Jeff Lacy - Peter Manfredo Interview Transcript
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, PRESIDENT, GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS: Thank you very much. We are getting closer to UNDEFEATED December 8 th. We have a tremendous lineup of fights just like we promised. The boxing fans deserve not only a tackler main event, but from top to bottom, a card that people will remember for many years to come..
Article posted on 15.11.2007
We're starting off with Jeff Lacy against Peter Manfredo Jr., which is bound to be a candidate for fight of the year. And it is my pleasure to be representing and I have under the Golden Boy Banner, Jeff Lacy, former world super middleweight champion with the record 22-1 with 17 knockouts. He will be facing Peter Manfredo Jr., with a record of 28-4 with 13 knockouts.
I believe, the winner will move on to contender status and be ready for a World Title shot. So this is a very important fight and I'm sure both fighters would agree.
I would right now like to introduce to you the co-executive producer, promoter for the contender, to speak to you about Peter Manfredo Jr., Jeff Wald.
JEFF WALD, CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AND PROMOTER 'THE CONTENDER': Thank you very much, Oscar. First, on behalf of the contender, my partner Sugar Ray Leonard, I want to thank Oscar and everybody at Golden Boy. This is our third event with Golden Boy and Golden Boy has decided that they're just going to put on great and competitive fights. They're not protecting anybody. What they do is protect the public by putting on great fights. So it's our pleasure once again to be involved with Golden Boy, so thank you, Oscar, again.
We're very excited about this fight. This is very important for Peter Manfredo and Jeff Lacy. I've watched a bunch of Jeff Lacy's fights and all of them were exciting. He's a terrific fighter and he brings it on every single time he fights. Peter is the same way in his fights. I think the fans are going to see a terrific fight. I now want to turn it over to my partner, Sugar Ray Leonard.
SUGAR RAY LEONARD, CO-PROMOTER 'THE CONTENDER': Thanks, Jeff, and always, Oscar, it's great to be a part of your event.
I'm just excited because I know from a box perspective that this is a very significant fight for Jeff Lacy and Peter Manfredo. Both are losing to Joe Calzaghe who had an impressive win over Mikkel Kessler. I mean that proves the kind of competition that they were up against.
This fight can prove to be a very defining moment because I think that this fight takes Jeff Lacy and Peter Manfredo back to the next level of putting them in a position for a serious competition.
JEFF WALD: Peter, would you like to say something?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: It is my pleasure to now introduce to you from St. Petersburg, Florida, with a record of 22 and 1 and 17 knockouts. He is feeling great from his operation's he had, he is ready to come back, and he is hungrier than ever. It is our job as promoters to make sure that the fighter is happy and content so he can worry about training and that's where he wants to pick his best fights and that's why we chose a fighter like Peter Manfredo. That is Jeff Lacy.
JEFF LACY, BOXING FIGHTER: It's just a pleasure to be working with Oscar de la Hoya, Jeff Wald and Sugar Ray Leonard. I would also like to thank Peter Manfredo for taking this fight. I know you all are looking forward to the battle on December 8th and so am I, and I'm glad to be a part of a great card.
PETER MANFREDO JR., BOXING FIGHTER: Well, just like Jeff said, I want to thank Jeff. He's still a warrior champion in my mind, because he's coming off surgery, and so am I. None of us have taken a tune up right. We're both fighters and we'll fight each other because this is what the public and boxing fans need. Jeff and I both come to fight so you're going to see an action pack fight for 10 rounds or if it goes that long and that's it.
Like I said I want to thank Golden Boys who put me on one the biggest and greatest card of the year. I'm going to make a lot of people happy and it's going to be an exciting fight. Again, I want to thank Jeff, he also came to my last fight and supported me. So, thanks a lot, man.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Thank you very much, guys, and we do have a sell out arena. It was the fastest selling arena in the history of the sport; that sold out in 30 minutes. But we have available close circuit feed, which we're already over 15,000 sold and we're opening up more venues to accommodate these fans are wanting to attend this great and exciting boxing card.
So if we have any questions from the media for both fighters, we are ready.
ROBERT MORALES, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Jeff, I wanted to start with you. I'm wondering, as somebody who has been to the top and then lost his World Championship belt, what has been the toughest thing for you psychologically to deal with in that regard?
JEFF WALD: Mentally still walking around the house and seeing that I am not the World Title holder. This is a great opportunity for me to get that title back and be able to strap it around my waist and really know it has great meaning to it at the time.
ROBERT MORALES: Peter, I'd like to ask you, including Calzaghe, now you're going to be fighting Jeff Lacy, who is the world champion at the time, perhaps the best Super Middleweight in the world. And now Jeff Lacy, who was right at that same spot prior to his fight with Calzaghe, what has been the mindset of the Peter Manfredo Jr. camp in taking on these incredible fighters?
PETER MANFREDO JR.: Well the decision comes to me and I want to fight the best, and Jeff Lacy is still one of the best in my mind. It says a lot for not just me but also for the contender. We want to show everybody we're not just contender reality fighters and that we're real fighters. The mindset's great and I've fought guys like Tom Attardo, I fought guys like Joe Spina, and they're not at Jeff Lacy's level. I disposed of those guys earlier like I should. I believe I'm ready for this big step and now I just have to prove it. I didn't get a shot against Calzaghe, and a lot of people seen the fight. So, this is another big shot, another big opportunity, and I'm going to make the best of it.
ROBERT MORALES: I wanted to ask each of you real quick, Peter, what kind of surgery are you coming off of.
PETER MANFREDO JR.: I'm coming off an elbow surgery. I have bone spurs and bone chips in my left elbow for the past year.
ROBERT MORALES: And when was that surgery?
PETER MANFREDO JR.: That was in August.
ROBERT MORALES: Jeff, excuse my ignorance, I should know this, but what kind of surgery are you coming off of?
JEFF WALD: Bicep
ROBERT MORALES: OK, which side, left or right?
JEFF WALD: Left.
ROBERT MORALES: Oscar, if I can ask you a question real quick and then I'll be done, what did you see in Jeff Lacy as far as making you want to sign him to a promotional contract?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Well, first of all, Jeff deserves to be on top once again. For certain reasons we don't know, only Jeff knows he was derailed. He was derailed by a great champion and we all know that Calzaghe's a tremendous champion.
And so with Jeff Lacy being so young, still having that hunger and that desire to be a world champion, you know, was a perfect opportunity for us to make that match. And we know we can – we can together, you know, get that World Title, you know, because the talents he has, the speed and the power, you know, he still's learning in the game. I mean, all the combinations of that is going to make him a fearless and fearful fighter for anybody.
LANCE PUGMIRE, LA TIMES: Just a question for Oscar and Ray, I'd like both of you guys to address this. When this year started, we were talking about a lot of the reports out there about the death of boxing, and now as the year ends, Oscar, you just talked about a sell out fight in 30 minutes, 15,000 close circuit feed has already been sold. It's done a complete 180. And I just wanted to get both of your thoughts of having been around boxing for so long, what has changed? What has made this the revival year for boxing? It's a great year, but one of the best years in several years?
SUGAR RAY LEONARD: I think it's all about match making. I think it's a collaboration of TLC and Golden Boy, and Oscar's group has put on the best fights possible. Oscar indicated the fact that this fight is sold out. The Mayweather Hatton fight sold out within what 30 minutes, Oscar?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Thirty minutes.
SUGAR RAY LEONARD: Thirty minutes. I mean, that's unreal. That's unheard of and it's all about giving the public what it deserves.
For years they put on fights that were not really that special. But now, we're starting to put on fights that are so special, they become events. It's not a boxing match, it becomes an event that people can't afford to miss out on.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: I believe promoters, managers, and even the fighter have a responsibility to make the best fights. They need to be involved in the best and the biggest fights. I have to keep on repeating that my fight with Mayweather was built as the fight to save boxing, as the, the world awaits. It didn't live up to the expectation that people were waiting for, but I truly feel that that fight did save boxing, and what I mean by that is, now every fighter wants to be the one to save boxing. Now every promoter wants to be involved in wanting to save boxing.
So, fighters, promoters, and managers now want to be involved in these big events and I think it's wonderful for the sport. It shows that the popularity of the sport, if you make the right fights, people will come.
JEFF WALD: And I want to add one thing, this is Jeff Wald, I'm sorry. I want to add one thing to what Oscar said.
This sport for the first time in a long time is starting to cooperate with each other. Baseball, the owners whether they like each other or not, they cooperate for the sport. The football league, the NBA, all of these owners all work together. Well, this time the promoters are all working together. Whatever the differences that any of the promoters had in the past, they're getting buried now because they see that financially and otherwise, they're doing much better putting on these fights together. I mean Golden Boy is a huge player in this sport and Oscar is basically the last superstar left and we need to build more of them and these fights will help do that.
I mean, they took Calzaghe – Ray and I were at, obviously, the Calzaghe vs. Manfredo fight, that was an early stoppage. But watching him fight Kessler, you know, this guy is the real deal. You know, so there's no shame in the fact that, you know, he lost. The reason that Ray Leonard is Ray Leonard is because he fought Hearns, he fought Duran, he fought Hagler, he fought the best. Oscar's fought the best. And now again, Peter and Jeff Lacy are fighting the best that's out there and that's what the fans pay to see. They really do. They pay to see great exciting fights and the sport really was never dead. It just was in the background because there was a lot of bad fights that were being made, but that's changed.
LANCE PUGMIRE: And how big of a kick in the pants was it from the Ultimate Fighting Championship martial arts in that not only were they giving you business competition, they were staging the fight. Part of the appeal has been that they stage the fight that the fans want to see. Did you guys look at that and say, we need to do the same if we want to be more successful than them?
JEFF LACY: I don't think that we really paid much attention to them. I see that as a fad, to tell you the truth. To me it's not a sport. I used to see that in my old neighborhood in the Bronx. The fact of the matter is if you look at it with all their hype and all the rest of the stuff, Oscar de la Hoya verses Mayweather itself in the aggregate grossed as much as almost all of their MMA fights of the year, one fight. Now you're going to add this card that's coming up now, between the two cards, they out-grossed the entire MMA fights for the year.
So, it's still not as popular as boxing. Boxing is the second most popular sport in the world, next to soccer, and MMA is just something that's come along. They've done a great job of marketing it. For people that remember it, there's nobody on the level of Oscar de la Hoya, Ray Leonard, Ali, or Jeff Lacy or any of these guys. There's nobody at MMA that right off the top of your head is going to go to a Hall of Fame. They're going to either remember them or they're going to have other lives afterwards. I can't remember one guy.
LANCE PUGMIRE: And that's something you agree with, Oscar and Ray?
SUGAR RAY LEONARD: Yes, well it speaks to itself the fact that in boxing, it's now worldwide. Boxing has been around for a long time and I think they're two different events, two different sports.
LANCE PUGMIRE: Oscar?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Lance, I feel that the history that boxing has is it's just so valuable. You go back to the Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali days, Joe Lewis days, even way back then you had boxing as the number one sport in the world. And like Jeff mentioned, boxing is the most popular sport in the world behind soccer. I have to agree that they've been doing a wonderful job in promoting these events. They've done a wonderful job, by having the fights that the fans want to watch. But, we'll have to wait and see what happens with the MMA. Can it last as long as boxing has been lasting for so many years? So, there is a lot of unanswered questions that we just have to wait and see.
LANCE PUGMIRE: Great. Thank you, guys. I really appreciate your time.
TOM HOPKINSON, THE PEOPLE: I just wanted to ask Jeff and Peter, we're very excited about Ricky's fight, do you think Ricky should've taken this fight in Britain, or do you have any confidence that he will do well in the states?
JEFF LACY: I think Ricky Hatton has a chance. Any time you got two warriors willing to get in the ring, it all depends. Someone has to have a bad night, and if they're willing to get in the ring on December 8th, someone has to have a bad night. So both of them have a great chance of taking this fight one and it depends on who wants it worse.
TOM HOPKINSON: And, Peter?
PETER MANFREDO JR.: Yes, I have to agree with Jeff on that. This is boxing, anything can happen. Ricky Hatton is a warrior and he's going to come in to fight, and I think Mayweather is just going to box like he usually does. I think it's going to come down for too much pressure where he can fool him or is Mayweather just going to be superior like he always is and win. I mean, this is why we have the fight, You'll have to wait and see.
TOM HOPKINSON: can I just ask you about Joe Calzaghe as well. What's the feeling during this space about it's potential of his fight against Hopkins?
PETER MANFREDO JR.: I think …
JEFF LACY: Again, like I said, with two great warriors getting in the ring, I mean, there's a chance. Anything can happen. It depends on if Hopkins is willing to go over to England or if Calzaghe's willing to come over to the states. It all depends on what's the outcome. I think Hopkins is a very good warrior and I think Calzaghe has actually really opened my eyes to the Kessler fight. I really had Kessler winning that fight off. Basically, I felt that he had better skill in boxing, but he proved me wrong again.
So, it tells to see. That's why this fight against Hatton Mayweather sold out so quick, because people are dying and eager to see what happens.
TOM HOPKINSON: Peter?
PETER MANFREDO JR.: Yes, I agree. I mean, I think Hopkins is just a small fighter. And he fights well against Lefties. But I don't know, Calzaghe is just looking on top of his game lately that I've never seen him before. If I were to put my money down, I think I would put it on Calzaghe, but, I can never discount on Hopkins either. So, I think it's going to be another great fight, and I think it should happen.
RAMON ARANDA, 411MANIA.COM : I had a quick question for you, now going into the Calzaghe fight, you were undefeated, you had a lot of momentum and you were picked by quite a few in the media, including myself, to beat Calzaghe. Now after your fight, they were to quick to say, oh, you were raided, or you were dimensioned. Then you had your rematch with him which he proved tougher than you and a lot of people never expected. Now what would you say you've learned from those last two fights and what have you been working on in training to, enhance your style?
JEFF LACY: Well, the main thing I've learned that I'm a very emotional person when it comes down to what people read and what people say about you. I've learned to understand and deal with emotion a lot better than I did before because when you're on that winning stage, it's like everybody's praising you and everybody's doing this and that. But when you get a chance to taste a little bit of the bad side of boxing, it kind of really turns your stomach a little bit and keeps you focused on you.
I've learned mostly more about myself. It's all about what Jeff wants to do. What do I want to do, and when do I want to do it, and then if I come to the plate, my fans are going to be happy no matter what. And that's the main thing I've learned in the last 24 months.
RAMONE ARANDA: Peter, are you looking at this as, in the Kessler fight? There's been a couple of other contenders, like George Amore as well that's had a little bit of tough luck. I mean you obviously had a tough shot against Calzaghe, which I felt also was stopped a bit prematurely. Really the main guy that's been out there has been Alfonso Gomez.
But, you're getting another big shot here with Jeff Lacy. As mentioned before, this will probably put the winner at a big contender status. So, how do you feel about the fight? I mean, do you feel this is a must win for you?
PETER MANFREDO JR.: Definitely. I mean, I go into every fight as if it's a must win, especially with this fight. Jeff is a big strong guy, big super middleweight, and big puncher. I'm actually excited about it because I get to be in there with one of the best. I have been fighting in my whole life, and I actually get excited to fight. I like to fight, I'm an Italian-American and that's what I like to do.
So, it's definitely a must win. That's why I'm training hard. I'm over here in L.A. training like I should be, and December 8th is going to be a hell of a fight, and the best man will win that night.
JIM EVERETT, SADDOBOXING.COM : My first question is for Jeff. Your fight was announced pretty recently for this upcoming fight with Manfredo. How long have you had to prepare?
JEFF LACY: I've been in training for the last five months, with rehabilitation of my left shoulder, making it to a point where I feel comfortable throwing it. So it's been months that I've been in training camp, and I am really looking forward to my return to the ring. We signed with Oscar de la Hoya, all the lights shine and I'm ready to go.
JIM EVERETT: Have you done any hard sparring to really test the shoulder out?
JEFF LACY: Oh, yes, trust me. I'm not going to get into the ring unless I'm 110 percent sure that I can throw this thing with full force.
JIM EVERETT: And for Peter, similar question, again, with the short notice, how long have you been preparing?
PETER MANFREDO JR.: I've been preparing now for four weeks. I got three more to go, it doesn't take me long to get in shape. As long as I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't stay up, and I don't party. And I do some things when I'm not in full training like I'll go running, I'll go in the gym once a week or a couple of times a week, spar a little bit with guys like Jessie Franklin and help them out for their fight.
So, you know, I'm in good shape and I'm where I want to be at right now in this point at training camp.
JIM EVERETT: And again, with your industry, have you really put that to the test with some hard sparring?
PETER MANFREDO JR.: Yes, I have. At first it was bothering me a little bit, but I went to physical therapy, they helped me straighten it out with rehab, sports medicine and exercise really helped me a lot. Since I've been here in L.A., all you've got here is hard sparring, so everything's been going great and, I can't be anymore happier.
ROBERT MORALES: Hey, Peter, this one's for you. Listen, I could be wrong, but it seems that perhaps provided he's healthy that Jeff Lacy might be the strongest and most hard hitting guy that you would have faced. Do you agree with that and how do you plan to combat that?
PETER MANFREDO JR.: I hit pretty hard too, but he just didn't have the skill level that Jeff Lacy has. I've been with a lot of strong guys. Obviously Jeff Lacy might be the biggest and strongest guy that I fight, but this is what makes the fight exciting for me. This is what makes me want to train harder and run the extra mile and do everything like that. I'm willing to go in there and even train with this guy sometimes just to see how hard this guy really hits. I'm actually excited about it. Call me crazy, but I think all boxers are crazy for doing this sport, so.
ROBERT MORALES: I hear you.
JEFF WALD: One of the things that's really a pleasure for Ray and I with this conference and the past few conferences that we've had, are that these guys are not trash talking, they're not going to get on the thing and head butt each other. I mean these guys are real athletes and they have tremendous respect because each. The only ones who really know what these guys go through are each other. These guys know they go through the rehab to win, to lose, to go and do this sport. So the respect that Peter shows for Jeff and Jeff shows for Peter is a pleasure. I think that's going to help bring the fans back. I think the fans are on to that bull at the press conferences, and I don't think they want to hear them saying dirty things about Vargas' mother.
ROBERT MORALES: Thank you, Jeff.
MONICA SEARS: OK, first of all, I'd like to thank everyone for participating on the call today. Thank you to Jeff Lacy, Jeff Wald, Sugar Ray Leonard and Peter Manfredo. We're really looking forward to this upcoming fight.
I just want to make a couple of more announcements. Starting off the televised portion of the night on December 8th, we have a lightweight 10-rounder with Wes Ferguson against Edner Cherry. Then we have a WBO World Junior Featherweight 12-rounder with Daniel Ponce De Leon against Eduardo Escobedo. Followed by Jeff Lacy vs. Peter Manfredo Jr. in a 10-round super middleweight bout before the night's main event Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton. As Oscar said, we still have the close circuit seats for sale. We also have the Mayweather Hatton 24/7 Series making its debut this Sunday, November 18th at 10:00pm ET/PT on HBO.
Also next week, we'll be looking forward to a trainer's conference call, and fighter conference calls the following week before we head right into fight week. So, I appreciate everyone's participation on today's call and if you have any other further questions, you can reach out to our office and thank you, everyone.
Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, and sponsored by Rock Star Energy Drink, Tecate Beer and Southwest Airlines, "UNDEFEATED", which is headlined by the welterweight championship bout between Mayweather and Hatton, will take place Saturday, Dec. 8 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View.
Closed circuit tickets, priced at $50, are still available and can be purchased at MGM Mirage properties' box office outlets or by phone with a major credit card at 866-799-7711. For MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay venues, tickets also are available by visiting www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 702-474-4000. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person and all seats are general admission.
The Mayweather vs. Hatton pay-per-view telecast beginning at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT, has a suggested retail price of $54.95, will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 61 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For your Mayweather vs. Hatton fight week updates, log on to www.hbo.com.
The premiere episode of the HBO all-access series "MAYWEATHER/HATTON 24/7" debuts Sunday, Nov. 18 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. The four-part series, with unprecedented access, will chronicle the fighters' preparations for the December 8 super-fight at MGM Grand and will provide viewers with a compelling look at two extraordinary champions.
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