Speaking exclusively from his hotel in Las Vegas, the Irishman is quietly confident ahead of Saturday’s co feature at The Cosmopolitan.
You only arrived on Sunday, how are you feeling?
The first day is the most important, to get the rest and stay awake as long as possible and then try and sleep through.
Did you think about coming out earlier?
No. I think you can be out here too long sometimes, you know. It’s only few days and then it’s the fight.
You would have been well aware of Korobov as an amateur, why has he not made an impact as a pro yet like he did in the amateurs?
I don’t know. He hasn’t fought anywhere near that level of opposition yet and he still hasn’t shone in anyway yet. I don’t know the reason for that. He’s had different trainers so maybe he hasn’t had the same structure which you find with a lot of Cubans and Russians, when they leave the amateurs their standard is so high… I’m not looking too much into it, just assessing on what I see.
On the other hand, you do have experience. You have fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr, you’ve fought on a big bill in Madison Square Garden…
I think that’s possibly the biggest determining factor and why I could win the fight. What separates me from Korobov is my experience and the fact that the guys I’ve fought and the adversity I’ve faced in the ring, compared to him, that’s the big difference. I know what’s inside myself when I’m asked those questions and he hasn’t been asked them, he doesn’t know the answers.
What are his best attributes?
He’s quick-handed. He fights in spurts, where he will throw a burst of punches – whether that’s an attribute or not – but he has quick hands and quick feet and he has that good amateur feinting, looking to explode. It seems he can punch. He’s got a good straight left hand.
Are you anticipating a tactical fight?
Not really, I’m not really anticipating any type of fight. Whatever the fight will be will be, you know. It could be a very tactical, strategic, chess match fight. That might be more likely but eventually we will have to exchange and I’m looking forward to the exchanges.
We spoke after you knocked out John Jackson and you said your future would be at light-middleweight, but this is up at middleweight…
The opportunity was too good to turn down. It’s only a 6lbs difference, so it’s not much change. I’m not on the weight now [Tuesday] but I will be. In intentionally leave it, I’ll never be too small before a fight.
Billy Joe Saunders made headlines with his victory over Chris Eubank and he is in line to face the winner of you and Korobov. Is that one you’d like?
Yeah. That fight has been ordered by the WBO for the winner of this, but it’s not a reality until I win the fight on Saturday – but once I win the fight if it’s Billy Joe it’s Billy Joe. It doesn’t matter.
Matthew Macklin recently drew a lively crowd in Dublin, you know there’s an appetite for big-time boxing there. Would you like to fight Saunders there?
That’s my dream, to win a world title and then defend it in Ireland, in Limerick or Dublin, Dublin would be more likely. That’s one of my ambitions, to become champion and defend it in Ireland.
What did you make of Saunders-Eubank?
Experience was key. Billy Joe knew what to do, he’d been there before and he kind of shut him down for the first six rounds. Then it was always going to be uphill for Eubank. To give away the first six rounds was almost suicide really.
You had a really close relationship with Emanuel Steward, you seem to have a similarly close one with Adam Booth now?
I’ve been very lucky to have that relationship with both of them. They’re both very similar but very different in equal measures. When I turned pro, Emanuel said I would be world champion and if i win on Saturday it would be a nice tribute to him and to Adam whose built on the foundation that Emanuel laid and all of the experience that I’ve learned from Emanuel, Adam has built on. I’m very lucky to have had two of the best trainers, one who is certainly the best of all-time and one who could be one of the best of all-time.