It should be a cold place where it’s gray and wet most of the winter, the kind of hard place where the day doesn’t end until the whistle blows.
Jesse James Leija and Arturo “Thunder” Gatti are a couple of blue-collar guys who decided early on that fighting for a living was better than loading trucks or digging ditches or tending bar. They realized that fighting might be a way out, that if they were good really good they could make the kind of money some of the B actors in Hollywood make.
So far, both have made enough to buy just about any house they want in the old neighborhood. They can drive Jaguars instead of old pickups, and they can walk into any bar on any street and buy everyone in the house a drink if that‘s what they feel like doing.
When Gatti (38 6, 29 KOs) defends his WBC junior welterweight title against Leija (47 6 2, 19 KOs) on Jan. 29 at Bally’s in Atlantic City, it will be like one of those Friday night fights you used to watch in black and white on the tiny Magnavox. Step back and squint at the picture and these guys will remind you of Jake LaMotta and Archie Moore and Sugar Ray Robinson and Carmen Basilio, guys who always came to fight and expected to still be there at the end.
Gatti and Leija don’t say a lot. They don’t call each other names, make threats or try to steal center stage. They don’t boast or beat their chests or make silly predictions or throw chairs at each other to sell tickets. The box office doesn’t need the help. These two could walk into a church at midnight and suddenly pack the place. They do whatever they have to do to get ready for a fight, then they do whatever they have to do to win it.
"It’s going to be a great night of boxing," Leija said at a recent press conference at Bally’s promoting the fight. "We sparred in Houston in 1991. Everyone thought Arturo was going to be a star, and he is. Arturo is a good man in and outside the ring."
That doesn’t mean Leija plans on being a nice guy. This isn’t a garden party. Like he said at the press conference, he’s played the spoiler more than once, derailing the best laid plans of such hot prospects as Hector Camacho Jr., Francisco Bojado and Juan Lazcano.
"I’ve been fighting for 17 years," he said. "And like I told Bojado, I’m coming to fight."
For a giant killer, Leija isn’t a big guy. He doesn’t knock people out as much as he wears them down, robs them of their heart.
As for Gatti, he’s the bigger name in this fight, the guy everyone pays to see.
"I am going to win on January 29," Gatti said at the press conference. "There is no doubt about that. Leija is the wall and I’m going to climb it. I have a lot of respect for Jesse James. He is a gentleman outside the ring."
And a 12 round headache inside it.
"When I sparred with Leija, I learned that I could hang with a world champion," Gatti said.
Bally’s might not be a neighborhood saloon, but it’s fine for both fighters.
"I’m undefeated in Atlantic City and I’m going to keep it that way," Leija said.
"I love Atlantic City," said Gatti, who has won his last four fights there, including two wins against Micky Ward. "Atlantic City has been very good to me."
These guys have treated Atlantic City pretty good, too.
When Louis announced his retirement he requested that Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott fight for the right to succeed him. Louis considered them two of the most outstanding heavyweight fighters of the era.
In Chicago on June 22, 1949 the first of four title fights took place between the two contenders. Ezzard Charles won the vacated NBA Heavyweight Title in a unanimous decision over Jersey Joe Walcott in fifteen rounds.
The first of the fights was only recognized by the NBA (National Boxing Association). The other governing bodies, the New York State Athletic Commission and the European Federation didn’t consider the fight a sanctioned title bout.
In order to show his right to the title, Charles fought and stopped former light heavyweight Gus Lesnevich in seven rounds and Pat Valentino in eight rounds. Both fights were in defense of the NBA heavyweight title. Ezzard Charles also defended the title against Freddie Beshore in Buffalo, NY by stopping him in fourteen rounds.
Because the fight was in New York State, Charles became recognized by the NYSAC as the titleholder.
That was in August of 1950. One month later, on September 27, 1950, Joe Louis came out of retirement to fight Ezzard Charles for the heavyweight title. The fight was fought at Yankee Stadium in New York City and was sanctioned by both the NBA and NYSAC. Ezzard Charles won a 15 round unanimous decision leaving no doubt that he was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
Following that fight, Ezzard Charles won an eleventh round knockout over Nick Barrone on December 5, 1950. A month later, in early January of 1951, Charles beat Lee Oma with a TKO in ten rounds.
Those two fights led to the second title defense between Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott. The fight was held March 7, 1951 in Detroit. Walcott fought six fights before the rematch with Ezzard Charles for the heavyweight title. One of the fights Walcott fought was a third round knockout against light heavyweight Hall of Fame great Harold Johnson. In the title fight Ezzard Charles again outpointed Jersey Joe in a fifteen round decision to defend the heavyweight championship.
On July 8, 1951 the city of Pittsburgh played host to the first heavyweight title fight ever fought in the Steel City. It was four months after the second title fight. Held in Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, boxing fans saw a complete turnaround of events. Jersey Joe Walcott kayoed Ezzard Charles with a left hook in the seventh round to become the new Heavyweight Champion of the World. Joe Walcott was 37 years old when he won the title.
The following summer Philadelphia was the scene for the fourth and final title fight between Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott. It was June 5, 1952. At the age of 38 Walcott once again out-pointed Ezzard Charles over 15 rounds to retain the heavyweight championship.
Having turned pro in 1930 and fighting a pro career that spanned over two decades, it was well noted that “Walcott literally outlived the color bar that keep many black boxers of the 1930s and ‘40s from meeting their full potential.”
Walcott’s title defense against Ezzard Charles in Philadelphia would be his last fight as a heavyweight champion. Three months later on September 23 in Philadelphia, Jersey Joe would be stopped in thirteen rounds by the next great Heavyweight Champion of the World, Rocky Marciano.
On May 15, 1953 in a fifteen round rematch for the Heavyweight Championship of the World, Rocky Marciano kayoed Jersey Joe Walcott in the first round.
This was the start of a new heavyweight era with a new style of heavyweight fighter. Rocky Marciano fought both Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles twice each. Marciano won all four fights; three of the fights were by way of knockout.
Who can forget the heavyweight yawn featuring the other pretenders to the throne Don King put on a few months ago. Let’s be honest, the main claim to Klitschko’s current fame is the way he dismantled Lennox Lewis last year. No matter what the Lewis groupies say, Klitschko was beating Lewis when the fight was stopped and had that fight continued I have no doubt he would have knocked Lewis out.
That doesn’t mean Klitschko is greater than Lewis, he was merely better than him in the latter stages of his career—remembering Lewis was already on pension when he eventually accepted that fight. When Klitschko won the WBC world title against Corrie Sanders, he faced a man that is faster, hits harder and has a wider repertoire of punches, yet he was able to nullify all of those elements and manipulate him into a veritable punch bag.
Taking all of the above in consideration, what makes Vitali Klitschko a successful world champion? The answer comes down to 5 key elements every champion needs if he is to remain on his throne. They are: discipline, heart, determination, support and a dream. Klitschko has all of those and it will take a man with more determination, discipline and vision to beat him.
While I am sure Danny Williams has a dream and the determination to upset the champion, I’m not convinced that he has the discipline. I’m not talking about the discipline of getting up and doing your roadwork, I’m talking about the discipline of holding onto the dream, of working through all the outside factors which influence boxer’s emotions before they climb into the ring.
Vitali Klitschko checks his emotions at the dressing room door, can Williams do the same? This is the big night for Williams, the night he has dreamed of since he first laced on a boxing glove as a young boy. The key question to realizing his dream is whether it was his biggest hope to win the heavyweight championship of the world, or just to fight for it. Was just being there enough, like it was for Sanders, or does he have that extra desire that will see him holding the belt above his head?
My heart hopes he does, but my head says he’s gone in 3!
This bout, which heads up the exciting five-bout undercard to the heavyweight championship clash between Vassiliy Jirov and Michael Moorer, is scheduled for 12 rounds. Doors open at 3:30pm and the first bell rings at 4pm.
Robert Guerrero (13-0-1, 6 KOs), currently ranked 10th in the world by the WBO, and 13th by the IBF, has earned his reputation in the boxing ring with his amazing ability of speed and power between the ropes, a crowd-pleasing style, and a magnetic personality. A native of Gilroy, California (the garlic capitol of the world), “The Ghost” – who was a highly touted amateur star - has steadily ramped up his level of competition with great success, leading many boxing observers to believe that he is on a collision course with 2000 US silver medallist Rocky Juarez, also a budding pro star. On June 3, Guerrero passed his biggest test when he stopped former world champion Enrique Sanchez in eight rounds.
Showing the poise of a world champion, Guerrero told his promoter Dan Goossen his desire to fight for the world championship in 2005. "I want to fight for the world championship now and to also be a major pay-per-view star and the only way I can do that is fight the type of fights that the fans want to see and those are going to be tough challenges for me. But I'm prepared for it all. Today, Cesar Figeroa, tomorrow Rocky Juarez and after that, it's the world."
But in Cesar Figueroa (28-4-2, 20 KOs), Guerrero will be taking on another one of the divisions toughest customers, a hard-hitting native of Mexico City who would like nothing better than to put a “1” in the loss column of the young prospect. An eight year veteran of the ring, Figueroa stopped the former champ, Jorge Martinez in his last bout on September 16 to win the NABF crown, and he promises to do the same to Guerrero. "I will not let my title go Thursday night, I will stop Guerrero within 8 rounds. Once he feels my power, its over" stated Figeroa.
Also featured on the December 9 undercard is undefeated Mexican heavyweight sensation Cristobal Arreola. Arreola, the "Mexican Nightmare" is 7-0 with all of his wins coming by way of knockout, now makes his home in Riverside, California, will look to add another booming knockout to his record when he faces Benjamin Garcia (6-4, 3 KOs) in a four round contest. The heavyweight action continues in two other separate bouts, as the "Fighting Cop" of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Jason Gavern (6-1-1, 4 KOs), takes on Los Angeles Charles Wilson (9-4, 4 KOs) in a six round bout, and unbeaten heavyweight Travis Walker (4-0, 3 KOs) of Tallahassee, Florida battles Palmdale, California's Sal Farnetti (3-8-3) in a four rounder.
Opening up the show will be a four round junior welterweight bout featuring debuting and amateur sensation, Lorenzo Reynolds of Saginaw, Michigan.
Tickets for this Goossen Tutor Promotion of a heavyweight night of boxing, priced at $200, $150, $125, and $75, are available at the Pechanga Box Office, or by calling 877-711-2WIN.
Facing the stiffest test of his young career, Taylor dominated Joppy from the opening bell, registered a knockdown in the fifth round, and shut out the former champ on all three judges' scorecards - 120-107 - to take a unanimous 12-round decision.
Taylor (22-0, 16 KO's), the United States 2000 Olympic Bronze medalist, has been a house on fire during his unbeaten pro career. "Bad Intentions" faced his sternest ring opponent in Joppy (34-4-1, 25 KO's), the former three-time middleweight kingpin from Silver Spring, Maryland. Bad Intentions now has his sites set on the likes of Bernard Hopkins and Tito Trinidad as he joins the elite of the middleweight division.
"Jermain has finished the learning curve and is ready for anybody," said Lou DiBella, president of DBE and Taylor's promoter.
"Jermain is willing to fight Bernard Hopkins in his next fight," added DiBella. "If we can get a 25% split, we will take it right now.Â "February is awfully quick but we could do it in March or April. Ask Bernard if he wants to come out and playâ€¦Tito Trinidad would be a bigger money fight, so we'll talk to Don King, too."
'Tis the season for outstanding performances, as was clearly illustrated by the other DBE fighters who fought this weekend.
One night earlier, heavyweight contender Sergei Liakhovich scored the biggest win of his career when he turned back highly-regarded Dominick Guinn in a unanimous 10-round decision at Bally's Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey in a bout televised by ESPN2. The "White Wolf", originally from Belarus and now fighting out of Scottsdale, AZ, has emerged as a bona fide presence on the heavyweight landscape with his 22nd career victory.
Brooklyn star Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi (19-0, 5 KO's) remained undefeated with a 7th round technical unanimous decision over Italian veteran Sandro Casamonica (34-5, 21 KO's) for the WBC International Super Lightweight Championship.
In a ten round lightweight showdown undefeated rising star Koba "The Cobra" Gogoladze (17-0, 7 KO's) captured a split decision against Roque Cassiani (22-18-2, 15 KO's) from San Basilio, Colombia.Â
Also on the under card, boxing upstart and 2004 Olympian Andre Berto (1-0, 1 KO) made his dazzling pro debut with a third round TKO of Michael Robinson (2-2, 2 KO's) of Forest, Mississippi. One of the most hotly recruited 2004 Olympic boxers, and considered an outstanding prospect, Berto, who hails from Winter Haven, Florida, represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
“Dynamite” Danny Williams was born in Brixton, London, England on July 13, 1973. Brixton is to London as Brownsville is to New York, as the Fifth Ward is to Houston, so this Saturday Williams is fighting the heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for the WBC crown. It took Klitschko many years to make it to the top. It took Dynamite Danny forever to get this far.
“When I was a little baby, my dad said he had a dream that I was going to be heavyweight champion of the world,” Williams told me. “So he forced me into boxing. I didn’t want to do it, but he made me do it. He was working on the mitts and teaching me how to box and then I finally started to like the sport after a few years. I started in it officially when I was eight years old.”
Williams went 29-6 as an amateur and turned pro in 1994 at the age of twenty-two with a second round TKO. He won his next fifteen fights, twelve of them by knockout. Williams won his first regional title at Bethnal Green in 1998. He followed it up by capturing the British Commonwealth crown with a first round kayo the following year. Williams won and lost that title six times from 1999 to 2003, displaying a big heart, big punch, big chin and big cojones.
After nearly ten years as a pro, with a record of 31-3 (27 KOs), Danny Williams, in the biggest fight of his life, was handpicked by Mike Tyson, who was coming off a year and a half layoff, to be the former champ’s next victim. They met in Louisville, Kentucky on July 30, 2004 and it looked like Danny didn’t have a chance. Although Tyson was past his prime, he was still dangerous, whereas no one knew much about Danny Williams.
“I told everyone going in that I was confident that I could win,” Williams said. “I was in great shape for that fight and had never trained harder. I was chosen as Mike Tyson’s opponent because I had a good record, was big and looked the part. They obviously thought I was going to be knocked out within a few rounds. But for one of the few times in my career, I was actually very relaxed. In the past I was always the favorite and so much was always expected of me. I was always supposed to win. But for the fight with Tyson, nobody gave me a chance and there was no pressure on me at all. I knew the key was to survive his early attack and then take him into the later rounds. I though I would get him in the fifth round. But we did not make it that far.”
Williams got rocked in the first stanza, but fired back and made it through the round.
“He hurt me for a few seconds in the first round but I came back and boxed him smart,” said Williams. “I showed I am a warrior. Once I hurt him, I let go and kept punching and punching. I always thought I could win. Every single round that went by, his punching power seemed to grow less. So I knew I was going to take him out.”
Tyson blew out his knee throwing a punch and Williams dominated round two. In the third he knocked Tyson to the ropes and dropped him to the canvas with a barrage of twenty-six unanswered punches. And nothing has been the same since.
“My life is definitely a lot more hectic,” Williams said. “A five minute walk now takes half an hour because people are shouting out to me in the street or coming up to me and giving me a hug.”
Not only are people shouting and giving him hugs. They are also giving him opportunities.
“Lennox has gone and it looked like there was going to be no one to take over from him. Hopefully I can be that man to take over. The heavyweight division is very poor right now and no one stands out. It is wide open,” said Williams. “That is where I come in and it is there for the taking - big time. After nearly ten years as a professional, I have my chance at a world title. I appreciate the fact that Klitschko is giving me this opportunity. But I am totally focused on bringing the crown back to Britain.”
Danny Williams can’t stand and trade with the Ukrainian. He’ll have to bob and weave, use his speed, play all the angles. Klitschko can punch and is always in shape. Williams will have to use his head. I asked Danny’s trainer, Jim McDonnell, his thoughts on the champion.
“The thing with Vitali is what you see is what you get,” the trainer said. “So it’s a different game plan from the Tyson fight. With Tyson you find one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. You find someone who gives you awesome angles, who gives you fantastic power. With Klitschko he’ll bring the power, he’ll bring the true European standard to the ring, a lot of determination. And that’s it. Danny’s in much better shape than for the Tyson fight. He took the Tyson fight with only five weeks notice. He was looking for an opponent and they made a mistake.”
That mistake landed Tyson on the seat of his pants, whereas Klitschko still looks like the tower of power.
Jim McDonnell had a twinkle in his eye: “It can take two years, as they say in London, to build two towers, and they can be blown away in thirty seconds. That’s what could happen in this fight.”
The trainer got that right. When heavyweights collide anything can happen. Someday someone will derail the Klitschko Express. It might happen a year from now. It might happen Saturday.
Before leaving Danny Williams to his final preparations for the title fight with Vitali, I asked how he hopes to beat the big man when they meet.
“What I need to do to beat Klitschko,” he said, “is hit him more than he hits me.”
In his most notable prior attempt, Guinn convinced us it was a case of stage fright that got the best of him as he was simply outworked by Monte Barrett when the two fought last year in front of his hometown fans in Arkansas. On Friday night Serguei Lyakhovich copied the blueprint sent by Barrett and the result was exactly the same.
After yet another major disappointment in a minor fight, not even Guinn was buying his own excuses.
The basics of boxing were not on exhibit as Guinn once again refused to let his hands go - as was the case against ‘Two Gunz’ Barrett. Despite the constant encouragement, which turned to pleading, and lead to screaming, Guinn didn’t respond. Lyakhovich did.
Sensing that Guinn wasn’t ‘in’ the fight, the ‘White Wolf’ from Belarus used a basic jab and heavy right hands to wear down his much-heralded opponent. A steady diet of body shots and opportune uppercuts took the will from Guinn. While Guinn would lean in and hope for the clinch, Lyakhovich would throw punches – a concept foreign to Guinn on this night. Basic boxing suggests that the more you throw the better chances you have of landing, and Lyakhovich did just that.
Considering the bout was not easy to score and the fight was obviously close, it was shockingly absurd that Guinn completely took off the fifth round. Apparently you can teach a boxer how to box but no matter how much you plead, you can’t make him fight. Guinn did not fight.
Perhaps Guinn is in the wrong vocation. At 29 years of age and with a near perfect 6’ 3” 225 pound heavyweight frame, Guinn was supposed to be in the right place and, perhaps more importantly, at the right time. No heavyweights beyond Vitali Klitschko and perhaps Chris Byrd have established themselves in the post Lennox Lewis era of heavyweight fighting.
Those looking for a ray of light to lead them to the next great heavyweight won’t find Serguei Lyakhovich showing the path. At the very least Lyakhovich is big, strong, and understands the basics of boxing. He isn’t exactly of championship material, but sometimes the desire to be the best can overcome physical limitations . . . just as lacking the will to succeed can overcome the best of skills.
One day Dominick Guinn may work himself back into the heavyweight top ten but as of now he is just another boxer we can throw into the ‘pretender’ pile of one-time hopefuls. In that pile you will find a Lance Whitaker, Kirk Johnson, Jameel McCline, DaVarryl Williamson, Michael Grant, and the list goes on with fighters who perhaps could have, but didn’t.
The division is so starved for competition in the top ranks that a second round knockout of Jeremy Williams on Saturday has Nigerian Samuel Peter the talk of the town. That’s the same Jeremy Williams who dubs himself as ‘Half Man, Half Amazing’ and must have been ‘half man’ when he was stopped by Brian Nielsen and anything but ‘amazing’ this past weekend.
This past Friday night on ESPN Dominick Guinn was physically able to defeat Serguei Lyakhovich, but mentally he was neither ready nor willing.
Question: Danny, what is the key to you beating Vitali Klitschko on Saturday night?
Williams: The key is hunger and desire. I have tremendous hunger. I am a warrior. You saw that in the Tyson fight. I showed a tremendous chin. These are the things that it will take to beat Klitschko. I will have be at my best and I will have to be a warrior.
Question: You have said how your father basically forced you to start boxing when you were a young kid and that is how you became a professional fighter. Can you recall what it was like when you first went to the gym and what it was like when you got into your first sparring session with somebody else?
Williams: My dad forced me into the sport when I was five or six. He used to train me. When I was eight, he sent me to a boxing gym. I remember when I was sparring, my trainers thought I had great ability, but I just did not want to be there. Many times my dad would send me to the gym and I would sneak off and go play pool or table tennis elsewhere and pour water on my clothes to make it look like I was training. I just was not interested. After many years, I grew to love it and here I am today.
Question: How old were you when you finally began to love it?
Williams: I was probably about 13 or 14. Gradually, I started to like it.
Question: How much inspiration have you taken from Lennox Lewis, particularly in the way he cut through all the politics to make his mark in a world which was so dominated by Americans until that point?
Williams: I give Lewis big respect in the way he was able to unify the titles without joining teams.
Question: When you were going through all your well documented days of self-doubt, presumably there were times where you feared you would never be able to be involved in that sort of company. Is that true?
Williams: No, my problem was never the self doubt. My problem was that I wanted it too much and I burned up too much energy thinking about the fights. I always believed I was going to get here and praise be to God I am here.
Question: Now that we are so close to the fight, does the size of the occasion get to you at all? Is it overwhelming or has it just increased your appetite for it?
Williams: To be honest, I realize this is part of the job, so it has got to be done. But as far as this putting any pressure on me, I just take it in my stride. What will be, will be.
Question: Were you 14 years old before you were actually good at it, or was it 14 before you actually liked boxing?
Williams: I was 14 when I actually liked it. When I started, my trainers would say that I had natural ability and I was a born fighter. When I used to spar with people who had been there for years, I used to take them out. But it was just something that I did not want to do; I would rather be playing with my mates on the street. I did not want to be getting hit in my head and things like that.
Question: Why did your father feel it was important to get you into boxing so young?
Williams: From when I was born, he said he had the dream that I was going to become world champion. My dad is very slim; he assumed I would be a middleweight. By the time I was eight, I passed that weight. So when I was about 13 or 14, he knew I was going to be heavyweight champion.
Question: When John Ruiz won the title from Holyfield in 2001, there was a lot of talk that you were going to be his first opponent for a title defense. Are you kind of glad that that never happened now given the fact that looking at where you were in your career then, you may not have been as ready as you are now?
Williams: A 100 percent right. I was not ready mentally. I was ready physically, but not mentally. The occasion and all this would have got to me and I would have lost the fight before I got into the ring. Also, I was down to fight Mike Tyson a few years ago. So certainly it worked to my favor because mentally I was not ready for those types of fights. I am ready now.
Question: Are there any concerns in your mind should the fight go the distance and the outcome be left in the hands of the judges?
Williams: I believe we will get a fair crack of the whip in Vegas. So I am not really worried about that. My trainer has got me in tremendous shape and we have been training for this fight for 10 weeks. It is highly unlikely it will go to the points (the distance).
Question: Vitali has talked about how political turmoil in Ukraine may be affecting him. Do you think that is a ready-made excuse?
Williams: To be honest, I do not know. I was really shocked that he would come out with those statements, but I really do not know.
Question: You were talking about how in the past you might have burned up all your nervous energy before you even got to the ring and that was sort of your big problem rather than self doubt. What will stop you doing that this time?
Williams: My attitude is what will be, will be and I will just put my trust in God. Whatever is going to happen will happen. I want to have that attitude when I come into the ring and relax. That is when you get the best of Danny Williams. I will just come into the ring relaxed and calm and I do not believe anyone can beat me when I am like that.
Question: In your training for the fight against Tyson, you used guys more or less the same size as Tyson in training. How do you train for a guy like Klitschko who is over 6-foot-7 and how are you training specifically preparing for him?
Williams: We are using great sparring partners. One is 6-foot-7 and the other one is 6-foot-6. So we are using very tall sparring partners. We do not only spar, we do technique where we work on set moves to prepare for Vitali’s style and his head movement.
Question: Has Lennox Lewis specifically spoken to you about ways to beat Vitali and has he given you any insight?
Williams: Lennox Lewis has not actually spoken to me personally, but he has spoken on my web site, www.dannywilliams.tv. He said there are three ways I can beat Vitali Klitschko. One is to go to his body, second is to open up his cuts and the third is to outbox him. So he has given me some good advice.
Question: Do you feel he is supportive of you because you are both British?
Williams: Yes, I do believe so. I am very thankful for all his advice.
Question: What is your father’s name?
Williams: Augustus Williams.
Question: What other kinds of things are you working on in sparring?
Williams: We are working on the obvious -- get past his long reach, great head movement and we are working with great tall sparring partners. It has been really good work.
Question: Before the Tyson fight, you seemed to be very calm and confident. How is your mental attitude at this point just a few days before this fight?
Williams: It is the same – very calm and relaxed. That was always my problem early in my career. I used to really work myself up too much. When it comes to the fight time, I will be able to perform. My attitude is to be relaxed and that is when you see the best Danny Williams.
Question: Do you have any prediction to make?
Williams: No, just a Danny Williams’ victory.
Question: What did you learn from that first round against Tyson?
Williams: One thing I learned with the Mike Tyson fight is that I have got a tremendous chin. He hit me with some tremendous shots. Also, another thing I learned, in the fight game, you have got to prepare for every eventuality. I went into the Mike Tyson fight thinking I was going to box him and that was not working. So I ended up having to fight him. So it will be the same against Klitschko. I am training to do certain things, but I will change it and do other things if they do not work.
Question: One of the main criticisms of Lennox was that he would not let his hands go and please the crowd by trying to take a guy out. Are you concerned about that?
Williams: You see the way I fought against Tyson. I have a very crowd pleasing style.
Question: If you are victorious against Vitali, would you want to be the first guy to beat both brothers?
Williams: Yeah, that would be nice. The main thing is to get Vitali. My mind is focused on him at the moment.
Question: Did you get married yet?
Williams: No, I have not been married yet.
Question: Are you going to get married after this fight?
Williams: We will possibly get married in 2005.
Question: There is a great tradition that large numbers of English/British supporters come over when British fighters fight in Vegas. Do you expect that on Saturday and will it help you if large numbers of British fans turn up? Who is coming over from your family and friends?
Williams: I have been told that there are 3,000-plus British fans coming over, which is tremendous. For my side, a few of my friends are coming over, my mom and dad, my brother and sister, a wife and her kids. It is going to be a tremendous night.
Question: Have you ever had so many family members attend one of your fights?
Williams: Yes, this is the same amount of family members that I had for the Tyson fight.
Question: You said that you have to be a better fighter than the one who beat Tyson. Can you go into that a little bit more?
Williams: I believe in the Tyson fight, I was good, but I need to be better to beat Klitschko. There was not enough head movement there in that fight and there was not enough speed of foot. I just need to improve all around to defeat Klitschko because I believe that he is a fresher and a better fighter than Tyson was when I fought him in July.
Question: Did one of the things that Lennox Lewis advised you on was “opening the cut”?
Question: Do you believe that that is still a vulnerable area that can be exploited?
Williams: Yes. Lewis believes that it can still be exploited because it was one of the biggest cuts I have ever seen. It was a massive cut. My thing is to basically just go out there and be more poised to knock him out. I am not looking to open up any cuts. If it happens, I am looking to take him out.
Question: So part of you realizes that it might be a bad strategy to focus on any one thing?
Williams: Yes, definitely. I am looking to punch his arms, his stomach, his head, everywhere. Hard punch him everywhere. I am not really focusing on one particular spot. He is too good a fighter to allow me to do that.
Question: How many rounds have you sparred since you shifted camp to the US?
Williams: I really do not know.
Question: There is a lot of talk about Vitali, assuming he beats you, trying to lure Lennox out of retirement for a rematch. If you beat Klitschko, would you want to do the same thing and have this sort of an all England championship fight?
Williams: It would make a great fight for the world and especially for the British fans. But as a boxing fan and a Lennox Lewis fan, I would rather Lewis stay in retirement because he is one of the greats of all time. There is no point in coming back. Just relax.
Question: Who do you think is the better Klitschko fighter?
Williams: I think Wladimir. When Wladimir was at his best, Wladimir was potentially a better fighter. He had more fluency about his boxing.
Lennox Lewis welcomed to the call.
Question: Guys like Buster Douglas and Hasim Rahman, although they accomplished some things afterwards, will basically go down as one-hit wonders because they really did not follow up on their big victories over Tyson and Lewis respectively. What did you take from the lessons that Douglas and Rahman gave to the world by not being prepared to come back and follow up on their successes?
Williams: The lesson I learn from that is that once you are victorious, the hard work is not finished. You have got to keep going and train harder because someone wants to take you off the top. That is what I am doing. I am working harder because I like the respect that I got from beating Tyson and I want more. The only way I am going to get more is if I beat Klitschko. So I am training hard and I want to take him out.
Question: Vitali has always fought a more awkward style, which is one a lot of guys are not used to fighting. Can you discuss specifically his style and how he is different from the prototypical heavyweight that might be out there?
Williams: He has that European Russian style where he leans back on his back foot and he waves his left hand in front of you. He is not that fantastic to watch, but it is very effective. I was watching him against Lewis and Lennox had a lot of trouble with that style because it is a really weird style.
Question: So it is not something that you can really prepare for until you are in against it?
Williams: Yes, you are 100 percent right. This is where you have to just encounter it once you get in there. So that is why you need great conditioning and great belief in yourself.
Question: Lennox, you said last week you are happy to be out boxing. What do you do now? How do you spend your day?
Lewis: For me, just sorting out my life really. After boxing, remember that I am not getting paid millions of dollars anymore. So I have started bringing everything together and start my business life and reading a lot of scripts and stuff and doing different things. There are a lot of opportunities now since I am not in boxing. When I was in boxing, I did not really want to do too much to take away from the boxing because if you would go out for a commercial or whatever and then you lose a fight, people say you lost the heavyweight championship just for a commercial. For me, it was not worth it. So I took boxing very seriously. Now, it is definitely a different life, a more business life for me and I am looking forward to it.
Question: What sort of businesses are you involved with?
Lewis: As far as the music is concerned, I am not involved in the music. A lot of people would say, “I thought you had a label” and stuff like that. That is definitely not me. Movies? Yeah. It is just picking the right script that I would really want to get involved with. There have been a couple of different opportunities out there for me to read a lot of scripts and I really have to do something that is really suited for me.
Question: What are your thoughts about Danny and his chances going into this fight?
Lewis: I think it is a great opportunity for him to go out there and show what he has got. It is not an easy task to box Vitali Klitschko because of his size and definitely his reach because if you look at his history and just different people that he has boxed against, they all have found difficulty with him. One of the main difficulties is his size. Second is his reach. Third is his weight and movement. He is not easy to hit. So in one sense, Danny is going to find it very difficult. But I have a lot of confidence in Danny. He knows what he has to go out there and do: Definitely do not waste any time, definitely throw some body shots because European boxers do not like getting hit to the body too much, especially with that type of style. He definitely cuts easy. He has got a weight advantage as well because I think Vitali is like 250. I remember when I was fighting against him and I hurt him, he just threw his weight on me. I wanted to knock him out and he threw his weight on me and I had to push him off and then throw the punches to knock him out, which was real difficult. I believe that Danny can do it but he has to believe in himself and definitely go out there and do it, but it is not an easy task.
Question: Danny, is your mindset any different than it was a few days before the Tyson fight?
Williams: My mind is exactly as I was for the Tyson fight. I am relaxed, calm and ready to rumble.
Question: How much pressure do you feel having to take the belt back to England where you feel it rightly belongs?
Williams: I want to do it 100 percent, but I put no pressure on myself.
Question: Last week, Klitschko stated the Ukrainian presidential race was so mentally troubling for him that he actually thought about pulling out or postponing the fight. Did you know about this and what are your thoughts?
Williams: Yes, I heard about it and I must admit I was shocked and amused that he would come out with these statements. I really do not know what to make of them.
Danny Williams leaves the call.
Question: Lennox, what are your thoughts about this fight? I know you cannot be biased since you are now part of the TV team.
Lewis: I am definitely not going to be one of those biased commentators out there because every time I have always watched fights, I have always thought the commentator was so biased on one side. So I am definitely not going to do that.
Question: Do you think that some of the physical damage that you inflicted on Vitali in particular those cuts to his face, will be a psychological advantage for Danny? Will that be playing on Vitali’s mind?
Lewis: It has been his history even before he came to America to box, even in Germany he was getting cut a lot. I believe that if he does get cut, that will definitely at that point weigh heavily on his mind because he realizes that he has been stopped before on a cut and once he gets cut, he does not know how bad it is. So he is going to be in a panic state and in a rush trying to win the fight. Boxing is survival of the fittest. That means you have to be able to take a punch. You have to be able to not get cut easily. Your stamina has to be good and all these things make you a true champion. You do not want to be a champion out there that gets cut easy because at any moment, where you get cut, you could lose the fight. That will definitely be a factor on his mind.
Question: Are you enjoying your retirement?
Lewis: Definitely. I am seeing everybody out there boxing, losing, winning and I am glad that I have been there and done that.
Question: When you look around the heavyweight division with your absence from the picture, what do you see? Do you see that the division is weakened without you?
Lewis: I have seen the division actually open up. I am glad I was able to facilitate people coming out of retirement and actually believing that there is now a chance for them to become heavyweight champion of the world because I am not there. I have seen the whole, complex heavyweight scene change in that sense. A lot of people feel that they have a good shot at it now and a lot of people are really geared up about it. I am really happy that I caused that.
Question: Is there any circumstance where you would come back?
Lewis: Well, I have always wanted to fight Riddick Bowe before he relinquished the belt and before he joined the army because I said there was always some stuff left to knock out of the “chicken’’ Bowe. But after seeing his last fiasco of a fight, I realized that he has put on a lot of weight and turned into a big turkey. So he is not any chicken anymore, he is just a big turkey.
Question: So the answer is no, there is no circumstance under which you would come back?
Question: Is doing commentary something that you are looking at perhaps in the future?
Lewis: I am going to take it as it comes. I like that I am up there giving it from a boxer’s point of view because a lot of these commentators have never put on a glove in their life and yet they are commentating on a fight which they have never been a part of. So the opportunity that HBO has given me to give my professional comments on different fights and on even situations that may occur in a fight that I have been through that I can comment on is great.
Question: You rewrote the rules for the heavyweight division with your size, height and weight. Along comes Vitali and he is bigger and heavier. Do you think that Danny has got to turn the clock back to a certain extent?
Lewis: To a certain extent because it is not an easy fight. There are a lot of things that go against Danny and it is no fault of his own. One of them is size. Just like when I boxed Tyson and he was like 5-foot-7 or something. Then, my next fight was a guy 6-foot-8. Most of my career, I boxed shorter guys. Now, I am boxing a guy who is punching down at me, which was very difficult. One of the problems I faced is that I did not have the correct sparring because I was preparing for a (Kirk) Johnson and then a week later they say, “Vitali is ready, fight him.” So if I would have turned back the clock, I would have liked more chance to spar with somebody his height and his weight to even prepare better. When Danny goes in, he has definitely got the height advantage against him. He also has got a reach and weight advantage against him. The fact that he beat Tyson and how he beat Tyson – he did not give up, he showed great heart and determination – shows that he definitely wants to become heavyweight champion of the world. Boxing is a sport where anything can happen and it may look lopsided on one side, but things happen in the fight that may change the whole complexity of the whole fight. So there is always that factor in there.
Question: Do you see this fight as for “the” heavyweight title or just one of many heavyweight titles?
Lewis: Well, obviously because of the heavyweight titles out there, it has to be one of many. If I would have to say who is leading the pack at the present time, I am going to give that to Vitali although he still has not been tested. There are a lot of unanswered questions about him that he needs to answer in his career. That is why I told him, “What I put down, you can pick up and try and accomplish what I have accomplished for the last 14 years.”
Question: Can you be specific concerning the unanswered questions about him?
Lewis: Obviously, there is a big stamina question with both brothers. When you have one brother suffering from it, the other one is definitely suffering from it. I was really going to show that point if our fight was allowed to continue because I felt that he was definitely getting tired and I actually brought him in the deep end and now it was time for him to drown. But unfortunately the fight got stopped on the cut, which I caused. So that is one question that needs to be answered. The other question is can he really take it on the chin? The other question is answered already. He definitely gets cut easy and boxing is a sport where it is the survival of the fittest. In his past, he has shown that he does not really have a big heart for if he is injured or something, he cannot weather the storm and go on. These are the answers that we do know, but obviously, there are probably other questions that we need to find out and answer.
Question: Last week, Vitali said in all his bouts following his bout with you that you have given advice to all those people on how to beat him. It seems to him that you are looking to help somebody beat him. Is there anything to that?
Lewis: No, I like the guy. I do not have anything against him. People ask my advice. They ask what is the way that we can beat him. I am saying that there are different types of ways to beat him. If I was to continue in boxing, I would definitely have these different ways and go do them myself. Other people are asking me what should they do. When you analyze a fight and you look at Danny, you can say what Danny needs to do. He needs to get in there and definitely hit him to the body, not get hit, hit him to the face. These are the things that are going to increase your chances of winning.
Question: You say you are not going to be biased, but the fact that Danny is British, does that mean something to you in terms of this fight?
Lewis: Absolutely. I would love another British heavyweight to take over for me and carry on with the belts and definitely become heavyweight champion of the world. Obviously, I would wish that upon any other British boxer.
Question: We all admired the way Danny held his nerve against Tyson, but doubts creep in when you start looking at Danny’s previous record, by which I mean the class of opponent that he had prior to Tyson. He is taking a step up in class, if you ignore the Tyson fight. Do you think he is capable of doing that and how difficult is that to go from fighting Michael Sprott in January to Klitschko now?
Lewis: It is very difficult. Tyson was a great fighter, but he is a shell of what we perceived him to be. So, Danny has boxed a great name in that sense. He definitely weathered the storm and showed great heart and determination. Beating Tyson was a great big step for him, not physically but mentally. I find in this world all you need is an opportunity. So now he has an opportunity to box for the heavyweight championship of the world. How often does that come? Maybe once in a lifetime. So if you are asking is he up to it, I believe he definitely is up to it. People just change their focus altogether and say, “This is my only chance.” They increase five-fold all of a sudden how they were because they were boxing nobody. Now they are boxing somebody of some name and stature. So they realize they have to up and go out there and do it. And that happens to every one of us and I believe that is in Danny. Even hearing him speak, he definitely wants to become champion. He likes how he was treated after boxing Tyson. He likes how the public received him. Now, there is another step to go and he knows what is going to come from that and that is what he loves and he is looking forward to that.
Question: Did you always see potential in Danny when you watch his fights?
Lewis: Howard Cosell said that I have talent that nobody has seen yet and he used a particular word, but I cannot remember it. As far as Danny is concerned, I definitely expected great things out of him and he was doing his thing as a boxer and beating Mike Tyson is a big step for him. Now he needs to go prove himself even more and prove to the unbelievers out there that may have thought his career was basically done before Tyson and prove them wrong. That is what he needs to do.
Question: Did you have trouble with the kinds of pressure that Danny talked about?
Lewis: In my mind, I understand what he is saying and I commend him for the way he is dealing with it. Part of the battle is to not let the pressure get to you. I have always said that we create our own pressure. So if we feel any pressure as boxers, we are the ones who are creating it. So he definitely has the mental focus thing correct and the thing is to stay focused and go out there and do the job.
Question: Danny has two loving daughters and he is committed to both family life and boxing. How much did the responsibilities of becoming a family man weigh on your mind when you made your decision to stay out of the ring?
Lewis: I chose in my life to really go after the career first and leave the family until afterwards. Now, I have a family and I am realizing I do not need to go back in the ring because that was the sacrifice I made for myself.
Question: You have made a lot of money out of boxing, but you had to suffer the pain of the ring as well. If your son came to you wanting to be a boxer, would you encourage or discourage him?
Lewis: Hopefully, he would not have to do that. But looking at other boxer’s daughters and even sons, old time boxers getting into boxing, I do not think there is anything we can do to stop it. I think even if we fight against it, that will make him want to get into it even more. I think maybe it could be in their blood. So if my son came to me and said he wanted to learn boxing, I would say, “OK, make sure your marks are up first and then we will talk about that.”
Question: You said one of the unanswered questions about Vitali is his ability to take a shot. Did you feel that you did not get a big shot on him in your fight?
Lewis: Well, the last round, if you look back, I hit him with two tremendous uppercuts and after hitting him with one uppercut, he held me for the last minute in that last round. I was trying to throw him off of me, but I could not. His weight was heavy and I was a little tired as well. But he definitely was affected by my uppercuts and I do not think he would have been able to take anymore. Looking at the fight, I realized that I was not going out there for any points. I was going to knock him out.
Question: Aside from that, you did not feel that you really tested his chin?
Lewis: No, not truly. Like I said, I was disappointed when the fight was done because they were taking away my knockout. Do not stop it yet, he has got one more round in him and I am definitely going to do him.
Question: Do you have any more respect for Chris Bird for having hung in against both of the Klitschko brothers, and fact he beat Holyfield, who also was considerably bigger than him?
Lewis: Absolutely. Chris’ style is not really one of those styles that the public likes to see too often. They want to see more knockouts and more blood. But he has got good technical skill and the fact that he is at a disadvantage with his height and weight and what he is able to do, you definitely have to commend him for that.
Question: Could you rank the heavyweight division post Lennox Lewis for us?
Question: Forget who is 1, 2, 3, 4. Who is No. 8?
Lewis: Well, I have not been looking at the stats lately, so you caught me at a disadvantage.
Question: Is it wide open because there really is not a standout?
Lewis: No. This is a different era of boxers now. I think this era is done with the Tyson’s, the Lewis’s, the Holyfield’s. We are into a new era now in boxing. I do not even rate the stats right now because a little more time needs to be given for each boxer to really separate themselves from the pack.
Question: What would your advice be to Vitali about winning this fight?
Lewis: What he would have to do is definitely use his reach advantage and keep him at the end of his jab. It is basic what you would do if you are taller than an opponent. Keep him away from you, use your reach and do not let him inside.
Question: What is your take on Evander Holyfield still fighting?
Lewis: I think somebody around him needs to have a discussion with him. There are a lot of people around him that really love him and want to protect him. But they need to protect him from himself and hopefully get him the proper advice. I know Evander Holyfield is a very stubborn man, so it is going to be difficult for that person to do that. The fact that New York took away his license, I hope that really tells him something. I hope he can listen to what they are actually saying to him.
Question: Danny is fighting for a world heavyweight title. It is Vegas, the crowds are going to be massive and there will be a big traveling British corps as well. How much do you think that is going to surprise or change or just be a real factor? Do you think it is possible for him to blank it out and think of it as another fight?
Lewis: I think he has good fan support, especially over on the West Coast. A lot of his fans are definitely going to travel to Vegas to see the fight. So I think he will have a good bipartisan crowd.
Question: But you think that is something that will be easy for him to handle or will it really be like a very different situation for him?
Lewis: I think it is totally easy for him to handle. You have to remember this man has boxed in Europe and the whole place is for him every time he steps out; it is like he walks to the ring like he is a god. That is how he has been treated for a long time. Now, he is over in America and he is boxing and he is still going to have great fan support.
Question: Is there anything that you miss about the sport at this point?
Lewis: Obviously, the roar of the crowd is always something that stays with me. I love to hear the crowd, especially when you are doing something good in the ring and you hear the roar of the crowd. It just gives you a little more power and strength to go on. You gain more strength and more focus.
Question: Is it hard to walk away from that?
Lewis: No. It is not hard because I have been through it. I know what it is like. I have experienced it. Now, it is time for me to go on and do something different.
Question: It seems like you have gotten a lot more respect from the mainstream fans after your retirement. Is that ironic?
Lewis: No, I always said they will not realize that Lennox Lewis is gone until he is gone. Especially, they will not realize it straight away. They will realize it years afterwards and I am glad that I am being able to impact the sport of boxing in such a way.
Question: Compare the two Klitschko brothers and their perspectives please?
Lewis: I actually thought Wladimir was a lot better technically. And like Danny, I definitely agree he is more fluid. As far as the taller one is concerned, he is definitely tall, lanky and a difficult style because he leans back and he uses his height to lean back away from punches. If you notice on one of my shots where I caught him with a right hand, I caught him on his way back. He just could not lean as far to get away from that particular right hand because I leaned all the way forward to hit him.
Question: Do you think Wladimir is going to come back?
Lewis: It is very difficult at this time. He could not answer the stamina problem and he needs to solve that before he thinks about coming back.
Question: When you were the champion, you were regarded as “the” heavyweight champion of the world. Since your retirement, now you have different champions with each of the major sanctioning bodies. Do you see the need for a tournament where the champions and top fighters all get together and the winner will emerge as your legitimate successor?
Lewis: Sure, why not? Absolutely. Everybody wants to see a tournament. Everybody wants to answer that question. I definitely wanted to answer that question when I was coming up and everybody was saying that Evander Holyfield was the best. I said they cannot be the best because they have not fought me and I am the best. Tyson cannot be the best because he has not fought me because I consider myself the best. So I think it is important to have a tournament, not just for the sport of boxing, but just to answer all the questions that people have. It would be great if one could look at the heavyweight scene and say, “OK, you have got to say this guy is the best because he won the tournament.”
Question: And that would apply if Vitali Klitschko wins also?
Lewis: Yeah, absolutely.
Lewis: I look forward to commentating on the fight on Saturday and I think it is going to be an interesting fight. Good luck to Danny and I wish him the best.
Apparently, Danny Williams has unlocked the monster within, has proven to himself he deserves the fortuitous happenstance his boxing career has become, after his demolition of the sacred ruins of the Temple of Iron Mike, July 30, Louisville Kentucky. At least that’s the standard refrain for public - journalistic - consumption from old Danny Boy. It seems the "Brixton Block" for too long wallowed in his own intemperate anxieties. "I used too much energy waiting for the fights," he now confesses to assert, "in the fight game you have to be ready for any eventuality."
Such as getting mightily out of ones own way?
How the past recedes into comical perspective, once you’ve leveled a giant, especially thee bad boy legend of his generation. Of course, knocking out Tyson in the fourth, after withstanding an early shelling, represents a kind of short hand description ripe for invention. Williams KO4 Tyson. An aged Tyson, a mentally fractured Tyson, none of that really matters in the bottom line ethic of prize fighting: survive to sell yourself again. So, Williams did blast out Tyson, proving in some measure that having 27 knockouts in 32 professional wins can suggest merit, can make instantly marketable those of flawed talents and inconstant virtue. Just make sure you are coming off a decent win, that’s mostly what promoters want to sell. Fighters being product, product of perishable value of the commodified moment.
And to be sure, there’s a touch of opportunism to Danny Williams, as he gets ready to face off against WBC heavyweight champion Vitally Klitschko on Saturday night, on an HBO pay per view event, no less. For many who follow the fight game, there’s something of ‘the con’ about this match up. Understanding that, when it comes to the sports entertainment industry, nothing diminishes one’s undistinguished past like the felling of a legend. Suddenly, all that was unrealized potential buffs up as the sharp, leading edge of righteous redress.
I am NOT my losses, the mass calculus of my poignant failures. I am IN FACT what I never quite proved - to myself - to the world to be, that which I should always have been: a winner. By design and fortune, I am now myself, fully realized via the talent and discipline of my surest conviction.
One remembers or may upon referral know, Williams was a distant second best not only to the regard others had for his potential self as a boxer. He who is now one defining win away from the da facto heavyweight thrown, the guy brimming with resolve was second best off dismal performances against the living comic strip Julius Francis and the big bad wolf Sinan Samil Sam. Even the less than seminal figure of Michael Sprott, the bald brooding one whom Williams had stopped in February, 2002, took a points win off of Williams, in January of 2004!
No wonder Williams and his team are fielding questions about his desire reborn, defining and defending his restitution as a contender, spelling out terms of self-confidence. With Williams it’s never been about the talent; it was all about the head, those critical six inches between the ears. Interesting parallel to his opponent, Dr. Klitschko, who himself had to field questions about his heart and desire after his shoulder injury retirement bailout against Chris Byrd. Admittedly, the head is not the heart.
The signals are mixed heading into this fight, this pay per view encounter of opposites. Odds makers are not convinced as to Williams’ viability. Klitschko may be distracted by the political melodramatics in Kiev, but he’s still the best heavyweight of the moment, supposedly. The man trains for his fights. He’s dedicated to remaining champion. Williams doesn’t want to comment on whether or not his foe is distracted. He knows enough about maximizing outcomes to keep his mind’s eye on a perfect version of Vitaly Klitschko. You line up the 1998 version of Mike Tyson to knockdown the husk of him in 2004. Same goes for 6'7" Ukrainian robots with boxing gloves.
Doesn’t matter if HBO are selling myths or dreams or improbabilities as first rate fare. Lists of predictions are only moderately informed, hypothetical guesses. Beating Klitschko has nothing to do with amateur pedigrees or most distinguished wins in a career. At least that’s what Williams has learned about how he takes apart expectation.
"Hard punching him everywhere," is the apt Williams phrase that comes out as if tipping his fight plan. No less a confidant than Lennox Lewis has suggested hitting the Klitschko body or ripping open that surgically repaired left eye brow. Then Williams invokes Doris Day to explain the Danny Williams it will take to win. Himself, coming into the ring relaxed and ready for what ever. And "what will be, will be."
First you have to believe yourself. Then your actions might make believers of those of casual disregard.