Slimmer Byrd ready to feast on light heavyweights
In six months, Chris Byrd dropped 36½ pounds and two weight classes -- without a nutritionist or fitness guru. Now, the former heavyweight champion is ready to pick on guys his own size, starting with Shaun George on Friday.
For more than a decade, Chris Byrd, who won a silver medal at 165 pounds in the 1992 Olympic Games, masqueraded as a heavyweight. It was a pretty good ruse, as Byrd became a two-time heavyweight champion.No more. After 14 years of playing with the big boys, Byrd is doing the unheard of. He is dropping down two weight classes to compete as a light heavyweight. Only two men have ever won a middleweight and heavyweight world title -- Bob Fitzsimmons and Roy Jones. Byrd wants to do things in reverse. Yes, Jones and Fitzsimmons went back down to recapture the light heavyweight crown. But Jones had only one fight at heavyweight, and Fitzsimmons never weighed more than 172 pounds. Byrd fought 38 of his 40 pro fights at heavyweight.
Byrd weighed 211½ pounds for his past match against heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin on Nov. 27. Six months and 36½ pounds lighter, Byrd will make his debut at light heavyweight against Shaun George at the Cox Pavilion on the campus of University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Friday on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights."
"I've been a heavyweight so long, looking at my body now I'm like, 'Wow!'" Byrd said. "People look at me now and the first thing they say is, 'Who is that guy?' The next thing they say is, 'How did you lose the weight?'"
Byrd did not hire a fitness and nutrition guru, like Mackie Shilstone, to drop the weight. He did not go on a fancy Hollywood diet. Byrd did it by becoming well like a bird. He started running like the Road Runner -- as much as seven miles at a clip -- and eating like Tweety Bird -- small meals every two hours. A typical breakfast is two sausage links, oat cereal with honey and a handful of grapes. He eats all his meals from small paper plates. "That keeps me on track because you can't get a lot of food on those little plates, but I find a way to pack the food on by stacking it up high," he said. "I find I can't eat a lot at one time. But I eat every two hours, so I'm never hungry." Right after the Povetkin fight, Byrd said he was contemplating a move to cruiserweight and had slimmed his way to 216 pounds. He made up his mind to move to cruiserweight and began to train with an eye toward getting down to 190. He got down to 190 pounds, and the weight kept melting away.
If I would have beaten Povetkin, I would have had to fight Eddie Chambers and I'm back in line to fight Wladimir Klitschko and get another butt-whipping. Why would I want to fight that monster again? It didn't make any sense.
-- Chris Byrd, on the reason he decided to drop from heavyweight to light heavyweight
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