Interview with Oleg Maskaev


World Heavyweight Championship
RAHMAN vs. MASKAEV II
AMERICA’S LAST LINE OF DEFENSE!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 12 at THOMAS & MACK CENTER
LIVE ON HBO PAY-PER-VIEW

OLEG MASKAEV
CONFERECE CALL TRANSCRIPT
(August 1, 2006)

LEE SAMUELS, TOP RANK: Greetings everyone. We’re in Las Vegas. Oleg Maskaev, the mandatory challenger for the big fight August 12th is in Colorado Springs with his manager and promoter, Dennis Rappaport and his manager Fred Kesch. And the fight is August 12th, Thomas & Mack Center, sponsored by our good friend at Caesar’s Palace in Wynn, Las Vegas and we are on HBO pay-per-view.

BOB ARUM, TOP RANK: Welcome. I mean boxing I think needs this fight. I really look forward to what will be a traditional heavyweight fight. There is no question in my mind that this fight, because of who the participants are, will be a fight that’s going to end in a knock out. It’s the kind of fight with two big heavyweights that people just focus on because at any time a telling blow can land, which can turn the fight and cause its termination. So I’m excited, particularly since I’ve been out of the heavyweight business for so long and now I realize why people are fascinated the way they are with heavyweights and I look forward to a great fight on August 12th and I’m so happy that the challenger Oleg Maskaev is with us.

And I’m going to turn it over now to Dennis Rappaport.

DENNIS RAPPAPORT, PROMOTER, DENNIS RAPPAPORT PRODUCTIONS: Well thank you. And on August the 12th it promises to be a memorable and an unforgettable evening. I’d like to give you a little background on Oleg Maskaev. We call him boxing’s Cinderella story. His career could best be depicted as probably being the most mismanaged and misguided fighter in history. He had an illustrious amateur career in which he stopped Vitali Klitschko in one round and won all kinds of medals. His career was then guided by a group that had to be the worst manager to get in history. In his very first professional fight he fought a boxer with 23 wins and no losses and a former silver medal winner. Oleg knocked him out. In his third fight he fought an undefeated heavyweight, Robert Hawkins, Oleg knocked him out, something that no one has been able to do including Samuel Peter. In his fourth or fifth fight he fought Joe Thomas, 23 and one, considered a top prospect. Oleg beat him. These rocket scientists that guided Oleg’s career to reward his great potential in his seventh fight when he should have been fighting four and six round fights they put him against Oliver McCall who had previously, a year or a year and a half before, knocked out Lennox Lewis in the second round.

This was I think the essence of his career, peaks and valleys, (inaudible) or wins and some terrible setbacks. We got involved with Oleg approximately three and a half years ago. Against all odds, against all obstacles, when his trainer said “quit” and his promoter released him Vic Davalley (ph) our trainer saw something, saw some potential, called me up and said “everything this guy’s accomplished he’s done with the pure guts and pure power nobody’s ever thought of.

In the three and a half years that we’ve been together he’s had 10 wins. No losses, eight knockouts and is today knocking on the door of the heavyweight championship. Recently Matu (ph) wanted to go, his beautiful five-year old, had her Cinderella costume on and Oleg looked at her and said “Oh you’re a Cinderella” and she said “No daddy”, she said, “You’re the Cinderella story.” I think that this is a feel good story because he traveled the boulevard of broken dreams and blighted hopes and on August the 12th, Cinderella will have a happy ending and Oleg will become the heavyweight champion of the world and it’s things that movie scripts are made of.

FRED KESCH, MANAGER: Well the thing I’d like to add Lee is that when we accepted this fight, which we’re very happy about and we’re looking forward to it and we’re looking forward to walking out with the championship belt, we’re a bit confused by the, by the theme, America’s Last Line of Defense. Oleg, who happens to be a United States citizen, we thought that maybe Hasim Rahman was going to invade Staten Island, where Oleg lives with his family. So we weren’t, we were a little bit concerned about that. But now we know we’re all going to Las Vegas to celebrate a championship win.

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes I want to say this, I became a challenger for this fight and then early when I fought in Germany and I beat Sinan Sam and you know, I made good progress for this last four years and that’s why I’m a challenger today. And I’m training and working very hard for this fight and I’m going to be ready and Oleg always come to fight and come to win. Thank you.

WILLIAM TRILLO, BOXING2006.com: Oleg, this is a rematch but this is a rematch unlike others where a lot of times they fight in the same year and within a matter of months. You haven’t fought Hasim since 1999, do you still feel the velocity and the, and the drive to prove what happened back then was in fact, supposed to happen that way and you’re going to do it again?

OLEG MASKAEV: Basically of, what I’m going to do, I’m going to do everything to win the fight. And it’s going to be a totally different fight because I think Rahman and I will now, it’s about almost six years past and we are different fighters. But the fight is, the fight will be a different fight. So what I’m expecting, do my job in the fight, to win the fight. That’s it.

DENNIS RAPPAPORT: I’d just like to add one thing that Oleg is the most vastly improved fighter. Back in ’99 he was a stand-up European style fighter, now he’s a superb boxer with great defensive skills, great techniques, he dances, he moves and he punches with devastating power in both hands. We think that Oleg Maskaev of 2006 is a far, far superior fighter than the one that fought in ’99.

WILLIAM TRILLO: So then what I hear you saying is we shouldn’t think of this so much as a rematch as we should a brand new Oleg and a brand new title fight?

DENNIS RAPPAPORT: Well it certainly, it’s certainly a rematch. In the six years that transpired I’m sure that Hasim has made some changes, Oleg has made some dramatic changes. So it’s part two but you may see some, there may be some interesting highlights that you didn’t see in part one.

WILLIAM TRILLO: Bob, can you discuss the Last Line of Defense for America here even though Oleg is an American citizen, the importance of this fight with all the other champion bouts being in Europe right now?

BOB ARUM: Well you know, Hasim Rahman is recognized as the only American champion among the heavyweights. And we hope that this fight will start him in battles against the other Russian speakers who hold the other belts and I think we’re in for a really spectacular series of fights. Now this is a very difficult fight for the Rock. But he’s training as he’ll tell you on his conference call tremendously. And I think this is a very competitive heavyweight match and maybe the title of this fight is a precursor of a theme that goes ahead with Rahman as he fights the various Russian-speaking champions.

DAN RAFAEL, ESPN.com: My question is for Oleg. Oleg as Dennis pointed out, you’ve been with them for three and a half years, but right before that you went through a very rough stretch, where you lost in fights, were knocked out and as you mentioned your promoter released you, your trainer suggested that you retire. I’m wondering if you could detail your own thoughts during that period of time. If you ever did consider retirement and if you didn’t what was it that kept you in the fight team?

OLEG MASKAEV: It was when I, when I have tough moments back then. And I was close to retirement because I knew that a lot of, a lot of things left in Oleg Maskaev and I didn’t realize them yet. So basically I was tough, but I do have fight, I was losing to fight. That’s what exactly happened. Just in a way that a lot of mistakes you know, which I, you know, I work for this year to correct them and to be a good fighter.

DAN RAFAEL: And do you agree with Dennis’ assessment that you are a vastly improved fighter now in 2006 than you might have been about four years ago when you were going through a rough patch?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes, for me it’s not easy to say that but people they see from out of the ring, you know they can say that.

DAN RAFAEL: OK, let me ask you a question going back to touch on the first fight between you and Rahman, have you ever thrown a better right hand in your life than the one that knocked him out of the ring?

OLEG MASKAEV: That was one of my good points, but I feel you know, Oleg, Oleg can always pinpoint and can fight but Oleg is trying right now to be an also good fighter, boxer, fighter and plus boxer.

DAN RAFAEL: When you landed that punch in the first fight, which I’ve seen a thousand times on the various promotional materials for this rematch, I mean that’s really what they’ve highlighted because it was such a spectacular knockout, can you remember the moment during in the ring? Because at that time, if I’m not mistaken, you were trailing in the fight?

OLEG MASKAEV: I was winning one moment but before I hurt him with another right hand. And (inaudible) and I knew he would, he’s mad, and I didn’t want to lose any moment to finish him. And that’s what exactly happened. When I had the first chance to throw my right hand, then I did, and this way I knocked him out

CHUCK JOHNSON, USA TODAY: Yeah, I’d like to ask you all about turning pro back in 1993, that was just a couple of years after the Soviet Union broke up. What do you recall about that period of time when the Soviet Union broke up into different countries and how did that change your outlook on your boxing career? I mean up to that point you hadn’t been a professional so, can you recall that time for me?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes, that was a tough time because the USSR broke in, broke up in different countries you know, then (inaudible) they separated, they got separated. Uzbekistan, which I fought for Uzbekistan had a (inaudible) team in Russia. There is a, it’s own team. So back then I was in Uzbekistan training and was ready for the Olympics you know in 1996. And you know, I had a problem with my, with my boss in Uzbekistan and then at this moment I had received a phone call from United States and they invite me to come to America and you know, people they want to look at me as a fighter and then I had my first professional fight and then I signed contract and I decided to be a professional fighter.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Do you recall there being frustration on the part of Soviet Union fighters that they couldn’t fight professionally before then?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes, I can say so.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Were you frustrated as well?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes. Lucky it worked out, good for me.

CHUCK JOHNSON: It worked out. So what do you think? I mean is what we’re seeing now in the heavyweight division just, is it indicative of all the good boxers that were in the Soviet Union even beforehand? Even before they became professional, were allowed to be professionals?

OLEG MASKAEV: Well not all of them you know, just some who had a connection and they can you know, go somewhere like you know to Germany, United States and you know, there were connections with someone and you know, get a team and (inaudible) yourself as a fighter.

CHUCK JOHNSON: So you had to have a connection to become professional?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes, I can’t say that I have a good connection but I had some connection.

CHUCK JOHNSON: You mean you had to have a connection before, before the fall of the Soviet Union or even after?

OLEG MASKAEV: No, not before.

CHUCK JOHNSON: OK.

OLEG MASKAEV: After.

CHUCK JOHNSON: OK, after, all right. So do you think this career is going to continue? What do you see as far as American born heavyweights, do you think that you know, they’ve dominated the division until recently. Do you think that that trend will continue with a Soviet Union, a former Soviet Union fighter?

OLEG MASKAEV: Well it’s not easy to say what’s going to happen in the future. (Inaudible) all this change you know. There’s nothing I can say that there is a heavyweight who’s going to be the best heavyweight and you know, nobody’s going to beat him. So the heavyweight division is wide open and you know, it can change you know, any moment.

CHUCK JOHNSON: So when did you become a US citizen and why was it important for you to become a US citizen?

OLEG MASKAEV: Approximately two years ago.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Two years ago?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes. Why it was important because you know I left USSR when was, in 1994, fight 1995 and I had my old, you know I had an old passport you know, and it expired and I lost, you know, I didn’t who I was. (Inaudible) because (inaudible) whatever, and then you know, the opportunity I had to get a green card and I use it. And you know I got the green card and then in five years I applied for the citizenship and you know, everything work out good.

CHUCK JOHNSON: So do you resent the fact that this fight is being America’s Last Line of Defense?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes.

CHUCK JOHNSON: When I said do you resent it, does it bother you?

OLEG MASKAEV: Well it’s not.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Did you say no?

OLEG MASKAEV: I can say yes it bothers me because you know it’s like a (inaudible) right? Whoever is going to win is anyway is going to be American.

CHUCK JOHNSON: All right. Bob, I’d like to ask your thoughts on the heavyweight picture and you know how things are shaping up right now with Rahman being the last American born champion, what are your thoughts having been around the game so long? And how things have reached this point?

BOB ARUM: Well Chuck as I have told everybody, when I first came into the game 40 years ago, with Mohammad Ali, all the heavyweights, pretty much all the heavyweights were Americans. And the reason was, you look around, a lineman in the NFL was making $5,000 a year, a year. Basketball players weren’t getting paid anything, professional basketball players. I told everybody that if Muhammad Ali came around today he would be a tight end on the Louisville High School football team and he wouldn’t be in a sweaty gym looking to win an Olympic medal. All of our big guys, well many of our big, you know, home grown guys, born in this State, are going in to basketball, football and aren’t coming in to boxing. And therefore, the talent pool is almost empty. The last American to win a heavyweight championship at the Olympics and I mean, you know (inaudible). I realize there was one class back in the 60’s but the last heavyweight, forgetting about Briggs who won it, I think it was Briggs or Biggs, who won it in ’84 when nobody came was George Foreman in ’68. Now you can’t have a period like that and when you look at the heavyweights since that period of the super heavyweights, there was only one that really could excite you and that was Ridic Beau (ph) who was a decent heavyweight champion, beat a lot of guys. And the heavyweight, the American heavyweights that excelled in that period were guys who really weren’t super heavyweights, like Tyson and Evander Holyfield.

You know when George Foreman came around, beat Michael Moorer, he was (inaudible). So if you don’t have talent you know, it’s very, very hard and all of these big kids fought, in the Soviet Union boxing program who developed, had a lot of athletes and in effect assigned them to particular sports. If they had a real big guy and he wasn’t such a good basketball player, they made him a boxer. I mean that’s why you’ve got the Klitschko Brothers, you’ve got Oleg, you got Sergei Liakhovich, and Nicolay Valuev (inaudible) and there is a tremendous amount but these were guys that were all developed in the Soviet system.

CHUCK JOHNSON: So it sounds like there’s no reversal on that right now.

BOB ARUM: There’s not, a reversal will come. A reversal will come when big young guys in the United States, talented guys say look, the chances of me becoming a professional football or basketball player are not great, and let me go in the direction of becoming a professional fighter. I’ll take my chances and because the rewards are still enormous you know and then we’ll get some talented guys. But that’s what it really takes. I mean if you don’t get talented guys to start with, Americans, English, French, Germans, Russians, don’t mean anything. It means you’ve got to have talent.

ROBERT MORALES, LA DAILY NEWS GROUP: Hey listen, what kind of a role will the result of your first fight play in this, at least in your mind when it comes to Rahman’s frame of mind? I mean, here he was winning the fight and yet he’s the one that got knocked out and, as they say, onto the lap of Jim Lampley, do you think this is weighing on his mind?

OLEG MASKAEV: I don’t know. I didn’t read his mind yet. So whatever is on his mind is going to be his mind, right? First of all I’ll worry about my mind, and my mind is OK. Mine is fine.

LEE SAMUELS: Rob, if I many add one thing I think of a mega request by the Athletic Commission, that they padded the floor outside the ring for health and safety reasons.

ROBERT MORALES: Yes, I saw that. I appreciate that. Bob, let me ask you a real quick, as Hasim’s promoter, is that a concern for you what, if he’s going to be thinking too much about the first fight?

BOB ARUM: If Oleg, who’s a professional fighter can’t read Rahman’s mind, how the hell am I who’s strange as a lawyer, how am I going to read his mind? I don’t know. I mean you’ve got to ask him on his conference call.

ROBERT MORALES: I will, but what a couple of cop outs. Thanks.

BOB ARUM: Excuse me?

ROBERT MORALES: I said what a couple of cop-outs, but thanks anyway.

BOB ARUM: OK, no I really don’t know. I have absolutely no idea.

ROBERT MORALES: I’m sure you have an opinion.

BOB ARUM: I have no opinion how it would affect him. Some guys, it will make them better because they realize what happened last time and they will take steps to prevent it from happening this time. Other people don’t learn their lesson from what happened before. I don’t know. I would assume that Rahman is an intelligent guy and he’s not going to let that kind of punch get to him again.

FRED KESCH: Bob I’d like to just interject with thought. I believe and I’ve been told that Hasim Rahman wakes up every night in cold sweat recalling that punch that Oleg threw at him. And when he enters that ring, that’s all that’s going to be on his mind.

ROBERT MORALES: Because he calls you every night? Or every morning to discuss it right? Who was that (inaudible) from?

BOB ARUM: That was his manager.

ROBERT MORALES: It’s Fred Kesch.

BOB ARUM: Fred Kesch.

LUKE BROADWATER, BALTIMORE EXAMINER: Oleg, do you have a prediction for this fight? A specific round or way of victory?

OLEG MASKAEV: I’m just, you know, actually I don’t make a prediction you know, but there is only one, win.

LUKE BROADWATER: Can you talk a little bit about your childhood, you, you’re promoter says you had basically a hardscrabble youth. What types of things did you have to go through?

OLEG MASKAEV: Well, (inaudible) it was a killer in building a home. (Inaudible).

LUKE BROADWATER: And you joined the military is that right? Why did you do that?

OLEG MASKAEV: In military I was a Russian lieutenant for seven years.

LUKE BROADWATER: And why did you, why did you join the military? Did you feel it was a way for you to sort of get out of coal mining and so forth?

OLEG MASKAEV: Every young guy you know, which reach about 18 years old, they’re not supposed to go to military and so for couple years. That’s all.

LUKE BROADWATER: How did you get into boxing?

OLEG MASKAEV: Couple years and then after that I you know, I saw extra six years, this way I became (inaudible).

LUKE BROADWATER: How did you get into boxing?

OLEG MASKAEV: Because of my father. He was a boxer and he told me this is the best sport for you to be a good athlete and you know, to have a strong mind.

LUKE BROADWATER: Have you ever met, seen Rahman outside of the ring, and what do you think of him?

OLEG MASKAEV: Actually I did have a chance to meet him outside. He just, he just work his (inaudible). Just stand by and that’s it.

LUKE BROADWATER: What was your impression of him? Do you dislike the guy? Do you like him? Do you think he’s a gentleman? Do you hate his guts?

OLEG MASKAEV: You know, I’m a believer in, I believe in God and I you know, personally I have nothing to this guy. This is a sport, and best will win. That’s in my heart; it’s in my mind. I have no enemies. Thank God.

LEM SATTERFIELD, BALTIMORE SUN: Hey, you talked about, I think it was the second loss in a row, I guess that was to Lance Whitaker, you said that your wife was pregnant and that you were distracted with that.

OLEG MASKAEV: She was really in like couple days to deliver a baby.

LEM SATTERFIELD: OK. Do you, which baby was that?

OLEG MASKAEV: Victoria. She’s five years old.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK, and that fight was in March of 2001, when was she born?

OLEG MASKAEV: She was born in, I would say, you know on June, in January 17th, 2001.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK. All right, OK. So this was actually the fight, so in order to go into training for the fight.

OLEG MASKAEV: I was in training.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK.

OLEG MASKAEV: (inaudible) complicated for me you know to do both the job. Because we are, we didn’t have our relatives, nobody around us that moment.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK, and can you just once again just talk about after the loss to Corey Sanders, what your state of mind was at that particular time and when did you meet

OLEG MASKAEV: I was trying to come back from, and I was winning this fight. And you know, (inaudible) that guy was ready to quit you know in the seconds, in the minutes. But he just caught me because you know he was one of my mistakes and I made a mistake and I pay for that. That’s it.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK. And the last question is when did you meet, when did you meet Victor Valle and Dennis Rappaport? How soon after that fight? And how did that meeting take place?

OLEG MASKAEV: Approximate like in a year and a half.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: And what was that meeting like and?

OLEG MASKAEV: (inaudible) Victor Valle at the (inaudible) gym. And you know, I work alone and nobody was you know working with me because I was looking for someone and then Victor he offer me to work with him for couple days. And after that Victor he knew Dennis Rappaport and he gave me (inaudible) and now he gave me (inaudible) of them. So I call them and you know we start talk about you know what we’re going to do, how it’s going to go that’s it.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK. And it’s been awhile since your last loss, but you know obviously all of your losses have been knock outs and Rahman coming into this fight has to overcome you know the psychology of having been knocked out by you. Can you talk about, from your standpoint, you know, as steps for taking the first punch in training after coming back from your last knock out what you have to do to overcome it mentally?

OLEG MASKAEV: Well mentally I was mentally I was always was strong mentally. What happens when something like this happen you know you should what’s a fighter supposed to do to take a break you know for a year or so? Just mentally relax and you know forget about boxing. You know, do something else. Then after that you feel you mentally strong then you can start boxing again.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: So there’s no flashback like the first punch in training or?

OLEG MASKAEV: You can’t let it be in your mind. You’re going to (inaudible). It’s going to make a big affect on you

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK, do you think.

OLEG MASKAEV: If you want to get back to him you have to put it on the side.

ROBERT JONES, PREMIERROUND.COM: I just wanted to know from you and Victor if you guys are going to change your strategies? On your first fight with Rahman you were, you started slow in the first couple of rounds but then you picked it up and then wore him out. I know it was a long time ago, but you will be trying to start faster this time? Or do you even know yet or are you just going to go with it?

VICTOR VALLE: I got to work on the weakness of the fight and whatever weakness they got I try to strengthen them every which way. I’m a great devoter on that in strengthening up the weaknesses. And Oleg is a good student and as far as anything we have a pretty good team, (inaudible), Dennis Rappaport, Dr. Goodsten (ph) and like again, Oleg’s a very good student and like Arnold Schwartzneggar says “esta la vista”.

ROBERT JONES: All right, I was wondering if the early part of your career where you thought multiple world champions and contenders within your first 14 fights, has that prepared you as you, you know are you ready to step into the ring on the 12th as you’ve already been through so much? I mean what else can you still go through?

OLEG MASKAEV: You know in this world, you got to be ready for anything, anything at all. That’s why you have to stay alert.

ROBERT JONES: All right. Also, we’ve heard you compared to James Braddock, I was just wondering how you feel about being compared to him? I mean do you think it’s a fair comparison? I just want to know your thoughts on it.

OLEG MASKAEV: Well I want to say I like this Cinderella story. I like it a lot.

BOB ARUM: There’s no question that he’s James J. Braddock with a Russian accent.

KARL FREITAG, FIGHTNEWS.COM: You mentioned before that you felt defended by the title American’s last line of defense for this fight, is that something that you feel any extra motivation?

OLEG MASKAEV: You know maybe for somebody else, maybe.

BOB ARUM: We can predict one thing that the winner of this fight will unquestionably will be an American, an American, right.

BILL CAPLAN: Yes, sorry guys for butting in like this but many of our parents, Oleg many of our parents are immigrants including mine from you know, what we call the Soviet Union and when they got their citizenship in their young adulthood they considered themselves to be Americans also. I just hope that you’re not offended by this and I know that you’re proud of your heritage and your background, so my thought is you know, your plan is to win the fight and when you do you’ll be winning as, will you be winning as an American, will you, I mean who will you be winning as?

OLEG MASKAEV: I would say I’m a proud Russian American so right now I’m a citizen of America, of United States and this is it. And also want to say because I have four kids now, and the last of them she’s an American too. She was born here.

LEE SAMUELS: OK, thank you and Dennis and Fred and Oleg and Bob, Dennis why don’t you wrap it up? We’ll start off with our final statements. And then it will go Dennis, Fred, Oleg and then we’ll go with Bob.

DENNIS RAPPAPORT: I really believe that this is going to be an unforgettable heavyweight battle. It has all the ingredients, it has the revenge factor, it has two devastating punches, two big heavyweights. It has all the drama that makes boxing the great sport it is. And I just want to, I think that anybody that underestimates the quality, the competitiveness and the sheer ferocity of this fight and doesn’t see it, is going to be greatly disappointed. And I just want to say one other last, one other thing, a lot of people reach a certain age and they don’t believe in Santa Claus, I believe in Cinderella, I believe in the Cinderella story. And when Oleg’s hand is raised OK, and they say the new heavyweight champion, we know that the storybooks have a happy ending.

DENNIS RAPPAPORT: I love you Oleg.

OLEG MASKAEV: I love you back.

FRED KESCH: Yes, one thing I’d like to say is that I’m really thrilled that Bob and Dennis were able to put this fight together. It’s going to be an exciting fight; it’s going to be an action packed fight. And just as proud as I was in September of ’04 when Oleg became a United States citizen, I’m going to be just as proud on August the 12th when Oleg becomes the heavyweight champion of the world. And I thank Bob and Dennis for letting this happen.

VICTOR VALLE: I the trainer of Oleg and Victor Valley there’s a piece about and his name is Johnny Boyd Vargas (ph) and he’s a very exciting fighter and it’s going to be an exciting card. And like I say, he’s back, esta la vista.

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes, I want to say please that thank you Bob and Hasim Rahman too for this opportunity to go with this fight. And I want to be extremely ready for this fight. I want to put up a good fight. And the best will win.

BOB ARUM: Yes, thank you. I want to thank everybody for participating. I want to remind everybody that the fight program will be distributed by our good friends at HBO pay-per-view. The price is $49.95 and in addition to the heavyweight championship fights, I agree with Dennis I think it’s going to be a real memorable type of event. In addition we’ll have the WBC interim 130 pound championship, which is the battle of Los Mochis two men who live in Los Mochis, Mexico, Humberto Soto and Ivan Valle who will contest for that title and then in another great fight, a WBC interim lightweight championship, Jose Armando Santa Cruz, a tremendous fighter, very exciting, will defend his title against David Diaz, a member of the United States Olympic team in 1996 from Chicago. And finally as part of this telecast, a young man who like Oleg, another immigrant, but this young man was a member of the Olympic team in 2004, Vanes “The Nightmare” Martirosyan. He will be fighting against Marcus Brooks in the special six round fight. So it should be a great great telecast, great event. But I cannot wait for Hasim Rahman and Oleg Maskaev to get in the ring on August 12th because that will be one hell of a heavyweight championship match.

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