Media Interview w/ Oscar De La Hoya, Jesus Soto Karass, Marcos Maidana, Ponce De Leon,
- August 27th, 2012
To download and listen to an MP3 of this call, please click HERE
Oscar De La Hoya
It’s a pleasure to be introducing to you Knockout Kings on Mexican Independence Day, which will be a quadruple header. The main event Canelo Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez and that will be for the WBC Super Welterweight title.
It is my pleasure also to be announcing Daniel Ponce De Leon vs. Jhonny Gonzalez, which is for the WBC Featherweight World Championship, Marcos Maidana vs. Jesus Soto Karass, which will be a 10 round welterweight fight. And the fourth fight, which will be opening up the telecast I can say, will be another spectacular fight. We are looking at finalizing Leo Santa Cruz vs. Eric Morel.
So, we have four fights that are that are great fights. We are expecting four knockouts on that night. Therefore Golden Boy Promotions has given all the fighters an incentive, which will include $100,000 to the winner of the best knockout of the night.
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas will be hosting this event, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, and we are extremely happy to once again be working with SHOWTIME. SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will start live at 9:00 p.m. ET, 6:00 p.m. PT and a reminder that SHOWTIME Sports will also produce a new edition of their sports documentary series, ALL ACCESS with Canelo and Lopez, premiering Wednesday, September 5th at 10:00 p.m. with replays airing multiple times on SHOWTIME, SHOWTIME Extreme and CBS Sports Network leading up to the event on September 15th.
So, at this moment I would like to introduce to you Jesus Soto Karass with a record of 26 and 7, 17 knockouts of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. He’s coming off a spectacular fifth round knockout of Euri Gonzalez, who has a tremendous record. He has an 11-year pro career, he has won several regional titles over the years and, obviously, his next hurdle is taking on former World Champion Marcos “El Chino” Maidana. So, let me introduce to you Jesus Soto Karass.
Jesus Soto Karass
I want to thank Oscar De La Hoya for his words, Golden Boy for the opportunity and I want to remind everybody that I give honor to the name, the title Knockout Kings with these four fights are actually tremendous.
And as far as Maidana, well he’s a warrior. He’s an Argentinian warrior and everybody knows him. And they also know I am a fighter that comes forward and is throwing punches. You don’t want to miss it, thank you.
De La Hoya
Thank you, Soto Karass. Also at this moment I would like to introduce to you, Marcos “El Chino” Maidana. He has a record of 31-3 and 28 knockouts from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was the WBA Super Lightweight World Champion in 2009 and 2010. He reclaimed the belt in 2011 in a championship bout with Erik Morales. He’s moving up to 147 pounds, coming off of a loss against Devon Alexander “The Great” in February, but he’s ready and now willing to face anybody in the welterweight divsion, starting with Soto Karass who he knows is a very difficult, strong, in-your-face type of opponent. So, at this moment let me introduce to you the great warrior, Marcos “El Chino” Maidana.
Thank you for being here. I’m preparing. I’m already here in California working hard. I know what I have in front of me in my opponent. He’s a strong fighter who comes forward and throws a lot of punches, so we’re preparing for a tough battle.
A question for Marcos Maidana. Marcos, obviously, being back at 147 pounds, it’s the most you’ve weighed and you lost to Devon Alexander. Is this going to be different because of the fact that a) it’s your second time at 147 and b) this is a guy who stands in front of you and that’s the way you like to fight?
Yes, it’s totally going to be different. I mean, like you said, it’s going to be my second fight a this weight. This time I’m going to adapt and train better and well and know what I’m looking forward to, plus the style of my opponent. He’s a strong opponent. I know what I have in front of me and we’re going to prepare properly.
Why the move to 147 to compete, as Oscar said, I guess permanently, or at least for the foreseeable future, as opposed to 140 where you appear to carry more power and more of a presence, physical presence?
Well, I felt strong, but the last couple of fights I was struggling to make the weight, so this fight on September 15th I’m going to show that I can compete and I’m going to be a lot stronger and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable at 147. I can be just as strong.
My last question. What are you doing to make yourself a stronger fighter and to acclimate yourself physically to the next weight class?
Well, we’re working a lot of physical conditioning and also working with sparring partners that are heavier and bigger and that’s going to help me adapt to the new division.
The question is to Soto Karass, do you think there’s any disadvantage that Robert Garcia, the trainer for Marcos Maidana knows you personally very well?
No. I mean, I don’t think that’s going to make a difference in this fight. Once we step into the ring it’s just going to be Marcos and myself, so whether he knows me or not will not have any effect.
And to Marcos, is this an advantage that your trainer knows your rival, your opponent so well and what has he taught you different and how has he improved you?
No, I mean, like Jesus says, in the ring it’s going to be him and I. The winner is going to be the better fighter, the one that’s better prepared and we’ll see come fight night.
My first question is for Jesus. You will be the naturally bigger fighter having fought at 147 pounds most of your career, give or take a few pounds. You’re an inch taller. You’ve fought a Who’s Who list of contenders and future champions. How do you see this fight developing? I mean, what is going to be your strategy coming in against Maidana?
I see a very hard fight, a very strong fight. I mean, Marcos Maidana is very tough, but we’re working in the gym very hard to do our thing. And once we get in the ring and how the fight unrolls, our preparation is going to come out. We expect Marcos to come out and want to fight hard and strong, but we’ll be ready for that.
And a follow-up question. I know that $100,000 bonus, everybody is going to want it. Do you feel pressure to go for the knockout for that or if the knockout comes, it comes?
$100,000 definitely spices it up and is really good, but I’m focused right now on winning the fight and if the knockout comes, great, because $100,000 extra, is more than welcomed, but my main focus right now is on winning the fight. The temptation of the $100,000 is very, very good, but right now I’m focusing and mentally preparing to winning the fight and by winning the fight the bigger money comes later.
And my next question is also for Maidana. Now, with Amir Khan moving up in weight and possibly having a Devon Alexander fight, are you looking ahead past Jesus or are you focused on this fight? I mean I know you’re eager to have a rematch with both of those fighters.
No, I am 100% focused on Jesus Soto Karass, the fight at hand, and God willing I win this fight and I will think about the rematches or future opponents.
With regard to the $100,000, although it is a temptation to win that money, I need to win the fight first and then the money will come.
Okay. And one follow-up question, how are you adjusting to this weight? Except for your last fight against Devon Alexander, you’ve always been exactly 140 pounds or under. How is this extra seven pounds approximately affected you? Is it now muscle? Is it now more power for the knockout?
Obviously, the last couple of fights at 140 I was struggling to make weight. This now being my second fight at 147, we are making adjustments physically in the conditioning to gain the mass and strength, but I feel much more comfortable and strong at this weight as well.
Jesus, what do you think that Maidana did wrong in that one fight that he’s had at 147 and did you see anything in Maidana that you can exploit even though Alexander is a southpaw?
I don’t custom watch videos of my opponents. I prepare myself and I prepare for what my corner sees in videos and try to exploit those weaknesses and defects that my opponent has. But I go off basically what my corner does, not from watching videos.
Jesus how much better do you feel at 147 pounds as opposed to 154 where you went up and fought Gabriel Rosado and it did not go well?
I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to see how it went and, obviously, it didn’t go favorably. Now, we’re going back down little by little, gradually, and we’re back down to the weight where I feel strong, where I feel naturally this is my weight, the welterweight division, and right now we’re not too far away from the weight. So, I feel very good.
Marcos, what do you feel went wrong for you in the Devon Alexander fight and what are some of the things you need to correct in this fight even though it’s a right-handed opponent?
It’s very different. The first time it was my first fight at 147. We’ve adapted very well now. We’ve changed teams. We have a new trainer and team and a different fighter, too. It’s a fighter that we don’t have to go look for, that he comes straight at us, very similar style and we’re looking forward to it.
How do you think Devon Alexander will do against Randall Bailey?
No, they’re both very good fighters and it’s going to be a good fight and I will hold back on a prediction.
Oscar, I had a couple of questions about that $100,000 incentive bonus. I was wondering what exactly is the criteria, who decides the winner, what happens if there are no KOs on the card, what happens to the money and then what would happen if there were only one KO on the card? Would the money automatically go to that one knockout? Can you elaborate?
De La Hoya
Well, look, obviously, these four fights have the ingredients to end in a spectacular fashion, end by knockout. The way the best knockout of the night will be decided will be decided by people who are watching Showtime Championship Boxing.
So, you can vote through AT&T, so the fans will vote the winner. Knockout Kings is the perfect title for this fight because you have Leo Santa Cruz going up against Eric Morel, who, Leo is a puncher, Eric Morel is a punch monster. The styles are, fit very well to a win by knockout.
You have Soto Karass and Maidana, who are both strong punchers. Canelo has devastating power. Josesito Lopez is coming out of a spectacular win against Victor Ortiz where he broke his jaw. Ponce De Leon and Jhonny Gonzalez, what can you say about them? They’re both knockout artists. So, we’re, obviously, hoping for the best and the fans will decide who the winner is.
Thanks, Oscar. And of those fights, Oscar, which fight do you think is the most likely to produce the winner of the money?
De La Hoya
Well, it’s really hard to say because with Canelo and Josesito Lopez we know for a fact we’re going to get an exciting fight. You can never count out the underdog, you can never count out Lopez, who is now our modern Rocky, which he’s billed as.
You can’t count out Jhonny Gonzalez and Daniel Ponce De Leon. They are strong punchers with heavy hands and the first fighter to land is going to win by a knockout. So, now that we have put on Leo Santa Cruz vs Eric Morel, another spectacular fight. Maidana, another spectacular fighter going up against a very tough, durable, strong fighter in Karass. So, I don’t know who can win that, I don’t know who has a better chance, but it’s hard to make the prediction. I’m hoping to see four knockouts on September 15th.
And we have Daniel Ponce De Leon on the line, so we’re going to start with his introduction. So, Oscar, let’s keep this call moving and go ahead and talk about Daniel.
De La Hoya
Thank you very much. It is my pleasure now to introduce to you the semi-main event of the evening, September 15th. And here’s Ponce De Leon. He has a record of 43 and 4 with 35 knockouts out of Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, Mexico. He’s a 2000 Mexican Olympian, the former WBO Featherweight World Champion who defended his crown six times during 2005 and 2008.
He is coming off a tremendous win over Omar Estrella, Eduardo Lazcano and now fighting at 126 pounds he’s looking to make his mark in the featherweight division going up against a very difficult, strong, durable Jhonny Gonzalez. So, let me introduce to you Daniel Ponce De Leon.
Daniel Ponce De Leon
I want to thank everybody for being here and also for all the support to the media and the fans for always being with us and supporting us. Thank you.
You’ve been asking for and wanting this fight for a very long time. Do you think you’re now at a disadvantage or not at the best because of your record and you’ve been waiting so long?
Ponce De Leon
No, the time is perfect. The timing is adequate and it didn’t happen earlier for a reason, but I am ready and, yeah, I’ve lost a couple of fights, but look who I lost to. I lost to world title fights and top fighters in the world and also above my division. I’m back at 126 and I’m ready.
De La Hoya
Well, now with us is Jhonny Gonzalez and I introduce to you the WBC Featherweight Champion. He’s been a World Champion in two divisions and he’ll be defending his title against Daniel Ponce De Leon and this is a fight that’s been talked about for many years. And, obviously, both are very explosive fighters and with no further introduction, Jhonny Gonzalez, the Featherweight Champion.
Well, good afternoon to everybody and thank you. It’s an honor and I’m very happy to be here and answer any of your questions that you have for my upcoming fight on September 15th against Daniel Ponce De Leon.
The first question, Daniel, in the last couple of years you’ve been moving up in weight between 126 and 130 pounds; now you’re back at 126, how do you feel about that? And the second question is about the $100,000 bonus for the knockout, does that pressure you or motivate you to search for the knockout and win by knockout?
Ponce De Leon
Yes, I feel very comfortable at 126 and 130. It doesn’t cost me; I don’t struggle to make the 126 pounds. I feel very comfortable at both weights and that’s why I fought at both weights, so there won’t be a problem at that.
As far as my fight last year, year and a half ago against Adrien Broner, I fought hard. I felt I won until I saw that they raised my opponent’s hand. But, you know what? That’s in the past. The $100,000 bonus, yes, that’s definitely a motivation and I really would like that, but right now my main focus is to win the World Title. I want to be a World Champion.
First question is for Ponce De Leon. Ponce De Leon, you referenced your fight with Broner and you also had a fight with Gamboa. How are you; what did you learn from those fights, first of all? And, obviously, Gonzalez is a different fighter. He’s not a boxer, he’s a puncher. How will those two experiences help you in this fight?
Ponce De Leon
I definitely learned from both of those fights and there’s always experience. And they’re two tough fighters, but, as you said, those are boxers and I had to go chase them and hunt them down and they move a lot. But Jhonny Gonzalez, we all know, he’s a stronger fighter, comes forward, likes to trade and, obviously, that makes it better for me. And if he does come out we’ll see. If Jhonny does come out and box and want to move, we’re prepared for that as well and we’ll hunt him down and fight him in his style.
Okay. And the next questions are for Gonzalez. You’re going to be fighting on your birthday and your last two birthdays you knocked out Mtagwa in 2011, he knocked out Asiku in 2010. How do you feel about fighting on your birthday and what does that mean to you?
Definitely, first of all, it’s an honor for me to be fighting on such an important date for Mexico, for my country. And I’m just fortunate and was lucky to have been born on a data like that. So, I’m very excited, I’m very happy and I’m motivated to be fighting on such an important date and to be fighting in Las Vegas.
In your last fight your streak of 11 straight knockouts was ended. And, obviously, like you said, this is a big day. It’s Mexican Independence weekend and also your birthday and you have that $100,000 incentive. Does the pride in the knockout come to mind with all of those things kind of on the table?
No, there’s no added pressure whatsoever. On the contrary, it’s a great motivation to be fighting on such an important date and against such a great opponent like Daniel Ponce De Leon and we’re ready. We want to demonstrate to the world, to the public, to myself that I’m here and bigger and ready for bigger fights.
Speaking of bigger fights, you have Nishioka, the last person who beat you in 2009 fighting Nonito Donaire this fall. Should he have a spectacular performance are those names that he would want to try to get, you know Nonito Donaire, even potentially an Abner Mares, guys like that?
Yes, of course. That’s what we’re looking for, bigger fights, bigger names; one of them being, he’s on the line right now with us, Daniel Ponce De Leon. But right now my focus, my concentration is strictly on him and once that date’s over, September 15th is over, if we pass Daniel Ponce De Leon, then we can focus on the other names.
My last question about those guys, none of them seems to be mentioning you Jhonny. Would you lose respect for any of them if they were to attempt to pass through your weight class without fighting you?
No, I think they’ve noticed, they’ve noticed my level of boxing has improved, every since I made a change in my corner and that’s why they’re avoiding me and not mentioning me at all. But, right now we’re focused on September 15th and after that we have a good fight in hand and we’ll be calling them out. We’ll be looking for them.
I spoke to Israel Vasquez and Israel Vasquez mentioned that the biggest puncher he ever faced was Jhonny Gonzalez. What do you think about that, Jhonny, and how does that make you feel?
No, those words, obviously, it’s an honor to hear that from a fighter like Israel. We fought, we gave a tremendous fight in Vegas. I was winning the whole fight, unfortunately not showing up in the best of condition. I lost the fight at the end, towards the end, but I learned a lot from that fight and now his words of encouragement motivate me to go on to this fight on September 15th and put on a great performance.
The question is seeing that you’re fighting at 126 do you think Jhonny is the biggest puncher you’ve ever faced and what would it mean to win the fight against Jhonny Gonzalez?
Ponce De Leon
As far as him punching hard or hardest puncher I’ve ever faced, I don’t know. I can’t tell you. I haven’t received a punch from him. Ask me after the fight and I’ll be able to tell you. And as far as Israel mentioning that he was the hardest puncher that he ever faced, let’s also remember that Israel won that fight. And I’m preparing, I’m preparing to fight. I hope he’s preparing to fight and let’s bring it. I’m ready and I’m ready and I’m ready to win this fight on September 15th.
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