The undefeated super feather has set his sights on Leo Santa Cruz, but first, he must prove he's ready for "Prime Time" when he faces former titlist Jezreel Corrales Saturday night in a 130-pound world title bout live on FOX.
It seems like only yesterday when Brooklyn, New York’s Chris Colbert was considered The Big Apple’s premier prospect.
On Saturday, January 18, he could become its next world champion. Colbert, 23, 13-0 (5 KOs), takes on former world champion Jezreel Corrales, 28, 23-3 (9 KOs), at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, live on FOX PBC Fight Night (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). On the line is the interim WBA World Super Featherweight title.
Colbert broke training for his upcoming bout to discuss his quest to face four-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz in 2020, improved punching power, and the altruistic reasons for dying his hair different colors.
What are your goals for 2020?
I want Leo Santa Cruz by the end of this year. He’s got the WBA’s main belt. I’m focused on Jezreel Corrales for now, but after that, Leo Santa Cruz is the only guy that I want.
I’m going to tear Leo Santa Cruz apart because I know he’s vulnerable from what Carl Frampton did to him. I’ll beat him much worse.
How is training?
We're 11 days from fight night and I couldn't be happier with my workouts. I’m sparring bigger guys at 147 and 154, right-handers and southpaws. I can adapt and fight both styles, coming forward or moving back, side-to-side. I’ll give it to them any way they want it.
You were 4-0 with two knockouts in 2019 and have stopped three of your last six opponents. Are you looking for a KO versus Corrales?
My last fight with Miguel Beltran, even though I came into it with bruised ribs I told no one about, I got a devastating, one-punch knockout. The ribs are fine now, and Jezreel Corrales is a former world champion and a fighter I can build my legacy on. He’s wild and not accurate with his punches. He said I’m not ready, but I’m going to make him eat his words.
I’m always going to come out using my jab, which sets up everything you want to land. My jab will keep me in control and out of trouble, setting up my shots as I place my punches properly. I’m gonna go in there and work my jab and my body shots to take him apart, trying to get him out of there in the later rounds.
Are you consciously looking for the KO?
I already have superior speed and boxing ability over my opponents, and over the past five or six fights, my strength and conditioning coach and I have been working harder.
I never go in looking for the knockout, but my power is developing and the KO’s are happening more and more purely because of the skills I possess.
Now everyone is seeing the results. Overall, I just want to show the world that I can dominate anybody and everybody.
“ I’m focused on Jezreel Corrales for now, but after that, Leo Santa Cruz is the only guy that I want. ” Undefeated Super Featherweight Contender - Chris Colbert
Do you feel you’re making a name for yourself?
Yes. Since I was 4-0, I’ve already beaten three previously undefeated guys and two other guys who only had one loss coming into our fight, so none of these other upcoming prospects or contenders has faced the opposition I’ve faced.
Every time I step into the ring, it’s “Prime Time.” I leave an impression on primetime television either with great combinations, a big punch or something to remember from the fight, whether by knockout or spectacular performance.
I want the big boys and the big belts. We’re trying to keep it moving and I’m trying to beat every single opponent – all of the undefeated fighters, prospects and world champions – in convincing fashion.
What has your trainer, Aureliano Sosa, meant to your life and career?
I wear a sombrero because of my trainer, Aureliano Sosa, who is my mentor, my friend and father-figure. My trainer basically raised me and taught me everything in and out of the ring.
He’s turned me into the man that I am today. My own son, Prince, is 1 ½, and I do miss him when I’m training, but I don’t want him to get used to this boxing thing and want to do it.
Why the multi-colored hair-dying?
The hairdos aren’t just flash. I fight for myself, my swag and other things. The hairdos are in dedication for various awarenesses.
My color was gold for [Miguel] Beltran and childhood cancer, green for [Austin] Dulay [TKO 7, April 2018] and cerebral palsy, and pink for Mario Briones [TKO 2, April 2019] and breast cancer.
Red is for sickle cell. My next fight, I’m dying my hair purple for epilepsy. I dedicate my fights to people struggling with whatever they’re going through, like, “I’m with you, supporting you.”
Why the transition from the nickname “Lil B-Hopp” to “Prime Time?”
Bernard Hopkins is a legend. They said I fight like him, and some people still call me “Lil B-Hopp.” But I’ve learned so much, changed up the style and I feel that the name “Prime Time” is my own identity.
“Prime Time” speaks for itself. The “P” stands for preparation and patience. The “R” stands for responsibility to this game. The “I” stands for intelligence. I use my brain and intellect to always be on top of my game whenever I step into the ring.
The “M” is for managing my time and career. The “E” is me expecting and knowing what I was going to do in this boxing game, demonstrating that each time I’m in the ring. I know I’ll be one of the greatest fighters ever to lace up a pair of gloves when all is said and done.
For a closer look at Chris Colbert, check out his fighter page.