Eddie Hearn: Thanks, Bernie, and thanks, everyone, for joining the call today. VHBOery excited for Saturday, obviously. We have a huge main event at a time when the middleweight division is absolutely electric. Danny Jacobs against Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the IBF Middleweight World title in what is a real 50/50 match up at the Hulu Theater on Saturday night. Another brilliant world title clash between Machado and Evans as well. And of course, the fight that arguably everybody’s talking about right now between Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent. It sold a huge amount of tickets, had a huge amount of interest, so much so that HBO will be televising this fight live. Of course, if the first fight was anything to go by, it will be a show stealer on Saturday night.
The gentleman that put it all together and my very close friend and partner in crime, Lou DiBella, I’m going to pass over to say a few words.
Lou DiBella: Thank you, Eddie. This Vincent-Hardy title fight, a rematch of Heather’s great fight with Shelly from 2016, which was Ring Magazine’s Female Fight of the Year, it wouldn’t be on this card at all, if not for Eddie Hearn. I want to thank Peter Nelson for making the intelligent and brave decision to put this on live on HBO. It’s one of HBO’s last few shows as a boxing broadcaster. I’m really pleased that they’re making this statement for women’s boxing and allowing these two female warriors to rematch their sensational fight of 2016.
Eddie said, and it’s true, this is a great card, Jacobs-Derevyanchenko’s as good a middleweight title fight as you could make right now, a 50/50 type of fight, and as Eddie pointed out the winner is going to be in the middle of a red-hot division. The Machado-Evans fight is another quality title fight.
This fight is a fight that has captured a lot of people’s imagination because of its great quality the first time. Both of these ladies are inspirational and interesting characters. Heather started out in boxing late, a way of empowering herself; she’s a victim of sexual abuse. She was a single mom. Took up the sport really to really empower herself and has become a two-sport athlete, a Bellator MMA fighter and undefeated female boxer with huge market value in New York and a big star in women’s boxing, and particularly in New York City.
Shelly they’re very different ladies but Shelly’s story is somewhat similar. She’s also a survivor. She’s had a rough life in a lot of ways, but she’s overcome. It’s a huge attraction in New England and her fight with Heather the first time sold most of the tickets when they fought in Coney Island in Brooklyn. I expect to see an awful lot of fans there to support both these ladies.
First, I’m going ask Heather “The Heat” Hardy, if she’ll say a couple of words. Heather, please.
Heather Hardy: Thank you so much, it’s such a nice introduction, Lou, I almost don’t even know what to say. Thank you, Eddie, thank you Lou for giving us a chance on the card, especially bumping us up to the main show on HBO. I really couldn’t think of a better way to win my first world title than at Madison Square Garden on HBO. So, thank you.
Lou DiBella: Thank you. Shelly “Shelito’s Way” Vincent. Go ahead, Shelly.
Shelly Vincent: I just want to thank you Lou, Eddie also, for getting on this card and giving us the opportunity and HBO for stepping up and Peter Nelson for coming through for us for me and Heather. We both work hard and it’s going to be great for me to come to HBO and shut down Heather’s shot at getting that title, because I’m not leaving without that property. I worked way too hard to leave without it.
Lou DiBella: At this point we’re going to open it up for questions. Just one quick point also, there was no love lost between these ladies for a long time. But as the case with fighters in general, when you get in the ring and you give everything you have and you fight a fight, like they fought the first time, this was really like a female Gatti-Ward fight. That’s reason enough-forget about the sensational men’s fights that are on this card-it’s reason enough to get tickets to go to the Hulu Theater this coming Saturday night the 27th to see this fight because their first fight was a Gatti-Ward of women’s boxing.
When two women get in a ring and they fight that kind of fight, it does cause respect to be there between them. It’s good to see, for me, that both these ladies the respect they now have for each other as warriors. They’re going to go in there on Saturday and they’re going to try to kill each other.
We’re going to open it up for questions now.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Just one note for the media on the call, the HBO World Championship Boxing telecast starts at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Saturday night.
Michael Woods: Hi guys, thanks for taking the time do this. The first question is for Heather, and I’ll also pose it to Shelly. Heather, could you direct, to men and women, people who generally might say I don’t want to watch women fighting, an answer to them and tell them why they should be open-minded and give it a chance?
Heather Hardy: Really, I really don’t think that there are so many people out there who are saying I don’t want to see women fight anymore. I mean, just based on like the feedback that we get from the public from general boxing fans, from social media, I really think those days are over. The few people that you’ve got out here that are saying things like that, there really ain’t nothing you can say to change their mind. Watch the fights, you’ll see.
Michael Woods: Shelly, what about you? Do you come across people who say, ah, I don’t want to watch women fight or like Heather says, is that getting less and less as the years pass?
Shelly Vincent: You really can’t answer that no better than Heather just answered it, pretty much. Everybody gave it a chance. Most people love it now. There are very few that don’t, like she said, there’s nothing that’s going to change their mind. They’re just ignorant.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much, Mike. Our next question comes from John Gatling. Go ahead, John.
John Gatling: Yes, to follow up on what Woodsy just said there, you all had an epic fight in the summer of 2016, it follows Olympic basketball. They had huge numbers, as it was pointed out no love lost. What do you expect to do different this time? This is for both of you and do you predict a knockout in this fight?
Heather Hardy: I could answer first. I’ve answered this in interviews before. I’m not a knockout puncher; I have four knockouts in my 21 fights, so for me to sit here and say, I’m going to knock this girl out. We’re going to see what happens on Saturday. The beautiful thing of this fight camp as opposed to the last one was, the last one we had we had just under three weeks to prepare. I’ve had eight weeks to get strong, to get tough, to get technical. So, I’m really expecting a different show out there than you all seen the first time. I’m sure the intensity is going to be just the same.
Shelly Vincent: Yes, I agree, too. The last time we only had three weeks. That’s not really much time. I completely had the wrong sparring. The girls were my height or smaller or the guys that I was sparring with this time they were taller, they’re going to move more and just the eight weeks makes the difference. I’m also not going to be leaning on my front leg like I was last time, but I think that was due to lack of training. I think it’s going to be a totally different fight, too, just like Heather said. It’s going to be very exciting and non-stop punching just like the first time.
John Gatling: Can you both just briefly expound on how excited you are to fight on HBO? Heather sent the email to Peter Nelson. We saw it. It made the deal happen and everything. Can you just talk about how excited you are to be on HBO in this transitionary stage right now and for so many people to be able to really see what women’s boxing is all about?
Heather Hardy: It’s really nice to have the opportunity. We were the girls who didn’t get a chance to compete in the Olympics. When we were in the amateurs they didn’t have Olympic boxing, Olympic trials, this is my-I was only in the amateurs for one year, but girls who are our age, we didn’t have those kinds of dreams. So, to be able to have this opportunity on HBO, being the older chick, the OGs, it’s really satisfying.
Shelly Vincent: I think it’s a beautiful feeling. It’s something that me and Heather both, but like all women in general been fighting for, especially the ones that came up before all this time. It’s the only thing that we’ve been reaching for and hopefully keeps more women on TV more. It’s a beautiful feeling, the location, just everything’s perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much for the questions, John, really appreciate it. Our next call comes from San Diego, California, Ms. Gayle Falkenthal. Go ahead, Gayle.
Gayle Falkenthal: Good afternoon, everybody. It’s already been mentioned on this call that you two aren’t exactly best friends. So, what is it between you two that got it this way?
Shelly Vincent: It all started where I was just trying to make a fight. She was in New York. I was over here in New England. It was close; it was easy to make. I thought I could beat her. I thought that she got a bunch of gifts and then it got personal, or things that were said. I guess our fans and everything just kept making it more and more personal. So, one thing just led to another but it all just started, we just trying to make a fight. I did it my way and how I wanted to do it and I guess a lot of people didn’t like that.
Gayle Falkenthal: Is there another side to the story on the other side?
Heather Hardy: No, that pretty much sounds about right.
Gayle Falkenthal: For both of you, would you rather fight somebody that you just can’t stand to see their face across from you versus somebody that you know and have a decent relationship? Does that help a little bit fuel the fire?
Shelly Vincent: They’re all the same, ma’am. We’re going in there for one thing and that’s to win. But when there is a situation like me and Heather, I think it makes it better for the people watching because we’re definitely going to go in there and try to rip each other’s heads off.
Heather Hardy: It’s more exciting for the fans because the fans get to where they don’t like us. The fans want to see us get punched in the face. The fans want to see us hit each other for them, so it becomes more exciting for them. This is a job for us. We go into the gym every single day, spar with our sparring partners who are our best, best friends and we’re trying to kill each other. So, I don’t think necessarily that you have to go in there and hate someone to beat them up.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks, very kindly. Our next call comes from Shawn Crouse, go ahead, Shawn.
Shawn Crouse: Hi, thanks for taking my call. I just have a question for both Heather and Shelly. Your last fight was terrific. It was a lot of fun to watch and the fans got a lot out of it. Do you guys feel like you have to live up to the last fight, or is your focus strictly on winning and you’re not going to bother with any unneeded expectations?
Heather Hardy: I don’t think that the first fight came anything outside of natural, so I don’t know that this fight will be anything less, or anything more, because we went in there and we warred, because style’s make fight. That’s our style. I don’t know if there’s any more expectations to put on a show. We’re going to do it again.
Shelly Vincent: I agree, it’s guaranteed fireworks. We’re both going to come forward. I agree. What we did was just natural and it’s going to be the same exact thing this time.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thank you very much, Shawn. Our next question comes from John Cutney Go ahead, John.
John Cutney: Question for Heather to start with. I’ve seen you fight at Barclays Center many times in front of great crowds. You fought high profile MMA cards as well. Does this feel like the pinnacle of your career, the high point up to this point and a related note, and as a result have your preparations been different than some of your other fights?
Heather Hardy: I don’t think it’s the high point of my career. I’ve had so many big ones, like my MMA debut, my pro debut, winning my first WBC title. There were a lot of them where I was losing sleep for. I think the good thing is that I’ve been on the big stage so many times that I don’t feel very overwhelmed by it or outside of myself, like I’m very focused on what I need to do to get the job done.
John Cudney: Great. Shelly, same question-
Lou DiBella: Just to pipe in for one second, though. There is one difference on this fight and that’s both these ladies are getting an opportunity that they’ve been waiting a long time for, and that’s the fight for a world championship. And this fight will be for the WBO Featherweight Championship and that’s something I can you they’ve both been bugging me about for a long time. So, I hope that’s something that is different, ladies.
Shelly Vincent: For me, absolutely, this is the biggest point for me in my career and everything. For one, like Lou said, it’s for the WBO Featherweight Title. I mean, that’s amazing and that’s what we’ve both been asking for so we’re both going to give it our all. It’s just, that’s my only loss to paper. I don’t feel like I lost but that’s my only loss on paper, so of course, do you know what I’m saying, it’s something that I want to fix and I want to show that it’s not-that it wasn’t right. Do you know what I’m saying? It was a controversial loss, and after I beat her that I’m going to automatically fight Heather again because I’m not cool with the tie. Do you know what I’m saying? That’s a fight I immediately want again, and I won’t beat around the bush and make her wait two years and nothing like-we could run it back a week later.
John Cudney: Great. Next question for Heather. I was at the first fight, great fight. It was at the outdoor amphitheater at Coney Island. It was raining horribly that day. I’m just wondering if you think the circumstances of being inside this fight, if that impacted the first fight and if that’s going to make a difference on this fight being at such a different venue.
Heather Hardy: No, I don’t think it matters at all. Your adrenaline is so high before you get into the ring. I don’t think it ever really matters where the ring is, whether it’s outside, inside, on the beach, in the pool. It really doesn’t make a difference; your adrenaline is so high. And, we’re trained as professional fighters that your focus is on the person in front of you, don’t let anything outside really get inside your head.
John Cudney: Thanks. Shelly, same question.
Shelly Vincent: Yes, same thing. I think it’s all heart, blood and guts when you go in there so it doesn’t really matter where you are. It’s one goal and you’re taught to fight through anything. So, it’s not going to make any difference.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much, John. Our next question comes from Shalom Jones. Go ahead, Shalom.
Shalom Jones: Thank you. This is Shalom Jones with [indiscernible] Media. My question is to both Shelly and Heather. The last fight was epic on the [indiscernible] undercard at Brooklyn. Do you feel any added pressure being that this fight is on HBO and it could possibly be one of the last televised HBO fights for you guys to live up to an action-packed fight and HBO’s televised session with a bang?
Heather Hardy: I mean, like I just tried to say to the last guy, every win is a win. There’s no added pressure. There’s nothing extra exciting. In boxing, every time you go into the ring, you have to come out the winner. So, I don’t know necessarily that I feel so much added pressure because it’s on HBO or because it’s for a world title or because we’re been fighting so hard for this fight. I was training to win this fight no matter where it was, when it was, what it was for, whether it was on TV or not. That’s like, added pressure, not so much but yes, the pressure to win is always there.
Shelly Vincent: No added pressure, just like we said in the other one. It’s the same. We’re just going out there for one purpose and one cause and we worked hard. So, we know the first fight was amazing, and it was great on both sides. So, it’s going to be the same and we know that. So, it’s no added pressure; we’re just going to go out there and work and give it our all.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much, Shalom. Our next question comes from Jake Donovan. Go ahead, Jake.
Thanks, appreciate it. I wanted to ask both of you, most of my questions have been already answered. I did want to ask both of you, do you feel like-I know women’s boxing is hitting its peak finally-but do you feel like both of you-are you able to just be boxers? Or, do you feel like you still have to stand for something more than just boxing? It always seems like women’s boxing are forced to stand for some sort of cause. Shelly, I just want to know, do you finally feel like women’s boxing as a whole is gaining respect? Do you like that you can just identify yourself as a boxer or do you feel like you always have to stand for something more than just the sport?
Shelly Vincent: It’s definitely reaching where it needs to be and it’s elevating. It is for sure but it always does feel like, yes, we are fighting a fight in the background and everything and we’re always trying to prove that we belong there and that we do deserve to be in the positions that we are and for equality pay and equality in everything. But, it’s definitely reaching and elevating and we’re getting opportunities now and I think that the big pay days and the big-everything is coming but it’s going to be after we’re gone. But, we had a part of it. But, yes, it’s always a constant fight; that’s the way I feel. But, we’re definitely getting places and it’s getting there.
Jake Donovan: Cool. Thank you, Shelly. Heather, same question.
Heather Hardy: Yes, I mean, women’s boxing is definitely places. The girls in the Olympics, I mean that wasn’t there prior to 2012, so you have these young girls coming up who have things to hope for, dreams to hope for, unlike when girls our age were younger and it was like, what are you going to do with it. So, I think that’s a big thing.
Like, you had asked do we still feel like we have to refer to ourselves as female boxers, none of us girls ever refer to us that way. Everyone else does. We’re just boxers; we’re fighters. We’re athletes. Everyone else refers to us as female boxers and women boxers. I mean, once everybody else stops calling us that, then I think that’s when the question goes away.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thank you, Jake. Thanks very much for the questions. Our next question comes from Jeremy Herriges from fansided.com. Go ahead, Jeremy.
Jeremy Herriges: Hi, ladies. This question goes out to both Heather and Shelly. I know going off of the last question, obviously, again, breaking down the distinction between female and male boxers it’s been an evolution and it’s getting to that point where there are no distinctions. But, what are some of the barriers that you still see women boxers having to face that maybe a male boxer doesn’t have to?
Shelly Vincent: Everything, definitely not the equal pay. We definitely have to beg and Heather had to write the guy, to Peter, to get the opportunity to fight on TV. It’s always a fight for us. It’s not something that we’re just given the opportunity like the men.
Heather Hardy: I would also say you still have only three weight classes of Olympics, girls going to the Olympics. And then that limits the opportunity with the bigger promoters and on the bigger networks. So, it’s like, we’re doing better but there’s still a ways to go.
Jeremy Herriges: What do you feel, Heather, would take as the catalyst to really create major change in the way that women are treated in the sport of boxing?
Heather Hardy: I think that it’s like all the girls who have a microphone have to shout as loud as they can, tell everybody we’re here, this is happening. I remember when I first turned pro, people were like, “Oh my God, they have girl boxers, too?” This was like, seven years ago people didn’t even know that, that females were boxing and that women were professional fighters and were doing it as their job and stuff. It’s everybody’s responsibility, the fighters, the promoter, the managers to just get the word out there.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much, Jeremy. Our next question comes from Jay Kemp. Go ahead, Jay.
Jay Kemp: Hi, girls. Obviously, the sport is growing. We’re hitting more and more TV stations, premium, free, you guys have been on Premier Boxing Champions. How is this affecting you out in the personal day life? Are people starting to recognize you based on all of this popularity?
Heather Hardy: Not really. Boxing isn’t the most popular sport. It’s not like baseball where you play 162 games a year and everyone sees your face every day. Everyone in my neighborhood knows me; everyone around knows me. People knew me more of doing the MMA fights. I don’t know that necessarily just fighting on TV for boxing didn’t happen yet.
Shelly Vincent: I think the same, too. I’m sorry, too. I’m trying to pack my stuff and go and answer the questions because I have to go one of my medicals. But, I think the same people know us. I think that the opportunity with us being on TV is going to make more people notice us and people that didn’t see us, see women’s boxing before so I think that’s going to open up doors for us to get more well-known.
Jay Kemp: As always, you guys are always putting on a show, in the ring, outside the ring. I can’t wait for this Saturday and take care of business, both of you.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Our next question comes from Daniel Yanofsky. Go ahead, Daniel.
Daniel Yanofsky: Hi, guys. This is Dan Yanofsky from Double G Sports. Heather, we recently spoke back in 2017 about women’s opportunities in boxing. Since then, you’ve done MMA, you’ve done both boxing, and over the past few weeks we’ve seen Mikaela Mayer and Katie Taylor both televised boxing and seeing them fight to the best of their ability. How does it feel to continue the momentum of women’s boxing to the point where, like we said before, we don’t want to feel it’s called or recognized as women’s boxing, and just call it boxing?
Heather Hardy: It’s really an honor to be able to be carrying the torch along with girls like that, Olympic-level athletes. So, to be able to be mentioned along with them, it’s really an honor. It’s what I’ve been fighting. It’s what Shelly and I have been fighting our whole career for, the opportunities and the recognition, knowing that we missed out on those Olympic years. It will give hope to maybe some of our peers who didn’t get, who kind of aged out of the Olympic trials and so forth.
Daniel Yanofsky: My next question is for Shelly. When you prepare for a fight like this, knowing your opponent, does it feel like you need to one-up yourself for the next fight or is there no added pressure to this?
Shelly Vincent: I think definitely I got to up myself. It’s a rematch. It’s a rematch that I haven’t lost on paper. And, yes, I got to up everything up. I work extra hard for this and everything, so yes.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks so much, Daniel. Heather and Shelly, we’d like you to thank you both very much for taking the time here.
We’d like to reintroduce Eddie Hearn from Matchroom Boxing USA to introduce his charge Daniel Jacobs. Go ahead, Eddie.
Eddie Hearn: Thank you to both ladies. That was a fantastic conference call there. It went very well for both and I’m looking forward to that fight on Saturday.
This main event is an absolute cracker, I think. A lot of people in the sport of boxing are looking forward to this fight, Daniel Jacobs against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, for the IBF Middleweight Championship of the World. Of course, right now I think the middleweight division is the key division in boxing. You’ve seen that great two fights between Canelo and GGG, and also Demetrius Andrade becoming WBO World Champion on Saturday. And I think the winner of this fight is particularly primed to fight Canelo next May, as well. So, for Danny Jacobs coming off two good wins against Sulecki and Arias, ready for this challenge. This is the big challenge for him. It’s a chance for him to become IBF World Champion.
Right now, I’m going to pass over to the former WBA Middleweight Champion of the World, “The Miracle Man” Daniel Jacobs.
Daniel Jacobs: Thanks, Eddie, I appreciate that. How’s everyone doing? It’s a great opportunity for me to finally be-I just got back from New York last night so I’m just getting back. Glad I made it. It feels good to be home. I’m looking forward to this wonderful opportunity that I have to win the IBF Championship of the World, a respected belt that I’m going to work my butt for; I have worked my butt off for.
I’m just looking for Saturday night. I’m really, really anxious and really, really excited. I just can’t wait. It’s going to be a great opportunity for me, and it’s against a really, really, truly worth opponent, an opponent that the fans respect and that it’s going to bring the best out of me. So, Saturday night, guys, I just hope everyone can make it. I hope everyone can tune in, and you’re not going to definitely want to miss this fight.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Our first call comes from Michael Woods from Brooklyn, New York. Go ahead, Michael.
Michael Woods: Hi, Danny. This is Mike Woods on the line. My question is, ripping off that promo show that I saw that said you and Sergiy sparred 300+ rounds, I’m wondering if you could characterize that. Did you feel that you had the upper hand and possibly what are some of the things you learned from sparring him so much?
Daniel Jacobs: Hey, Mike, how you doing? But, to answer your question, I mean, it was very intense sparring matches. You’re dealing with a guy who had over 400+ amateur fights, a guy who’s very durable, very tough. But, you also have to realize that this is a world championship and regardless as to how those sparring sessions went, this is for both of our dreams that we’re trying to accomplish. And, nothing really stands in the way of that. This is the reason why this fight is happening because if it was an ideal situation for my trainers, or for my trainer, he would have us both be world champions in the same division and never fight each other. But, that’s impossible because one day I want to be the undisputed middleweight champion. So, there is no one standing in the way of my dreams.
Those sparring sessions were competitive and this is why I know that this fight will be even more competitive because a sparring session is totally different from a professional boxing match. There’s more dangers, there’s more things to be aware of, and there’s not an IBF title on the line when you’re in there sparring with head gear and 16-ounce gloves on, too.
So, it just makes the stakes higher and it just makes for an even better fight. This is why I’m really, really happy that I have this opportunity with such a talented guy.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Mike, thanks very much. Our next question comes from Gayle Falkenthal. Go ahead, Gayle.
Gayle Falkenthal: Good afternoon. Daniel, a lot of things are happening in the middleweight division. It seems like a lot of cards are shuffling. We had a little bit of an upset over the weekend. We have Saunders who knows where. Where do you see yourself? Is this a time for you to be able to take advantage of this?
Daniel Jacobs: Yeah, I think it’s a great time to just be a middleweight in general. I think it’s a great time to have an opportunity for a middleweight championship. This is why I was training so hard in my training camp and I prepared myself 100%. And, I think when I’m in there with really good opposition that my skill, my awareness, and everything goes up. They say sometimes when you fight lower to who you are sometimes you might fall into a trap and fight at the level of your opposition. But this one is a great opponent for me and I’m looking forward to giving the fans a good fight.
But, not only is it going to be a good fight but there’s so much at stake for a championship and then for the near future. So, for all of this in the back of my mind, it’s truly allowed me to push myself in training camp, allowed me to get into a mental place where I’m going to be ready for any and everything. So, I’m grateful for all the opportunities that come my way.
Like I said, this opportunity was never supposed to present itself. I never was supposed to have this second chance. So, the fact that I even have a chance to fight for a belt, I’m just so grateful for it and to be in one of the hottest divisions, I truly, truly look forward to taking advantage of all of these things.
Gayle Falkenthal: Do you think the timing is perfect? I mean, here you are, it’s a good-it seems like the perfect time for you to make a statement, to remind everybody, hey, I’m still over here, guys.
Daniel Jacobs: Well, I never felt like I got lost in the sauce, but yes, it is a time to get a middleweight belt and to campaign for some of these bigger and better fights.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much, Gayle. Our next question comes from Eddie Goldman. Go ahead, Eddie.
Eddie Goldman: Hi, thank you very much. Danny, I have a question about this particular fight. Other than some of the obvious things like height and reach, what do you see as your advantages in this fight over Derevyanchenko?
Daniel Jacobs: I feel like I’m the strongest middleweight that he had stepped in the ring professionally with. The height and the reach are some key things, especially when I set my mind to be being a boxer I can do that very well. But, also, if I want to come forward or be a counter puncher or even just want to outright brawl, I do believe that I have the power to back it up. So, there’s a lot of dangers inside this fight when it comes to both of us. But for me, I truly feel like I have the best advantages.
Eddie Goldman: What also about the issue of professional experience and the level of opponents that you’ve had as a pro? How would you rate that?
Daniel Jacobs:Once you put on ten-ounce gloves and you actually go in there and compete with the best, all of these dangers that you have inside the ring, that’s when you’ll truly know. So, I feel like that I have the advantages when it comes to the mental aspect of the experience of knowing I can go full 12 solid rounds with the best of them and compete at an all-time high level. I mean, I know that. I have it in my bank, I have it in the gas tank already.
A guy that’s inexperienced with only 12 fights, I would presume that it would be a second guess on his behalf. So, only time will tell but for me, I’m just 100% physically and mentally ready.
Eddie Goldman: Would you like to make a prediction for the fight?
Daniel Jacobs: No. I do see my hand being raised, but how I get the victory I have no idea, but I’m willing to get it any way I can.
Eddie Goldman: Question for both of you. If you remember, Lou was involved in this back in the day in 2001 with the World Championship Middleweight Series. We have a situation today which everybody understands you have a lot of really excellent fighters and you don’t have a unified, undisputed champion. Do you think the conditions exist for another middleweight tournament with so many of these top middleweights that we have out there today?
Eddie Hearn: Yeah [overlapping voices]. Okay, thanks, Lou. From my side, I think that you’re going to see a lot of these big unification fights. Danny’s made no secret of the-his controversial loss to Gennady Golovkin that he wants to fight the winner of Canelo against Golovkin. Obviously, Canelo won that fight and although Danny’s eyes are on Saturday, obviously, we’ll particularly want the Canelo fight if he’s successful and we believe he will be on Saturday.
So, you’ve got another champion in Demetrius Andrade who is certainly willing to have unification bout to step up]. So, I think now with the championships spreading out over to three champions, and Canelo’s 11 fight deal, he’s going to be needing many, many opponents and certainly the winner of Saturday night is in prime position to fight Canelo probably on Cinco de Mayo.
I think all the guys who are champions now are not guys that are going to want trough [ph] defenses or a number of voluntary defenses once they get their belt. They’re all at a stage where they’re ready for big fights. Danny’s a former champion. Andrade is now three-time world champion. Canelo is obviously open to fight anyone. So, I think the division is opening up nicely to see all the big unification bouts].
Eddie Goldman: Lou, do you think it could be done having gone through that back in 2001?
Lou DiBella: I think, look, boxing is a business and right now the middleweight division when you get past the heavyweights, the middleweight division is a money division and there’s a lot of big fights to be made. And I think the fact that those fights are so interesting to boxing fans, the fact that you’re asking this question, I think that there’s a very meaningful shot that you’re going to just see big middleweight fight after big middleweight fight.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much, Eddie. Our next question comes from Jeremy Herriges with fansided.com. Go ahead, Jeremy.
Jeremy Herriges: Hi, Danny. How weird will it be seeing Gary Stark in the opposite corner and how do you keep emotions out of it?
Daniel Jacobs: Lou just said it. This is a business and that’s how we’re both taking it. So, it’s really no different from me seeing Gary on the opposite side of the ring when we’re sparring and Gary telling him how to get the best of me in sparring. I look at it as the same but the stakes are just higher. It’s really not a personal thing for me, even though I’ve known Gary for longer and he once worked my corner. To me it’s more so it’s just about who he’s doing the best for his fighter. So, I have nothing but respect and I can’t do anything but respect the idea of it. My thing is this, there’s no one that’s going to get in the way of me reaching my goals. And, I see the same for those guys.
So, it’s really not awkward but if I could have it a different way, I mean, obviously I would, but there’s truly no other way around it. And I knew that this would be an opportunity-well not an opportunity, I know this could potentially be a fight once Sergiy Derevyanchenko came on the table. I knew he was another middleweight guy that can potentially reach the top that I may have to fight one day.
I don’t believe in sharing belts. I want to be the undisputed. The idea was always in the back of my mind. But, I have the upmost respect for Gary. I have the upmost respect for Sergiy. And, I think it’s going to go for a more interesting and better fight when we’ve known each other for so long and there’s history with us. It’s just a good time. The fans are going to be the ones who are going to benefit of it the most.
Jeremy Herriges: Again, talking about how you are peers and are kind of so close here with their personnel and guys that you work with, do you have any sort of personal relationship with Sergiy?
Daniel Jacobs: There’s no personal relationship. I mean I don’t dislike the guy. I think he’s a really phenomenal, humble gentleman. But, he doesn’t know English so it’s really hard for us to have any relationship outside of the gym or saying hello and goodbye. I haven’t heard him say five English words. So, it’s really like, it’s kind of hard to have a real relationship with somebody that can’t speak English. But, I do know that he’s a very nice guy. I do know that he’s always respectful. He’s very humble. I know these things.
But none of that stuff matters when so much is at stake. You got to understand. When you’ve been fighting all your life and you get this close to your goal, it really didn’t matter who is in there. It could have been Andre Rozier at the opposite side of the ring.
Jeremy Herriges: Final question. You talked about Sergiy’s extensive amateur career, but he only has 12 fights as a professional. From your point of view, do you think that’s a mistake that he’s maybe not quite ready for you yet?
Daniel Jacobs: Only time will tell, but I do feel like I do have a lot of the experience, or I have more experience than he does in the professional world. He’s fundamentally sound. He has that background which gives him the skill and the mindset of knowing what to do inside that ring. But actually, going inside that ring and doing it and putting in the work and going 12 rounds multiple times and having all of these different fights, I mean, you learn, you’re learning how to be a true professional fighter because there’s really not a lot of things used in amateur fighting.
There’s not a lot of things to look out for in amateur boxing. Once the head gear comes off, once the 10 ounce gloves come on and you’re fighting men and you’re doing all these different things, that’s where the experience comes. So, I definitely have the edge on experience but you really won’t know until you get inside that ring. I mean, this guy is a very talented guy so I think he’s going to bring the best out of me and it’s really going to be a good fight.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Okay. We’ll take one final call for Daniel from Shalom Jones. Go ahead, Shalom.
Shalom Jones: Yes. This is Shalom Jones with Jackal Fitness]. Danny, you being a local Brownsville guy, could you just describe the feeling of having the ability to bring the title back for the second time to your city, and fighting in front of so many friends, and family members and people that watched you come up through the amateur ranks?
Daniel Jacobs: Thank you, brother, for that question. I think it’s a true blessing and great opportunity for me to represent, not only just New York boxing, but coming from Brownsville where boxing has been the essence of the neighborhood. We’ve had heroes, obviously, like Mike and Shannon and Zab and all these different guys that I grew up watching. Having that same opportunity to fight for a world championship and bring the belt, not just back to Brooklyn, but back to Brownsville, l mean, that’s significant and I don’t take that lightly. But, all of these things I keep in the back of my mind when I’m training.
Then, I’ve just recently seen that there’s a billboard in Brownsville of the fight, which is a really, really big accomplishment. I mean, I was more excited about that billboard being in Brownsville than I was of a billboard being in Times Square. That just goes to show you how meaningful it is to our culture, how meaningful it is to Brownsville in bringing this belt back because the belt represents hope and God-willing I get this victory, we’re going to have a parade in Brownsville.
We’re going to make sure that these people see it because it ain’t just about me, but it’s about all the people that not only believed in me, but all of the people that come from the same struggle that I came from, that had a dream, that’s willing to do anything to accomplish it.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Danny, thanks very much. We’re going to let you get back to your training. If you have any closing comments, go ahead, please.
Daniel Jacobs: Well, I’m looking forward to this fight. I truly, truly am. I know it’s going to be one heck of a fight for even how long it does last. I mean, the fans are going to get their moneys’ worth. You guys are not going to want to miss this. I’m going to put it all on the line come Saturday and I’m looking forward to a really competitive fight. If you guys can make it, make it. There are still tickets on sale but if you can’t, make sure you tune into HBO and support this fight because this is one of the best middleweight fights that could be made at this time.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much, Daniel. We’ll see you this week in New York City for the fight week media events.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Next up, we’ll have Sergiy Derevyanchenko on the line for the Q&A. Lou, if you want to go ahead and introduce Sergiy?
Lou DiBella: Yes, I just want to start by saying I’ve known Danny since he was a teenager and there are very few guys in this sport who are better athletes or better people or more of a role model than Daniel Jacobs. His Miracle Man nickname is deserved. Very few people expected him to be here at this point and frankly, he’s defeated cancer. He’s not a guy that’s intimidated or scared by any fighter and I have nothing but admiration for Danny.
But, on this Saturday night, October 27th, I think he has his hands full and I think it’s the second most accomplished guy he’s ever fought, and I know that’s saying a lot because Danny’s fought some great fighters, including Gennady Golovkin. People have to remember, even though Sergiy Derevyanchenko is a very difficult name to spell, and not a particularly well-known guy who hasn’t had as much television as he deserves, he had 390 amateur wins against only 20 losses, the most decorated amateur middleweight of the last generation along with Gennady Golovkin.
This is a superbly talented guy who did fight professionally in the World Series of Boxing after his real amateur career. He’s had 12 fights because frankly, not speaking English, not being from the states and not having a household name, he’s an easy guy to avoid. He had to earn this spot as this number one contender and earn this opportunity to fight for the IBF belt. Some of that earning process involved, literally, sitting and waiting and waiting out the politics of this sport.
On Saturday night, on the 27th, he’s finally getting this opportunity he’s waited so long for, and I think Danny said that he thought he had an advantage in professional experience. I think an advantage that Sergiy has on Saturday night is hunger. He literally is hungry. He has a family; he has kids.
Despite his hard work, and mine and his management, he hasn’t made the money yet that he deserves and the only way that’s going to happen for him is by beating Daniel Jacobs on Saturday night. I have a feeling, on Saturday night, when either the ten count is called on a fighter or the 12th round is over, everybody is going to know who Sergiy Derevyanchenko is.
Sergiy, can you say a few words?
Vladimir (translating for Sergiy Derevyanchenko): He just wants to say hello to everyone that’s out there on the phone and line and thank you, everyone, for participating on the call.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much, Sergiy. Thanks very much, Vladimir. Our first question comes from Mike Woods. Go ahead, Mike.
Michael Woods: Hi, Sergiy. My question for you is what did you learn from those 300+ rounds of sparring Daniel Jacobs?
Vladimir (translating for Sergiy Derevyanchenko): The sparring was very good. We helped each other out. It was a lot of technical work that we both learned from each other and at the end of the day, it was just a lot of good work.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks, Mike. Our next question comes from Jake Donovan. Go ahead, Jake.
Jake Donovan: Yes. Sergiy, my question for you, I know you haven’t been the most active boxer since entering the pro ranks. Do you feel like that’s more to your benefit? I know more fighters prefer to fight more per year. You’ve only fought like once or twice a year for the past few years. Is that actually by design?
Lou DiBella: Jake, let me jump in for one second. No, that wasn’t by design. He would have preferred to have fought more often. We had to go through the politics of boxing to get him the opportunity to fight against Tureano Johnson for a mandatory position. Then, when you’re sitting in the mandatory position, you have to be available, and available means inactive until that opportunity presents itself.
Because if you schedule a fight, particularly if you’re a guy like Sergiy, who’s an excellent fighter, a dangerous fighter, and a guy who’s capable of beating anybody, you can’t risk missing your opportunity. I know he would have preferred to fight more often, I’m sure he’s going to tell you that right now, and he can. Frankly, we should have been able to keep him busier and some of that’s on me, but it’s really on the television’s willingness to buy a guy that doesn’t have big name recognition and the ability to get optional opponents who will fight a monster like Sergiy when they don’t have to.
I’ll let him take it from there, but I know he wanted to fight more often, and so the last couple of years were a little bit limited in terms of his availability to fight by his position waiting for his shot to fight for the mandatory, and then waiting as the mandatory.
Vladimir (translating for Sergiy Derevyanchenko): He said, of course, I wanted more fights, and like Lou said, it’s not always in my control but at the end of the day, I’ve been training. I’m always training, I’m always active so I don’t have to work as hard as maybe other people do to get in shape. Then, for this particular camp, it was a great camp. We had great sparring partners that we brought in and all I can say is that I’m ready.
Jake Donovan: Alright. I just have one more question. Danny was speaking that when Sergiy first came to the camp that he always viewed him as someone that could potentially be in this position, to where, even though they’re sparring partners, they would have to fight for the title. Did Sergiy always kind of get that sense as well, the moment he ended up at this camp?
Vladimir (translating for Sergiy Derevyanchenko): Yes, I always thought about it. I mean, when we were working together in the gym and training, I always thought about what it would be like if we were fighting together, but I think about that with other folks so now the time has come and its just reality.
Jake Donovan: Okay, great. Thanks. Then, Lou, I actually have one more question for you. I know you’ve seen around how hard it’s always been to get Sergiy a fight in the past. Should he win on Saturday, do you feel like now, with everything going on in the middleweight division that actually becomes a little bit easier for you, being the relationships, he’s been able to build, especially with his own now on the scene?
Lou DiBella: Yes, there’s no question. I mean, first of all, there are more players now in the middleweight division. There’s more money in the middleweight division and there’s two of boxing’s biggest stars in the middleweight division, including its biggest megastar-Canelo.
The real advantage of this, people are getting a great opportunity, fans, to come out to a smaller venue at Hulu Theater where there isn’t a bad seat and see really two elite guys compete in what is a real outcome and doubt kind of 50/50 fight. If Sergiy beats Danny Jacobs, who’s one of the biggest names in boxing, it’s going to be in sensational fashion because it’s going to be a sensational fight.
This is a competitive fight and it’s not going to be a chess match, it’s not going to be a track meet, it’s going to be a fight. I believe that Sergiy Derevyanchenko is going to emerge from Saturday night as a star and I think that that’s been his destiny for a long time. It’s coming against someone he knows very well, but as Danny pointed out earlier, there’s a big difference between sparring and getting in there when everything is on the line.
I think that the difference in this fight is going to be what it means to each guy. Danny has already-he’s been able to achieve a lot. I know he wants to be unified champion, but Danny doesn’t have to worry, at the moment, about feeding his family and being able to do the things that he’s worked all his life for. He’s already reaped some of those rewards. Sergiy hasn’t and I think on Saturday night you’re going to see the best of Sergiy Derevyanchenko. I think the winner of that fight is going to make a lot of money.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thank you. Our next question comes from Kenneth Bouhairie. Go ahead, Kenneth.
Kenneth Bouhairie: Yes, hi, Sergiy. With all the middleweight bouts that have occurred in recent weeks and talk of getting Danny Jacobs in the mix, do you feel that you’re being overlooked at all?
Vladimir (translating for Sergiy Derevyanchenko): He said, well, if they are overlooking me or if they’re not talking about me then maybe they don’t have anything to talk about me about. So, after this fight, when I show what I am, then all the boxing fans and people who follow the sport will have something to talk about and they will appreciate my technical prowess and they will appreciate what I bring to the sport.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thank you, Kenneth. Our next question comes from Eddie Goldman for Sergiy. Go ahead, Eddie.
Eddie Goldman: Thank you very much. Hi, Sergiy. I have question about what you think your advantages are in this fight, particularly since Danny has more pro fights, you’ve probably had more amateur fights. But, what do you think your advantages are in this fight coming up Saturday?
Vladimir: Well, it has to be amateur background. I have a huge amateur background. His is not anything close to mine, so that would be the advantage.
Eddie Goldman: You’ve also won your last several fights by knockout. Is there going to be any pressure on you to go for the knockout or do you just take it if comes and prepare to fight 12 rounds if you have to?
Vladimir (translating for Sergiy Derevyanchenko): If it has to go the distance, I’m ready because I’ve trained for it. But, of course, I would love to try to end the fight sooner with an exclamation point, like I would always try to do, more so that the fans can have the excitement and give the fans what it is that they want.
He said he never actually goes in and searches for the knockout. What happens is he’s trained his whole life to throw combinations the way he throws them and it just becomes automatic at some point. And when the punches start throwing and those combinations land, the knockouts happen.
Eddie Goldman: And lastly, Sergiy, would you like to make a prediction for the fight?
Vladimir (translating for Sergiy Derevyanchenko): I don’t like to give predictions on fights. All I could tell you is that I trained very hard; it was a very hard camp. I take this very serious. This is the most serious thing that I’ve been involved with and I am more than ready for the opportunity.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much, Eddie. We’re going to take one more question for Sergiy so he can get back to training. This is from Terrell Van from Philadelphia. Go ahead, Terrell.
Terrell Van: Yeah, how are you doing? I just have one question for Sergiy. If you were to win on Saturday, you would likely inherit the title of being the Bogeyman. Can you give a statement to the 130-pound division just in case any politics might arise in regards to you getting fights if you win or the big fights?
Vladimir (translating for Sergiy Derevyanchenko): Well, I don’t think anyone will be afraid of me because at the end of the day, if I have the belt, that opens up all the opportunities for me and for other fighters. And, real fighters who want to be champions should fight guys that have the belts. And if I have a belt and all it should do is make people excited and hungry to challenge me the same way that I feel right now.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks, Terrell. Vladimir, if you could ask Sergiy for any closing comments and we’ll let him get back to training.
Vladimir (translating for Sergiy Derevyanchenko): I just want to say thank you to first all the boxing fans out there that have been supporting me and that have been giving me messages. I really appreciate it. Of course I also want to thank Lou DiBella and I want to thank all the organizers and all the promoters that have helped me and that have put these shows on that have given me the opportunity and just want to thank everyone for being on the call.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thank you, Sergiy. Thank you, Vladimir. We now move to the co-feature fight on Saturday night. We have on the line Alberto Machado, the champion who is defending his title against Yuandale Evans. He will be assisted here by his interpreter, Bryan Perez from Cotto Promotions.
Bryan, if you could ask Alberto to make an opening comment please? Bryan, are you there? Operator?
Bryan Perez: And joining the call from Miguel Cotto Promotions, we would like to introduce WBA Super Featherweight Champion of the World, the undefeated Alberto Josue Machado.
Bryan Perez (translating for Alberto Machado): I’m very happy. Thank you, everyone, for being here with me on the call. I’m very excited to be back performing in New York for my second title defense.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Our first question comes from Carlos Toro from Puerto Rico. Go ahead, Carlos.
Carlos Toro: Thank you and thank you, Alberto, for taking time to speak with us. First of all, you are in an incredibly deep division with the likes of Tevin Farmer, Gervonta Davis, Miguel Berchelt, and so many others. If you emerge victorious, would you like to face off against one of those champions? I know there was talk of potentially Francisco Vargas wanting to fight you. Is that also another fight that you want to face?
Bryan Perez (translating for Alberto Machado): I’m totally focused and concentrated on Yuandale Evans on my next fight this upcoming Saturday. But, of course I’m very, very open and I would love to face the big names of the 130 division, so if that pops up, any opportunity we’ll grab it on 2019. But, I’m focused on giving all my fans, all the Puerto Rico fans a big win this Saturday night.
Carlos Toro: Alberto, you’ve sparred-you’re going to be fighting at Madison Square Garden. Obviously Miguel Cotto and many other great Puerto Rican champions have fought there. How does it feel to be a part of that legacy, of Puerto Rican fighters competing at Madison Square Garden?
Bryan Perez (translating for Alberto Machado): For me, it’s a dream come true fighting at the Garden like the greatest, Miguel Cotto, Felix Trinidad, Hector Camacho. For me, it’s an honor to be there and also fighting on HBO. I became a champion on the network, and now I’m just fighting back and defending my title on HBO and at the Garden will be great. It’s a dream come true. Like the other big names, as I mentioned [indiscernible] Cotto and Hector Camacho did, so I want my name to be there. So, it’s a pleasure for me and give [indiscernible] to all the Puerto Rican fans around the world.
Carlos Toro: Lastly, you won the title with a knockout and then in your first title defense you showed that you can sustain a dominant performance throughout all 12 rounds. Do you predict that this will go the distance or do you believe that you’re going to win by knockout?
Bryan Perez (translating for Alberto Machado): All my team and Miguel Cotto Promotions, we all know that we have power in both hands. But, we’re not pursuing the knockout. We’ll work to the distance and if it happens, it happens. But, you want to have a solid win on Saturday night for all my fans and all of Puerto Rico as a mecca of boxing, so that’s what I’m concentrating on.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much, Carlos. Our next call comes Terrell Van, Philadelphia. Go ahead, Terrell.
Terrell Van: A question for Machado, how do you feel about the WBA making Gervonta Davis the super champion and you the world champion, even though you’ve been champion longer?
Bryan Perez (translating for Alberto Machado): Yes, I just want to congratulate Gervonta because he deserves it. But, everyone knows in boxing that I am the real-world champion at the WBA Super Featherweight Division. I dethroned the champion in that moment that was Jezreel Corrales a year ago, and everyone knows all the sacrifices that I have been through. So, what happened with the WBA they will know, but I know, and everyone knows that I am the true world champion.
Terrell Van: One more question, it’s safe to assume that possibly after this fight, if you are victorious, that you can possibly be heading over to the streaming at Da Zone. Tevin Farmer just had a win. He’s also in the 130 pound division IBF champion. Is that a fight that interests you in 2019?
Bryan Perez (translating for Alberto Machado): I’m very happy with my promotional company. I’ve been with them for five, six years with Miguel Cotto Promotions and now working together with Golden Boy. So, whatever my company decides I will follow. My job is to train hard, get concentrated and I’m working with Freddie Roach in LA; I feel more concentrated. The best business and the best opportunity for everybody we’ll grab. So, that’s all I have to say.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Terrell, thank you very much. Bryan, if you could ask Alberto for some closing comments and what the fans in New York City can expect to see?
Bryan Perez (translating for Alberto Machado): I just want to say that I’m very happy with this opportunity. I just can’t wait to fight on Saturday night. I just want to add that, as I said, one of the best camps in my 20 fights as a pro, and I’m very excited to be back in the ring on HBO this Saturday night. And so, I thank all the people involved, HBO, Peter Nelson, Golden Boy and Miguel Cotto Promotions for this great opportunity, so I can’t wait to see you all on Saturday night at the Garden.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Alberto, thanks very much. Bryan, thanks so much for interpreting. Thanks very much to the national media for joining us today. Again, doors open at the Hulu Theater at 6 p.m. at Madison Square Garden this Saturday night. HBO World Championship Boxing starts at 10 p.m. Eastern, Pacific time also. Thank you very much for joining us. This concludes this call.