Q.1 Caleb, you discovered your talent for boxing quite late on. Tell us a little about your introduction to the sport.
Yes, I didn’t begin boxing until I was 19. I was always a big boxing fan, but never knew it was accessible in MN. Ultimately, I saw an ad in the local City Pages for a tough guy tournament, decided to enter with a friend, and that’s how I was introduced to competing in the sport.
Q.2 Growing up in Minnesota you were heavily involved in team sports. How did it feel to step into the individual environment of a boxing ring for the first time?
As a kid, I played every sport there was to play, but outside of golf, I never played individual sports. It was definitely a change not to have any teammates to rely on, but I welcomed it. I enjoy having everything start and stop with me in the ring. I think not having any safety valves to the left or right, as is the case on a team, brings out the best of me.
Q.3 As a college graduate you clearly have a keen interest in academics. Do you feel being an intellectual is a major advantage in such a mentally challenging sport?
I think the intellectual side of boxing is greatly over looked. It is definitely a chess game and the better one is able to analyze and critique his opponent, the greater chance you have to win. But I also realize that the guy in front of me doesn’t give a damn that I have a college degree so I have to be a good fighter first and foremost!
Q.4 The only blemish on an otherwise impressive resume is your loss to Jermain Taylor. What positives do you take from that experience?
I learned a great deal from the Taylor fight. Most importantly, I learned that I can compete with the top guys in the middleweight division. Even though I lost, I gained confidence going forward in my career. I also learned that I can’t rely on counter punching as much as I did in the past, and in order to beat top guys, I have to be more aggressive and let my hands go. I think the changes I’ve made since that fight have been clearly visible and I look forward to continuing to improve.
Q.5 Last time out you convincingly outworked the highly regarded Don George in front of your home crowd before sensationally ending the fight in the 6th round. How did it feel to do produce such a performance on ESPN Friday Night Fights?
It felt great! I was an underdog, and outside of my MN fans, a lot of people wrote me off as a stepping stone for George. All of that just added fuel to my fire and I was able to go out and execute my game plan and score a huge and impressive win on TV.
Q.6 Your next fight against Cerresso Fort on September 21st is something of a local derby. Tell us a little about your camp for this fight?
Camp has been great so far, I stayed in the gym after my fight with George to stay fit for whatever was next and thankfully my promoter was able to come up with the date in September to keep me active. My conditioning is great, my weight is perfect, and sparring is going well. I’m already sharp and I have 3.5 weeks to get better!
Q.7 The middleweight division is one of the hottest weight classes at the moment with Sergio Martinez, Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin amongst others. Who do you think is the best in the division at present and do you see your career crossing paths with any of these champions in the future?
Sergio Martinez is considered the top of the division now, but there are a few guys closing in on him. GGG has been ultra impressive, Quillin has been as well, and Barker showed a lot of grit in taking the title from Geale a few weeks ago. The division is definitely stacked, and I’m just honoured to be in the mix. I definitely feel like I am a legit contender and am only a couple fights from challenging any of the champions and bringing a belt home to Minnesota!
Thanks for taking time out to answer some questions and best of luck with the rest of training camp
Thanks to @boxingroundup for the time, thanks to my team, my family, friends and fans, and be sure to check me out September 21st at the Minneapolis Convention Center!