Margarito / Casamayor Media Conference Call Transcript

Lee Samuels: On behalf of Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, welcome to the Antonio Margarito - Joel Casamayor media conference call. Antonio Margarito wants to make a statement Ė that heís back. Heís got a big fight November 10 on ďFast and the Furious,Ē which features Miguel Cotto against Sugar Shane Mosley, Saturday, November 10, at Madison Square Garden, live on HBO Pay Per View. Antonio Margaritoís scheduled to fight Golden Johnson; itís really a big fight. -- a 12 round fight in the welterweight boxing division..

Antonioís very excited for this fight. At this time Iíd like to turn it over to Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.

Bob Arum: Itís not usual in the sport of boxing that an outstanding Ė truly outstanding main event is joined with such terrific undercard matches as will take place on November 10.

Antonio Margarito, whoís here with us now, is a fearsome welterweight champion. He lost his title at least in the eyes of the judges on a very close decision earlier this year to Paul Williams.

But heís a crowd pleasing favorite, a terrific fighter, and weíre putting him on this card for a reason. Heís fighting Golden Johnson whoís on a winning streak and is a former NABF welterweight champion.

And if Antonio comes through in this fight heís certainly right in line to fight the winner of the Cotto-Mosley fight Ė the main event on the card.

So itís a pleasure to turn this over to Antonio Margarito.

Antonio Margarito: I just want to tell everyone that I will be ready for this fight. Iím very happy to be included in this big show and Iím looking forward to fighting and getting a victory.

Q: How have the fans reacted to your loss to Paul Williams? How have they been treating you?

Margarito The fans have been great to me. They know (unintelligible) pressure to win the fight; I won the fight Ė theyíve been very supportive. And I think also Bob Arum has shown he believes in me by putting me on this big card and fighting on this important November 10 card.

In Golden Johnson I see a guy who likes to fight. I see a guy that comes to you and will be great Ė it will be great for me; itíll be a great fight. Thereís no other place for me to go but getting me a win and I need to get a win and thatís what I expect to do with the great preparation, the great training (unintelligible) that I had. I expect to come out a winner.

Q: In looking back at the fight with Paul Williams I know it was a very close fight; a very good fight. Do you believe that you started too slow and gave away too many of those early rounds you know, didnít get into your rhythm until maybe midway through the fight and do you regret that?

Margarito: Yes, without a doubt, very regretful the way I started so slow. After watching the tape I noticed how slow I started. The guy was throwing punches that were not effective; they were just a lot of punches.

So all I have to do is do the same thing Ė come out from the first bell on and then start throwing punches no matter where they land or how they land.

Q: Do you think you won the fight or do you acknowledge that, you know, even though it was a really good fight and close fight that Paul Williams was just a little bit better than you on that night?

Margarito: Yea, at the time when I was fighting the fight I thought I was doing very well and I thought I was well ahead in the fight. But once I saw it on tape I can see where people would say, you know, maybe, you know, the first few rounds I lost because he was throwing a lot of punches; not that he was doing any damage with them but he was throwing a lot of punches.

And I can see where the judges would be impressed by that and I got into a hole which I didnít know I was in. I can see why he did (unintelligible) think he would win the fight. I have no problem with that.

Q: Okay and also Iíd like to know obviously youíve got Golden Johnson in front of you on November the tenth. But I wonder itís got to be in your mind that you are one of the favorites to get a shot at the winner, Cotto or Mosley.

I know you were supposed to fight Miguel Cotto and opted to take the Paul Williams fight instead.

How much do you think about the prospect of a big, big fight winner with the winner of a main event and if that is motivation or distraction?

Margarito: Iím very motivated. Iím very motivated knowing that if I win this fight, whatís out there for me. I know thereís a title fight waiting for me out there. So yes, Iím going to go real hard.

Q: Bob Arum mentioned that youíre up for the winner of the Cotto-Mosley fight. Are you interested in getting even with Paul Williams? I would think that would be a goal of yours.

Margarito: Without a doubt thatís something that I hope to do one day; fight him again. It would be up to Bob. Whomever he puts in front of me thatís who Iím going to fight. And if he thinks thatís who I should fight next I have no problem with that.

He had won the big fight and I would like to fight Paul Williams down the road.

Q: You chose Paul Williams over the Cotto fight before. What was your reason at that time?

Margarito: Well, the main factor for me was the title. I earned my title in the ring and I didnít want to lose it like that. I had to fight this guy with my mandatory and I know I had to fight him to keep my title.

And maybe I should have gone straight to Cotto. Thereís nothing I can do about it now

I was very confident I could beat Paul Williams. Things didnít turn out the way I had hoped. But Iím right back in track so Iím looking forward to this fight and then fighting the winner and maybe Paul Williams down the road.

Q: What did you learn from that fight against Paul Williams that you can now do better?

Margarito: You always learn from every fight. Itís always different things to learn from every fight. I now know that I have to start fast, that I have to throw a lot of punches, and thatís what I intend to do in my next fight.

Q: They talk about you fighting Cotto or Mosley. Is your preference either guy which one would you like to fight?

Margarito: I donít really think about that. I just hope that the winners give me the opportunity to fight.

I know that Golden Johnsonís going to be a tough fight. I know I have to get through that first, get the win, and then get the opportunity Ė I donít care whoever wins, thatís who I want to fight.

Q: Bob, Iíve been noticing lately whether itís just Top Rank or whether youíve been co-promoting with Golden Boy that some of your last cards have actually had some pretty good undercards. And thatís something that we have seen relatively in the early nineties (unintelligible) and we actually had some pretty good undercard fights. And itís something that has been missing in the last few years.

So lately Iíve been noticing that you guys have been trying to Ė whether itís inadvertently or on purpose try to put some strong undercards. Is that something we can expect from you to continue in the future?

Bob Arum: Yes, itís certainly on purpose; not an accident. Because the reasoning Ė at least with Richard Schafer and me Ė was people are spending money to watch boxing. Now theyíre paying to see the main event. But theyíre paying and therefore everything thatís presented to them should be quality.

And that means every fight thatís on the card thatís shown on the telecast has to be and should be a quality fight. And I think if all promoters endeavor to do that the business of boxing would be a lot better.

And itís only fair Ė itís only smart business if you want people to continue to pay money to watch an event on television. Theyíre there for three hours, three and a half hours, entertain them with the best possible boxing for those three hours.

Now some people say that we learned this from the UFC because as much as I dislike that mixed martial art that they show at least you canít tell every fight seems like itís the same as the other fights. In other words thereís no fall off Ė particular fall off in the fights. There may be fall off in name value but not in the competition.

And thatís what Ė thatís helped them build a franchise. And I think boxing Ė at least as far as Golden Boy and ourselves are concerned Ė see that as a way to encourage more customers.

Q: Antonio what do you know about Golden and what kind of a fight are you expecting.

Margarito: Iíve seen about three videos of him. Iíve seen the fight that he had with Shane [Mosley.] I saw the fight that he had with Hernandez, Freddy Hernandez, and I saw his last fight.

And it looked to me that he likes to come to fight. He wants to win just like I do. And I think that will be a great fight because weíll both be coming at each other; be an entertaining fight. And I think the fans are going to enjoy our fight.

Q: His style is different than Paul Williams. Do you think that Goldenís style fits you a little better?

Margarito: Without a doubt. I think our styles will match up a lot better than I did with Paul Williams. Paul Williams was just throwing a lot of punches Ė pitty patting punches not really hard. But I think Goldenís going to stand his ground and heís going to throw hard punches and I expect that from him.

Q: Do you respect Golden? Itís not just a tune up for you?

Margarito: No. I would never get into a fight or expect an easy fight. I never underestimate anyone or anything in the ring. In the ring anything can happen. He wants to win just like I want to win Ė he wants to win.

And no, Iím surely going to be ready for him. Itís a big fight for me and I need to win it.

Q: The last time we saw you out here in the East Coast you had Ė we knew you were coming in with some injuries when you fought Joshua Clottey. How do you feel for this one? Are you hurt? I know you had the wrist injury after the fight. How do you feel now?

Margarito Itís feeling great. I havenít hurt myself. My wrist has been real well. I was a little hesitant about my wrist going into the Williams fight. But I came out great and I feel good. Itís been a real good training camp; no injuries, nothing.

Q: You had a hard time getting anybody to fight you for awhile there. You think the loss will actually help you get more fights than the fights that you want?

Margarito: Yes. Obviously it has been difficult for me to get the fights that I want. Maybe thereís a silver lining after this loss and I will get more opportunities, more fights, now that everybody thinks maybe Iím beatable. Maybe I will get those opportunities that Iíve been seeking.

Q: Mr. Arum, you had said that Margaritoís in line to face the winner of the Cotto-Mosley fight.

Arum: Yes.

Q: Not to say that, you know pending a victorious outcome on Cottoís part, not to say that the Cotto-Margarito fight wouldnít be a great fight because it would. But I think the boxing public would be looking to see if maybe, you know, Cotto would fight Floyd MayweatherÖ

Arum: Well I think the question should be phrased differently. Would Floyd Mayweather, the dancing star, fight Miguel Cotto or Shane Mosley? And I think the answer there would generally be in the negative.

Mayweatherís only fighting guys he can beat. Mayweather never would fight Margarito, you know that. He wonít fight Mosley Ė you know that. He wonít fight Cotto. So forget Floyd Mayweather.

Floyd Mayweather has a choice. Heís made an awful lot of money and he can take the $100 bills and keep throwing them away to the public in night clubs. Thatís his choice.

Q: Before you fought Paul Williams you were the WBO welterweight champion for quite awhile. Are you disappointed that you didnít get an immediate rematch or an immediate opportunity to fight Paul Williams again?

Margarito: You know, itís up to Paul. If Paul wants me to do the rematch with him I guess thatís what weíll do. But right now weíre talking about November 10, getting a big victory, looking good, and then go see what we can do about fighting the winner.

Paul Williams will be there down the road and Iím sure if Paul wants to make a fight weíll make that fight.

Q: How much do you know Golden Johnson? Is there anything about Golden Johnson that you think will be challenging or to a certain extent do you think Golden Johnson poses any type of threat to you?

Margarito: I donít think itís an easy fight by any means. I think his experience is going to be key. I know he knows how to take care of himself in the ring. And weíre going to have to work real hard for the victory.

But thereís no doubt in my mind that Iím going to beat him.

Q: Will you be paying attention to the fight between Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto? And who do you think wins and why?

Margarito: I really have no choice. Iím going to watch the fight with interest. I hope itís a good fight. And whoever wins I just hope they give me the opportunity. It doesnít matter to me which one of those two guys win as long as I get the opportunity to fight them next.

The only thing I guess I would have a choice would be if Cotto wins because thatís always been the greater rivalry has been fights between Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. And I think in Mexico and Puerto Rico and everywhere else itís be something that people would expect to be a great fight.



David Itskowitch: Weíre excited that Joel Casamayor will be making his debut as a Golden Boy fighter on this amazing undercard of an amazing pay per view show. I think top to bottom this is one of the best shows in a long, long time.

Joel is going to be defending his Ring magazine and WBC interim lightweight championship titles against Jose Armando Santa Cruz which is an up-to-his- neck fight; itís going to be a tough fight for Joel.

But Joel is ready for the fight. Heís been out of the ring for a little while but heís excited to get back. And I will turn it over to Joel now for some opening statements. So everyone hereís Joel Casamayor from Miami, Florida by way of Cuba.

Joel Casamayor: First of all I want to thank the media for being here and taking the time out to spend with me. Iím pleased to be with Golden Boy Promotions. Itís my first fight out with them and (unintelligible) I want to prove to them they made the right choice by signing me.

I havenít fought in a year but I feel great; and come November 10 weíll put a nice show on.

Q: Joel, I understand youíre back training with Joe Goossen. Can you just explain how that reunion came about and how things have been going with Joe? And also what exactly was the cause for the separation in the first place since obviously they had made such a good team for such a long time?

Casamayor: First of all Joe Goossen is a great trainer. Joe and I have a lot of history together. Weíve won world titles together. We split up after the first Corrales fight. There was a problem with my management team; they basically wanted me to go train in a camp and Joe couldnít leave his family.

So it wasnít an ugly break up between us. We never had a problem. And basically it came time where I had been off for a year and I needed a lot of hard work, a lot of hard sparring. And I could only think of one guy that who could get me back on the ball -- Joe Goossen.

So I think in the next two, three years weíre going to make a lot of history and weíre going to win a couple more world titles together and hopefully retire together happily.

Q: Joel, thereís a lot of stuff that goes on in boxing with politics and titles being stripped away. And obviously you had the recognition as the real and one and only true lightweight champion after you defeated Diego [Corrales] in your third fight together. The belts kind of got stripped away from you; you still have The Ring magazine title.

Does it bother you that even though people like myself and many other fans consider you to be the true one and only lightweight champion that there are other members of the media and also fighters out there who have various sanctioning organization titles that ignore you because you donít have one of the main sanctioning body titles and donít refer to you as champion?

Casamayor: Since I was a kid in Cuba Iíve been fighting the best (unintelligible) I won the Olympic gold medal in Ď92. In í96 I was supposed to repeat. I left Ė I came to America to fight the best. Thatís all Iíve done in my career; Iíve fought a lot of great fighters including Corrales, [Jose Luis] Castillo, [Acelino] Freitas when he was the real Freitas. Campbell Ė I beat [Nate] Campbell, I pushed him back. I ran a lot of guys out the ring.

You know what? I understand why these guys donít want to fight me because I donít have a belt. But you know what? I feel like (unintelligible) is the leverage (unintelligible) title for The Ring magazine belt and Iím a warrior. It doesnít matter who they put in front of me, you know what Iím saying?

And for whoever has doubts November 10, they can tune in and watch the pay-per-view. Itís going to be a great show. Weíve got a great event and tune in and I can show you guys who the real lightweight champion is, without question.

Q: Joel my question is recently two Cuban fighters got held up at the PanAm games; they were going to try to defect or maybe they werenít going to try to defect. Either way they got transported back to Cuba from the recent PanAm games.

Having gone through this process yourself how do you feel about what happened to these guys and do you have any sense of what their life is going to be like back now in Cuba?

Casamayor: First of all I donít feel like the guys basically were setting up Ė they didnít do the right thing for them. And thatís basically what happened. They got caught over in Brazil which worked with Cuba. This is a bad situation for the kids because now their careers are basically over; two kids who had a good future.

And I think when you make a decision like that youíve got to make the decision and go. You know what Iím saying? Like I did in Mexico in í06 when we made our decision, we crossed over and met with the head of Mexico when we crossed over. You have a decision youíve got to make within seconds. Itís not something you can wait a week or two weeks. Because once you get sent back, your life is over and thatís basically where theyíre at right now at this point in their life.

Q: Joel, this is your second appearance at The Garden. How do you feel about fighting in New York City at Madison Square Garden, formerly the ĎMecca of Boxing;í so much history there?

How do you feel about The Garden and fighting in New York City?

Casamayor: Iím very happy. Itís the house thatís happening. I feel a kinship with it since one of the top champions, Kid Gavilan, who was a Cuban, was very famous for fighting at Madison Square Garden along with a lot of other (unintelligible). Itís just a pleasure to be able to lace my gloves up and lace my boots up there and go to war.

My first fight at The Garden, against Kid Diamond, I thought I won; that got a draw. But you know what? Everyoneís got their opinion. And I feel like I owe The Garden (unintelligible) and come November 10 Iím going to put on a great show. You know what Iím saying? Just keep showing the world who the best 135-pounder is in the world.

Q: What kind of a problem can Santa Cruz present to you? And what have you done to prepare for Santa Cruz?

Casamamayor: Armando Santa Cruz is a good fighter. I sparred with him for the first Corrales fight and the third Corrales fight; he was one of my main sparring partners. So we know each other pretty well. But thatís sparring and once that headgear comes off and the punches come on, thereís a difference.

To be honest with you I do what I do every fight to get in great shape, I work my butt off and you know what? Once I step in the ring I want to fight; thatís all I want to do. And to be honest with you when you fight against me youíve got to prepare for me Ė I donít have to prepare for you, you know what Iím saying?

Iím going to do everything possible to make sure I leave that ring with my titles.

Q: Both Julio and Juan Diaz said that they offered fights to you and they were both turned down. My question is what happened? What stopped you from taking those fights?

Casamayor: (laughing) Where were those contracts? When was that ever brought up? I donít know anything about that. Everybody knows Joel Casamayor backs down from no one.

Everybody knows Iím a warrior; Iíve never backed down from anyone. After I beat Corrales in our first fight I gave him a rematch five months later. Iím not afraid of anyone. Joel Casamayor is going to be scared of Juan and Julio?

Thatís disrespectful to me. If Julio or Juan Diaz can be so certain about that then let them sign the contract and letís fight. Thereís nothing to talk about.

Q: Joel, I would like to know what influenced you to sign with Golden Boy. And now that youíre with Golden Boy Promotions do you think itíll be a lot easier now to get fights?

Casamayor: 100%. Theyíve been getting big fights for everybody. Thatís one of the main reasons I came and signed with them. I know Oscarís a good guy and Eric and David and everybody at Golden Boy are great people.

And they understand the type of fighter I am and basically this whole year that Iíve been held back in my career thatís made me feel like after this fight Iíve got to prove myself to them and theyíve got to prove themselves to me.

Next year theyíve got to put a big fighter in front of me and I promise Iím not going to lose it.

Q: Now as far as Jose Armando Santa Cruz goes, he fought David Diaz for the title a year ago. And Santa Cruz was ahead on the scorecards and he was winning the fight up until he got cornered.

Among the elite at they 135 pound division where do you rank Santa Cruz? Do you look at him kind of like the gatekeeper of the division orÖ

Casamayor: The kid to me heís top guy Ė top-ten in the lightweight division. He was beating David Diaz easy. I think the kid might be a better fighter than David Diaz. People get lucky shots in the kid might be Ė to be honest with you might be better than any of the Diazís. Heís a very lanky guy; heís tall, he got a good jab. Heís a strong kid.

Heís got a suspect chin but let me tell you one thing, when he steps into the ring November 10 he wonít be in there with David Diaz or anybody else. Heíll be in there with Joel Casamayor, the great Cuban, and heís going to have to step up to the plate if he wants to beat me.

Cuban fighters are the best fighters in the world. Theyíve proved that at the Olympic games. And I know the Olympics are different from fighting in the pros, but I mean when you go then you take ten of 11 fights or 12 of the 13 fights, I mean youíve got to prove that youíre the best.

And no doubt in my mind. If Cuba was to ever open up these kids would come over here and dominate. Thereís no doubt in my mind.

Q: Basically you laughed at the fact that either one of the Diazís had offered you a fight.

And in the past youíve complained about not getting some of the big fights. Youíre winding down your career. Over the next couple of years more than likely youíre going to retire. Do you think maybe youíre going to have to leave the 135 pound division Ė maybe go up to 140 to get those last few really big high profile fights that you want before you retire?

Casamayor: Iím the type of warrior that it doesnít matter what it takes. I want to be in a big fight and thatís the type of stage I perform best in. And if it takes my moving up to 140, or maybe welterweight, it doesnít matter. Iím that type of level of fighter, that type of caliber where I could beat anybody in the world from 135 to 145. I mean it doesnít matter.

But I feel like there are enough big fights at 135 where I could probably ĖPacquiao is a name Iíve been throwing up and (unintelligible) Juan. And (unintelligible) but I mean thereís (unintelligible) I know he probably donít want no piece of me either.

But like I say if Iíve got to move up past 135 Iíll do it. Itís no problem.

Q: And my other question was going to have to be with Pacquiao because there has been a lot of rumors that, you know, you just said yourself that youíve been throwing that name out a lot.

A year ago when I had interviewed you before your last Corrales fight, you had told me that you wanted to fight with Pacquiao.

Is there any type of bad blood between you guys Ė something that happened, you know, outside of boxing that makes you want to fight Pacquiao so bad?

Casamayor: No bad blood. The bad blood is people are saying heís the best pound for pound fighter around my division Ė the junior lightweight division. I say hold up there, Iím the best pound for pound fighter around any one of these weight classes.

And I just want to prove to the world that Ė Pacquiao is a good fighter, heís a strong guy. He throws a lot of punches but thereís a class B and a class A and Iím that class A. I want to prove that to the world because everyone feels like Pacquiao is a killer and I feel like itíd be easy work for me. Thatís the reason (unintelligible) ducking and hiding.

Q: Because of all the politics in boxing itís been about a year since youíve been in the ring and that last fight with the late Diego Corrales.

What youíve been doing over the past year both to stay in shape and what fights you thought might have come up? And also the preparation leading up to this fight with Santa Cruz?

Casamayor: To be honest with you outside of not fighting it was a great year. I spent a lot of time with my family, I rested my body. I had a (unintelligible) to get a fight in Panama; it didnít come through. I basically Ė I was going to wait around for the Juan Diaz fight. He didnít want to fight. He took Freitas.

Iím willing to fight either one of them; they didnít want to make that happen. So basically for that year I mean I sat out. I was in Miami with my family just resting with my kids. My body rested good. Like I said I feel good Ė better.

And basically we left ten weeks ago to start training for Santa Cruz who you know is a rough guy. Heís a top-rated fighter. It was the first name Eric Gomez threw at me and I accepted it no problem.

As I always say Iím not afraid to fight anybody. I want the best. I prepared hard doing what I always do Ė I came back with Joe Goossen and started work.

Q: Santa Cruz has fought twice this year although not on the very top level. Do you think thereís going to be any problem with ring rust for having not fought in about a year?

Casamayor: I feel stronger than ever and Iím ready to fight. Iíve been waiting a year to fight. And once the bell rings I feel like the rust is going to leave my body because Iíve got that type of superior ability where I can be able to move and make things happen, and get into the fight real early and take it from there.

Q: Last thing related to a point that was made earlier. Do you think from the boxing media and just the general sports media that youíre getting the respect that you deserve because the only official losses that you have on your record Ė the split decisions and the one decision to Freitas really could have gone the other way? In other words itís conceivable that you could still be undefeated at this point.

But do you think everybody recognizes that at this stage?

Casamayor: It hurts. When you beat the best you are the best. Thatís the way Iíve been, and thatís the way I feel. I beat the late great Diego Corrales about a year ago. I havenít been rewarded for it.

Speaking on those three losses I feel like I won all three fights. They were three close fights but you know what? You canít cry about it. Youíve got to move forward. Now Iím with a big company like de la Hoya and theyíre pushing behind me and I donít think things like that will happen.

But let me tell you Iím really, really disappointed that I havenít been getting the respect I deserve. In my heart I know I'm undefeated. There are a lot of people and a lot of fans and a lot of media who also feel I'm undefeated.

And like I said I canít look back on the past.

All I can do is look forward to November 10, put on a great showing, and after that, hopefully come next year weíve got a huge fight. Hopefully itís Pacquiao, hopefully itís Juan Diaz. It doesnít matter.

Q: Joel, do you view your next fight against Santa Cruz can be just as dangerous as an opponent as letís say maybe a Manny Pacquiao or a Juan Diaz perhaps?

Casamayor: Basically Santa Cruz is a great fighter. Heís a top contender. Heís got things that Diaz and Pacquiao donít like -- the tall frame and long arms. He throws a lot of punches. Santa Cruz might be better than both of them.

Iím going to make easy work of him because thatís what I do.

Q: Your reaction to Juan Diazís momentum in recent months beating Freitas and Julio Diaz in consecutive fights. Is he the man to beat at 135?

Casamayor: No way. No way. Iím the guy to beat at 135 pounds Ė itís me. Freitas, you know, he had a year off. Heís (unintelligible) title (unintelligible). Juan Diaz made him quit; same thing with Julio. These are two different type of caliber fighters.

I mean look at their records. Look at the (unintelligible), look at the people heís fought. Iím the real champion like I said in a lot of magazines Iím the true lightweight champion andÖIím the guy to beat at 135 pounds and if he beats me then heís the guy at 135 pounds. But until someone steps in the ring and beats me I'm the man.

Article posted on 31.10.2007

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