Travis "Freight Train" Walker, 31-2 (25), has been close to boxing's golden ring, only to have it snatched away, first to a poor stoppage and then a mental lapse that cost him a fight. In October of 2007, Travis was matched up against an unheralded TJ Wilson, who came running out of his corner in the first round and started throwing a series of wild punches at Walker , causing referee Raul Caiz to stop the contest after just 15 seconds. As was obvious to everyone but Caiz, Walker was never in any danger, but was still deemed out by the referee and handed his first loss. Walker rebounded from that fight and eventually had a rematch against Wilson , stopping him in the second round. Last August, Walker stepped up against his biggest test to date, a match against the fighter that some boxing writers have anointed as the next great American heavyweight, Chris Arreola. Walker had Arreola down and seriously hurt in the first round, but allowed Arreola back into the fight in the second and third rounds, which ended up costing Walker , as he was stopped in the third round.
Since that loss, Walker has recorded three straight TKO's and has vowed to return to the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. Standing in his way is heavyweight contender Manuel Quezada, 27-4 (17). These two heavyweight contenders will meet in Lemoore , California on Thursday July 16th on a card promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions. The winner continues on as a legitimate heavyweight contender, the loser rethinks his future.
Recently, Travis sat down with me to address this fight and his future.
Bob Carroll (BC): Travis, in October 2007 you suffered your first loss, a very controversial stoppage against TJ Wilson, 0:15 seconds into the fight. Were you really in any danger during that fight?
Travis Walker (TW): I don’t think so Bob, I just knew he was out of shape. I actually changed my game plan as soon as the bell rang. I was going to let him punch himself out real quick. He threw about 11 punches, but only hit me with three. I still don’t feel like he had any power to hurt me. You know I fought him since that and he still never hit me with anything that hurt me.
BC: How frustrated we you when referee Raul Caiz waved off the fight, and what was going through your mind at the time?
TW: I really did not understand the stoppage. After that, I really started questioning boxing man, all together. But, I had to get my mind right and come back at it!
BC: You redeemed yourself four months later against TJ Wilson, stopping him in the second round. Did you feel a sense of revenge after stopping him?
TW: Oh, yeah. Oh yeah, it still wasn’t really enough, but it felt good, it felt good mentally.
BC: In your fight with Chris Arreola, you had him in serious trouble, even dropping him in the first round. After that round, you seemed to be on the opposite end of the fight. What do you feel happened?
TW: Ah, I got excited. I didn’t stay calm and stick to my game plan. What I did, I got excited and tried to force the knockout, instead of allowing the knockout to come. When I did that, I went from boxing to fighting. You don’t want to just fight in this game. You have to stick with your plan.
BC: Looking back, what would you have done differently in that fight that would have changed the outcome?
TW: Just stuck to my game plan, just kept boxing. The knockout was so close to coming, the end of the fight was so close to coming. If I hadn’t tried to force a knockout, I would have had him out of there by the end of the third round. I actually saw quit in his eyes.
BC: In your opinion, is Chris Arreola the biggest threat to the European title holders?
TW: No, Travis Walker is the biggest threat in the heavyweight division.
BC: I like that answer.
BC: In my opinion, the better fighter lost that fight. Since that loss, you have won three straight fights, all by stoppage within the first two rounds. Are early stoppages part of your game plan now?
TW: Um, no. My game plan is to just let the knock out come. If it comes early, it comes early. If it comes late, it comes late. I know the knockout will come, all I have to do is stay patient and let it come.
BC: On Thursday, July 16th, you take on a tough, but very untested Manuel Quezada. How did this fight come about?
TW: This was a fight that has been in the works for quite a while. Quezada didn’t want to take the fight earlier, and it would have been for a lot more money earlier, but he wouldn’t take the fight. I guess he needs the money now, so he took the fight. He is a real good, I’ll say “stepping stone”, because beating him will help get my name back in the mix, because he is ranked higher than I am right now.
BC: Have you watched any tape and how familiar are you with Quezada?
TW: I have seen him fight. We fought on two cards together and I have watched tapes of Manuel. I see his style, he is a shorter heavyweight, his arms are short and I don’t see too much threat in his power. I’ll still keep him on the outside, take care of business from the outside, box him and be smart.
BC: What does Travis Walker hope to prove to the boxing world in this fight?
TW: That I’m still here man. I’m the heavyweight that everyone is looking for. I still have a lot to learn, but I learn every day man.
BC: What is your prediction on this fight?
TW: I don’t see this fight lasting past three rounds, with me winning!
BC: After this fight is said and done, who would you like to fight next?
TW: I want to go to Germany and get one of those guys out of the way, one of these big names over there that everyone is talking about. Especially since Eddie Chambers has now done it. I’m proud of Eddie, honestly, I’m proud of him and it is something that I would like to do. I’d love to go over to Germany and take out one those guy s that people are saying are the best.
BC: Travis, the floor is yours. What would you like to say to Travis Walker fans and the readers of Convicted Artist Magazine?
TW: I would like to say that if you are a fan, keep believing, if not, keep watching! I am going to give you everything you want. I train hard and fight hard. I’m here to be the heavyweight that the world is looking for! I am going to train extra hard for those who don’t believe me, just so they can find what they are looking for.