"We’ve just stepped up and done better. We are even more ready than last time...He has a lot of knockouts, but I fought a guy in the past that was 24-3 or 4 at the time with 22 knockouts and he didn’t really hit me. I knocked him out in the 3rd round. I’m not worried about the knockout or nothing, but if it comes, it comes. But I’m going to go out there and be ready for 10 rounds," stated jr. welterweight contender Fidel Maldonado, who talked about his upcoming clash with Ismael Barroso. Check it out!
PC: October 13th on ESPN, you will be facing Ismael Barroso. How has training for this fight been going?
FM: It’s been going great. It’s better than the last camp, so it just keeps getting better. I’m ready!
PC: Did you have issues in your last camp or has it just been a step up from your last camp?
FM: No, I just feel like it’s gone better. We didn’t have no issues at all. We’ve just stepped up and done better. We are even more ready than last time.
PC: Any time you fight an experienced guy like Pablo Cesar Cano, you take something away from a hard-fought win like that. What did you take away from that fight?
FM: I went out there and got knocked down. It was an off-balance shot, but still, I got knocked down and I came back and got the W, so it just proves that I can come back and still win.
PC: Have you been able to watch some footage on Barroso or will you get a feel for who he is and what he likes to do once you’re in the ring with him?
FM: I watched a couple of fights. There is a fight on YouTube with him and Anthony Crolla and a couple of others ones. My camp has been studying a lot and coming up with a game plan. I watched a little bit, but not too much. But I studied him a lot; habits and stuff. Fighters can change their styles, but you can’t change habits. I will be able to catch on to those little things.
PC: When you’re fighting a guy with 18 knockouts in his 19 wins, but he was stopped in his only loss, do you approach with caution because of his power or go right at him because you have seen him knocked out before when he stepped up in competition?
FM: I just have to go out there and fight smart. In the past, I have gone out there and fought stupid, which has shown because I have lost because of it and I’ve been put down because of it. Look at my last fight; I got put down, stayed smart, and came out with the W, and that’s all that matters. It’s all about getting the win and I just gotta go out there and be patient, be smart, and get this win. He has a lot of knockouts, but I fought a guy in the past that was 24-3 or 4 at the time with 22 knockouts and he didn’t really hit me. I knocked him out in the 3rd round. I’m not worried about the knockout or nothing, but if it comes, it comes. But I’m going to go out there and be ready for 10 rounds.
PC: You definitely look your best when you are boxing and being patient, as you alluded to earlier, but you do get lured into some unnecessary exchanges at times. There is a fine line to toe there. How do you keep your composure and toe that line between being exciting and remaining smart in there?
FM: I just have to do like I did in my last one. My last fight was one of my best performances in a way that I didn’t lose my cool or get hot-headed or anything like that. Even after getting put down, because usually after I get put down, it’s time to go to war, but instead, I went back to the corner and came out boxing, stayed smart, and stuck with the game plan. And look what that did for me; I got the win.
PC: He is a southpaw as well. I know some southpaws prefer not to fight other southpaws. Does that bother you or is that not a problem?
FM: No, it’s no problem. We have a lot of southpaws out here and we brought in a guy from Texas. I’m really not too concerned with it.
PC: This is his first fight of the year and we’re 10 months in. Do you feel there is something you can do to test his conditioning?
FM: He was a world champion, so to him, I’m a stepping stone in a way, but to me, I’m using him as a stepping stone to get to that world title. So I just gotta go out there and be smart because he is going to come because he has something to prove in this fight and so do I. So it’s a dangerous fight for both of us, but I don’t see me losing this fight. It’s only going to get better from here on out.
PC: It’s gotta be an amazing feeling to have the platform of ESPN for this fight.
FM: Oh yeah, definitely. When I was growing up as a little kid, we would see fights on ESPN and see some of the big guys coming up. To have Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore call my fights; when I used to play the video games, that’s the guys calling the fights on there.
PC: When you look around the 140-pound division, even with Terence Crawford moving on, there are a lot of sturdy guys there. What do you think of the landscape of the division?
FM: Man, there are a lot of good fighters in the 140-pound division. A lot of good fighters and the one I hope to get a rematch with is Amir Imam. But I can’t look that far ahead right now. I gotta focus on this guy, but hopefully I can get that fight and hopefully it’s for a world title because he’s a top fighter and I believe I am too. I want to go out there and prove that that last one was a fluke. I went out there and got hot-headed and I didn’t follow the plan and I fought stupid.
PC: You’ve been hot since that fight. You’ve been on a bit of a streak since then.
FM: I learned a lot from that fight. The first round, I boxed him and I thought I won that round easy. And then the second round came and I don’t know what the heck came over me. I just decided to sit down on everything and I was getting countered all night. I was throwing big shots instead of staying tight and I kept on getting put down. I wasn’t seeing the shots, so I kept on getting put down. The one that he hurt me with the most was the first one. I wasn’t rocked, but my legs were gone. That kind of sucked and then I went back and put him down, so I figured I could put him away now and he stayed smart and stayed calm. He was smarter than me that night and he ended up getting the win. That’s part of boxing; you live and learn. If I get the rematch, I’ll be ready.
PC: I wish you the best on the 13th, Friday the 13th, so maybe that will bring us one of those special nights of boxing. Is there anything else you want to add before I let you go?
FM: I just want to thank everyone that’s helped me out for this camp; sparring and sponsoring. I want to thank my team because without all of these people, I wouldn’t be ready. This will be one of my best performances. I’m going to top my last one.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]