Chris Colbert has reached a point in his career where reactions to his fighting style and out-of-ring comments will either be fully embraced or roundly chastised.
Quite a bit of the latter has come to the surface in recent times, though it’s hardly anything new for the 24-year-old Brooklynite.
“I don’t feel like I get the respect I deserve,” Colbert told BoxingScene.com. “At the same time, I don’t care because they’re still watching me. They watch me to boo, and they’re watching me win. So, I do appreciate them.”
It remains to be seen which side has the louder voice ahead of his next fight, which takes place this weekend. Colbert (15-0, 6KOs) defends his WBA “interim” junior lightweight titlist versus 2012 Olympic Silver medalist and former featherweight title challenger Tugstsogt ‘King Tug’ Nyambayar (12-1, 9KOs), which headlines Saturday’s edition of Showtime Championship Boxing from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The bout comes seven months after Colbert's last performance, a sensational 11th round stoppage of Jaime Arboleda last November for the first defense of the interim title he claimed ten months earlier in a win over former 130-pound king Jezreel Corrales. The belt currently in Colbert’s possession puts him on a path to challenge current WBA “Super” 130-pound titlist Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (25-0, 24KOs), who claimed an 11th round knockout of Mario Barrios for a secondary title at junior welterweight this past Saturday. The feat topped a well-publicized Showtime Pay-Per-View event from a packed house at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
Colbert’s fight comes on the heels of that card as well as the headlines he generated with his own comments made on the subject of Deontay Wilder.
A video interview which was posted on FightHype saw Colbert offer strong opinions on the number of excuses offered by Wilder (42-1-1, 41KOs) in the wake of a seventh-round stoppage loss to Tyson Fury last February. Colbert also made a point to insist that Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) will once again in their third fight July 24 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I don’t care about what people say,” Colbert said, dismissing the backlash he has received at least from Wilder’s fan base. “I spoke my honest opinion. It’s like assholes, everyone has one. We all have opinions. I spoke the truth. I have the right to say whatever I want but it wasn’t like I was saying no lies about him. I was speaking the truth. We seen it with our own eyes.”
A strong performance this weekend could help win back some of the fans Colbert managed to alienate after speaking his mind. His own career progress is what matters most, with Colbert intending to fight for a major title by year’s end. That short-term goal remains in place, whether he has the undying support of his most loyal fanbase or is perceived as public enemy number one.
“I’m on my own path. I’m making my own name,” notes Colbert. “I don’t need nobody’s name to get where I need to be."
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox