On the same night Muhammad Ali’s grandson will make his pro boxing debut on ESPN, a heavyweight named Cassius will attempt to launch what he hopes will be a successful stretch that leads to a career-changing opportunity in 2022.
Undefeated prospect Cassius Chaney is scheduled to box Shawndell Winters in a non-televised, 10-round fight Saturday night at The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts. Chaney will fight for the first time in eight months and will make his debut with a new trainer, BoxingScene.com contributor Stephen “Breadman” Edwards, in his corner.
Winters (13-5, 12 KOs), of Harvey, Illinois, is 40 and has lost three straight bouts. He gave former WBO champ Joseph Parker problems, however, before Parker stopped him in the fifth round of their February 2020 fight in Frisco, Texas.
“I feel like he’s a solid opponent for me,” Chaney told BoxingScene.com. “He’s gonna make me think, he’s gonna give me some rounds and I’m just looking to show better composure and boxing ability. I do feel like he’s gonna make me do that because he’s OK with boxing. He’s OK with just boxing and then try to lure you into something.
“But I just wanna showcase that I’m more composed now and the stuff that me and ‘Bread’ has been working on, I can implement in a fight. You know, I’m not going in there to rush to try to knock him out or anything. I just wanna take my time, be relaxed and then if the knockout comes, it comes.”
Chaney (20-0, 14 KOs), a Baltimore native who played Division II basketball for the University of New Haven, moved to Philadelphia almost four months ago to start working with Edwards, most known for guiding Julian Williams to 154-pound titles. The 6-feet-6, 250-pound prospect is 34, yet he is still learning on the job and trying to remain patient while his promoter, Main Events’ Kathy Duva, moves him toward a meaningful fight in the heavyweight division.
“I do know I have a really exciting style because I might get hit, I might not get hit,” said Chaney, who made his pro debut in April 2015. “You know what I mean? But I’m gonna get up and I’m gonna fight. Especially if you hit me, I just don’t care no more. So now, like, whatever. But I do feel like the heavyweight boxing scene, I just want it to be better in the U.S. I think we can, as a whole, as far as the fighters in the U.S., we can be better marketed for ourselves.
“I’m looking at this fight and then maybe George Arias [16-0, 7 KOs], and then, you know, if Andy Ruiz is there, that style would be good for me because I’m more of a boxer-puncher and I’m bigger. And under ‘Bread,’ there’s certain things I’m learning now that I really didn’t know, that I really didn’t think about previously. And I think it’s gonna make all the difference in the world, as far as my confidence going forward.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.