Welcome everyone. We have got two very hot fighters from a very hot division getting ready to take each other on in world championship fight on Saturday, June 15, at the American Airlines Center® in Dallas. It will be televised live on HBO® at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT. The HBO Boxing After Dark telecast will open with a ten-round bout between Top-10 contenders Terence Crawford and Alejandro Sanabria Jr. for the vacant NABO lightweight title. If it is two things Mikey Garcia and Juanma Lopez know, it is how to win and how to win by knockout.
BOB ARUM: We are delighted to bring to Dallas a card as outstanding as this card. A great featherweight championship fight between two very popular fighters – the undefeated defending champion Mikey Garcia from Oxnard, California, and the “Pride of Puerto Rico” and former two-division world champion Juanma Lopez. This should be outstanding fight. The lead-in fight between Crawford and Sanabria should be very interesting. To tell you what HBO thinks about this show, the fights will be preceded on HBO by the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” where they expect a huge audience so we expect a great audience for this Boxing After Dark show. We are very pleased to be in Dallas. Mark Cuban is a great boxing fan and he has welcomed us to the American Airlines Center. The tickets are going extremely well. We have in addition to the two televised fights we have Vanes Martirosyan; Matt Korobov, the Russian Middleweight, fights Ossie Duran; Mikael Zewski from Québec, Canada is on the card; and a special attraction, in a six-round bout, Óscar Valdez, the former Mexican Olympian, fights Gil Garcia from Houston. It’s a terrific card for a great night of boxing in Dallas and we are very pleased to promote this outstanding match-up between Mikey Garcia and Juan Manuel Lopez.
Mikey is in his training camp in Oxnard California and joining him on the call is manager Cameron Dunking and trainer and brother Robert Garcia. Juan Manuel Lopez in his training camp in Puerto Rico and he is on with Peter Rivera, and his trainer Alex Caraballo.
MIKEY GARCIA: We have definitely had a very good camp. We worked very hard, with Robert and my dad [Eduardo] and Darryl Hudson for strength and speed. I think we are doing an excellent job and we are in the last week here and I am very excited to get back in the ring again and show another side of Mikey Garcia.
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: We had a great training camp. We are working real hard on the conditioning. We know we are going to have to be at the top of our game conditioning-wise because we know Mikey Garcia is a real good boxer.
Do you feel after your last two fights, even though not very competitive, have rid you of rust?
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: I think those two fights I had were very important because after the long layoff I was able to get in the gym, get on my diet, get a rhythm of training and fighting. It helped me tremendously and I am ready to take on this fight.
Did the time off do you good?
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: Without a doubt, ever since I started boxing professionally, I have had one fight after another with a lot of tough fights mixed in there and I never took any time off. So it was good, even though I didn’t want it that way, but there is a silver lining in everything. It was good for my body. Now I have come back and I feel good.
You were stopped twice by Salido and Garcia beat Salido – how do you think that matches you and Garcia?
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: It is a matter of styles, Salido and I love to go at it, have a war. Mikey is more of a counter-puncher. Either way, it’s a great fight and I congratulate him for that win. Different fighters and different styles – anything can happen and anyone can win. There is no way to tell from one fight to the next who will win. I feel good about it. I think Salido was pretty beat up when he faced Garcia and I think Salido was fresher when I got him.
How do you feel about the Salido match-up between the two of you?
MIKEY GARCIA: I also agree with Juanma that the styles are different and I fight different than Salido does. I am preparing myself differently for this fight because I am fighting Juanma. It is going to be a different fight. You can’t jump to conclusions. We’ll just have to see what the fight dictates and how it unfolds. I don’t have thoughts that the way I beat Salido I’d be able to walk through Salido. It doesn’t work that way. It is a different fight, a different opponent and I have to prepare differently.
Did you watch the two fights?
MIKEY GARCIA: I saw it when I was there live and I watched a few rounds here and there but there is only so much I can pick up from them. I have seen a few clips and that’s about it.
What makes you think you can beat a guy that everyone is talking about being the best at 126 right now?
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: I think it is a question of styles. I think his style is a little less complicated than Salido or some other guys I have faced. I think he is a very technical fighter which doesn’t make for a difficult fight. His style is very defined.
You say the Salido Mikey fought is not as good as the one you fought – why do you say that?
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: I say that because after he fought me, in the fights he had afterwards, he had a lot of trouble. He was knocked down by Yamaguchi (round 3). I think he was beat up by me, and that may be wrong for me to say, but I know he wasn’t as fresh when he fought Mikey as when he was fighting me.
How have you been making this weight?
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: I am always going to have a hard time making this weight – 126 – it is always going to be difficult and be a risk. We just have to do the best we can. It is a very important fight and one that I had to take at this point in my career. I know this fight can get me back to where I want to be.
Do you believe Salido was not the same fighter that Juanma fought?
MIKEY GARCIA: When Juanma fought him, Salido was a guy that had fought a lot of great fighters, a lot of wars before he ever fought Juanma. He already had experience at the championship level. I thought I fought a really good Orlando Salido. I never let him have his fight. I never let him get into his fight. I knew what I needed to do against him and I think that was the difference. I was able to control the fight.
Do you think this is your last fight at 126? Looking to move up?
MIKEY GARCIA: After this fight I will talk to my manager and promoter and see what options I have available. There has been talk about me fighting at 130 in my next fight or two but I asked them if I could come back to 126. I want to keep defending my title even if I feel comfortable moving up a weight class.
How do you feel about fighting in an arena that will be full of Mexican-American fans?
MIKEY GARCIA: It will be very nice to have the support of my fans. I have fought in Texas a few times in my career. The people in the Dallas area have always shown a lot of support. It is going to be real nice having all of those fans there. I know they will be coming from different regions in Texas to watch a great night of boxing. It will be great to show the fans who we are as fighters.
This may be the first time in your career your opponent will have the crowd with him…
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: It doesn’t matter to me. I come to fight. I do enjoy having the fans behind me but I know in this fight I may not, but that’s not important to me.
What are the differences in styles between Salido and Garcia?
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: Mikey Garcia is a more technical fighter than Salido. Mikey does what you are supposed to do in the ring. He throws the right and he throws the left. He doesn’t go wild in there. He is a very smart guy. He is not going to throw punches if they are not there. I think that helps me. I will know what he is trying to do and I know he is a thinking guy in the ring and that’s what he is going to try and do – outthink me. That is going to be a lot different than a guy coming at me throwing punches from all angles.
What do you think of Juanma’s style and how do you plan to fight him?
MIKEY GARCIA: I have prepared with my brother [Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia] and my dad for many scenarios. We got different sparring partners, in case I need to put pressure on Juanma or if he decides to move and box a little bit more – I’ll be ready for each. Trade punches – I’ll be ready for that. Because we trained for it all already. If I feel that Juanma is strong and dangerous and he can hurt me and the best thing for me would be to move – side-to-side steps and stay on the outside – then I’ll do that. I’ll do whatever it takes to win. Because I am prepared for it.
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: I expect a great fight and I know the fans are really going to enjoy it. I know Mikey is going to come to fight and defend his title with everything he’s got. I am coming to regain the title with everything that I have.
MIKEY GARCIA: We are going to definitely put on a great show. A good performance. I think the Dallas/Fort Worth fans are going to be very happy with the way I will perform and the way I fight. They will be in for a real treat – what I can do as a fighter. They had seen some of my different looks in the Salido fight and now they are going to see another new side of Mikey Garcia. too.
BOB ARUM: This was an excellent conference call – very informative. Remaining tickets are priced at $200, $100, $60, $40 & $25 and are available at Ticketmaster and at the American Airlines Center Box Office. We are expecting a very nice crowd based on initial ticket sales – we are very pleased with the response and it should be a great night of boxing and it should be a terrific main event. I did want to share some sad news. Lem Satterfield’s father passed away last night, at the age of 94. He was a former Tuskegee Airman during the Second World War. I knew him personally – he was a lovely man. Condolences go out from everyone at Top Rank to Lem and his family on the loss of his father.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with PR Best Boxing, Foreman Boys Promotions and Tecate, remaining tickets to Garcia vs. Lopez, priced at $200, $100, $60, $40 and $25, plus additional service fees, can be purchased at the American Airlines Center box office (Monday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT), online at Ticketmaster.com, by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000, or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet (Fiesta Foods, Macy’s Wal-Mart and The Shops at Willowbend.)
The Garcia – Lopez world featherweight championship event t will take place on Saturday, June 15 and will be televised live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, on HBO Boxing After Dark, beginning at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT. The HBO telecast will open with Top-10 contenders TERENCE CRAWFORD and ALEJANDRO SANABRIA, JR. battling for the vacant NABO lightweight title. This will be the first time HBO has televised a boxing event from the American Airlines Center.