Media Interview with Fernando Vargas
Conference Call Transcript
Direct from Las Vegas, Nevada
(From News Release)
FERNANDO VARGAS: God has blessed me and my family. I have had a great camp, thanks to Danny Smith and thanks to Robert Ferguson for keeping me strong while losing weight. This will be my last fight at ’54 but I feel strong. But [after this] I will let my body grow. I am ready to go. We had a great camp and now we’re ready to close out the last two weeks in Vegas. We are here to acclimate and be here for a while.
The weather is nice . . . and HOT. But it’s great. We’re at a gym where it’s a gym. It’s dirty and it’s hot, just like a gym should be.
Were you worried at the end of the fight?
FERNANDO VARGAS: I wasn’t worried. That’s the thing. If I were to see Shane on the other side of the ring with an eye like that, I would have gone for broke. He respected what I carry in my left and right hand. He was respecting me with one eye, AND I was still winning the fight. He can’t say he had me on the ropes and he was punishing me and they stopped it. When they stopped it, I was putting pressure on him. I thought the ref was breaking us up. Obviously he respected me and he respected my power with one eye and being blind from one eye.
Shane didn’t want this fight [the rematch]. He got pressured into it. Now we got it and I’m thankful to God that we got it. The other two fighters that beat me would not give me a rematch and they have openly admitted that I have been their toughest fight. I am excited I got the rematch and I am looking forward to it on July 15.
Do you think you silenced the critics?
FERNANDO VARGAS: Absolutely, because who’s blown me out? The two fights and the third with Shane. The first fight back with Joval after a year and a half off from my back and Joval hasn’t lost since he lost to me. Then I beat Castillejo who beat the guy that knocked out Ouma. I have been able to get back and show the type of fighter that I am. I did silence them. There will always be critics. Shane Mosley with one eye – I was making him tired when he said I was going to fade. We are going to make a few minor adjustments and I am in such great shape and I am thankful with the type of team that I got.
What makes you get up and do this in the morning?
FERNANDO VARGAS: I want to leave on my own terms. I want to win another title, but it won’t be at 154, I’ll tell you that much. I went to the Olympics when I was 147 pounds and 18 years old. So that’s ten years and I’ve worked hard and had someone that wasn’t a professional [helping me]. I was doing stuff like eating three hard boiled egg whites and going to sleep on NyQuil because I couldn’t sleep because I was so hungry. Then on the day of the weigh-in I had pizza and soda and my insulin level went all the way up then crashed down. Then I had white flour and sugar on the day of the fight – white flour and pancakes – totally not something you are supposed to do when you are going to have to fight and put on a performance. To do that just showed what type of fighter I was. Robert Ferguson wanted to know how I did that. People don’t understand the world that I live in. I work hard to get down to 154 and I do more than the average fighter does and I feel God helps me.
What made you decide this would be your last fight at 154?
FERNANDO VARGAS: I would rather not do this to my body any more. You have to understand I walk around at 185-190. I have a big frame and a big body. One thing that I do is that I am Mexican and I like to eat. I have to continue to trick and manipulate my body to come down in weight. Robert Ferguson shows what type of individual and what type of professional he is, and he’s the best and I’m only going to hire the best. It’s just time. I won the title against Yori Boy Campus at 21 years and I’m going to be 29 this year. My body says, “WHAT?!” Women today don’t even weigh 154. When it comes to science and STILL feeding me,–feeding me great food-there is a certain way of doing things and Robert Ferguson does it right.
Robert, is it a piece of cake?
Robert Ferguson: Yes, I like the pun there, a piece of cake.
FERNANDO VARGAS: Carrot cake. Yes, I have had healthy carrot cake. This man knows food and I’ve learned a lot from him. Other guys would just say, “Because I said so.” But he explains it to me. I learn and I put it in my journal. I am only three pounds away – he laughs at three pounds. I laugh at three pounds.
Do you feel your eye is 100%?
FERNANDO VARGAS: This time I took different measures in sparring. Before I was sparring with headgear that really covered your face with the bar in front of it but this camp I did not use that. Now I use the headgear with the bar, but I am still able to get hit with the glove. So my face will get used to getting hit. I don’t think it was used to it last time. I will tell the referee to watch the holding because Shane likes to hold and he complained to Joe Cortez, “He’s pushing me.” At the fighter meeting I am going to make sure he doesn’t hold me and he fights me and he watches his head. He didn’t make my eye swell with his hands or his fist. He did it with his head. He kept on coming in with his head. I remember it vividly, each time I got head butt, I was like, “MAN”. I would just clench my teeth and look down so he couldn’t see that he kept on hurting me when he was coming in with his head.
I had somebody that was really on me and that was Miguel Diaz, and he is no joke.
You will have Miguel Diaz as your cut man?
FERNANDO VARGAS: Yes. Jacob Duran was there last time.
Rolando Arellano: Not only does he feel that his eye is OK, but so do the medical professionals.
FERNANDO VARGAS: We did a cat scan and a scan of the face and everything was fine.
Was it frustrating not being able to finish the job?
FERNANDO VARGAS: Absolutely. I understand if he was punishing me on the rope, then I would say, OK, he was the better man. It was his fight and respect to him. I was putting pressure and he thought that I was going to tire and fade out, but he was the one that was fading out. I was up before Joe Cortez said, before the bell was even rung, and before even the ten seconds was up. Joe Cortez was pushing me down to go sit down and Mosley was the one-I could see him across the ring-laying out on his stool. I said, “He’s dead tired, I got him.’ Especially when I was putting pressure on him and Cortez broke us up. I thought he was just breaking us up, but he stopped it. And now there is controversy. His fans are definitely not satisfied and I’m glad I have an opportunity again.
Did the 400,000 buys on the first fight surprise you?
FERNANDO VARGAS: It didn’t really surprise me. All I wanted was the opportunity to show that I could do that. The loyal fans, after the fight, they just went crazy. I was walking out and they were hugging me and going crazy. It is a testament to them and I am thankful for everything. They’ve been with me through thick and thin. Now, since there was so much controversy for the first fight, those numbers may be even more. I’ll leave it in God’s hands – I feel good and I feel ready to go.
Arellano: You have to take into consideration also that we were competing against the Winter Olympics. If you remove that element we believe it could have been higher.
Can you be that guy that was tearing everyone up a few years ago?
Ferguson: The reality is if Feroz decides, then he really can. He is stronger than he’s ever been. People are misunderstood and confused when they compare him to the guy of the past. I think-I know-he is stronger, tougher, more mature. He is at a really high level right now. That is not a question that really deserves an answer.
Can he be the same fighter?
Ferguson: Yes, better.
FERNANDO VARGAS: I think I have shown that. I have beat guys like Castillejo and Joval, and like I said, I know Shane didn’t want this fight. He got talked into it. He didn’t even want to be at the press conference after the fight and he was the winner. He didn’t want to catch me because he knew I was going to call him out. He knows and the world knows he didn’t want this fight. He’s doing it for the money and I’m doing it for the vindication on July 15.
I feel great. We’ll make a couple of changes, nothing big, and we are going to capitalize on what we are doing.
Is there something you really get hungry for?
FERNANDO VARGAS: I get hungry for food. Luckily I have a great strength and wellness coach that.today I am going to have pizza. But there is a certain way to have pizza. But I want my Mexican food, I love my Mexican food. I love to eat and I tell my lady, “Let’s go have some sushi. Let’s go have some Thai food”. It is the best thing – to go with your family and go eat.
How long after the fight did it take for the swelling to subside?
FERNANDO VARGAS: Two to three weeks. Three week it fully went down. To me I didn’t care about going out, a fighter is not supposed to be pretty. I felt good and my fans were really receptive towards me.
If you concern yourself with the eye, will you leave yourself open somewhere else?
FERNANDO VARGAS: I took the precautions this time around and I think it will be different.
How is Simi Valley?
FERNANDO VARGAS: Great. I love it here. It is hot. I don’t have to get acclimated. I put myself away from my family just to get mentally and physically-more mentally than anything-to get ready for the fight. You are in fight mode and all you do is run and watch TV and get ready to go to the gym in the afternoon. You save energy. You’re not running around with the kids.
What do you think about the fact Shane won and made a change in his corner?
FERNANDO VARGAS: It doesn’t matter and I think it’s even better for me. He is going to be looking for some shots that I want him to look for that he didn’t look for before. Like his dad said, “What are you going to teach Shane? I taught him everything.” That’s good. I’ve learned a lot from Danny Smith and it is going to be great. He’s going to be throwing shots that I’m going to be looking for because he is back with his dad and he wasn’t doing that before. That’s great – it’s better for me.
Is Oscar out of your system?
FERNANDO VARGAS: If he wants to fight me, he can come to 160. I am not going to make a sacrifice or a detrimental decision to my health or to my performance. I would rather be strong at 160. I run an hour, or sometimes and hour and a half. What fighter does that? It would be at 160.
How is it that he broke the mold?
FERNANDO VARGAS: Basically, a long time ago, when he was 18 years old, he went into the sport with the ideology that when he left he did not want to be broke. People have been very successful but haven’t been able to hold on to their money. We created a different path, along with Joe Pecora
He really got me into things that make me money outside of boxing and when it comes to properties and creating a portfolio. I am going to have monthly money coming in. And other business ventures that I don’t have to use my money. Joe Pecora and Shelly Finkel have looked at things for me and made sure they are going to work.
Is there one big fight you are proud of?
FERNANDO VARGAS: All of them I am proud of. Winning the title after 14 fights despite nobody and their mother giving me a shot against Yori Boy Campus. I am thankful to God for everything he has blessed me with. Ike Quartey was a great fight. But when I fought Raul Marquez I really felt so good I couldn’t wait to fight. I have yet to feel that way again. I feel good right now and I feel ready to go so hopefully this will be one of the times.
Jermain Taylor at 160?
FERNANDO VARGAS: The only person right now I am thinking about is Shane Mosley and nobody else. Then it will be 160 and we will see what we do there.
Shane got away from doing some of the things that are going to be beneficial to me that I was looking for. I am not going to say exactly what they are because I want him to throw certain shots and we have been working on that. And I am looking forward to that.
The Mosley vs. Vargas II pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST on July 15, has a suggested retail price of $49.95, will be distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 56 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For your daily Mosley vs. Vargas II fight week updates, log onto www.HBO.com.