THERE is a danger that during your prime years you will not face Floyd Mayweather, and you’ll spend too much time worrying about it. Are you now at the point where enough is enough?
Yeah, I think I’m done now. The reason I wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather is because he’s a massive name in boxing. If the fight’s not going to happen – and now I believe it’s not going to happen – I’m going to have to look at other options to take his throne. There are big names like Keith Thurman, Kell Brook, Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao.
All those fights are 50-50, or they favour me. In a way I’m in a position where I can be ‘The Best Ever’. It’s all out there for me to take. Hopefully now I can look at those big fights so I can take Mayweather’s place.
Is the Kell Brook now more likely to happen as a consequence of Mayweather fighting Berto?
That fight is something I’m looking at now. When I said to people I didn’t want to fight Kell Brook, and you can quote me on this, it was not because I was scared, it was because I wanted him to prove himself. He’s a [IBF] world [welterweight] champion so fight someone in the Top 5 or the Top 10. I hope he does that in his next fight because that proves how good he is. Prove yourself in a way where the American fans know who you are. I honestly want him to get those fights and win those fights, and look good, because then our fight will be even bigger; when we fight it will be massive, not only in England, but globally. The only reason that fight sells at the moment is because of Amir Khan. I think he can beat these top guys and prove himself but it’s all about having the balls to go in there and prove it.
I’ve shown that I will take those fights. I’ve been in there with the Maidanas, the [Danny] Garcias. Zab Judah, who had just beaten Lucas Matthysse, was another. Devon Alexander. I didn’t have to take these fights, I wanted to take these fights. People forget about that. People think that Kell Brook deserves a fight with me just because he’s won the world title? Prove yourself! If he proves himself, I will happily give him the fight.
You sound frustrated. Does it bother you that fans still doubt you? For whatever reason there does seem to be a lot of fans out there that do. There seems to be as many fans out there that hate you as love you. Why do think that is?
There’s always going to people that love you, and people that don’t love you. There’s always going to be haters. I think when you’re on a level that I’m on you’re always going to get hate. To be honest with you, it motivates me to work harder because I want to prove everyone wrong who doesn’t believe in me. So it never bothers me. If I didn’t have haters, it would mean nobody cared. This means people care, they know I’m big so they want to have a go at me. If I was a nobody, they would never want to talk about me.
Social media can, at times, be the work of the devil. Have you ever been subjected to any racism or anything like that from ‘haters’?
Not really. I’ve not come across many racist remarks it’s more about me as a fighter. It’s things like, ‘You’re not a good fighter’ or ‘This guy would beat you’ and in regards to Kell Brook a lot of people were calling me a chicken. But you have to understand that this is a business. It’s not just a case of two macho men jumping in the ring. Right now it might be worth, at the moment, £10 million but if we promoted it right, and he [Brook] was to fight the top guys in the division, like the Maidanas, or even my leftovers – he can fight the guys I’ve fought – and beat those guys then he’s made his name even bigger. Then people in America are going to be ‘Wow, those two guys should fight each other.’ Why is it only me fighting these top guys and he’s not really fighting anyone [well known]. That is the only reason, honestly, that the fight is not happening. Look, I hope the fight happens. Let’s all hope he fights someone in the Top 10 in the fight he’s got coming up – a recognised name. But I can’t see him fighting anyone dangerous but he should be because he’s a world champion!
Who are you looking to fight next and who are you looking at?
Probably late November or early December. To be honest, we’ve been waiting on Floyd Mayweather so we haven’t been looking at anyone else. Since the announcement [of Mayweather-Berto] I haven’t really had the chance to speak to Al Haymon who advises me. Listen, the Manny Pacquiao fight has been talked about and could happen early next year – that could be next. At the moment I’m keeping my options open.
Pacquiao would be huge. That must excite you?
After Mayweather he’s the biggest name, so yeah, it would be massive.
We spoke to your trainer Virgil Hunter and he made the comment that you have the ability to be one of the best fighters of all-time, but he also mentioned that he only wants you to fight the top names from now on because he’s concerned that you switch off when you’re fighting who you may deem to be ‘lesser’ opponents. Is there truth in that?
You could say that. When I was up against Devon [Alexander] I knew it was a 50-50 fight and I couldn’t make any mistakes, and I fought with that in mind. Then against guys like [Danny] Garcia and the guy I fought in my last fight, Algieri, I felt I was going to walk through them. I didn’t feel that Garcia was on my level, he was an up-and-coming fighter. He wasn’t even a name, really, I thought I’d blow him away. Same with [Lamont] Peterson as well. I fought him in his backyard. At that time I was coming off wins over Maidana, Judah, and I was a two-time world champion. I thought those guys [Peterson and Garcia] had nothing on me, it was going to be a walk in the park. So that over-confidence can affect you and it somehow doesn’t make you as strong. At times I do turn off when I think the opponents won’t be a problem. I understand where Virgil is coming from, and why I’ve always got to be switched on.