Chris Byrd, The Cruiserweight

By G. Leon


Chris Byrd, The Cruiserweight

GL:  Can you give us some thoughts on your fight with Povetkin?  "It was a tough fight with a better man.  I had high expectation of going in there and winning, of course, but it didn't happen.  We threw down.  I was a great fight especially for the fans over there.  I got nothing but positve energy from the German fans.  It made me feel pretty good after a loss like that.  I was expecting a lot of critics.  I tried to test him.  Later on in the fight, he just got stronger.  He kept throwing, even though he was tired.  He bit down and kept fighting.  My legs were gone after the 6th round.  My legs were shot, I was walking in potholes, almost.  That's when I thought I would be stronger, I was leading him to that point.  I thought in the 6th round, I'd have 6 more rounds to go, to wear him out.  It backfired on me, my legs betrayed me, so he's the better guy." 

GL:  Why did your legs betray you?

CB:  I don't have an excuse.  Certain things happen before a fight.  We fought a good fight.  Povetkin came to fight.  It showed me that I've achieved everything I've wanted to achieve in the heavyweight division.  It kills some fighters to keep weight off, it's killing me to keep weight on.  I'm tired of eating.  My thought is now I can fight at cruiserweight for a few fights, and test the waters.  Hopefully I can fight for a title.  I don't want to stay in boxing much longer, I don't want to dominate the cruiserweight division.  This is Steve Cunningham's business right now, that's how I look at it.  I want him to enjoy it, and I have no intentions of coming to cruiserweight to make my mark.  I just want to have a few more fights, and I'm done.

GL:  Why would you be going to cruiserweight, if you're not going to make your mark?

CB:  I wouldn't mind winning the title, if I could just fight for the title.  I was the heavyweight champion, and I fought for the cruiserweight title, but I'm not trying to dominate cruiserweight overall.  I'm not looking to do that, because that means I'll be in boxing for a number of years to establish that.  I know a lot of people want me to fight cruiserweight. 

GL:  Isn't Jean Marc Mormeck the man at cruiserweight?

CB:  He's the man at cruiserweight.  If I could fight Mormeck, I'd do it right off the bat.

GL:  So how is it Steve Cunningham's division?

CB:  It is to me, because we're good friends.  It's his division to rule around, and I know his desire is to be the #1 overall cruiserweight.  I know he's going to be that, so I'm looking at him as the man in the division.  To me he's the harder fight.  If I was going to fight Steve Cunningham or Mormeck I'd fight Mormeck

GL:  Would you fight Mormeck in France?

CB:  I'd fight him in France.  I'll fight anytime in another country.  Germany was great, I want to put that on the record.  Sauerland Promotions were great to me, and I want to give them praise.  They put on a great promotion.  They treated me fair, they did everything right.  No hard feeling towards them, they did everything they had to do, so I'm giving them props.  It was a pleasure fighting there, and I would fight there again.  I'll fight in Germany anytime.  I'd tell any American fighter to go over there, even if your fighting their champion, do it.  You'll get a fair shake over there.  This is coming from someone who's fought in Germany four times, and has had some problems going there with other promoters.  There's no downside, it was great.

GL:  How do you feel about the stoppage?  Do you think your father made the right decision?

CB:  At that time, I told him that my legs were gone.  I didn't know what was wrong, my legs were gone.  Going into that round, he did what was in his best judgement.  When he says stop, I agree.  He doesn't want to see me get hurt, I'll fight to the death out there.  I hate to say it, but you have  to kill me, or knock me unconcious, before I even quit.  He stopped it, I was with it, I can't change it, stuff happens. 

GL:  Was there anything about Povekin as a fighter that surprised you?  Why did you not box?

CB:  I didn't watch a lot of tapes, I thought he was a basic guy.  Everyone gets up for a test, they know you're going to have to fight me.  It's hard, that's how I rate guys.  When fatige sets in, most guys stop throwing punches.  We kept throwing punches and the crowd loved it.  It was a great fight, and it was a different pace.  I hit him with some great body shots, and he would take a few steps back, knuckle up and come out again.  I noticed this during the fight, that's the mark of a champion.  I was fighting him thinking that's what it takes to get to the next level.  Not right now, everyone has their time.  You can rush to the title, and it can ruin you.  A guy like Wladimir Klitschko, right now he's hot.  In a few years, he's ready.  He'll be a hard guy to beat because he's tough.  He'll be a little stronger, a little more solid, he's going to be something to deal with in the future.

GL:  When do you plan on fighting again?

CB:  No time soon, my ribs need to heal.  Hopefully, by next January of February, that would be great.  I just want to say, I don't want to take another year off, like I did after I fought Klitschko.  I'd like to get back in the ring in January, fight until my 38th birthday, then I'm done.

GL:  When do you turn 38?

CB:  August.

GL:  You have less than a year.

CB:  I've got a little time, and maybe after that a negotiation.

GL:  So, 2008 is probably going to be your last year?

CB:  Yeah, I just want to go out with a bang, go out fighting. 

GL:  Do you regret not moving down to cruiserweight sooner?

CB:  Now I do.  I thought about that, and I should have done that after the Klitschko fight.  I had my heart at heavyweight, but I didn't like it.   I didn't want to make weight.  I'm probably walking around right now at 204, it's easy to make the cruiserweight limit.  I regret it a little, my heart was at heavyweight. Now I just want to challenge the best guys in the cruiserweight division, and go out with that.  I want to do it more for the fans, too.  People write me saying I should do cruiserweight, a lot of e-mail saying fight there. 

GL:  How do you feel about a fight between you and Jirov?

CB:  That would be great.  We're two older guys, more established guys, I hadn't thought of that.  That would be a great fight, that would be cool.  The crowd would love that fight, two southpaws going at it. 

GL:  We're going to get your hand raised against a Russian, if we try. 

CB:  I'm glad you said that.  Thank you to the promoters, they did a great job.  To Steve Cunningham, who came and sparred with me.  I think he's the best cruiserweight in the world, without a doubt at all.  He's the man, God bless him.  Joe Hank, a young heavyweight.  If he's not a champion, or undefeated by the time he's 30, that's his fault.  those guys helped me out big time, shout out to them.  They know what I was going through toward the end of my training camp, they knew what was up.  They looked out for me.  


Send questions and comments to: