My first memory of boxing is walking into the gym and walking out with a bloody nose. I remember sparring for the first time and getting beat up, and that’s when I really found out that I loved the sport. My dad used to order all the big fights – Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson and them – and I was just sucked into it. I was drawn to it. I just loved it.
A lot of my memories were of wanting to be one of those guys. For me, it was always just so entertaining to see a man compete against another man that had the same type of mentality – that felt that no one could possibly defeat him, and just see who’s going to prevail. Just two guys, working their ass off for months, just preparing for one night. Just that anticipation of walking into that ring, and the outcome of victory. There’s nothing like it.READ MORE: 'My Name Is Sara' Film On Holocaust Survivor Premieres In Metro Detroit
This is my first time really going in as an underdog in a fight and you know, it just fuels me. I mean, I came from some tough beginnings growing up and nothing was ever easy for me. I’ve always had to work twice as hard to try to accomplish anything, or just be what I wanted to be. My parents are from Haiti and we had a real tough upbringing.
All the time they continued to make sure that we kept in our minds that hard work was everything and that we always had to work twice as hard for everything we want in life. I really don’t see anything different about that from this fight. Like I said, when it comes to everything else, we’ve dealt with so many real life traumatizing situations that we’ve had to work ourselves out of or work ourselves through, so I’m really using that same mentality for this.
People call my family the fighting Bertos. My older brothers, myself, my little sisters, all of us were champions in some sort of fighting growing up. Growing up we all went to each other’s events. We were always at my brother’s wrestling events, my younger sisters were ju-jitsu champions, and every time the family walked into the building everybody knew what time it was. Even now that we’re all grown up, everybody still supports each other. That was one of the things that we strove to do – we always supported each other growing up and at the end of the day we always knew that we had each other and loved each other to death and supported each other.
My dad was the main guy that really started it all. He was a kickboxer and fought in an ultimate fighter type situation and he was kind of huge in Japan before he came over here. Him and guys like Ken Shamrock and a lot of those big guys were legends over there. He was fighting over there when we were younger so that was pretty much all we knew so I guess growing up everybody else in our family just followed suit. It’s hard work sports, and we lived a different type of life for sure.
Growing up, it was 500 push ups or 500 squats before school. If we were bored at home we were doing push ups or we were doing some type of physical activity just to build our bodies and just to build our physical strength and that mental strength as well so that’s all that we knew.
Like I said, I’m in great shape. Working with my trainer Virgil Hunter, he’s definitely a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting into shape for this fight.READ MORE: Dearborn Homecoming Festival Kicks Off This Weekend
We’re working on tuning up everything, I’ve already got a lot of speed, a lot of power, but he’s definitely bringing a lot more technique to the table and just making me able to use it a lot more effectively. I think it’s been a while since Floyd has fought somebody else with great speed and power like me – it’s a rare combination and I feel I can probably offset a lot of things that he’s doing. I’m really looking forward to interrupting anything that he’s trying to do in the ring.
I believe Floyd, he does a good job of slowing down the pace and dictating the pace of the fight and getting a lot of people out of their gameplan. I’m really just staying focused and sticking to the plan no matter what happens. You have to stick to the game plan and just don’t get discouraged.
Just like anybody watching the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, it didn’t really look like Manny did too much of anything. Floyd, I think was a lot more eager to fight. Everybody felt Manny would be a lot more aggressive, and he wasn’t. Probably thought Floyd would be a lot more technical picking shots and you know – he had spots here and there – but just the fight all around didn’t live up to expectations of what people thought.
Everybody already knows that I’m the type of fighter that I’m willing to give it all once I get into that ring. Every time I step in that ring I give it all I have. You know, with injuries or not, everybody knows I’m not going to stop. Like I said, in the Karass fight I tore my shoulder in the second round, but never in my mind did I think about stopping. I fought Guerrero with both my eyes shut. I never even thought about stopping. I always feel like I can still win the fight, so if there’s one thing that people do know about me, they know that I have a heart that’s as big as it can be.
I think people are pulling for the upset. Once the fight was first announced there was a lot of negative feedback of course. My opinion was more so of the fact that Floyd didn’t give these people their money’s worth last time and they just weren’t sure what they were going to get. But now a lot of things are changing.
We’re getting a lot of love now and getting a lot of people that really want me to try and get this done. Really night and day from the beginning when the fight was announced.
So how much would it mean to win this fight? Man, it would be huge. It would be huge for history, it would be huge for me. It would be huge for my family and it’d be huge for the reason why I started this game. It’d be huge for everybody. It’d be something magical. That’s why we’re in camp right now working our ass off, and we’re looking forward to making history happen.MORE NEWS: Huron Valley Students Will Not Be Allowed To Carry Backpacks To High School Classrooms, Officials Say