Boxing


Erik Morales Conference Call Transcript

Lee Samuels: Thank you very much. This is a very exciting time for Top Rank. We are in Chicago. The Three-Time World Champion, Erik Morales, is with us here in Chicago and he's getting ready to do battle with David Diaz, a WBC Lightweight Champion. It's war for four this Saturday night at the All State Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. It's a very, very exciting fight.. Todd duBoef, the President of Top Rank, is on the line with me. He will outline this particular fight and the entire Pay Per View fight for Saturday. Todd?

Todd duBoef: Hi guys. Welcome to the conference call. We look forward to this Saturday. It's available on Pay Per View and the Rosemont Arena, and Chicago is going to be rocking.

Erik, when this opportunity came up, he said, "I want to go for four titles" --no Mexican has ever done that -- "And in fact, I want to fight in David Diaz's hometown." So he's really put together and inspired all of us to get behind him and support him for his legendary march to greatness and I don't think anyone out there would ever say that there was anything not legendary about Erik Morales, but I think for his purposes he wants to cement this even further.

He's been with us since 1994. He is the heart and soul of Top Rank and has been the great warrior that has enthused all the fans everywhere. So at this time I'd like Erik to open up with a couple comments, open up with some questions; and then as we leave, we'll talk a little bit about the other fights on the show.

Lee Samuels: Okay. Erik - and Erik - before we start, Todd, Erik looks terrific. He looks - he's ready to fight. He looks fantastic and he's excited. He's in a tough fight Saturday night and he feels terrific. Erik, tell everyone about what's going on.

Erik Morales: Good afternoon everyone. I'm very happy to be here in Chicago. I want to thank Top Rank for giving me the opportunity to try to go for this fourth world title. And we've worked very, very hard training back to the old times to get to ourselves to the position where we feel very good right now. Thank you.

Lee Samuels: Okay. Thank you, Erik.

Dan Rafael: Thank you. Thanks Lee. Rick, can you ask Erik just how important it is for him to win this fourth title and what it would mean to him for his career?

Erik Morales: It's very important. In Mexico there's been a log of great world champions. Those names that he mentioned, Dan, which I know you have down, to be the one...

Dan Rafael: I actually didn't catch most of them, Rick.

Erik Morales: Macias -- Raton Macias.

Rick Seara: Raton Macias he mentioned. Olivares.

Dan Rafael: Olivares.

Erick Morales: Castillo. Castillo and the last one being Chavez -- for me to be the one to get that fourth world title is very impressive.

Dan Rafael: Can you also ask him -- he hasn't had the greatest run lately. He's lost some fights. If he loses this fight, is that the end of his career does he think? Is there any reason to continue to fight if he can't beat David Diaz in this fight?

Erik Morales: Really I don't plan on losing. But if it does happen there has been discussions about Erik Morales not returning to the ring.

Dan Rafael: Okay. Thank you for being honest, Erik. One more question. What is his opinion of David Diaz?

Erik Morales: You know being -- even though he's only 31 years old - he's 31 years old - he's still relatively new. Although he has a lot of amateur experience. But it really doesn't give me a good way - a good gauge of studying his style or comparing him to anyone. We train for everything and we're ready, and we're ready to adapt to whatever he wants to bring to the fight.

Dan Rafael: Okay. Rick, thank you for translating. Erik, thank you. Good luck.

Lee Samuels: See you Dan. See you here on Thursday.

Robert Morales: Hello everyone. I wanted to add just actually the same question to both Erik and to Todd. Let's go with Erik first. I think most people would say that the six greatest fighters in Mexican history -- and I'm saying most people would say this -- are Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Ruben Olivares, Ricardo Lopez, Salvador Sanchez, and Julio Cesar Chavez. Where does Erik think he fits into that group?

Erik Morales: I really can't tell you where I fit in that category because I had different likes myself -- and he mentions some of the fighters that he liked. And...

Robert Morales: Who are the fighters that he mentioned?

Erik Morales: Rafael Herrera. Vicente Saldivar. So -- out of those guys, I mean, I like how some of those fight and everything else. So to try to put me in that different class or to put myself in a class, I really can't do that.

Robert Morales: Okay. Todd, do you have an opinion on what I mentioned about the six fighters and where you think Erik -- and let me qualify that too, you know. I know some guys - other boxing writers - who believe that even though Erik, according to the judges, lost two of the three fights to Barrera, a lot of people still think that Morales is the better fighter over all and has had just as good, if not a better, career than Barrera. Where do you think he fits in with those Mexican greats that I mentioned?

Todd duBoef: Well I think the guys that you mentioned with, you know, you only really go back to Salvador Sanchez, I don't think Salvador Sanchez's greatness was ever really seen because his life was cut short. Erik is - there's two things about Erik. He's a great, great fighter but of that list I would say he's the - him and Chavez were one in 1A as it was to an attraction.

Erik Morales as a fighter in the ring has in probably - him and Chavez - the two biggest attractions in the history of the sport from Mexico and there's something said for that. And I think that speaks a lot of volumes -- his style, his personality, and his greatness in the ring. So, those two stand alone as probably the greatest attractions in the history coming from the history of Mexico.

Robert Morales: Okay. Thank you, Todd. I appreciate that.

Lee Samuels: Robert, thank you. Todd, that was a great answer. That was really something.

Eduardo Martell: (Rick Seara) Question was -- Erik, you're fighting in David Diaz's hometown in Chicago. There's a lot of Hispanics there. Do you feel that they're going to be more on your side or more on his side?

Erik Morales: I think the fans - the Mexicans in Chicago are ones that really enjoy boxing. More than anything, I think it's important for them to go see the whole show - the whole card. In fact when it was being mentioned to come to Chicago, I was the first one to say, "Let's go to Chicago"; and I think the fans -- they know my career and they know how I fight. And I think hopefully they'll appreciate it on Saturday.

Rick Seara: I think...Any possibilities -- before I do the question, the last thing he said is, "I just want to thank Top Rank for all their support because without them I really couldn't be as successful as I am".

And the question was: Any possibility of a rematch between yourself and Pacquiao or Barrera?

Erik Morales: I don't really know. I don't even know if anyone will go up from 135; and to be honest with you, I haven't really thought about it. I've been really focused on this fight.

Paul Upham: Erik, thank you for your time today. Can you explain why you're coming back for another fight? You have already said on this call one of the all-time great fighters. You're going to the Hall of Fame. What's the motivation to have this fight?

Erik Morales: Like I said yesterday in Los Angeles, I really didn't want to leave without fighting at 135. I think at this weight I feel very comfortable; I feel very strong at this weight. I think you're going to see a good show. I thing you're going to see a great fight; and to be honest with you, I really think I can.

Paul Upham: Erik, the two losses to Pacquiao, was that the hardest thing -- just the weight -- that you really shouldn't have been fighting at that weight anymore?

Erik Morales: You know in the second fight you could see it was very clear in the beginning I was doing very well; and then the second half of the fight, he took over because I got very tired. And the sacrifice I had to make at 130 and the other fight was very, very tough. But the most important thing is that we're here in Chicago; we're fighting at 135 lbs.; and I don't expect any problems at all.

Dan Rafael: Thank you. Erik, or Rick, you could ask him, after the fight with Pacquiao last - the third fight with Manny Pacquiao, did you think about retirement? Did you speak with your family about the possibility of retirement? What was your thought process and aftermath of that match?

Erik Morales: No, it was never discussed. I mean I took some time off; I dedicated myself to (unintelligible) and my family and just spent some time away; and really, boxing was never ever brought up.

Dan Rafael: Did he just always assume that he would just look around for the best fight for him and come back, or did - how did it come about then that he decided to take this fight?

Erik Morales: This opportunity came up because of all the changes in the division -- guys moving up and everything changing around. I had thought about going in the ring, like, for a final farewell fight. Yes. The thought about finally leaving boxing has entered my mind, but I really, really want to focus on this fight right now and I really don't want to discuss about that until later on.

Dan Rafael: Okay. I have one more question for him. Erik, when you got knocked out by Pacquiao in the last fight it was sort of - you got knocked down. Obviously it was a rough-tough few rounds of the fight lasted. You had your moments of course; but when you went down for the last time you sort of just sat there, shook your head. You seemed like you were okay, but I wondered what was going through your mind? Did you just had had enough that night; just figure he's too strong, I can't win; or where was the thought of just sort of sitting on the canvas and taking the count?

Erik Morales: In reality, the shot that he was hitting me with were very simple shots and a very...It was more that my body just couldn't take the shots because of the straining that I had to do to try to make 130 pounds. There are times when you say, "Okay. Let's go; let's keep going." They're trying to say, "You know what? That's it", and that was one of those times when you just say, "That's it."

Dan Rafael: Okay. Thank you very much, Rick. Good job.

Steven Cofield: Hey guys. Erik, as you move into your 30s and after those Pacquiao fights, does your approach strategically change at all where you're not going to go as much toe-to-toe on these fights?

Erik Morales: At 135 lbs. Erik Morales is going to fight the way Erik Morales always fights and that's the only way I'm going to fight; and I don't think we're going to have any problems at all inside the ring.

Patrick Kehoe: Hi, Erik. Thanks for taking the call. I wanted to ask you other than experience, what specifically do you think you do well that is going to give you an ability to win this fight?

Erik Morales: You know it's also the experience of fighting in big fights and also the way that I can move around the ring and know how to move and how to go from side-to-side against him.

Patrick Kehoe: Which brings up an interesting question as well -- does he feel that he -- Erik, you've often said that you feel like you're an entertainer. You felt like you wanted to give a lot - give everything to the fans. Do you feel that you're style in the second half of your career shortened the prime of your career?

Erik Morales: No. In reality, no. I think the biggest that really hurt me the most was trying to make 130 lbs.

Patrick Kehoe: Right. Last thing -- mentally, when you think of yourself - you sort of look in the mirror - do you think of yourself as still a great fighter, or do you think of yourself as a guy who's still has all the ability to win a championship?

Erik Morales: I think when I look at my career I think I've had a great career; and thanks to Top Rank, I've been able to achieve a lot of things. The last thing we want to do, which really isn't a lot, is to win a fourth world title.

Patrick Kehoe: Well, you can tell him that I think he's a great fighter anyway; and thanks for everything.

Lee Samuels: And thank you; and (Lynn), let's hold for a second. Todd, we have a lot of people in the call today. Could we go through the whole fight card before we can take another question?

Todd duBoef: Sure. We have a great - we have the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fighting "Downtown" Louis Brown and (unintelligible) Jr. obviously has been terrific in his march towards success. That'll be the semi-finals. We're opening up with the IBF Title fight, Solis against Mayol -- Rodel Mayol; and that is going to be a terrific fight. Everyone's fear to this Filipino. He has terrific power on both hands and Solis is a terrific boxer who's trained out of Mexico by Don Jesus Rivera originally.

So we look forward to that one and obviously Hugo Dianzo of Mexico is taking on the hot prospect in 2004 Olympian, Juan Lopez who will be on the show. And we think it's going to be a terrific fight. Everyone's going to be tested there. I think that you're going to really see the opening fight - the Solis/Rodel fight is sensational; and then obviously with the Lopez really having to test to see what he is against a great fighter like Dianzo. So we look forward to it and I am sure everyone -- all of you guys will too.

Rafa Hernandez Brito: Erik, can you please tell us about - you talked about the troubles about making 130. Can you please explain to us now those 5 lbs of difference and the difference in you in preparing and how are we going to see the different Erik Morales at 135 from the Zahir Raheem fight to this fight against David Diaz?

Erik Morales: You know, when you're training to make 130, a lot of times you're staying - you're hovering around 132 to 133 and you got to stay at that weight for a few weeks to try to make 130. And honestly, to finish up, it was tough for me to make that 130 at the end. Now at 135, I can stay at 137 - 138, which is a lot easier for me and more comfortable for me.

Erik Morales: You know, when we fought Raheem I had a lot of problems in camp. There was a lot of distractions going on, but this time we trained well. We had a great camp. We're very focused; we know what we have to achieve. We know what we have to do. It's very clear and we feel very confident of how we're going to come in the ring on Saturday night.

Rafa Hernandez Brito: Erik, what are the things about your training camp you mentioned that the changes that occurred during the Pacquiao series. You say now you're back with your dad. Are you - in fact, is your dad in camp? Is he a big part of the camp and what difference do you think that's going to make for you this Saturday night at the All State Arena?

Erik Morales: Let me tell you something. I think this has been probably the most peaceful training camp I've ever had. We got a really good bunch of guys. A very easy-going camp. You know we really had a good camp. Everybody has worked hard -- worked to the best of their ability to achieve what we want to do and I really don't know if I can put into words how good I feel about this camp and how it's going to reflect on my work Saturday night.

Luis Bonilla: You're going to be fighting against David Diaz in his own house in Chicago. Do you feel some sort of pressure that you got to go in there and take away the title from him?

Erik Morales: No. I feel very relaxed. I feel very good. I feel fine to give an actual good performance up in the ring -- a very good fight. The only thing that I have to - the only pressure I'm putting on myself because I know that I can do it.

Luis Bonilla: Obviously, Erik, if you win this title you will be making history. Have you had a chance to reflect and think about the history you would make if you win this fourth world title?

Erik Morales: As a fighter you always think about world titles --maybe just fighting for one, let alone winning one. And I've had the opportunity to win three in three different weight classes facing the best in those weight classes. And I think - you know if I won the first one, the other three were just extra and I feel very, very, very happy to try to get - to go after a fourth world title. And the other thing he said, which I forgot to mention, was he had also said he has accomplished more than he had ever dreamed of and now in wrapping up he just says, "We're going to go for a fourth world title and I'll be very happy if I'm able to win that."

Robert Morales: Hello once again, Erik. I wanted to ask you, do you - are you concerned that -- and I know you don't plan on losing -- but if you lose again, are you concerned that that would harm the legacy that you've already established?

Rick Seara: I think you really can't erase what I've done in the ring and anything; but if it happens that I happen to lose, I'm conscious of the fact to know that it's not going to - I can't fight anymore. So I know a few people feel the same way.

Robert Morales: Okay. And let me ask him the this way, if he wins and becomes - and makes Mexican history and wins the title that a lot of people don't think he's (unintelligible) win, does he believe that that will enhance a legacy that he's already established?

Rick Seara: You know it's very - it's kind of weird because at least in my country there are fighters there that haven't won world titles but they're still very popular. So it's kind of hard for me to try to discern that.

Robert Morales: Okay. Thank you, Erik.

Lee Samuels: Okay. Robert, thank you; and Erik, we have one more question. Todd, this is our final question. It's been a great call.

Manny Bazan: Erik, if you had to fight one last fight, who would it be against?

Erik Morales: We haven't really thought about it, actually. We're just focusing on this fight right now. I mean it's something that - yes, we want to talk about; but before we get to that, we want to get through this Saturday night first.

Manny Bazan: Erik, I know that you're getting into the end of your career and I know you don't want to talk about your retirement or think about your retirement, but if you were to win this title - fourth title, do you know who you want to fight next or would you retire? What would you do?

Erik Morales: I really would like to fight one more fight, but we really haven't even thought - to begin to discuss or think who we want to fight. I'm really focusing on this fight and we just want to concentrate on this fight first.

Manny Bazan: Erik, is there anything else left in your career to do? How do you feel about your career; and like I said, is there anything left for you to accomplish in your career?

Erik Morales: We've had our bad nights; we've had our good days. It's just one of those things that we haven't really discussed or thought about. But we are going to win Saturday night our fourth world title and that's what's important.

Todd duBoef: Terrific. Thanks, Erik. That was very moving. That was terrific. Thanks to all the Press for coming in and calling in and listening to Erik; and as you can see, he sounds in great spirits and it's going to be a very, very spirited night on Saturday -- very emotional as the legend tries to go for four.

We look forward to seeing everybody there; and if you're not there, it's $44.95 on Pay Per View. And as always, Erik always puts on a show and always puts in a terrific performance and don't miss any of the action. So thank you all for showing up; and (Lee), do you have anything else to say?

Lee Samuels: No. I want to thank everyone for being on the call. I want to thank Erik and I'll be seeing you about an hour for your media workout here in Chicago; and Rick, you did a great job translating; and thank you all for the questions and we'll see you tomorrow at the Press Conference here at the Hilton in Chicago.

Thanks everyone.

It will be the Battle of Midway when three-division world champion ERIK “El Terrible” MORALES, making his Chicago debut and seeking his record fourth world title in as many weight divisions, rumbles with WBC lightweight champion and Chicago native DAVID DIAZ in the main event of “The War for 4!” Promoted by Top Rank Inc., in association with Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Promotions, “The War for 4!” world championship extravaganza will take place Saturday, August 4 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL and broadcast live on pay-per-view.

The pay-per-view broadcast will also feature two additional world title fights and the Chicago debut of undefeated welterweight contender Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., son of the legendary three-division world champion and Mexican icon Julio Cesar Chavez.

Article posted on 02.08.2007



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