By: William Holmes
Prior to Saturday’s bout between Andre Ward and Carl Froch, Showtime executives and some of the fighters they have under contract held a media round table in Atlantic City to answer some questions and promote upcoming bouts. Featured in the media round table was promoter Lou Dibella, boxers Andre Berto, Victor Ortiz, Lucian Bute, and General Manager of Showtime Sports Stephen Espinoza. Below are some notable quotes from Saturday’s round table.
“I put in a lot of work, and I went through what I went through because I had a bad night, everything happens for a reason, I went back to the drawing board and refocus on myself and I came back and I just won another world title, and I gave that up just to have this fight.”
“I’m going to jab a lot more, move around the ring. But basically I could use the same strategy that I came in with.”
“Realistically it wasn’t the fight that I was excited about. Realistically I felt that I wanted to step in another direction to a bigger fight.” (On first fight with Ortiz).
“All the focus is on Victor Ortiz right now, that’s all that I’m worried about.”
“At the end of the day I know Floyd is a supreme boxer, so why would you move around and try to box the guy? And..Floyd was just popping shots on him, and of course from time to time you know Ortiz came and tried to bring the pressure on him but like I said it looked like a different Ortiz, he got frustrated and tried to pull the headbutt situation, and afterwards a lot of hugging and kissing and then got knocked out.”
“uhh..realistic, probably not…probably not. Just because of the fact that I just want to try to…I don’t know…I mean at the end of the day the referee told them to go, referee said box, and somebody said he was just looking to the side, it’s go time you know you already hugged me and kissed me twice, it’s time to fight now” (On if he would have done the same thing Floyd did to Ortiz after being headbutted).
“I’ve never in my life seen somebody so happy to get knocked out. Never.” (On Ortiz’ reaction after his fight with Floyd).
“You know…a belt doesn’t necessarily say a lot nowadays. I don’t think it is. I’ll be honest, Berto…like you said Lamont, they’re all great fighters.”
“At the end of the day, I really didn’t think I needed a rematch, because the first fight wasn’t close at all. But at the end of the day, they told me that he really, really wanted it, and I was like hey let’s do it man.”
“Just maybe a possible rematch with Floyd, but it didn’t happen so.” (On whether he wanted other fights besides a rematch with Berto).
“For every fight there is always a game plan so I leave that up to my coaches, I just go into the gym and do as I’m told, but I tell you this much I will be ready and I will be victorious.”
“I don’t carry regrets. Having regrets is kind of like having a lot of weight on your shoulders.” (On if he had regrets about fight with Mayweather).
“I barely went into it at 147…..I was actually eating breakfast the day of the weigh ins, right now I put on over seven pounds of muscle already. I’m a natural 147 pounder.” (On jumping a weight class to fight Berto first time).
“I was happy to see him smile the way he did, and carry that belt. That’s awesome, he deserved it. He worked very hard.” (On Lamont Peterson beating Amir Khan).
“I love it. I love what I do. I can sincerely, genuinely say I love the boxing world. Do I love what comes with it? I like all this…but even after the fight with Floyd there were guys trying to wail on me, and I was like woah….relax man this is boxing. They were trying to hit me and stuff. There’s this other guy, asked can I get an autograph with you? I saw him from my peripheral vision and he was cocking back, and I was like yeah, yeah for sure I just saw him and goes like this then whoom…then I was like woah whats up with that man, relax, it’s just a boxing match…he was like F you dude…..that I don’t like, other than that I enjoy it.” (On if he still has the zeal for boxing)
Lucian Bute (through a translator):
“He is ready to fight…if it’s Carl Froch, or Andre Ward.”
“He fought in Montreal only because he sold 15,000, 16,000 tickets. And he received no offer from any fighters to fight outside of Montreal or Quebec City.” (On if he’s willing to fight Ward or Froch at a neutral site).
“We were not invited to that tournament, and we had to get guys who are ready to fight Lucian….Lucian knows he draws a lot of people in Montreal or Quebec City, but…he is ready to take a step back in terms of money to have to fight these guys at a neutral place.” (Bute’s promoter)
“It will be tougher to make a fight with Ward. There’s more of a story with Froch” (Bute’s promoter on who it would be easier to make a fight with).
“It’s a big mistake for Carl Froch to talk and think about Lucian…there’s a fight with Andre Ward tonight, instead of focusing on the fighter tonight he’s thinking about Lucian.”
“We want to fight the winner in 2012, but we will try to make the best fight for Lucian and his fans.”
“To shut up his big mouth.” (On why a possible fight with Froch is so personal).
“This tournament was made to determine who is the best 168 in the world, in the mind of Froch and Ward they think we have to fight Bute to really see if we are the best super middleweight.”
“Priority to the winner of the super six because he wants to fight for a title, and if the winner don’t want to fight Lucian…then see what the loser wants.”
“His opinion is if Ward won the Super Six, he’s not thinking he will come to Canada to fight, but if Froch wins…maybe with Froch maybe two fights, one in Nottingham one in Montreal.”
“We still hope to fight the winner of the super six, Hopkins definitely…he still got the belt, still got the story in Montreal..and could help us and help expose us in the United States…in talking about Pascal, that’s not in our goal right now.” (Bute’s promoter on other options besides Ward or Froch).
“For over 25 years boxing has really been the flagship sport of this network and that will continue. When I accepted this position my first priority, the thing I wanted most and was very clear to me, and that was I immediately began working on the Berto vs. Ortiz matchup, it is the most compelling fight out there.”
“The support this fight will get includes our parent company CBS and all of its platforms.”
“Showtime’s strategy has been, and will continue to be, to get the most compelling bouts available. Sometimes those will involve belts, sometimes they won’t. We evaluate the bouts on their own, independent of a title.”
“This is the first time CBS network will be supporting a live fight on Showtime.”
“We’re pleased to be on Showtime with this fight, we’re pleased that Andre gets the opportunity that he wants to reverse that loss, he is the rightful future fight for Floyd Mayweather…he is the guy that should be challenging for the best pound for pound moniker, and challenge at the welterweight division against the best welterweight in the world and that is Floyd Mayweather.”
“I feel we need it across the board. I know Ortiz is ok with it.” (On Olympic style drug testing being used for fight).
“It will be same protocol that USADA uses”