By September, Deandre Latimore already had begun to resurrect his career.
The former junior middleweight titleholder had won two straight fights — by third-round knockout over Darien Ford in July of 2010 and eight-round unanimous decision over Dennis Sharpe last April — but there was the still-lingering emotional hangover from losing two of his previous three fights.
Sandwiched around an unimpressive decision over Sammy Sparkman in August of 2009 were a split-decision loss to Cory Spinks in 2009 (in a 12-round bout for the vacant IBF title), and a loss to Sechew Powell. in March of 2010. The loss to Powell was a rematch. Latimore scored a seventh-round TKO victory over the New Yorker in June of 2008 in an ESPN2-televised breakthrough fight.
But that thrilling victory was a distant memory by the end of 2010.
“After the Victor Ortiz camp, when I got Floyd ready for the Ortiz fight, he liked what he saw in me and he said, ‘Look, you’ve got potential,’ and he saw that and he knew just like I did,” said Latimore.
“I knew that I hadn’t been pushed right, and he took over. And I’m loving every bit of it. When I went into the gym with him and started working, I learned a lot. I learned how to be patient and not to just worry about the knockout.”
Latimore (22-3, 17 knockouts), who is 26, has since signed with Mayweather Promotions, and the Las Vegas resident will debut under that banner in Showtime-televised bout against Colombian Milton Nunez (23-3-1, 21 KOs) on Friday.
In this Q&A, Latimore spoke to RingTV.com about Mayweather’s influence and the opportunity to deliver a quality performance on national television.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on that three-fight stretch?
That had me out of my game and in a different zone at that time. And, when I took the fight with Powell the second time, it was like, you know, to be honest with you, he caught me at the right time.
I wasn’t in the right state of mind, and I wasn’t focused. I wasn’t there, mentally, so it was a good time for him and better for him that he caught me at the time that he did, and he won a majority decision over me.
RTV: Did you in any way underestimate Powell after having knocked him out in seven rounds during your previous meeting?
You know, so, I wasn’t even in the right state of mind after the Spinks loss. So, he got me at a good time, and that’s all I would say about that.
RTV: What’s changed since then?
My strength and conditioning coach is Ray Otis. I’m just putting it all together right now, and I’m ready to go. The year 2012 is my year.
I don’t want to be the guy that says “at the end of 2012 I’m going to do something,” or “that 2013 will be my year.” Nah. It’s 2012 that will be my year. That’s when I will break through in the boxing scene.
RTV: When did that all come together for you?
I knew that I hadn’t been pushed right, and he took over. And I’m loving every bit of it. When I went into the gym with him and started working, I learned a lot. I learned how to be patient and not to just worry about the knockout.
Taking punishment from Floyd teaches you a lot. I mean, he’s the best guy in boxing. When he’s in there, he’s just relaxed and he’s happy with the sport. I was upset a lot with the sport, but he brought that joy back to me.
RTV: Your goal in this weekend’s performance?
I want to showcase my talents on national television. I’m not looking for a knockout, but if the knockout comes, it comes. I just want to show the boxing world what I can do.
Photo by Jim Everett, Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com