tremendously because of his age. But there are things I saw there which I have not seen before; when he takes a good shot, he doesn’t panic. The only way to catch him is with speed. Pacquiao didn’t use as much speed and explosiveness in the fight.
I enjoyed it. I’m sure there were all those people who said he was never going to beat Pacquiao, well, he’s been there and done that.
A lot of people want you to fight Kelly Brook, can you talk about the decision to take a different opponent who is not ranked as high?
I could have fought Kell Brook in the UK. I don’t want to fight because of Ramadan coming up. Either way, I’d be taking Ramadan off. I don’t want to be going into Ramadan tired after a fight, going straight into Ramadan, fasting.
I’ve done that before. I’ve had a fight and I’ve gone straight into Ramadan back-to-back. It’s too much for a body to take. Obviously I need to look after my body.
Yeah, Kell Brook, the guy is a world champion, he should be fighting the likes of Bradley and the big names in boxing, like me. I’m fighting Chris Algieri, who just came out of the ring in his last fight against Pacquiao. Kell Brook, never heard of the guy he fought. Now he’s fighting another no-name fighter without a ranking.
That name doesn’t bother me anymore because he’s not doing anything. The only reason his name gets pushed to me because he holds the title. If he didn’t have the title, I don’t think it would mean anything to me or boxing.
Tell us your thoughts on Algieri as a fighter and give us some of your scouting report on him.
Chris Algieri just came off a win. I saw it the other day. It was a very good fight. He boxed very smart against a guy who is a good pressure fighter and a big puncher. Then, against Pacquiao, one of the quickest fighters in the world.
I think if you look at the names of Chris Algieri’s opponents, Kell Brook’s last few opponents, the names will speak for themselves.
Chris, in this fight there’s been a lot of discussion what Amir is going to do in his next fight, all this. You’re in some ways being overlooked in this. Tell us what you think your advantages are over Amir and why you think you’re going to be able to win this fight.
All the talk is none of my concern, to tell you the truth. I’m focused on training, preparing the best that I can for this fight. I’ve been working hard, working on a lot of new things with John David Jackson. Great sparring so far.
I’m just a very hungry fighter at this point. I’m coming off my first loss as a professional, and watching Pacquiao and Mayweather fight this weekend has spurred me on this much more, made me that much more of a hungry fighter.
It’s one of those things, you have a guy in great shape that is really hungry for the win. I think that’s a big advantage in any fight.
Amir, focusing on this fight, what do you think your advantages are over Chris?
Yeah, the speed, the movement, the power. Experience is something that I have on my side. I remember a couple years ago when I was fighting the guys who were a lot more experienced than me, I was going and beating them guys. Now I’m in a position where I’m one of the guys with most experience, fighting guys with less experience.
You can’t take that lightly really because obviously I was once in Chris Algieri’s position where I had one loss and I was going up against the top guys in boxing, and I beat those guys.
I can’t go into this fight thinking it’s going to be an easy fight or I’m going to win this fight because I was once in Chris Algieri’s position, where I was getting people telling me, you’re not going to make it, you’re not going to win this fight. I proved everybody wrong.
Amir, you fought in New York before. Chris is going to be the hometown guy in this fight. You’re well-known in New York, too. What do you think the effect is going to be having the fight in Brooklyn?
I always wanted to fight in Brooklyn. I fought at Madison Square Garden in 2009 against Paulie. I always wanted to come back to New York. The fan base is huge.
It’s like a second home for me. My wife lives in Staten Island. I spend a lot of time in New York. We live in England, but spend a lot of time in New York and America itself.
For me, every time I’m walking the streets of New York, I have everybody asking me, when are you going to be fighting again? We want to see you fight again in New York.
Also when I’m at Barclays Center, I’ve been there for a couple of the Nets games, people have always asked me, We need you back in New York. We need you to fight at Barclays Center.
I think it’s time now. I promised them I would come back. I’m coming back fighting one of their home fighters. I know by fighting that home fighter you have to work a bit harder because he’s going to have a little bit more fans than me.
But, I mean, time will tell. We’ll see how it all goes. I’m going to be focused on everything. I’m going to stay calm and hopefully come fight night I’m going to be ready for everything that Chris Algieri brings to the table. I’m going to be ready, yeah.
Amir, in Vegas over the weekend you were getting mobbed everywhere you went by fans. What are they saying to you at this point? They’ve been asking you about Floyd. Has that subsided or is that still the message?
Everybody was talking about that one big fight. “You should fight Floyd. You should fight Floyd.”
I was telling them all, I’m fighting Chris Algieri next. That for me is a very tough fight. I need to win this fight if I need to go near any of the big names in fighting.
They were very supportive. I was getting a lot of respect in Vegas. But, like I said, this is time to fight Chris Algieri. I’m not going to be fighting Floyd Mayweather yet till I win this fight.
I was listening, being respectful back. Just meeting fans and greeting fans really.
How inspiring was that to be part of the weekend? It was something quite special, wasn’t it?
It was massive having two big names. I’ve been to both big fights. Normally you have a Pacquiao fight with big names. When you go to a fight with two big names, it was huge. Manny had the bigger crowd, it seemed to me. Floyd just did what he had to do. It was full of a high-profile team, celebrities and stuff. I sat amongst them. It’s something I want to be doing one day, being in the ring, having millions of people in the world watching you and having people watch you ring side.
You had Adrien Broner in your ear. What was that all about?
I think he just wants to jump on the bandwagon and get a little hype. I told my advisor to get me the fight with him before we even got the fight with Chris. Adrien to me seemed to not want the fight. In front of the cameras, he seems to want the fight. When it comes down to signing the contract, he doesn’t want the fight.
Adrien didn’t want it, so obviously I had to go on to someone else.
Is it true that you’ve ruled out fighting in September if a Mayweather fight does come to pass? Will you not fight in September?
No, no, I’ve not ruled out. It’s possible I could fight in September, yeah. Ramadan is going to be a little bit earlier this year, so obviously it helps, gives me enough time to get the training done and everything. It can happen in September.
Thank you, Amir and Chris. Thank you, everybody, for joining us.