Rumble with Cummings will go the distance pledges Meli

Conrad Cummings (left) and Alfredo Meli pictured in Belfast on Tuesday <br />Picture: Hugh Russell
Conrad Cummings (left) and Alfredo Meli pictured in Belfast on Tuesday
Picture: Hugh Russell

CONRAD CUMMINGS warns he’ll “chop him down like a tree”, but Alfredo Meli vowed he won’t go down for anyone as the temperature began to rise ahead of their November 20 barn-burner on Tuesday.

Meli predicted the fight would go all 10 rounds when the unbeaten Irish middleweights lock horns in a Celtic title battle. They met on Tuesday for the first time since their ‘All on the Line’ rumble at the Waterfront Hall was announced and neither intends to take a backward step on fight night.

“He thinks he going to put me away,” said Meli (11-0).

“But we all know I can go into the mix and last the full 10 rounds. I’m not going down for nobody. I haven’t yet and I’m not planning to. I plan to stay up for the full 10.”

A no-nonsense Belfast fighting man, Meli, added: “At the end of the day, it’s another fight to me.

“It’s a 50-50 fight, it’ll be a real hard workout and whoever the winner is, it’s going to be well deserved. I’m confident going into it, we’re all confident going into the ring.

“He knows what I can do, I know what he can do. At the end of the day, there’s no disrespect – I’m undefeated, he’s undefeated, I’ve got a good record, he’s got a good record, so we put it all on the line and there’s a title at stake. I hope it’s a crowd-pleasing show and hopefully, from it, we’ll get fight of the year.”

We might well do because the November 20 scrap is a clash of styles, personalities and even backgrounds. Meli works full-time as a Vauxhall mechanic, his roots firmly planted in the Lower Falls and he says he wouldn’t swap places with full-time London-based pro Cummings, who impressed in recent sparring sessions against WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee and title contender Billy Joe Saunders. ‘Dynamite’ suspects he is winning the psychological battle.

“He’s worried,” said the Coalisland man.

“He keeps mentioning going the distance, but I haven’t once said I’m going to stop him. I said ‘it’ll be an exciting fight, however long it may last’, so in his head he’s worried about my power already. He keeps saying ‘he’ll not stop me’ and ‘it’s going to go 10 rounds’, but I haven’t said I will stop him, so I’ve got into his head. He knows what I’m trying and he’ll know more on November 20.”

While Cummings will start favourite, he says he won’t try and force the pace too much on November 20.

“One of the main objectives in my training camp is to relax,” he said.

“Shane [McGuigan] keeps saying 'relax'. It’s really showing in sparring – I just chip away at these guys, I don’t need to lead up, I know my style and what my strengths are and I’m just going to chop him down like a tree.”

If he does win, he hopes to have an army of fans there to see it.

“Barry [McGuigan] could have got me on a show in England and it would have been awesome exposure, but I have a great support growing back home,” he said.

“I picked up hundreds of tickets and they’re gone already. Even though he’s from Belfast and I’m sure he’ll bring a few down, it’s going to be noisy. The whole of mid-Ulster is behind me and it’s great to see. Hopefully, I can put on a show for them.”

Also on the bill on November 20 are Belfast’s Marc McCullough and Scottish featherweight rival Jon Slowey. The pair were due to fight three years ago, but McCullough had to pull out through injury.

Their scrap has been labelled ‘do or die’ and McCullough, who bounced back from a shock knockout loss in Germany in July with a first round stoppage win last Saturday night, says bringing in a nutritionist has revitalised his career.

“I’m just looking forward to it, he comes with a winning record and he’s a nice tidy boxer, but I just think I’m too big and strong for him,” he said.