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.”