By Ben Jacobs
Jose Uzcategui (26-1, 22 KOs) has been patient, but after waiting a long time for his shot at the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title, he is ready to unleash his frustration on Andre Dirrell (25-2, 16 KOs) on May 20.
The Venezuelan, who resides in Mexico, last fought in August of 2016 when he defeated Fabiano Peña via second round knockout. Despite the ring absence, he has been training in San Diego, California and in Big Bear where he sparred the likes of talented super middleweight David Benavidez.
“I’m in San Diego again after being up in Big Bear,” he explained to BoxingScene.com. “I sparred Benavidez and even though we didn’t do many rounds, he helped me and I helped him for his fight with ‘Porky’ Medina.
“It’s going to be a hard fight for Benavidez as ‘Porky’ has a lot of experience. He’s got a lot of hunger to win. I see it as a 50/50 fight. ‘Porky’ is strong and has fought against better opposition but Benavidez is strong as well.”
Speaking of his own rival, Uzcátegui is not impressed with Dirrell’s recent displays and feels the American is past his best ahead of the upcoming interim title clash.
“I saw his fight with DeGale, I haven’t watched much else. I don’t really care what he brings to the table, I don’t care if he’s a difficult opponent. I’m well prepared and I will win, that’s the most important thing. I can’t wait to get in the ring and shut his mouth for what he’s been saying about me. I will knock him out.
“I believe Dirrell is a bit beaten up, he doesn’t take a good punch and I am very strong, I’m at my peak, the 26-year-old continued.
“I know that at any moment during the fight the lights will go out for him. I know what I have and the power in my hands. The party will be over for him. I’m ready to fight 12, 13 or 15 rounds if necessary. I assure you this fight will not go to a decision.”
‘Bolivita’s belief in his power is such that he is convinced that IBF champion James DeGale will likely avoid fighting him for the full title.
“They know what will happen if they fight me. Every time they talk about me and DeGale there is always some excuse for it not happening. I hope he gets better from his injuries and then we can fight or he can vacate it. But they know the risk of fighting me.”
José lives the majority of the year in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico having moved there from Venezuela six years ago. He decided to host his training camps in San Diego due to the proximity with his home south of the border as well as having an American trainer.
“I feel a little bit Mexican after being here so long, although of course I am Venezuelan. My country is going through difficult times but I know a solution will be found.”