Eddie Chambers fought four times in 2008. His championship plans were derailed when he lost a decision to Alexander Povetkin in a title eliminator. For the rest of 2008 he was on the rebound trail, putting three more wins on the resume. Now 33 (18) – 1, he is preparing for a March 27 fight against one of the top heavyweights in the world, the power punching Sam Peter. I caught him after a recent training session to talk about the upcoming fight and the state of the heavyweight division.
How is training going for the fight? It’s just a few weeks away now, so you must be close to top form.
EC: It’s going great, I just worked out today with Javier Mora, so it’s good. I’ve been stepping up and having a few more guys come in to see where I’m at and what we can do.
Peter is a big guy; he’ll likely weigh at least 30 pounds more than you on fight night. What are you doing to prepare for that? I know you said you have Mora in there in camp…
EC: I’m trying to get guys similar to what Peter brings to the table in terms of weight and style and Javier Mora fits that mold. And we’re also trying to bring in a good boxer as well just to get used to sharp punches. You never know what’s going to come your way, so we’re also going to have Malik Scott and another guy, Manny Quezada.
It’s a great style match up, he’s known as a heavy puncher and you’re known as a good boxer and you have a good job… what’s your strategy for the fight?
EC: Just that, not to allow him to lay close and… well, not even so much lay close because he’s the kind of guy that needs a little space to punch actually. But not to let him get into a comfortable position where he could wing shots and hopefully, for him, land a shot. I want him to remember all the negatives with his fights in the past with the Klitschko fights, where he could not really get a good rhythm. I’m going to land my jab, move to the side, give him angles and things like that, all of the basic things.
Did you watch any tape of the first Toney fight in respect to how he handled Peter?
EC: A lot of what James did in that first fight is a lot of what you can do, but Toney has a specific set of skills. I’m not saying I’m that slick or even slicker, I’m saying I can do things I can do well, like giving angles… and there’s a few things I picked up from what James did in that fight that should work and give me the upper hand.
How do you think the fight is going to play out? Will you be coming out strong or will you feel him out for a few rounds and see what develops?
EC: I think a little bit of both, but I want to get out early. I don’t want him to get up in confidence and land any big shots or anything that is going to get anyone too excited about what he’s doing, especially himself. So I want to make sure I’m out of the gates fast and get to work early. That way I’ll make him think it’s going to be a long night, and I’ll give him a lot to think about. I don’t want him to come in there recklessly and do what he best which is wing shots and land them and get a lucky shot. I don’t want him to think it’s even possible. I want him to have a terrible night and I want to start early.
Do you think this will be the toughest fight of your career?
EC: Toughest fight? Possibly, yes. But looking at the Povetkin fight, that was a fight that I made tough. In these situations it’s all about me, it’s all about what I do. Anytime you get in there with a guy and you have superior ability, it’s all about what you do. If you get there and languish on the inside – although again, not necessarily with him because he wants to be in punching range – but if you just lay around and stay in front of him and let him get those wide shots going, I’m going to make it a hard fight for me.
But if I give him angles and put my jab in his face and give him something to think about constantly, it’s going to be an easy night. So it’s up to me really what this fight is going to be. But you never know, you can come out there and been in the gym working and practicing and possibly come out with a heck of a game plan and then forget it and make it a tough fight anyway. So you have to be prepared for everything.
You mentioned the Povetkin fight, your only loss. It seemed to be a fight that you could have won, you seemed to be control in the first half of the fight. What happened there in the second half of the fight and would you do anything different if you had the chance looking back now?
EC: Definitely in the Povetkin fight it was all up to me, and like I said, the same thing in this fight. It’s all there for the taking. I’m not saying Peter isn’t a quality guy, because everyone knows he’s been a heavyweight champion so you can’t discredit him with that. But looking at the Alexander Povetkin fight, it was a situation where I had the fight under control and all I had to do was continue. Pick my shots a little bit, box, keep him at bay and do a lot of the things that I should be able to do in this fight.
And I chose to, you know, bull crap, and just because I had the fight under control and had a few rounds in the bag. You never know what the judges are thinking and not only that, you can not let up. If you want to be great you have to do great things and close the show, and I just didn’t do that. Mental issues… you get that overconfidence, you don’t think you can be beat. Even though I’m not the kind of guy that gets overconfident or thinks he can’t be beat, but you get into a situation where you have everything under control and you think it’s impossible for you to lose and then bam, what happens? You lose. And that really brings you have down to reality.
Well it seems like you learned a lesson from that fight and if nothing else you’ll be a better fighter for it. Where does a win against Peter place you in the division? After that is a title shot next or where will you stand?
EC: Well that’s the idea. Peter has won the heavyweight championship of the world and being that he just lost it that has to be fresh in his mind. He still believes he deserves that belt, I mean, that was his belt. So if I go out there and beat a guy who now should be just as hungry as ever – or maybe, it depends on his mind and maybe he’s lost confidence or lost his swing, you never know – but he should be coming out with the heart of a champion and thinking that hey it’s time for me to really step this thing up and get my belt back. So if I beat him that should put me in a position where I want to be. And that’s for a shot at the heavyweight championship of the world. Hopefully live my dream and be heavyweight champion.
Which of the titleholders would you like to go after? Or is it just however the ABC’s line it up for you?
EC: Hey, I don’t care what titlist they put in front me, I’m going directly at him… honestly I have no pick. They are all gonna be tough fights, they’re all big, strong guys. They’ve been champions in years past or for a number of years now. It’s just a matter of staying prepared for them.
What do you think of the other American heavyweight prospects, guys like Chris Arreola, Kevin Johnson and Travis Kauffman? How do you think you stack up against them?
EC: Well of course I think I stack up well. I have experience and I’m a young guy, even if I’m not as young as all those guys. They’re all great prospects and that’s why I think heavyweight boxing is in good hands with the American heavyweights. I just think they have to show what they have and step up and be well prepared. Chris Arreola is on his way to a title shot in the future. He has a hazardous fight with McCline coming up and he has a legitimate shot at a title.
And with Travis Kauffman… Malik Scott, all the heavyweight’s coming up… Chazz Witherspoon, even though he lost to Arreola, these are all quality heavyweight fighters. If they can find their niche then they can find their way to their title. I do believe tha
t American boxing – American heavyweight boxing in particular – is going to come back and be dominant again. But it’s going to take some serious soul searching for these guys coming up to really push the envelope and hopefully get a title. Hopefully we can all get one.
Obviously American boxing fans are clamoring for an American heavyweight to be back on top of the division. Do you think you’ll meet any of those guys in the ring? Is there a friendly rivalry at all with any of them or is there trash talk going on between you guys….
EC: You know it’s all good things, and like I said Malik is helping me get ready for my fight right now and even though he’s not the style of the guy I’m fighting, it’s another look. Guys like Javier Mora and Manny Quezada, Chazz, Kevin Johsnon, all of these guys like I said are quality. And there’s nothing bad there, and honesty, I would want to fight them in the future because I would want them to have belts as well as me have a belt, and put American heavyweight boxing back to where it used to be.
What do you think about the Klitschko/Haye fight coming up?
EC: I just want to see it. David Haye has been talking a great game and put himself in the best position he could be. He’s only had one heavyweight fight and he already has a title shot. So you have to give him a lot of credit for running his mouth, he’s done the greatest job he possibly can.
Will Klitschko have a bit too much for him and make him regret what he’s been running his mouth about?
EC: Now it’s put up or shut up, you have your shot. You talked all the talk let’s see what you really got. You gotta see if you got anything and if you do, show it. We’ll see. Klitschko will have the opportunity, let’s just say that.
Well, that will be an early night either way…
EC: Ha, well that’s quite obvious. I mean we’ve seen David Haye take shots at cruiserweight and he’s not very good at it! But I mean hey, let’s not just say that… he can throw a punch so if he catches Klitschko, you never know. They’ve both been down and they’ve both been stopped. Definitely a fight you don’t want to go to the refrigerator for. I’m just eager to see it.
Well I think we’re eager to see your fight as well. Any closing thoughts about your fight or anything else you’d like to say?
EC: I think it’s going to be a great fight and I think the fans are the winners in this fight. I’m not a runner; Peter’s definitely not a runner. I’m more of a boxer puncher and he’s a puncher, so it’s a style I think the fans want. ESPN2 is showing it and it could have easily been an HBO fight. But I’m glad ESPN2 is picking it up and I’m glad that everyone can see it and it’s free. Hopefully we get a good crowd and get some people interested in heavyweight boxing.
Thanks for the time Eddie.
EC: Hey, thanks for putting me on.