By Chris Perry
NABA Lightweight Champion Dorin Spivey returns to Atlantic City this Friday to defend his title at “Go Fight Friday Night!” promoted by Diane Fischer Cristiano of Dee Lee Promotions at the Tropicana Casino & Resort.
Spivey (41-6-0, 30 KOs) of Portsmouth, Virginia brought the Tropicana Showroom crowd to their feet in what many hailed as a Fight-of-the-Year candidate with a seventh round stoppage over the hardcore veteran Victor Vasquez. He hopes to do the same this Friday against “Lighting” Rod Salka (16-1-0, 3 KOs) of Bunola, Pennsylvania in the ten-round featured bout of “Go Fight Friday Night!”
At 39-years-old, Spivey’s goal of securing a world title opportunity may be closer than ever. He knows, however, he must first focus on the task at hand.
I knew Vasquez would be real tough. And, fighting in front of his hometown fans, I knew he’d be very motivated. I knew he would come at me and I would really have to impose my will on him to break him down. He’s a tough guy. God bless Victor Vasquez and his team. He’s tough. A lot of heart and desire. But it was a great performance for me. I though it was one of my better performances and I think the one coming up will be even better.
The Vasquez fight was a great opportunity for me to win my title back – which I never should have lost. To win the title back and do it in such a good fashion in front of a tough crowd in Atlantic City against a tough Philadelphia fighter it was a great moment for me. Unbelievable!
How has training camp been and how are you feeling at this point?
This is the best training camp I have had in my career. I thought the Vasquez fight was, but this is by far the best training camp I have had in my twenty year career as a boxer. I’m in the best shape of my life. I know fighters say that sometimes just to say it and sound good, but I mean it. I just did twelve rounds on the heavy bag, non-stop, and I’m not breathing hard. I’m going to do a six-mile run after this interview. This is the best, relaxing training camp I’ve had as far as not having to deal with negative energy or negative people. Everything is positive. There is just so much positive energy in this training camp, it’s such a great feeling.
I’m training at three gyms. I train at Wareing’s Gym, I do my sparring at Bushido Mixed Martial Arts Academy and strength work at Flex Gym with “Big” Al Walke. “Big” Al has really made me stronger as a fighter.
For the Vasquez fight, I lifted weights in training for really the first time in my career. I was strong for that fight, hitting hard, but I’m stronger now than ever before. I’ve doubled up on my running. I do no less than twelve-miles a day. Sometimes I will run 18 to 24 miles in a day. I don’t have to, but I do it because I want to and want to stay in good condition. I’ve put so much road work in and I mix it up running outside and on the treadmill.
This is by far the best condition I’ve ever been in. I’ve been so motivated for this fight and so amped up. I’m always motivated when I fight, but this fight coming up is special as I’m coming in as a champion defending my title.
I haven’t seen any tape of the guy and really know nothing about him. I do know he beat Victor Vasquez early in Vasquez’s career and he beat Angel Rios, another guy I fought not too long ago. So the kid can fight. He’s never been knocked out or knocked down. Tough kid. A lot of heart. I think he’s going to be very hungry and present a big challenge to me. But I just know I’m in the best shape of my life. Regardless of what he brings, I’m going to bring something better. That’s not boasting or bragging, it’s just having confidence in my conditioning and my ability to get in there and perform.
You have a young hungry fighter who has his biggest test coming. And I’ve got my biggest test coming for me. For every fight, I don’t take anyone lightly. I’m training for this guy like I’m fighting Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. I’ve got to be at the top of my game. Like I said, I know nothing about the guy. I haven’t seen video on him. All I know is he’s 5’6” tall. I guess he’s a slick boxer. I’m going to use my experience to pick up his timing and get the feel of him. I’m going to come out behind my stiff, hard jab. That’s the main thing, working behind my stiff jab and putting it all together. My technique, combinations, skills and experience – I’m going to need it all for this guy because he’s going to be a young hungry tiger. I’m going to put twenty years of experience into this fight.
Your goal has always been to fight for the lightweight championship of the world. At 39-years-old, what would you say to those who think you are too old to be seeking a world title shot?
It’s funny. I know I’m a miracle man of God at 39 to still be doing what I’m doing at lightweight after a twenty year career. This is very rare. Hopkins and Foreman, what they did winning titles was amazing. Incredible. But they were bigger guys. Hopkins relied on his experience, Foreman relied on his power. At the lightweight division you rely on speed and reflexes. What’s amazing is I’m still throwing over 100 punches a round and I still rely on my reflexes, not just my experience, throwing punches in bunches. Too still be able to do that at my age, I know I’m God’s miracle man. God is with me giving me strength to do this. Plus, the lifestyle I live. I live clean. I never smoke. I never drink. I’m not out partying and chasing women. I’m living a good lifestyle and I never had a amateur fight. A lot of guys get burned out in their 30’s because they had so many amateur fights. My body is fresh. I’m just reaching my prime at 39.
I could probably go another five years if I wanted to, but I don’t want to go that much longer. I want to go another year-and-a-half, get a world title shot, win it, defend it a few times and then ride off into the sunset. But right now, I’m focused on Salka. This is the big shot for me. I’m not looking down the road. I’m taking this fight as if it’s the toughest fight of my life. It’s going to be a great fight. I’m looking forward to it and I want to show people that at 39, close to 40, you’re not dead. There is still life here.
Are you as close as ever to your world championship goal?
Absolutely. We actually had a verbal agreement to fight Richard Abril (WBA interim champion). Somehow the fight didn’t happen. I think Richard Abril is a good fighter and a great champion. The WBA has me ranked number eight now. Hopefully I will continue moving up. Like I said, I’m not overlooking Salka. If God blesses me to get through the fight and I win it, then hopefully I get a world title shot in my next fight or the fight after that. But that’s down the road. Right now I’m focused on this fight. If I don’t get through this, then I won’t get a world title opportunity.
Comments From Team Spivey
Head Trainer John Hunter and Assistant Trainer Jake Wareing agree Spivey is in the best shape and conditioning of his career.
“He says he’s in the best shape of his life and I believe it,” Hunter told FightNews. “He just did 12-rounds on the bag and the last couple rounds were stronger than the first. He’s in outstanding shape.”
“There is that famous saying, ‘The good Lord gave us a body that can do almost anything. It’s our minds that we have to convince,’” said Wareing. “I think Dorin is finally convincing himself that he can do almost anything. He’s got the conditioning to go twenty rounds. His boxing skills are there. Everything is there. I think he’s finally in a place where he’s genuinely happy. He’s at a good place in his life and I think that goes a long way with this fight.”
“A lot of Dorin’s conditioning comes from his passion and love for boxing,” continued Wareing. “He’s thinking boxing 24-7. When he’s running on the treadmill, he’s visualizing himself in the fight. He never really takes a day off. Even though I want him to take a couple day’s off. The hardest part is to get him to relax. There are a lot of fighters out there that don’t go into a fight fully prepared. They just want to do the minimum. When Dorin prepares for a fight, he puts in the hard work. His mindset is for that fight 24-7.”
“I heard he was a boxer that can move and has pretty fast hands,” said Hunter on Salka. “We’re going to start out boxing and make any adjustments we need to heading into the second and third rounds. We’re prepared for anything. If he boxes, we’re going to cut the ring off and make him fight. I heard this kid has never gone more than eight rounds. The longer the fight goes, I think it will be more in Spivey’s favor because he’s in outstanding condition.”
Comments From Promoter Diane Fischer Cristiano
New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame promoter Diane Fischer Cristiano is known for her exciting and unpredictable boxing cards. “Dorin’s a really exciting fighter,” Fischer Cristiano told FightNews. “Rod Salka, I’ve never seen him fight, but’s he’s a young kid and this is a big opportunity for him. There’s a lot of talk about this fight around town and I think it’s going to be a great fight.”
“I have a great card,” said Fischer Cristiano about her “Go Fight Friday Night!” event.
Nine supporting bouts are scheduled showcasing outstanding boxing talent and rising stars including Norfolk, Virginia heavyweight Dorsett Barnwell (7-0-0, 3 KOs), Atlantic City super middleweight Antowyan Aikens (5-0-0, 1 KO), light heavyweight Frankie “The Freight Train” Filippone (9-2-1, 2 KOs) from Norfolk, Virginia and Las Vegas, Nevada native Christina Kwan (0-1-0). Tickets starting at $40 are on sale through Ticketmaster and at the Tropicana box office. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. with the first bout scheduled at 8:00 p.m.
“My cards are good,” continued Fischer Cristiano. “One of the newspaper guys said to me, ‘one thing about your cards Diane, we don’t know who’s going to win’. That’s a great compliment in this business.”
“He should be world lightweight champion,” continued Fischer Cristiano about Spivey. “Some think he’s too old, but he is just unbelievable. He lives a clean life. He runs twenty miles a day. His mind is set for it. If he doesn’t go for a world title within the next year, I don’t know what else to do. He deserves a shot.”