Exclusive Interview: Chris Byrd Part 2

By G. Leon


Exclusive Interview: Chris Byrd Part 2

GL: Chris, what do you think about Riddick Bowe's comeback? "I've known Riddick for a long time man and I just don't want to see him get hurt. He's a grown man and he knows what he has to do. Andrew came back to fight and got back in the mix, but Riddick went out kind of bad. He was shot and gone in those last two fights with Andrew Golota. He was left out there and hung out there to dry. For his sake I really hope he doesn't get hurt. If he comes back and does well more power to him, I'll take my hat off to him. But if he comes back and struggles with guys he knows he shouldn't struggle with, he needs to hang them up and never come back because it ain't worth it."

GL: Even though you've come out of your last two fights without a loss, some people feel you're slipping after those last two outings. Is it important for you to come out against McCline and show....

CB: (cutting in) "Look. I could care less what people say. They could say I'm slipping, this or that or whatever else they want to say. But if I'm slipping that means more fights should be coming my way. I could care less what people say as long as I'm having fun doing what I'm doing I could care less. I'm not going out there trying to impress everybody because the same people you try to impress are the same ones that dog you. They've always dogged me, so why should I try to impress anyone now? I'm coming out and fighting how I used to before."

GL: Stylistically speaking is Jameel McCline tailor made for you in the sense that if you fight like you're used to fighting, he's going to be looking for something he can't hit all night long?

CB: "No. I could frustrate anybody in that way if I decided that's what I wanted to do. I could easily go out there and frustrate them the same way these Europeans are frustrating everybody at the Olympics, with that movement and that wand right out there in front of them. I may do it and I may not. Jameel is my man, so I know he's going to train harder for me than anybody else. I'm expecting a great fight, we're just going to have to wait and see what happens when we get in the ring."

GL: Most people agree that Jameel is a scary fighter, but do you expect him to come into this fight more aggressively since he knows you don't pack a big punch?

CB: "Probably so. I'm a little guy. Being next to Jameel, I mean he's a huge man...but I'm a tough dude. I'm probably more mentally tough than anybody in this sport because I don't care how big you are what kind of punch you throw or what you bring to the table, I'll fight you regardless. With Jameel being a lot bigger, he's not stupid and we've sparred a lot of times. He's always told me that I'm a guy he looks up to. We know each other pretty well so fighting me should be nothing new to him. But he knows I'm willing to fight anybody and he needs to come in there with a great game plan that he's going to have to execute."

GL: When James Toney was getting ready to fight McCline, his people wanted to make an example out of Jameel that they could compete with the really big boys. As much as you want the Klitschko fight, does showing the world you can deal with a much bigger McCline make the rematch with Klitschko more viable?

CB: "I'll be honest with you, I used to really want that fight but I ain't on it like that right now. I look at that fight and if it happens it happens. He's a coward and he quit. They don't want any more to do with me. I fought both of them in Germany under terrible circumstances. I don't need to prove the little man could fight the big man because I've been proving that my whole career and I made that coward quit."

GL: How do you feel about Toney's next fight against Rydell Booker?

CB: "It's a comeback fight for James but if that younger boy comes in shape we might see an upset.If he comes to fight, because the kid can fight a little bit, you never know. James is coming back from a long layoff due to injury. Everybody is acting like he beat Cassius Clay when he beat Holyfield. You have to remember they had to throw the towel in on Holyfield against a non-punching boxer."

GL: If he gets past Booker, he's Klitschko's mandatory. Would you give Toney a chance against Klitschko if he returns to form?

CB: "You never know. With the Klitschko's there isn't much heart there. James might be able to spook them out just by talking trash and punking his way to victory. I don't even worry about those dudes though, I'm just worrying about doing my thing. Everybody talks a lot of trash but nobody signs contract!"

GL: Now that you've got your problems with DKP resolved, where do you expect to be next year at this time?

CB: "I hope I'll have been in a major fight like a Klitschko or James Toney. My main thing is, I want to stay active. I'm not a young cat anymore. I need to keep busy and keep myself in top shape, everything has to run on all cylinders for me. I just want to make the fights that the fans want to see."

GL: How do you see Ruiz and Golota playing out?

CB: "It all depends on Andrew's mentality. He was fairly clean with me. And I use that word fairly with a great emphasis...but John is the guy they say shouldn't be heavyweight champ but he continues to win. You can't sleep on him because he has what it takes to beat you. I think it's going to be a good fight because Andrew is a bully type guy, and now he's going in there with somebody his size who fights very rugged and that might work against Golota in this fight."

GL: How do you feel about fighting at Madison Square Garden back to back?

CB: "It's the bomb. For me, that's the best place to fight. I love fighting at the Garden with all that history there. I would like to fight in Vegas since I live here now but the Garden is just historical to me and it gets me amped up. When I step out to go to the ring in that arena, I'm like 'yeah, this is the spot.'"


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