Maccarinelli-Haye Conference Call Quotes
In perhaps the most significant cruiserweight unification title bout in years, world champions Enzo Maccarinelli (World Boxing Organization) and David Haye (World Boxing Council/World Boxing Association) will collide this Saturday, March 8, live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast). The Maccarinelli-Haye fight will start at 2 a.m. local time at the O2 Arena in London and open a history-making night on America’s No. 1 Boxing Network. SHOWTIME will achieve another first when it presents an unprecedented back-to-back sports doubleheader that commences with boxing and concludes with a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event..
Article posted on 05.03.2008
Immediately following the cruiserweight world title unification scrap, SHOWTIME will feature a four-fight MMA telecast led by legendary Ken “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Shamrock returning to the cage against Britain’s Robert “Buzz” Berry in the main event of “EliteXC Presents: Cage Rage 25.’’ The event will take place at Wembley Arena in London
Question: Enzo and David, can you give us your thoughts on this fight and fighting for the cruiserweight unification title?
Maccarinelli: I'm excited about the fight. I'm going to fight my fight and show these guys that I can fight as well.
Haye: I'm happy to be part of this event. It's always been my ambition to take over on the world stage. I've been over in the United Kingdom, but I am thrilled that the fight will be shown live on SHOWTIME. I just did the bulk of my training in Miami, so I watch SHOWTIME big time.
It's a great opportunity for me to show the American fans I'm not only the best cruiserweight in the world, but the future of the heavyweight division. You saw (Wladimir) Klitschko the other night fighting terribly, and it's time to show people the future of the heavyweight division. This is my opportunity to do that.
I was due to fight heavyweight before this fight. But knowing that this fight is so big, I knew that I'd get shown live on American television. I knew a big company like SHOWTIME would invest in this fight and put it out there live. So, I am having one last fight at cruiserweight to show everybody what I'm all about.
Everybody in Europe knows I'm the main man. I beat Jean‑Marc Mormeck in his hometown and knocked him out. I'm going to do the same thing in my hometown of South London, in the O2 arena with 20,000 people packed out. I'm going to be bringing some entertainment to boxing.
I guarantee this is going to be going off. This is going to be a mind storm of a great fight. I'm also happy the fights from Cage Rage are being shown directly after my fight. That was big news. I'm a big fan. You've got Shamrock doing his thing right after me.
So, I think it's definitely a good thing that boxing and mixed martial arts are coming together and bringing combat sports to the top.
Question: David, how do you prepare to fight a fighter that is tall and lean, but also has a tremendous amount of power and is a champion?
Haye: I do what I normally do - spar with big guys. I do the same for training that I always do. I don't look at a fighter as a champion. I forget. Titles mean more to the public. To me, it's all about what the fighter does in the ring.
When I watch a fight on tape, I don't listen to the commentary. I just watch the fighter. I look at the boxing record. I can look at who he has fought, who his opponents have fought. And I also look into it that way. I try not to jump on this hype bandwagon.
If you look a little deeper into it, he (Maccarinelli) won a vacant title. He's never been beaten a world champion, I've beaten the world champion, Jean‑Marc Mormeck. I went to his backyard and I beat the world champion. This is Maccarinelli’s opportunity to fight a champion. This is what it's all about for me.
So, I don't prepare any differently. I made the weight for this fight a lot easier than I did for the last. So, I've been in training camp since June of last year. I haven't had any time off after. When I knocked out Mormeck in Paris, I knew of the possibility of this fight happening. It has happened. You're going to see a primed cruiserweight for this fight, and the future of the division.
Question: Enzo, do you want to comment on that, how you're preparing to fight Haye and his record?
Maccarinelli: I trained just as I normally have under Joe Calzaghe. I have done a lot of strength training, a lot of running, and a lot of power work. I've really just been doing pretty much the same thing, but obviously, I have motivation for this fight.
This is a fight we (Haye and I) both want. This is a big fight not just in Britain, but all over the (United) States. The motivation is there. It's just a bit more intense. Everything has gone good, and I'm fully prepared. This fight is going to be explosive.
Question: David, when you fought Mormeck and knocked him out in the seventh round, up to that point the fight was kind of up for grabs.
Haye: The fight was close. But one judge had me within two rounds, another judge had Mormeck by one round, and another judge had him by two rounds. He had the knockdown in the fourth round in his favor. So, it was a close fight.
A lot of people for some reason had a lock early on Mormeck. I fought a guy in my 11th fight (Carl Thompson) that was one of the best fighters in the world at that time. I ran out of steam in that fight. I was punching too early and inexperienced, wasn't in the best shape, ran out of steam and my corner had to throw in the towel. So, it's one of those things that happens to a lot of people. They labeled me as having bad stamina because of that.
In my last fight, I knocked out Mormeck who was the No. 1 fighter and The Ring Magazine champion. I knocked him out in the seventh round. I also fought a heavyweight named Thomas Bonin who was ranked No. 11 in the world by the WBC.
I've shown people that if the fight goes late, I'm taking people out. Each time I work my way into a fight, my power increases.
I do not feel this fight is going into the later rounds. So, I don't believe it will have to do with stamina for this fight.
Question: Enzo, did you see anything in the Haye-Mormeck fight that you could use to your advantage?
Maccarinelli: Of course, some of the people in Britain slacked me off saying he (Haye) couldn't get ready for this fight. I took my hat off. He got in trouble and he carried the fight rounds. He knocked out Mormeck in his own backyard.
I begged for this fight, and the fight is on. It's just me and Haye and the British fans. It's going to be an exciting fight, and I can't wait.
Question: David, why did you come to North America rather than stay in Europe for this fight?
Haye: I trained in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus where I did my full training camp for the Mormeck fight. This fight, I did the bulk of my training there as well in North Cyprus.
But, as the fight is being shown live on SHOWTIME, the fight is going on in the U.K. at 2 a.m. So, that's why I acclimatized six weeks before the fight. I made the decision to go out to Miami, where I worked to train on a fight out there. So, I know the gyms, I know the healthy restaurants to eat at. I know the good places to go out there. So, I decided to go out there and do my training out there.
It worked out great because I was doing my training at 9 p.m. to get my body used to peaking at that time. Now, I'm back in the U.K. I got back in the U.K. yesterday. I went to the gym at 2 a.m. in the U.K., and woke up today at 1 p.m. U.K. time.
So, my time is just right. My body's used to peaking at 2 a.m. U.K. time. It's not going to be a case of me trying to adjust my sleeping patterns or trying to stay awake before the fight. My body is due to peak at 2 a.m., so at 9 p.m., SHOWTIME is going to get the most peaking fight that they've ever seen.
Question: Enzo, along the same lines, your stable mate Joe Calzaghe has had a couple of these 2 a.m. fights. Does he have any tips about some of the things that you may need to do to get your body ready as well?
Maccarinelli: We've been doing a lot of late night training, and I sleep quite late. But, I've been training like that a little bit. And Joe's been in the gym sparring, and we go running together and in the early mornings, just getting my body ready for this fight. It's been great to have Joe (Calzaghe) with me to help me along and give me any advice I need. It's nice to have a world champion to train with every day.
Question: David, do you stick around for a fight with Steve Cunningham to clean up the cruiserweight division?
Haye: This is my last fight at cruiserweight. It's not about what title Maccarinelli has for me. It's about the fact that he's Enzo Maccarinelli, and he's such a big name in the U.K. That's why I'm fighting him.
Not one Steve Cunningham fight has been in the U.K. Nobody knows who he is. There's no money for him in that fight. Who has he beaten? He has a vacant title. There's no history behind him. The reason he got the title is because O'Neil Bell gave the title up, and then Cunningham took the belt.
But once one fighter has given up the title it is an obvious fight. I wouldn't be surprised if Enzo Maccarinelli and Cunningham battle it out for the vacant title because they're the two top cruiserweights in that division.
Question: After this fight, is it your intention to move up to heavyweight?
Haye: 100 percent after this fight. I am a heavyweight who fights at cruiserweight. Naturally, you can come in at whatever weight you want. But I come in at 225, 230. That is my natural weight. Even with the Thomas Bonin fight where I came in at 217, I had to diet to get down to 217. I went to training camp. All I did was have a few more calories, and I could get the final sweat out before the fight.
If you look at a picture of me before that fight, it was almost like I was to the bone. But that was 17 pounds and a year ago. Now, it's taken me a long time to gradually get my body down. But, this is the last time I'm going to put myself through this sort of stress.
But it should be worth it, because it's such a mammoth fight. Not only in the U.K., but being screened live on SHOWTIME. That means so much to me. I know I've got a lot of U.S. fans from my My Space page. I get so many comments from folks out there who support me.
American boxing fans love the knockout. They love you to bring the pain and give them entertainment. So, I think for some reason, the American heavyweight situation isn't what it should be. It hasn't been for many, many years, and I think I'm the closest you Americans have got. At least I'm an English speaking heavyweight champion of the world. That means something.
You've got all these Russian pretenders. These guys ain't got no rhythm, no timing, no speed. They're big and clumsy. Look at (Wladimir) Klitschko the other night. It was an embarrassment to boxing what he did. He should be stripped of his title just for that performance alone. It was a disgrace. And I can’t wait to go up and knock that bum out.
I'm going to do to him (Klitschko) what Corrie Sanders did to him with that speed and make him run like a bitch. I'm going to go out there and knock him out. He's my No. 1 target at the moment. People regard Klitschko as the No. 1 fighter in the world. So after this fight, that's what I'm going after. He can try to hide as much as he wants, but I'm going to track him down and take him out.
Question: David, what are your thoughts on cruiserweights moving up to the heavyweight division? Do you think that hurts the division?
Haye: Cruiserweight for me is just a stop off. It is just a way to do something historical. After I win on March 8, I am going to go up and unify the heavyweight division. It's always been my ambition.
I'm 6' 3," and that is not a small heavyweight. If I was born years ago, I think it's a big heavyweight. But you have a couple of these freak shows from the Eastern Block who are trying to box.
It is a shame I'm going to have to move up, but I can't make the weight anymore.
Question: Have you followed Maccarinelli’s career?
Haye: Yeah, I've followed Maccarinelli’s career, but not as a fan. He has been a professional in the ring about five years longer than I have. But he's never fought anybody that's caught my attention.
Every time Maccarinelli has had a fight, it was against a guy that was coming off a few losses. So, to me, he's never really been a main target until now. He's such a target because he's such a big name in the U.K. and people are waiting.
A lot of boxing experts actually think Maccarinelli is going to beat me. That is just another reason I'll move up to heavyweight as the No. 1 fighter and undisputed champion. But I thought I would have one last fight at cruiserweight because Maccarinelli is an exciting fighter.
Maccarinelli is powerful, big and strong. He comes from a good stable with Joe Calzaghe. Why not have this fight and get everybody's juices flowing?
Question: Have you and Maccarinelli ever sparred together, worked together or hung out?
Haye: No, I've only met Maccarinelli three or four times at press conferences.
Question: Is there anyone that you fought in the past that you could compare to Maccarinelli?
Haye: I fought a lot of guys in the amateurs because I boxed for England from the age of 17 to 22. I was a Senior England International boxing championship in Croatia, Poland. I've been all over the world in the world championships twice. I got a silver medal in the 2001 Olympics, and the World Championships.
So I boxed a guy there from Ukraine who had a similar style. I fought a guy from Germany called Sebastien. He was a 6' 5" heavyweight. I fought a lot of strong guys in the Eastern Block. I've never, ever lost to an Eastern European in my life.
Fighters who are taller than me or the same height all get taken out. The guys I have struggled with are the guys that are 5' 9", that don't give you their chin, and keep their head tucked down so you can only hit the top of their head.
Then again, I knocked out Mormeck who had that style also. But I definitely have fought a lot of guys with Maccarinelli’s particular style. He is tall and comes to punch. I have never had problems with any of that style.
Question: How much did the victory over Mormeck do for your confidence?
Haye: It's not so much my confidence. It just sort of confirms what I've been telling people. I've told people that I was not going to win on points. I could not win on points. It was a Don King Promotion in the guy's (Mormeck’s) backyard. The likelihood of me winning on points was very, very slim no matter what I did in that fight. So I thought I had to knock him out.
So I said I would knock Mormeck out and I said I am the best fighter in the world at heavyweight, at cruiserweight, it doesn't matter. I know I'm the best. You'll see what happens. Maccarinelli has some good shots, but the cream always rises to the top, and I end up taking it out. I've always been confident. It just sort of reconfirmed what I already knew, that I am the best fighter on the planet.
Question: After your last fight, you said that you were never going to fight at cruiserweight again and that you couldn't wait anymore. What changed?
Haye: What changed was I went straight back into training camp. I watched the DVD of the Mormeck fight, and it looked a lot better than it felt in there. It felt horrible in there because it was so tough getting down to the weight.
I'm sure the reason why Maccarinelli's promoter made this fight is the simple fact that I said I can't make the weight anymore. That was the first time they made serious negotiations for this fight to happen. And I got this fight on the no‑strings attached deal. If I win this fight, I walk away promotional free. Very rarely do you have a fight where they're promoting it as heavily as they have, and the fact that after my win I can walk away as a free agent.
Maccarinelli made the deal he had to make. Because a lot of people truly believe he is going to win this fight, they're really rolling the dice. So, I hope they're not banking on me not being 100 percent for this fight, because if they're lucky enough to get through the first round, they're going to realize they're in a position they've never been in before.
Question: What do you attribute the domination of the Eastern Block fighters in the heavyweight division?
Haye: I don't feel that there's much input going on in the heavyweight division. I watched Evander Holyfield on a TV program on the BBC saying there is no real amateur system for the fighters to get into.
In Holyfield’s day, amateur boxing was on TV, so you aspired to be a good amateur boxer. Now, they only see professionals that have five or six amateur fights and turn professional. To be the No. 1 professional in the world eight times out of ten, that person was the best amateur in the world.
As an amateur, I was ranked No. 2 in the world behind a heavyweight, and I've got that one professional. Having those international fights as an amateur has put me in the right position to do things on the professional circuit.
There are no American guys coming through the amateurs, and that's why it's happening.
Plus, you've got the NBA and the NFL out there. So, I think you've probably got five or six world champions playing in the NFL at the moment. The guys earn a lot more money from that, so I don't blame them. They don't get punched in the head because they have a helmet on.
Question: Enzo, do you have any desire or intention to move up to heavyweight?
Maccarinelli: It's going to be a long time before I start thinking of that. I had to get down to this form, and I haven't fought well at it in the past. It's a long time coming. I have had nothing else on my mind over the last 12 weeks except this fight. I'm just looking forward to this fight, and I have no intention of moving up to heavyweight.
Question: What is your reaction to Haye saying that you may not be quite as good as your record reflects? Also, what do you think of him as a fighter?
Maccarinelli: Haye comes to knock people out. I like to knock people out. I'm a finalist, and I love boxing. I like to punch out. Haye likes to punch it out. I'm ready for this fight, so it's going to be a good clash. This is a fight between two top cruiser champions.
Question: David, how important is the cruiserweight division to boxing?
Haye: I think cruiserweight is a very important division because the thing people don't realize is that we punch as hard as any heavyweight, and we're as fast as a super middleweight. So, you've got that combination.
Heavyweights are just slow. You might think they punch harder, but the punches are that much slower. So, they don't punch that hard. Power is about speed. Punching power is speed. So, cruiserweight is a good division, but it's an unfashionable division. I definitely feel like fights like this are going to bring the cruiserweight division to the forefront. And people are going to realize this division is flagship fighters.
When I knock Maccarinelli out live on SHOWTIME in the States, people are going to realize that I am the best cruiserweight since Holyfield.
I have some massive shoes to fill. But that is definitely my aim. I will be happy to leave my mark on the cruiserweight division like Holyfield did.
Question: Is there any fear that you might get lost in the heavyweight shuffle without the proper opposition?
Haye: If this fight wouldn't have happened, we had another lined up for my first heavyweight fight. There were two names that were out there. I'm not looking at taking shortcuts. I'm looking at the top of the heavyweight division ASAP. I'm not looking to waste any time. I'm looking at fighting top quality fighters. A fighter like me would be a main event fighter.
I'm looking at big fights and fighting the best fighters in the world, working my way up the rankings, the same way I did as a cruiserweight. I fought three or four top-10 cruiserweights. I think five or six top-10 cruiserweights to get my position, so the champion had to fight me.
Question: Enzo, if you win this fight, do you plan on keeping up this rate of activity?
Maccarinelli: Yeah I want to get as many fights as I can. We are putting it on the line. It's great to see a fight like this. So, after Saturday night, I will keep fighting all the time and keep working on the heavyweight division. That's a long time off for me.
I am always in training, always in the gym, always doing something. So, I'm going to stay in the gym and keep fighting.
Question: David, do you look forward to fighting somebody like Maccarinelli who is listed as an inch taller than you so you can be more yourself in the ring?
Haye: Yeah, definitely. I have always struggled with short squat guys around 5' 9”. Those guys walk me down and try to get under my haunches. With short arms they keep firing a lot of punches. They're the type of guys in the past I struggled with.
Maccarinelli will be in great shape because he is training with Joe Calzaghe. That is a big bonus for me. He will come to fight, and throw lots of punches. The more punches he throws, that is when I will have my opportunity. He is the type of fighter that can bring it and really put me under pressure.
But when it gets into that type of fight, that's where I work my best. As the fight goes on, I get stronger and stronger.
Question: Enzo, is your plan to take this fight into the later rounds?
Maccarinelli: I shoot for 12 rounds. I know I can finish a fight early. But I'm not kidding myself. I'm not going to walk in there and turn it up in the early rounds. If the fight goes 12 rounds, it goes 12 rounds. I'm prepared for 12 rounds. I'm not going to think it's a four-round fight, or I'm going to catch him after four rounds. I'll do my thing.
Question: How do you explain your popularity other than the fact that you're a good fighter?
Maccarinelli: I just come to fight. I don't come to mash about. I don't come to play around, or win the fight on points. I come to knock people out. This fight is being publicized in Britain. There's no other fight that captures the time like this one.
This is a clash of the world titans. It comes down to the two of us, and we (Haye and Maccarinelli) both like to fight. We both like to knock people out.
Question: David, do you have a prediction for this fight? What is this fight going to do for the cruiserweight division?
Haye: I like to make sure people are going to get a great night of entertainment. You have the two best cruiserweights in the world fighting each other in the boxing match. Then you've got the best mixed martial arts guys going into Cage Rage.
You have both fights coming from the U.K. Both ought to be great. But, I'm just pretty happy that my American fans are going to get to see me live dishing out entertainment from start to finish. It is going to be a tremendous fight. There will be 20,000 people in attendance. The tickets went in a couple of weeks for this fight, that's how important this fight is in the U K.
After this fight, the American fans are going to want me to come out to Las Vegas and do my thing out there. Because I know my fans are looking to travel to the big venues in Las Vegas. After this fight, I'm going to be out there, and I'm going to be a flagship heavyweight to follow.
Question: Enzo, do you have any closing comments?
Maccarinelli: We (Haye and Maccarinelli) are both going to come and try to knock each other out. We're the two best workers in the gym, and we're the two best cruiserweights on the planet. We both want to knock the other one out. It should be a good night.
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