“THE ROAD BACK” Casamayor returns to the ring

30.06.04 – Interview by Wray Edwards: Arriving in Vero Beach, we came to a small industrial area and found Elite Boxing’s training facility. It is a modest, two room affair with one ring, one heavy bag, and one speed bag. In this humble place, the trainer Buddy McGirt holds forth with his students of the Sweet Science. Here were the jump-rope boards, the “shadow” boxing mirror, and the ring where the likes of Antonio Tarver, Arturo Gatti, Leila Ali, Joel Casamayor and Buddy McGirt’s son, James, train for their future bouts.

Approaching the open bay doors of the building, we could hear the roar of the speed bag, and whistling slap of a jump-rope. There were, perhaps, ten people there working out, and tending to the fighters. As we stepped around the edge of a wall to view the sparring ring, there we saw, dancing on the canvass, the almost perfect prototype of a 130 lb. boxer. It was Joel Casamayor. He had just finished sparring, and was doing a little freestyle to cool down a bit.

His trim body was covered from head to toe with symmetrical beads of sweat, which looked like little, glassy jewels sprinkled on his ebony frame. We had met before, and when he saw me, he lit up, and rushed to the ropes to give the friendly abrazo, which is his habit when those he knows drop by. Now I was splashed with the sweat of his training labours. Not a bad thing.

Joel has not fought since his controversial second bout with Diego Corrales, which ended in a split decision. Joel (30-2-1, 19 KOs) is here with Buddy, to prepare for his next match in which he will take on Daniel Seda (20-0-1, 16 KOs) in Miami, Fl. on July 3 at the American Airlines Arena. After some work on the heavy bag and the speed bag, Joel sat with us for a few minutes to discuss his career and upcoming bouts

ESB: Who would you like to fight after your match with Seda?

JOEL: “Corrales, I have a score to settle with him.”

ESB: Why do you think your last bout with Diego was so close?

JOEL: “I felt that the decision was unjust. I had it eight rounds to four, and I was pretty close to the action, so I should know.”

ESB: “How do you feel about another fighter gaining twelve to fifteen pounds between the weigh-in and fight night?

JOEL: “It doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t matter. You saw him go down…14, 15, 16 pounds…it doesn’t matter.”

ESB: What would you do differently next time you fight Corrales, to prevent the fight from being so close again?

JOEL: “I will have to work harder in the early rounds.”

ESB: Do you think Seda will be an easy fight for you?

JOEL: “No – no fight is easy. I train hard, as if every fight is for a world championship. You cannot take any fighter lightly. You must always consider the other fighter to be a strong challenge.

ESB: You look to be working very hard.

JOEL: “I am preparing for the ten rounds, and I am going to show everybody what I have been working for.

ESB: Would you like to fight the winner of Frietas/Corrales?

JOEL: “No matter…I can fight anyone in my weight class and win. Any 130 lb. fighter – Morales, Corrales, Frietas…anyone who comes through 130 lbs. I am going to rule the division”

ESB: Thank you for your time Joel.

JOEL: “De nada. You come to this fight, and you will see what I have planned for all of them.”

Before we left we had a chance to ask Joel’s trainer, Buddy McGirt a few questions.

ESB: Thanks for taking a minute with us. Have you and Joel discussed his possible match-up with the winner of Corrales/Frietas?

McGirt: “No, we don’t talk about either one of those guys. We talk about everybody else.

ESB: How well does Joel do with his corner during the fights? Does he follow instructions?

McGirt: “Yes, Joel is very professional during his fights, and makes every effort to take advantage of our encouragement and instructions.

ESB: How do you feel about the big weight gains some fighters make between weigh-ins and fight time?

McGirt: “Sometimes it’s a disadvantage. If your fighter is well prepared, that amount should make no difference.”

ESB: Do you think there will be a Tarver/Jones III?

McGirt: “No.”

(W.E: Hope that was terse and unequivocal enough for you boxing fans.)

ESB: How soon will your son James Jr. move up to six rounds?

McGirt: “After about two more matches.”

ESB: Can you tell us anything about Fernando Vargas’ physical condition and how soon he might fight again?”

McGirt: “No, he’s just at home enjoying his family, and has no current plans.”

ESB: Thank you for your time Buddy. We’ll see you in Miami.

ESB wishes to thank Buddy McGirt, Louis DeCubas, and Santa Barbara Management for making these interviews possible.

The fight will be presented at the American Airlines Arena by SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, at 9PM ET on July 3rd by arrangement with Team Freedom Promotions, and Northwest Promotions in association with Cedric Kushner Promotions, LTD.

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Boxing News “THE ROAD BACK” Casamayor returns to the ring