CONFERENCE CALL QUOTES
VERNON FORREST AND SERGIO MORA
CARLOS QUINTANA AND PAUL WILLIAMS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2008
On Saturday, June 7, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will present a world championship doubleheader as Vernon Forrest defends his WBC super welterweight title against Sergio Mora, while Carlos Quintana looks to defend his newly acquired WBO welterweight belt against the boxer he dethroned, previously unbeaten Paul Williams live at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
The event is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and Fight Nite, LLC, in association with Tournament of Contenders, LLC, DiBella Entertainment and Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with Northeast Promotions. It will emanate from Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.
Question: Lou DiBella, Dan Goossen, Paul, Vernon, Jeff Wald, and Sergio, can you provide us with some opening comments?
DiBella: I am pleased to have my champion, Carlos Quintana, defend his title for the first time, giving a rematch to the ex‑champion who the granted him the opportunity. It was a terrific fight the first time. I think people saw the terrific ability of Quintana and the strategy and toughness of Quintana and, frankly, the best of Quintana when he beat Williams.
But, Williams has big wins over Antonio Margarito and was a terrific champion in his own right. He is one of the tallest and has one of the biggest reaches I’ve ever seen in the welterweight division, and is a very dangerous guy.
I expect it to be a terrific fight. Vernon Forrest has been one of the best fighters of his generation. He is really a Hall of Famer. He is a first ballot Hall of Famer when he continues to challenge at 154 pounds and look for a major fight at 154 pounds at this stage of his career. He’s got Sergio Mora, who won the first year of “The Contender” in front of him. That figures to be a terrific fight.
SHOWTIME has a tremendous show on June 7. It’s something they can be really proud of. But, I think they have the best show on June 7th, and I expect really nice viewership and really good attendance in Connecticut.
Goossen: I thought you were going to say all of the problems were because of me, but you didn’t. So, I know there are some reporters out there who are laughing right now.
February 9 was a stunner. It just shows me how crazy this business is. No one gave Quintana a shot and he pulled out a major upset. I am chomping at the bit to get out there next week. I’m anxious to do everything we can to get this thing turned around.
I want to thank SHOWTIME. It’s good to be with Vernon Forrest. We go back many years. Lou, you’re right, he’s a classy man.
Williams: I’m happy to be on SHOWTIME. It will be cool to get my title back. I’m just going to go out there, do my job again and get my belt back.
Forrest: It’s a pleasure to be fighting on SHOWTIME again and also in Connecticut again. It’s always a pleasure to work with Lou DiBella and Goossen Tutor. But, I have my company with Fight Night. So, finally I get an opportunity to hook up with those guys, and it’s a pleasure to be associated with them and continue to do business with them.
We did business in the past. We’ll definitely do business in the future. We look forward to a big night of boxing next Saturday.
Wald: I agree with Lou. You’ve got Dan Goossen, Lou DiBella and Gary Shaw. I’ll throw another name in there, Lou, am I right? And you have the first promotion by Vernon’s promotion company. You’ve got Goossen Tutor, Lou DiBella, and you’ve got “The Contender” and Gary Shaw and we’re all still talking to each other.
DiBella: Not for much longer if you keep blabbing.
Wald: You’ll see a great fight between Mora and Forrest. Forrest has been a great champion. I’ve watched him fight many, many times. I saw his last fight. He was terrific. I can tell you that Mora has had a phenomenal training camp. He’s in the best shape of his life.
Mora is motivated. He knows what’s ahead of him. He has a tremendous amount of respect for Forrest, and he’s in it to win it. You are going to see a good fight. What you’ve seen with a lot of our guys is they go toe-to-toe and don’t run.
Mora is far from a runner, and all of his fights have been really exciting. He’ is undefeated and wants to stay that way. It’s going to be a great night of boxing. I am also looking forward to seeing Williams and Quintana. That is going to be an exciting rematch. Everybody expected Williams to win the first one, and there was an upset there with Quintana. You are going to see a great, great evening of boxing.
DiBella: Northeast Promotions is my partner of Carlos Quintana, I want to acknowledge them.
Mora: Good afternoon, everybody. I’ve been listening in. I want to add that, since we’re on the subject, why don’t I throw in my promotional company while I’m at it. Mora Promotions is starting today. I’m glad to be working with so many talented people. That’s what boxing needs, instead of being at war with each other and trying to compete. So that’s bulls**t. I’m glad. I’m happy.
The fighters are going to get the best out of me, get the best out of Forrest, obviously. He is a respectable champion. Quintana and Williams have a lot to prove. It’s a great card, and SHOWTIME has been proving it, especially this year. So, I’m excited.
Question: Paul, do you consider yourself the champion and that Quintana has to prove himself to you?
Williams: I’m proving I’m the upset because by right he’s the champion. So, I have to go back and take that back from him.
Question: Why didn’t you return to Puerto Rico to train for this fight as in the past?
Williams: We just didn’t.
Question: Why is that?
Williams: I don’t know why we didn’t go back to Puerto Rico. That’s up to my manager. He figured out where we’re going to train. I just do what he says.
Question: What are you going to do differently? Did you learn by your mistakes in the past?
Williams: I ended up doing all that in the ring. I’ll just do it in the ring on fight night.
Question: Sergio, what are some of your thoughts that you’re about 10 days away from the biggest fight of your life? Are you nervous? Have you had dreams about this?
Mora: This is definitely a moment I’ve dreamed about my entire career. I have aspired to be a world champion. Out of all the belts, the WBC is the most prestigious and actually the nicest looking belt, too. So, it’s a great moment of my life. I’m not nervous because whenever you’re prepared for something mentally and physically you just look for an opportunity to just come already. I’m eager for it. I know it’s going to be a tough fight. Forrest is a hell of a fighter. He is a great champion. He is an Olympian. He does everything right. It is going to be a tough fight.
Question: Do you think having a long body gives you a little bit better chance to defeat Forrest than maybe some of the other guys he’s fought who are shorter than him?
Mora: I can think what I want. But, basically it’s going to come down to whether I can do it or not. I’m a lot bigger than Shane Mosley. We should be similar in height and length. If Forrest happens to be a little longer, I’ll have to adapt to that.
If I’m a little longer, great. But, I think the fight is basically going to come down to who can adapt to each other’s style. It is basically a fight of attrition as well. So, that’s exciting for me, the fans and for Forrest, I’m sure.
So, I’ve fought tall fighters before, guys that are six-foot-three, six-foot-one. I like fighting tall guys. I prefer fighting short guys because I have the advantage. It makes no difference if it is a tall fighters or a short fighter.
Question: Jeff, do you look at this fight as a chance for a contender like Mora to score that upset victory? In your eyes, is that a feasible thing to happen?
Wald: Yes, there’s no doubt about it. While these guys fight under ‘The Contender’ banner, they fight for themselves and their families. Mora had a career before he came to us. He was brought to us by Fernando Vargas. All these fighters on the phone have promoters.
We’re just facilitating what it is they do. We had an upset when Gomez beat Gotti. Everybody forgets Gotti was a huge favorite in that. They already booked the next fight. We had an upset when Brian Vera beat Andy Lee.
Forrest: I’m no Gotti or Andy Lee. You have to realize who you’re dealing with. I’m on a completely other level than that them. Don’t compare me.
Wald: Talking about upsets.
Forrest: There won’t be an upset next Saturday. Trust me on that. You can forget about that s**t.
Quintana: I’m very happy about this opportunity that SHOWTIME has provided me to fight again. I’m expecting another great fight. I can’t say what type of win it will be, but I’m expecting another triumph.
Question: Vernon, can you tell us why, with half the promoters in America, apparently, involved in this fight, why you also have decided to create your own promotional company at this point?
Forrest: Actually, I’ve been my own promoter since I left Main Events back in 1998. But I never signed any fighters. So, finally I decided to open it up and start signing fighters and give other guys opportunities to fulfill their dreams of winning a world championship.
There are a lot of unscrupulous people in this business. When guys honor their word, honor the business, than people like to work with them.
So, I felt it’s time that I was the only team I played on. Now, it’s time to open it up to other guys to give them opportunity.
Question: How is it preparing for this fight? How is it doing the promotional work and preparing for a major title fight at the same time?
Forrest: I’ve been training for this fight for three months. I’ve been in camp since February. So, trust me, I’m not taking Mora lightly at all. I’m really, really focused on this guy. I’m looking at him exactly the same way I looked at all the other fights that I’ve had.
I only had one guy that I fought that I didn’t take seriously, and I got an “L” on my record for that. From that point on I learned my lesson. So, I’m definitely taking him very, very seriously.
Question: Sergio, how are you going to approach this fight?
Mora: It’s definitely a big step up for me, but I think it’s time for me to take that step. If you look at my last 10 opponents, they have 80 to 90 percent winning records.
I may not deserve this title shot, say maybe the rankings per se, but as far as me being a formidable fighter, and I’ve proven myself against different opposition that would prove that I actually do have a chance against Forrest. I respect him as a champion and as a hell of a fighter. He’s human, obviously. He makes mistakes just like everyone else. I’m just going to try to do my job and try to capitalize on those mistakes. He is going to try to do the same. Whoever has the most success is going to win the fight.
Question: Do you see any specific weaknesses that Forrest has exhibited in his last couple of fights since he’s been fighting regularly again?
Mora: We all have weaknesses, whether we choose to exploit them verbally or during the fight, if I would choose. I know I’m going to choose to do it on June 7.
Question: Vernon, is your shoulder or arm giving you any issues during your past few fights or during training?
Forrest: Before I go to camp, I have short camps. You have to get your body in shape to get in shape. Then, you have to get into boxing shape, sparring shape and fight shape.
So, it was more or less a rush job. This time, from since I came back from my injury, what I’ve been doing when I go to camp is to make sure I’m physically in shape. Then, I’m in boxing shape, sparring shape, fight shape.
When I take my time, condition my body and my mind right, then I don’t have any problems. When I have a great camp, I have a great performance. I had a great camp this time so you’ll see a great performance.
Question: What did you do during your two years off from boxing?
Forrest: I was still training. Here is the misconception. People thought I was sitting watching football or eating potato chips. No, I was training. I just couldn’t fight.
I had to pull out of a couple of fights during that time because my body just wouldn’t allow me to fight. I was still training. I never took two years off. I just couldn’t fight for two years because my body wouldn’t allow me to get in there and compete at a level that I wanted to. So, I had to pull out of a couple of fights.
Question: Carlos, can you talk about your fight with Williams? What kind of adjustments did you make?
Quintana: In the last fight, I had good defense, and I am going to keep that up in this fight. I’m going to come and see what else, whatever new tactics he brings and I’ll be able to adjust to them.
Question: Paul, how difficult was it for you to make 147 pounds, and was there a possibility that you were going to move up? How much thought did you give to that?
Williams: I gave a little thought to it, but not that much. But the weight’s no problem. It is not tough for me to make it.
Question: Did the weight sap your energy at all?
Williams: I just didn’t get in my rhythm last time.
Question: Dan, did you have discussions with Williams on the weight? What are your thoughts on his weight?
Goossen: We discussed it with George (Peterson) and with Al Hayman, and the bottom line was that it was going to be left up entirely to Williams and to Peterson because they’re the ones that have to deal with it every day.
We certainly gave them every opportunity to say it was a problem, and that we should move up. But they insisted it wasn’t the weight. Based upon that, you move forward.
It was a Williams that none of us had seen before, expected to see that night. Come next week, he has to go out there and show that that’s exactly why he lost. His actions next Saturday will dictate where everything is if the weight was good, bad, or if it was a rhythm problem, or just a Quintana problem.
Question: Can you state your case now for any of the viewers out there why people, if they don’t have a TiVo, should watch your June 7 broadcast and not a fight on another network?
Forrest: People should watch because it is the best fight of the night. You have me, a world champion. You’ve have Mora. By winning ‘The Contender’, he has millions of fans that follow him, have been following his career. You have a Quintana-Williams rematch.
Any time a guy beats you, the first thing you want to do is get that win back. So, you’re talking about a major upset in boxing. Williams wants to get his revenge and Quintana said it was his win. You’ve have four of the best fighters in the world fighting that night.
Question: Paul, have you been able to figure out why you couldn’t get into a rhythm during the first Quintana fight? Do you think you took him lightly or maybe over trained?
Williams: That’s the thing about it. I just couldn’t get my rhythm.
Forrest: Paul, sometimes you have a bad night. Sometimes Mickey Mantle had a bad night. Sometimes guys just have a bad night. That’s just the way it goes.
Question: Paul, was there any point during that Quintana fight where you were thinking to yourself: I’m having a bad night here, I have to do something, or did it just happen?
Williams: I thought about it in the first round. I couldn’t get in my rhythm. He knows it too. You have to work through it.
Question: When you say you couldn’t get in your rhythm, what did it prevent you from doing?
Williams: It prevented me from doing everything, how I normally fight. I just couldn’t get in rhythm.
Question: You couldn’t fight the way you did against Antonio Margarito and everyone else?
Williams: Yeah, I wasn’t in my rhythm. This time, I just don’t know what it was. I couldn’t do it like I could before.
Question: Paul, why is there so much secrecy about where you have trained for this fight?
Williams: Ask my manager, Mr. Peterson. You have to talk to him about why we didn’t go to Puerto Rico. He said this is where we’re going to train. I follow suit.
DiBella: You go back to basics. You go back to the dingy gyms and that privacy to get that head together. That is exactly why Peterson and Williams aren’t in Puerto Rico right now. This is serious business.
Question: Paul, could you tell us how you adjusted your training, or is there anything you’ve done differently to prepare for this fight so that doesn’t happen again?
Williams: You’ll see it on the 7th. When I get into the ring, you’ll see the difference.
Question: Lou, can you tell us what could be different in this fight?
DiBella: Whenever you have a good fighter like Williams, he’s going to make some adjustments and will be a better fighter. You’re also going to have a very confident champion in Quintana who beat Williams the first time, who feels like he knows him even better and he’s going to be able to be a better fighter. I expect it to be a sensational fight.
I’m interested as a fan, honestly, whether the weight is going to be an issue for the former champion, because it was certainly an issue last time. I want to see if Williams feels comfortable at 147 pounds still. If he is comfortable at 147, it’s going to be a great, great fight. I can’t wait for it. If he’s not comfortable at 147, he’ll have a real problem.
Question: Paul, have you had a chance to look at the tape of that first Quintana fight? If so, did you pick out specific weaknesses that you can take advantage of this time that you weren’t able to do in the first fight?
Williams: Yeah, I saw a lot of weakness, but I’m not going to share them with nobody.
Question: Do you want to make a prediction for the fight?
Williams: I’m getting my belt back, that’s one.
Question: Lou, do you feel the same result is going to happen in this fight?
DiBella: First of all, I’m not Williams, his trainer, manager or promoter, so what I think doesn’t matter for s**t when it comes to Williams. That’s the truth.
Whenever I see a guy who is as tall as Williams and has as much reach as Williams, he’s struggling to make weight. It is an issue. I was really surprised with a champion of Quintana’s quality that Williams would want the rematch. But, I promoted Jermain Taylor, and he was having a problem making weight. He could have taken an easier route and used weight as a reason not to take the rematch. He insisted on fighting Kelly Pavlik. It doesn’t shock me that the champion wants to get right back to the guy that beat him. I think the result is going to be the same.
Question: Do you think Quintana will pose the same types of problems for Williams?
DiBella: People discount Quintana’s credentials because of one loss to Miguel Cotto. A lot of terrific fighters have been knocked out by him. That night doesn’t reflect his career. He’s a very tough guy, a very cagey guy, skilled boxer and he’s rough. As Williams saw from the first fight, Quintana is a guy that will fight you in the ring, but is also a boxer.
Quintana is a tough fight for anybody. Williams is going to discover again that it’s a tough fight. But, I know Williams is not underestimating him, and is ready for a tough fight. I just think that Quintana might have his number and I expect the same kind of fight.
Goossen: Today, Quintana fighting Cotto would be a completely different fight. He’s learned a lot from that loss just like any good champion does. I have to disagree with you on one thing. We’ll see the real Williams on June 7, which is going to translate into a victory.
Question: Paul, are you prepared for the kind of pace that Quintana is obviously going to set that worked the first time?
Williams: Whatever. I’m going to prepare for whatever I have to prepare for, sir.
Question: Vernon, can you talk about your desire not to be compared to other fighters?
Forrest: Gotti and Andy Lee are overrated. So, when you try to compare, you put me right in the middle of those two guys. I’m nowhere on that level.
So, when you’re talking about fighting a guy with my skill level, it is a whole different ball game.
Wald: Vernon, we weren’t comparing you on that level. What I was saying is it is real easy to say the guy is going over the hill. Mora is not that little. He won ‘The Contender,’ and he beat those guys.
Forrest: Let me throw something out.
Wald: Let me finish.
Forrest: The only real fighter you had on ‘The Contender’ show was the little guy, Stevie Forbes. That’s the only real guy you had on your show. He damn near won the show. So, I am going to call that little boys club ‘The Pretenders,’ not ‘The Contenders.’ Now, I’m going to beat the dog s**t out of your main pretender on June 7. I want you to know that.
So, don’t compare me with no Gotti or no Andy Lee. Don’t even put my name in the same breath with them.
Question: Sergio, do you think you will be the first fighter from ‘The Contender’ who can actually step out of that pretender role?
Mora: Gomez and Manfredo took the fight for the wrong reasons. One took it for the money and the other for celebrity status to say he fought on that caliber.
I could have both by accepting the Jermain Taylor fight earlier this year. I could have had a nice payday and a big fight for me. I thought I wasn’t going to win in Memphis, so I didn’t take that fight. I feel that this is my time now. I’m ready and prepared, and I’m hitting my peak, my physique, the way I’m taking camp and life. I’m ready. I’m 27. I’m ready and in my prime.
I have nothing but respect for Forrest. I can see by what he’s saying he has no respect for me, which is cool. That’s fine. But, when it comes down to it, I can say all I want. I still have to do what I’m going to do. Whether I’m real or not, a contender or pretender, I have to prove something on June 7. Don’t make a mistake of comparing me to ‑‑
Forrest: I just want you to come and fight. Come and fight and I promise you they’re going to take you out on a stretcher. I guarantee it. If you do all that running shit you normally do, then it will be a boring fight. I will win by unanimous decision.
Mora: My man, listen, there’s no way I’m going to make it a boring fight. I don’t come to run, I come to fight.
Forrest: Come to fight and they’ll take you out on a stretcher. If you come to fight and step up like a proud Mexican warrior, I’m knocking your mother $$!!## out.
Mora: I don’t wish anyone stretchers.
Wald: Vernon, you don’t know me, but you fought in Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Center there. I went out of my way to work behind the scenes on that fight and told everyone to invite the people that you handle down in Atlanta from that home that you support. I’ve been a big fan of yours as a human being for what you’ve given down there with your fiancé.
Forrest: We’re not talking stories. Right now we’re talking business. We’re talking business. I didn’t ask you ‑‑
Wald: You’ve been very disrespectful.
Forrest: I don’t know you either. Right now we’re talking about a fight. This is not a buddy system. We ain’t friends, so make your point, but don’t bring all the other stuff in there. If you’ve got a point, make it relevant to what we do.
Wald: My point is this is a sport and a business, and there’s no reason for you to act like that. So I’m surprised. This is the first press conference we’ve had with any of the fights we’ve had where the other side has acted like that. That’s all. You can be a little respectful.
Forrest: You ain’t fighting. You need to get off the line. I got to fight Mora. You ain’t doing nothing but sitting back and watching. Get off the line and let me talk to your fighter.
The middleman has something to say. You sit back and shut up and enjoy the conversation.
Question: Vernon, how would you describe Mora’s style, and have you fought anybody with that similar style?
Forrest: I describe Mora’s style as garbage. We sparred before in Los Angeles. He was the first guy that got in the ring after my surgery. I beat him up with one arm. I was lighting him up.
As a matter of fact, I was laughing. Ask his trainer. He was sparring and I was laughing. His trainer asked me: ‘Why are you laughing?’ I can’t believe they’re getting ready to pay Mora a million dollars to fight. I had to beat King Kong to make that kind of money.
Mora: I don’t remember you laughing about it.
Forrest: Ask your trainer. You’ll see. He was there.
Question: Sergio, after hearing the disdain Forrest has for you, does that fire you up, is this fight personal now, and are you more motivated than ever?
Mora: No, man that doesn’t motivate me. What motivates me is other stuff. Man, I’m getting entertained by this. Listen, I can see what I will do and what I won’t do, vice versa. The bottom line is he’s the champion. He’s proven himself. I’m a guy who is fighting for the championship and I need to prove myself. That’s the basic story line. That’s it.
I expected to be the underdog, obviously. As far as his insults go, I can’t do anything about that. That’s what Forrest says. I’m not a pretender. I know that. I know I’m a damn good fighter. I have enough pride not to not embarrass myself or embarrass my promotional company. Bottom line is I’m coming to fight and that’s it. I’m ready for this.
Question: Vernon, it seems like you have more fire for this fight than you’ve had in a long time. What has changed for this fight?
Forrest: I’m setting my legacy. Every fight is personal to me right now. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Those days are over. Nice guys always finish last.
So people are saying, well, you know, you’ve changed since you’ve had the surgery. I haven’t changed. In order for me to go where I want to go and make it, there are certain things I have to do that some other people might not agree with. But so be it. This is my career and these are the things I choose to do. It’s what it is.
Question: George, why the big change in Williams’ training?
Peterson: It’s not that the camp was secretive. We just focus on June 7.
We’re right here in Washington, D.C. If you can remember, Washington, D.C., had world champions several years ago. This is a boxing Mecca here. I’m from here and we’re training here. We started here.
Question: Was it a misconception of you training in Puerto Rico this time?
Peterson: It was so convenient, it’s our backyard. We decided to go back to where we came from.
Question: Was it evident early on in the first Quintana fight that Williams wasn’t himself?
Peterson: It happens. I’m relocated to the Augusta, Georgia, area. I’ve seen Tiger Woods down there. I know you’ve noticed it a number of times. It’s not every time that he is on point.
It was just a night when Williams wasn’t on point. There are times when you see Michael Jordan and any athlete have an off day. I can’t understand why they continue to dwell on this Williams having a bad night.
Question: Do you have any closing comments?
Peterson: We’ll be present that night and Williams will put out one of the best performances like he’s done so many times before.
Mora: I’m glad to be fighting on SHOWTIME. I’m ready to get some press. I hope everybody attends. I want to thank SHOWTIME, and the promoters, whether I fought on your card before or not. I want to take home a title. I’m looking to be the best possible fighter I can be and prove a lot of people wrong. That’s it. God bless.
Forrest: June 7 is going to be a great night of boxing I look forward to putting on a great performance. My last performance was pretty good, but I think this one is going to be spectacular. I’m looking forward to continuing to put on great shows in the future with SHOWTIME and Fight Night Promotions.
DiBella: You’re going to have a good night of entertainment. I expect my champion, Carlos Quintana, to defend his title successfully.
Goossen: I understand the juices are flowing through Forrest as a fighter and as a promoter now. You did a great job on this call. Bottom line, I’m anxious to see Williams get out there on June 7. There have been a lot of great champions throughout our history starting with Sugar Ray Leonard that had their first loss in a championship title defense, and have come back and reclaimed their titles. There have been some that have tried to get that title back and were unsuccessful against the man that took it.
I believe Williams is going to be successful. George Peterson did the right thing on getting him out to the roots where I believe that we’re going to see the difference on June 7.
Wald: I’m interested to see what happens in the ring. First of all, as a fan, it’s going to be a great night of boxing. I know what Mora is capable of and what he can do. I’ve enjoyed watching Forrest, contrary to whatever you heard here, and I can’t wait to see Quintana and Williams again. I think that will be a great fight.
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