When Balimore, Maryland native Tim Coleman (16-1-1, 4 KOs) last fought in front of a nationally televised audience he nearly upset unbeaten James De La Rosa back in October of 2008. In fact the ring announcer initially announced Coleman as the winner in error but quickly corrected himself and announced De La Rosa as a close decision winner. Since the loss to De La Rosa, Coleman has strung together two victories including a rematch with veteran Martinus Clay. The two had a draw in 2007 but Coleman won the rematch by way of a wide margin unanimous decision. Coleman will once again get an opportunity in front of a live national audience to show that he’s ready for contender status when he takes on former world title challenger Mike Arnaoutis (23-3-2, 10 KOs). The bout will take place this Thursday at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom, in New York, New York and will be a scheduled for 12 round main event for the vacant USBA light welterweight title. The Versus network will televise. Fightnews spoke with Coleman as he closed out his training camp. Coleman spoke on his new trainer, dropping down to junior welterweight, and why this fight is a must win for him.
I understand your training camp for this fight was in England. Why was that?
I originally was scheduled to face Marvin Cordova and was preparing for that fight in at Freddie Roach’s wildcard gym in Hollywood, California but when that fight fell out I left for England to train with Lee Beard.
How did you and the British based trainer Beard get together?
I was sparring with Ricky Hatton as he got ready for his fight with Paul Malignaggi. I saw the kind of physical shape Lee got Ricky into and how he helped prepare Ricky for the Malignaggi fight along with Floyd Mayweather Sr. It was really impressive. Aside from that we get along really well outside of boxing.
What went wrong with your fight with De La Rosa?
I have no one to blame but myself. I was doing fine in the fight just boxing but I got away from the game plan and fought his fight. The loss brought me down to earth as it was my first and only professional loss. While I didn’t stick to the game plan I didn’t embarrass myself either as the fight was very close on the official judges scorecards. All the judges had it 96-94. It was a lesson learned and now I’m moving forward.
You’re fighting for the first time in over 4 years at the junior welterweight limit of 140. Do you feel this will make a difference for you?
My manager Camero Mercer and I both believe so. I’m going to be a lot stronger at 140 pounds. At my height of 5ft6 junior welterweight is the weight I should be fighting at for sure.
Any concerns on possibly having to fight 12 rounds for the first time in your career?
Lee Beard has me in excellent shape. I have no concerns at all about the possibility of fighting 12 rounds. My conditioning is excellent for this fight and I’m more than ready to go the distance should I have to.
Any concerns with Arnaoutis being a southpaw?
I’ve fought southpaws in the past and haven’t had any problems. A lot of southpaws are tentative by nature and if Arnaoutis fights that way I will capitalize on that.
How important is this fight to you at this point of your career?
This is a must win for me. If I don’t win I will be considered just an opponent and if that’s the case I would be better off just getting a job. To get to the next level I’ve got win this fight and that’s what I’m coming to do.