Although neither man is known for trash-talking, the high-stakes match-up is causing tempers to flare. The normally passive Eddie Chambers told Boxing Insider, "Right now Liakhovich is in my way. I always respect my opponent but I have to knock him out.... I plan on doing that and taking care of business on January 21st in impressive fashion."
Sergei Liakhovich, who had been silent until he learned of his opponent's bold prediction, said last week:
"I've fought 50 guys like Eddie Chambers, he's no problem. He does this thing where he moves to the right and throws a quick right hand. So many guys do that (and) it's no problem. Believe me."
Liakhovich has recently hired legendary trainer and former light heavyweight champ Eddie Mustafa Muhammad as his mentor and works out of the H.I.T. Factory Gym in Las Vegas. The two seem to be getting along well and sources say Eddie has the fighter known as the 'White Wolf' in the best shape of his career.
Sergei has been sparring eight hard rounds per day with fighters who can emulate Chambers' style such as gifted, young heavyweight Hasim Rahman Jr. Fully aware that conditioning will play a vital role in the bout, Liakhovich is also focusing more on road work, running 5 miles per day, 6 days per week at a nearby mountain range. "I am exhausted right now" he said. "But I've never felt better."
Liakhovich's trainer, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, contends Chambers will be in store for a big surprise if he thinks he'll be facing the same Liakhovich who lost to Robert Helenius in August. Muhammad has carefully outlined a strategy he believes will enable Liakhovich to dominate Chambers by taking away his speed. Asserting Chambers' only real weapon is speed, Muhammad said, "Once his speed is gone, it'll be time to go in for the kill. "We're coming to hurt Chambers - make no mistake about it."
Despite Chambers' much higher ranking in the division, insiders give Liakhovich a slight edge because his activity rate is usually higher than Chambers' and neither man is known for possessing tremendous power.
Chambers, who is credited with almost going the distance with unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2010, wants to use this fight to convince fans he's worthy of another shot. Conversely, Liakhovich and his trainer are very confident that a solid win over Chambers will be the first step towards Sergei's potential showdown with unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko or his brother, Vitali, the WBC belt-holder.
"I have no doubt that with the right plan and if he's in great shape he (Liakhovich) can beat the greatest heavyweights in the world." said Muhammad.
After a day of exhaustive workout sessions, Liakhovich was asked if he would create a pre-fight poem a la Muhammad Ali. He smiled and said. "I'm ready for Eddie".
FightSaga interview with trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad