On behalf of Top Rank® and PR Best Boxing we would like to welcome you to today’s conference call with WBO junior lightweight champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez and challenger undefeated former WBO featherweight champion Mikey Garcia. This is the main event of the tripleheader televised live on HBO® Saturday night beginning at 9:30 PM ET/PT from Corpus Christi, Texas. Immediately following the tripleheader telecast on HBO will be the debut of the four-part all-access series “24/7: Pacquiao-Rios.”
TODD DUBOEF: We have a terrific show on Saturday night, which opens up with a fantastic fight between the two top-rated contenders — both undefeated former U.S. Olympians — Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade battling for the WBO Junior Middleweight title in a division that is getting a lot of interest. On yesterday’s call we had Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan, two charismatic men who are now reunited after what was a surprise in their first fight, which Nonito won in spectacular fashion. Now we get to the ‘The Main Event.’ Corpus Christi is ready to go. We have seen Mikey’s meteoric rise and he has been showcased terrifically and has a deep history with his family in boxing. He is now challenging for his second title, now in the junior lightweight division, and in front of him is the power punching defending champion Rocky Martinez. Rocky went to China and beat Magdaleno in a real spirited fight and now he has established himself as a Puerto Rican star and boasts that he is ‘the only Puerto Rican champion.’ So let’s open the call up to the fighters so they can tell us how they see it.
ROBERT GARCIA: This is a great chance for Mikey. He is moving up in weight and fighting a champion. He’s been champion for a while. My respect to him for giving us the opportunity and we know he has trained like he has never trained before. We have trained hard, too, and we are prepared for the very best Rocky Martinez will bring. The people are going to enjoy a great fight.
MIKEY GARCIA: We are ready for this challenge. We are in great shape. We have all the work in the gym that’s been needed. We want to take on a real junior lightweight and Rocky Martinez is a real champion. We are not just fighting an overweight bantamweight. I am fighting a real champion and that is the challenge that we want to take.
PETER RIVERA: First of all I want to say thanks to everyone for participating in this call and thank HBO. Rocky Martinez right now is the only world champion in Puerto Rico. So he knows the big responsibility that he has on his shoulders for this fight. For us, on The Island, this is a big event. Everyone knows that Mikey Garcia is coming off a big win over Juan Manuel Lopez – one of our former world champions, so Puerto Rico is looking at this fight as a revenge fight. I know everyone on The Island will be watching this fight to see Rocky retain his title once again. So we are very excited about this event.
ROCKY MARTINEZ: I trained very well. It was a hard training camp because we know how important this fight is and I am looking forward to getting in the ring on Saturday and giving every fan a great fight.
Mikey, can you tell us what is was like not making weight in your last fight and giving up your title on the scale…
ROBERT GARCIA: Mike had trouble making weight and that was something that really surprised us. We never expected that to happen to Mikey. Moving up in weight – we should not have a problem but it is still not easy. It was hard to get down to 128, which was the weight he fought at last time. That was 128, so it wasn’t even the featherweight division and everybody had seen what Mikey went through to make that weight. 130 – hopefully he can make that weight but it won’t be that easy.
MIKEY GARCIA: I just want to add that it was very disappointing. I was very sad. I worked very hard to get that title – I waited over two years in line to get that title shot and to not be able to defend and to lose it on the scale – it was hard. As we were walking down the elevator and through the hallways going to the weigh-in knowing that I was no longer champion – I just tried to move forward and do the best that I could.
Describe your emotions – having to now fight after not making the weight.
MIKEY GARCIA: It was a little bit of uncertainty on our part because we weren’t 100% sure if my body was going to be able to recover to be able to fight to the best of my capabilities. We were worried that my body would not be able to take a punch as well, that I may tire soon, that I may not be 100%. But everything went well – I started feeling confident after the first round. I started working behind my jab and after I dropped him in the second round I knew that I still had the power to hurt him. Everything turned out well in the fourth round.
So now you are back and in your first fight, fighting for a world title…
MIKEY GARCIA: It’s great, wonderful. I feel very happy to have this opportunity after what happened in the last fight – to lose the title on the scale and to be given the opportunity to fight for a world title is great and I’m really happy for that. I want to thank everyone for putting this together – Top Rank, my manager Cameron Dunkin and HBO and Rocky Martinez as well because they accepted a fight with me. It’s a big opportunity. I’m back where I want to be and I hope to capture another world title.
Is making 130 going to be a problem on Friday?
MIKEY GARCIA: So far everything is going so well I think I can make 126 again. But we feel that we want to be comfortable in the ring on Saturday night.
Why would Rocky take this kind of fight, that even though Mikey is the challenger, he is favored?
ROCKY MARTINEZ: I just feel that he is the number one, a mandatory to me and, you know, shy be a champion if you are not going to fight the best.
Do you feel you have to prove something to the fans after your controversial victory over Burgos and then your weight issues in your last fight?
ROCKY MARTINEZ: The inactivity did not help me in the fight against Burgos. It was a long layoff and I wasn’t at my best but now I am and I’m coming hard for twelve-rounds for Mikey.
MIKEY GARCIA: I don’t feel like I have to do anything different. I take the opportunity that is in front of me. I feel it is a great opportunity to fight for a world title but it is not in any way to redeem myself. I just want to put on a good show and now I have another world title that I can capture.
Robert, you are the reigning Trainer of the Year but you have had some big losses with Brandon and Nonito, but now in November you have three big fights. Two losses then three big fights
ROBERT GARCIA: Everybody mentions those two losses that we had with Brandon Rios and Nonito Donaire. But nobody mentions that Mikey beat Orlando Salido, the best featherweight in the division at that time and beat him so easy. Nobody mentions Evgeny Gradovich who beat Billy Dib when he was the underdog and we had an upset. And Jesus Cuellar, who became a featherweight champion also. People just don’t want to remember that. Now we have very important fights coming up with Donaire, with Mikey, with Brandon, with Marcos Maidana – those fights are very dangerous. We are training to win the fights, not to please the media or the people that like to criticize our team. We are doing it to win, not to be mentioned among the best trainers in the world. We do it because we want to win. We want to please our team, our family. Our team is what is important to us.
ROCKY MARTINEZ: I am very proud of the fact that I remain as a champion. I worked very hard in preparation for this fight. I know it’s an important fight for the country. It’s an important fight for me and I’m ready to take my title back to Puerto Rico.
Will this be the toughest fight he has faced?
ROCKY MARTINEZ: I believe he has more technique and more intelligence than some of the other guys I have fought without a doubt. He has a great record, so I think he’ll be one of the top challenges I will have as a champion.
Has Miguel Cotto reached out to Rocky like he had for Orlando Cruz (who was Cotto’s Olympic teammate)?
ROCKY MARTINEZ: I really have not heard from him. He trains and works with his own group far away from where I do.
What kind of support do you get from the Mexican people?
MIKEY GARCIA: It’s not something that I feel a need to have or that I want. It’s not like I want to be the next Mexican star. It definitely does help and it does make me feel good. People from Mexico follow me and they respond to me. They actually wish me good luck all the time. The response from the Mexican fans – I welcome that and I enjoy that and I love that. I don’t expect that but it’s great to have that support and love from the fans.
How does Rocky stand up compared to your other opponents?
MIKEY GARCIA: He’s very tough, very durable. He’s one of the most resilient guys out there. He is a world champion and he’s not going to let that title slip out of his hands easily. He’s going to fight very hard to keep that title. That’s why I think it’s going to be a very good fight for me. I am not only moving up in weight but I am fighting a world champion in Rocky Martinez and that we are doing all the things necessary to be in the best shape possible to be prepared for Rocky Martinez.
Is his style conducive to the way you fight?
MIKEY GARCIA: I wouldn’t be able to judge that just yet. I think he can do a lot of things. He likes to come forward and put on a lot of pressure, but I have seen him in the past where he sticks to his jab and right hand and fight at a bit of a distance. So I am just ready to do whatever needs to be done to him.
Are you bothered by the fact that Mikey didn’t make the weight for the JuanMa fight and that he went in the ring heavy and he could go in heavier than you?
ROCKY MARTINEZ: I am ready about myself. I am worried about being ready to fight him. I know it is a difficult fight but I have prepared myself so well and all I am thinking about is getting in there and beating him in the ring, and nothing else.
You saw what Mikey did to Salido and JuanMa by knocking them down, are you worried about that?
ROCKY MARTINEZ: I know that he is an intelligent guy, very smart and he knows how to throw his punches together and that’s why we trained so hard – to be ready for anything. I think I can take his punches. I think I have proven myself that I am able to take punches. So it is a question of just being ready and being at my best.
Robert, what weaknesses do you see in Rocky Martinez?
ROBERT GARCIA: We do not see any weaknesses. We will be ready for the best Rocky Martinez out there. Everybody is counting him out an we know that those are the most dangerous opponents. We are preparing for a great champion who is doing everything possible to defend his title. That’s what we are getting ready for.
Rocky, what weaknesses do you see in his game?
ROCKY MARTINEZ: We definitely have a strategy for the fight but you will see it Saturday night.
You are the champion, so you should be the favorite…
ROCKY MARTINEZ: I should be the favorite. I am the champion and I am naturally the bigger guy. I am strong and I prepared myself well and I believe I am going to win this fight because of that.
How do you plan to win this fight?
MIKEY GARCIA: I feel that I am the smarter guy and I am stronger and faster so I feel that the possibility of my winning this fight is very high. I know it is not an easy fight at all. I know how strong he is. I know he comes to fight and to win and that is why I work so hard. And that’s why I did the best training of my life because I know how difficult this fight is going to be.
Mikey, if you win do you think you should get mention of Fighter of the Year?
MIKEY GARCIA: I don’t look for that. That is something every writer and critic will have to decide on their own. I just try to win every fight and it has been a good year for me so far and I want to finish strong and maybe next year will be an even better year for me.
TODD DUBOEF: Thanks everyone for joining today’s call. Starting on September 28, we have been able to bring an incredible amount of high product to HBO and to the consumers and ratings have never been more terrific and the fight fans are totally enthused about what is going on in boxing today. When you talk about the boxing stars of Rocky Martinez and Mikey Garcia – they are going to electrify everyone on Saturday night – we know we are going to keep getting those audiences that we have been getting. Obviously we love the support of our sponsors — Tecate, HBO and everyone else involved.
MIKEY GARCIA: It’s going to be a great show on Saturday night. Not just our fight but also the whole card. The card is stacked up with three world titles on the line. I would like to let everyone know to make it down to Corpus Christi or if you can’t, tune into HBO. It’s a very good weekend for boxing.
I would like to thank everyone for tuning into the call. But most of all I want to let everyone know to tune into the fight because it will be a war.