NEW YORK — Shortly after closing up shop at the Freeport PAL for the day, Joe Higgins reflected back on this past weekend, when his fighter Patrick Day registered his sixth straight win on the Alvarez-Kovalev II card in Frisco, Texas against Ismail Iliev. He’s relieved that he’s able to keep Day out of the gym, a difficult task given his dedication to training. While Day wasn’t at the gym today, and won’t be for another 2-3 weeks, he was doing cardio work and swimming to stay fit between camps.
Higgins admits that things could have been easier for Day in the unanimous decision win, and admits he was worried about how close some of the rounds were. Higgins told Day mid-fight that he was giving off the impression of being more exhausted than he actually was, and was pleased that Day was able to close the fight strong in the last two rounds.
“The great thing about a fight like this is, we’ve got so much to critique, and so much to learn from, and it’s just great stuff. The good, the bad and the ugly is right there on tape,” said Higgins.
“Iliev gave us all we could handle but in the long and short of it, his aggression really wasn’t effective. We ate some punches, don’t get me wrong but he missed 85-90% of those punches. Pat’s defense was really good and we threw the harder punches. We hurt him, he never hurt us.”
(READ: After winning on the B-side, Patrick Day shows he’s nobody’s opponent)
Day (17-2-1, 6 knockouts) took stock of what he’s been able to accomplish since 2016, after he had to rebound from a pair of defeats and rebuild his standing in tough fights as the “B-side” fighter. He expects to enter the IBF rankings after winning their regional title, and to move into the WBC’s top 15 after defeating the no. 13 ranked fighter. During his win streak, he’s defeated world ranked fighters like Virgilijus Stapulionis, and has beaten two undefeated prospects. Still, he believes some fighters will view him as a high risk guy given his two defeats.
“For a while they were like ‘this Patrick Day guy is all hype, he built his record up on whatever guys in New York, let’s take this kid down.’ Now they’re seeing oh this kid isn’t all hype, he is the real deal because I’m beating prospects,” said Day, a 26-year-old from Long Island, N.Y.
“People don’t have to like me, they can say he talks too much or doesn’t have that many knockouts, but at this point you’re gonna respect me. Because if you don’t respect my resume’ or what I’ve been doing in my last couple of fights, then you’re just delusional and lying to yourself, because there isn’t another 154-pound prospect who’s been doing what I’ve been doing in such a short amount of time.”
One fight that Day says he’d like is a clash with Erickson Lubin, a fellow Haitian-American fighter from Orlando, Florida who is scheduled to face former titleholder Ishe Smith this weekend on the Gervonta Davis-Hugo Ruiz card on Showtime. Day, whose parents were born in Haiti and speaks Creole, believes the fight can be a draw for Haitian-American fans in New York or Miami, and feels it would push his career in the direction he wants it to head in.
“The Haitian and the Haitian-American community would go absolutely nuts with that fight,” said Day of a fight with Lubin (19-1, 14 KOs), who is seeking his second win after a KO loss to Jermell Charlo in 2017.
“I was trying to fight Lubin in the summer of 2018 but his management didn’t seem like they wanted that fight for him. They were a little hesitant on it, so we were all for it. We want a top guy, we got to beat a name guy in order to take a step in this packed 154-pound division.
“They’re trying to bring him back carefully, Lubin hasn’t fought anybody, and when he did he got knocked out in the first round He had a comeback fight against a journeyman, and now he’s fighting a 41-year-old Ishe Smith.”
Day’s promoter Lou DiBella says he’d like to put Day back in the ring in four months after he rests following a tough fight.
“The biggest fight we can get,” said DiBella, when asked what he wants next for Day.
“I’m not looking to protect him, I’m looking to put him in there with another ranked guy at 154 for his next fight, and then if a big opportunity came next he would take it. But we’re looking for another ranked guy. We’re not looking to protect him; we’re looking to advance him.”
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at [email protected].
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