By: Sean Crose
When I spoke with Kevin Newman last May, he was ready to return from his first loss and get his career back on track. What struck me was how grounded the guy was, confident, yet realistic. Sure, the loss, which occurred on last summer’s Mayweather-McGregor undercard, hurt, but life moved on and it was time to get back to business. The conversation made one think of all the great fighters with not one, but numerous losses on their records (in other words, the vast majority of great fighters). Unfortunately, Newman’s comeback fight was canceled. Not that he let it eat at him.
“Opponent issues,” he says matter of factly. “Guy bailed on us last minute.” Now, with a new fight scheduled for this evening, Newman is ready to finally get back to business. As far as Newman’s concerned, the cancellation “just gave me a little more time to sharpen up.” And so tonight, at Sam’s Town in Vegas, Newman will be entering the ring against fellow supermiddleweight Cesar Ruiz. “Tough guy from Mexico,” he says of his opponent. “He’s a shorter guy… I’ve got the height and reach advantage.” Not that Newman intends to become overconfident. “I’m just focused on this Friday,” he tells me.
He won’t have to travel far to get to the fight. For Newman resides in Vegas with his family. “Yeah man,” he says, “it’s always good to fight at home…I’m a home town guy.” That fact certainly makes things easier when one is a fighter who lives in the boxing capital of the world. There’s also the fact that one doesn’t have to journey far from home to fight. What’s more, Vegas is the center of the Mayweather Universe, which Newman is a part as a member of The Money Team. Newman knows how important it is to have strong backing, but he’s also self aware.
“I was trying to campaign at middleweight,” he says of the not so distant pass. It simply wasn’t meant to be, however. A fighter’s body simply changes. “My body is filling out and getting older,” he states. Here, after all, is a man who is disciplined enough to make weight, but who understands that a higher weight division is better for him at this point. “With me, it’s not necessarily the pounds,” he says, “maybe (it’s) my bone density or something like that…I could tell my body looks a little different the lower I dig.” It’s a common situation for many, if not all, fighters, one that Newman aims to take advantage of now that he’s a supermiddleweight.
“I’m going to do my thing on Friday,” he says. And afterwards? “Obviously I want to be as active as possible.”