By Ben Jacobs
Italy is well known for its fine food, beautiful cities, art, historical sites, a successful national soccer team and is considered a sports mad country. Nevertheless, boxing is not often found among the pages of its various sports only dedicated newspapers.
Unlike European countries such as Great Britain, Ireland and Germany, nations like Italy and Spain have a limited boxing following, and even more limited coverage in the media, even for current and former world champions.
That has not deterred Domenico Spada who has arrived in Mexico full of belief ahead of his tough bout with Marco Antonio Rubio on April 5. Although the 33-year-old is sad that his bouts do not receive the same type of coverage in his own country as they would if he were say English or American, at the same time he will not be bringing the Italian flag into the ring. Nor will he ask for the Italian national anthem to be played.
Speaking to BoxingScene from his hotel room in Mexico, Spada explained why:
“The reason I won’t represent Italy in the ring is because I have got tired of representing Italy around the world and they don’t even know me in my own country. I have gypsy origins so I will go into the ring with the gypsy flag.
“I’d be a world champion already if I were English. In Italy, unfortunately the only thing they value is soccer and prostitutes. Soccer, prostitutes and spaghetti.
“When I go abroad they always make fun of me for that. My victory may change things a bit. At least I hope so because I’m here to win. This will be a great fight because Rubio is not like Zbik and Barker who only fought dirty to win. All they wanted to do was clinch, clinch and clinch. I think Rubio is a great fighter and he’s very strong.”
‘Il Vulcano’ will have the opportunity to become the WBC interim champion at middleweight, something which he tried for in the past but came up short on two occasions against Sebastian Zbik in closely fought encounters.
“I’ve basically been in training since last summer, when I was due to fight Andy Lee, which never happened.
“I’ve had an excellent camp, especially with my new trainer. His name is Valerio Monti. I also have a new manager who is Giulio Spagnoli. I’ve been training at my own gym, the Vulcano Gym in Marino [near Rome].
“Unfortunately I have to fight away from home because where I live there aren’t a lot of chances to stage top level fights. I’ve fought in Germany six times, England once and now Mexico so it’s always down to me to pack my bags and travel. But I’ve come here to win.”
Sergio Martínez and Miguel Cotto will battle it out for the full WBC title on June 7 in New York. Spada will be keeping a close eye on that clash as he intends to fight the victor, should he win on Saturday night.
“I’d love to fight Sergio Martínez after this fight,” he declared.
“When I was the silver champion I wanted to fight him but he already had a fight lined up.
“I hope Martínez smashes Cotto’s face in because Cotto is a rude person. He thinks he’s some big superstar but he’s a nobody. At the WBC Convention in Cancun I asked him for a photo and he said no. He thinks he’s some Hollywood star. I really hope Martínez smashes his face in. I met Martínez once - he’s a good guy, and polite. I’ve got a lot of respect for him.
“I’d love to fight in Las Vegas or New York, in America in general. That’s every boxers dream.”