He didn’t go all cliche and spout the ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard’ line.
Luke Keeler is too articulate to have to resort the kind of quotes that decorate social media posters, but in fairness that somewhat cheesy motivational quip not only sums up his approach to his world title fight, but explains why he goes into it so confident.
Despite all the barbs fight week the Ballyfermot middleweight admits the man he challenges for the WBO world title in Miami tonight, Demetrius Andrade is a superior boxer to him.
Keeler is smart enough to realize and honest enough to point out that he can’t match the 2008 Olympian and two weight world champion for technical talent.
In fact the challenger believes champion ‘Boo Boo’ is top two in a 160lbs division that includes the likes of Gennady Golovkin and at times Canelo Alvarez.
“He is a world class operator, look there is no getting away from that. You can’t question that sort of natural talent. I don’t think he has shown he is the best middleweight in the world, but I’d have him right up there, maybe two or three,” admits Keeler before showing the level of confidence he has ahead of tonight’s DAZN bill topper.
“It will be a huge statement when I beat him.”
If Andrade is so good then why is the 32-year-old so confident?
Keeler has his reasons and they all have roots in good old fashioned values such as hard work and dedication.
The full time engineer turned full time boxer seems to have been informed Andrade has started camp late. The American was sparring in fight week, which seemed to cement the rumour for Team Keeler .
The challenger see’s that as a kind of arrogance that can backfire come fight night and something that helps level the playing field.
“Technically he is a better fighter than me, but over 12 rounds I can break his heart. I want it, I have put in the proper camp, he hasn’t and I am not going there and be happy to survive.
“On paper and technically he is better, but at the same time my fitness, heart and determination will over throw that. “
“I really believe he has taken his eye off the ball,” he continues before being pushed for where that belief comes from.
“Clips I have seen, the way he is thinking, every interview he gives he is ahead of his time. I seen clips of his training and he looks a bit flat. I just know he hasn’t taken me seriously and I just know he has started late,” he adds through a smile.
Keeler believes the fighter takes that laid back approach into the competition ring with him too.
The Pete Taylor trained fighter accuses Andrade of sneaking wins and accuses his opponents, particularly at middleweight, for allowing him to do so.
“I think his attitude in fights isn’t right. He just does enough to sneak the win. He won’t kill himself in there. He never goes for a finish. I think he just stays comfortable. He is happy not to get hit and doing enough to win rounds,” he adds before then questioning his three middleweight foes.
“No one has ever taken him to the trenches. He hasn’t been in with a middleweight that has tried against him. The middles he has fought looked happy to go the distance and survive. I don’t know whether they were overawed or not but none of them looked like they wanted it bad. The didn’t test his balls.”
Going through the motions isn’t an option for Keeler. Reaching the final bell of a world title fight was never the former St Matthews amateurs ambition, Keeler wants to win the title and believes the best way to that in his opinion is to put it on the champion.
“That’s the difference with me. I am different. I am going to go in there and work for three minutes of every round. I am going to put it on him for ever second of every round.
“Look it will be educated pressure, I know he is a slick boxer, but I am going to make it uncomfortable for him.”
Intelligently Keeler is aware that Andrade’s previous opponents may have come to the ring with the same attitude and game plan only to be bamboozled by the skills advocate.
However, all his research shows the champion doesn’t like to be hit.
“I know it’s easy to say on the outside looking in why didn’t anyone else try that against him. There is a factor that he might be just that good, but I have seen where guys had some success put some pressure on him and then they took a step back and went into cruise mode. He is happy then not to get hit. He doesn’t like punishment. “