Interview with Antonio Margarito - “The Tijuana Tornado will become a world champ again!”

margarito cintron2008.11.04 – By Ricardo Gamez, Photo by Chris Farina - Top Rank: More and more these days, we hear that the reason why a boxer turns a fight away is because of a “business decision”. Despite the politics, and all the other nonsense, we’re still fortunate enough to have fighters who are hungry and only want to fight the best, regardless of the risk, in order to prove they are the best. With that said, the fight that I’m most looking forward to this Saturday is the highly anticipated rematch between Kermit Cintron and Antonio Margarito. This is a fight that is sure to be as entertaining, if not more, as any other fight in the welterweight division, as it features two big homerun hitters, two big wills, and too much to loose on the line. Something’s gotta give. I had the privilege to discuss this fight with Antonio Margarito in regards to his upcoming battle with Kermit Cintron. Here is what Antonio had to say....

Hi Antonio, how are you doing? How's your training camp been going for you so far?

Hello Ricardo, training has been great. Nothing to complain about, everything has been positive, no injuries, great sparring, perfect atmosphere. Thank God, everything has been going as planned.
Tomorrow, you will be facing Kermit Cintron for a second time. I am curious, just as the fans are - who called out whom for the rematch?

Kermit called me out. Kermit's been calling me out ever since he became the IBF Champion. Kermit has pretty much called me out on every web site that covers boxing. I don't blame him for wanting this fight as much as he does, he wants to face and beat the person who’s given him his only loss.  

Speaking of which, this is the second rematch of your professional career. The first being against Daniel Santos. Is training for a rematch different than when you train for a first fight against someone? Do you feel its any easier knowing that in a way, you've seen what this guy can do?

 I'm training just as hard, if not harder for this fight. You do make adjustments and some changes, but I can't say it makes things easier knowing you've seen what your opponent can do. This would be the worst thing I could do. I am training very hard for this fight, and I am more than sure that Kermit is training very hard. He has a new trainer and different attitude. I know I'm going to be facing a new and better fighter on April 12th, but he'll be facing a stronger and hungrier Tornado.  

You're coming off an impressive KO win over Golden Johnson and a prior to that a close decision loss to Paul Williams. How important is this fight for you at this point of your career?

Very important. I told my team and wife that this loss taught me a disappointing lesson, but I also told them I would become a world champion again. I won't speak about what a victory will lead to, I am focus on this fight only, but I'm hoping you will ask me this question again after the fight. This is a do or die situation, I must win.

Obviously, the loss to Paul Williams must have been a disappointment. But there is an old saying that says something along the lines of "defeat and adversity only makes us stronger", and from seeing your last performance against Golden Johnson, I'd have to believe that is true. You certainly came out like a Tijuana Tornado as soon as that bell rang. I'm not sure your Johnson even knew if it was a tornado, a truck, or a left hook that hit him. What did you learn from your fight against Paul?

It was a disappointing loss, this is a fight I should not of lost, but I did. I watched the fight the following day and I accepted the loss, not because Paul landed more, but because he threw more. I waited too long to start my attack. Paul did not get me off rythem, nor was it his speed, distance, nor his height, I just waited too many rounds to get going and I did not do enough to get the final round.  I learned that I need to come out fighting. I can not afford to loose the initial rounds then pressure myself to put on the pressure and turn things around.

Going back a bit to the first fight against Cintron, the last time you faced him, you won decisively in a 5th round TKO. In that fight, you were able to impose your will and toughness on him. Considering how you defeated him the first fight, are you taking this match as serious as you would any other fight? What is your motivation for this fight?

Definitely, I take all opponents serious. I would never take any opponent for granted. It does not matter how dominating my victory might have looked against Cintron, Cintron wants what I want, to be victorious. I want his title, I want to be a two time world champion.

According to Cintron, he stated his loss to you in the first fight was due to having personal issues and not being there (in the fight) mentally, as in having an off night. Since then, he's made some changes and hired a new trainer, Emanuel Steward, and trains out of Kronk gym. You, on the other hand, are still training out of the same gym and pretty much work with the same people in camp as before, correct? How would you describe your relationship with your current team and how long have you been working with them?

I have a great relationship with my team. I've been with my management over twelve years and with my current trainer about nine.

You always seem to be in excellent shape in every fight. You just turned 30 - happy belated birth day by the way. Is it becoming more difficult now to make the 147lbs limit than before? I know you previously said you weren't looking to move up in weight, but looking back in your career, you have fought at 154lbs before. What is the most comfortable fight weight for you?

Making 147 is not a problem what so ever. I don't blow up after fights, I continue running and going to the gym. I also live a clean life, I don't smoke or drink and I have a wonderful wife who supports my profession 100%. I feel very comfortable fighting at my current weight.
Speaking of weight, how do you do it? I know some boxers are very scientific about dieting. They count the amount of meals per day and count their calories, grams of fat, carbs, protein… They even count the amount of hairs they have on their bodies! How do you go about your eating? Do you get a triple beam scale out and weigh out your food, or do you pretty much know what works for your body and what doesn't.

I know what works with my body, which is everything. I don't keep myself from eating certain foods, I eat everything, but once the fight gets closer, I do begin cutting down on the amount of food I eat as well as pay more attention to the number of calories. I know my body, I'm well diciplined and responsible to know how to control my diet.

Obviously, your main focus is on defeating your opponent on April 12th. Assuming all goes well against Cintron, who would you like to fight next or at least by the end of 2008?

I can't answer that right now, but I will answer that question after the fight, God willing everything goes well.

What is your prediction for this fight?

No prediction, may the best man win, but I am physically and mentally ready to win this fight.

Any closing words for your fans.

Ricardo, I want to thank you for this interview, and I want to thank all my fans for their great support. I will not let you down, the Tijuana Tornado will become a world champ again!

Article posted on 11.04.2008

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