Exclusive Interview: Chris Byrd Part 1

By G. Leon


Exclusive Interview: Chris Byrd Part 1

What's good Chris? "Everything is good. We got the contract settled...all that stuff has been worked out with Don. Now I can concentrate on the fight more than anything else. It won't be like my last fight where things were getting done at the last minute, now we've got everything worked out. The man is living up to his contract and that's something I'm very happy with."

GL: How do you feel about fighting your good friend Jameel McCline on November 13?

Chris Byrd: "I'm excited to be fighting, just to be boxing period. But Jameel is my man, he's cool and this is just part of the sport. We knew it would happen one day since we're both in the same division. He's one of the best heavyweights out there and I'm the champion. This is something that had to happen, so I look at it like there's no love lost and he's still a friend of mine but I've got to go in there and handle my business just like I know he is. He's coming to win the title so I need to be at my best and handle my business. This is a contact sport where we have to hit each other and afterwards, we'll still be cool. I've boxed my brother Patrick twice and me and him are close, and we went at it both times and we had the crowd on their feet in both fights. In this fight with Jameel it's all about handling my business, I'm coming to win and I know he's coming to try and knock my head off."

GL: James Toney says that since you guys are such good friends there's going to be a lot of hugging and kissing going on in the ring....

CB: (cutting in) "James should worry about his fight. He's got his first fight back and he's still talking trash. But I'm going to be commentating his fight, so he better do his thing and do what he needs to do instead of worrying about everyone else's business. He's the main one out there who doesn't want to sign to fight the best, but who cares what James Toney has to say."

GL: Chris Byrd doing the commentary for a James Toney fight, that should be interesting.

CB: (laughs) "It's going to be very interesting."

GL: Is this going to be the first time the two of you are in the same building since all the trash talking the two of you have spewed forth on Boxingtalk.com?

CB: "Yep. That's why it's going to be VERY interesting. I'm above all that crazy talking, I talk in the ring, James just pops off about what he wants to do. Nobody is over here taking him seriously, but no matter how much trash he talks, he knows he can't punk me. I've been in this game a long time, he can't punk me and he knows he's talking to the wrong dude because his mouthing off does nothing but motivate me. I've been boxing since I was five years old, James picked this game up when he was 19 years old, he don't know nothing about this!"

GL: Do you feel that McCline choked against Wladimir Klitschko?

CB: "Yeah he did. And he will admit that too. I know what kind of ability he's got, he's a good fighter. But he choked and that's something that happens in boxing, especially when you haven't been in the game for that long. He's come a long way though. He's learned not only how to fight, but how to win. In that big fight with Klitschko he choked a little bit, but now he knows what it takes to be on top and that's why he's so determined to get this title. But I admire him for that. To come back from that, where people jumped on the bandwagon and started saying he was the best heavyweight out there, to take that bad loss and come back he's come a long way, so he gets props for that."

GL: In your last couple of fights we haven't seen that Chris Byrd style we're used to. Can we expect to see the Chris Byrd style we're used to against McCline?

CB: "Yeah. It's back, I'm going to do that now. I'm not tripping no more. I think I got caught up with trying to impress people. I was sitting there trading and a little guy shouldn't be in there trading with these guys, that's not my style. Against Golota and Fres Oquendo I didn't even do a little bit of the things I'm capable of, I was just going for it. But that's not my style, I'm a counter puncher. It's a mental thing for me and I need to get back to the things that got me to the title. I don't get hit, and after my last fight I had a knot under my eye. That's not how I fight and I've told myself that for me to be successful I need to get back to what I do best."

GL: I know you're watchin the Olympics closely. How do you feel about most of these kids winning fighting a Chris Byrd style?

CB: "You're right they do. All of them, and I love it because that's what wins. You've got to move, you've got to stick and you've got to keep that wand out there to frustrate your opponent. The US got some good kids who could fight, they've just gotten beat by the styles and the computer scoring. There's going to be a lot of good pro's to come out of there, but the Olympic style and scoring is built for the European guys because they know that style and they're older. They fight with that style all year long and it's unfortunate that a lot of these guys aren't going to get medals, but when they turn pro, they need to go at it for real."


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