by David P. Greisman
Don’t mention Chicken McNuggets right now — Donovan George is hungry, and he can’t have any.
He’s hungry because he has to make middleweight for the first time in his pro career, and is just a few days away from stepping on the scales for his bout against David Lopez on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights.”
In the eight and a half years he has been a professional boxer, the closest Donovan George ever got to the middleweight limit was in his third pro bout, when he came in at 161 pounds, according to BoxRec.com. Since then, he has stepped into the ring as heavy as 172.5 pounds, but has mostly competed as a super middleweight.
“My whole career at super I was a smaller guy,” George wrote on a chat on ESPN.com on Monday. “I was fighting monsters. I would ask my managers how I get to fight some of these guys. But now I might be the shorter man, but I will be the stronger man. I could be close to 180 on fight night and I'll be good and strong.”
But that move isn’t the easiest, he wrote.
“It's been a grueling training camp. I haven't been 160 since I was 15 or 16,” George wrote. “It's been difficult. I've been dieting. I haven't had anything delicious in a long time. I will make it.”
Judging by the chat, food was clearly on his mind.
His diet “stinks,” he wrote at one point, then explained: “Everything that you could imagine that is good, you can't have. Even fruit, you can't have it after about 4 because it has a lot of sugar. I enjoy running, I enjoy the work, but it's the food part that stinks.”
And the fact that this is a Friday bout meant he had less time separating himself from a good meal, he wrote at another point.
“I actually prefer to fight on Friday. Once that week starts, I figure it's one less day you have before the weigh in and I can eat. Now I only have a few more days before I weigh in and can eat like normal.”
And he’s not just thinking about what to eat after the weigh-in, but also after the bout itself.
“I'm going on about a week straight of McDonalds,” he predicted. “I love chicken McNuggets. I'll go about a week straight with breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
George, 28, is coming off an opening-round knockout win over an 11-4-1 opponent named James Cook. That win, in February, brought his record to 24-3-1 with 21 knockouts. It was his first bout back since a 12th-round stoppage loss this past October against Adonis Stevenson in a bout that earned Stevenson a shot for the International Boxing Federation world title at 168 pounds.
Lopez, 35, is 41-13 with 23 knockouts. His last appearance was in May 2012, a unanimous decision over Julio Cesar Garcia. Prior to that, he lost a unanimous decision in a title bout against beltholder Austin Trout in a fight that took place in June 2011.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]