By Alexey Sukachev
Dmitry Pirog will seriously consider retirement if a bout with one of the middleweight stars isn’t secured in the near future. Pirog (19-0, 15 KOs), 31, the reigning undefeated WBO middleweight champion of the world, was featured as a hero during a specifically designated press conference to honor him as the best Kuban sports person in 2011 (Kuban is a huge river in southern Russia, a native land for Pirog). The media meeting took place in Krasnodar, just near his hometown of Gelendzhik.
“The gap of time between my last title defense (against Gennady Martirosyan), and the next one, has definitely been too long. The reason is that negotiations with possible opponents are just under way. They started immediately after I stopped Martirosyan and they are still ongoing I’ve raised the standard rather high and I don’t want to let anybody – myself, my team or the fans – down. Yes, I’m looking for the unification, I need it badly! I wish to meet other champions in the ring to unify all of the belts in the division. That’s what I want! It’s a risky business, you know, and it’s a bit unusual for modern titlists to issue such challenges. Modern champs are interested in earning easy money; they want to fight on TV against safe, barely live opponents, to score meaningless victories. I have never put any accent on earning money in boxing. I don’t need it that bad as I have some. Maybe that’s the secret of my success – I fight only to prove myself and I’m ready to risk. I’m prepared to fight the best of the division: Sergio Martinez (The Ring), Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (WBC), Daniel Geale (IBF) and Felix Sturm (WBA). But for various reasons those fights are out of reach. Those guys don’t want any part of me”.
- Why so?
“Chavez Jr. is the son of the legend, and he is well protected to speak frankly. They put him against those guys, who are quite popular but who are definitely over the hill at the time of their fights with the kid.
We tried to reach a deal with Sergio Martinez. I have personally flown to America. The people with Team Martinez said to me that he doesn’t want to fight such a clever boxer like myself. It’s understandable: if he loses, he will lose a whole lot of opportunities on HBO.
Geale is very much like me. He also struggles to get along with HBO or Showtime; the American cable giants aren’t too interested in him. They are monsters, they have all the money. Geale is fairly known in America, I’m a bit popular in Russia. I was ready to fight him in Australia but he again chose not to take the risk…
There’s no response from Sturm as well. He is supported by a well-known German TV channel. There were rumors the cable chiefs wanted Sturm to take a risk, to fight dangerous opponents, and my name has also been thrown in the mix, and I was ready to fight abroad but…
I’m not here to earn money. I’m here for the love of the sport. I will tell you one thing; I have never told it anyone beforehand… I’m not excluding the possibility of retirement if none of the champions will fight me. I’m ready to hang’em up if I will be limited to the present level of opposition. I’m fully sure I can make a bigger impact - not as a boxer - but in another role.
I have thought much about it and I feel that I’m very disappointed with modern prizefighting. It’s all about earning money, and I don’t want any part of it. For me boxing is a sport, and I won’t go against my beliefs”.