Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Media Day Workouts Recap
By: Hans Themistode
The British have taken over America.
At least that is what it felt like as a jam packed crowd swarmed U.K. born Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) for his media workout. It was the first time the American public was given a chance to see the British star in several months.
Joshua, will of course be putting his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles on the line this Saturday June 1st, at Madison Square Garden when he takes on former title challenger Andy Ruiz Jr (32-1, 21 KOs).
This will be Joshua’s first contest in the U.S. as he typically fights in his home country at the O2 arena. Although this is Joshua’s formal introduction to the American public, it was hard to tell. There was a large contingent for Joshua from U.K. fans who made the long trek to show support for their Heavyweight champion. That support didn’t go unnoticed by Joshua.
“I think it’s great that so many from my side of the world came to support me. It’s massive support they’re showing me and it is highly appreciated.” Said Joshua during his post workout interview.
As for his opponent, Ruiz understands that he is the heavy underdog coming into this contest. He also understands that the opinions of those that are doubting him aren’t important to his success.
“I know that a lot of people think I’m going to lose this fight but I’ll prove them wrong. I will make history come Saturday night” said Ruiz.
The history Ruiz is speaking of is becoming the first Heavyweight champion of Mexican decent. Defeating the unblemished Joshua will be a monumental task. The unified Heavyweight champion isn’t simply looking to win come Saturday night but he is looking to make a statement.
“It’s important to make a statement on Saturday night. Of course I want to win, but I have to look spectacular while doing so.”
This particular media workout had a bit of intensity to it. The fans will be in for a real treat once the real fight comes Saturday night.
Deontay Wilder Media Workout Quotes and Photos
Unbeaten WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder kicked off fight week Tuesday night with a media workout at world famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn before he defends his title this Saturday night against mandatory challenger Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Wilder will look to defend his title for the ninth time in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. It will be Wilder’s fourth time defending his belt at Barclays Center, having scored knockouts in his three previous fights in Brooklyn.
Tickets for this BombZquad event can be purchased at ticketmaster.com and barclayscenter.com. Tickets also can be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Here is what Wilder had to say Tuesday in Brooklyn:
“Dominic Breazeale is going to get knocked out in dramatic fashion on Saturday. I can’t wait. He’s like a fly in my ear. I’m going to get him out of there in a fashion no one has ever seen.
“I love coming to Brooklyn. The people here have adopted me. I’ve had some of my most dramatic knockouts here at Barclays Center. I’m looking forward to adding another one to my resume Saturday night.
“Dominic Breazeale asked for this. I didn’t seek him out. He came for me. This isn’t a gentleman’s sport. We have bad blood and it’ll be in the ring Saturday night.
“I learned from the Tyson Fury fight to stay patient. It was my moment and my time. I wanted to put on a great show and deliver the knockout. I rushed but Fury had to be perfect for 12 rounds, I just had to be perfect for two seconds.
“I’m a person who’s passionate about what I say and passionate about what I do. I’m the realest champion in the business. I show love everywhere I go. Love is the key to the world.”
Wilder vs. Breazeale Media Call Transcript
Thanks everybody for joining us. We have an exciting fight to talk about, certainly one of the biggest fights of the year.
Wilder vs. Breazeale is Saturday, May 18 live on SHOWTIME. It’s the heavyweight championship of the world. It is at Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING and it’s presented by Premier Boxing Championships. Tickets for the BombZquad event are available through Ticketmaster, barclayscenter.com and at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center.
Now I’m going to introduce Stephen Espinoza, President of Sports and Event Programming for Showtime Networks to make introductory comments. Stephen.
Thanks very much, Kelly. We are thrilled to be presenting Wilder vs. Breazeale on SHOWTIME a week from Saturday. Before we get there we are committed to this fight as if it were a pay-per-view because we believe that that’s where Deontay is in his career and this is the level of promotion that a fight of this caliber deserves.
So we will be premiering ALL ACCESS: WILDER vs. BREAZEALE on Friday, May 10th at 10 p.m. Following that will be a three-fight ShoBox telecast featuring Ruben Villa in the main event.
And those of you who know me know that I’m also a hip-hop music fan so I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Wu-Tang documentary, “Of Mics and Men,” that’s premiering tomorrow. So it’s a big lineup tomorrow night on SHOWTIME – 9 p.m. is the Wu-Tang documentary followed by ALL ACCESS: WILDER vs. BREAZEALE at 10 p.m. and then ShoBox at 10:30.
Next week ALL ACCESS will be active a daily basis debuting new short form episodes every day during fight week. Then we get to the fight itself. Look, I’m not going to give you too much about this.
You have two s6-foot-s7 heavyweights with a combined 90% knockout ratio so you really don’t have to sell too much on this one. Since 2015, SHOWTIME has featured 14 heavyweight world title fights.. We are happy to see the resurgence of the heavyweight division. We’re proud for our role in it. No other network has been as committed to the heavyweight division and no other network has done more to bring about this resurgence.
So we are thrilled to be seeing the heavyweights back on this massive stage once again. As I mentioned combined record of these two fighters, 60 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw, 57 KOs. That is a knockout rate over 90%.
Deontay Wilder, obviously he’s coming off two of his most exciting and certainly career-defining performances – a Fight of the Year caliber fight against Luis Ortiz in March of 2018 and then his pay-per-view debut against Tyson Fury.
Those were two of the most exciting heavyweight fights that we’ve seen in quite some time. In Dominic Breazeale, Wilder will be facing a tall, strong, experienced and very motivated opponent.
At 6-foot-7, Dominic is one of the few heavyweights in the division who looks eye to eye with Deontay so that will be a different experience. With 18 KO victories in 21 professional fights, he has been on the world stage before taking on Anthony Joshua in the U.K.
And it’s no secret that there’s a personal rivalry from these two guys so there is no shortage of motivation. All in all we’re looking forward to this three fight card. Again, ALL ACCESS: WILDER vs. BREAZEALE will kick it off Friday at 10 p.m. followed by ShoBox and we will see all of you a week from Saturday in Brooklyn.
Thanks Stephen. And yes, now we are going to turn to “Trouble” himself, Dominic “Trouble Breazeale”. He’s 20 and 1, with 18 knockouts. He’s a WBC mandatory challenger. He’s a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Glendale, California.
For this fight it’s his first fight training with Virgil Hunter in the Bay area. He previously challenged Anthony Joshua for the heavyweight title in 2016 and he won his last three fights by knockout.
So without further ado, we’d love to hear from you Dominic and if you’d like to make opening comments before we open it up the press and just let us know how things are going and your thoughts on the fight a week from Saturday:
Thank you Kelly. Camp is going great up here in the Bay Area. Virgil Hunter’s done a great job of putting things in and implementing my game plan going into this fight May 18.
I’m definitely excited to be fighting on the world stage again for the WBC title. May 18 is going to be an explosive night. You’ve got two knockout artists, two big six-foot-seven guys.
I’m super excited to be involved with the event. I’m super excited to get a big KO win May 18. Like I said, the body feels great. Camp has gone up and beyond what I expected it to be.
I’m super ready. I can’t wait to get on this plane and get to New York and get this started.
Deontay Wilder has turned out to be a pretty good heavyweight champion. What makes you think you can beat him?
Your opinion on him being a pretty good heavyweight champion, that’s your opinion alone. I don’t think anyone else agrees with you on that one. But I don’t see any fundamental skills. I don’t see any successes on his part.
He’s been champion for about four years. He hasn’t grown. He hasn’t changed. Yes, he’s got a big right-hand but don’t we all in the heavyweight division? We all have knockout power.
So I think I’m walking into a fight where I’m the more skilled, more athletic and bigger, stronger guy.
You’re training with Virgil Hunter now. What has he brought to the table for you?
A little bit of everything. don’t see how I’ve come this far in my career, ten years of boxing now and haven’t learned some of the fundamental basics that he’s used to restructure me.
Yes, they’ve always been there but with this new approach training he was able to bring a lot more out in my fundamentals as far as when I use my jab and how I use it and other things that we plan on using in our game plan on May 18.
How badly would you like a knockout in this specific fight given all the animosity that’s been going on between yourself and Wilder that stems back to your issues a couple of years ago in Birmingham?
Going into every fight is probably the biggest fight of your life. And I’m always looking for a huge knockout, something to impress the fans and impress the boxing community.
At the same time, I’m never looking for it. I’m never trying to surge and try too hard to get the knockout. I always let it come. But this one, it’s going to be a lot better success. It’s going to be a lot better sleeping May 18 the night after I win the title, if I get a knockout.
Don’t get me wrong. A win’s a win but at the same time I want to impress the world. I want to impress the boxing community with a big knockout. When I say big knockout one where my right hand, my left hand is going to make contact and he goes out. Doesn’t get back up.
So what would be the personal satisfaction on that besides just the great accomplishment to win the heavyweight belt?
The personal thing from the outside of the ring makes the revenge factor. You approach myself and my wife and kids in a situation that was not boxing related.
The gratification and the fact that my personal revenge, knocking out Deontay Wilder is a lot bigger than just an actual win or KO on any other given night.
How do you think that you can stand-up to his right hand, if Anthony Joshua was able to get you?
I’ve grown a lot in the last few years. The Joshua fight was an eye opener. It was good experience. I learned then that I was standing there a lot more and taking some damage that I didn’t need to take because of the big guy that I am.
As I said earlier, Wilder’s got a big right hand but so do I and I’ve got a big left hook. In the heavyweight division if you don’t have knockout power, you’ve got no reason to be in the division.
So yes, Wilder’s going to throw some leather and make some contact by all means. Boxing, it’s all about hitting and not getting hit. I don’t plan on getting hit a lot May 18 and if I do, I’ve been there. I’ve done that before.
At the same time I plan on putting on all the punishment. And if the right hand comes, so be it. I’ll deal with it. It’s part of boxing.
We want to see the heavyweight champions fight each other. What is your statement on that as far as the way that people look at the heavyweight division right now?
I don’t disagree with you or the boxing fans just because I’m a boxing fan myself. Of course you always want to see the title holders fight each other.
But right now I think those five names you mentioned, myself, Andy Ruiz, Tyson Fury, Wilder and Joshua, we are the top of the division and the fans are getting exposed to what they want to see. They’re getting exposed to a heavyweight fight.
When I fight Wilder May 18 it’s not going to be boring. It’s going to be action packed. It’s going to be big punch after big punch. And the thing with Joshua and Andy Ruiz, I’m excited to be part of the division. I’m excited to be where I am now standing. I’m also super excited to be the spoiler.
Wilder’s had a great deal on the table, whenever he was working with Joshua and I think he should have taken it because come May 18, I’m going to ruin everything.
I’m going to put my name in that hat with Joshua and I definitely want my revenge against Joshua so we’re going to make some things up in the near future. My way to do that is to get my WBC title and that’s what I plan on doing.
You think that fight against Carlos Negron might have knocked off some ring rust and maybe helped you prepare for the fight against Deontay Wilder?
Yes, anytime you have a little bit of layoff, a little bit of ring rust you don’t want that of course but I was glad I was able to do it December 22 against Carlos Negron.
I’m happy to be getting in the ring as soon as I am now for the WBC title shot. There wasn’t a long layoff between me in the ring December 22, taking a couple of days off for Christmas and New Years and getting right back in the gym in January.
So I think like I said earlier, I’ve had a great camp. I’ve had a lot less layoff than in the past and all cylinders are firing.
Was it tough having to wait before you knew you would get that opportunity to face Deontay?
Yes, definitely tough. I won the WBC title eliminator against Eric Molina and then to be told that it’s going to be sometime, six months, seven months which turned into I think almost about a year.
That was very tough because I’m one of the guys who stayed in the gym. I’m sparing every other day or sparing once a week. I’m always in the gym and I’m always working. Sometimes that can take a toll on you.
But fortunately in my favor it worked out great. I got another fight against Carlos Negron and attended the WBC mandatory and here a year and a half later getting ready to fight for a world title. In a sense, it kept me motivated. It kept me working.
What did you think of Deontay’s performance against Tyson Fury? Did watching that fight kind of give you a better idea of what you need to do to beat Deontay Wilder?
Yes, definitely. It gave me some better things to be focusing on and to hone in on at the same time. I was there in person.
I thought Fury won that fight. I know he got knocked down a couple of times but as far as the boxing, the world looks at him how he scored in a boxing match. Tyson outscored Wilder that night and won that fight.
Fury did some good things. He had some great defensive movements. He did some good attacks as well as counter punching. On the other hand, Wilder did the same thing over and over like he’s done in his last four, five fights – over the last four or five years is throw the one, two and hopefully hope and pray that the right hand lands eventually.
There were some things that I learned from the fight as well as some things I’ve continuously seen over and over, time and time again.
What were your thoughts when you got found by Michael King?
The idea first came across in a phone call. Joe Onowar, he called me, he was the recruiter at the time. I completely thought he was crazy.
`There was no way in hell that I was going to pick up boxing at 23 years old after I’d done football, basketball, track, baseball, hockey, wrestling – all that as a kid. Never stepped foot into a boxing ring, then to pick it up as a sport at 23 years old when I was at the end of my career.
Honestly at the time I thought it was a real dumb idea but three months into it after I had my first amateur fight and 18 months later when I became a 2012 Olympian and now 10 years later now I’m fighting for the WBC World Title, I think Michael King was the smartest man on the planet.
For me to be the one that came out the man on top is special, there were hundreds of athletes that came to the door. I feel like the idea of turning a Division One athlete into a professional boxer. It was crazy then ten years ago but now, I think it’s a great phenomenal idea.
Even Jim Brown thought that with a couple months of training he could fight Muhammad Ali. Why is it that football players have this idea that hey, if I’m good at football I can be just as good at boxing?
I think the idea of the contact was that thinking that I’m a big man. I’m aggressive. I’m powerful, that type of thing. In the football world you’d think of the defensive ends, the linebackers, the running backs, the left tackle, the guys that have the most contact on the football field would be the biggest, baddest guy in the boxing ring. Not true.
Here you are, you’re talking to a quarterback who usually takes all the damage and they always want to put a yellow jersey or a pink jersey on during practice and don’t touch the quarterback type of deal. The tables are turned and I’m actually the aggressor and I’m the knockout puncher now.
The guys in the football world believe that because they can hit somebody with their shoulder or they can make the big tackle that they can throw some gloves on and throw their lives in the ring. It’s a different story man.
And like Mike Tyson said it best. Everybody has a game plan so they get punched in the mouth.
When you were quarterbacking at Northern Colorado, if you had gotten some feedback from
NFL people that you might have been a draftee in the top three rounds, would you have even entertained Mr. King’s offer to go into boxing?
No, not at all. Actually that was be the scenario. I was actually pursuing the NFL. Things didn’t pan out the way I wanted them to. And it turned out that Michael King was still there when the NFL door closed so that’s why I began to venture into the boxing world.
To tell you the truth, I actually started boxing to stay in shape for football camps but soon those doors closed and boxing was the only thing I had. And I’m grateful for it now. God’s put boxing into my life and it’s been a blessing in disguise.
Did you ever doubt you would get back into the title picture and what does it mean now to get another chance at the heavyweight title?
Yes, going into depression sometimes and things like that. I’m a pretty positive, optimistic type of guy. My way of bouncing back from that title shot against Joshua was to study the film day in and day out.
I watched it round after round, minute after minute. I watched it in silence. I watched it with people. I watched it without people. And I guess I can say that the quarterback background in me kind of studying. And I wanted to see everything that I did wrong.
I didn’t want to see anything I did right because I understood there were things that were done right but there were a lot more things that were done wrong. I wanted to capitalize on my mistakes.
That’s what I did at the time. Me and my trainer Manny Robles went back to California and kind of restructured my boxing skills and they grew. And lucky enough that we were fortunate enough to have three big KO wins and here we are back again fighting for the world title.
I’m looking forward. I learned a lot more from that one loss than I learned from all my wins in my whole boxing career and amateur career. So that one lifetime experience in the summer of 2016 against Joshua was a lot bigger for my boxing career than anything could have been.
Do you see the incident that happened with Wilder as motivation right now or do you want to get beyond that so you’ll be able to fight as clearly as possible when you face Wilder on the 18th?
It’s been the biggest motivational tool in this last camp. It’s the one thing that gets me up early in the morning to run. It’s the thing that gets me through the 10th and 11th and 12th round of sparring. It’s the idea of I want to achieve and stay focused.
It’s definitely been a huge motivator for camp. I think I’m going to close here pretty soon, the week of the fight. It’s more or less going to be the mental idea that I’m going into a heavyweight title fight to perform my best, to fulfill my best.
I’m not going to take any of that emotion or craziness into the fight because if you do that you’ve already lost the battle.
Okay, great. That’s our last question for you Dominic. We really appreciate you taking the time as you finish up your training today to be on this call. Dominic, any last words?
Thank you Kelly. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. I appreciate you all having me. I’m looking forward to having an explosive firework night on May 18. The fight week is going to be great.
I’m feeling great. Looking forward to travelling and can’t wait to get started Saturday night.
At this time, I want to introduce everybody to the WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World, none other than Deontay Wilder.
He is 40 and 0 with one draw and he has 39 knockouts. Representing his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, he’ll be looking to make the ninth defense of his heavyweight title that he won back in January 2015.
In 2018 he had two of the most exciting and memorable fights of the year. He defeated then unbeaten Luis Ortiz in March knocking him out in the tenth round of a back and forth war.
Then in December he dropped Tyson Fury twice, including in the 12th round of their clash that eventually ended in a split draw. This Saturday, May 18 he will be defending his title for the fourth time at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and he has had knockouts in all three of his previous defenses there.
Also joining him on the line is Shelly Finkel, for any questions you might have for him. I’d like to introduce none other than the Heavyweight Champ of the World, Deontay Wilder to make his opening comments before we open it up to the press.
Hello guys. How you guys doing? Thank you guys for coming along. What can I say that I haven’t already said? I’m excited about May 18. It’s been a long camp. It’s been a hard camp. It’s also been a fun camp. Very interesting as well too.
I broke myself back down to the basics and I’ve invested in myself more than I’ve ever done in my career thus far. It’s crazy this opponent has allowed me to break myself down and get back to the basics because I’ve already stated what I want to do.
I’m going to do what I said I was going to do just like I do all the time. With this particular fight I’m going to make sure I do it in the worst way possible.
That’s why I decided to break myself down and I decided to invest in myself so I make sure I do exactly what I said that I would do in intense fashion, in a painful way and on an elite level. So I’d like to welcome Breazeale to the elite level.
He’s never been in this level before. He thought he did with Joshua but Deontay Wilder is a whole different beast. I come with a whole different mindset. And we already know that I come with the right hand from hell.
Can you maybe tell us some of the things that you did in camp that were different from before?
Well like I said, I’ll start with a simple thing. I started back jump-roping. I started back doing a lot of speed bags, a lot of different things on the heavy bags.
Most of the time my camps, there’s sparring with the mitts and that’s through all of them. If you go into other camps you’ll see them hitting everything in the gym but not hard. I get away with so much because I know my true ability and my training. A lot of these guys, they only look for one particular thing and that’s the right hand. That’s where they go wrong because I have so many different attributes about myself.
I’m athletic. I’m agile. I’m mobile. I’m hostile. I’ve got the heart of a lion. I am a king. I’ve purchased a lot of different equipment to enhance my body and to perform, like a Jacuzzi and strength training equipment.
I’ve got the top of the line Jacuzzi for therapy, different things like that. My home, in my basement I attempted to put a full gym, a personal gym, a real nice one. And it’s been amazing. 24 hours of training.
I had got to the point where I had to stop training so hard. My doctor advised me not to train so hard because it always kept me up. I went off to the gym and then I’d come home. And then when you have a gym at the house it’s like and you’ve got a fight coming up, it’s non-stop thinking.
So if you’re thinking about the fight, your body is going to react and so you go downstairs and start working out or start hitting the bag or start doing a lot of things. I’ve got massage table here and I’ve got a lot of different things here that I never thought about doing before.
But now, like I said, I want to bring the pain. I want to do so much damage to this guy that he’s allowed me to invest in myself, something I should have done a long time ago. But it’s never too late for new things and for me it just relit my career.
It relit the interest in boxing. I’ve been through so much in this sport ups and downs. And it took all this time. It took this motivation right here. It’s paid off outside of the ring
Everything I say I mean. And I do what I say. And that’s what makes me who I am. I’m the realest champion in the business and that’s where I am at this point.
Deontay, what convinced you to make these changes? Is there any one thing that made you do that or is it a combination of things?
I owe it all to Breazeale. I owe it all to him.
Like I said, I’m coming to bring the pain. If you don’t understand that, you’ll see. My actions speak louder than my words. I’m not one of these guys that just talks just to hear myself talk or who’s cloud chasing or just to say some stuff, because I am who I am.
I don’t waste my time. I’ve always been like that. This hasn’t just started because I’ve gotten into boxing. I became a champion.
Anyone that’s grown with me, anyone that’s been around me will tell you when Deontay’s speaking and saying something, even my managers and my trainers, they all will tell you when this guy speaks he means it. He don’t say nothing just to say it. Like he really means it.
And the thing is that when I’m outside of this ring, a man comes to my city and starts chaos like that and then telling a bogus story, try to sell sympathy and wants people to show sympathy and remorse. I don’t like that.
I don’t like that at all. He’s like one of these guys that will come into your establishment and waste water on the floor and slip on it just to sue you. What goes around comes around.
This May 18, it will be my time. It’s punishment time. It’s judgement time. And I am the judge.
You’ve long been a critic of the epidemic of PED’s in boxing. It obviously came to the forefront with this Jarrell Miller and Anthony Joshua situation. What went through your mind when you see a guy fail three tests?
Where do I start with it? I’ve always told people about Jarrell Miller. I’ve always said certain things. I know a lot of things about a lot of fighters, because I know the people that I’ve fought.
Like they tell me, the doctors tell me. They’re not my friend. I’m just here for the business. And that sounds about right. I give out subliminal messages. I’m not a rat. I don’t go around and call names out and stuff. But I’ve been saying a lot of things.
One particular time I said something about Jarrell Miller. I said, you better stop doing this, this and this. Somebody put out the video before. Finally, when things happened, people were saying, hey Wilder’s been saying that.
Yes, I’ve been saying that. Why can’t you believe me in the first place? I’m one of these types of people that people don’t believe things I say happened, which is okay because it’s too late.
Another thing about the situation. There’s so many things you can say about the situation. I’m just tired of talking about it so I’ll leave it as this. I’m always talking about what can happen in the ring. This sport, you know, killing a man in the ring.
This boxing is so dangerous, so brutal. When you get these guys on these PEDs and stuff like that, this is what they’re going to do.
Like I’m natural. I’m natural so I feel like I have the right to speak my peace because I am the one that’s entering the ring. I am the one and my opponent’s the one that’s risking their life.
But when you’re getting guys that are doing PEDs and asking their bodies to do things they’re not supposed to do – no one really just criticizes. Even with the organizations, when is there going to be a time when somebody puts their foot down and shows somebody?
There’s so much stuff you can say with that man. Like I said, it is what it is. It’s a brutal sport that we’re in and I love it. I love it. I signed up so I’ve got to suffer the consequences and deal with everything that comes behind it and I’m here.
Dominic said that he doesn’t think anybody would agree with me that you’ve become a pretty good world champion. What are your thoughts on that?
I mean that was what every opponent I’ve faced has said. Every one of them. If it’s been ten years, then for ten years they’ve been spewing the same thing for ten years – what have I been doing?
I’m still here. I’m still a champion. It’s different when you get in the ring with me then. Any guy that has gotten in the ring with me or that gets in the ring with me – when I say gets in the ring I mean a sparring partner.
The guys that have gotten in the ring with me, being future opponents, they will tell you, this man is not what you think he is. But it’s good that people think that way.
People are simple minded, people like him think that way because when you enter into that ring and you feel that first blow, you know that you’re in for a fight. My mindset is different. My mindset is so big that a spaceship can fit in it.
I am here for the long run. This is not a short run for me. I’m here for a generational one. I’m betting on myself. I’m taking control of my career in my own hands because I am the talent. I know what I possess. A lot of these guys wish they had what I have. That’s just an easy way to cop out. For ten years this is what he’s been doing with his right hand.
We’re going to find out and it’s not going to be long now either. He’s going to find out. So he’s going to realize that he’s never been in a ring with a guy like myself. He’s fought for the world title before and it seemed like he didn’t belong there in the first place.
Now he’s in there with a real killer. A real one who speaks that speaks his peace and I mean what I say. Nobody’s going to stop me. I mean what I say and I say what I mean and come the 18th he’s going to find out.
This guy is very nervous. I know everything that he wants to do. I know it all. And he should be nervous because I don’t mean no good for him. All bad intentions. If you’re a first time viewer of boxing, I don’t know, it depends on how you feel about seeing a body on the ground or seeing blood on somebody. You’re going to be in for a treat.
I hope you stick around for the next one and the next one to come because I’m the most exciting heavyweight in the business, period. Period. There’s no one that’s more exciting that brings the pain and that brings the drama as I. And I can speak it.
A lot of you guys, you know who want to be kind and soft and want to be politically correct and want to talk tough. No, I’ll tell you what I feel in the moment of time. I feel the energy in the room. I feel the energy in myself and I release that.
I tell you how it is and when the time comes for me to display that I do that as well and I do it in a great fashion.
Is there any kind of competition within you to want to show the boxing public or the fans that you Joshua and Fury are all fighting within a 30 day period roughly and you want to be the one to show as the best performance of those three to sort of let people continue to gauge you against each other?
I never even thought about that. Nor will I think about it after this conversation because I know what I possess. I know who I am and as you can see, I’m the most exciting out of all of those guys.
These guys don’t bring the excitement that I bring. Tyson Fury’s the most boring one of all or of us. So I think I just continue to do what I do and do what I do best and that’s knock these guys out silly. I’m not in competition with none of them.
They’re great guys. They’re great fighters themselves and I expect them to be themselves. Don’t add no pressure onto it. Do what you all do. And Deontay Wilder’s going to do what he does.
How do you explain to the public why those fights are not happening at the moment?
Well it’s simple. If they took the time and took a deep breath and sat back and reflected on their past and what has happened there. I know we’re in the present right now and the future’s bright as well too.
But if you look back in the past and sit back and see what Deontay has already tried to do to him and his team has tried to do, let’s start out with Fury first. With Fury since Fury felt like everyone got that perspective of him beating me from the commentary.
When you get new people come in, they don’t know what they’re looking at. They don’t’ know what’s going on so they’re going to look for the so-called experts of the sport and listen to them.
So let’s start from there. They carry away with that. So if I’m a fighter and I’m thinking, hey, I beat his ass, my first reaction is, I want an immediate rematch. I feel like they got that wrong.
You want an immediate reaction rematch because you know the second rematch ain’t nothing. That’s going to be simple. It’s going to be easy.
So what we did – I said, hey, I know what I did. I whipped your ass. I was more aggressive. I want to understand, what was the main highlight of the fight the whole night? I think we all can answer that. It’s Fury being knocked on his ass and getting back up. That was the whole highlight of the whole fight.
So in essence, I’m saying, hey, I won so I want a rematch. As a champion instead of moving forward I want to give you this rematch because I want to bless you. So what did he do? So if you’re a guy that knows that you’re beating me with a wild margin, you immediately take that rematch.
You don’t run or get other fighters. You immediately take that. Fury knows. I gave him a concussion. When you get a man that doesn’t understand how he got on the ground nor how he got up, his brain has been shocked. He don’t want that fight no more.
He don’t want to get in no more. As as a fighter we must promote ourselves. We must carry this type of ego like I’m the man and I did this and that because we don’t want people to look on us as punks or somebody’s that scared.
Because you’re a fighter. You’re not supposed to be scared. Well we’re human beings as well too. So if he’s on his side he knows the real reason. That’s why he’s fighting another guy. That’s why he had the contract in his face for five days to a week.
Then ESPN came along and all of them. He didn’t want that fight or I wouldn’t have had to fight my mandatory. I would have gone straight to Fury and then with Breazeale.
With Joshua it’s easy. Four months we tried. Four different occasions. Maybe five different occasions. 12.5, 15 flat fee. He said, I want 50/50. We gave that to him. Well, no, my country deserves for me to fight here so I’m going to fight here.
So he didn’t want to fight on his own so they had to step in and make the fight and then they had to come back and apologize because they weren’t prepared for us. That’s what – four or five times we tried to make the fight? Now they cry because they don’t have nowhere to do.
Go back and study it. Go back and see, who really is the king of the division? Who really tried to make these fights? Then when you come back you’ll find yourself in a better place and you’ll come with peace with yourself.
The PR people sent this out and I found it to be very interesting. The fight that you’re going to have against Breazeale is going to be your ninth title defense. You’re starting to edge into historical names on the list of heavyweights that have made that many defenses, if you’re successful against Breazeale.
Nin is how many defenses Muhammad Ali made the first time he was champion. It’s the number of title defenses that Mike Tyson made in his first famous title reign. And it’s the number of title defenses that Lennox Lewis made in his second championship reign which was obviously when he was at his very best.
What would it mean to you to sort of put yourself in that list of guys to get to the ninth title defense in the heavyweight division?
It means a lot. I means a great deal to me. It means a lot to accomplish that. It means that I’ve proved so many people wrong and still to this day I’m proving people wrong.
It’s going to be a great accomplishment not only in the past – so many great fighters that came before me but to continue to go forward to be the number one guy. I’ve still got a long way to go to do what I want to do in this sport.
I will accomplish everything I set forth to do. I’m an amazing fighter. I’m an amazing talent and I’ve got an amazing team behind me. And with that combination man, the sky’s the limit.
I feel like this fight is a little more personal to you than maybe some of your past fights, do you agree?
Oh, most definitely. Oh man and that’s not a laugh of joy. That’s an evil laugh. In an evil scene, the evil man’s got to laugh. That’s my evil laugh.
I think this is the most excited I’ve been and the most I wanted to hurt a man since 2015 with Bermane Stiverne. And we all know what happened to him. And the second time was just playing around with him.
With this one right here, the story that comes behind it, people have got to understand when you’re dealing with Deontay Wilder, I’m passionate about what I say. I’m passionate about what I do.
Dominic Breazeale better display himself on that night, because I put him on my card. He didn’t have to be on my card. But you come to my hometown and cause this mess? And like I said before you want to start this drama and act like you were the victim and your wife was the victim? He’s an opportunist and I don’t’ like that.
So I needed this boost as a champion of the division, I needed this boost. Like I said, I never thought of investing in myself the way I’ve done. To be a champion and get away with so many different things, man it’s been crazy.
But now I’ve turned every stone over man. This is the most precise camp that I’ve ever had, in my entire life. I feel it tops all camps and I needed this re-ignition in my life. I needed this extra boost because I will do what I say I’m going to do and that night I’m damn well going to try. I guarantee you that.
Was it frustrating for you to kind of have to reset yourself and now think about preparing for other opponents that are going to be wanting to fight you starting with Dominic Breazeale?
No, it wasn’t. It wasn’t hard for me. You’ve got to look at what I’ve been through. I keep talking about the past. You’ve got to see what I’ve been through with different guys disappointing me.
Failing drug tests. Making me lose out on a lot of money. And stuff like that. So I understand the business of boxing and I know that if you have something in place one minute, the next minute it could be gone just like that.
Once you go through this cycle and you go through it over and over again, you try to get the understanding, a better understanding of fights and what’s to come. Nothing is guaranteed until you’re in that ring and that guy throws the first blow.
As we can see even when the bell rings, it doesn’t start until that first blow is thrown because we’ve got guys that will get out of the damn ring at the time the bell rings.
So things like that have prepared me. I understand as a fighter why he made that decision. I hurt Tyson Fury very badly. I gave him a crushing.
Like I said, the man had memory loss and that’s not healthy. That’s not healthy for you and as a man, as a man with a family, hey, if you need a warm-up, a tune-up to see if your marbles are back in place, go do that. Take as many more months as you need.
We understand. He said he got three more fights and then be out of here. We all know why he’s going to be out of here because one of those fights leads up to me. And I’m going to finish it. I’m going to finish the job.
So I understand it all. I have a guy there that can’t understand things. Even in everyday life there’s someone going through something. I try. My mind, like I said is so big and spacious so when you are describing something and telling me something I try to take my mind in a virtual reality and put myself in your position.
I try to look at every aspect possible and try to go and understand. So I understand why he made that decision. I understand it all. And it’s healthy that I want the best Fury when that time comes, just like I want with all these guys.
Because I don’t want no excuses. I’m the only fighter that can come in with damaged arms and body mashed and still knock you out because I am blessed. My grandma said I was anointed by God. And she was so right.
I’m just wondering if you’ll talk about this topic of betting on yourself and what the plan is on your career to maximize the value you can get out of it?
Yes, most definitely. Like I said, if anybody’s going to take my career, it’s going to be myself. I understand we used to have a promoter and what comes in the contract with having a promoter.
But when you get to a certain point and you know you’re the talent and they’re coming to see your talent. And if you have the opportunity, why not take a chance on yourself?
Why not bet on yourself and I have a smart team that educated me and guided me through. No matter what people say about certain people, I have a wonderful team.
Me and Shelly and Jay Deas, we started together. We’re going to end together. And when we brought Al along, even more it made me and my team strong.
So who I’m with now? It’s who I’m going to end with. And they guided me all the way through. They’re going to make sure that not only do I go in history but they go in history as well as a team and it’s a blessing to have such a strong team in a business that’s so dirty.
That’s why I bet on myself. I have everything established and set for myself. My own promotion. And we’re looking forward to doing great things.
We’re very serious in the promotion. I know a lot of guys, oh, I’ve got a promotion coming up. Well that sounds good but what do you really want to do with it? And I’m in it for the long run.
I think I have the talent and ability to display myself in a way that can bring excitement in a way I’ve already done but the next step is to cement outside of the ring.
I think I’m going to be able to promote fighters and be able to talk about them and not talk about myself and be able to really promote fighters and bring the next Deontay Wilder or the next whoever they want to be.
I always say, even as I tell my brother I don’t want you to be just like me. I want you to be better than me. I’m the type of person that even if you do better than me, I’m happy for you.
And a lot of people are not like that because some people you do get equal to them or higher than them. That’s when the jealousy and envy come. I’m not that type of person.
My heart is of gold. I’m a provider and protector. And I love to see people do great even if it’s better than I.
Deontay is willing to take the risk both in taking low money and he’s willing to walk away. One of the most powerful words in the world is no and he is strong enough to say no and believe in himself that whatever he said no to now would be worth a lot more later.
So far that has proven through and I don’t see any reason it won’t be going forward. He’s a very, very strong human, not physically but mentally. And when you’re with him, you’re with him and he’s with you. There’s nothing better.
People have tried to break us up. His strength of who he is, means he knows who was there for him whether it be Jay or Al or myself. And that’s who he sticks with. I’m just very proud of him and proud to be part of his team.
What I’d like to do is ask Deontay if he has final thoughts before we hang up. And we look forward to seeing you next week in Brooklyn for Fight Week. Deontay?
May 18 is the time. I think everyone is being patient with this little thing that we have going on in the heavyweight division.
Just look at it and consider this – the excitement is back in the heavyweight division. The fire is lit. I’m more excited than I’ve ever been in my career because of everything that’s going on with it.
So I ask people just to be patient. And with patience comes time. And you’ve got to be able to even both out, patience and time, because they all work together.
You’re going to get the main fight that you guys want to see. The great thing about it is that we’re all still in discussion. I can understand if it was a closed door and we’re not having no discussion with nobody. Then it would be something that really would be a laid out or drawn out thing.
But everyone is still in discussion and talking and it’s just going to take a little time but I just tell people, the fans of boxing, people that’s coming in boxing, everyone just to have patience. The big fights are going to happen.
You know that when the big fights happen, you know that Deontay Wilder’s involved in it because most of these guys they live by the motto of less risk with high rewards.
But we know that I’ve taken high risks with low rewards. We’ve gotten smarter. We’ve proven ourselves. And we’re doing our own thing. Like I said, we’re betting on ourselves and when I bet on myself, you’re going to get great response.
You’re going to get great shows out of me. And I’m looking forward to May 18. So I’ll see you guys there and I’m looking forward to you guys. And I also want to announce my new clothing line. I got it coming out that will be sold online. You can look out for that. That way you can get your gear and are ready for May 18 and support me.
Transcript of Top Rank on ESPN Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan Media Conference Call
Top Rank on ESPN blow-by-blow commentator Joe Tessitore, analysts – former two-division world titleholder, Tim Bradley and former pound-for-pound two-division world champion, Andre Ward, participated in a media conference call yesterday to discuss the welterweight showdown between pound-for-pound king Terence “Bud” Crawford vs. former unified 140-pound champion Amir “King” Khan. Crawford-Khan will mark the first PPV event under the Top Rank on ESPN banner on Saturday, April 20 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT from Madison Square Garden.
A transcript of the conference call follows:
JOE TESSITORE: Thank you so much, and welcome, everybody. We’re thrilled as a production team to have this night. I sit there and you get the introduction there, and I hear we’re coming on the air with ESPN2 at 6 o’clock, knowing we’re coming on Pay-Per-View 9 o’clock.
So, now I’m sitting here looking at this bout sheet saying, holy cow, we’ve got to broadcast nine fights. This is unbelievable here, just the workload. But here’s what I love about Saturday night. And we’ll get into the main event plenty. When we put forth this relationship with Top Rank, one of the major themes was we’re going to serve the boxing fan really, really well.
And I think we all collectively feel good about what’s been accomplished since we went on the air with Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn from Australia a couple summers ago right through the past year, with the growth and development of ESPN+, with what we’ve been doing on ESPN. And I’m so sick of hearing my voice on a 30-second commercial promo right now on ESPN this week, and I’m sure everybody else is, too. But what it shows you is an unbelievable commitment from the network to put this sport forward the way it always should have been in the course of the last 25 to 30 years — that the role this support now plays on the landscape of American sports is back to what it always was, of being a very mainstream.
And this night really over-delivers to the fans, and we’re really excited about it. We just got done having our production meetings with all the fighters. And as much as we have arguably the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, an undefeated fighter, a generational talent in Bud Crawford against a global star, a well-marketed, former champion who still has tons of speed and skill and athleticism to make this a very competitive fight. We have a Pay-Per-View card that’s worthy of a Pay-Per-View card because you have rising undefeated stars, you have intrigue and next-generational talent kind of guys cars in Shakur Stevenson and Teofimo Lopez both taking step-up fights. And we feel like we’re going to over-deliver to the fans on Saturday night.
And I think in recent years — and, listen, this is ESPN’s first venture in this relationship of stepping into Pay-Per-View — in recent years you haven’t been able to say that about the sport, whether living in the corner of premium cable or whether living in the world of Pay-Per-View, which for the most part was economic relief for promoters and networks rather than really delivering a hefty night to the fans.
And we feel from 6 o’clock through or past midnight on Saturday night we are going to serve the fan. And that is first and foremost.
Now, the primary way we’re going to serve the fan is two very determined world-class fighters being in the ring at the end of all of that.
Just moments ago Bud Crawford and Amir Khan left the room that we’re sitting in now. I’ll let Tim and Andre tell you what they’re seeing, what they’re thinking, what they expecting in the fight. But here’s what I do know: We’re getting two guys at their absolute prime, at their absolute best, the version of each of them.
We got a very surly, and nasty Bud Crawford sit with us before, and we’ve had that version of Bud Crawford sit with us in production meetings before. And when you get that version of Bud Crawford, you get a serious ending to a fight that’s memorable.
And we have Amir Khan feeling that right now, 33 wins into his career, fighting in a weight class where he’s undefeated, feeling a sense of maturity, having a 12-week training camp with Virgil Hunter, he sits here and he tells us that he’s completely ready.
And then you hear the deference shown from Bud Crawford of recognizing Amir Khan’s physical gifts — his boxing skills, his legs, his straight punches, his fighting prowess — and I have a feeling that this fight, as it draws closer, is much more than how it was perceived when it was first signed.
Anytime you go up against a guy like Vasiliy Lomachenko or Bud Crawford, I don’t care who is opposite them, the early perception of the fight is, ah, man, we know what’s going to happen here. Listen, I have great intrigue as to what’s going to happen in the first six to eight rounds of this fight.
Much like we’ve seen other times with Amir Khan. Tell me about an Amir Khan fight that you’ve ever seen — listen, the guy went all the way up to 160 pounds against Canelo Alvarez; he’s never in a bad fight.
And I think we’re getting the absolute best version of him here. I want to turn it over to Tim.
TIM BRADLEY: I’m just glad to be here, one. And also after last week, looking at arguably the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the game, Lomachenko, now we’re coming back this week to look at Terence Bud Crawford, and we get to compare the two.
Different opponents but I love the fact that we get to compare the two, and the fans at home that’s going to be watching, they’ll get a show from Bud Crawford and Amir Khan.
I want to see if the fans at home can pick after watching Bud Crawford, their number one pound-for-pound — that’s what I’m interested in. And I want to see if Amir Khan still has a lot left in the tank. I want to see how well he prepared. And if he has the ability still to compete at the welterweight division.
ANDRE WARD: So I don’t know what else I can say that Joe and Tim haven’t said. But I will say I’m also excited about calling this fight on ESPN Pay-Per-View. I read a headline the other day that, basically it was a writer saying something to the effect — and he (writer) may be on this call right now — but something to the effect that he’s predicting or hoping for, you know, a failure for this Pay-Per-View.
And that’s just not the type of headline that should be written when we’re — the collective goal is to push this sport forward and to grow this sport.
And this type of card, this type of event is going to do that. And just like Joe said, from top to bottom, you have Verdejo, who is trying to reclaim the glory he once had. He doesn’t have one championship round under his belt. And he’s literally fighting for his boxing future to show the people that he’s still El Diamante, that he still has what it takes to be a champion one day.
Obviously you have a young man that I’m familiar with, Shakur Stevenson, who is — he wants to be in the top spot. He’s on the fast track. The team, Top Rank and obviously myself and the other managers, we’d like him to probably take a slower route. But in this day and age, man, the young fighters they want to move a lot faster. He has what it takes, but it’s not going to be easy against Diaz.
Diaz challenged for a world title not too long ago. He came up short. But he obviously showed that he’s in the running. He deserves to be in the race to be facing the top in the division. And he wants to show Shakur that Shakur picked the wrong contender to pick on.
You obviously have Teofimo Lopez, the co-main event. He’s in the peculiar position where, yes, he’s getting a lot of headlines; yes, he can fight. No doubt about that. But people still have questions, as they will for the course of his career, that’s how it goes.
How good is he and can he back up the big talk? And this is pressure that he and his father have heaped upon themselves. I respect it. It’s not an easy thing to do. You have enough pressure as is just being a young prospect with a hot name.
And they’re not only doing that, but they’re calling out guys like Lomachenko, who, again, depending on where you are on the pound-for-pound list or how you put either fighter, Crawford or Loma, he may be the best guy or number two, they’re calling for that guy. They’re not just saying we’re willing to face them; they’re demanding the fight.
That’s a lot of pressure to live up to and they’re doing it and I respect it. Whether you agree with it or not.
And then our main event, between Amir Khan and Terrance Crawford, I know Amir very well. It’s well publicized that he’s with my team. He has pretty much my whole team in the Bay Area.
Amir Khan is a silver medalist. The goods have always been there physically. But in the biggest moments he hasn’t been able to put it all together. And Amir’s issue is not information. It’s not knowing what to do or being told what to do. It’s always application; can he do it in the biggest moment?
And the question I would have for Amir Khan going into this fight is simply is it more important for you to prove to the people, the masses, the fans, the media how tough you are, or that you can take punishment, or that you’re a guy that has heart? Or is it more important to actually win the fight?
Because winning this fight, regardless of how he wins it, is really the only thing that’s going to extend his career.
Terrance Crawford, he has superseded just being in the discussion about fighting for titles. He’s done that. He’s been the undisputed champion at 140. He has plenty of belts. He’s in the position where every fight matters. And not just winning but how he wins, it matters when you’re in the discussion for pound-for-pound elite status, because clearly that is irrespective of weight class.
And every move, every performance is going to be scrutinized as it should be if you’re going to be in that discussion. So he’s not without pressure going into this fight. He not only has to win but he has to dominate and I would probably venture to say he probably needs a knockout to stay in that top conversation because of the history of Amir Khan.
Fans and media are going to match his performance up against every other top guy that Amir has fought. And that’s why I say — and I probably would never go on the record or at least up until this point I’ve yet to be on the record to say a guy needs a knockout — but because of Amir’s tasks he’s going to need that type of performance if he’s going to stay in the top spot or, for people who have number two, to supersede Loma. So here we are.
Q. Can you give fans your predictions for the fight goes the distance, many are predicting Kahn will KO. What if he doesn’t?
ANDRE WARD: If Khan is not KOed, I still believe Terence has more than enough ability to get the job done because of his style. He’s able to make adjustments in the ring. That’s why he’s considered among one of the best fighters pound-for-pound in the game.
Amir Khan has that amateur pedigree. He’s fought some tough guys. He does have a better resumé than Terence Crawford as far as opponents goes. But Amir Khan hasn’t really performed at the welterweight level, like Jake was saying, just yet. This is the big test at the welterweight division.
And if it does go the distance like I told you I think that Terence Crawford will win the decision without a doubt.
Bradley: I think I’ll answer the question. But I’ll reiterate what I said a few minutes ago. Obviously, a win is all that matters to Team Crawford. That’s what it’s about. That’s where the next payday comes. That’s where the next opportunity comes. You have to win. That’s first and foremost.
And I don’t believe personally that — obviously a knockout is better than a decision. That goes without saying. But I don’t think he feels like it’s a knockout or bust.
What I’m saying is in the eyes of most media members, and in the eyes of a lot of the fans, based on Amir Khan’s history, he’s going to be compared — the performance Saturday night is going to be compared to the other guys that stopped, the other three guys that stopped Amir Khan. And I still believe that if he dominated every round, he’s still at the top of the pound-for-pound list. But once again the reality is that the Crolla-Loma fight, whether you agree or not, whether I agree or not, is going to be compared to the Crawford-Khan fight.
So he’s in a tricky position, but this is a good position to be in. These are the waters you want to be in if you’re in the discussion, if you are dealing with the scrutiny of arguably being the best fighter in the world. That’s not something haphazard. That’s not something you just gloss over. That’s a big deal. But this is the kind of pressure that comes with it. We’ll see how the fight comes out.
TIM BRADLEY: And to piggyback off what Dre is saying, if you look at any of the top welterweights in the division — you know, you’ve got Errol Spence, Thurman and Shawn Porter — you look at these guys — Danny García, García has already knocked out Kahn.
If you match them with Kahn, you would bet that they would knock Kahn out. So it puts a lot of pressure on Terence Bud Crawford to get the knockout Saturday night.
ANDRE WARD: I’ll throw one more thing in there. If Canelo would have won a decision against Amir Kahn there would have been some boo birds. There would have been some people, a lot of critics saying, hey, this guy moved up to 160 — and I know it was two weight classes — but he moved up to 160 and you couldn’t stop him when he’s been stopped in the past?
Again, this is the reality of the situation. He’s going to be — this performance Saturday night is going to be compared not just to the other fights that Amir’s fought, but specifically the guys who have knocked him out. Everybody is going to match that up to the Crawford performance and say, oh, this is your pound-for-pound best. Well he didn’t do XYZ and that’s the name of the game and that’s how it goes.
Q. Tim, being that you’ve done big Pay-Per-Views and a lot of pressure has been on you, how much pressure is it on the Terence Crawford to deliver a spectacular performance even though he’s already knocked out the guy that knocked out Amir Kahn?
TIM BRADLEY: You know, being at the top level and to be mentioned in the top pound-for-pound, there’s always a lot of pressure. You know, this is Crawford’s second Pay-Per-View. There’s a lot of expectations from not only the media but also the boxing fans, the boxing world, (indiscernible) that he’s facing, Amir Khan, and the history of Khan in big fights and him being knocked out. So there’s a lot of pressure on Terrance Crawford going into this fight.
I have to say this, man. Khan is not as easy as everybody thinks. This fight is not going to be as easy as everybody thinks it’s going to be. Khan is highly motivated. He’s at a point in his career where he needs a fighter to get him up, and Terence Crawford is that guy. He’s that guy that, he has to dream about every single night for three months. And a guy that he should fear, because he knows what can happen because of the history that Khan has been in and has gone through. So Khan’s going to be ready more than what everybody thinks that he’s going to be.
He’s going to fight smart. He’s going to fight hard. He’s going to give Terence Crawford a challenge. There’s one thing that Terence Crawford does that kind of worries me a little bit is that when he’s in close, sometimes he pulls away with his hands out leaving himself exposed for a left hook from a little bit too close.
You can’t do that against a guy like Khan who is an Olympian, who has been in there with some top guys in the world without paying the price.
So I’m curious to see if Terence Crawford has fixed that. And I’m curious to see if Khan can make him pay for his mistakes.
Q. How much does a fighter think about doing a big Pay-Per-View like this leading up to the fight, how much does it factor into his psyche?
TIM BRADLEY: His psyche? Well, if you’re real, just put it this way, if you’re real you’ve got to be able to deal with the pressure. But I could tell you this: My first Pay-Per-View, when I fought against the best fighter pound-for-pound, Manny Pacquiao, at the time, I could tell you what Khan’s feeling right now, being the B side of things.
I felt like I was fighting against King Kong. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. Everybody was expecting me to get knocked out against Manny Pacquiao. It was a lot of pressure, man.
I just had to relax, put it that way. I spoke to some of my friends who have been around boxing for a long time. They told me, Tim, just relax.
But the lead-up, in your hotel room, when you step foot on the scale, after that, man, it becomes a reality, man. And it can definitely hinder your performance when you step foot in the ring.
I have to say, another thing is that last week when we saw Lomachenko against Crolla — Crolla can say whatever he wants about not being nervous and not being scared, he didn’t fight that way from the opening bell.
Crolla fought scared. The bright lights got to him. And that can happen. That could very well happen.
But I don’t think it’s going to happen in this fight. Khan’s been here before. He’s been here before. He’s been in big events. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think he’ll be fine.
Q. Andre, you said Crawford has a willingness to exchange, and this could be one of his emphasis. How can Amir Kahn exploit and capitalize on this?
ANDRE WARD: I think what I said was something to the effect of, Terence Crawford gets overeager at times, or if he gets hit he wants to get the punch back right away. So, instead of Terence in a particular instance showing 2s and 3s or a 3 and a 4, he’ll try to throw a 5 and 6. And on the 5 and 6 punch, he’ll exchange with the guys and he’ll tend to get caught at times.
That could be good and bad. The negative is you get hit. The positive is you were in range to do damage as well.
To sum this fight up in a nutshell, this fight is about the second and third adjustment. The first game plan they might match up evenly in the first round or two. But it’s the second adjustment that Terence is going to make, and the question and the burden and the onus is going to be on Khan — can he keep up, can he make the other adjustments?
And when Terence makes another adjustment, can Amir Khan make that adjustment? That’s where Amir sometimes gets left in the dust in those bigger fights against better competition, is they make the second or third adjustment. He doesn’t realize the process that, yo, this guy is setting me up for a big shot. Amir is going along to get along. He’s being sassed, he’s being what he is, he’s doing what he normally does, using a lot of athleticism, a lot of skill, the things he woke up and came out of the crib with.
But when it comes to digging deep mentally and saying, whoa, this guy is trying to set me up because he wants me to throw that right hand so he can come over the top with a left hook.
That’s what he’s been unable to do. I’m not sure if he can get that at this stage in his career. I know my godfather and my former coach has been working on that. He’s been doing his part on that. But, again, the issue with Amir Khan is not the information. It’s the application. He has the information. He’ll say the right things. He’s been in camp 10 weeks or 12 weeks, whatever it’s been.
I don’t have the entourage anymore. I’m focused. I know how important this fight is. So when the lights come on and the bell rings, and you get past that first adjustment where Terence starts to get out a little bit, what is Amir Kahn going to do?
Q. You mentioned you already met with Khan and Crawford. Anything standing with them looking in their eyes that changes or confirms your outlook for Saturday?
JOE TESSITORE: I’ll just reinforce the one observation I made a few times when we’ve had Bud in these production meetings. But there is a surly, mean streak that grows within him as you get closer to a fight like this, with Bud Crawford. And it was festering already today.
We usually have these production meetings on Friday where it’s very, very pronounced when you’re with him. It was already there today.
The other observation I would have is both guys are physically primed. When we throw, you know, the fit and ready around, they are fit and ready. So they’ve been on weight. So they’re comfortably eating, comfortably hydrating. You’re getting a very good physical version of both guys.
I would also say that Amir Khan as well as Virgil Hunter talked plenty about focus and discipline and attentiveness to what’s happening here. And Amir going so far as saying how much he’s even changed his fightweek norm, that last night that he found himself staying in and watching fights, watching some of his past fights, watching some of his sparring on tape and watching some of Crawford’s old fights. And he said in previous big fightweeks that would not be the case as to how he spent a Wednesday night. It would be family, it would be friends, it would be the gathering of everybody coming into town for the fight
So my personal takeaway is that you’re getting guys who are at their physical prime prepared peak and their mental prime prepared peak. That was my biggest takeaway.
Listen, we sit there, we go deep. I tend to think he’s conversations that we have in production meetings go far more philosophical and reflective than most any sport I do. And when I’m sitting there with Bill Belichick or Sean McVay getting ready to do Monday Night Football, it’s all scheme, all XO, it’s all personnel, it’s all where you are in the prep for the week.
These conversations go far deeper into the psyche, into the essence of somebody’s being. And with both of these guys you’re saying they’re A to A-plus, where they are right now.
ANDRE WARD: Just my takeaway, I’ll start with Amir Khan. You have to give Amir Khan credit because there’s not a lot of fighters that could have gone through what he’s gone through in the boxing ring and also the scrutiny he’s dealt with outside the ring.
And I’m talking about the personal scrutiny he gets, I’m talking about his in-ring performances. And he’s still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. He’s still hopeful. He’s still fighting to make the necessary adjustments in his personal life, as a fighter.
I wasn’t around his training camp. I personally stayed away. I wasn’t around Terence’s camp either. I’m friends with both guys. I wanted to stay neutral as possible.
But I know instinctively that Amir Khan didn’t have an easy camp with his sparring partners. I know he had to fight every single day to keep these guys off of him. And I respect that. And I know that there’s been a disconnect between the information and application, like I said earlier,
but he truly believes he’s going to win. Amir Khan, even in his worst outing, you haven’t seen a guy turn tail and go the other way.
You haven’t seen a guy quit like — if you beat him, if you even stop him, you’re going to do have to do what a Canelo did, what a Danny García did. That’s literally what you’ll have to do to make him stop fighting. And even though stylistically and technically things aren’t perfect all the time and that’s the reason why those things happen, I respect the moxie and the willingness. And Amir Khan has shown more willingness by taking this fight than a lot of champions have shown over the last three or four or five years. And their efforts or lack of efforts to face the other top guys in their division.
Terence Crawford, I don’t mean to inject myself into this — but I see a lot of myself in him when I look at him two days before a fight, a day before a fight.
He’s not a guy that’s just fighting for bills, he’s not just fighting for money. That’s fine. That’s part of it. It’s prize fighting. He comes to get that as well. But he’s fighting for respect.
And when you have that chip on your shoulder, when you have that inclination that you’re not getting what you feel like you’ve rightfully earned, that’s a different type of fuel. That’s like what you saw in Aaron Pryor when he fought Alexis Arguello the first time and even the second time.
Alexis came in as the golden boy and everyone praised him. And Aaron Pryor was the young guy who had done a lot but yet didn’t have the respect. He came from the ghetto of Cincinnati. And it was one thing that set him off. And that really led to Arguello’s demise in that fight, if you watch “Legendary Nights,” is the ring announcer said, “Mr. Arguello” when he announced Alexis, and he just said “Aaron Pryor.”
It was that small thing that 99 percent of the people watching on television, the people inside the stadium would have missed, but because he felt marginalized, because he felt slighted, because he felt like the just due had never really been there even though he earned it, it was that little bit of fuel that caused him to do what he did to Alexis. And that’s the same material that Terence Crawford has inside of him.
Q. For Amir, fighting late in your career as an underdog, what’s going to be the physical/mental mindset to succeed on Saturday? And also in the blog world, people are saying even the best Amir Khan, Amir in his prime, that they would still pick Crawford over him. But is this version of Amir, the veteran that’s hungry to return, is this the best version that has the best chance of winning against Crawford?
TIM BRADLEY: Absolutely. At this point in Amir Khan’s career, when you have won championships, when you have earned the money, like I’ve said before, you need these type of fights to get you up for it, to get you back doing what you used to do.
And he went back with Virgil to get that education to be ready for this fight against Terence Crawford.
I can’t praise Khan enough, just like Dre (Andre Ward) said, his willingness to fight the best fighters in the world all the time is hard, fighting against Danny García, who is undefeated, and Marcos Maidana, and still, Khan passed on a big fight with Kell Brook for millions and millions of dollars to face the pound-for-pound, my number one pound-for-pound fighter in the game, Terence Bud Crawford. So that speaks volumes for a guy like Amir Khan. And what I saw during the fighters meeting, I saw a focused, very determined Amir Khan — kind of changed my outlook on the fight.
This fight I think is going to be a tougher fight than what everybody are saying. I think that Amir understands what he has to do and what he has to be. I think he had great preparation for this fight, after talking with him, after speaking with him.
And I think it’s going to be a very competitive fight very early. He just can’t get caught with the big shots. Amir Khan, I believe, will be in this fight if he doesn’t get caught with the big shot from Crawford.
And as far as Crawford goes, it’s always the same with him. He can destroy. That’s the only thing on his mind right now. It’s fightweek. He’s a very humble guy. But you don’t want to get under Crawford’s skin the week of the fight. One of my colleagues here asked the wrong question or said the wrong thing to him and Crawford snapped off at him and said, “Don’t you disrespect me. Don’t you disrespect me.” And it was just as simple as, hey, this is your first Pay-Per-View fight. And he’s, like, no, no, no. It’s my second.
He’s determined to hold onto his status as one of the top fighters in the game. No other welterweight wants to step up and face Bud Crawford. They keep saying that they’re the best, and Crawford is willing to prove it and to step up in the ring with him.
But these guys, they keep running from him. They don’t want to fight Terence Bud Crawford. So Crawford is fighting Khan now because he is the only one man enough to stand up, to face Bud Crawford. And like I said, I think it’s going to be a great fight. I think everybody’s sleeping on this one.
Q. Tim and Andre, what did you find the toughest thing about making the transition from the ring to being ringside calling the fights and doing commentary?
TIM BRADLEY: For me, the toughest thing was not giving away the fighter. When you break the fighters down, sometimes we can say a little bit too much about the fighter and expose them. That’s been the hardest transition for me.
And also just the flow. The flow alone has been really tough, the commentary, the flow — getting your words together, saying things the right way has been a challenge, very challenging for me.
ANDRE WARD: You mean more like what the actually craft of being an analyst or just personally, like what did you mean exactly?
Q. Craft first but personal observation is welcome.
ANDRE WARD: I’ve had the opportunity throughout the years to do this. I worked at HBO for many, many years, Showtime back in the day. I actually started off with the “World Series of Boxing.” I would fly out to LA. I did it for free just to get the reps in.
But this is a whole other level in terms of the platform. This is a whole other level as far as, like, how many shows I’m actually calling. Like, I would do maybe five shows a year with HBO. This is on a whole other level.
And the quality of the product that ESPN is demanding that we put out, it causes you to have to get better, have to raise the bar. Joe Tessitore, I tell him all the time, I’m just so grateful for just a mentorship. Joe Tess is who he is. We all know who he is and what he’s accomplished and what he’s currently doing.
But he’ll be in the middle of his prep, he’ll stop typing and look over to us and talk to us for however long we need to talk and then he’ll resume his preparation.
So the standard is high. The product should be high. But it’s also a good thing, too, for — I’ll speak for me and I’ll probably venture to speak for Tim, too, tell me if I’m wrong — like, this is good for us, coming from where we came from, the competitiveness, the need to have a mark and try to meet that mark. It’s been good for me, because that same competitiveness, I like to call myself a recovering perfectionist.
ANDRE WARD: But I have moments in here where one thing will be off and they’ll see me just be hypersensitive over it. And Joe will just look at me and say, ha, I got a glimpse of the fighter Andre Ward and what his trainer had to deal with.
That part is good. And then just emotionally I would say it’s good that — I would say that I have some nights where I’m calling a fight, and I’m, like, huh, I’m glad I’m on this side of the ropes and not inside the ring. I don’t want to have to deal with that anymore.
And there’s other nights where I’m, like, man, I wish I was the one walking out from that curtain and I wish I was the fighter they were talking about.
So it’s a process. But it’s a process that all of us — guys who were going to retire at some point — we’ve got to go through this, whether we’re over the hill and retired too late or we retired at the right time.
So I’m embracing it. I’m happy to be a part. But it’s a good thing for me to have a challenge at this point in my life.
TIM BRADLEY: Yeah, this is definitely keeping me out of the ring and returning back. And also, one more thing, it’s hard sometimes not to be a little bit too critical on the fighters coming up and the fighters in the ring.
It’s hard to really find the balance for me, being just kind of, just a little bit too critical on what they’re not doing or what they can improve on. So I’ve got to — I’m still trying to find that balance where I’m giving praise and I’m also being a little bit critical.
Q. Joe, you’ve worked with a lot of athletes turned commentators. Give these gentleman a grade.
JOE TESSITORE: It’s interesting you say that, because this is obviously our first full year of being a broadcast team together in a three-man booth, and I’m just coming off a Monday Night Football season with a three-man booth, which was highly scrutinized as has been a cottage industry off to the side of Monday Night Football, going back to the days of Cosell and Meredith and Gifford.
And in the span of one year I’ve had this experience of “retired hall of famer coming to broadcasting three-man booth in one sport and retired hall of famers coming to broadcast in a three-man booth in another.”
And the greatest difference with Andre and Tim is how comfortable and natural they are meshing and grooving together like the same way they would be sitting on a couch watching a fight. And it happened right away with them. It didn’t have to evolve. It didn’t have to grow.
Yes, as every week goes by there’s refinement and things are smoothed out and the TV acumen and skill set and television IQ fully develops. But, right from the start you’re dealing with two guys who understand how to mesh together, and their boxing brains are so elite and they’re so comfortable that it makes my job really, really easy.
They’re very coachable. They both want to be coached. They both sit back and they broadcast — as I often talk to my analysts, no matter what sport I’m doing — of broadcasting with your eyes up, of just looking, being aware and reacting.
The reason that they’re hired is because they’re two of the foremost experts in the world. They’re two of the best that have ever done it generationally recently. And when they broadcast with their eyes up and see and say and tell us the why and how and the what to look for, they’re excellent, which is what they’ve done.
I sit back oftenand if you listen to our broadcast style as a crew right now, what you often get is I sit back and listen to these two great champions just talk and observe.
And then when it’s necessary I will get in and give you the blow-by-blow or advance the storyline, as was the case with our Lomachenko fight the other day, where we have the great flurry by Lomachenko, the punishment against the ropes, the technical knockdown scored, the confusion, was it a TKO or not? And these guys are smart enough to lay out, let me do my job and get out of the way.
But with how young they are and how hard they work and the positions they now hold in boxing, because the broadcast landscape of the sport drastically changed in the course over the last 12 months. HBO World Championship Boxing is out of business. ESPN Top Rank is in business.
So these seats that had been held by years and years by so many familiar faces from Larry Merchant on through are now held by these two men. And they’re more than worthy of it, and I have a feeling that we’re going to be having this conversation 10 years from now, 15 years from now, 20 years from now, as now multiple generations will go forward as fight fans with Tim and Andre being the voices and the brains and the faces of the sport.
And that’s a very good thing for the sport because they celebrate the athlete. They’re able to be critical. They are able to be analytical.
They give you a reason to watch. Tim is one of the ultimate characters, so joyful, absolutely irreverent, he doesn’t care what he says or how he says it, he’s going to be his natural self.
Andre is so analytical and so smart and so cerebral and has a boxing computer for a brain. And I would tell you what he’s doing now with his ESPN+ work, which is ESPN’s commitment akin to what we have with Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez and Peyton Manning, he’s as good as I’ve seen the sport put forth in my years of being in the sport.
And the more you watch that material, the higher education you have as a fight fan and the more interests you have in watching the fight. I couldn’t be more thrilled with both of these guys.
You want to sincerely grade them out right now, I would tell they’re B pluses to A minuses with, in a sense and a trajectory that undoubtedly will have them as straight A broadcasters for years and years to come.
And I truly believe that. And I’m just honored to be able to work with them at this stage of my career, where I can play a little bit of a role of mentor and lodestar and educate them on television production and be by their side as colleagues and friends.
So that’s a very long answer to say you’re about to see a long run of the two biggest guys who are going to be kicking ass in broadcasting boxing on television for the next 20 years.
Q. Andre, you had a great point about Amir Khan, how fighting is more — he has the information, but it’s more about the implementation. Why do you think that is? For both of you guys, if you want to piggyback that question, why do you think that is?
ANDRE WARD: You can focus outside the ring. Lack of focus outside the ring will lead to a lack of focus inside the ring. You can point to efficiency, in the way you start. You can rope and pull for a lot of different things, but nobody really fully knows what that missing link is.
But it’s clear when there’s a link missing, a wire missing that’s stopping the whole mental functionality that he needs to go from round 1 to round 12, the way he needs to. Doesn’t mean he won’t get hit or dropped or have moments, but it’s not a catastrophe all of a sudden. That’s a lack of focus.
Personally, I know it’s easier said than done, but I actually did it so I can say it. I saw what Canelo was doing before he did it. I knew that was the shot he wanted.
And I could see Amir Khan slowly getting drained by the body shots, by the foot pressure, by Canelo cutting the ring off. Even the shots that Canelo missed took a lot out of Amir because he was able to work so hard to get out of the way, but then he could hear the punch whizzing by his face.
That’s all for us to dream. And then I would see Canelo doing the things he likes to do where he’ll slick a jab out to the side just to get your attention over there as a diversion but the shot he really wants is the right hand.
So I saw it coming, but for whatever reason in that moment, or in those moments, it’s been very, very difficult for Amir Khan to process what’s happening, compute it, and then make the adjustment.
TIM BRADLEY: What he just said, I think it’s a technical flaw in that Amir Khan still has that amateur pedigree, never really escaped it. He throws combinations. He opts in, opts out with combinations. He’s a one-trick pony. He has the speed, he has good punching power in his right hand, but for some apparent reason, he doesn’t have the sense of judging distance. So you see Amir Khan every now and then, there’s knockouts. You see him standing still, coming in, getting out, trying to escape from a shot and gets hit in the process or gets hit while in the process of punching.
And that has a lot to do with how he was taught. As far as discipline goes, staying focused, staying concentrated, that’s just something that you have to practice. You have to practice that in the gym.
That’s the reason why I think going back to Virgil, Virgil Hunter is more cerebral. He’s about the fundamentals and getting into his fighter’s head and controlling them to do what they need to do to win a fight, a round like this.
And that’s the reason why I think Kahn has a really good chance of winning this fight because he’s with Virgil. And if he can just stay focused for every minute of every round, I think he can compete with Terence Crawford with the skill set that he brings and also the hand speed and power.
Q. Both you guys have had signature wins in your careers. Obviously you guys are a first round hall of famers. For Terence Crawford to obviously legitimize himself as number one pound-for-pound, is this fight with Amir Kahn, is this the signature win that you guys think he needs to solidify himself as number one?
ANDRE WARD: I think that both these guys, I think Khan and Crawford needs this fight. The reason why Crawford needs this fight is he needs a marquee name on his resume.
And the fact that Amir Khan was the only that was willing to step up and face him in the welterweight division, you can’t dismiss the fact that Crawford, hey, I’m stepping up, this is what I get. None of these other guys want to fight me. So if it’s Amir Khan, then so be it. But the fact that Khan hasn’t lost in the welterweight division yet, the fact that Khan has a good name, you know, he’s fighting Crawford, I don’t think that — just put it this way, if Crawford doesn’t get rid of Khan, then there’s going to be a lot of people talking.
A lot of people are going to be talking. And probably including yourself, because when you really look at the landscape, when you really look at the landscape of the welterweight division — you know, Danny García, Thurman and Errol Spence — all these guys should, if you match them up with Khan, should knock him out. There’s a lot of pressure on Crawford to get this knockout.
TIM BRADLEY: I already have Terence Crawford at the top of my list, so I don’t think he’s this victory to solidify. In my mind he solidified at least at the moment. But I do think this is good for the naysayers. This is good for the record to have a guy like Amir Khan on the record if he’s successful on Saturday. I think it does a lot for just popularity. There are some Amir Khan fans that if Terence wins will become Terence Crawford fans. And there’s some people who loosely follow the sport that will tune in because they like Amir, they’re hearing a lot about the promotion, and they’ll tune in and become a Terence Crawford fan.
When you’re facing a guy with a big name, even though, like Tim said, Khan hasn’t fought a top welterweight to this point, he still has the name recognition from the Olympics, to everything he’s done as a pro. He still brings the UK with him. He still brings the European market. I think it will do more for his namesake than it will for anything else.
Q. Terence Crawford a while back made a very, very strong claim about black fighters having to be more vociferous or more boisterous to get the recognition. What do you guys think on that? Do you think that he was fair in that statement?
ANDRE WARD: Listen, I’ll say this, and I’ve talked about this in the past, there has been a difference. If you look — it’s not every media outlet. It’s not the order of the day as it pertains to boxing, but there are times, and I’ve experienced it, and studied the sport long before I became a professional, I’ve studied the Floyd Mayweathers and studied certain things in certain fighters throughout the course of their careers.
And obviously I had my own experience when I turned pro. There are moments where smiling and waving and being soft-spoken doesn’t seem to be enough at times for African-American fighters and then you will have fighters who may come from another country who come to the United States, the land of opportunity and maybe they don’t speak English and they’re still learning their English, they get promoted and they get pushed. You don’t always see that with an African-American fighter and some of that has to do — some of that is not on the press. Some of that is not on the media, it’s on African-Americans. Its on, you know when you look at like Floyd Mayweather, Floyd Mayweather was Pretty Boy Floyd for many years. He wasn’t accepted as Pretty Boy Floyd. He didn’t sell Pay-Per-Views as Pretty Boy Floyd. But when he became the villain and became Money Mayweather, then all of a sudden this is a guy we’d love to hate and we’ll tune in to watch him lose. It worked for him.
Personally, me, I wasn’t willing to compromise my beliefs. I wasn’t willing to compromise who I was as a person, and I was — I always fought in my career with the end in sight. I knew — I knew instinctively the day is going to come when I walk away from this sport, and what am I left with? I wasn’t willing to sacrifice being able to go to my kids’ school and be respected.
I wasn’t willing to create some monster that I was going to have to live with when my career was over for the sake of selling a few more Pay-Per-Views and selling a few more seats.
That was my stance on it. So now you have Terence Crawford who kind of feels the same way. He’s a soft-spoken guy, and I think the question he’s asking — that’s not for me to answer — is why don’t I get this? Why don’t I get the respect I deserve or at least to the level in which I feel I deserve it, even though I’m soft-spoken when maybe guys over here get it and they’re soft-spoken.
So yes, I have seen some of this. I’ve spoken about this in the past. But I want to make it clear, it is not for every media outlet. And it’s not for every fan. There are a lot of objective fans. And there are media members who do a great job and they’re objective and race never comes into the equation; it’s just about the fighters and how good they are and what they’ve done and haven’t done, and that’s where it should be and that’s where it should stay.
TIM BRADLEY: I just think it’s funny you say that because Floyd Mayweather got criticism for many years and still is getting criticism because he’s a defensive fighter and people say the style he runs, he’s always running, he’s not entertaining.
But you’ve got a good like Terence Bud Crawford that’s knocking out everybody he gets in the ring with and still not getting the exposure he feels and some people feel that he deserves, rightly deserves. All I can tell you is that all he needs to continue to do is do his job and he can worry about everything else, let somebody else worry about everything else because Terence Crawford continuously delivers and it doesn’t matter who he fights or what he does, he still doesn’t get the recognition that he feels and that I feel as well.
It’s just a process, man. I’ve been in it. When I fought, I fought guys — still my career right now, after my career people try to downplay what I’ve done in the sport of boxing. And I gotta bring it to their attention and tell them like, hey, I’ve done this, I’ve done this, you must have forgotten.
It’s really quick for people to not remember, to forget once you leave the sport, what a person did at their time, at their era. In their generation. So I don’t know what it is, bro. I don’t know why it’s this way, but it is.
ANDRE WARD: And I’ll just add to what Tim said and also add to what I said earlier, the race thing is very tricky. And you have to be very, very sensitive, because you may not be getting credit for a particular fight you won or just in general you may not be getting your just do, and it’s not always race. You have to be very careful. That’s a heavy coat to put on any one person.
That’s a heavy coat to put on a particular writer or a particular website or particular YouTube blogger. If you don’t have real proof that that person is a racist, you have to be very careful to put that kind of thing out there. I personally try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
And I may have a thought about something but it’s not something that I’m going to speak about, because again you’ve got be very careful about that.
But that being said, I stand by what I said earlier throughout the course of my life and how I’ve studied the sport in that particular area about guys, some guys being soft-spoken.
And let me just sum it up this way: There’s a notion that if you don’t do a certain thing, if you’re not Floyd Mayweather-esque, if you’re not throwing money at the camera, you’re not Tim Bradley (laughter), talking about a fighter, building up a fighter, if you’re not doing that and not showing us your house, you’re not showing us your Bentley, if you’re not showing us your jewelry then, you know what, you’re boring; we shouldn’t tune in to watch you.
But then it’s not always the case on the other side. That’s what Terence is saying. I have seen some of that. I can subscribe to some of it. But I will not say that every piece of criticism, every critique, every person that’s not giving you your just due is a racial issue. They just may not like you as a fighter.
And you have to live with that. So it’s a very fine line to walk. And I’ll personally try to be very, very careful about this. Listen, I’ve spoken about this, I’m a biracial kid, like I’m not pro black and people get mad at me when I say that. I don’t have a preference towards people. I prefer everyone. And I love everyone. And if there’s a white person that’s in the wrong, well, that needs to be addressed. If there’s a black person that’s in the wrong, they need to be addressed. So it’s a very fine line — I know it’s uncomfortable for people to talk about, but Terence has some points in what he’s saying, for sure.
Q. How close do you think is Teofimo Lopez to being the same level of Lomachenko? And how good is it for boxing that these young guys are calling out the big guys like Lomachenko?
ANDRE WARD: We don’t know how close he is. This is unscripted. You don’t know until they fight the fight. And this is something that I told Teofimo’s father today in the fighters meeting, I said, I respect what you guys are saying.
And the eagerness to want to face not just another champion but to face arguably the best fighter in the world in Lomachenko. I said but you do know that it’s — I said — I think I prefaced it by saying, phrased it by saying: Do you know the magnitude of what you’re demanding? In other words, I can give you a list of young fighters who took that big step up one fight too soon and they were ruined.
You see some guys like Muhammad Ali when he fought Sonny Liston. He was The Big Bear. He was feared. Everybody thought Ali was going to get killed. And look at Floyd Mayweather and Genaro Hernandez.
You look at those types of fights where they took the leap, people thought they were crazy but they were actually the ones that were right and they were geniuses.
It’s a very fine line between being right and being wrong, but they’re great consequences or there’s great reward if you’re right. We don’t know. He has to fight the fight. I hope he’s seeing what he’s telling everybody he’s seeing. I’m talking about Teofimo’s father.
But it’s not going to be an easy task for him to face Lomachenko. Lomachenko is who he is, and he’s in the discussion as one of the best in the world for a reason. It’s not easy, but I do respect the fact that he’s willing to take that leap. He just better be right about it.
TIM BRADLEY: For me, I like what Teofimo is doing. I like the fact that he wants to challenge the best guys out there. I think it’s too premature.
I think he needs to win a world championship first and then move in position if he wants to fight Loma, then he can fight him.
You have to earn your stripes before you get that praise from me. I see the skill set. He’s very skillful. He’s been in there with memorable competition.
The competition hasn’t been that great. He’s going to get tested Saturday night and see how well he performs. And then from there we’ll make our assessment and go from there. But, like I said, he needs a championship first in order to get a shot at Vasiliy Lomachenko in the near future.
Daniel Jacobs Discusses Showdown With Canelo At Media Workout
By: Hans Themistode
Daniel Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) is less than three weeks away from the biggest fight of his career. Come May 4th, Jacobs will be standing across the ring from Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) in Las Vegas Nevada. At stake will be Alvarez’s WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine titles, while Jacobs will have his IBF belt on the line as well.
Jacobs has always had a supremely high self confidence in not just his matchup with Alvarez, but also about his abilities against anyone.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Boxing Twitter Account
“I am the best Middleweight in the world,” said Jacobs during a media workout in New York. “This fight against Canelo will show the world what I already know.”
When looking at the resume of Jacobs it is hard to argue against him. He has defeated the likes of Sergio Mora (twice), Peter Quillin, Caleb Truax and Sergiy Derevychenko to name a few. He didn’t just defeat those fighters but he flat out dominated, scoring a knockout in every one of those fights with the exception of the Derevychenko contest. For the record he did score a knockdown and had him in serious trouble.
Jacobs has also been in the ring with former Middleweight king Gennady Golovkin (GGG) as well. All of these fights have given Jacobs the confidence that he is indeed the best in the world. In his matchup against the aforementioned GGG, it was a back and forth affair, one that saw Jacobs get off the deck to give GGG arguably his toughest fight to date. It ultimately ended in Jacobs losing a close unanimous decision. Jacobs understands what he has in front of him in Alvarez and won’t overlook him at all. With that being said however, he does have an eye on GGG going forward.
“That is a fight that I still want because I know that I am better than he is. After I beat Canelo I can give GGG the rematch and prove that I am better than him.”
The first fight between GGG and Jacobs was a close call. A rematch would be welcomed by the fans, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. His matchup with Canelo isn’t just a difficult task, but it is one that most boxing fans are expecting him to lose, but are they right in their assumptions?
On paper Jacobs has the advantage everywhere. He is three and a half inches taller, possesses a 3 inch reach advantage while also sporting a higher knockout percentage than Canelo as well. So why are so many doubting his chances?
“I think people doubt me because Canelo is such a popular guy. He’s a great fighter don’t get me wrong but real boxing people know what I bring to the table.”
Much of the talk surrounding this fight is the judging. For as great as Canelo has been, many would argue that he has had more than his fair share of friendly scoring. Jacobs however, is tired of talking about it.
“It is a little annoying that we keep talking about judges and favoritism, but it’s also facts. That’s why it’s talked about so much. I just want to be able to go in there with a free frame of mind. I don’t want to have to go in there with any extra stress because Canelo is already a force in there.”
The last thing the sport of boxing needs is yet another questionable decision. Jacobs, is not letting those perceived issues worry him. There is only thing that he envisions come Cinco De Mayo.
“All I see is my hand being raised.”
Manny Pacquiao Media Day: “This Is A Challenge For Me”
By: Sean Crose
“This is a challenge for me,” Manny Pacquiao said during media day at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles on Thursday, “because this is my first fight at the age of forty.” The 60-7-2 legend will be facing Cincinnati’s Adrien “The Problem” Broner (33-3-1) on January 19th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a bout that will be aired live on Showtime pay per view. “I’m excited to be back in the United States to fight again,” said Pacquiao. “It’s been a while.” It’s also been a while since he had Freddie Roach in his corner. Pacquiao’s last fight, a destruction last year of Lucas Matthysse, was fought without the famed Wild Card Trainer playing his usual role of mastermind cornerman. This time, however, the two men are back together, along with Pacquiao’s right hand man, Buboy Fernandes. “We have no problems,” Pacquiao said of his relationship with Roach.
Pacquiao, who was long associated with promoter Bob Arum, is now aligned with rival Al Haymon’s Premiere Boxing Champions. “I’m not thinking of myself alone,” Pacquiao said Thursday, “but I’m thinking about my fighters.” Although he says he has no “problem with Bob Arum,” Pacquiao claims that “this is a big opportunity for me and for my boxers that I have in the Philippines.” The master of numerous weight divisions over the years had the good sportsmanship to add that: “ I don’t’ want to compare promoter to promoter.”
Pacquiao also didn’t want to talk much about a second go round with arch rival Floyd Mayweather. “Right now I’m thinking of my next fight,” he claimed. “Right now I’m thinking one at a time.” Pacquiao made it clear that Broner is not the kind of fighter he can just overlook. “Style-wise,” he said, “he’s fast. He can move – you cannot underestimate him.” Pacquiao’s plan, he said, is to be bold. “I have to be aggressive,” he claimed, adding later that Broner is “a former champion. He can punch.” In other words, he doesn’t feel the notorious Broner should be seen as an easy win. “I’m not thinking about Floyd Mayweather,” he claimed. “I’m focusing on Adrien Broner.”
Pacquiao did, however, indicate he’s be interested in facing the winner of March’s Mikey Garcia-Errol Spence fight (he thinks Spence will win). He also, somewhat surprisingly, indicated he was eager to have faced the likes of Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko, his former Top Rank Stablemates. As far as his reputation go, the fighter/Filipino senator came across as quite secure.
“My legacy is already there,” he said.
Media Still Insists On Comparing McGregor To Ali
By: Sean Crose
One of the interesting things that got lost in the madness leading up to Conor McGregor’s MMA superfight with Khabib Nurmagomadedov last weekend was McGregor being compared to Muhammad Ali before the media. To his credit, McGregor squashed the talk. One might think that would have been that, especially since McGregor was all but wiped out in his subsequent fight with Nurmagomedov last Saturday.
One would have been wrong.
Mere days after the UFC’s biggest star essentially got steamrolled in the octagon, there are those in the media still banging the McGregor-Ali drum. The latest? Yahoo running a piece comparing the McGregor-Nurmagomedov rivalry to that of Ali and Frazier. Let’s be frank – the comparison is a stretch. Frazier barely bested Ali in the first of their three matches. The two subsequent Ali-Frazier bouts (which Ali won) were likewise brutal and razor thin.
McGregor has only met Nurmagomedov in the octagon once to date, and with the exception of a single round, the Irishman was dominated. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce the obvious…McGregor got outclassed last weekend. He lost, just as he had lost numerous times before. Ali lost, too, but never in as one sided a manner as McGregor did against Nurmagomedov. It took an illness and 38 years for Ali to suffer the kind of one sided embarrassment to Larry Holmes that a 30 year old McGregor just suffered to his Russian foil.
A bit of hard truth….McGregor simply isn’t as good a mixed martial artist as Ali was a boxer. He just isn’t. And that simple fact should preclude any comparison between the two men right from the get go. McGregor may be better at mind games – though that’s arguable – but there might have been 10 other boxers in Ali’s time who were better than Ali at mind games. We’d never know who they were because they most likely wouldn’t have been as great as Ali when it came down to skill.
Despite what some say, talk isn’t cheap…at least not on all occasions. A great fighter, though, must consistently fight at least as good as he or she talks. And McGregor doesn’t do that. Not consistently he doesn’t. Not anymore. One doesn’t have to delve into social issues to see McGregor and Ali are like apples and oranges. One can simply keep the argument to the ring and to the octagon. It’s not bias to claim McGregor is no Ali. It’s just a relatively small act of honesty. The world of mixed martial arts may indeed produce the next Ali, and there will be nothing wrong with it if it does.
Just don’t expect it to be Conor McGregor.
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.
Jessie Vargas vs. Thomas Dulorme Media Workout Quotes
Ahead of Saturday night’s Matchroom Boxing USA fight, the fighters went through their paces in the ring at Wednesday’s public workout in Chicago’s Millennium Park, just north of where the action will go down at The Wintrust Arena on Oct. 6. Spectators gathered to see Jessie Vargas, Thomas Dulorme, Jarrell Miller, and the rest of the card up close ahead of the big event. Saturday’s fight represents the first live U.S. boxing event for DAZN, which will be broadcasting it exclusively.
Photo Credit: Jessie Vargas Twitter Account
“October 6th is coming very soon. I’m looking forward to it and I have all the energy in the world to perform for my friends. With the WBC Silver there’s a lot on the line because winner gets a title shot for the gold, and there’s a lot at risk so I have to make sure I come prepared and defeat Thomas Dulorme.”
“This is the best training camp I’ve had. I’ve been training hard every day, two to three times a day. My strength guys are great and I’m ready for Saturday night. My opponent Jessie is a great fighter, but I’m faster and bigger than Jessie. I don’t know if it will be decision or knockout, but I’m 100% I’m going to win this fight.”
“I’m going to knock him out!”
“I’m ready, we had a good camp. Sparring was everything you want and I’m excited for Saturday night. I want to do the best for my class, so I can sit in there with everybody. Many of my fans came to watch me! I’m ready for the fight and I want to show my class in the ring.”
When asked about Saturday’s fight: “I feel good.”
“Looking forward to the fight on Saturday and being involved in the DAZN show here in the USA. I predict a knockout!”
“Don’t miss the fight this Saturday night, it will be a great fight. Expect a good fight for myself and we’re ready to take the belt back home.”
“The twelve-week training camp went well. Everything we have done is the best we can and the work is being put in. It’s going to show on Saturday night! I look forward to getting in there and beating him. I want to make a statement to the world and other champions because I’m here to stay. It wouldn’t surprise me if I get a stoppage late that’s how good I feel.”
“In first place I’m very happy being here in the United States. It’s the first time I’m appearing in boxing here and it’s a great opportunity. I look forward to winning and having other opportunities.”
“I’m feeling really great. We had ten months to prepare for a big question mark, this is what fell into our lap, and I think we’re more than ready for it. Ten months of not fighting can drive you crazy, but this fight is going to be great, and I’m always going for the knockout!”
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.
Ishe Smith: “It’s About The Work You Put In”
By: Sean Crose
“I started when I was eight,” Ishe Smith says. “Kinda just getting bullied at school…my mom’s friend was into boxing.” So began what eventually morphed into quite the notable career for the first Las Vegas native to ever win a major title. “It’s a part of who I am” the 39 year old former champ states. Still, with a world title win on his resume and 29 victories to his credit, the affable Smith is growing wary of the Vegas way of doing things.
Photo From Ishe Smith Media Workout with Bounce TV
“I can’t get a fair shake,” he says. “It’s just the judging, man.” Smith, who boasts a 29-9 record, makes it clear that he’s not a diva. “I’m a throwback fighter,” he claims. “I’m old school. I don’t care to take a loss.” What Smith does care about, however, is taking a loss he himself deems unfair. “If I offend the commission, I’m penalized for it,” he says, “(but) there’s no suspension for when a judge turns in a bad scorecard.”
One need only look at last year’s bout against Julian Williams to understand where Smith is coming from here. Smith may have lost by unanimous decision, but as Boxing Insider’s B.A. Cass put it: “The scores were too lopsided to be taken seriously.” Cass certainly wasn’t alone in his assertion of Vegas judging that night. “Nobody won that fight 9-1,” says Smith, referring to one of the score cards. “It’s disappointing.”
Those who take these words as evidence that Smith is bitter after a long career are sadly mistaken. A thoughtful, positive individual, Smith serves as living proof that an objective attitude and clean living can lead to longevity in the world’s most grueling sport. “It’s about the work you put in,” he claims, “and I plan on living.” Whereas some fighters fall victim to partying and unhealthy lifestyles, Smith goes the opposite route. “I don’t do those kinds of things,” he says. “I don’t drink. I never do drugs.”
Smith is also into personal growth…and just plain acting one’s age. “When I was young, I was a lot more brash,” says the fighter. “As you get older, you get wiser…I tried to mend relationships that may have been broken.” The more mature Smith now believes in the benefit of trying “to build a relationship and take down a wall.” This, after all, is a man whose personal motto is Muhammad Ali’s famous statement that: “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
Not that long ago, the younger Smith made a name for himself by besting Randall Bailey and by appearing in the first season of The Contender. “We didn’t understand it then,” he says of himself and his fellow cast mates, regarding the exposure the show provided. Referring to iconic hosts Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone, Smith claims “They were on set every day.”
“It was a good platform,” he says. “People still recognize me from the show.” Television aside, Smith’s career got a serious boost when he became a member of Floyd Mayweather’s famed Mayweather Promotions in 2012. It was as a Mayweather Promotions fighter that Smith stepped into the ring as on the night of February 23’d 2013.
The IBF light middleweight championship of the world was at stake, a championship defended by hometown fighter Cornelius Burndradge. Undeterred by the moment and location, Smith went on to win a majority decision. The first Las Vegas fighter to ever win a major title did so by defeating the first Detroit fighter to win a major belt since Thomas Hearns.
“It was the greatest feeling in the world other than seeing my kids being born,” Smith says. “I had trained so hard for these ups and downs.” And being the first true Vegas champ? “That was key to me,” he adds. Smith ended up losing his belt to Carlos Molina, then lost a chance to attain the WBA world super welterweight title when he was outpointed by the masterful Erislandy Lara in 2014.
Yet Smith’s still a major part of the Mayweather stable. He’ll be facing another Detroit fighter, Tony Harrison (26-2) on May 11th. While admitting that Harrison is no slouch, Smith is now at the point in his career where his perspective turns inwards when it comes to a particular fight. “I’m at the age now,” he says, “where I don’t focus on opponents. I just think about myself.” The fighter has clearly learned not to sweat the small stuff. “I’m a veteran,” he claims. “You don’t worry about what you’re making tomorrow when you got dinner tonight.” Being a part of the Mayweather team must offer some peace of mind, as well.
“It’s a good gym,” Smith says of the Mayweather Gym in Vegas. “It’s where most of us train at.” Smith not only admires the gym, he admires those who occupy and operate it. “It’s run by great people,” he claims. “It’s an old school gym, only cleaner.” So, does he frequently see Floyd, the man he’s sparred regularly with and known since childhood? “He’s a very busy man now,” Smith says, “so it’s a lot different (than it used to be). He’s very busy and I’m still fighting…I don’t see him as much as when he fought.”
And so here Ishe Smith is, a working man in a sporting world seemingly ruled by the loudest people in every room. He’s a vet, he’s 39, and yet he’s still a force. It’s obvious when speaking to this religious, charitable individual, however, that there are things in his life even more important to him than boxing. A father of six, Smith speaks of his children with pleasure. “They’re all healthy,” he says. “I love being a dad.”
I ask Smith about his toughest opponent. It doesn’t take him long to answer. “The toughest guy I ever fought was Randall Bailey,” he states. “It was a growing up lesson…I had to grow up very fast that fight.” Sometimes, it seems, you just have to jump into the deep end.
“I don’t know what the hell I was thinking,” he laughs.
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.”
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.”
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
McGregor: “In My Mind It’s An Easy Fight.”
By: Sean Crose
“In my mind,” Conor McGregor told a throng of journalists at Friday’s media workout, “it’s an easy fight.” Perhaps he was telling the truth. Swaggering around the UFC training center in Las Vegas, the man certainly seemed confident – or at least desperate to appear confident. That was nothing new to those MMA fans who have followed the Irishman’s meteoric rise. Indeed, whether he’s preparing for the ring or the octagon, McGregor makes one wonder if he’s actually masking some deep insecurity with all his bluster. No matter. He’s proven wildly successful in the UFC and now that success – coupled with his over the top personality – has led to a lucrative novelty boxing match with 49-0 Floyd Mayweather.
It was clear during the proceedings that McGregor is one of those people who always positions himself to have the upper hand…or at least to appear to. When asked why he refused help from boxing wunderkind Vasyl Lomachenko, for instance, the Irishman was flip and dismissive. “He needs to challenge himself,” McGregor said. “He’s pretty skilled…but he’s not applicable for this camp.” Sure enough, McGregor seemed equally dismissive of the sport of boxing. “I’m from a different game,” he quipped. “I’m from a more ruthless game.” The UFC star also stated his belief that boxing referees keep the combatants from complete destruction. Referring to mixed martial arts, he claimed that “there’s no wincing to the ref.”
There is, however, tapping out, something McGregor did less than a year and a half ago during a major fight with Nate Diaz. None of the reporters gathered, however, seemed to bring that fact up – at least not at the moment. Mayweather was certainly brought it up, however. Yet McGregor wanted the world to know that he didn’t fear the legendary fighter at all. “If we go eight ounces,” McGregor claimed in reference to glove size, “he’s not going two rounds.”
Make no mistake about it, McGregor acts more like a WWE star than a professional boxer – or even a professional mixed martial artists. “It’s okay to love me as much as I love me,” he told those gathered around. “It’s okay. Let it go.” Although most analysts aren’t giving McGregor a real chance against Mayweather, the man is certainly talking a good game. Arguing that boxing has been consisting of the “same boring shit,” MMA’s wild child went on to add on Friday that he will “rule over both (sports) with an iron fist.”
McGregor’s public workout, however left some puzzled. In fact, some boxing journalists took to openly mocking the man on Twitter afterwards. And in truth, watching the bearded red head prance around a ring was a sight which bordered on the comical. Who knows, though? Perhaps McGregor truly will surprise everyone (without the benefit of a gift decision).