With just two weeks until Williams Lake professional boxer Stuart McLellan marches into hostile territory to fight for a Canadian title, the pugilist is ensuring no stone is left unturned before fight night Feb. 9.
McLellan will face a hostile crowd in his opponent, Cody Crowley’s, home province in Peterborough, Ont. when he battles for the Canadian Professional Boxing Council 154-pound International Canadian Light Middleweight Title.
The Tribune caught up with McLellan earlier this week, who is busy putting in gruelling days of training at TLC Boxing in Denver, Colorado, as he prepares for the fight.
McLellan (25 wins, two losses and three draws with 10 knockouts), 32, is riding a 14-fight unbeaten streak into the Feb. 9 title fight, while Crowley is undefeated in his pro career with 16 wins and no losses.
Tribune: How has your training camp been going so far? You’ve spent quite a bit of time on the road training for this fight, it seems.
McLellan: It’s been rough down here (in Denver). I started out this year with a week training in Calgary working with Eric (de Guzman) at Teofista Boxing. I had a good week of work, then I’ve been down in Denver for the past eight days (as of Jan. 23) getting used to the air, training at altitude and doing two, three times a day training sessions and getting some good sparring in here at TLC Boxing.
Tribune: How did you link up with the team at TLC Boxing in Colorado?
McLellan: Long story short I needed somebody to work my corner when I was down in Mexico for a fight, and I asked Anthony Turner (TLC Boxing). Then I ended up fighting a guy 30 pounds heavier than me and found myself in a war, but ended up winning. They (my corner) kind of got me through everything, and then they said they wanted to work with me, so here I am. It’s been hard, really hard, but it’s what I need to go the full 12 rounds.
Tribune: Have you done anything differently in your approach leading up to this fight?
McLellan: Complete healthy living. Diet, all that stuff. We’re working a lot of techniques, and because Cody is lefthanded, we’re working on a lot of southpaw stuff. Down here we’re pushing it to the max for me to be in the best possible shape I can be. They spar what’s called doubles down here, so six-minute rounds with guys switching in and it’s really tough.”
Tribune: How do you feel you match up style-wise versus a southpaw?
McLellan: I faced a lot of them in amateur, but not as a pro. It’s been a bit more of an adjustment but at the end of the day I just do me and fight my fight. I don’t worry too much about what he’s doing.”
Tribune: Crowley is the main promoter, organizer for the event (Homecoming IV – Bad Blood). After you experienced what it’s like to help organize Teofista’s Unfinished Business card in Williams Lake last summer, do you think that will have an impact on his performance?
McLellan: Most definitely. He’s got a lot on his plate, and I know where he’s coming from. There’s a lot going on and your head’s in 50 places at once.
Tribune: How do you see the championship fight going down?
McLellan: I don’t predict how things are going to go. But I think he doesn’t understand my work rate. I’m a really busy fighter. It’s not always going to be the hardest punches, but I’m going to stay busy when he’s not and try to push him backwards because I know he doesn’t like to go backwards. He says he’s going to put the heat on me and back me up so we’ll see what happens. At the end of the day I find him very mechanical. He’s not a smooth-moving fighter, at all, by any means.
Tribune: How do you feel about fighting in your opponent’s home province?
McLellan: It’s going to be different than my last few outings (in Mexico and Williams Lake) but it’s nothing I haven’t seen a lot of times before. Whether I’m the hero or the villain I get a reaction from the crowd.
Tribune: Do you think Crowley is underestimating you?
McLellan: Most definitely. He’s in there training and sparring with these guys in Vegas thinking he’s a world champion, too, but by the looks of it and from what I can see he’s not that calibre, and he’s going to find that out on Feb. 9.
Tribune: Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
McLellan: I’d like to thank my team at TLC Boxing here — Donald Camarena and Anthony Turner — and Eric, Teofista boxing and my team back home in Williams Lake.