Charles ‘Killa’ Whittaker is prepared for anything that comes his way - outside of the ring as well as inside - in his bid to reach boxing’s pinnacle and fight for the world title next year.
Whittaker tops the bill against Gabriel Rosado at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Friday on a televised NBC TV show. It is promoted by Main Events.
As the United States Boxing Association junior-middleweight champion and headlining the show, Whittaker, who is also No.2 ranked in the IBF ratings, should have all the advantages.
But he has been forced to take the fight in Rosado’s hometown and is only being paid $6,000 against the No.3 ranked fighter in a bout for the No.1 spot and a chance to fight world champion Cornelius Bundrage in his next bout.
Whittaker, 38, has admirably got his high ranking without being attached to a major promoter, unlike Rosado who is promoted by Main Events.
Teamed with long-time manager Raul Alvarez and trainer Norman Wilson, Killa has so far in his 19-year career has had to pay the price for staying independent.
Killa had his final training session at the D. Dalmain Ebanks gym on Monday before flying out the following day. He said: “I’m in a good place mentally and physically. I feel good having put in a lot of hard work in the gym and I’m ready.
“I’ve had one of my best training camps ever. For me, I’m never totally happy. I’ve not had one day of sparring yet that when I’ve left I was really happy. But my trainer’s been really happy with my work. When Norman is happy, I know it’s a few levels up from what most people would be content with.
“My sparring partners told me that my punches have been coming off hard.”
Killa has been sparring with local amateur light-heavy Dariel Ebanks and Keenan Collins. Whittaker outpointed Collins in the Cayman Islands last year and in his next bout Collins was outpointed by Rosado over 10 rounds and has given the West Bay fighter an insight into Rosado’s style.
Rosado, 26, has won 20 of his 25 bouts, including 12 by knockout. He has been taunting Whittaker in the build up, mocking his age and declaring he will knock him out in five rounds. “I’m not paying attention to Rosado, I’m too old and too wise to argue with little kids,” Killa said.
“When Rosado called in on Cayman27 TV last week, he didn’t say all that. Usually when you hear all that barking, the dog that’s doing the barking is saying that he’s frightened.”
Many acclaimed American boxing writers support Whittaker for a better deal. “It’s good to see that people recognise the injustices that are taking place and there are some willing to speak out. While I have my US papers, he is the American.
“It also goes to show that the people in Cayman who have been dismissing me over the years should think again because I’m respected more elsewhere and a lot more respected. It shows that people are paying attention to Charles Whittaker in the outside world.”
And if he needed any more motivation, Whittaker can draw on Sergio Martinez, the 37-year-old veteran, surviving almost being knocked out in the last round on Saturday to soundly outpoint Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, 26, on Saturday. “Chavez said that he was going to knock out Martinez,” Whittaker said.
Killa has won 38 (23 KOs) of his bouts, lost 12 and drawn two and is unbeaten since 2004. He predicted that Martinez would beat Chavez Jr and expects to do the same to Rosado.
“I haven’t paid much attention to watching Rosado on video. If I’m paying attention to him and he’s paying attention to himself, who’s paying attention to me?
“I’m only concerned with the work I’ve put in here. My sparring was hard, not easy at all. I did close to 100 rounds. I worked with two different guys in Florida, then came here and we had two guys. They alternated each round so were always fresh against me. I was feeling it. I put in a lot of work, so did Norman and Raul. Knockout Productions on a whole.
“Keenan said I’m the better fighter when I dropped him off at the airport.”
Wilson said: “The preparations are right on schedule. We did more sparring rounds than needed but I wanted to keep him at the top of his game. I didn’t want him to fizzle out or reach his peak too soon. I see Charles having a great time in the fight.
“I told him that whether he boxes or fights, he should have fun. Don’t get in there and not have fun. When you have fun it makes it that much easier for you. This is the biggest fight of his career and he understands what he has to do.”
The worry is that if it goes to points, Whittaker may not get a fair decision.
“Rosado had the advantage of having it in his hometown but guess what? We weren’t going to turn it down,” Wilson said. “If you do your job the way you’re supposed to and the judges and referee officiate correctly and you’re ahead, it’s your duty to do what’s right. If they do what’s right we have no problems fighting in somebody’s hometown.
“I don’t expect it to come to that because I consider the IBF to be a world class organisation. I don’t consider them to be a Mickey Mouse organisation, just starting out. These people been in business for years and I see their judges and referees as world class, just as the fighters are world class.”