Karyn Bryant of MMA Heat spoke with Aussie brawler Michael Katsidis recently about Katsidis' changes in training camp and his upcoming fight with Albert Mensah on Friday Night Fights this week. Here's the video, some choice quotes transcribed, and after the transcriptions, some of my incredible thoughts:
On new training camp at Fortune Boxing:
"Change is good. Obviously I need to add a few things to my game plan when I'm going out to attack, and Justin has just that. He's not changing too much, but changing me just enough. It's not just the common walk-up to our style of fight. I'm gonna throw something different out there and they won't know what to expect from me come April 13."
Katsidis is 31 years old. Remember that time he tried to be a "boxer-puncher" of some sort? That was against Juan Diaz, and Diaz ran away with that fight, which was scored closer than it deserved to be and even had one guy scoring it for Katsidis, which I've always felt was truly absurd. (Gale Van Hoy's 116-112 for Diaz was closest to correct that night. Go figure.)
My point is more that I don't think he's going to change his stripes at this point. If Justin Fortune is just tweaking what he does, then that's fine, and that's the impression Katsidis gives, but bottom line is Katsidis is always going to be Katsidis. He's not about to become a good defensive fighter or a counter-puncher or get any quicker of hand or foot. He is what he is, what he's always been.
On what he's learned in losses:
"I think condition is very important, but there's a fine line, there's that ten seconds in the middle of a fight that you can't get in sparring or anything like that. And I thought, if anything, it's not to think too much or let it flow. You've either got it in you or you haven't. There's some very valuable things I've learned in those fights. It's just the experience and I carry that with me now. And in that split ten seconds in my upcoming fights, I'll make the most of that opportunity. For example with Marquez, I had him down there, I'll make sure he stays down in the future."
I don't have anything to say about this, I just thought it was a good quote.
On going up in weight:
"It's gonna be a huge difference. ... I can have the energy again. Honestly, I can't say that I've felt really good before a fight in three years. Taking that into consideration, with the people that I've fought, it's been really hard to do it that way. But now I'm gonna feel strong and have lots of vitality in these fights. And that's gonna be very important."
I really don't doubt him here. Katsidis was ready to make the move to 140 last year, when he fought Michael Lozada in an Australian homecoming bout in August. He was done at 135 because the weight wasn't suiting him anymore. But he got the call to face Ricky Burns and took it, and he lost, of course. I think the weight will suit him. It's more a question of how much spirit he has left in the ring. He's taken a lot of shots over his career and given us a lot of his blood and guts.
On opponent Albert Mensah:
"He's the WPBF world champion, but we're actually fight for the IBF International title. He's tall, he's rangy. I'll tell you, he's about halfway between Floyd Mayweather and Ben Tackie. He's got that sort of a style, very moving, he'll be a defensive fighter. We've got the right guys. ... The guys that I'm sparring, they're pretty much lookalikes, they're replicas of him. Our way of thinking is, if you spar people that are as good or better, then you're gonna be OK on the night."
I was looking for some video of Mensah recently, and there isn't much, but even the home country TV broadcaster called the WPBF title "lightly regarded" when discussing Mensah's trinket. I mean nobody takes that thing seriously. There's literally no point to mentioning it other than hoping you can fool someone into thinking you're fighting a "world champion" on Friday, just, y'know, not for his big world title.
Also, this probably goes without saying, but "halfway between Floyd Mayweather and Ben Tackie" is sort of like saying a city is halfway between Tokyo and Des Moines, Iowa. (Which would be in the ocean, if you went west.)
On Pacquiao vs Mayweather (because Jesus Christ, it wouldn't be an interview without WHAT SOME RANDOM FIGHTER THINKS OF MANNY PACQUIAO VS FLOYD MAYWEATHER):
"The way I see it is, Floyd pretty much had his way with Marquez, and I think that Marquez beat Pacquiao ... so I think Floyd would pretty much have his way with Pacquiao as well. ... I think he takes that fight."
I agree with his conclusion, but not so much with how he got there.
On what he has left for his career at age 31:
"I don't have to keep on boxing. I've achieved two world titles. When the day comes that I don't feel I can get any better, I'm not gonna be perform my best and be at that elite level, well, I'm out. There's some new things I can bring to the game and this is gonna be a very big year for Katsidis."
Karyn then makes sure to note that, yes, yes, this is a title fight, as if every other damn fight televised isn't for some kind of title.