If I were a boxing fan and I saw you, my question would be, where have you been? So that's my question: Robert, where have you been?
"Just taking my time. I had little legal problems with my contract and stuff, but I let my management take care of all that stuff. I've just been staying in shape, doing my thing. I joined CrossFit, added that to my boxing regimen. Just been working on a lot of stuff that I think that I need to add to my game, that's going to make me a better fighter."
Looking at the year layoff, mentally, how was it for you, physically, how was it for you?
"Mentally, it's just looking back. Thinking about everything, assessing everything. What you could have did better. Just going over everything. But physically, the layoff helps you out. It lets your body recover. It gets you fresh for the next time. I had three big fights back-to-back, 12 round fights. Training camps were tough. I needed that good, solid rest. We got it, and we're back, man."
Looking at your matchup, you're going against a very determined Kamegai, that wants to make a name for himself here in the United States. What do you make of him as a fighter and what he brings to the table?
"He's a tough guy. Like you just said, this is his shot to get to the top. I'm standing in the way. You gotta take a guy like Kamegai serious, because those are the guys -- they may not be well known, but they can fight. They can punch. You look at his record, he has 21 knockouts (in 24 wins). He comes to fight. He comes to fight all the time, and he's gonna give it all he's got. You gotta be well-prepared for a guy like Kamegai, and you gotta stay on your game."
You mentioned that you came off three huge fights, and possibly the biggest with Floyd Mayweather. A lot of fans are asking, Robert, you just fought Floyd. Why are you going and fighting a guy like Kamegai? You should be facing a bigger name. Would you agree with those fans?
"We're getting back in the ring. I was trying to get the fight with Amir Khan for May, but that fell through. Kamegai they brought up, and we're gonna make it happen, get back in the ring after a year layoff and shake off those cobwebs. After this, it's take on the best. Everybody knows after my layoffs, I come back and fight the hardest guy out there, jump up two weight classes, do the crazy things. It's time to come out, shake out cobwebs, and get back on my game."
You're happy, though, fighting a guy like this, or just something inside of you just kinda feels you should be fighting an Amir Khan, a Broner, a guy with a bigger name value?
"Oh, most definitely. You always wanna fight the best names out there. If I could, I'd be fighting Floyd Mayweather Saturday night, but that ain't gonna happen. It's getting yourself back in that position to make big fights. That's what the fans want. The fans wanna see mega-fights. I think this fight right here, coming in and shaking out the cobwebs, is just gonna have me ready for those big, mega-fights to go out and show the fans what I can do."
Ultimately, the reason you were out so long was because of what you mentioned before, the litigation. What made it so that you wanted to stay with Golden Boy?
"Right now, everything's still up in the air. My management is taking care of all that. I'm just happy to be back in the ring, taking care of business, and I'll leave it at that."
But you're getting the money that was promised to you, right? I know that was one of the reasons when you signed to fight with Floyd, there was a certain level that you were supposed to be compensated for.
"Oh, definitely. I signed on with Al Haymon as an adviser with (manager) Bob Santos. When you have the right guys behind you, they're gonna take care of what they gotta take care of."
I know you're not looking past this guy, but if you do win, the Cold War seems to be kind of fizzing out. Who's the first guy you would like to get a crack at at Top Rank?
"Pacquiao. Pacquiao has a, I think, what, December? He has a date? If I could get that fight, that'd be great. I think the fans would love to see it, two lefties battling it out. Two punchers. We'll see what happens, but Kamegai's the focus for Saturday night, and I can't take my eye off that prize, because once you start losing sight, they creep up."