Walker looks to revive boxing career with new trainer
By St. Clair Murraine Outlook staff writer
Former top-ranked heavyweight Travis Walker has a new attitude about his career that he believes a new trainer could help him salvage and get back in the top-10 world ranking.
While admitting he might be second-guessed at age 36, Walker insists that trainer Yahya McClain is taking the right approach to reviving his career. No more taking fights against undefeated fighters on late notice is rule No. 1 that McClain has laid down.
Taking those kinds of fights have resulted in a seven-fight losing streak for the Tallahassee boxer.
“I had a lot of fights with guys who were ranked really high,” said Walker, whose 31 knockouts in his 39-14-1 record is still one of the highest ratios among active heavyweights. “I took those fights because I felt I could beat these guys.
“But honestly I wasn’t in the gym like I was supposed to be. Any day I was in shape, I would have knocked those guys off and put my career back in place.”
Since joining up with McClain in Atlanta last fall, Walker has been concentrating on fixing the mistakes that led to his current slide. So much so that this past week when Shannon Briggs called on Walker as a last-minute fill-in for an opponent who pulled out, Walker and McClain turned down the offer.
In part, Walker said they made the decision because of an offer to fight in Tallahassee on June 18. Fighting at home would be ideal for reviving his career, he said, but he wasn’t sure that the fight card planned for the Civic Center will come off.
Meanwhile, Walker said McClain is taking a no-nonsense approach they focus in on being ready whenever the right fight comes along.
“He is preaching to me day by day by day about things I should do to get back to the top,” Walker said. “I’m taking his lead to take me where I need to be.”
McClain said that despite Walker’s age he has a better-than–average shot as any of the current top heavyweights. He pointed to other fighters like 40-year-old former champion Wladimir Klitschko who is ranked in the top 5 as proof.
He questioned whether younger champions like Deonte Wilder and Joshua Anthony could beat a prepared Walker.
“The talent pool is not where it once was,” McClain said. “Any fighter that has been close should be like, ‘man, I’ve got to get in the game because I could beat any of those guys.”