The Cork super feather shared a Fight of the Year contender with the Dublin KO artist on the Celtic Clash 4 card at the National Stadium last month.
While such a bloody battle may have fostered a boxing brotherhood, the usually happy-go-lucky O’Donovan [1(1)-1(1)-1] has been angered by McAfee’s reaction to the domestic epic.
While a rematch always looked likely due to the entertaining nature of their fight, it has now become personal for O’Donovan who has vowed to punish McAfee [2(2)-0-1].
His disdain for the Sallynoggin slugger wasn’t always there, and O’Donovan explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “personally, going into it, I was actually very happy with him. I was thinking ‘nice one, for getting me on the show and thanks for giving me a bit of money to go and have a good Christmas’.”
“But then I realised he’s actually a bit of a tool and a bit of a dick. I now personally want to beat the shit out of him, for fun.”
McAfee was not happy with the 58-58 drawn verdict, believing he deserved the win – which has frustrated O’Donovan.
‘The Rebel Rouser’ stated that “I just don’t like the man now – his responses after the fight, the way he acted during the fight, he’s not the man he portrays himself to be.”
Looking back at the clash, the sixth round of which was something special, O’Donovan believes it was he who was the better boxer.
“I watched back the fight myself and thought ‘Jesus, I could have done a lot more’,” he reflects.
“I could have won a lot more rounds if I had done a little bit more work, and I credited him for coming forward and pushing the pace of the fight.”
“But as far as actual clean, landed punches, ring generalship, a lot of things, he was very foolish. He threw a lot of punches to the wind, he wasn’t effective with any of his work, didn’t cut off the ring well, followed me around. I was sitting on the ropes laughing at him as he smothered his own work.”
“He lost. If I were to be a judge and was asked who won the fight, he lost the fight – and not only that, he’s acting the girl about it. He’s going ‘Aw, I should have won that fight’ – but I’d say ‘Nah, you didn’t. You should have won that fight, but you didn’t, you lost’.”
“Just get over it and man up.”
O’Donovan had taken a fight with top English prospect Reece Mould six weeks previously, getting stopped in the fourth round on a big BT Sport show in Leeds.
While he is not looking to make excuses, the Youghal-based former Togher amateur believes he was far from being on top form against McAfee.
O’Donovan explained how “basically, I was after coming off a loss on I was eating like a mad thing, not really training well, not doing anything well.”
“Leonard [Gunning, manager] rang me on the Saturday beforehand saying ‘we’ve a show next week’. I was not really up for it but he told me that McAfee wanted a go and that I wouldn’t have to cut that much weight – I said no problem, and then seven days later I fought McAfee.”
“I wouldn’t even give myself 30% – but these are all excuses, you should be able to fight anybody at the drop of a hat – which most of the time I do.”
“If I was training to win, and I wasn’t having to cut weight drastically, I don’t think he’d stand much of a chance – and if we do get a rematch, I’m going to tell him that and he’s going to know that.”
O’Donovan promises that it will be different if the two go to war again, and reasoned how “if he wants a rematch, I will get a full camp and I won’t be fat, and overweight, and untrained – and this way I can actually beat the living shit out of him.”
“That’s going to be fun, because if he thought the last time that that was the best I was going to get – and he was still acting the tool – I’m just going to enjoy it a lot more.”
McAfee fights on ‘Celtic Clash 5’ at Good Counsel GAA club in Drimnagh on Saturday March 24th – and O’Donovan is more than willing to be the man in the other corner.
The 28-year-old outlined how “I told Leonard ‘definitely’ – if McAfee wants to do it – ‘anytime’. I’m preparing anyway, for anybody that he can give me, and I’ll be in shape whenever he gets me a match.”
“The March show is loads of time. I thought I was going to get a fight in February so I was in the middle of training for that anyway.”
“I think he [McAfee] knows, deep down, that he doesn’t want to do it again. But there’s a bit of pride, and if he doesn’t do it again it will be bad and I’m going to laugh at him.”
“If they want to go six again, no problem. If they want to go more, no problem.”
“I’m going to literally dance on him, and I don’t think he’ll make it out of the first couple of rounds, to be quite honest.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)