"I know that he’s going to do his best but that’s not going to be enough because I have the speed and punching power."
BoxingTalk: Kevin, what are your thoughts about stepping into the ring against Ramirez tonight?
Kevin Kelley: Tonight I’m going up against an incredible opponent. He’s durable and I respect him, but I have my speed and reflexes to rely on. I’m having fun these days, but I’m focused on Ramirez. I know that he’s going to do his best but that’s not going to be enough because I have the speed and punching power. I like it when people say that I’m past my prime, I feel I’m coming of age.BoxingTalk: Why do you like it when people say you are past your prime?
Kevin Kelley: There are a lot of fighters today who are fighting in their mid-30s. In fact, a lot of athletes are, not just boxers. I feel I can use my wisdom, why run when I can still get to the same place by walking. There is no pressure on me. In the past I had been struggling to stay who I was, but people don’t understand that Gatti has changed, Vargas changed, Barrera changed. Sometimes changing is better, it’s not always worse. When I was younger I was just thinking about hitting my opponent, now I’m thinking about defense, and I’m making my opponents miss.BoxingTalk: I know you were sparring with Wayne McCullough to get ready for tonight’s fight. What has the rest of training been like for you?
Kevin Kelley: I’ve made a lot of changes. We’re doing things to prepare for this fight that people won’t expect. I like to train when I’m not comfortable because that’s what happens in fights. Wayne has so much arsenal, and he has helped me make my training difficult. We sparred in 10 by 10 ring which is tiny instead of a 12 by 12 ring. I have learned to adapt. If there is a “just in case” factor in the fight, then I know I can go to war or I can box beautifully. I’m ready for whatever comes my way, because I need to be. Look at what happened to Roy Jones when he lost his speed. Look at Tyson without his power. I’m doing things like taking away my left hand during sparring to prepare me for anything. I have created adversity for myself in the gym, because I have to rehearse for everything.BoxingTalk: With 68 professional fights under your belt, what are you hoping this fight will do for your career?
Kevin Kelley: At first I was supposed to fight for the vacant NABF title, but on Wednesday I found out that it was not going to be a title fight. My motivation was fighting for the title, but now I’m fighting to keep my top 10 ranking.BoxingTalk: What does a win tonight do for your career?
Kevin Kelley: A win tonight keeps me out there and allows people to see that my last 3 fights and performances were no flukes. But I am going to have fun tonight. If I have fun then the win will come.BoxingTalk: What does a loss tonight do for your career?
Kevin Kelley: I’m not losing, but I’ll be honest with you Darren, a loss could definitely end my career. It would be very difficult for me to come back. I could, but why would I want to work that hard at this point in my career.BoxingTalk: Explain why you are a different fighter at 130 then you were at 126.
Kevin Kelley: My performance is much better at 130. I moved up in weight because I couldn’t make weight at 126 anymore. It killed me. I should have moved up sooner, but I felt obligated because I had the belt. Plus, at the time, the featherweight division was more popular so I stayed where the money was. However, I wised up and I said no more featherweights. I wasn’t performing how I was supposed to.BoxingTalk: With fighters like Pacquiao, Barrera, and Morales fighting at 130, when do you feel you will be ready to take on a junior lightweight?
Kevin Kelley: Anytime. I am ready right now, but I know they wouldn’t want to fight me. With my speed and power, I wouldn’t want to fight me right now either.BoxingTalk: Last time we spoke you said that you would be the perfect opponent for Prince Naseem Hamed. Do you still feel that way?
Kevin Kelley: I would love to fight The Prince. These days I want to have fun and it would be a lot of fun to fight The Prince. There wouldn’t be any money for me to fight Barrera or Morales, but if people want to see a fight then people want to see me and The Prince. Ward had Gatti and Barrera had Morales, well The Prince is my Gatti and my Morales. We’ll give the public what they want.BoxingTalk: Any final comments as you enter your fight tonight against Ramirez?
Kevin Kelley: I’m looking forward to tonight. This will be the Kevin Kelley party, and I’m ready to silence my critics.
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