What is there to be said about Max Holloway’s big win over Calvin Kattar on Fight Island that hasn’t already been said? It was a masterful performance. The best we’ve seen Max Holloway, which says a lot given his performances against Brian Ortega, Jose Aldo, Ricardo Lamas, and more. A title shot-worthy victory. The fans and media have said it all. So how does Max feel about everything that happened Saturday on ABC?
“Just blessed,” Holloway said at the post-fight press conference. “Blessed to be on ABC. Blessed to have fans back. Blessed to be the first card of the year. Blessed to be here in Etihad Arena. The first time, the first main event. To set some numbers. I found out I hit him seven hundred and something times or something. That’s pretty cool, you know. I feel great. I was in my bag today. I felt good. Everything was rolling. I got some of the baddest men behind me, and that’s what happens.”
Holloway threw over 700 strikes in that fight, over 400 of which were significant strikes. By the end of the third round the fight started veering from showcase to massacre.
“Calvin’s a dog, man. Nothing but respect to him,” Max said. “He took everything. The kitchen sink. A fire truck. An ambulance. I threw everything at him … That guy. I had him doing the Mr. Robot a bunch of times in all kinds of rounds and he was still standing. I don’t know. It just shows how much of a dog he is.”
“As long as you can take it, I’m gonna give it,” he said. “And as long as the ref lets you stay in there, imma keep giving it. The fight don’t stop til the bell stops, so I just kept punching and kept punching and kept punching. I was telling my coaches, I was kind of tripping out, I didn’t realize I was throwing that much. In my mind I thought I was throwing maybe 10 or 15 or 20 punches per round. I was like ‘Why am I getting so tired?’ And then I heard the record, and said ‘Oh, that’s probably why.’ I gotta go back to math, I think third grade math is hurting my brain a little bit, Rush is rubbing off on me.”
Holloway admitted he had something to prove coming into this fight, what with many people bigging up Calvin Kattar’s boxing skills.
“Yous was calling me out, it’s funny because I was once known as one of the better boxers in MMA,” Holloway said. “And this guy was coming up and said what he said, said he was one of the best boxers. He didn’t even say it, I think it was you saying he was one of the best boxers. So I was like, I had a chip on my shoulder, I wanted to prove that Hawaiian boxing is a little different than these guys. And I got to go out there and do that little thing.”
“I saw the UFC posted to clip, it was pretty cool. I slipped a couple of punches, threw the no look right hand and then told him ‘What?’ Cuz he missed all his punches. So I was just having the time of my life. It was fun.”
Much has been made about Holloway’s decision to not spar leading up to this fight. Not only did he come in without injuries or general wear and tear, but he came in loving life and the sport instead of feeling ground down.
“You only get one brain, save it,” he said. “You sparred enough, you know how to punch somebody, you know how to slip a punch. Why you going to take unnecessary damage before the main game? That’s just the way I think. And everyone who keeps telling me on my stream or my Facebook, everyone who tell me I should be training? No! I’ve been training, baby. When I play games leave me alone. I want to play video games. So yeah, protect your head. If I have to tell an up-and-comer something? Be smart, figure out a way of taking less damage.”
Dana White declared that Holloway had done enough to earn another rematch against champ Alexander Volkanovski despite going 0-2 against the Australian in the past 12 months. But Holloway made it clear he didn’t want to wait on a champ that didn’t want to fight him.
“Volkanovski said, and this is his words, not mine: He wants a different fight,” Holloway said. “He don’t want a tougher fight. He wants a different fight. He didn’t say I want a tougher challenge. He knows who the toughest challenge is. He knows it’s me. So at the end of the day I’m not going to force someone to fight me. I’m gonna stay ready, do whatever I gotta do, and just be ready. Like I said, I’m here til next week, in case something happens in this crazy wild sport. Don’t be surprised man. Tune in next week to the PPV, there’s a bunch of surprises happening.”
“To get my first title, I had to win ten fights and an interim. Hard work. I ain’t scared of no hard work. And you know the saying: to be the best, you gotta beat the best. And the best is ‘Blessed’, baby.”
“I want legacy fights, I want big fights,” he finished. “I want fights like this on ABC. I want history. Belt or no belt, I want to fight. The champion says he wants a different fight. Like I said, he didn’t want a tougher fight. I want tough fights. You guys think someone’s the best fighter in the world, you let me know. I’ll sign on the dotted line.”