To the readers of TheSweetScience that don't know me, they call me The Punisher.
To introduce myself, I was born in Georgia and grew up in South Carolina. I was brought up by a single mom, and have two brothers and one sister. My older brother Levi, who's 30, was my biggest influence. He was a father figure.
I'm fighting Antonio Margarito on July 14 in California, and I'm anxious to get in the ring and get his WBO welterweight belt. It'll be my birthday gift. I'll be 26 on July 27. I'm 32-0, with 24 knockouts.
I started boxing when a friend of the family asked my mom if me and my brother wanted to box. I was 8, it was in South Carolina. Was I The Punisher right away? Well, I could punish kids but I wasn't The Punisher. Then my amateur coach died, and I got out of boxing, but as a teen, my mom showed me a newspaper and a story talked about fighters going to the Golden Gloves. I said, 'That'll be me.'''
Another amateur coach knew George Peterson, and introduced me to him, and we clicked. That was in 1999. He's my trainer/manager today.
I turned pro in 2000, and my first fight was on July 21st. It's been a long road. A lot of guys come out of the Olympics, they had the road paved for them, like Jermain Taylor, they get money. I came out of amateurs, and we took it from ground zero. I like the way we did it, it helped me mature, and from a business standpoint, we took our time. We want to get the belt, and keep it.
About Margarito, I'm gonna mop the floor with Margarito. I know that he knows it.
We sparred when he was getting ready to fight Daniel Santos again in 2004, they flew me in to the LA Boxing Gym. He knows what I did with 15 ounce gloves, and what I'll do to him with 10 ounce gloves.
Now, he's fighting the same way, I've improved way more than him. My confidence level is so high.
The sparring was three, four rounds a day, but after about a week and a half, they sent us home. They sent me home, said I was busting him up. They said he said he don't want to spar you no more. But they were nice about it, asked us to come to Puerto Rico for the fight. I heard they dispute the sparring story. But one day I hit him with a hook, cut his eye a bit, they put Vaseline on it. Then I knew he had a big fight, for big money, so I went to his body instead. That was it. He had one good day sparring me out there. Even his fans during open sparring, they saw, I got no reason to lie. From day one, look at my story, it hasn't changed. It's always the same. He remembers that, so that's one round in the bag for us already.
Hey, I know some fight fans have been disappointed with some recent fights, with Floyd’s fight (against Oscar), and Jermain Taylor’s, but you can look at my last three, four fights on HBO, I ain’t coming in there to look good, and get no busted lip, or face. I like action, and I’m going to take it to Margarito!
The fans are going to love this one. It’s not going to be me running, no tattooing, one punch and then hold on.
After Margarito, Mayweather ain’t going to fight me. He wants to fight someone who won’t put up a good fight. If I get in there with Floyd, I’ll mop him up, too.
Cotto don’t have nothing to hold me back. He’d have to pay a big price to get punches in on me. Cotto would come in, and I’ll deliver uppercuts on him. I’ll take it to both of them.
I watched Cotto against Judah, it was real good. The low blows took something out of Zab. But Cotto was hurt by Judah. I think Cotto did the low blows on purpose. You see, usually, he goes to the body, he goes to the side. That “body shot” was to the middle. Hey, whatever it takes to win. Maybe it was dirty but…I respect Cotto as a champion. As far as dirty tactics go, sometimes you have to do that. He had to do something. Cotto had to do what he had to do. In a fight, you have to have Plan A though Plan Z. The main thing is, you have to come out of there with the win.
Back to my fight, I will definitely take care of Margarito, I will lose no sleep over that. I’m happy he manned up, took the fight. After I beat him, then I’ll call out Mayweather. I want his pound-for-pound title, too. And, I’m putting Cotto on high alert, too. Analysts say Mayweather, Cotto, Mosley are the biggest fights. Why not mention me? I’m glad they don’t though, because I’ll make them mention me.
To the readers of TheSweetScience.com, keep reading TheSweetScience, and I’ll make sweet music in July, there will be a new welterweight champion. Don’t go out and get popcorn, watch the whole fight, because it will be action-packed.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV