BREIDIS Prescott has sparked a war of words with Paul McCloskey, claiming the Dungiven southpaw lacks the heart and power to de-rail his world title pursuit.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The hard-hitting Colombian arrives in Ireland tomorrow as he enters the final straight of his preparation for next Saturday’s WBA world title eliminator against ‘Dudey’ at the Odyssey Arena and ahead of his imminent arrival, he launched a scathing attack on McCloskey’s credentials.
And the 28 year-old, dubbed the ‘Khanquerer’ following his first round destruction of Amir Khan in 2008, insists McCloskey lacks the mentality to cause him problems and plans on exploiting the former European champion’s ‘weaknesses’ on the night.
Commenting from his Miami training base this week, Prescott confidently promised to put on a ‘blood and guts’ show for Irish boxing fans and insists he’s primed and ‘ready to go to war’.
“McCloskey’s only strength is that he will be fighting in his hometown,” claimed the man from Barranquilla. “He’s got the crowd in his favour so I hope he’s willing to put on a show for his fans and not run all over the ring and try to get a decision.
“He’s mentally weak. No power in his gloves, no heart. Fight like a man!” urged Prescott.
“Sometimes when you go to someone else’s backyard, you gotta go with a different mentality and I didn’t see that McCloskey is a mentally strong person judging by the Khan fight in Manchester. He’s weak and I will exploit him.
“To be honest every fight could be a last chance, but I’m going over there with a ‘do or die’ mentality and Irish fans are gonna get their money’s worth that night.”
Prescott’s goading of McCloskey may well be intended to provoke a toe-to-toe war which would no doubt favour the powerful punching Colombian. However, if McCloskey chooses to ignore the taunts, Prescott plans on grinding the Dungiven man down.
In fact, Prescott, ranked No. 6 by WBA, doesn’t believe McCloskey has what it takes to reach world level. He expects the Co. Derry man to be on his back at the final bell, adding that ‘Dudey’ will have to “kill me,” if he wants to earn a shot at the WBA title for a second time.
“I don’t believe he’s got what it takes to get to the next level,” claimed Prescott. “This is my opportunity to finally get a title shot and he would have to kill me in the ring to beat me!
“After I get done with him on September 10th, I will be the only contender who deserves a shot at the WBA title.
“Of course, he’s not gonna mix it up, he’ll end up flat on his back if he does. But like I said, if he decides to run I will walk him down.
“I hate to say it, but I think he lacks heart,” he continued. “I didn’t see much heart against Khan and the way he fights, it’s like he doesn’t like to be hit.”
The Colombian has obvious disdain for Amir Khan having watched the English man rise to stardom in recent years while he’s struggled to maintain his top 10 ranking and he feels he is edging ever closer to a re-match with the WBA’s “Super Champion.”
“You know the old saying, if it happened once, it most likely will happen again.
“The only reason I’ve been vocal about a rematch (with Khan) is because many people aren’t giving me credit.
“In reality, I knocked him dead in 30 seconds and he doesn’t deserve a re-match, but I’m willing to prove to the world that lightning strikes twice in the same place.
“My aim is to get a world title shot. If it is not Khan, then let it be (Marcos) Maidana. I want the title and it what I’ve worked so hard for, period.”
Prescott has made the step-up from lightweight and feels more comfortable at 140 lbs.
Now with a good training camp behind him, he believes he is just one fight away from his elusive world title shot.
“I feel very good I’m right on weight and have done plenty of sparring. I am ready to go to war!
Making 135 lbs was killing my body. I wanted so bad to build off that win (against Khan) and win a title at 135 lbs before moving up, but it became impossible as I felt so weak to get down that low. But I will make the best of this opportunity. “
A One-Trick Pony
Many boxing critics see Prescott as a “one trick pony,” but he claims he has worked hard on becoming the complete fighter and doesn’t see any problems dealing with McCloskey’s evasive style or his awkward southpaw stance.
“I fought all types of styles in my life. I’m not worried about what he has to offer, he’s gotta worry about my power in either hand.
“I’ve been working a lot of different things with my trainer so you can say he has helped me round out all my skills.
“Most people see me as a big puncher with no skills but I’m a very good boxer and I can fight at any distance. It’s always good to have that in your back pocket just in case it’s needed.
“I love putting on fan-friendly fights. People pay to see blood and guts and you always get that with me.”
And he was relishing the opportunity of showing the Irish boxing fans what he’s capable of doing.
“I expect them to cheer on the home fighter, but I think when the see my all action style they will love me. I look forward to seeing how beautiful Ireland is and drinking some good beer after the fight,” he laughed.
“So it should be a great fight. I just hope McCloskey stands by his word and fights.”