9 October 2010 – Steve Wellings
Fresh from his latest European title defence Paul McCloskey is targeting a world title showdown with one of the divisions big hitters Amir Khan. But does the 22-0 light-welterweight have a message for the current WBA champion and former Olympic silver medallist.
Do you want to go for a drink? McCloskey said, tongue in cheek.
I know what Id like but what happens is a different thing, he continued. The team will sit down and well talk about whats next. Obviously, hes a world champion and Im European champion. Then theres Devon Alexander out there and Timothy Bradley, very good fighters. The way I feel at the minute I wouldnt be afraid of fighting anyone of those boys, of course Id be confident of beating them.
After seeing off the challenge of Italian Giuseppe Lauri (a challenge he may possibly have to face again next) in the Kings Hall in June, Pauls stock continued to rise as he dissected tough Scotsman Barry Morrison in seven one-sided rounds at Letterkennys Aura Arena.
My training camp went really well and I felt really sharp and from the first bell I landed about four or five jabs and just had a feel for it right from the beginning. Im a professional champion and you cant overlook anyone in this game because one punch can end a fight so every fight I train for is like a world title fight. If you start losing then you dont go anywhere.
The 31-year-old also sensibly dismissed any pre-fight animosity coming from Morrisons camp as mere gamesmanship, intended to build the fight up.
I think its just a bit of hype, he said, a bit of talk and mind games trying to get under my skin a bit but I covered my end of the shift and knew that I was fit and ready for the fight. I dont care who I fight basically, Id studied Morrison on DVDs and saw his strengths and weaknesses so I exploited that tonight.
If the Lauri rematch happens, as has been proposed by the EBU, it will be because of a technicality regarding the post-fight drug testing. Paul, however, realises that he fought the wrong fight last time and would need to use the boxing skills and superior movement rather than accommodating Lauri in the trenches.
I cant explain why I got into a fight with Lauri but I just did and he got in my face at the weigh-in so I was a bit wound up, which is why this game is a learning process. The crowd is always there behind you but Im focused on what I was doing and one nights madness can mess everything up. Ive got good reflexes and I use them to the best of my ability.”