Terence Crawford Conference Call Transcript
Evan Korn: Live from Omaha at the CHI Health Center on Oct. 13, Terence “Bud” Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) will make the first defense of his WBO welterweight world title against Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0, 18 KOs).
Crawford vs. Benavidez will air live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET with the entire undercard streaming live in the United States at 7:00 p.m. ET. The weigh-in will be broadcast Oct. 12, live on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. ET.
To kick things off, I would like to welcome the President of Top Rank, Todd duBoef.
Todd duBoef: It’s great to get everybody on the call, and obviously, to see the return of Terence coming back after dominating Jeff Horn. Benavidez also performed very well that night against Frank Rojas, so I think everything is really dialed in for a terrific show.
These guys have had some public words. Obviously, you saw the 30-second spot where these guys were talking smack to each other, and I think this thing is very much a personal battle. Benavidez has been, from when we took him out of the amateurs, very highly skilled and has had a nice career. And this is his defining moment.
At this point, with Terence Crawford, this is the gold standard in boxing. He has just electrified everybody with both boxing skill and power, taken all challengers. And just anecdotally, when Terence Crawford gets in the ring, it’s like Alabama in football. He is that dominant, and he’s going to have his hands full with a guy that is not going to back down.
Q: It’s a little bit of maybe a grudge match here. I’d like you to just give me your point of view about that confrontation that you guys had in Corpus Christi, where he was on the undercard and he accused you of ducking him. You got a little heated. Calmer heads prevailed, but can you explain that situation a little bit and what happened?
Terence Crawford: Pretty much nothing. He just came up to me, told me that I was ducking him, and I never wanted to sign a fight, I never signed a contract, and I was scared of him, and he was going to knock me out. So I told him, I said, ‘Man, don’t you got a fight? You need to focus on your fight before you focus on me right now. You need to be focused on your fight.’ Then just a little heated discussion.
Q: Did you find it a little bit unusual that a fighter like Benavidez who, as Todd said was a good fighter, was a tremendous amateur but has not the sort of serious fight in terms of a name opponent as a professional so far would go up to a guy like yourself whose had high profile fights and accuse you of ducking him when he hadn’t done anything yet to be mentioned alongside you?
Terence Crawford: That comes with the territory when you’ve got people that, you know, want your spot. They want to get the opportunity or the chance to prove their worthiness, to make a name for themselves. So that’s how I take it. He’s trying to piggyback off of my name to make himself bigger.
Q: What was it that made you decide to give him the opportunity?
Terence Crawford: Oh, why not? Why not? You know, talk is cheap. We’re in the same division, same promoter. It’s an interesting fight. He’s always saying that I’m fighting smaller guys, so this is a chance to see what you are made of.
Q: Anything special that you’ve seen? He did have a very good first-round knockout on your last undercard when you fought Jeff Horn and beat him in June.
Terence Crawford: Come on now, we all know who he fought.
Q: I’m just asking. I’m not talking about that fight, just in general.
Terence Crawford: Well, what about it? I had a spectacular knockout, too.
Q: No, I was asking if you see any particular special qualities about Benavidez, not just about his fight with Rojas, but just in any fights of his you may have seen over the years?
Todd duBoef: Terence, you’d say he has a good mouth, right?
Terence Crawford: Yes, that’s about it.
Q: All right, Todd, that was pretty good.
Todd duBoef: If he’s not going to give him any flattering qualities, I’ve got to tell him the most obvious one.
Q: Obviously this pound-for-pound thing is pretty important to you, Terence, and you say that hands down, you are number one. How important is that to you, you know, to be recognized as number one and not number two by any other people that try to rank such things?
Terence Crawford: Well, it depends on who you ask. Some people rate me number one, some people rate me two. I can’t complain. I’m in the top two and almost everybody is rating me, so I’m just blessed to be in the top two.
Q: Another thing I wanted to ask you about is the welterweight division, which is extremely deep right now. Because Top Rank is with ESPN and your fights are on ESPN, a lot of those other guys are PBC fighters and there’s a divide in terms of trying to make some of those fights. How frustrating is that, a talent-rich division, and there’s obstacles to making some of the fights you’d like?
Todd duBoef: Can I answer this for him? I just want to make this crystal clear. We have said this following our recent announcement of re-signing Terence. Regardless of your affiliation, we will take on all comers. That’s it. We don’t care where you are, what you do. We will go and take on all comers, right? Terence is an elite fighter. He is at that class. In fact, when there was a big welterweight fight, a nice welterweight fight in early September, all they did was talk about Terence Crawford. We thank them for that.
We’ve done the biggest fights with the biggest complications of all time. He wants to take on the biggest. We want to provide the biggest. So, Terence, now you can chime in if you want. Sorry.
Terence Crawford: Well, you took everything out of my mouth. So, there’s nothing more for me to say. There you have it.
Q: How do you feel physically coming out of that Jeff Horn fight compared to when you fought at 135 and 140 pounds?
Terence Crawford: I feel stronger. I feel like my body is growing into the weight division. This is only my second fight at the welterweight division, so I feel like I’ve got a little more growing to do, but as far as strength-wise and how I feel, I feel great and I feel strong.
Q: When you’re looking at the welterweight division, and of course, one of the things that when you signed this new deal with Top Rank is that there’s the possibility that you could fight some of the other champions at 147 pounds. Between guys like Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, and Keith Thurman, who of the other champions would you like to fight next if you had your pick?
Terence Crawford: Those are the only champions. So, there are no other champions but them. So, I don’t know what champions you’re talking about.
Q: Well, I mean there’s still Manny Pacquiao. I don’t know if that’s…
Terence Crawford: He’s not a champion in my eyes. He don’t have the super belt. That’s the champion in my eyes. I look at the number one champion in the division. I don’t look at the WBC Silver and the interim belts and all that. I look at the super and the actual champion of the division.
Q: Benavidez, he won an interim title at 140. And he used a controversial tactic at that time. He hung on the ropes. Do you anticipate him trying to do that again and how would you counter something like that?
Terence Crawford: I don’t know. I don’t know if he’ll try that against me. I believe he’s going to come out, try to make it a fight being that it’s in my hometown. He don’t want to take any risks, and if he does do it, we’ve got a game plan for that as well.
Q: I wanted to actually ask a question to Brian and to Todd because I know that Terence is not going to want to talk about the future because he’s got the fight coming up on the 13th. But Brian and Todd, if you guys could talk to me, what do you view as sort of the rough outline, so to speak, game plan let’s say, for Terence’s next couple of fights? I know Todd, you said you guys are willing to make a fight with any of the other guys across the street however it may shake out. But what’s realistic in your mind, Todd and Brian?
Brian McIntyre (Crawford’s Trainer/Manager): Realistically, we’re going after the champions, man. You know, I don’t see any reason to be fighting the number six dude or number seven dude. We want the best fighters out there at 147 so, you know, I’m glad Todd is on this call because we’ll put the heat on him. He wants to make those fights happen. He can go to ESPN and make those fights happen. Terence wants those fights to happen. Let’s go!
Q: But because of the complications of you’re not going to want to leave ESPN to go to Showtime and/or Fox. They’re not going to want to leave their home base to come to ESPN. And so, therefore, it would seem as though those fights would have to be done in conjunction with each other as a pay-per-view.
So, if you had your choice in guiding Terence as a manager, as a trainer, who would you like to match him up with, the big name that you think would be the best and biggest fight to get Crawford sort of the major, major fight that I know he wants very much?
Brian McIntyre: Right now, the biggest name in the welterweight division is Errol Spence. So, what we would do is, and I’m glad Todd on this call, they just put the pressure on ESPN as a leader in sports. They want to be the leader in boxing. If they want to be a leader in boxing, they’re going to go out and make those fights happen. And so that’s what Terence wants. They want Terence to be the number one fighter in the world.
Q: And I mean, look, Spence would be a great fight. I think every boxing fan would love to see it, but what do you think is an actual realistic goal for the immediate future or beyond the Benavidez fight?
Todd duBoef: I think we’re asking everybody to look into a crystal ball, right, and project out what somebody else’s needs are and what somebody else wants to do. We’ve established what we want to do, all right. We’re not going to come up to a press conference and I mean I don’t want to get – this conference call is about Terence Crawford. I’m not going to divert it like they did about – they were giving us all the attention.
We’re going to go after all those guys. We’re not allowing anything, no politics, no nothing, to get in the way. They want to do it. We want to do it. Let’s just get it done. We’ll figure out a solution.
Q: Would you agree then that it would be pay-per-view then because of the network situations?
Todd duBoef: I’m not going to make a judgment today right now on a phone call without having a conversation with everybody involved, including them on the one side and us. We are open to anything. We are open to anything to make those big fights happen for Terence and BoMac. That’s what we’re up for, too. We are not going to be siloed into a formulaic way of doing things. We are open to everything.
Q: How are you making sure you’re not distracted by all this other talk about other fighters, and networks, and all that stuff?
Terence Crawford: I don’t pay attention to it. My main focus is on Benavidez. As you can see, he’s been doing a lot of talking, but while he’s talking, I’m working. So, I’m not worried about nothing that he’s saying or that he’s trying to hype up. I’m focused and I’m ready to go next week.
Q: Other guys who have annoyed you in the past or gotten under your skin a little bit have paid a price for it. Are you surprised that Benavidez has taken this approach based on that?
Terence Crawford: No. He’s confident in himself and his abilities, and on top of that, I feel as if he’s trying to boost his confidence up even more by telling himself these thoughts in his head that he’s one of the best. But come fight night, all that is going to be out the window and we’re going to have to fight. And then it’s going to be put up or shut up.
Q: How do you view it when an opponent talks trash to you, Terence? Do you like it? Does it motivate you more? How do you approach that?
Terence Crawford: Of course it motivates me more because, as you know, I’m cool, calm, collected. I never said anything to the guy. He approached me, so now it makes the victory more enjoyable to go in there and hit him in his mouth and shut him up.
Q: Terence, I know in the past you’ve said that you want to fight all over the world. But how much do you appreciate what you’ve built in Omaha where the people have turned out for all of your fights?
Terence Crawford: I appreciate it a lot. Omaha has given me tremendous support since my amateur days. It’s actually a blessing to have your own city turn out the way that they do for me to make it seem as if I only fight in Omaha. That’s how big the turnouts are. Everybody thinks that all I ever do is fight in Omaha because of the turnout. So that shows a lot right there.
Q: Could Todd and Brian speak on that too, what Terence, all of you guys have built together here for Terence in Omaha.
Brian McIntyre: It’s tremendous. It’s tremendous, man. When an opponent fights here in Omaha, you’ve got to fight against the crowd, too, because the crowd is so pro-Crawford, pro-Terence Crawford, and that’s a good thing I like about fighting in Omaha. It’s an extra push for Terence. It’s an extra push for the coaches. It’s just an extra push for even the promoters to put on a good show because, you know, it’s going to be a show-off to the world. And people enjoy it and they want to come back. They want to see Terence Crawford. They want to see the next Terence Crawford.
I’m excited with what Top Rank and Terence has done for the city. I just say let’s keep doing it.
Todd duBoef: Yes, I mean one of the things I would say to BoMac and to Terence is this is really is a credit to all the work that they do, too. They are really focused on creating his brand and not depriving his fan base and we started that from the beginning together. And I’m going to say this about Terence. A lot of fighters can talk about their hometowns, but he’s got a home state. I mean, we went to Lincoln and we kicked ass there, too.
So, it’s not necessarily Omaha. He is an icon for the state and a wonderful representative for all of Nebraska and the Midwest, and he’s fast becoming a major global star. And to take the energy that he creates and the connection to all of his fans at his home and transmit that throughout the world just perpetuates it even further. But it’s really a credit to BoMac, his team, and Terence for being that persistent and helpful in creating the brand there.
Q: Terence, can you comment on your relationship with Top Rank?
Terence Crawford: I have a great relationship with Top Rank. Since they picked me up from TKO Promotions, we’ve been partners and we built a lot of great memories together, and they got me to where I am right now. And all I can do is thank them.
Q: Obviously, you’ve done really well, Terence. With ESPN as a platform, what do you feel like can happen now that you’ve established yourself as one of the premier fighters with the new deal with Top Rank and ESPN, and where can this fight in particular take you as far as your exposure nationally and internationally?
Terence Crawford: It can take me wherever I want it to go. All I’ve got to do is keep doing what I’m doing, and everything will follow.
Q: Terence, for this fight in particular, obviously you and Benavidez have known each other for quite a while. Can you talk about the relationship and/or non-relationship that the two of you have had and what’s kind of led to this bout taking place?
Terence Crawford: I really don’t know the guy too much. But just from Top Rank, we don’t have no history but arguing with each other. So, we’re going to get it in come next week.
Q: I guess I was more referring to the fact that from his mind, he’s been calling for this fight for the last few years, even when the both of you were at 140. In your mind, I guess how does this now take place that you are at 147 after I guess it seemingly being brought up for at least a couple of years, at least from his team?
Terence Crawford: Like I said, talk is cheap. Come next week, all the talking and all the answers that everybody want to ask about the fight will be answered. I really don’t have nothing to say about the guy. Come fight night, you know I’ll be ready.
Gennady “GGG” Golovkin Abel Sanchez and Tom Loeffler Media Conference Call Transcript
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
The MODERATOR: This is Fred Sternburg, and on behalf of GGG Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and all of our wonderful sponsors, welcome to Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin’s media conference call.
We are 11 days away from the Big Drama Show: The rematch everyone has been looking forward to. Gennady is in his last week of training camp at The Summit in Big Bear Lake, California, where he’s been working hard in preparation for his 21st and division record-breaking title defense.
Joining Gennady on the call today will be his trainer, Abel Sanchez and his promoter, Tom Loeffler.
One note before we start, we’d like to invite you to participate in tomorrow’s Pay-Per-View Undercard conference call featuring Jaime Munguia, Brandon, “Bad Boy” Cook, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Moises “Moi” Fuentes. That call will begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 10:00 a.m. Pacific, so you don’t want to miss that.
At this time, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Tom Loeffler.
TOM LOEFFLER: Thank you, Fred. You know, we are just excited. The fight’s almost here. It’s the last week of training camp. Abel is up there in Big Bear Lake with GGG. They are finishing up their sparring this week.
We do have the Superfly 3 show this Saturday. It will be televised live HBO. Following the fights HBO will air a special edition of The Fight Game with Jim Lampley which will be all about the GGG – Canelo rematch, so everyone tune into HBO on September 8.
There’s been a lot of things said over the weekend which we can address that on this call, whether it’s the anthems or the gloves, we can touch on that briefly.
The GGG team had nothing to do with approving or disapproving Canelo’s gloves. That came directly from the Nevada Athletic State Athletic Commission.
And also, with the anthems; it was an agreement we had reached as part of the deal; that the anthems be played before the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast.
So there wasn’t any controversy, but controversy sells and we’d just like to address the issues as they come so with that, we can turn it over to start taking some questions.
Q. You must be anxious. How has camp been going and are you looking forward to next week?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: Thank you very much. My training camp is great. I feel very good. My body, my speed, my power, everything is coming back, I feel like I am 25 years old. I needed the time, and now this is the last week [of training] for me.
Q. Gennady, are you afraid or worried that your fan base could turn on you, given some of the remarks you’ve made about Canelo building up to this fight, or are you just speaking your truth?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: Well, first of all, I didn’t really say anything bad. I really said only one phrase and one sentence about that, and I never said anything personal, never offended him personally, and I don’t think that my fans will turn away from me because of what I said — what I had to say.
Q. You mentioned that you feel 25 years old, but I hate to tell you, you aren’t 25 years old. Do you train differently now that you’re ten years older, than you did when you were 25? Do you adapt any different techniques? And Abel, I’d like you to chime in on that, as well.
GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN: I feel great and I still train hard.
ABEL SANCHEZ: To answer that question, I do train everybody similarly. They work together in the strength and conditioning, but in the sparring, obviously we modify that as a fighter gets a little bit older, just so that we don’t leave things in the gym. But he still works as hard as he’s always worked. It’s just a matter of me making the schedule so that it’s best for him.
Q. I’ve been hearing and reading a lot of the comments from Abel, and from Canelo, where Abel has said Canelo ran in the fight and Canelo said, no, that was the game plan of how he wanted to fight.
Did you think that the way that he fought you last September constituted him running in the fight? What was your opinion of the style in which he fought against you?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: It was his fighting style earlier, not just in the September fight. Well, he was always — you know, he always has a way of running on the ring, but it was his style.
However, what happened on our last fight, he was really avoiding fighting close to me. I think that’s exactly what happened, but what he’s trying to say right now, it just proves that he’s not keeping his word. He’s trying to deceive people again, and being dishonest. But it doesn’t matter what he said. Let him say whatever he wants.
Q. This would be a record-breaking victory for you in terms of the middleweight title defense record. Could you express your perspective on what it would mean to you if you were to achieve the record of the most middleweight defenses in the history of boxing?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: Absolutely. It’s very important for me to beat this record. Basically, it’s like two types of victory to beat Canelo and to beat the record. For me, it’s the most important goal at this point.
Q. Tom, if you could chime in on that, as far as your perspective as far as the possibility of seeing GGG take the record that he’s now tied with with Bernard Hopkins?
TOM LOEFFLER: I think when you put it in perspective, it would be a tremendous accomplishment if GGG is able to break Bernard’s record. Most people thought, you know, that was untouchable, 20 middleweight title defenses, and you know, as long as Gennady has been champion, he’s the longest-reigning champion right now in the sport of boxing [since 2010].
And regardless of what you say about both guys, this is the biggest event in the sport of boxing. They agreed to fight each other, and to be on this big of a stage, this platform, the biggest fight of boxing, and if he’s able to beat Canelo and break the record at the same time, as he said, this would be a huge accomplishment for him, all on the same night.
Q. Wondering if there’s any frustration or regret that this fight didn’t happen five years ago or six years ago when both fighters were a little bit younger. Can this still be the mega fight that everyone wants to see?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: Quite possible. Quite possible. But not even five years ago, even two years ago, we couldn’t get them to fight us. They were avoiding the fight every way possible. If you remember, they even gave up one of the belts, the WBC belt, they gave it up, to avoid us.
ABEL SANCHEZ: As far as I’m concerned, no, there’s no regrets. I think that Canelo has grown in the last four or five years, a couple years ago when they gave up the belt, they knew they weren’t ready for this level of fight it’s happening now, and we look forward to this being one of the most memorable fights of the decade.
Q. Abel in your experience, in what age do a fighter’s skills typically decline? Are you still seeing growth and improve out of him?
ABEL SANCHEZ: I’m seeing slight growth, but I think it depends on the weight and the type of fights. You have a guy like Fernando Vargas, who was put in a lot of difficult fights early in his career, and by the time he was 26, he was finished.
And then you have guys like Bernard Hopkins fighting into his 40s and early 50s, so it depends on the kind of fight and how the fighter takes care of himself. Gennady, I haven’t seen anybody dominate him in the ring, not only in sparring but in the fights, and until then, then I can say I would judge a little age. But until that happens, it’s difficult to say he’s getting old.
Q. Where are you with the hand-stacking and the wrapping controversy, and where you guys might be with the Commission and Canelo’s side on that.
TOM LOEFFLER: We want to clarify everything ahead of time with the Nevada Commission so there are no fight week confrontations, especially no fight night confrontations, like we had last time.
We’ll say that the reason why Abel was so surprised by the wraps last time was that every other jurisdiction that GGG has fought in didn’t allow the stacking or the different layers of wrapping, and so that’s why Abel filed a protest, and it wasn’t received very well.
The inspector actually threatened to remove Abel from Canelo’s locker room because of that protest. But in the U.K., Canada and California, you know, all these different jurisdictions, and New York, where GGG’s fought, you know, they wouldn’t allow that.
So this time, we want to avoid any type of confrontations and want to get everything worked out between the GGG side, between the Canelo side and Golden Boy and Nevada Athletic Commission. Everything was amicable with the officials and we want to continue, whether it’s addressing the hand-wrapping, the gloves, any other pertinent information, weigh-in, anything like that. We just want the focus of this promotion to be on the fighters in the ring, not on any controversies outside the ring.
Q. Abel, you’re not going to change the way you wrap Gennady’s hand no matter what they say; right?
ABEL SANCHEZ: No, I don’t believe two wrongs make a right. If I take Gennady or any of my fighters to any jurisdiction where they don’t allow it, I don’t want them to have any kind of thoughts that they don’t have a cast on their hands in this particular jurisdiction, like they had in Nevada and they don’t feel as comfortable. So I want to keep it as much the same for every fight as possible.
Q. Does Gennady have an opinion or does it matter?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: Well, as far as I’m concerned, I haven’t seen how his hands were wrapped. I was fighting him not knowing how he was wrapped. It’s not up to me. It’s not up to me to make a judgment on that.
Q. In the most recent 24/7, Chepo Reynoso said that Gennady is like a donkey, and he does the same thing over and over again. Abel, what is your response to that?
ABEL SANCHEZ: Chepo Reynoso has never had an Olympian. Chepo Reynoso has never had a Silver Medalist. Chepo Reynoso has never had 18 world champions like I have had. Chepo Reynoso talks from Canelo. So when he gets to that level, maybe he can speak in an intelligent manner. But if you look at Gennady’s record, he’s beaten a lot of the champions during his reign; a lot of champions that are champions now he beat in the amateurs. So to hear somebody talk like that is ridiculous.
Q. Gennady, what did you think of that?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: What I want to say is I don’t want to go so low at the level of statements like that. It just shows a lack of class. It shows low class. It just shows a lack of upbringing, lack of intelligence. It just shows, again, how they behave themselves. I’m never able to say anything so low about anybody. So I just don’t want to comment about this anymore.
Q. Canelo has promised he’ll be more aggressive in this fight and fight Gennady more. Do you feel that because he said it — do you believe the emotion going into this fight, that he’ll fight more?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: Well, it doesn’t matter what they say. We’ll see what happens on September 15 because very often what they say doesn’t correspond to what they do. So let’s wait until September 15.
Q. Abel, can you comment, as well?
ABEL SANCHEZ: We’re preparing for September 15. How he talked the first time, how he boasted, how Bernard boasted about being so great that he’s going to knock out Golovkin in the tenth round of the last fight and now what he’s saying about this fight.
I just hope that he’s true to his words. The fans are expecting the Canelo that they have seen in the past, not the Canelo they saw last year. I think that if he’s true to his word, that we’ll get the classic fight we were expecting the first time, two guys that want to win, not one guy that wants to win and the other guy that is looking to survive.
Q. Can you talk about what makes Abel a good trainer?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: You should ask the commission which recognizes him as the best coach in the world.
Q. Compared to the fighter that you were before you started working with Abel, how have you evolved as a fighter in the years that you have spent working with him?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: I haven’t really changed. Most importantly, I haven’t become worse. I haven’t changed for the worse.
I am is really thankful that Abel is not bringing in any illegal and banned substances into my fighting career and hasn’t taught me something which was not — which was not allowed in boxing, so I’m really thankful for him of being such a great coach.
Q. The judging, such as it was, all three judges had Canelo winning the first two rounds, and the last three, I believe, but what do you plan to do to change that in this fight?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: Well, we will continue to implement our winning strategy in this fight, as well. As far as judges, we can’t influence the judges. We can only hope that the judges will be more fair, more adequate and more competent than the last time.
Q. Would you like to see a faster start, so to speak?
ABEL SANCHEZ: You know, Gennady is a fighter that is undefeated right now and he’s got a stain [the draw against Canelo] on his record because of some bad judging, but he has a style that he has been very successful with.
That fight is a 12-round fight, not a two-round fight or a four-round fight. So what we do at the beginning of the fight will be dictated by what Gennady sees.
It’s not a matter of being able to predict what can happen; if Canelo starts of like he did in the middle of last fight, the same way in this fight, it will be difficult to chase him down and make an impact on the judges.
But like Gennady said, hopefully the judges will be as fair as possible. I think we have a great panel of judges this time. And the fight will develop. It’s a 12-round fight, not a four-round fight.
Q. The magnitude and the kind of eyeballs that are going to be on it, how much is this a showcase of what’s going on in the sport, other than what’s happening in the heavyweight division.
TOM LOEFFLER: Both GGG and Canelo, they have tremendous fan bases. This event, just like last September, when they get together, it really transcends boxing and a World Championship fight.
It really becomes an international sporting event, almost like a World Cup soccer match where you have flags and you have the fans chanting, just a similar emotion and energy in the arena, and we expect it to be at an even higher level now, with all the controversy that happened in the scoring in the first fight, and, you know, the delay, the cancellation of the Cinco de Mayo fight, I think it’s going to hit an even higher pitch with the rematch September 15.
So again, whatever controversy there is between the two sides, you have to give them credit that they are getting into the ring. A lot of people talk about fighting each other. This is the second time that GGG and Canelo fought each other in 12 months and that’s what makes it the biggest fight in the sport of boxing this year, because their fan bases, the international level, we have GGG fans coming in from all over the world for this fight.
And I think we’re going to break the level that was set last year for ticket sales, and the Pay-Per-View is also on track to be significantly higher than last year. So I think we’ll see an even bigger event this time in September.
Q. Abel, what’s it been like for you to see the growth in Gennady’s popularity from what it was five years ago or whatever, just to see how many fans he’s made throughout the world?
ABEL SANCHEZ: Well, from the beginning, when I first started working with him eight years ago, I sensed that there was something special about this young man, and he’s proven me right, at least to me, anyway.
It’s like one of my children doing well. All my fighters in my gym are like a family to all of us, to each other, so to see one of our kids succeed in the manner that he’s succeeding, and to have had the adulation of the fans, worldwide, and especially the Latin fans for his Mexican Style of fighting and his style of entertaining. It’s an honor to be included in the same ring and in the same sentence with Gennady Golovkin.
Q. The fan bases of the respective fighters, based on my research, I know for a fact that Canelo has lost a few fans from the first fight. From the way he ran around to the dirty tests to his reaction to the dirty tests. I’m wondering, in your opinion, more than ever, is Canelo’s reputation on the line in this second fight? In other words, if he goes in there and runs around and doesn’t fight Gennady more, is he destined to lose even more of his fans than he already has?
ABEL SANCHEZ: Well, I think he has a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of a lot of fans. Just because he’s losing fans, Gennady’s gaining them and other fighters are gaining them. but as long as fans continue to watch our sport and continue to support us, Gennady will do his part, Canelo will do his part what he needs to do, and if maybe in the future, Canelo will be an afterthought if he doesn’t redeem himself in the way that the fans want him to redeem himself.
He’s got a duty in this fight, not only to himself but to his people, to prove what he was telling all of us was true, and if he does, I think that he’ll be celebrated. Win, lose or draw, he’ll be celebrated because of his approach to this fight.
Q. The result for September 15, do you see any chance to fight the match with
Canelo Alvarez, because the opinion that you have right now from Canelo — guarantee a match with him —
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: Well, what I’ve always really wanted to do, I want to punish him. I want to have a fight and punish him for all the bad things that he and his team have done, so basically to put them — to size him down and to put him and his team in their place.
Q. How important is this fight for the sport of boxing, and how important is it for Kazakhstan?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: It is very, very important for Kazakhstan and for Kazakhstan fans, because we are champions right now. We are on the right side. We are not dirty and we will defend our honor and defend our title.
Q. Just wondering, have you ever faced or fought anybody that you have disliked so much as you seem to dislike Canelo, and if so, how does that change your training in terms of controlling your anger at him?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: First of all, I have to say, that I always do my 100 percent, and very seriously approach any training processes, always do my best.
As far as Canelo’s team, you can see they continue to speak this nonsense and discredit themselves. So I have nothing to say about that anymore.
Q. Does it affect his training, the anger at all? Can you answer that, Abel? Do you notice a difference in his training because he’s angry at Canelo? He just said he wanted to punish him.
ABEL SANCHEZ: No, he’s not angry. He’s not angry. He’s got a purpose in the gym and he’s got a purpose for what he wants to do inside the ring.
Canelo has done some things that Gennady feels he needs to pay for and he’ll do that in the ring. In the gym, it’s just another day of training . He’s the same guy that he was before. He trains hard. Just his mentality to this fight seems to be very, very focused on trying to punish Canelo — as he was when he fought Curtis Stevens —
Q. This one just seems to have been going on and on and on, so it’s —
ABEL SANCHEZ: The reason it’s going on is because they keep accusing us of insulting them, and all we’re doing is telling the truth. All we’re doing is telling you what is happening as we see it, as it’s being reported, so he’s the one that tested positive, he’s the one that the consequences for what happened on May the 5th and who we had to fight and what was done, he’s the one that created that. It wasn’t us. And to continue to sweep it under the rug and to continue to not acknowledge the fact that you have screwed up is why this keeps going.
Q. Obviously Bernard Hopkins’ name has been mentioned because Gennady is going to try to break the record, but Bernard Hopkins played a lot of mind games with his opponent — made them fight a little crazy and maybe not to their benefit, most notably in the fight on September 29, 2001 against Felix Trinidad — could a little bit of it be something to get into their heads and maybe make them a little bit crazy, too, and so Canelo — the kind of fight that you guys want him to fight?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: Really I don’t think right now about Bernard Hopkins. I’m thinking about my fight with Canelo, and as far as all the other association, we can talk about this after September 15.
Q. Abel, same thing. Could some of this be a strategy maybe to make the other side a little bit crazy? Apparently it’s a two-way thing, going back and forth.
ABEL SANCHEZ: You know, in this gym, and amongst us here, I think I can include Tom in this, we have a lot of respect for Bernard Hopkins, and we have a lot of respect for what he’s done and what he’s done in boxing and we have a lot of respect for breaking the record. But to break the record and use a page out of his own book would be something even better.
If it’s getting to Canelo, then I guess we’ve accomplished what everybody thinks we’re trying to do. We were not trying to do that. We were just talking about the facts.
Q. You know what’s on the line in terms of the title defense record, but what does this mean to you on a personal level, considering everything that has gone on with Canelo in the last year? What does this fight mean to you just on that personal level?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: For me personally, although this fight happened at a later stage of my career, this is a most interesting fight. This is a most interesting fight because we have an interesting opponent because we have an interesting situation, and it’s a most important fight in my life right now, and also it’s the most important fight for boxing sport right now.
Q. Considering all the harsh words that have been said up in the lead up, when it’s all said and done, however the fight goes, if one of you guys win by knockout, will you go over there and will you shake his hand?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: Well, nobody knows how it’s going to end, what’s going to be the result. But nobody is going to congratulate anybody, that’s for sure.
Q. Do you feel this fight is for your legacy? The title defense record, it’s an amazing achievement, but do you feel that — take that aside. Do you feel come September 15, you’re going to be fighting — you’re going to be fighting for your legacy?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: Of course, everybody understands that. Everybody who is honest understands that’s a part of the legacy — of my legacy in boxing. Those honest people recognize it. Those who are dishonest, they try to forget about this.
Q. Abel, what improvements have you seen from Gennady leading into the fight last year and heading into the rematch next weekend?
ABEL SANCHEZ: Well, I think at this level, maturity and amount of fights; the improvements are minimal. The improvements are a lot of times more mental than they are physical, but how you approach a fight mentally, it’s just as important as the little improvements that we had.
I had a fighter back about 25 years ago, Orlin Norris fought Arthur Williams, first time he looked lackluster; and in the second bout, he knocked his opponent out in the fourth round, and the way he went into the second fight was much much better than the first one mentally.
I think when you get to this level and when you get to this stage in their careers, it’s hoping that everything goes right in the gym, hoping that there’s no controversy and hoping that everything is 100 percent in the training camp, and you go into a fight with a different mode. He goes into a fight that, as he said, he wants to punish Canelo and he has a thought in his mind what he want to do to him. We train hard and we prepare just like we did for the first one, but the mental aspect of it is the most important at this stage in my opinion.
Q. Tom, the first fight sold out rather quickly, and I was looking at the press release you sent out this morning and there’s tickets still on sale. Why do you feel the rematch hasn’t sold out yet, compared to how quickly it sold out the first time around?
TOM LOEFFLER: I think some of it had to do with a lot of fans being disappointed with the Cinco de Mayo fight being canceled. A lot of fans made flight reservations, hotel reservations, and then they were bitterly disappointed.
Naturally that wasn’t because it was Gennady’s fault, but you know, when you go through that expense, I think a lot are waiting until the final couple weeks to actually make the reservations.
As I mentioned before, this fight has a big international fan base coming in. Ultimately, we’re still on track to exceed the revenue that we did in the last fight.
You know, going back to that previous question that Abel had answered as far as Gennady’s legacy, you know, this is a huge fight for Gennady, the biggest fight in boxing this year, but there’s a lot of names in the past that we would have liked to have gotten in the ring who just simply, for whatever reason, chose not to fight Gennady, whether it was Felix Sturm, whether it was Sergio Martinez, whether it was Peter Quillin at the time; it was just the six-year anniversary of GGG’s HBO debut, September 1, 2012.
There was an article on ESPN that listed all these middleweight names, and it had Gennady having this big impact on HBO. Just look at his ratings on HBO. That’s where we’re at right now. He’s kind of have that blue-collar career: He’s willing to fight everywhere, New York, L.A., London, Monte Carlo, Panama, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and now, he’s at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas against Canelo Alvarez in the biggest fight in boxing.
This is definitely a legacy fight for him, and you know, I think we’ll see the best fighting the best, and that’s really what the sport is all about, and that’s what Gennady’s always wanted. He’s wanted that challenge to fight the best in the division.
Q. Around how many tickets have been sold thus far?
TOM LOEFFLER: You know, I was going to go over that with Golden Boy today, to go over what is remaining. We’re just about ten days out from the fight, but there really aren’t that many that are remaining.
So between the commitments of sponsors and pre-ordered tickets, there are still some tickets available, but you know, after today, we’ll have a better answer for that, and especially going into fight week.
THE MODERATOR: With that, we’ll wrap up the call. Gennady has to get ready for his afternoon session. Thank you for joining us today.
Tom, any last comments?
TOM LOEFFLER: I think we’ve covered everything on this call. We’re all excited about the last week of training camp. GGG arrives into Las Vegas on Monday. We have the grand arrival on Tuesday at MGM Grand. We have the Superfly 3 show this Saturday at the Forum and Jim Lampley’s Fight Game special on HBO talking about GGG fighting Canelo. We’re all looking forward to September 15.
THE MODERATOR: Abel, any last comments from you?
ABEL SANCHEZ: Thank you for everybody’s participation. Thank you for the support. We’re looking forward to a great fight. We’ll see you guys on fight week, and make sure that we put on a great fight.
THE MODERATOR: Gennady, I know you’re getting ready for the Big Drama Show. Any last comments?
GENNADY ‘GGG’ GOLOVKIN: I just want to say thank you very much for everybody. I will see you September 15 in Las Vegas.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us. We’ll see you next week in Las Vegas.
ESPN Media Conference Recap with Joe Tessitore, Mark Kriegel and Tim Bradley
This afternoon, ESPN boxing commentators and analysts Joe Tessitore, Mark Kriegel and Tim Bradley discussed the June 9 super fight between Terence Crawford and Jeff Horn.
Crawford vs. Horn and José Pedraza vs. Antonio Moran will stream live exclusively on ESPN+ (in the United States) this Saturday, June 9 beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT.
The entire undercard, including Shakur Stevenson, Steve Nelson, Jose Benavidez, and Gabe Flores Jr. will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 pm. PT.
For more details on ESPN+’s coverage for the Crawdford vs. Horn fight, click here.
Below is the transcript from the call.
THE MODERATOR: Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining our conference call with ESPN boxing commentators and analysts Joe Tessitore, Mark Kriegel, and Tim Bradley to discuss this Saturday’s super fight between Terence Crawford and Jeff Horn.
Crawford and Horn will battle for the WBO Welterweight World Title streamed live on ESPN+ in the United States along with the entire undercard, which includes Jose Pedraza, Antonio Moran beginning at 9:30 p.m. Eastern. Following will be Shakur Stevenson, Aelio Mesquita, Jose Benavidez, Frank Rojas, and other undercard bouts beginning at — on ESPN starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN+. With that, I’ll go ahead and open it up for questions.
Q. Tim, (indiscernible) how do you think it will pan out?
TIM BRADLEY: How do I think the fight will pan out?
TIM BRADLEY: What’s that the question? How I think the main event’s going to pan out?
Q. The main event, yeah.
TIM BRADLEY: Yeah, how do I see the fight. Yeah, I’m trying to understand. I’m waiting on a response. But anyway, how do I see the fight going? Well, I see the fight starting off kind of rough, honestly. I think Horn, being a bigger guy, likes to move in quick, likes to get inside early, likes to work the pace and dictate the pace.
I think he’s going to try to close the gap on Terence really early and show him that, hey, this is a different weight class, this isn’t 140 pounds now, this is a different weight class and different type of weight. I think he’s going to try to push Terence back. Honestly, I think he is.
I think Terence is going to struggle in the beginning only until he finds his rhythm. Once Terence finds his rhythm, meaning Horn’s rhythm, then I think things will open up and Terence can control the distance from the outside and time Horn as he comes in.
At the end of the match, I think it’s going to be Terence Crawford with his hands raised. I think that Horn will put up a good fight, but I think Terence Crawford has too much precision, too much boxing IQ. He’s a great counterpuncher. He can punch in between shots. There are just so many dimensions to him as opposed to a guy like Jeff Horn.
Q. (Indiscernible) were you impressed with him?
JOE TESSITORE: I was. I’ll tell you, Timmy and I were down there ringside in Australia. My big takeaway with Jeff Horn — and then Mark and I had the pleasure of calling his title defense in December as well, but my big takeaway of being with him in person in Australia, covering his title fight in December is that this is a very sturdy, rugged, mauling kind of guy who is going to put forth a physical presence.
He is going to always try to do things on his terms. I completely agree with the champ’s assessment as to what this fight is going to look like early.
I will add on that although I think it’s easy to fall in line with the camp of saying Terence Crawford, too much skill, too much boxing IQ, too much raw athleticism, and elite status; that this is a guy in Jeff Horn who is very, very tricky and makes a fight out of a fight.
When we were there ringside, and I know for those who watched back in the States, they felt a certain way about the outcome of that fight last summer, we didn’t have the same feeling sitting there ringside. We saw a mauling, physically imposing, very big welterweight who I almost questioned how he possibly gets to 147 pounds. And because of that, I think this is a fascinating fight, first and foremost. Because when I look at the records next to the two names, I see two zeros in the loss column.
MARK KRIEGEL: We said much the same a year ago about Horn versus Pacquiao. I think that in terms of the disparity of size, experience, skill level — experience and skill level, that at the end of the day I think that it was Horn who made us aware that Manny was coming up against the limits of his size and his age.
All that being said, in regard to Tim’s point, and I’ve watched Crawford now spar with big guys, 178-pounders, I think that once he does find his rhythm and the timing, the punch that will cause the great damage to Horn will be the right hook. Almost like a check hook when he’s on his way in. But that’s the one shot that I’ve seen him sparring bigger guys with.
Q. In regards to Jeff Horn, do you think that Terence Crawford fight is going to be a tougher fight than the Pacquiao fight?
JOE TESSITORE: Yes, is this fight going to be tougher than Pacquiao is the question?
TIM BRADLEY: For Horn? I agree. I believe that this fight will be a tougher fight than Manny Pacquiao because there is so much more dimensions to Terence Crawford than to Manny Pacquiao. You know what you’re going to get when you fight a guy like Manny Pacquiao. He’s coming to get you. Terence, on the other hand, is multi-dimensional. So he can make adjustments on the fly without his corner even telling him to make adjustments.
I’ve had the opportunity to have two training camps with Terence Crawford before Terence Crawford became — before anybody knew who he was. One of the things that I took from him during that training camp was that this is a kid that flew down here by himself to my hometown, came (indiscernible) without a coach, without a trainer, getting fed a little bit of information about myself, gets in the ring, basically puts on a show. Beats me up in front of my own people — beats me up, comes back the next day.
I come back with a plan. He comes back and completely — he comes back and he’s a completely different fighter than he was the day before. And he kept making adjustments, and he kept making adjustments on the fly.
So this guy, Terence Crawford, is going to be tough, a tougher fight, in my opinion, than Manny Pacquiao.
MARK KRIEGEL: Another thing to bear in mind is that Pacquiao has seen better days. He’s not — he’s at the far end of his prime, and Crawford is just entering his. I don’t think we’ve seen close to what the best Terence Crawford we can get.
JOE TESSITORE: I don’t think it’s even close. I think Pacquiao in so many ways was the perfect storm for Jeff Horn with everything timing up just right, and that is not the case here in coming to the Vegas fight with Crawford. It doesn’t mean in any way I’m dismissing Jeff Horn as a live dog here, as much as I understand that this is the biggest mountain that he could possibly be asked to climb compared to what he just did last July.
TIM BRADLEY: I mean, completely two different styles. I’ll give Horn the benefit of the doubt, because what he was able to do Against Manny Pacquiao, I haven’t seen anybody be able to dominate him and bully him the way he did. And when I say dominate, I just mean in the physical form. You know, he pushed him back. He was grinding there, and he was very dirty at times. He had Pacquiao’s back against the ropes and he was working him.
I haven’t seen that — a guy do that Against Manny Pacquiao at all, and he was able to do that. With that being said, this is a completely different guy. Styles make fights. Terence can fight from the forward and backing up. Terence can switch left-handed and he can go right-handed. He can knock you out with his left hand and his right hand. This is a kid that can make adjustments on the fly. He has a high IQ. If you watch the replay with him and Indongo, you will see Terence punch in between punches.
If Horn comes rushing in with wide shots, I’ve sparred him, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous for Horn. It’s danger. That’s all I’m going to say.
Q. Tim, if he does pull the upset, what’s that mean for Jeff Horn? Does he go down as one of the greatest fighters in the world right now?
TIM BRADLEY: If he beats Terence Crawford would he go down as the greatest fighter in the world? I don’t know. He’ll be a top guy, yeah, absolutely. He’d be top three. Top three or four, top five. I know he’d be pound-for-pound then, absolutely. Because in order to be pound-for-pound, you’ve got to beat a great fighter.
Terence Crawford, however you put him, number one, number three, he’s in the top five pound-for-pound in the world. If you beat a top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, guess what? You’re top pound-for-pound now.
JOE TESSITORE: I didn’t get the name of the journeyman writer who just asked that question there, and we appreciate that question, because I think it exposes one of the deep veins that runs through this fight. That is that the Jeff Horn side still looking for and demanding respect, especially stateside. This is an undefeated, welterweight champion at the end of the day who conquered a living legend, defended his title, and now has a willingness to come to America and take on our best pound-for-pound fighter.
That’s what Terence Crawford is. He is American-born, best pound-for-pound fighter, where you have Vasyl Lomachenko number one, as our network does, or whether you go with a guy that’s now a three-time Fighter of the Year between ESPN and the Boxing Writers of America in Terence Crawford.
If Jeff Horn wins this fight, you know the thing that matters most in this sport? Results. He would have had two signature wins, including a victory over arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. So, yes, he would be — he would have that respect, and he would be thought of in that way. Even though there will be critics that look at him and see commonplace, ordinary, straightforward, thudding, bullying, not prettiest, not the most athletic, he would be that because the results deem him that.
So, yes, he wins this weekend, that’s what we will say of him and that’s what he will be.
Q. Bradley, I followed your career for a very long time. Thought you had a very wonderful career as a boxer and now commentator. In terms of for Jeff Horn, you know, you’ve kind of been in a similar situation with Manny Pacquiao how you had to prove that you belonged in the ring with him. Obviously you got that win in the first one and obviously had to prove that again with the next fight. Do you feel that Jeff Horn is going to be in a similar position even though he’s the champ, he’s going to have to show that he deserves respect? Because a lot of people thought that first Manny Pacquiao fight was controversial. Do you feel that he is in the same situation as you?
TIM BRADLEY: Absolutely. He’s in the same situation as I was similar. A lot of people felt that I didn’t win the first fight against Pacquiao, but I felt I did win the fight and everyone around me thought I won the fight.
But at the same time, Jeff Horn, he’s pretty new to me, in my opinion, to America. You know what I mean? Very known in Australia and everything and what he’s done by beating Manny Pacquiao, but he still has a lot to prove. He’s taken his step up fighting against like Tess said, the best American, number one, pound-for-pound in the game.
Now, he beats a guy like Terence Crawford, I mean, you know, this is a guy that needs to be respected. So, yes, he still needs to gain everyone’s respect by him coming to America to defend his title in Las Vegas, it shows you that he wants to be great. It shows you that he’s willing to take that challenge and that step up and wanting to be great.
So, absolutely. He needs to continue to prove himself. Just one fight doesn’t justify your career. It’s all the other fights in between as well. It’s the fight after he won the championship Against Manny Pacquiao, you know? It’s the next fight after this one, you know what I mean? That’s what defines your career. Not one fight.
MARK KRIEGEL: If Horn takes it as personally as Tim did, the lack of respect he got from beating Pacquiao, we’re in for a hell of a fight. If you look at how Tim reacts and how personal and the desperation with which he came out, not from winning but from not getting his respect, if Horn brings something like that, we’re in for a hell of a night.
JOE TESSITORE: I think there’s something also interesting with this fight in that we keep talking about how Jeff Horn wants to get the respect here stateside because of how the outcome was viewed by American fight fans. But let me tell you something about Jeff Horn, and we’re seeing it true already early on this week with now the promotion of this fight here in the U.S., as, Mark, I’m thrilled to see your feature piece, excellent feature pieces, leading off ESPN.com, and I’m sure will be read by so many mainstream sports fans, not just the endemic boxing fan. It’s an excellent piece I would recommend, especially our Australian friends, to get your hands on on ESPN.com, Mark Kriegel’s feature piece on Bud Crawford. But Jeff Horn, as much as he has not earned the respect of American fight fans, they are very aware of him. He’s notable. In fact, you could make a strong argument that more mainstream sports fans, non-boxing fans know exactly who Jeff Horn is than know many of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world, including American fighters like Errol Spence or Keith Thurman.
Because last year when he fought on Saturday night and the shift in the business of boxing, the paradigm shift happened, and that fight was on ESPN pre-TV compared to being stuck in the corner of Pay-Per-View the way it normally would be for a decade and a half of Manny Pacquiao, so many mainstream sports fans experienced Jeff Horn’s Rocky Balboa moment.
So there was buzz. All you have to say to somebody now is, hey, Jeff Horn, the guy who beat Pacquiao last summer is fighting Bud Crawford, they know instantly who Jeff Horn is. Respect, different story. Awareness, very high.
Deontay Wilder International Media Conference Call Postponed
The international media conference call for undefeated heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder has been postponed and will not take place today at 2:30 p.m. ET.
A new date for a media call with the heavyweight champion will be announced in the coming days. We apologize for any inconvenience.
In the meantime, see below for a statement from Deontay Wilder:
“First of all, I want to congratulate Anthony Joshua on his win last Saturday night. Anthony, I am so glad we finally heard from you on Saturday and that you want to fight me as your next opponent and you want the fight to happen in the UK.
“I accept that challenge and I am ready to come to the UK for my next fight. There is nothing on Team Wilder’s side to prevent me from fighting you next.
“You also said on Saturday that your team is ready to meet with Shelly Finkel and Al Haymon from my side to get this deal done. They are also ready to meet with your team immediately. Let us know when – the sooner the better.
“Thanks Anthony, I can’t wait to meet you in the ring.”
Anthony Joshua: “This Isn’t About Being A Fan Favorite”
By: Sean Crose
“Preparations’ gone really well,” Anthony Joshua claimed on a Wednesday conference call to promote his heavyweight title unifier against Joseph Parker on March 31st in Cardiff, Wales. “ I do believe a happy fighter makes a good fighter.” Joshua, the 20-0, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titlist, has good reason to be happy. He’s pretty much regarded as the king of the heavyweight division and has a superfight with Deontay Wilder around the corner, provided he bests Parker. The man’s also enormously popular.
“Two hundred and forty thousand fans,” promoter Eddie Hearn bragged in reference to stadium sized crowds Joshua has been packing in throughout Great Britain. “Over two and a half million UK pay per view buys. It’s been an incredible run.” For the time being, however, Team Joshua has made it clear the focus is on the 24-0 Parker. “I’m not the one overlooking Joseph Parker,” Joshua claimed, “and I’m not the one hooting and hollering on what’s happening next.” Hearn backed up his fighter’s assertion. “We never have to worry about Anthony’s focus,” the superpromoter claimed. And besides, “he’s not really into hype.”
What Joshua is into, however, is boxing. Listening to the man for just a few minutes’ time, one gets the impression that Joshua more than just competes as a fighter. He studies the sport objectively. For instance, his opinion of former foe Wladimir Klitshcko, who he feels was a bigger threat than Parker, is quite telling. “Wladimir was a phenomenal champion,” he claimed. “He was a great champion. Ten years on top. Phenomenal.” Joshua made it clear his 2017 fight with Klitschko was an incredible growing experience. “Everything I learned form that fight was a blessing,” he said.
Not that Joshua is underestimating New Zealand’s Parker. “Parker still possesses a threat,” Joshua claimed, “but he doesn’t have half the experience Wladimir had.” Parker brings his own set of experiences, though, something that Joshua noted. “He knows how to fight,” he said of Parker. “He’s traveled the world.” To Joshua, boxing is a most serious business. He made it obvious on Wednesday that one doesn’t dominate the heavyweight division with just “a right hand and a good chin.”
“We’re talking about balance,” he said. “We’re talking about footwork…being in range, being out of range…the jab.” To Joshua, boxing mastery entails an entire litany of subjects. “Everything,” he stated. “We’re talking about everything.” Now that he’s at the top of boxing’s pecking order, the fighter intends to make the most of it. “I just realize that this is my time,” he said. Perhaps surprisingly for someone as personable as he is, Joshua makes it clear that he’s in the business primarily for himself. “This isn’t about being a fan favorite,” he pointed out. “I’m here to handle my business the best way possible.”
Despite what Joshua may want, fans are dying to see him get in the ring with WBC titlist Deontay Wilder, something Joshua is aware of, though he admits he hasn’t “thought much about it.” Not that he wants to avoid the American knockout artist. “There’s no doubt in my mind that that fight will happen,” he said, “and there’s no doubt in my mind I’ll beat Wilder, as well.” So promising does Joshua’s career appear at the moment that UFC honcho Dana White reportedly wants in on the Joshua business.
“Listen,” Joshua said, “I’m riding with Eddie (Hearn)…I’m a boxer. I’m not into the UFC. I don’t know what their plans are.” Yet White needn’t fret. “I’m interested,” Joshua claimed, “because we can work together.” Not surprisingly, the titlist puts his faith Hearn when it comes to such matters. “I’m sure Eddie has an interest in working with Dana White,” he claimed. “We’re listening and, one hundred percent, if it makes sense, we’re all in.” Not that it’s foremost in Joshua’s mind right now.
“I’m wracking up wins,” he said. “It’s been going well. I’m not focusing on anything else, really.”
Wilder-Ortiz Square Off In Conference Call
By: Sean Crose
“I just had a scrumptious meal with some sweet tea,” WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder said during a recent conference call to promote his March 3’d battle with the undefeated Luis Ortiz. “I’m feeling good. I’m fixing to get ready to go spar and get this past week over and March 3 I’m coming to whip Luis Ortiz’ ass but I’m excited for this fight. I am so excited for this fight.” Wilder, the 39-0 knockout artist (only one fight, against Bermane Stiverne, went the distance) employed his outspoken personality, not only to sell the fight, but to sell himself as the top heavyweight in the world, as well.
“I am the best heavyweight champion, period,” he said, “and I’m willing to prove that not only to Luis Ortiz but to the world.” It’s clear that Wilder wants to separate himself from the current crop of contemporary fighters who are known as being of the safety first, low-risk/high reward variety. “I want people to get it in their mind that I could have ran from this fight,” the Alabama native claimed. “I could have chosen any opponent that I wanted to to fight on March the 3, especially when all the other stuff went about, I could have easily gone somewhere else but no, I’m adamant about what I say, I’m confident about what I’m going to do and I’m ready to prove it to the world. So I got the perfect opponent, it’s the perfect time, it’s the perfect place.”
Wilder and Ortiz, who will face off in New York City’s Barclay’s Center in the famed borough of Brooklyn, were supposed to be meet earlier, but Ortiz was popped for doping and the fight was stopped. Ortiz, who was nailed for doping previously, was cleared in this particular case, however, and so the fight was made once again. “He never been in there with a guy that won’t back down, won’t budge,” Wilder said of his opponent. “I can’t wait. I hope he’s sleeping good, too. I hope you’re getting all your minerals, your protein and you’re taking your medicine faithfully because March the 3rd it’s going to be a real fight. I’d like to welcome you to the real sport of boxing.”
The 28-0 Ortiz, however, had his own things to say. “Everybody that talks as much as Deontay loses,” he stated. “Brandon Rios just the other day was talking and talking and talking and talking against Danny Garcia and look what happened. None of this talk bothers me. He can talk all he wants. Deontay is trying to convince himself.” Ortiz was also clearly willing to be done with the doping matter. “It’s going to be a hell of a fight and somebody’s going to hit the canvas, he said. “While he (Wilder) keeps hyping himself and hyping himself and trying to believe in himself, it’s going to be a bad night for him. He’s talking about PEDs. I’ve taken seven tests in a month and a week, seven blood and urine tests for VADA and the New York Commission.”
One thing fans can most certainly expect on March 3d is for both men to enter the ring exuding supreme confidence. “There is nothing that man’s going to do to touch me where he’s going to hurt me,” said Wilder. “I’m going to walk through all that. I’m telling you. That’s nothing. I’ve seen his style many, many, many times. I’ve fought it coming-up in the amateurs. I’ve got a lot of Cuban friends. I know their style. Trust me. And I can’t wait. That’s why I do my talking. I talk my talk so I can walk my walk.”
“You’re in for a hell of a problem March 3,” Ortiz stated to his foe during the call.
Daniel Jacobs: “At The End Of The Day It’s About What You Do Inside The Ring.”
By: Sean Crose
Top middleweight Daniel Jacobs may be taking his November 11th opponent, Luis Arias, seriously as a foe. What Jacobs is not doing, however, is taking Arias seriously as a talker. “It is kind of hard to listen to him because he is trying to force you guys into believing something that does not exist or really is not there,” Jacobs said of Arias on a recent conference call. Still, Jacobs claimed he wasn’t shocked by Arias’ words, as Arias was once part of Floyd Mayweather’s stable of fighters.
Photo Credit Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing
“You have to realize that this guy is a former TMT (The Money Team) guy,” said Jacobs. “He is used to the brash talk.” There’s little doubt that the 18-0 Arias is at least talking a good game in the lead up for a bout most expect him to lose. “I’m going to rough him up,” he told me. “I’m going to be in his face all night.” Some might argue that’s not the best strategy to employ against a man with an over eighty percent knockout ratio, but Arias appears confident as his showdown with Jacobs at New York’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum approaches.
“I do think he’s over-rated,” he said, referring to Jacobs. “If you go and look at his record,” Arias went on to add, “there is nobody there that he beat.” British promoter Eddie Hearn, who has recently teamed up with Jacobs, wasn’t willing to sell Milwaukee’s Arias short. “Maybe I’m a little bit different,” Hearn claimed. “Maybe I’m too much of a fan – it the upset comes, the upset comes.” Not that there was any questions where the man’s loyalty could be found. “Of course Danny Jacobs is our guy,” he said, “and I want him to win but if Luis Arias goes out there and gets the victory – good on him.”
I asked Hearn if Jacob’s impressive performance against Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden last winter had anything to do with his interest in the Brooklyn native. “Many felt that he won,” Hearn said of that fight. “You know that he’s on that level.” The promoter made it clear, though, that he was well aware of the cold, hard facts of the matter. “He (Jacobs) didn’t win (the Golovkin fight),” he stated, “and that’s the reality of it.”
Jacobs also came across as a practical man on the call. After admitting he’d like to knock Arias out, Jabobs went on to say that he “would be completely fine getting a decision.” A decision? Against a man he’s clearly supposed to be better than? “I’m a boxer puncher,” Jacobs explained, “and I love to box.” In fact, Jacobs is such a realist that he made it clear where he feels he stands in relation to Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez, who Golovkin recently fought to a draw. “I know,” he said, “that even though these guys aren’t really fearful of me, right now I’m in a lose-lose situation with those guys because I am not technically a champion.”
“They know it’s not worth it to step in there with a guy like me,” Jacobs continued. “I’d rather continue to do my job, climb the ladder, get a title eventually and maybe chase these guys, but to fight me right now? I don’t see that happening.” And so, for the moment at least, there’s Arias. “My job is to continue what I’ve been doing,” said Jacobs. “I’m a professional and have to act accordingly and the goal is to get the job done and look impressive.”
Anthony Joshua: “You Kind Of Just Roll With The Punches.”
By: Sean Crose
“I would love to fight the great champions that the United States has produced,” heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua said on a recent conference call. “At the same time, I’ll fight anywhere. I’m fine staying in the UK, but America’s definitely at the top of the pyramid for sure.” England’s Joshua, who masterfully bested former longtime heavyweight king Wladimir Klitshcko at a packed Wembley Stadium last spring, is looking ahead to big things as the widely recognized top figure in his division. Still, the man has a fight this Saturday in Cardiff, Wales against the 35-3-1 Carlos Takam (Americans can watch the match live on Showtime).
It may not be a major bout, but the 19-0 (all by knockout) Joshua isn’t planning on underestimating his opponent. “You could put me with anyone,” he said. “What I’ve worked on in the gym and what I’ve built myself two of these last three months, I should be able to fight anyone.” Wilder was originally supposed to fight Kubrat Pulev, but Pulev stepped away due to an injury, opening the way for Takam. “I didn’t expect him to stand down the opportunity,” Joshua said of Pulev, “but I do understand that he wanted to be 100 percent.” Still, Joshua claims it isn’t easy for him to go from one opponent to another.
“It’s just switching up my mindset about the style of fight I’m going to engage in now,” he said. “That was the main disappointment.” Even though he’s focused on France’s (by way of Cameroon) Takam, it’s obvious Joshua has his eye on his American counterpart, one Deontay Wilder. “I say it’s definitely a potential for 2018,” Joshua said of a heavyweight superfight between himself and the 38-0 native of Alabama. “What else am I going to do in 2018 provided that I don’t have any mandatories?”
A Wilder fight appears to be more than just a matter of an open schedule for Joshua, who made it clear the matter of legacy is also involved. “I need Wilder to have a remarkable fight,” he said. “I need to be the one that steps up to make this dream a reality.” Joshua’s last bout, against Klitschko, was remarkable in its own right, with the fighter admitting that it was a learning experience. “When you watch,” he began, “a George Foreman and Ron Lyle kind of fight or an Ali and Foreman fight where a bit of their soul and spirit disappears, I always wondered how they were doing it and how they were taking those shots. You always question how, why, and what makes people do what they do. Until I went through it, I would always watch boxing but now I don’t just watch it, I understand it.”
Joshua made it clear, however, that he wasn’t feeling a sense of urgency when it came to facing Wilder. “There’s no time scale,” he said. “You kind of just roll with the punches.”
GGG: Canelo Fight “Is Special For Me. It’s Huge.”
By: Sean Crose
“It’s special for me,” Gennady “GGG” Golovkin said during a Wednesday conference call to promote his middleweight title showdown against Canelo Alvarez on September 16th. “It’s huge.” Indeed, his fight with Alvarez will be enormous, the biggest boxing event this side of Floyd and Conor. And team GGG made it clear on the call that it’s all been a long time coming. “We’ve had a terrible time getting people in the ring with him,” promoter Tom Loeffler said, adding later that “the other champions really weren’t willing to get in the ring with him.” Trainer Abel Sanchez claimed that landing the long awaited major fight with Canelo has had an impact on Golovkin.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
“There’s been a sparkle in his eye,” said Sanchez. “He’s been a little bit frustrated these last few years.” Sure enough, the long awaited fight with Canelo looked to be put off indefinitely, as fans salivated for a legitimate superfight between two decorated ring combatants. After besting Julio Caesar Chavez Junior last spring, however, Canelo – to his credit – finally announced (in the ring, with Golovkin present) that a fight between himself and the Kazakh warrior was a go. Now, with the biggest match of his life being only weeks away, Golovkin is clearly on a natural high. “A long time ago it was my dream to come to the United States,” he said. “Right now, my dream is real.”
For not only is Golovkin a known commodity among American fans of the sweet science, he’ll be facing Canelo at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas – the very Mecca of boxing. Surprisingly enough, this is the first time Golovkin will be in Las Vegas to fight. He’s made his mark in New York and California, but never in the neon city in the desert, where Canelo is known to fight to great fanfare. I asked him how he felt about most likely not being the fan favorite this time around. “In Vegas,” he said thoughtfully, “maybe the crowd will be for Canelo.” Yet Loeffler made it clear that fan bases can be localized entities. “In New York,” he explained, “ he (Golovkin) would be more popular than Canelo.” Sanchez also spoke on the issue as an Hispanic American, stating that “we just enjoy a good fight.”
It was clear that team GGG clearly feels a sense of satisfaction. It’s been a long haul and they now at least have the opportunity to shine on the largest scale imaginable. That’s true even in light of last week’s Mayweather-McGregor juggernaut, a fight which was brought up even on Wednesday’s call. Indeed, the fighter was asked what he thought of McGregor essentially accusing him of being boring. “McGregor,” said Golovkin, “he’s not a boxer.” Sanchez too had thoughts on the Irishman’s brash assertion. “I think, “ said the veteran trainer, “you have to consider the source.”
Floyd Mayweather Media Call: “This Is My Last One”
By: Sean Crose
“This is my last one, ladies and gentleman.”
Photo Credit: USA Today
So said Floyd Mayweather during a Thursday call to promote his August 26th superfight against UFC superstar Conor McGregor. “I gave my word to Al Haymon,” he added, “I gave my word to my children…I’m going to stick to my word.” At least some on the call (it seemed like more) didn’t appear to want to talk about the fight itself. Floyd’s legacy, for instance, was important to one of the reporters who spoke. Racism, not surprisingly, is what obviously interested the caller from the New York Times. Floyd, however, remained the same laid back guy he has largely been with the media in recent years.
“I haven’t had time to focus on anything but this event,” he claimed, which anyone who has closely followed Mayweather knows is most likely true. Yet Mayweather also made it clear that he was as serenely confident as ever. “I’m not really worried about the outcome,” he said, referring to the match itself. Floyd, however, was still Floyd, no matter how over the hill he wants to come across to the media these days. When asked about his early struggle to make it as a star, for instance, the 49-0 slickster suddenly came alive.
“Floyd Mayweather has never been struggling,” he asserted. “Me and (boxing guru) Al Haymon joined forces.” When asked about the notorious Paulie Malignaggi – Conor McGregor sparring session the public has seen clips of, Mayweather also made it clear that he found McGreggor to be a dirty fighter. “A lot of shots were illegal,” he noted. When queried as to whether he was worried about McGregor fighting dirty when they meet in the ring, though, Mayweather stated that he’s “pretty sure the referee is going to be fair on both sides.”
Truth be told, Mayweather is always interesting to listen to speak. Love him or hate him, he’s an fascinating individual. If McGregor rides on overdrive with the media, Mayweather likes to sprinkle his talks with interesting asides. For every boast (“My real estate portfolio is truly amazing.”) there’s something telling about the man that’s offered. Like the fact that he refuses to watch his own fights. “When I look at them,” Mayweather said, “I’m like I could have done this better I could have done that better.” There’s also his interesting take on Rocky Marciano, the man whose 49-0 record most assume Mayweather will best in a week from Saturday.
“Rocky Marciano is a legend,” he claimed. “Rocky Marciano did it his way. I just want to do it the Mayweather way.”
One interesting side note:
No one – not a single person – asked Mayweather why he chose a man who has never had a boxing match in his life as his supposed last opponent. Perhaps those who spoke already had asked that question previously. Or perhaps those who were allowed to ask questions didn’t think it was important.
Or perhaps they simply didn’t want to hear the answer.
More Full Coverage: Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor Media Call: “We Are Prepared For Every Possible Outcome.”
By: Sean Crose
It’s doubtful he’d ever admit it, but Conor McGregor is different on a conference call than he is when all eyes are on him. The McGregor who spoke to the media on a Wednesday call was polite, smart…and actually somewhat likable. Incredible, I know, but true. While it’s a fact the smack talk of lore was still evident (“I don’t not see him absorbing the blows in the first few rounds…I’m ready to put him away in the first ten seconds”) the McGregor of Wednesday was most distinctly not the same man seen strutting about the outrageous press tour of several weeks ago. With his August 26th megabout with Floyd Mayweather less than two weeks away, the McGregor of Wednesday came across often enough as thoughtful and at ease.
Photo Credit: USA Today
With that in mind, it was still clear McGregor is something of strange man. “It is what it is,” he said in regards to Bud Crawford and others making fun of his training methods online. “It’s lighthearted and I don’t take it personal.” Then, however, McGregor went on a tangent about why his way of doing things is legitimate, replete with some anger against his antagonists. There was little doubt, however, that McGregor is taking Mayweather seriously. “It is what it is,” he once again claimed (it was clearly a favorite phrase of his) of the fact that many in the boxing world are essentially writing him off. “I use it as motivation…but, at the same time, I get it.” McGregor went on to speak of “earning my respect in this game (boxing) also.”
As for training camp, the Irish UFC star made it clear he’s feeling confident as fight week closes in. “We’ve had one hell of a camp,” he said, “now we are closing in on the weight cutting phase.” McGregor was also obviously aware of the differences between boxing and mixed martial arts, the sport which has made him famous. “You’ve got to factor in there’s not as much grappling,” he said of boxing. “We’ve stretched it (his preparation) out to accommodate the twelve three minute rounds.” Things got a bit awkward when the New York Times acted the part of the New York Times by bringing up the race issue. “It’s give and take here,” McGregor claimed in response to the accusation he can get away with things Mayweather can’t. “I’ve been given my fair share of hate and my fair share of love also.”
There was, however, one particularly odd statement that came from McGregor’s mouth, one that made this author take note. “We are prepared,” McGregor claimed, “for every possible outcome.” Was McGregor, the very picture of confidence, showing a bit of uncertainty – even unintentionally so? Or was it all just a slip of the tongue, an off way of putting things, something that might be misinterpreted?
That’s something only that perhaps only Conor McGregor knows
More Full Coverage: Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor
Canelo, De La Hoya Talk About “Real Fight” Against Golovkin This September
By: Sean Crose
Canelo Alvarez’ camp took part in a media conference call on Tuesday to promote the upcoming battle for middleweight supremacy between the Mexican superstar and Gennady Golovkin this September. Naturally, that other big fight – if you want to call it a fight – was brought up. You know, the boxing match for people who don’t like boxing? A journalist asked Canelo if he would be willing to take on Conor McGregor should McGregor somehow defeat Floyd Mayweather when they meet later this month. Canelo’s answer was priceless.
“If that miracle was to happen,” he said through a translator, “then it’s a different conversation…but I doubt it (a McGregor victory) very much.” In a summer of wanton immaturity, it was nice for a top fighter to talk like an intelligent adult. Of course Canelo would be open to fighting McGregor should the Irishman prove to be a special case by legitimately besting Mayweather. Yet, like most most true observers whose maturity has risen beyond that of a fifteen year old, Canelo has a hard time seeing that happening. Mayweather-McGregor is a novelty boxing match. Canelo-GGG is what promoter Oscar De La Hoya said on the call was “a real fight,” a “serious fight,” a “serious event.” The difference, frankly, should be noted as often as possible.
“We’re concentrating on our own fight,” De La Hoya claimed, adding that “we sold out in ten days.” It’s true. While tickets for Mayweather-McGregor are having difficulty moving, tickets for Canelo-Golovkin, which will be going down in the same T-Mobile arena Mayweather-McGregor is, promptly sold out in just over a week. It was clear during the call, however, that Canelo believed his focus had best stay on Golovkin, his formidable adversary this coming fall. “It’s going to be a difficult fight,” he stated. “It’s going to be a very hard fight.”
Canelo insisted he’s no longer the young man who Mayweather easily bested in their 2013 megabout. “I’ve definitely learned a lot (since that time),” Canelo said. “I’m more of a mature fighter now.” Even De La Hoya made it clear that Mayweather was too much, too soon for the Canelo of four years past. “Yes,” the legendary fighter/promoter stated, “he did take that fight too soon.” Still, De La Hoya added that Canelo is man on the rise. “I strongly feel he’s only getting better,” De La Hoya said. As for Canelo himself, the man exuded certainty. Referring to Mayweather, he claimed: “I think the only reason he beat me was because of the experience.”
Now, though, Canelo has enormous experience under his belt when it comes to performing under the bright lights of a major fight in Vegas. Not that he feels that alone will give him the upper hand against the feared Golovkin. “Having more fights in Las Vegas is not an advantage,” he said plainly. And least someone is levelheaded out there at the moment.
Ward, Kovalev Conference Calls Showcase Differences In Character
Ward, Kovalev Conference Calls Showcase Differences In Character
By: Sean Crose
Kovalev: “I hate him.”
Ward: “He’s a good fighter.”
Kovalev: “He didn’t deserve this belt.”
Ward: “It doesn’t take a close decision to get criticism.”
Kovalev: “I want to punish him.”
Andre Ward. Sergey Kovalev. Two men. Two highly regarded light heavyweights. Opponents. Enemies. Individuals with completely different ways of going about things. Kovalev, who goes by the name of Krusher, has no use for Ward, who squeaked by with a win against him via a controversial decision last fall. Now, with a rematch closing in, the Russian is a man on a mission. “I have a really big motivation for this fight,” he said during a Tuesday conference call. “I want to get back my belt.”
Ward himself had a lot to say during his own Wednesday conference call, but the two media calls couldn’t be further apart. Kovalev, for instance, was all business on Tuesday. Personable, sure (he’s actually a personable guy, Kovalev), but all business. Ward, on the other hand, was eager to talk about things outside of boxing on Wednesday. A religious man, Ward spoke frequently about God and about his own less than showy nature. “At the end of the day,” he said, “I just have to be me.”
Ironically enough, the Ward-Kovalev rematch, which will go down in Vegas a week from Saturday, looks to be the last time the two men will meet in the ring. That might be a shame. The fighters are so different that they make interesting opposition. Yet there’s intense dislike in play between the two fighter’s camps. “No more rematch clause,” promoter Kathy Duva claimed. “This is it.” Here’s hoping Andre-Sergey 2 brings some closure to the whole saga. “There’s no obligation,” Duva reiterated, “for there to be a rematch.”
With that in mind, it’s worth wondering if the two Ward-Kovalev matches will have as little in common as the fighters themselves do. I asked Kovalev trainer John David Jackson if he felt team Ward might make adjustments this time around. “They may,” Jackson said. Yet he made it clear he felt there wasn’t much Ward could do. “What adjustments can Ward make?” he asked. “He can’t get much more ready than he is now.” The respected trainer then indicated that Ward will change his performance at his own risk, stating that if Ward fights differently, “he’s playing Russian Roulette and he’s going to get clipped.”
For his own part, Ward trainer Eric Hunter had his own take on what’s to come. “As for this rematch,” he claimed on Wednesday, “all I can say is, oh boy.”