By Ben Jacobs
Miami-based Juan Carlos Payano (17-0, 8 KOs) is looking to show that his victory over Rau’shee Warren (13-1, 4 KOs) last August was no accident.
In an exciting clash between the two former Olympians, Payano took a split decision victory in the first defence of his WBA world bantamweight title, thus handing Warren his first defeat as a professional, although some observers felt that the Ohio man may have done enough to get the nod.
Speaking to BoxingScene.com just days before the rematch, Payano, from the Dominican Republic, revealed he felt it necessary for the two men to face off once again.
“It’s clear that I won that fight but a lot of people still have doubts, so now we can show with the rematch that I can win clearly,” the determined southpaw insisted. We have a good game plan for this second fight and I believe it will be better than the first one.
“If people sit and watch the first fight carefully, they will see that I won it. The crisper and harder punches were landed by me. I was always on top of him, as the champion I was putting pressure on him and landing combinations ahead of him.”
Payano and Warren know each other well. Aside from their first professional encounter, they also fought in the amateurs with Warren emerging as the victor. As such, Payano has a healthy respect for his rival.
“We are two warriors, we are experienced both amateur wise and professionally, we are both good boxers. He is doing his job and I’m doing mine, the man who has the best game plan will win the fight.
“I can’t take any credit away from Warren, he’s a tremendous boxer and I know it will be an excellent fight,” he added.
“I feel good physically and mentally. I have worked very hard for this fight on Saturday, we have worked on our errors and trained very hard. We’re going to win.”
Payano had at one point been lined up to face former world champion Kiko Martínez, although that fight never came to fruition due to a hand injury sustained by the Dominican. Now healthy, he hopes to fight more often this year.
“I will fight anyone in the division, the names don’t matter to me. I make the weight quite comfortably, I’m not one of these boxers who has to drain himself to make the weight, so I don’t see myself moving up divisions any time soon.”