RTV: Can you also discuss the defining moment in your career that was the first fight with Peter, when your rose from three knockdowns to win?
WK: Samuel Peter was undefeated and I needed to go through him to get the No. 1 position to fight Chris Byrd for the world championship in two, different versions. Samuel Peter was knocking everyone out.
HBO was really excited because he was the knockout artist of the heavyweight division. Samuel’s confidence was bigger than the arena that we were fighting in in Atlantic City.
With Emanuel in my corner, I never doubted that I was going to win that fight. His manager and the people that were working with Samuel were sayign that I was a dead man walking, and that he was going to walk through me.
But I never had a doubt that I was going to win the fight, even though I got knocked down three times. I had control from the beginning to the end of the fight, and I knew exactly what to do.
I was just so confident that this was my time, and this was my fight, and that I was going to fight my way back to the top, and that nothing would stop me.
RTV: Can you elaborate on how Manny was instrumental in that victory over Peter?
WK: Of course. The way that he talked to me in the corner after all that had happened, he was giving me the instructions that were important to me to win the fight, and I was just following them as well.
So we had a great preparation. I mean, we were 110 percent prepared for Samuel Peter, and we had great sparring partners that were coming into our camp in the Poconos of Pennsylvania.
We had something like 15 sparring partners that we were using, because there were a lot of heavyweights in the area from Pittsburgh, to Philadelphia, and New York.
They were driving to the camp, and they were the camp in the Poconos, and, believe it or not, they were getting beat up.
RingTV.com: How would you characterize your routine training regimen with Steward — is it one of discussion, teaching, conditioning, or elements of all of the above?
WK: Believe it or not, we have two workouts. One workout is a boxing session in the evening, and in the morning, we do padwork. But instead of just working out, we talk. We talk more than we actually train. But that’s the way we think through certain things.
You have to think first and plan your strategy and your technique and your strategy. All of this, we have polishing and doing and developing over all of those years. We’ve continued to do that.
RTV: Do you think that Manny gets the proper credit for revitalizing your career?
WK: I think that Emanuel is the trainer of the centry, especially if you take a look back. There have been a lot of talented fighters, but I don’t know coaches who have been working with so many good guys.
When Emanuel is in your corner, he almost all of the time is successful with his fighters. He had an amazing careeer with Thomas Hearns and with Lennox Lewis.
Especially with Lennox, who he picked up at a time when he was not a champion. So he’s not like someone who is getting a free ride. He’s someone who can pick you up and start you as a guy who is really down.
He sees talent and he sees things that other people don’t see. I’ve often talked to Emanuel and said, “you know, Emanuel, you’re a very special man, because it’s amazing what you’ve done in your life and your profession.”
I always tell him, “You’re definitely a genius,” and that’s why I say that Emanuel is the coach of the century, as a matter of fact.
Photos by Dmitriy Abramov, KMG
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org