Maccarinelli's tribute to trainer Gary Lockett

Campaign Series: File photo dated 09/03/2008 of David Haye landing a punch on Enzo Maccarinelli during their WBC/WBA/WBO Cruiserweight fight at the O2 in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday November 17, 2013. David Haye is facing retirement from boxing aft File photo dated 09/03/2008 of David Haye landing a punch on Enzo Maccarinelli during their WBC/WBA/WBO Cruiserweight fight at the O2 in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday November 17, 2013. David Haye is facing retirement from boxing aft

COMMONWEALTH light-heavyweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli has paid tribute to trainer Gary Lockett for reviving his career.

‘The Big Macc’ stopped Jamaica’s Ovill McKenzie at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena in August and now makes his first defence against 2000 GB Olympic competitor Courtney Fry, at the Liverpool Echo Arena tonight. And he knows there can be no margin for error.

“I was pretty pleased with my last performance,” he said. “Everyone thought that I was finished and didn’t have that level of performance left in me. “They thought that the only way I’d be able to compete with Ovill was to back off and stay out of range of his power but I beat him at his own game.

“We knew Ovill was a come forward fighter but I felt so strong through training that Gary (Lockett) and I decided our best chance would be to meet him in the centre of the ring.

“I hope it sent out the message that I’m a real force to be reckoned with again at 12st 7(lbs).

“I know more than anyone that I’ve suffered some real bad knockouts in the past but the reality is I wasn’t boxing at my natural weight. Today, I’m pretty much the same weight inside the ring as I was when I was knocking out all those world class cruiserweights six or seven years ago. The only difference is that I hit the scales about a stone lighter.”

Indeed, Maccarinelli feels the sky is the limit at light heavy, especially with Cwmbran’s Lockett in his corner.

“As a cruiserweight champion, I’d weigh in and fight at about 13.6, 13.7, whereas my opponents were cutting weight to weigh-in at 14.4, then entering the ring even heavier than that. Often, I’d be conceding almost two stones, against world class opposition.

“After a bit of a fall out with Enzo Calzaghe, I was looking for a new trainer. Gary was the first one I tried and I immediately knew I should have hooked with him earlier. He smiles a lot more these days as a trainer than he ever did as a fighter!

“Above all, I’m a huge boxing fan and, at the Calzaghe Gym, there was no one to really talk to about boxing and the big fights that were happening until Gary started training there. He was also a real student of the game so we bonded quite quickly.

“Gary’s been there at world level himself and everything he does is in the best interests of his boys. He’s got Gavin Rees and me there – two former world champions - but treats us no differently to the youngsters who also train there. “Gary takes no messing and likes things done right. If we take a day off from training, we need a sick note from our mams!

“For a while, I’d fallen out of love with the sport. I’m a Catholic but, for a few years, I sort of lost the faith after my dad died and I discovered that my son has autism. But he’s making marvellous progress with his speech and can play on his iPad. It’s fantastic.

“Gary’s rekindled my interest and the old confidence is returning.”

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