18 March 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Barcelona Olympic gold medallist and Irish boxing legend Michael Carruth has told Willie Casey he is proof Cubans, no matter how great their amateur pedigree is, are beatable.
Carruth, who will be working for RTE at Saturdays bout, is the last Irish fighter to defeat a much touted Cuban with something significant at stake. The Drimnagh boxing club star won Irelands first ever Olympic boxing gold medal when he defeated four time amateur world champion and two time Olympic Silver medallist, Juan Hernndez Sierra in 1992. Like Casey, Carruth was a massive underdog going into that Ireland Cuban bout, but proved no fighter is invincible. Caruth has advised Big Bang to use positive thinking if he wants to get a positive result against the two time world and Olympic champion.
When I fought Sierra I was the underdog,” he said. “There were nine Cubans in Olympic boxing finals that year and they won 7 golds. Wayne (McCullough) lost to Casamayor, who turned out to be a world champion, but was their third choice at that weigh for the Olympics. That shows how good they were. When Wayne got beaten I made up my mind I wasnt going to fear how good my opponent was, rather think about how good I could be. I starting to think his best was my worst. That positive thinking aligned with good tactics helped me. I think Irish people talk themselves out of achieving things. I talked myself into winning and that is what Willie has to do for Saturday.
No one is invincible. Even Manny Pacquaio has a loss on his record. I do admit this guy is very good. Sometimes you look at him and say how do I fight him. If you stand off he picks you and moves and if you chase him down he is a sensational counter puncher. You might be a bit fortunate to win one Olympic medal but not two golds. But Willie Casey has a great engine, he is a real battler and goer. He has home support and that could be an advantage. I wouldnt be surprised if Casey wins. I told him if I can do it he can do it. The crowd might be baying for blood but he has to fight his own fight and be patient. It could prove to be a really big game of chess, but one Willie can win.