Media Interview w/ Antonio Tarver & Glen Johnson
Moderator: Norman Horton
December 7, 2004
2:00 p.m. EST
OPERATOR: Good afternoon and welcome to the Tarver Johnson teleconference. At this time, all participants have been placed on a listen-only mode and the floor will be open for questions following the presentation. If you do have a question, please press star, one, on your touch-tone telephone.
It is now my pleasure to turn the floor over to your host, Mr. Norman Horton. Sir, you may begin.
NORMAN HORTON: Thank you Ian. I’d like to welcome all members of the media and certainly appreciate your participation today. On the line we have Joe DeGuardia, Star Boxing, representing Antonio Tarver; Dan Goosen, Goosen Tutor (ph), promotions, representing Glen Johnson; and then we have the best two light heavy-weights in the world, Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson.
At this time, we’ll have an opening statement by Joe DeGuardia.
JOE DEGUARDIA, STAR BOXING: Thank you Norman. Welcome everybody also and thank you all for participating in this teleconference for it’s going to be a fantastic fight. Both Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, I think, deserve the accolades of the media and the world for agreeing to fight each other on this historic night that we’re going to have December 18th at the Staple Center and televised live on HBO.
Both of them have taken enormous steps to fight the best in the world and they made that decision to fight each other. So this fight, I think, on that night, we’re going to find out and we’re going to have a coronation basically of a new king, new king of the ring. Both of them dethrone the prior king, Roy Jones.
And I think it’s a testament that the two of them have agreed to fight each other in spite of all the obstacles and difficulties and things they’ve had to give up in order to fight each other. And I look forward to this night. It’s going to be a fantastic night and I thank you all for supporting it.
NORMAN HORTON: Dan?
DAN GOOSEN, GOOSEN TUTOR (ph), PROMOTIONS: You can’t say much more than what Joe just did. The best fight and the best. That’s what it’s all about for the fans, for the networks, for the media.
And from that perspective, you know, the fighters will do the rest of the talking in the ring because I know we’ve got two of them that can speak outside of it, but more importantly, represent our industry to the – to the best ability that you have in that light/heavyweight division. And then, I think quite frankly destiny is on the side of the winner of this fight.
NORMAN HORTON: Antonio? Do you have an opening statement?
ANTONIO TARVER, FIGHTER: Yes. I’d just like to welcome all the media for their interest in the fight. It’s going to be a hell of a night of boxing, early Christmas gift to all of you diehard boxing fans. And we’re determined to finish this year with a bang. You know, I worked really hard in preparation for this fight, not taking anything lightly, focus, I’m hungry (ph), and I’m just ready to go. So just thank you for your interest.
NORMAN HORTON: Thank you Antonio. Glen?
GLEN JOHNSON, FIGHTER: Yes. I just want to say thanks to the media and everyone that’s taking part in the fight. I appreciate all the effort that goes into this fight and I’m very focused and ready and I’m looking forward to the 18th of December (INAUDIBLE) Center, California, HBO. Don’t get no better than that. It’ll be a great fight.
NORMAN HORTON: OK. Ian, at this time, we are open to take questions.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Once again, if you do have a question, please press star, followed by one, on your telephone at this time.
Our first question today comes from Dan Rafael with USA Today.
DAN RAFAEL, USA TODAY: Hey guys. How are you today? Hey, I’ve got a question for both of you guys. Maybe Antonio, you could go first. Joe alluded to it in the opening statement about you guys gave up a lot to make this fight happen against each other.
Both of you guys gave up your title bouts and I’m wondering if you could give me your thoughts about what kind of statement that makes to see that, you know, obviously the two best guys in the division, give up title belts that I know you all worked hard to get. But now give them up to fight each other. What kind of statement does that make in terms of the type of fighters that you are?
And also, the way that politics and boxing goes that would put you guys in the position where in order to fight the best, you have to relinquish what you worked hard to get? Tarver, maybe you could start for me.
ANTONIO TARVER: Yes, yes. You know, it was a tough decision, but when you look at the big picture, I think that, you know, when it’s all said and done, you know, first and foremost, you have to take care of your family because that’s all you’re going to have, you know, when the crowds stop cheering and when the lights are out. I mean, that’s all you’re going to have is your family.
They’re going to be there for you regardless, and you know, I felt that I had to make this statement because, you know, I think Glen and I right now, we have lightening in the bottle and I don’t think this fight could have ever been as big as it is now. You know, we’ve been – we’ve got a lot of interest from the media, from the boxing fans, the public. HBO has supported this fight 110 percent, and it’s a big fight to finish off the year.
I mean, and I don’t think – and just like Roy Jones, we should have given the boxing fans that trilogy, but it didn’t happen, because you know why? He gambled. He took a risk and anything can happen in boxing. There’s no certainty, so that’s why you have to take advantage of the moment. I think when you look at what Glen and I are doing, that’s what we’re doing.
We’re taking advantage of the moment, and I think the winner of this fight comes out better for it. Regardless of who totes those belts, the world will know there’s only one champion after December 18th. And you know, the IBF (ph), I didn’t lose that title in the ring, but it was taken from me. You know, I vacated it in order to give Glen an opportunity.
The WBA, I didn’t lose that title in the ring, but I’m not the champion today. So you know, when you look at it, you know, you can’t take any of those belts to pay your light bill or feed your kids, so you know, my whole thing is that when it’s all said and done, I’ll be looked at as the king of the light heavyweight division and all those guys with those paper belts will have to come see me if they’re fighting for money.
DAN RAFAEL: And Glen, what are your thoughts on that?
GLEN JOHNSON: Well, Antonio Tarver basically covered everything. I mean, you know, all I’m going to say is kind of repeat the same things he said because I have the same picture in front of me and the same reasons as to why I gave up my belt, you know, to fight Antonio Tarver. I do believe it’s the biggest fight (INAUDIBLE) in the light heavyweight division.
It’s a fight that has the biggest interest for the public and the media and the TV. So you know, you’ve just got to take chances and you have to take those opportunities when they present themselves because if you don’t, then, you know, it could slip away and you cannot have – the next day is not there.
So I’m going to go ahead and take those fights right now and on the 18th, the winner will be the man that everybody can talk about.
DAN RAFAEL: All right. I’ve got one more question for you guys, and maybe, Antonio, you can start. To me, it seems like the winner of the fight will be, at least the front runner or one of the top public guys for fighter of the year. Has that entered your mind at all going into this fight? Because you both beat Roy and the winner obviously will have beaten the other guy on this call today.
Your thoughts about the winner getting that sort of prestigious award as fighter of the year if you win the fight?
ANTONIO TARVER: You know, that would be a feather in both of our caps, you know what I mean? I mean, that’s what, you know, I’ve looked at that, but I never really had it in my grasp, but you know, a lot of people are saying that is out there for me. And, you know, that’s one of the things that, you know, we’re focused on.
You know, hey, it’s being the best that we can be and showing the world, you know, we are amongst the elite. And so if that’s there after the fight is over, then I mean, that would be another blessing and you know, right now, we’re just soaking it all in. You know, my whole thing is that a fighter of the year would be one step closer to being looked at as a great and a future Hall of Famer.
So of course, it’s something that you look at, but we know that the work is still in front of us.
DAN RAFAEL: Glen, can you talk about that? Possibly be the fighter of the year?
GLEN JOHNSON: Yes. Basically, you know, there is talk about that in my circuit, but you know, I’m not focused on that. I’m focused on Antonio Tarver and taking care of business and whatever comes after that, that just will be the reward. You know, you talk of other fights and everything else, but you know, you’ve first got to get past Antonio Tarver to look forward in the future and for what can happen.
So I’m not really thinking about that too much. I’m just thinking about dealing with my fight in the best way I know how and taking care of business. And then whatever come after that, just happens.
DAN RAFAEL: OK guys, I appreciate it and thanks. Good luck to both of you.
ANTONIO TARVER: Thank you.
OPERATOR: Once again, as a reminder, if you do have a question, please press star, one, on your telephone at this time.
Our next question comes from Robert Ecksel with The Sweet Science.
ROBERT ECKSEL, THE SWEET SCIENCE: Yes. Hello gentlemen. A couple of questions. Antonio first. Antonio, if you had to describe your boxing skills, your skills in the ring, to somebody who had never seen you fight before, what would you tell them? How would you describe your skills?
ANTONIO TARVER: I would say that, you know, basically, perfection. I think I’ve perfected the sweet science. I mean, when you look at boxing, it’s to hit and not be hit. And I think that’s where, you know, my major – my biggest asset is, is my reflexes and then again, my mind, thinking in the ring.
You know, and being there to hit my opponent and then he’s not able to hit me, so I mean, that has carried me, you know, through my amateur days and even in my professional days. And then when you look at – I feel like I can box. I can punch. I’m a great counter-puncher. I mean, I want to say and feel that I really studied the sport, you know, the sweet science of the game, and I’ve tried and attempted to perfect it. So boxer, counterpunch or puncher, I mean, trying to cover in a defensive exploit, so just trying to cover all facets of the game.
ROBERT ECKSEL: OK. That’s good. That’s good. And Glen, could I – could I ask you the same question? Somebody who’d never seen you fight before, if you had to describe yourself, how would you – how would you do that, Glen?
GLEN JOHNSON: Simple, by you know, simple boxing. Get in there and take care of business, you know, just take the guy out. I mean, just go in there and take care of the business and that’s it. You know, some guys call it being a boxer puncher. And you know, get done, you can look at it like that and, you know, I would say that I always pump it up a little bit, just being a boxer puncher and that’s basically it.
ROBERT ECKSEL: OK. Let me ask you Glen, while I’ve got you – while I’ve got you. You started fighting in Jamaica I gather?
GLEN JOHNSON: No. I started – I started boxing here.
ROBERT ECKSEL: How old were you at the time?
GLEN JOHNSON: Twenty years old.
ROBERT ECKSEL: Twenty years old? Wow, late start.
GLEN JOHNSON: Yes.
ROBERT ECKSEL: OK. I’ll get back to you. Thank you much.
GLEN JOHNSON: All right.
OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Robert Morales with Los Angeles Daily News.
ROBERT MORALES, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Hey Antonio, how you doing?
ANTONIO TARVER: I’m doing great.
ROBERT MORALES: Hey, listen, I don’t want to take anything away from Mr. Johnson. I thought his victory over Roy was also very nice. But you know, if we want to be realistic, I was there at your fight against Jones, both of them actually, and I know that after you hit Roy in the second fight, basically he was asleep on the way down and I think then woke back up when he hit the canvas.
One of the most spectacular knockouts I’ve ever seen. How much do you think you softened up Roy for Glen?
ANTONIO TARVER: Well, you know, I mean, I don’t want to take anything away from what Glen accomplished either, but there will never be a first. You know, I was the first one to really, really challenge this guy. I was the first one to challenge his mental, his “image”, his “status”. I challenged everything Roy Jones stood for because I believed in myself.
You know, I always felt that I was a better fighter. I proved that on November 8th regardless of who they say won that fight. And November 8th allowed me to knock Roy Jones out May 15th. And whatever happened after that was just a formality, you know, watching the first round, I knew that it seemed to me Roy Jones just a shell of himself. And I, you know, but I’m not resting on that.
I’m looking at this guy as a real live shocker. This guy’s coming to get everything that I want and to claim my throne, and I mean, I can’t let that happen. So I’m taking this fight deadly serious. You will see a condition, mentally, physically and spiritually. Antonio Tarver, I’ll be in the best shape and I’m going to put on a tremendous show.
I’m looking forward to it. L.A. is where all the stars are born and December 18th, I’ll be the brightest star shining.
ROBERT MORALES: All right. Thanks man. And one last question, again, for you Antonio. I know that you really did think that you won that fight, the first one, and I know a lot of other people did too. That coupled with Roy Jones’ career-long cockiness, how much gratification did you get out of knocking him out like that?
ANTONIO TARVER: Well, you know, I was satisfied, not in the fact that I knocked him out, but just in the fact that, you know, I was able to accomplish a dream of mine. And you know, and Roy Jones, it could have been anyone. But when I made my transcendent to the professional ranks, he was the guy in front of me. And you know, second best has never been good enough for me.
So you know, he just happened to be the guy that was in front of me. It could have been anyone, but I mean, I was determined to go through whatever I had to go through in order to be champion. And you know, that’s what – that’s what it was all about with me. I was satisfied because I was able to accomplish a lifelong dream of mine to be recognized as one of the best fighters in the world.
And I mean, I still have a lot of work to do because my dreams don’t fight with Roy Jones, Jr. I mean, there’s a lot of things I want to accomplish in this sport and I’m a transcender and I’m looking at transcending the game. And I want to be one of the biggest stars to date and I think an impressive win on December 18th will be the start of that.
ROBERT MORALES: All right man. Thank you very much.
ANTONIO TARVER: Thank you.
OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Michael Doss with 15 Rounds.com.
MICHAEL DOSS, 15 ROUNDS.COM: How you doing guys?
ANTONIO TARVER: How you doing?
GLEN JOHNSON: How are you?
MICHAEL DOSS: All right. OK. My first question for Antonio, I know you won the first fight with Jones, but do you think of it kind of as a blessing that Johnson, you know, fought Jones right after you did, because you would have maybe ended up fighting Johnson anyway. And do you think that, you know, after you’ve seen him against Jones that you will be more motivated than you would have been if you never fought Jones?
ANTONIO TARVER: My whole thing is that, you know, I’ve been looking at the tape of the Johnson/Jones fight. I mean, I really have to say that I think that the way he pressed Jones and the way he was reacting to the pressure, he probably could have beat Jones on any given date. And that’s been my motivation here in this fight.
And you know, it’s like the guy went out and fought a perfect – and executed a perfect game plan. Roy Jones didn’t have nothing for him, couldn’t answer him, couldn’t hurt the guy when he did hit him. I mean, so I look at that like, man, you’ve got to take your hat off to Glen Johnson.
I mean, this is a guy that’s had some bumps along the way and, you know, came up short on some really bogus decisions, but the guy kept his best foot forward and you have to respect a guy like that, that always seemed to land on his feet no matter what the circumstances are. So, I mean, hey, you know, he has an opportunity of a lifetime December 18th and so do I.
So I mean, it’s going to be a heck of a fight. I think we’re – we will challenge and rival Morales and Barrera (ph) for fighter of the year as long as it lasts. I mean, because I think styles make fights and when you look at his pressure, you look at my sophistication box – sophisticated boxing style, it’s going to be a hell of a fight.
You know, I’m going to be sticking to move and he’s going to be pressing, and I mean, it’s going to be a great fight. And if boxing fans are sleeping on this, they shouldn’t, because I think this, for styles (ph), will be the best fight of the year.
MICHAEL DOSS: Thank you Antonio. I’ve got one more question for Glen. Are you worried at all about this going to the score cards? I mean, you’ve had – probably out of all the champions, you’ve had the worst, you know, luck of the judges. I mean, are you worried at all about this going 12 rounds?
GLEN JOHNSON: I’m always – I’m always worried with the judges. My history and my experience with them have not been in my favor for sure, so I’m always worried. But at the same time, if we go to the distance, I want to make sure that (INAUDIBLE) to win all the way throughout the fight and, you know, the knockout call might take it. And you know, I can’t really – in the ring, keep my focus on the judges.
I just want to keep my focus on the fight and the money in front of me, and what I need to do to be ahead and to win the fight.
MICHAEL DOSS: Thank you Glen. Good luck guys.
ANTONIO TARVER: Thanks.
GLEN JOHNSON: Thanks.
OPERATOR: Our next question comes from William Trillo with Boxing 2004.
WILLIAM TRILLO, BOXING 2004: Good morning gentlemen. How is everybody doing today?
ANTONIO TARVER: I’m doing good.
GLEN JOHNSON: Doing good.
WILLIAM TRILLO: Great. Listen, I’ll start with Antonio. Antonio, we’ve had a chance now and then to throw a belt in the (INAUDIBLE) trash can, but what you guys are doing here for this fight, to me seems unprecedented in its style. Do you think, or what do you think the sanctioning bodies are going to do? Do you think they’re going to take a look at this and rethink the way that they are handing out the belts after this fight?
ANTONIO TARVER: You would hope so. You know, I mean, I think those sanctioning bodies collectively, they need to start looking at, you know, supporting fighters sometime. When they’re opting to do something as great as we are. All the time, you know, mandatories aren’t qualified. They’re not solidified as mandatory, but right now, I think Glen Johnson and I are at the top of our games.
And I think we should be commended for what we’re doing and we’re both looking at it like, you know, hey, if we’re victorious December 18th, you know, the belts will be there. They have to come through us to get those – the big paydays, the HBO fights, and I mean, so you know, you’re looking at it sort of like a negotiation tool. Once you’re victorious December 18th, I think all of that will fall into place.
You know, I want to get back all my championships because I mean, if there’s someone out there impersonating the champion, then it shouldn’t be. And you know, that’s what they’ll be doing if the king isn’t crowned December 18th.
WILLIAM TRILLO: All right. Thank you.
ANTONIO TARVER: They should turn over all the belts once the fight is over. They all should come politely and hand the belts to me (INAUDIBLE).
WILLIAM TRILLO: All right. Thank you. Glen, you were just speaking about some rough decisions and I want to just take you back a few years ago, and you had a rough decision against a fighter who I believe is on the under-card of this fight still, in Wendell Gonzales (ph). Should things come out for you the way you want this week, this next week, and Mr. Gonzales should be victorious, I know in the past you spoke about wanting to take care of that business. Is that something that’s still in the back of your mind?
GLEN JOHNSON: No. You know, the Gonzales fight is something that I tried to get when they first ripped me off and they want no part of it. And that indication to me that they know they lost. You know, they don’t have the confidence to step up and challenge me again.
So now if they want that challenge, after I take care of business on the 18th, all I know they’ll be looking for is a payday and they’re just looking for another opportunity, because when I won, they didn’t give it to me. So I would definitely put them on the side burner and have them wait.
WILLIAM TRILLO: OK.
GLEN JOHNSON: You know, when it’s necessary, not to say I wouldn’t fight him again, but I’d definitely let him wait and it will be on my terms because they will be in no hurry to give me an opportunity for the second time around.
WILLIAM TRILLO: Understood. Thanks gentlemen. Good luck to you both.
GLEN JOHNSON: Thank you.
ANTONIO TARVER: Thank you.
OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Joseph Santoliquito with Ring Magazine.
JOSEPH SANTOLIQUITO, RING MAGAZINE: Antonio, how are you?
ANTONIO TARVER: Hi Joe. How’s it going?
JOSEPH SANTOLIQUITO: How you doing Glen?
GLEN JOHNSON: Hey, I’m good man, how are you?
JOSEPH SANTOLIQUITO: Good. I’m doing very well. Listen, I want to remind Antonio, Antonio, you are fighting for something on December 18th?
ANTONIO TARVER: We are fighting for something?
JOSEPH SANTOLIQUITO: Yes. You are the world’s light heavyweight champion.
ANTONIO TARVER: That’s it. We recognize that. We definitely recognize that.
JOE DEGUARDIA: Think the Ring belt (ph) Antonio.
ANTONIO TARVER: Yes, definitely, the Ring belt, for sure.
JOSEPH SANTOLIQUITO: OK.
ANTONIO TARVER: Every time I step in, it’s on the line.
JOSEPH SANTOLIQUITO: And could I ask you how important that is to you?
ANTONIO TARVER: It’s very important. I mean, the Ring Magazine right now recognizes the champion above and beyond, you know, what the sanctioning bodies says, because we know the sanctioning bodies can’t agree on anything. It’s a miracle how these guys like Hopkins and Roy have been able to hold on to their championships and when I come in and win two belts, three belts, I can’t seem to hold on to them because of the political politics of boxing that works for you or against you.
So right now is a comfort in knowing that I have such a prestigious belt as the Ring Magazine award light heavyweight champion, and that’s above and beyond, you know, what any sanctioning body can really say. I mean, when you get that Ring belt, you know that you’re on top of your game and you are the man.
JOSEPH SANTOLIQUITO: Antonio, …
ANTONIO TARVER: So I’m taking that confidence in with me December 18th.
JOSEPH SANTOLIQUITO: Just a follow-up with this. Is this also a fight for respect again? I know you and I have spoken a number of times before about, you know, your accomplishments and obviously the great accomplishment in knocking out Roy Jones, but then again, you know, Johnson knocked him out following your fight, not to disrespect Glen in any way, but still then, you had people turn around just saying, well, Tarver knocked out a faded (ph) Roy Jones.
ANTONIO TARVER: Well, I mean, I don’t know how he was faded (ph), because I mean, just several months prior to that, he was on top of the world. He was the heavyweight champion. So you know, if he got faded (ph), he got faded (ph) out on May 15th. My whole thing is that, you know, I’m always fighting for respect. That’s when I’m at my best, you know, when there’s naysayers.
And I won’t rest until these people recognize who I really am. They can go back and do the history, and they can’t find anyone that has beaten me, dominated me in a ring in a square circuit ever, not amateur or pro. So you know, my ability and skills are solid and you know, it won’t be until 10 years after I’ve retired they will recognize my greatness. So you know, that’s OK with me. But I’m going to continue to prove my naysayers wrong.
JOSEPH SANTOLIQUITO: Thanks guys.
OPERATOR: Our next question is a follow-up from Robert Ecksel.
ROBERT ECKSEL: Yes. A question. Antonio, most of us look at the sanctioning bodies as being basically completely corrupt and have been forever. Their interest only seems to be in themselves and their officers and not really about boxing. And even though you’ve got the, you know, the Ring belt, et cetera, et cetera, isn’t this stuff – I know it has value, but isn’t it kind of like jewelry?
I mean, isn’t what really – isn’t what really is important is that you know in your mind that you’re the best player out there? And whether you have a belt, whether you have a title, all of this stuff, does it really matter to you?
ANTONIO TARVER: It does matter because it’s what the belt signifies. You know, there’s great champions that have wore those titles before me. It’s the tradition. They are very important. You know what I mean? But at the same time, right now, it’s like, I mean, I’m coming back for my championships, make no mistake about it.
As long as I reign as the light heavyweight division, I’m going to get my belts back and I plan on getting all of them back. But right now, I’m the IBO (ph) champion and the Ring Magazine champion on December 18th and I’m the king of the light heavyweight division. So that’s what’s at stake.
And you know, the people, the fans, the people that will remember you when it’s all said and done, those are the ones that know what’s at stake on December 18th. They know that Johnson and I are the two best light heavyweights in the world.
ROBERT ECKSEL: OK. But in order to get your belts back, you’re going to have to fight people that you might not have fought if they hadn’t stripped you of your belt. Isn’t that correct?
ANTONIO TARVER: That’s correct. That’s correct.
ROBERT ECKSEL: All right. And going with that, that means you may have to take, shall we say, a cut in pay as a result.
ANTONIO TARVER: No, there won’t be no cuts because those people with those belts will understand that they don’t have any opportunities unless they come meet the man. So it won’t be no cut, you know. They’re going to make more money fighting myself than any money out there that they could possibly fight, off TV, no TV, ESPN. I mean, what are they going to do? Let’s be real.
You know, after December 18th, they know who they need to come see in order to get paid because they can only last so long out there starving to death with those belts. So you know, they’ll bring them to me after it’s all said and done.
ROBERT ECKSEL: OK. And one last question, Antonio, if I can. You mentioned that you have some big plans for your future in boxing. I assume some of those plans are going to be at light heavy. Are you thinking, considering moving up in weight and challenging the big boys?
ANTONIO TARVER: I mean, that all depends on what opportunities come my way. I’m not dumb by any means or stupid. I mean, I’m a businessman. Shit, they gave Roy Jones, 10 million minimum guaranteed to go fight what some call the least talented heavyweight in heavyweight history of the game in John Relee (ph), so I’m using that as a measuring stick. So you know, I’m listening.
ROBERT ECKSEL: OK. Thank you Antonio.
ANTONIO TARVER: Yes.
OPERATOR: Once again, if there are any remaining questions, please press star, one, on your telephone at this time.
Our next question comes from Marc Abrams with 15 Rounds.
MARC ABRAMS, 15 ROUNDS.COM: How you doing Antonio? The question I had was, you know, as this fight was being negotiated and even earlier in training, were you not as focused as I’m sure you are now because obviously, you’ve been targeting Roy Jones for the better part of, you know, you said last half, even a decade?
I mean, again, not to take anything away from Glen, I mean, you could have been fighting anyone, King Kong for all that matters. It’s just that, you know, did you ever sit back and just say, hey, I’ve been wanting Roy and I’ve done what I had to do and did it, you know, to get more focused for this fight, did you ever like lose focus?
And not in terms of this fight, but just in general because you basically accomplished a huge goal that you’ve been (INAUDIBLE) for so long?
ANTONIO TARVER: Oh, like I said, my goals and dreams don’t stop with Roy Jones, Jr. I mean, he just happened to be the man in my way. So it could have been anyone. I mean, no, not at all. I mean, I’m focused because I have a responsibility, you know, as champion and as a man, you know, to go in here and perform, do my job. And I know that this, you know, this can be over in just a blink of an eye.
So why would I take it for granted? People lose their lives in the ring. You know, people get knocked out and severely injured in the ring. Why should I take that for granted? You think I don’t know that Glen Johnson is looking at me like a piece of juicy steak? You know, I’m very aware of what’s at stake and what I have to lose. So I’m not at all, by no means have I taken this fight for granted.
That’s what people will realize and I’ve been saying all along, that I’m still hungry, thanks to the IRS. You know what I mean? They keep you humble. So, you know, there’s a lot of things that I need to do and accomplish in order, you know, before I can, you know, ever, ever start to get complacent. I have a lot of work to do and I’ve put in my work. I’ve put in my time and I’m ready to perform on December 18th.
MARC ABRAMS: Thank you and best of luck to both of you.
OPERATOR: We have a follow-up question from Robert Morales.
ROBERT MORALES: Yes. Glen, a little while ago, Antonio mentioned how – I think his quote was, I’m going to be thinking and moving and he’s going to be pressuring me. We all know that Antonio has a great punch. Do you expect him to do all that much thinking and moving or do you think he might come at you basically the way he came at Roy Jones, Jr.?
GLEN JOHNSON: Antonio Tarver can do whatever he wants, whatever works for him. I’m sure it’s what he would try to do and he don’t know if I’m going to come at him or what I’m going to do. I know what I’m going to do, step in the ring and show that on the 18th. So you know, either way, either way, I intend to be victorious on the 18th because I have the ability to adapt to what’s going on inside the ring.
So you know, I’m prepared, I’m in shape, and you know, that’s the most important thing. You know, I’m ready to go 12 rounds if needed and, you know, I’m very focused in the fight and I’m going to step in there and …
ROBERT MORALES: Twelve rounds won’t be needed. Trust me. Hey Glen, one more thing and again, you know, I saw your fight against Roy on TV and I thought you did a great job. And again, I don’t want to take anything away from you at all, a fine performance. You went after the guy and stopped him cold needless to say.
Did you feel though that maybe he wasn’t quite the Roy Jones that stepped into the ring with Antonio the second time? And by the time you got him that maybe he had been softened up a little bit?
GLEN JOHNSON: Well, I would know nothing on that. I’d never been in the ring with Roy Jones, 10 years ago, not five years ago, not three years ago, nor a year ago. I only stepped in really in the ring with him a few months ago. So that’s the only Roy Jones I know.
So you know, maybe you can give us your forecast (ph), because some guys have been in the ring with him some years ago and you might find out from them, some information. I really don’t have the information. I only have the information the night that I stepped in the ring with him on. You’ve seen the results of it.
ROBERT MORALES: All right. Thank you man.
GLEN JOHNSON: All right.
OPERATOR: As a final reminder, if you have any remaining questions, please press star, one, on your telephone at this time. If there are any remaining questions, star, one, on your telephone at this time.
Our next question comes from Michael Doss with15 Rounds.com.
MICHAEL DOSS: I’ve got a question for Glen. OK. You know, right after the Jones fight, Hopkins actually called you out or he talked about calling you out. He said he wanted to fight you since he was (INAUDIBLE) that never stopped you. But did you know right after you landed that right hand and knocked out Roy Jones, that you wanted Tarver? Did you know that, you know, Tarver was the fighter for you?
GLEN JOHNSON: No. I didn’t want anyone. You know, I’m prepared to fight whoever steps up to fight me. You know what I mean? I never call anyone out. You know, they call me. Antonio Tarver came to the press conference and he present this challenge and he wanted to fight. I tell him if he want to fight, we can do it and his people and my people got together and they put the fight together and we’re here.
You know, and whoever is next, I’m pretty sure they’ll do the same thing. I don’t really have no big interest of calling anyone out. I’m here to take care of boxing and that’s what I do. I step in the ring and I take care of business.
MICHAEL DOSS: Thank you Glen. I’ve got one question for Antonio also. OK. When you fought – when you fought Jones, right after you fought …
OPERATOR: Hello? OK. It looks like we – it looks like we lost him.
JOE DEGUARDIA: Yes, go to the next one.
OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Jay Dee with TSO.
JAY DEE, TSO: Antonio?
ANTONIO TARVER: Hi. How you doing?
JAY DEE: Good. How’s everything? I want to congratulate you on your victory over Roy Jones.
ANTONIO TARVER: Thank you.
JAY DEE: Your IBO championship.
ANTONIO TARVER: Right.
JAY DEE: A question for you. You won all the other titles with the IBO title. How come the IBO is the only one who didn’t strip you of your title?
ANTONIO TARVER: Man, I don’t know. I guess they believe in what we’re trying to do here and that’s a good thing. And you know, I thank them for that. And so in that, I mean, I’m loyal and I’m committed to continuing to defend my title and hopefully, you know, we can move on.
Like I said, you’ve got to start from somewhere. I know that the IBO has been getting a bashing in the media and on the Internet and everything, but you know, if it wasn’t for Larry Holmes (ph), there would be no IBO.
So you have to start from somewhere and I’m glad that they have the confidence in me as champion to know that I can take them places that, you know, probably wouldn’t – they probably wouldn’t have been able to go if they didn’t have a fighter with my ability and my skills. So we’re going to ride out until the wheels falls off, so I appreciate the IBO.
JAY DEE: Beautiful. Well, good luck to both of you.
ANTONIO TARVER: Thank you.
GLEN JOHNSON: Thank you.
OPERATOR: At this time, there appear to be no further questions.
NORMAN HORTON: Joe, do you have anything that you want to close on or say?
JOE DEGUARDIA: Well, I just invite everybody to be there December 18th. It’s going to be an exciting night and it is going to be the coronation of the new king. It’s a great night of boxing.
And, you know, I think it’s worthwhile for everybody in boxing that we have two real ambassadors of the sport, both Antonio Tarver and Glen Cove (ph) Johnson, are both people that the boxing world can look up to for what they’re doing both inside the ring and outside the ring and how they both come the hard way and made it to the top as professionals.
And I look forward to this fight and I think it’s going to be a fantastic night and they both deserve your support from the boxing world.
NORMAN HORTON: Dan, do you have anything you want to close on?
DAN GOOSEN: You know damn well I do, especially after listening to the only man I think in any sport to have two nicknames that he’s so worthy of. One is that road warrior, which Antonio depicted very well in his – in his descriptions of Glen and his style and everything else.
And the other one is gentleman, because as we saw today, and we certainly, Glen and myself and his manager, Henry Foster, spoke about it going into this fight, that Antonio was going to be sitting there getting the questions and all the adulation to the bigger percentage. And as you saw with Glen, he was just a gentleman throughout it and that’s where that gentleman, Glen Johnson, comes in.
But every time when I was hearing those questions being addressed to Antonio, and I was saying, gee, Glen’s being a gentleman, the next thought that always came to my mind, he’s a bad ass gentleman because come December 18th, what we’ve got there is a real fight, OK?
Whether Antonio knocked him out first, which was a great knockout, but I know one reporter talked about Glen’s knockout was more of a consistent beating, but to me, Roy wasn’t sitting in the ring for 30 minutes afterward contemplating how he was knocked out by Antonio Tarver. He was – he had the birdies (ph) of going around in his head.
So December 18th, what we’ve got is a gentleman and a road warrior in one side of the corner and then the magic man in the other one, but more importantly, we’ve got a bad ass fight going. And that’s the ambassadors to the sport that I want because there’s nothing worse than having two nice guys that don’t want to fight.
You can have two enemies that sometimes put on a great show of Ferrera (ph) and Morales did, and you can have two enemies that hug each other and you can have friends or ambassadors that don’t kick ass on one another. But we’ve got December 18th, they’re two guys that are going to go out there and want to kick ass and excuse the expression. I don’t like that king of the light heavyweight division.
I like it to be where they are the baddest ass in the 175-pound division. And that’s what I’m looking forward to. Joe DeGuardia has done a great job on this with Star Boxing and everyone else involved. I hope to see you there at Staple, get your tickets. We priced them nicely from $25 on up to 250 and we’ll look forward to seeing you ringside.
NORMAN HORTON: Thank you Dan. And in closing, before closing, I want to thank Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson for taking the time out from their training and just following up on tickets, they are priced at $25, 50, 125, 250. They are available now at the Staple Center Box Office and Team LA (ph), a Universal City walk (ph).
Or by calling Ticket Masters at 213-480-3232, or you can purchase tickets on line,www.ticketmasters.com. For group sales, 1-866-LAgroup. And regarding the telecast, this will be seen on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 6:00 p.m. Pacific time, and 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. Thank you.
JOE DEGUARDIA: Thank you Norman. Thank you guys.
NORMAN HORTON: Ian, this will end the conference call.
OPERATOR: Thank you. This does conclude this afternoon’s teleconference. Please disconnect your lines at this time. And have a great day.