FIGHTING in ‘The Bubble’ wasn’t that bad. The week of the fight, fighters don’t really do much. You just kick back, rest and relax. Do what you have to do, thinking about the fight.
For fighters you train your mind and yourself to ignore the crowd. Just so that you don’t get sucked into everything that’s coming out from outside of the ring. Funnily enough you could hear noise coming out of the speakers, I think it was coming from the ESPN app, I think they’ve got something called ‘Hear me Cheer’. You could people saying, ‘Hello, hello.’ It was pretty cool.
I felt excellent, I listened to my coaches. What they told me, that’s exactly what happened. I have to give a lot of credit to my coaches, Barry Hunter especially. They kept me in my zone.
Chris Avalos has been around for some time. When I was coming up he was one of the hottest prospects around. He fought Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, Oscar Valdez, a lot of the top names. I would hit him and I would think to myself, ‘Right this guy’s still standing.’
Sometimes I found myself loading up and Barry was telling me to take my time, let everything flow off the jab. Everything just went to plan.
The first step of everything [with the new training set up] was being mentally stable, mentally comfortable. Coming off two consecutive losses and dealing with some personal things, it was more get that aspect right before everything else. Barry is an experienced man, he’s a man with a lot of wisdom. He just knew exactly what you were dealing with.
It wasn’t that difficult because I’ve been doing this for some time. You have to be open to change at some time in your life. I’m not growing younger, my mind is always open. I’m also learning as I’m going along the way. I’m becoming more mature by the day.
After the losses to Emanuel Navarrete, I think the most important thing was being truthful to myself. I had to be truthful to myself. Not be in self-denial or anything. I had to be truthful. I had the accept the fact I loss. The man beat me. He has my respect. I had to accept everything. That was the only way I could really let everything flood in and then just flush it all out. It was just a gradual process. I’ve had some sleepless nights, I’ve had so many things, but hey, that’s not important. That’s in the past. The focus right now is on the future and I’m looking forward to that.
I’ll definitely be a better fighter for those losses. You’ve seen my comeback fight. We just have to keep on improving. Take each fight as it comes and keep on improving. We are aiming high. But we just take it one step at a time, one day at a time.
For what’s next, from what I’ve heard I think, God willing, I’ll fight some time in September. As for becoming a two-time world champion? God willing. There are lots of great things coming my way and right now I’m just taking it all in, just bracing myself for when that time comes. I know that I’ll be a world champion again. I have no doubt about that.
It’s been activated, I should put it that way. It’s been activated. So right now we just have to go through the motions. Just spend more time in the gym, learn as much as I can, be consistent and just stay on the ball.
It feels good to be back. I feel wonderful. We had a great reception, great feedback. It feels amazing.