As the clock begins to tick towards the highly anticipated Cinco de Mayo Weekend Canelo-Chavez, Jr. event on May 6, HBO Pay-Per-View, fighters including Former IBF Middleweight Champion David Lemieux (37-3, 33 KOs), Marco “Dorado” Reyes (35-4, 26 KOs), Former WBC Silver Super Lightweight Champion Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (37-4, 34 KOs), Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor (20-4, 14 KOs), NABF Featherweight Champion Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (23-0, 13 KOs), and IBA Featherweight Champion Manuel “Tino” Avila (22-0, 8 KOs) hosted an international media conference call ahead of their fights presented live on HBO Pay-Per-View® and straight from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
Co-main event fighters David Lemieux and Marco “Dorado” Reyes discussed their upcoming 10-round middleweight bout. Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse and Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor discussed their scheduled 10-round welterweight battle for the WBA Intercontinental title. Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. discussed his 10-round bout to defend his NABF title against Manuel “Tino” Avila.
Here is what president of Golden Boy Promotions Eric Gomez, Lemieux, Reyes, Matthysse, Taylor, Diaz, Jr., and Avila said during the international media conference call:
ERIC GOMEZ, President of Golden Boy Promotions: I want to thank a few people that are involved in the undercard and are instrumental in making this happen. Camille Estephan from Eye of the Tiger, our partner with Lemieux; Paco Damian with Paco Presents; Mario Arano from Arano Box; Joe DeGuardia, Star Boxing; and Ralph Heredia, which is the manager for Joseph Diaz.
Also, I can’t continue out mentioning our sponsors, our incredible sponsors, that have helped us out for this event and they have been great the last few years: Tecate, BORN BOLD, Hennessy, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Adriana’s Insurance and Interjet.
And lastly, I want to thank HBO, the best television network for boxing which will broadcast the television live on Pay Per View. Thank you for everything you do, HBO.
And now, I want to introduce to you the first fighter on this call and that is Manuel “Tino” Avila. Manuel is undefeated, 22 0. He will be opening the HBO Pay-Per-View in a great match against Joseph Diaz. And he’s coming out straight out of northern California.
Now obviously you as you guys know, he’s going to be facing Joseph Diaz, another undefeated fighter, Olympian, 23-0, this is going to be a great match up. Joseph has been on HBO numerous times and you know, he’s looking to make a statement on Pay- Per -View.
Q: Tino, obviously this is a tough fight, fighting Joseph Diaz. It’s a tall task. But obviously, I mean, the rewards of big. If you can beat someone like a Joseph Diaz, you’ll be right in line for a world title. How do you feel about this fight?
MANUEL “TINO” AVILA, IBA Featherweight Champion: You know, I feel good about this fight. I’m taking it one fight at a time. Focusing on this fight. And you know, after ten rounds that are done, you know, whatever outcome is great.
JOSEPH “JOJO” DIAZ, JR., NABF Featherweight Champion: Yeah, I just want to thank Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions, Eric, Robert and everybody for giving me this opportunity on fight night to have such a great card. I want to thank HBO, as well, for giving me an opportunity to start on the best network.
May 6 is going to be a great night of boxing. Manuel, if he has his A Game, he’s going to put on a great fight. And I’m going to be 110 percent, as well.
So it’s going to be a fight nobody is going to want to miss, and it’s going to be a very action packed fight. So I’ll see you all on May 6.
ERIC GOMEZ: Train hard and we’ll see you guys in Vegas. I wanted to invite Lucas to say a few words, Lucas, “The Machine” Matthysse, with a record of 37- 4, and making his comeback fight. He’s been out for a while and we’re very excited for this fight. He’s going to be fighting Emmanuel Taylor, so I’ll introduce Lucas to say a few words.
LUCAS “LA MAQUINA” MATTHYSSE, Former WBC Silver Super Lightweight Champion: I want to say hi to everyone, good morning. I started my training camp in Indio and I’m training with Joel Diaz, my new trainer for this fight, and some of my old team including my father who is with me, Mario who is part of my corner, just getting ready for the fight. I’m excited for the fight.
Q. Lucas, good morning. Did you ever think at any point of retirement, because you had such a long layoff?
LUCAS MATTHYSSE: No, not at all. I never thought about retirement. I just wanted to rest. I had a string of really tough fights, and I just needed some time to rest and that’s exactly what I did. I rested.
Q. For this come back, obviously it’s a comeback fight, but what’s next? Do you want to go fast and go after some big names, or do you want to go fight by fight? What’s your game plan for this part of your career, second part of your career?
LUCAS MATTHYSSE: Look, it’s a comeback fight, but Emmanuel Taylor is a tough fight. It’s not an easy fight. He’s a fighter with a lot of experience. He’s a tough fighter. After this fight, I’ll sit down with my team, my promoter and see what’s next.
Right now I’m fully concentrating on Emmanuel Taylor.
ERIC GOMEZ: Emmanuel Taylor, this is obviously a fight that’s in association with Star Boxing, Joe DeGuardia, thanks for helping us get this fight done. Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor has a great record, 20-4. This is a great opportunity for him.
EMMANUEL “TRANZFORMER” TAYLOR, Welterweight Contender: My name is Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor. I’m coming out of Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland. I’m in Boston for about 20 years now and just looking forward to May 6.
Q. Lucas, you’re coming back after your layoff to fight as a welterweight. If you can talk about the particular reason why you elected to do that, was it a matter of struggling to make 140? Did you just see there being possibly better opportunities or bigger money or better opponents at 147 pounds? What was your main reason for the change in weight class?
LUCAS MATTHYSSE: I felt that I had to make the change. I’ve been at the weight for a long time. I’m 34 years old now, and the truth is, the last two fights, they were a struggle. I struggled a little bit the last two fights in making weight. My body just felt that it was time to move up, and I’m feeling good right now.
Q. You took the long layoff but part of the reason was the bone injury you suffered in the last fight. Is that 100 percent healthy and are you confident that even if Emmanuel hits you right on that spot, that you’ll be okay?
LUCAS MATTHYSSE: I feel confident there’s not going to be any problems with the eye. I had a training camp in Argentina and I was training out there and I had nothing wrong with it. I got hit plenty of times there. And now, you know, I changed my training camp while I’m out here in Indio and I’ve been sparring and I feel confident that there’s not going to be any problems with the eye.
Q. The guys you lost to are Garcia and Postol. I know Emmanuel is in solid fight form, but do you have any desire in the future to have rematches with either of those guys? The Garcia fight was a pretty close one and the Postol fight, we know what happened there, but do you have any desire to ever see these guys again in the ring?
LUCAS MATTHYSSE: Yes, of course. Look, I’m willing to fight anybody. I always want to fight the best. Of course I would. But you know, it’s up to my team. Whoever they tell me to fight, I’ll fight.
Q. Lucas, do you view this fight as kind of like just a test at 147, and if you don’t feel comfortable, would you consider dropping back down to 140, or are you definitely at 147 at this point in your career?
LUCAS MATTHYSSE: No, I’ve decided to stay at this weight. I feel very good at this weight. I’ve been working really hard, and I feel comfortable. To battle to get back down to 140, I don’t think I have it anymore.
Q. Just to follow up on that, welterweight is a very deep division, Pacquiao, Thurman, Garcia. How do you think you fit into the welterweight division as you climb back in? How do you think you fit alongside those other top fighters in welterweight?
LUCAS MATTHYSSE: Of course I feel very capable at this weight class. I feel that I have a lot of confidence in myself. I’m feeling really good at this weight class, so I can challenge anybody. I would love to fight Danny Garcia again, or I’ll fight against Thurman, whoever it is. I feel very capable at this weight class.
Q. Listen, obviously the bigger name in this fight is Lucas Matthysse, being the kind of bigger fight that he’s had compared to you. You’ve got a lot of experience, though. I’ve seen you fight many times. How big of a deal would it be for you to get this fight where you’re going to be the underdog but pull off this upset?
EMMANUEL TAYLOR: It’s a real big deal. You know, I always wanted to get back in there and do my thing, do what I do best. You know, Lucas is a great fighter, real strong, real durable.
I’m looking forward to this fight. I’ve been training hard, working hard, and this means everything in the world to me. I’m just really excited for this opportunity.
Q. Do you think that maybe you get him at the right time, as we’ve discussed, he’s coming off a lengthy layoff and coming off a pretty tough injury in a KO loss, and maybe he’s not as fresh as he once was. Maybe he’ll be a little bit rusty from the layoff, where you maybe haven’t had been as active as he has, even though it’s been a little while since your last fight. Do you feel like you might get him at the right time and you might be able to get the win here?
EMMANUEL TAYLOR: I think I got him at the perfect time. You know, he’s coming off of a KO loss, eye injury. His last fight before that, he weighed in, I think I caught him at the right time right now, because a long layoff, like you said. It’s perfect timing for me; perfect.
Q. Anybody that watches his fights knows Lucas is a big puncher. Have you thought about or discussed with your team about how to deal with the probability that you’re going to get hit with a good, clean shot?
EMMANUEL TAYLOR: Of course. In camp, my coach, we watch a lot of tape on him and have different tactics we’re going to use in this fight. We’ve got a great plan for this fight, so if we get hit with a big shot, we know how to recover. It will show in the fight. It will show in the fight how we’ve been working on things and how everything’s going to play out in our favor.
Q. He’s going up to welterweight and made this announcement where he’s going to campaign at this point forward. You’ve been a guy that’s fought maybe a little bit close to welterweight, maybe at welterweight once or twice, mainly like 40, 42. What’s your weight class? I know you took this at welterweight. Where do you want to fight regularly? Is it at welter late from now forward? Is it going back to 140 depending what happens? Is it somewhere in the middle? Where are you as far as your weight division?
EMMANUEL TAYLOR: I fought welterweight three times, and I’m a durable guy at welterweight. It don’t matter, or light welterweight. If the opportunity presents itself at welterweight, I’m going to take the opportunity again. It don’t matter, welterweight or light welterweight, I can make both.
Q. Just wonder if you can tell us who the biggest puncher you fought is so far?
EMMANUEL TAYLOR: I wouldn’t say the biggest puncher, but he had a little snap was Adrien Broner. He wasn’t the biggest puncher but he had a little snap to his punches. I never really fought somebody with a big punch that really stung me. But I would say Adrien Broner was a little snappy, not the biggest puncher, but he got some pop, a little pop to him.
Q. In your fights, was there a point where you felt you were hurt by anybody or not really?
EMMANUEL TAYLOR: Absolutely not. I always recover very quickly. If I got dropped, I would get right back up and shake it off and that’s about it. But never really hurt in a fight.
Q. You were down in the fight against Victor Cayo and you were down against Mayfield. Any other times?
EMMANUEL TAYLOR: Yeah, Mayfield, the flat knock down, hit me in the back of the head and I fell down. They call that a knock down. I got right back up and won the last two rounds after that.
Q. Eric, I know obviously this is not an easy fight for Matthysse, especially coming off a long layoff but what are your hopes for him in this comeback?
ERIC GOMEZ: Look, obviously we’re not looking past Emmanuel Taylor. Emmanuel is a very tough guy. I was involved in the Adrien Broner fight and also in the Postol and he put a great fight with both fighters. Depends how he looks. If he struggles, then, you know, he might need, you know, a tune up after this fight. He might need a tune up, and he looks sensational and great, then we’re going to sit down and go after any of the champions. Lucas Matthysse has a great name, he’s a fan friendly fighter.
The TV networks love him. He’s been on HBO, Showtime, a number of times. Any of the champions would love to fight him and it would be a great fight because of his style. So it really depends on this fight. We’ll see how he does.
Look, there’s a chance he could lose this fight and he might want to retire after, if he loses this fight. So this fight is very, very important to all of us.
Q. What made you want to change trainers, and how is it going with Joel Diaz so far and what’s he helped you with?
LUCAS MATTHYSSE: Basically I decided to go back to my roots and I went back home to southern Argentina in Trelew, where I’m from, and I started working with my dad a little bit who, is the first person who started me in boxing. Then I made the decision to just change. I wanted something different, and I came out here to work with Joel Diaz. He was recommended, and so far, it’s been great. We’ve been working really great and I’ve been learning a lot.
Q. Who recommended Joel Diaz to you?
LUCAS MATTHYSSE: It was my decision to work with Joel Diaz. He did a training camp for the Garcia fight, for Danny Garcia in Indio, and I trained out of the same gym where Joel Diaz is. And through that training camp, I saw some of the things he was working on and I kind of liked the way he was working with other fighters. So that’s the reason why I decided to go with him.
I’m training really hard for the fight. See everyone in Vegas, and thank you for the support.
ERIC GOMEZ: I’m really proud to introduce really hard hitting David Lemieux. He’s coming off probably thus far, knockout of the year, and fighting just two months later on this great Pay Per View. He’s got an incredible record, 37-3 with a bunch of knock outs, almost all wins by knock outs.
David, if you can say a few words to the press, please.
DAVID LEMIEUX: Hi, guys. Hi, everybody. Extremely excited to be on. Of course, I didn’t take much break since the last fight when I did the fight against Stevens. It was a great knockout I had against him. I took one week off and then headed back to the gym. When they announced me that I was starting under this show, I couldn’t say no. It’s a great opportunity and all the greatest fighters in the world are going to be there.
Q. Marco Reyes fought Chávez, Jr. at 168 pounds test weight was 170. What weight is this fight going to be at, and in the future, will you be going to or staying at 158? If so, how soon?
DAVID LEMIEUX: This fight is going to be actually at 153. The weight is not going to be an issue. We just had a fight, 150, which I made 159. So it’s going to be a the weight of 153 and that’s the weight for this fight. But I’m middleweight and I’m going to stay at middleweight.
Q. This is going to be your second fight this year. Is the goal for, if you win, to return in the fall or possibly early winter? And if so, possibly against who?
DAVID LEMIEUX: You know what, we want to stay accurate, that’s what we’re doing. Of course the ultimate goal is as Oscar announced, it’s the winner of the Canelo Chávez, which Canelo is on the radar, of course. But first we have Marco Reyes to take care of, which I have no doubt that we’re going to do a good job.
Q. You were talking about your knockout against Curtis Stevens, obviously was spectacular. Marco Reyes has been known as a very tough fighter, but he did get stopped in the seventh round by Elvin Ayala two fights ago. Elvin Ayala has been a pretty good boxer for many years, but kind of a journeyman guy and not a big puncher, at all. So I wonder, when you look at that on his record, and you know that he got stopped by a guy like Ayala, who is not a puncher, and you’re one of the best punchers in boxing, coming off that absolutely sensational knockout against Curtis Stevens, are just licking your chops to touch this guy and think you can get rid of him?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I think he’s in big trouble. But of course, in boxing, you don’t head to a fight thinking that you’re going to knock somebody out. He’s a very tough opponent. We’re not underestimating him. We’re going to be ready for ten rounds if it’s necessary, and ten hard rounds.
I’m going to be ready for anything, and I’m going to in there strong. I’m going to make another statement, and of course, I want to be the best. I’ve got to fight like the best. Come May 6, I’m going to give the best of Lemieux.
Q. When you have 33 knockouts and 37 wins and most of them are pretty impressive, pretty crowd pleasing, exciting knockouts. You’re not stopping guys on cuts. You’re not stopping guys with a three or four punch combination and the referee comes in. Many, many of your knockouts are one punch ready, putting guys out for a ten count or a 20 count maybe. How is it, when you’ve done that so many times, that you don’t go into a fight thinking you’re just going to do it again; that you have to sort of get the mentality that, you know, you might have to go ten rounds on a given night?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Yeah, it’s a very good question. I learned my lesson in the Golovkin fight, the power is not a game plan. It’s a tool. The game plan is to be ready for anything. When I go against any opponent, always expect to fight the best of that opponent and to fight them at their best and make sure I’m ready to fight them for one round or for 12 rounds if necessary and to fight them strong.
So when I train, I have that mentality now. I don’t just go in for a knockout and think that they are going to go out in the first three rounds. I’m ready to knock them out for 12 rounds if necessary, and I’ll be strong for the duration of the fight.
Q. You fought on the Undercard of Canelo’s fight when he fought Amir Khan, and you knocked out Glen Tapia; that was last May, and now a year later on another Canelo Alvarez Undercard against Chavez, you’re fighting again. Obviously you’re both with the same promotion company. I think most people would look at a matchup between you and Canelo, and think that would be a pretty exciting fight. What do you think you have to do to get that fight? Because obviously a lot of people want to see Canelo; the Chavez fight is happening; a lot of people want to see him fight GGG down the road after that. But you’re sitting there as a big possibility to get a chance to fight him. Have you been given any assurances or promises by your manager or promotor that you are up in the bullpen, so to speak, to take on Canelo at some point? How do you continue to go through these Undercard fights knowing you’re going to be an option but not having gotten the fight?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Well, after what I do May 6, I’m going to put myself in a position where everybody is going to want to see Canelo-Lemieux. I’m not asking for a position; I’m going to put myself in a position.
So what I do with Marco Reyes will put me in where I want to be, fighting Canelo. But first, I will take care of Reyes, who is a good fighter.
Q. Could you address that? You guys promote Lemieux. You scored some good knockouts. He’s been on a lot of your television cards can you just speak to the possibilities to the long term future of the possibility of Golden Boy making that match between Canelo Alvarez and David, assuming these guys keep winning their fights?
ERIC GOMEZ: Well, obviously whenever you have an exciting fighter like David, he’s good for any fight. You said it yourself, his knockouts are incredible. So you know, it’s something that we’ve talked about. It’s something that I know David wants and it’s something that Canelo is interested in, as well. But it depends. Look, they have very tough fights. Chavez, Jr.’s fight with Canelo is not going to be a walkover. He’s moving up in weight and he’s fighting a big guy, possibly a light heavyweight. And then David, David has a tough fight, too. So there’s possibilities.
I think immediately next, Canelo wants to fight Golovkin. We make that very clear to everybody. Canelo said it; we’ve said it; Golovkin said he wants that fight. We think we can negotiate for that fight. But if for whatever reason that fight doesn’t happen, yes, David would be in line. He would be in line, and it’s very exciting. We’ve got so many calls after his knockout, we got calls, we got e mails, social media, everybody wanting to see David fight Canelo. It was incredible.
But that’s what David is all about. You know, when he has those highlight knockouts, he gets so many people excited.
Q. There were strong words on David after the defeat. What changed your perception since your victories against Curtis Stevens or Rios in Montreal?
ERIC GOMEZ: David learned from those fights. You know, look, obviously with Golovkin, you know, it was a tough fight for David. I think he was excited in the fight. He was doing well. But he learned a lot, and obviously he’s a better fighter now. He’s a different fighter now than he was when he first fought Golovkin. I know, in my opinion if he fights Golovkin again. Many of the losses, they learn and they become better from their losses, more so than when they have a good win.
So I think that David has grown, he’s matured, and he’s a fighter that takes his craft and his business more serious now, and this is a prime example. You know, he just fought in March, and he didn’t take any time off hardly. He got back home, rested a couple days, and was right back in the gym. So it helped him mature and become a better fighter, and that’s the David we have now.
Q. What danger did you face against Reyes?
DAVID LEMIEUX: There danger in every boxer, and I didn’t stop since my last fight against Stevens, and I will continue training and prepare for, I hope, a fight against Canelo.
Q. Your last knock out was very impressive. When you knocked out Curtis like that, was that scary to you, seeing an opponent just rendered unconscious, and do you think, heading into this fight, will there be any reluctance on your part to do something similar to your opponent? Were you scared for Curtis, and do you think that might carry over into this fight?
DAVID LEMIEUX: You know, when I fight, I always want to show the best of me. I want to go in there vicious and do what I do best, and I’m a knockout artist, I’m a power fighter from the first round.
So when I knock out a fighter, I always still want them to wake up after ten seconds, not kill them. But Curtis Stevens was a different story. He talks too much; he got what he got. But it’s a sport at the end of the day, he got up and he was okay after that. So I was pleased, but I don’t want to hurt nobody. I’m just there to do my job. We did a great show, and after that, shake hands, say good night to his family and to my family.
Q. Nobody seemed to get your prediction on Canelo versus Chavez. Could you break that down for us?
DAVID LEMIEUX: My prediction for Canelo-Chavez, you know, being the way that Chavez is changing, the way he is fit and everything, I think you cannot underestimate Chavez, but I know Canelo is a better fighter, and we are all expecting Canelo to go out and beat Chavez.
But I don’t think it’s going to be a knockout. I think it’s going to be a difficult fight for Canelo. Chavez is definitely a big boy. But if I had money to bet, my money would be on Canelo. But they are both very good fighters. I think the edge is on Canelo.
ERIC GOMEZ: We found out that that echo was Marco Reyes. He is in the mountains training. So if any of you have any questions for Marco Reyes, you can e mail us at press@GoldenBoyPromotions.com, and he will answer your questions. It was hard to get him connected.
Once again, I want to thank everyone for participating in our media call. David, if you can say some closing statements before we finish.
ERIC GOMEZ: If you can just say some closing statements, David, right before we’re done. Just a couple of closing statements and then we’ll finish with everything.
DAVID LEMIEUX: Absolutely. I’m very excited to be on. To the fans that will be watching, I promise a great show and I promise a great fight. I’m going to be in tremendous shape. I promise excitement. It’s going to be an exciting fight, I’m exciting to be on, and give the fans a great night of boxing with the Canelo-Chavez fight at the end.
ERIC GOMEZ: That’s great. Thank you. Thank you very much, David. We can’t wait to see you in this action. So thank you for being on the call, and I want to thank all the media participated today and for all the questions.
Again, we’re sold out but we do have closed-circuit tickets still available. They are 75 dollars. You can get them at the MGM Resort’s international box office or at the concierge desk, or you can call 1 800 745 3000. Thank you very much and we’ll see you shortly at the fights in Vegas.