‘Porky’ Lovett looking to take out his frustrations on late replacement Masua
Interview by Anthony Cocks, Site Editor (June 2, 2005)
It goes without saying that any boxer who steps into a prizefight ring is tough. But boxers march to the beat of a different drum to those of us who have never laced up a glove and fight fans the world over reserve a special place in their hearts for fighters who are more than tough; they’re Tough.
Daniel ‘Porky’ Lovett is Tough. But don’t take my word for it; ask the Tooth Fairy.
“We used to get a dollar a tooth,” explained Lovett, 7-2 (5), after a recent sparring session. “One day mum was at work and my brother goes ‘We’ll rip your teeth out and get a dollar each’. So I said ‘Yeah, no worries’… He ripped out about four of my teeth with pliers and I said ‘How about we take some of yours?’ He goes ‘Nah, four dollars is enough’.
“My parents came home and there was blood all over the front step and four teeth in a jar. They thought we’d had a fight. We didn’t even realize that we wouldn’t get the money right away because the tooth fairy comes overnight, so it worked out being a waste anyway.”
Now that’s Tough.
2004 was a year of mixed fortunes for Lovett, who logged two win and an injury-induced loss. After sitting out the first six month of the year as he recovered from surgery to fix a sinus problem, the Cranbourne banger returned to the ring in July with an impressive third round stoppage of rugged Brett Culey. The fight was scheduled for twelve rounds with the vacant IBF Pan Pacific super middleweight title on the line. The fact that Lovett had never been extended beyond the eighth round didn’t matter, as Culey tasted the canvas twice in the first round before being rescued by the referee in the third.
“I hadn’t fought in ten months and I’d been training for a six rounder that was meant to be three weeks later, but that got cancelled,” said Lovett. “We got offered the Culey fight on the Tuesday night and went up to Sydney on the Thursday for the weigh-in and Jim [Slatter, Lovett’s trainer] was a bit worried about it being a twelve rounder. I said ‘Look, I’m going to treat it like a six rounder and if it goes any more than that he’s going to be just as stuffed as I am’. So that was more the case there and he just came straight at me and wanted to brawl, which suited me because he’s only short with short arms, so it worked out well.
“If he had of tried to box me it might’ve been harder for me because I would’ve been rusty and I would’ve had to find my distance, but with him walking straight up to me all I had to do was throw it out and he walked onto it.”
Lovett returned to the ring in September when he turned in his most impressive performance to date in the main support bout to Danny Green versus Omar Gonzalez. Facing off against experienced Uruguayan Enrique Alberto Campos, Lovett fought a measured, composed fight that comprised of a savage body attack backed up by well placed left hooks and straight rights upstairs.
Campos tasted the canvas in the sixth round and again in the twelfth before Lovett eventually put him away at 2:17 of the final stanza.
“It’s probably better than knocking them out in the first round actually,” admitted Lovett, “because I proved to myself and everyone else that I can do twelve and come home hard and finish good, so that was awesome. Nine and ten was hard, but up to eight was easy. But then I thought ‘I’ve still got half of this again’. I slowed down a little bit for ten and a little bit for eleven, but after eleven I thought I’ve still got a bit left, so it worked out good.”
Lovett enjoyed a flawless preparation for the Campos fight, which was largely responsible for the 21-year-old concreter’s peak condition come fight time.
“Coming up to that fight I’d been doing a lot of sparring with Stewart Moller,” said Lovett. “We’d been doing six rounds, maybe seven, but always at a good hard pace. And then when I’ve jumped in with Campos it was a bit hard to pull back and just get used to that pace. That was one of the biggest things I had to deal with, just controlling the pace of the fight.”
In December, Lovett stepped into the ring again to make the second defence of his Pan Pacific title against Shannan Taylor trained fighter Joel Burke. Burke, who has shared a ring with former WBC interim champion Danny Green and hot prospects Victor Oganov and Sakio Bika, was expected to test Lovett, but the fight took a disappointing turn in the first round when Lovett re-injured his left hand.
“It was disappointing from probably the end of the first round until when it ended,” he said. “My preparation for it was real good, which is what probably disappointed me the most. My weight was good, my fitness was good, my sparring was good. Then I hurt my hand about ten days before the fight sparring Arthur Tsakonas and I thought I’d rest it and see how it was. It felt good at work and training, just doing light stuff. But as soon as I got in there with my hands strapped tight, at the end of the first round I hit the bottom of his elbow and then that was about it.”
Lovett fought on through eight rounds of excruciating pain before retiring on his stool. With his hand now fully healed, Lovett has been chomping at the bit for his chance to avenge this loss.
“I’ve wanted that pretty much from since I got out of the ring up there,” he said. “It’s something I really want.”
Lovett will have to wait a little longer for his chance at redemption than he expected. The Burke rematch was originally scheduled to take place this Friday at Club Nova in Newcastle, New South Wales, but the rugged 29-year-old from Wollongong excused himself from the fight by claiming an unspecified injury. Instead, Lovett will be facing tough Kiwi journeyman Timo Masua for the vacant IBO Asia Pacific super middleweight title in a fight that is unlikely to go the distance.
Lovett, who has cultivated a large fan following not just in his native Cranbourne but all around Australia, credits much of his success to his trainer Jim Slatter, who has been working with him since his mid-teenage years.
“I’ve been with Jim since I was 14 or 15 and there’s no way I would leave him,” said Lovett. “We’ve got a real good relationship, which a lot of fighters don’t have. It does make a difference because you see some trainers training all fighters the same and it doesn’t always work. Jimmy knows me inside and out. He knows in when I’m on, when I’m off. I think it’s great. He’s one of the main reasons I am where I am today. I wouldn’t leave him for anyone really.”
Slatter’s training methods and corner instructions couldn’t be more opposed to Lovett’s original trainer, who used to give him the simplest of advice before his amateur bouts.
“Show ’em you can whack, he used to say,” laughed Lovett. “At 13 or 14 I must’ve been able to punch for a kid, but that was all it was. Go out and whack. I used to train with him, then we went over to Jimmy’s gym to spar… I think Jimmy has my best interests at heart. He wouldn’t try to hold me back and I know that if there was anything he could do or say or put me onto anyone that could get me anywhere better, he’d be the first one to say.”
Although it is still early days in this young pup’s career, he has already learnt some valuable lessons that he will be able to draw on as he continues to mature as a professional. There’s no doubt that the kid can still ‘whack’ with either hand, but it is his poise and versatility in the ring that really impresses.
“When I fought Campos, definitely my composure and fitness is what got me through,” said Lovett. “But when I fought Culey there wasn’t much composure in that, it was more just strength and hard-hitting. It was the same when I fought Burke, just trying to pace myself and box because he is so awkward. So I think maybe just the fact that I can adapt to different fights is my main strength. I’m not a brawler, I’m not a boxer, I’m not a puncher, but it depends on the fight. I don’t mind having a punch-up if I think I can do it, but I don’t mind sitting back and having a box if that is the case as well.”
The future certainly looks bright for ‘Porky’ Lovett, who says that he will keep fighting for as long as he enjoys doing it. And at the moment, he’s having a ball.
“I just want to take it one fight at a time,” he said. “I’ve got good people around me who make the decisions like that. I just want to keep feeling good and keep liking it as much as I do and with the decisions they make and the training and the fighting that I do, hopefully I’ll get somewhere that’s worthwhile. I don’t set goals because if I fall short I’ll be disappointed. If I just give it my best I’ll be happy.”
One thing is for sure. Lovett’s brothers certainly wouldn’t be threatening to pull out his teeth these days.
“They always say we were lucky we got you when you were young!”
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