Sullivan Barrera vs. Seanie Monaghan Media Conference Call Recap


Kathy Duva – CEO, Main Events

“Good morning and good afternoon. Better late than never, right? We have had a long road to making this fight happen. I’m confident it will be worth the wait.

“As our fight poster says, this bout is “High Stakes” for both Sullivan and Seanie. This fight is a career make or break.

“The winner will be right back in the mix for a world championship in the competitive light heavyweight division. The loser will have a hard road ahead. With high stakes for the fighters comes high excitement for boxing fans.

“Tickets are on sale and priced so local fans can attend to see many regional New York based fighters along with Sullivan and Seanie including LeShawn Rodriguez and Ismael Villareal.

“We also have hard hitting middleweight Denis Douglin and even harder hitting heavyweight Cassius Chaney.

“Ticket prices start at just $50 and they are available through Eventbrite or by calling Main Events at 973-200-7050 or emailing [email protected]

Derik Santos – Trainer of Sullivan Barrera

“Hello everybody. As you all know we have been to the top of that ladder, we had a misstep, but I still consider Sullivan to be the guy right under the champions. You just get back on that horse, do your training and we are right back at it, thanks to our promoters.”

Sullivan Barrera – Former light heavyweight contender

“Of course, this fight is very significant for my career. I had a misstep, but I want to get right back in the mix for another title shot.”

Kathy Duva

“I would like to give a shout out to Sullivan’s manager, Luis Molina. I know he usually prefers to stay silent, but we always know he is right there in the background. Sullivan has had a terrific career and continues to be a force in the division. I think that speaks volumes to his work ethic and the electricity we get from him every time he gets in the ring. We are looking forward to this one.”

PJ Kavanaugh – Manager of Seanie Monaghan

“I want to thank Kathy and Main Events for finally putting this together. We have been looking forward to this for quite some time. We understand it is a big fight and, as everybody knows, the winner will be right back in the mix for world championship opportunities.

“As Kathy said before, for the loser, it will be a tough road. It’s ‘High Stakes’ because everything is riding on this. We understand that Sullivan wants to get back on that horse and it is going to be up to Seanie to make sure he doesn’t. Come November 3rd, I think it is going to make for a great fight. I think the styles make for a great exciting fight. Both guys come to fight and both guys are very tough competitors. Sean has been training hard and he is not underestimating anything with Sullivan. We know his record speaks for itself.

“We are confident. Sean is confident. We are working hard, and hard work pays off. We are really looking forward to November 3rd and Seanie is ready to do battle. It is all on the line.”

Joe Higgins – Trainer of Seanie Monaghan

“We are very grateful to Main Events and the Sullivan camp. Seanie and Sullivan seemed to have a little Twitter talk back-and-forth back in the day, and it was only fitting that these two go at it in the ring.

“I think the bout is very evenly matched. For those of you who don’t know Sean, because he may not be the most popular athlete, but he has been in the top ten for a few years now. I can assure you, that has not been by mistake. We were ready for August 18th. We know things happen in boxing and we are glad that Sullivan is ok. We think this is going to be a fan-friendly fight. There is going to be no standing room in that arena.

“Seanie has been with me for 17 years. He has always done the work. He has always lived an itinerary life. He eats right; he sleeps. He does everything correctly. He has never been a problem for a promotion and we are not going to be one this time. I can assure you that he is going to be ready. This is really like two training camps we did back-to-back preparing for Sullivan. We did take a slight rest, but we think the batteries are charged. We are ready to go. We are finishing up strong.

“We expect a really tough fight from this guy. I am not going to say we didn’t study him, but we are ready for what ever happens that night. Whether it is a brawl, whether we are going to box, whatever you want. We think this is going to be an Arturo Gatti vs. Mickey Ward-type fight. In my eyes that could be blasphemy, because I don’t think I have ever seen anything else like that in boxing. I would not be surprised if these two fought each other two or three times and end up fighting each other for the title later on. This was always the game plan from Day One with Sean and me.

“With the amount of work, we have done over the years we’re really not surprised to be here. We are grateful, truly grateful, to Main Events and the Barrera camp. I am really glad that this worked out because this is the kind of fight that should happen for the fans.”

“Irish” Seanie Monaghan

“I want to thank Kathy and Main Events for giving me the opportunity. I want to thank Sullivan Barrera and his team for taking the challenge. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his team. If you look at his resume, it speaks for itself. He’s one of the most dangerous guys in the world. There’s undefeated guys with better looking records than him, who would be a much easier fight than he is. He’s the kind of guy he takes everybody to deep water. He’ll get dropped, get up and fight even harder. That’s been on my mind this entire training camp. I know I’m going to have to push myself way harder than I ever have before to get past this guy. The poster has it right, this is a ‘High Stakes’ game for both of us. May the best man win.”

Kathy Duva

When Gatti-Ward was made, nobody expected Gatti-Ward. These are the kind of fights where that happens, where you have two fighters who have everything on the line and have styles that are complimentary. Everyone who watches this is going benefit. And it’s going to be on Facebook Watch. You don’t have to buy a subscription or pay anything. It’s going to be a great night.”

Question: Do you like the new live streaming platforms? Do you think it’s good for boxing?

Sullivan Barrera: “I think that’s a great idea. Everyone knows HBO is out of the game. Live streaming is the new king. It’s good for boxing people; I think that’s great.”

Seanie Monaghan: “Times are changing, and you’ve got to roll with the times. HBO boxing is gone now. Everybody and their mother is on Facebook every day of the week. We’ll get a lot of viewers, a lot of eyes on this. This is going to be he kind of fight people don’t want to miss.”

PJ Kavanaugh: “Seanie has a lot of fans in Ireland and also in the UK. It’s great they are getting the opportunity to watch this live.”

Question: This is a crucial fight for both guys. Sullivan, do you believe this is a make or break fight?

Sullivan Barrera: “Every fight is important to me. I know he’s tough. When we are brought together, I will bring my best fight Saturday. I’m trying to get another title shot and title fight. I think this is my opportunity.”

Question: Seanie, you seem to concentrate on stamina and movement. Is that something you’re going to try and incorporate?

Seanie Monaghan: “I have been known to get swept away with my emotions in a fight sometimes. I lose my temper sometimes. I feel stronger and tougher than a guy, I’ll try to bully him. This training camp I came to the realization I’ve been boxing for 17 years. I am a good boxer. I don’t have to get hit so much. I’ve been focusing on my boxing and my movement. You’ve got to use all the smarts you have against a guy as dangerous as Barrera. I’m going to put my best foot forward, and I’m going to show a new and improved version of me that night.”

Question: Sullivan, you lost to Dmitry Bivol and Andre Ward. What is it about their styles that troubled you the most? What about Bivol you couldn’t capitalize on?

Sullivan Barrera: “I’ve come back, I am strong, my mentality is strong too. I want to prove my heart in this fight. I lost to Andre Ward; I lost to Bivol. I’m training hard and I want to get back on track in my career. Both guys are tough light heavyweights. Ward is retired now. At this level, it’s like Gennady – Canelo. They had close fights. You can win, you can lose, it’s tough.”

Question: Sullivan, you’ve been in with a higher caliber of opposition than Seanie. Do you think it will help you in this fight?

Sullivan Barrera: “No, I don’t think so. He’s tough too. I’m just training hard at the gym. I’m listening to my coach. It’s good because I have tough fights before, but that doesn’t help too much because I am fighting with him, he’s tough. I will put in everything on Saturday.”

Derik Santos: “Every fight is like an original play, it has to play out. I think sometimes, sure, at the beginning when you are building up a fighter, you say ‘This guy has more experience.’ It might give him a slight edge. The guy across the ring has two hands, too. He’s trying to do the same thing. Maybe he hasn’t had the opportunity to show something. You can’t underestimate any of your opponents. We’re definitely not underestimating Seanie. You always have to remember every night is a night in itself.”

Question: A lot went back and forth between you two on Twitter. Is it personal?

Sullivan Barrera: “I don’t have nothing personal against him. That’s just boxing. It’s a great fight for boxing fans. You just do it, give the fans the great show. For me it’s nothing personal, it’s just sport.”

Seanie Monaghan: “There’s nothing personal here. As an athlete, as a warrior, you look at what the other guys are doing around you. I’ve seen Barrera fight, I’ve seen him get dropped and get back up and fight harder. I know what his resume is. I’ve got nothing but respect for him. Kathy (Duva) probably wanted more fireworks with the media conference here. But we’re not trash talking guys who are warriors. We’ll have plenty of action on that night in the ring.”

Question: Seanie, you’ve boxed twice at The Aviator, it’s a 25 minutes ride from your home where you have massive support. Do you feel it gives you an advantage?

Seanie Monaghan: “I feel very comfortable there, I’ve seen it already. I know what the locker room looks like. I know what the drive there feels like. There’s a level of comfort there.”

Question: Seanie, is this fight with Sullivan Barrera an opportunity to erase your one career loss to Marcus Browne?

Seanie Monaghan: “I’ve definitely got a chip on my shoulder. I was embarrassed by that loss. Maybe my head got a little bit too big for myself. I didn’t really even think it was possible; I’ve never been down in my life in the ring or even in sparring. I got put down with a shot and was kind of dazed. I learned a big lesson, I’ll never put myself in that position again. I’ll gather myself up and keep on fighting. I’ve seen Barrera do it many times. It was just a bad experience, but it’s probably better to have that experience going into a fight with Barrera than never having that experience before. I’m more seasoned and I took what I can from that, and I moved on.”

Question: Why didn’t the Joe Smith Jr. fight ever happen, and will it happen in the future?

PJ Kavanaugh: “We made many attempts to make that fight. Between the promoters not coming together and agreeing on purses, the money has been an issue, more so on their side than ours. We’ve made attempts to make it. I still think it’s a great fight to happen. In the past we wanted to do it, and, in the future, we want to do it. We love the fight. Hopefully we can make it happen. We’re moving on with the Barrera fight and that’s what we’re excited about.”

Question: Seanie, will a win over Barrera be the type of win that shows the division you are a legit contender?

Seanie Monaghan: “Absolutely. As far as rankings go, you see guys who aren’t even ranked get a title fight. It’s kind of all about being in the right place at the right time. But being ranked in the top five in the world and getting a big signature win against a guy like Barrera has to move my career forward in the right direction.”

Question: Are you overall concerned about any ring rust?

Seanie Monaghan: No, we’ve done multiple training camps for fights that all fell through. I was supposed to fight (Eleider) Alvarez in Canada, that kind of all fell apart, and he got a fight with (Sergey) Kovalev. I was supposed to fight Barrera in the summer, and that fell apart. I was supposed to fight Anthony Yarde in England, and that ended up falling apart, and now I’m back with Barrera. I’ve been in the gym the whole time and I’ve improved a lot this year. My one loss made me re-evaluate myself and re-evaluate my weaknesses and work on them. I’m coming out as the best possible version of myself I’ve ever been.”

Question: Sullivan, what did you learn from your loss to Dmitry Bivol?

Sullivan Barrera: “Every fight, you’re learning. With Bivol, that was a tough fight. I have experience, but every fighter is different. Every style is different. I’m learning by myself, at the gym, and waiting for another opportunity to fight for a title.”

Question: What is your opinion of Seanie Monaghan as a fighter?

Sullivan Barrera: “Seanie is a great fighter, a tough fighter. I think he is a good fighter for the boxing fans. We have the same style, we’ve going to make the fight fun for everyone.”

Question: Seanie, you have another chance to prove yourself. What have you done differently with this camp to prepare for Sullivan?

Seanie Monaghan: “With the loss to Marcus (Browne), it’s going to actually end up helping me in the long run. I took a learning lesson from that. I walked into the ring half asleep. I’ve been known to kind of be too calm before fights, I calm myself down in the locker room. I walked into that fight half asleep and the next thing it was over. I know how dangerous Barrera is, and I know I’ll be switched on as soon as the opening bell rings.”

Question: If you get past this fight, how interested are you in a rematch with Dmitry Bivol?

Sullivan Barrera: “Right now, I’m looking at Seanie, I have my mind focused on him. But yeah, my goal is a rematch. I think that night was not my night. Right now, I’m focusing on Seanie. I’m training hard for him. I hope in the future I have my rematch with Dmitry.”

Question: Do you want a knockout?

Sullivan Barrera: “He’s a tough guy. When you fight with a tough guy you never know what’s going to happen. When I walk into the ring for my fight, it doesn’t matter if it’s a knockout or a unanimous decision. I’m not looking for the knockout, I’m going to have fun with my fight.”

Question: What has Seanie done differently to prepare for this fight?

PJ Kavanaugh: The one thing I’ve observed, Seanie has really been working on his boxing skills. In his past his toughness has carried him through a long way in his boxing career. Joe has been working with him, bringing some new stuff to the table.”

Joe Higgins: “Seanie has always had some pretty decent boxing skills. But like he said earlier, sometimes he gets drawn into a brawl. We could tell you what we specifically trained for, and the fight could turn out to be something different. We have also prepared for that. Yes, we did work a lot more on boxing skills. I can’t really tell you exactly what we did, or I’d be giving the other guy my game plan. We worked very hard on his endurance. He’s stopped guys early and he’s also gone 10 rounds four or five times. So, we think we’re prepared for just about anything.

“All I can tell you right now, don’t be surprised when Sean exhibits some boxing skills. But if it turns into a war, he’s ready to do that in a heartbeat. The best thing though? We really, really truly focused a little bit more of the intangibles where our fundamentals are extremely sharp as we’re throwing multiple punches. We think that will make for a crowd-pleasing fight, and we think that might be the advantage if these guys start swinging with each other. That’s as far as I can go.”

Question: Will the winner of this fight face Dmitry if he is successful in his fight against Pascal?

Kathy Duva: “That’s certainly possible. Another possibility is if Sergey (Kovalev) is successful in his defense against Alvarez. If that doesn’t happen, maybe Alvarez. We have a really exciting division here. Everything is up for grabs. Adonis Stevenson turned 41 yesterday – happy birthday Adonis. We have a lot going on. Adonis is in a very dangerous fight on December 1st against (Oleksandr) Gvozdyk, who is a terrific young fighter.

“The floodgates are opening. There will be lots of title fight opportunities. One or both of these guys may get them. Could be the kind of fight where they both do so well, they both get the chance. I hope so, that’s the kind of fight where everybody wins. In the meantime, they both have a lot on the line. There’s a big opportunity out there for at least one of them. Which opportunity that is, I can’t tell you today. But I’m pretty sure there will be one.”

Question: What will it take to unify the light heavyweight division?

Kathy Duva: “Probably forAdonis Stevenson to lose. He’s been the impediment all along. So, I’ll be rooting for Gvozdyk. He wins, and then I see a straight line to unification here. In the meantime, only two guys can fight at once and the other champions will be looking for dance partners, and we have two possible candidates for them right here.”

Question: What version of Barrera do you think you’re going to see?

Seanie Monaghan: “I’m really not sure, but I’m preparing for a tough hard night’s work. From everything I’ve seen of him, he comes to fight and however hard you fight, he’ll match you. Every night when I’m laying in bed after putting in work, I put myself mentally in the position where I’m exhausted and I have to go out there and work even harder. I’ve been training my mind for this fight for a long time. Barrera’s a warrior. He’s a Cuban, all Cubans can box. He doesn’t necessarily fight like a Cuban. He’ll fight 110 percent. I know I’m going to have to fight fire with fire at some point, and I’m just getting myself ready for it mentally and physically.”

Question: Is this the best shape you’ve been in?

Seanie Monaghan: “Definitely, I could do 10 rounds standing on my head right now. I’ve got no injuries. I’m sure every pro athlete goes through their share of aches and pains. I’ve had a bunch of a nagging little injuries I’ve never really complained about, you just deal with them in training camp. This is the first time they’re all gone. I feel young, I feel healthy, I’m confident I’m in great shape. I’m just going to be ready to do whatever it takes.”

Question: How is the dynamic of your training camp and how has it been different?

Sullivan Barrera: “When we train, we always have a good training camp. I have my physical training. I think my condition for this fight is great. For every camp, but for this fight my condition is good.”

Question: When you look at Seanie, what do you see?

Sullivan Barrera: “He’s a warrior too. We both go to the front, I think it’s going to be a great fight. Because we have almost the same style.”

Question: There is pressure on both guys to win the fight. Do you feel the pressure? How do you cope with it?

Derik Santos: “From my standpoint, ever since I’ve been with Sullivan, there hasn’t been an easy fight. This is what we do. When you’re at the level with high-level trainers and high-level fighters, you were born to do this, and this is what you do. The reason why we’re still there is because we do it well. Every fight it’s the same amount of pressure to do well and win. There’s the same amount of danger. When you are a professional, you handle it.”

Joe Higgins: “Quite frankly, I think pressure is good. It doesn’t give you a chance to underestimate anything going into a fight. It makes you work harder. It makes you focus a little bit more. The bigger the fight, the more you’ve got to focus. So yeah, I think a little bit of nerves and pressure is good for these guys. I think sometimes if you’re a little too relaxed, sometimes you’re going in there with somebody you don’t fear. That’s when you let your guard down. I like for Sean to worry about the guy on the other side of the ring. Because that’s when I get the best out of him. I’m not so worried about the pressure. We’ve been doing this a long time. We’ve been on the stage a long time with filled arenas. If that doesn’t put pressure on you, trying not to let down your people, then nothing does. Because when you turn around, you see the entire room is for you. That adds the pressure. In Sean’s defense, he’s used to that kind of thing. Man, I think he feeds off it a little bit. Quite frankly, like I said earlier, I think the pressure is actually a good thing. It makes them worry a little bit more about the opponent, so they stay more focused.”

Seanie Monaghan: “Every fight your whole career is important. Anytime, you can catch a loss on the way climbing up the ladder and it will really set you back. So, every time you step in the ring there’s pressure. This will be my 31st fight. The stakes are very, very high and I’m very aware of that. It helped me push through the hard training moments and really dig deep in my training and get prepared for this.”

Sullivan Barrera: “For me, I don’t feel pressure. When I fought Andre Ward, I learned I want to have fun. That’s just my mentality. It’s one more fight, just that.”

Kathy Duva: “This light heavyweight main event will headline the Saturday, November 3 card as part of the Golden Boy Fight Night series on Facebook, live from The Aviator. The event is promoted by Main Events. The action will be streamed live globally on Facebook Watch on the Golden Boy Fight Night page beginning at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Set a reminder on the Golden Boy Fight Night page.

“Tickets are priced from $50 to $125. They are on sale now and available through Eventbrite, by calling Main Events at 973-200-7050 or emailing [email protected] Thank you for joining us today and we hope to see you at The Aviator or online on Facebook Watch on November 3rd.”

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