Manuel “El Toro” Quezada, 27 (17) – 4 and in the midst of a 16 fight win streak, is getting ready for the biggest fight of his career on July 16. He’s slated to face Travis Walker 31 (25) – 2 – 1 in what could be a major step forward in his career. Currently ranked the #11 heavyweight contender by the WBC, Quezada could propel himself into the top 10 and towards larger fights in the near future. I spoke with him about his training, his career and the upcoming fight against Travis Walker.
The Travis Walker fight is just a few weeks away and obviously it’s a huge fight for you. How has your training been going and how are you feeling?
MQ: Everything’s good, everything is going just as we planned and I feel good, so we’ll be ready to fight.
I talked with Eddie Chambers prior to his fight with Sam Peter and he said he had been sparring with you at that time… Who have you been working with for this fight?
MQ: I’ve been working with Malik Scott a little bit and Joe Goosen has another heavyweight and a cruiserweight that I’ve been working with. So we’ve been getting good sparring and everything has been going just like we planned.
How is the training camp with Goosen, you’ve been with him for a little while now…
MQ: Oh man, I love it. It’s what I needed for my career. Everything is working out and he’s a great guy and I like working out with him. So it’s perfect.
You mentioned how he has helped you out with your career. You’re now on a 16 fight winning streak after a shaky start to your career in which you went 11-4 in your first 15 fights. So besides working with Goosen what’s the difference between the 11-4 version of you and the 16-0 version of you?
MQ: I just think I’m a little older now and I know what I need to do. When you’re young you take things for granted and don’t train as hard as you should. Now that I’m older I know what I have to do, so I’m in the gym and training like I need to be training. I don’t take anyone lightly. We train for everybody like it’s the biggest fight of our careers.
Your last few fights you’ve been weighing around 230 pounds. Is that your ideal weight or what would you say is your best fighting weight and what are you at right now?
MQ: Right now I’m around 230 and we’re hoping to come in at about 225. We feel a lot better lighter and we feel we can move a lot faster. So hopefully we can come in at 225 and feel good. Definitely don’t want to come in over 230.
Is there anything you’re doing specifically to prepare for Walker? It’s no secret that he comes to slug it out and knock the other guy out…
MQ: Nothing really. We’re going to come in with our game plan, and make him adjust to our game plan, instead of us going in there worried about what he’s going to do. We’re going to try to make him worry about what we’re doing. It’s going to be an exciting fight.
So what do you plan on doing in there?
MQ: I plan on being careful in the first couple of rounds (laughs). He’s a big puncher, but hopefully we can get him past 6 rounds and take advantage of him maybe getting tired. Or maybe even just outworking him.
He’s only lost twice in his career, the most recent of which was a third round stoppage loss at the hands of Chris Arreola after he put Arreola down in the first round. What does a win over Walker do for you and your career?
MQ: Oh man, I believe it would put me right there with the names like you said, Chris Arreola, Eddie Chambers and all of the up and coming fighters. I know I’m kind of flying under the radar where a lot of people don’t know who I am. So hopefully a win over a guy like this would really put me on the map.
He represents a major step up in class compared to the rest of your opposition, so are you looking at this fight any differently than all of your other bouts or are you just excited to get in there and show everyone what you’re all about?
MQ: I’m just excited to get the opportunity to fight a guy like Walker. Like you said he’s a step up in class, and I’m excited about this fight and I honestly believe that I’m ready to take this step so I can’t wait to get in there.
Any predictions for how the fight is going to play out?
MQ: (Laughs) You know what? Hopefully I don’t get knocked out…
I’m sure you’re more confident than that though…
MQ: Oh yea, definitely. But I have respect for Walker and I’ve known him for a while. He’s actually fought a couple of times on the same card as me. He’s a great guy, I have a lot of respect for him but this is a business and it’s what we decided to do and that’s the way it works. We have to go out there and face each other. Best of luck to him and hopefully we can get the win.
I’m sure you’re not looking past him, but if you get the win on July 16 what’s next for you?
MQ: I don’t know, whatever my team comes up with, I’m ready for the challenge. I believe I’m in the class that hopefully everybody else thinks I am. So hopefully I can come out and prove it on July 16. But we’re to the point of a career where we can’t dodge anyone now and it’s time to show everyone that we’re in the elite group and we have to fight the elite fighters.
Thanks again for the time Manny and good luck on the 16th against Walker.