Thank you so much for being on today’s call. Very excited to have all the fighters here. We only have ten days to go until the big Saturday, June 9 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING World Championship double header which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions. Tickets are still available. They begin at $50 here at STAPLES Center. We had a tremendous demand already. The gross gate already exceeds what those two guys did the first time around, so I do expect a sell out at the STAPLES Center.
I want to introduce to you first, Chris DeBlasio, the Senior Vice President of Sports Communications from SHOWTIME. I think Chris wants to make a few opening comments. And of course, I like to always thank my good friend, Stephen Espinoza, for his commitment to the sport as well. Chris, do you want to say a few words?
Thanks, Richard and thank you to the fighters for your patience. We’re really excited for this particular fight card. First off, we’re excited to be back in Los Angeles. The fight crowd in Southern California is knowledgeable, excitable, usually star-studded as well. It always makes for a great experience in the arena and that translates onto television and that’s what we’re about, putting on exciting fight cards on our network.
STAPLES Center is a world-class venue. We’re thrilled to be back there. It’s been more than five years since we’ve had an event there. The bottom line is that SHOWTIME continues to lead the boxing industry. We’re delivering the largest slate of live events week after week and month after month. These are the most pivotal match-ups, the most competitive match-ups in boxing’s deepest divisions. It’s just a fact for literally SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event after event.
On Saturday June 9, we have two world title fights with four men ranked in the top 10 of their respective divisions. The main event features two guys that are top five ranked champions. The four fighters on this card have a few things in common. First off, they’ve been amongst the most prolific fighters on our network in the recent era. Between Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares, Jermell Charlo, and Austin Trout, they fought a combined 41 times on SHOWTIME. That includes a few SHOWTIME pay-per-view events. That’s a pretty remarkable number.
Our audience is familiar with their exciting style and their aggressiveness. Secondly — and I think it’s as important or more important really — these guys have consistently sought the top opposition fight after fight. That’s all four of them. Over the past three years, our network has delivered many 154-pound world title fights, many featuring Austin Trout and Jermell Charlo and Saturday will be our 10th.
We continue to see the best fighters fight the best opposition fight after fight and we’re seeing a move closer and closer towards identifying one, true champion, the one man to beat, at super welterweight. And that’s a really exciting prospect in a deep division like that. Likewise, for the main event on Saturday, SHOWTIME has had four high-stakes featherweight bouts on our network in just the past two months. That’s another division that’s long on talent and the stars of the sport are continuing to battle for the top spot fight after fight.
So again, I thank you for your patience and letting me drop that in there. I think it’s important. We’re thrilled at SHOWTIME to be able to put on fights like this with incredible athletes like the four men we have on Saturday. So, Richard, back to you.
Thank you Chris. Our main event is the rematch of one of 2015’s most exciting battles, the Featherweight World Championship between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares. And finally, we are here again where those two all-action warriors will meet, not only for the bragging rights here in Los Angeles, but really, who is gonna be the king of the 126 pound weight class, one of the deepest weight classes in the sport.
The co-main event pits the WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Jermell Charlo against the former world champion, Austin Trout. It’s a 12-round co-main event and with Charlo, we have certainly one of the most exciting fighters in the world today, not only with how he performs inside the ring, but his charisma and the way he carries himself outside of the ring as well. So, it’s really a special treat to have Jermell here in Los Angeles defending his WBC Super Welterweight World Championship.
He’s going to be facing Austin Trout, a fighter who certainly is one of the craftiest in the sport, has a record of 31 wins with only 4 loses. He is trained now by one of the best trainers in the sport, Barry Hunter. He has been a world champion, former WBA Super Welterweight World Champion. I know he wants to take this opportunity and become a world champion again.
We all remember how he turned back Miguel Cotto at the Madison Square Garden back in 2012 and he was also the last fighter to go the distance with Jermall Charlo, losing to him in May 2015. It’s a pleasure now to turn it over to Austin Trout to make a few opening comments and then open it up for questions. Austin?
Yes, I’m happy to be here. I’m ready to get this going. Woken up from a nap and I’ve got training to go to. Let’s go.
Let me introduce to you the man, as I mentioned to you before, one of the toughest fighters in the sport, Jermell Charlo. He’s undefeated. He’s the WBC Super Welterweight World Champion. He has a tremendous personality and he’s just knocking out people. He is from Houston, Texas and trained by Derrick James in Dallas. He is now in Santa Monica this month to finish up camp. As a matter of fact, for those of you that are in around Los Angeles, make sure you stop by tomorrow for the open that media workout.
He won his world title with sensational knock-out of John Jackson in 2015. And of course, him and his twin brother, we all know them, became the first twins to hold world titles simultaneously in the same division in boxing which is boxing history in 2015. And it seems like every time he enters the ring, he outdoes his highlight reel knock-out over and over. And it’s a pleasure, it’s a treat, for all fight fans here and around Los Angeles and, those watching live on SHOWTIME to welcome Jermell Charlo to the STAPLES Center on June the 9th. Please, Jermell.
Only thing I got to say is that Austin Trout is a phenomenal fighter. I’m pleased to be able to face off and square up with a former world champion and someone that has a heart, some one that comes with a dog mentality. We’re all looking to put on a 12-round fight for you guys and we both train our asses off in training camp. I’m ready to deliver whatever I have to deliver at the moment.
Austin, what made you change trainers to Barry Hunter and can you tell us how it’s been going in training camp so far?
Yes, I was with Barry like two years. And then when I stayed home for the next few fights against Jarrett Hurd and then Juan DeAngel, the results were not what I needed or wasn’t what I liked. So I went back to what was working and the only reason why I stopped going to Barry was for the Hurd fight because Hurd trained in the same area and that’s where I actually met Hurd was in Barry’s gym, so, I tried to stay home for that.
Which was a big mistake in my opinion. But things are going good, we’re training good. We’re back and we picked up where we left off and I have to be at my best for a fighter like Jermell, so I had to go get to a place where I was able to get to my best.
In the Hurd fight I felt like, I don’t wanna say issues, but I gassed out. It was really dehydration. But at the same time, I think we would have prepared for the heat that Hurd was going to bring, because Barry does know him. The mistake was that he makes you give your best and accept nothing less than your best. I was able not necessarily able to do what I wanted. So we came back to what was working.
Can you compare Hurd and Jermell maybe what they do differently and how they compare as fighters?
Jermell has a boatload more skills. In my opinion, Hurd’s not very skilled, he’s just a big, tough dude. And Jermell, he’s tough and he’s bigger than most junior middleweights, but he’s also skilled. So we gotta worry about definitely his skillset as opposed to just him taking punishment and making you wind out from beating him up, because that’s what happened with Hurd. I just beat him up until I ran out, till I couldn’t beat him up anymore.
I was just worn down. I had to go to the hospital for dehydration which I’ve never experienced. We were throwing some heat for those first six, seven rounds. And we bugged him a couple times and I felt like with just a little bit more and a little bit more each round until I had nothing left. And that’s when he came on.
Jermell, just wondering if you could tell us what you thought of Austin’s performance against Jarrett Hurd?
Every fight is different. I never like to worry about what they do and what they did different. Fighter’s styles make fights. Like Trout emphasized on earlier, he got worn out and dehydration does that. With Barry, someone who trains you the way you would fight and the way which you would go through the ring, I just believe that, Hurd was a much bigger guy and I’ve never been in there with Trout before, so there’s nothing I can say about his fighting style and what he actually brings to the table.
Do you hope to beat Trout in a more convincing fashion or a more spectacular fashion than Jarrett Hurd did or do you not even think about that?
I’m not in competition with those guys. Those guys are competition for me. Unfortunately, they just got the fight first before me. I don’t know what Trout going to bring out. So if he brings out the best in me, then who knows what the end result could be. I’m looking to go 12. I’m looking to fight all the way to the end. I’m in dog shape. I’ve been training for a long time and I do a pre-training. I do a pre-camp before I even get into camp and that’s while my brother was getting ready for his fight with Centeno.
I like myself the first day of camp in particular shape. So it’s all about sharpening my skills and doing what I got to do at my best. I’m growing. I’m turning 28 and I got to look at things a little bit differently. And I know Trout is a veteran himself and he knows what’s right and what fits him and what fits his body.
So it’s just almost like, nah, the only thing that’s on my mind is just getting there to see what this body does and what this mindset that I got now does and who knows the results of it. If it looks good, it’s better than Hurd or any other guys, as long as you all watching and you all kicking it with the Charlos and kicking it with Jermell Charlo, we on.
Jermell, your last two fights were contenders for KO of the Year. Can we expect anything of the same in this one?
I’m going to do what I got to do like I just answered earlier. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Anything can happen. We both two men putting our life on the line. I don’t know how he views this, but I view it a little bit different. I take this as deep to me. I don’t care about the last fights or what I’ve done before, just like I didn’t know what was going to happen in the Lubin fight. I didn’t know what was going to happen in the Hatley fight.
We in there to go 12. We were in there to fight, be smart, and be cautious and take care of ourselves. So at the end of the day, I don’t care. I don’t know. I’m not with the ruthless. I’m not trying to go in there try to destroy and kill, because I know that’s a mistake that a lot of boxers make.
I grew up watching boxing all my life, and I know for a fact that if you go in there looking for the knockout, it doesn’t come. So therefore, I’m going in there to box, be slick and smart, and be strong at the same time and make it 12 rounds, 36 minutes.
Both Jarrett Hurd and Jaime Munguia, they seem to be heading for England. Where does that leave you as far as title unification goes?
We could fight in South Africa, I don’t care. As long as they get their fight on and they do what they do, they make the money, they feed they family, we good. They know who the champ is, the know who really the champ is. They know who the guy to come to. They really want some competition and they want to fight, we study this boxing thing, we do this boxing thing. I’m up there, I be there almost every fight this year, if I could make it, I was there. If I was sitting ring side, I was there, you know what I’m saying? And I haven’t fought there so I’m anxious to be in there and I’m ready.
I don’t care about none of them other champions, they got the belts and what they got going on. A lot of these fights that they won was close. This new kid that came out that beat Sadam Ali. He’s nothing like the champions that are reigning now. Austin Trout will beat him and take his title.
However, I’m the best fighter at this weight division and I want to continue to be a champion. I got to continue to feed my family this way and I’m going to do it.
Do you want to outdo your brother against Trout?
It’s always been something like that growing up, knowing I wanted to be the best. And my brother considers himself the best, I consider myself the best. He fought Trout and I never fought anyone my brother has ever fought since we’ve become elite fighters. I can’t go by what my brother thinks, he might think Trout is strong, I might think he’s not strong.
I don’t feel that my brother feels that the ring. The only thing I do is I feel the emotion that he has and that’s it. So what my brother done to Trout is back in the day. We’ve grown now in 2018. A lot of things are changing, even technology in the gloves is changing. So there’s no way I could say why my brother didn’t get him out of there or why Trout didn’t do the same or vice versa. I look at Trout like a world champion himself and I’m coming to take his title.
You’ve been sparring with Errol Spence for the last couple of years., Is it a coincidence that both your last opponent and Trout are southpaws as well?
I sparred all kind of different south paws growing up and I believe that has a lot to do with why I’m able to handle it well. My poise in the ring and being comfortable and just being comfortable with what I do. We have 12 rounds to get this fight – to get this W. And I got to – whatever round I got to make adjustments, I will.
It’s just the name of the game and the thing that I got to go through in order to get to where I want. These guys are all diverse and if I ever have to face adversity, I’m ready for whatever it takes and I’m ready for whatever I got to do to continue the Charlo Show.
Austin do you see similarities between the Charlos fighting styles given that they’ve grown up working with each other through the years?
I mean, there’s some similarities, but nah, they two different people. Jermall, he’s a middleweight, but they have – they both have good jabs and a strong right hand. I think Mell has the better skillset he’s been a bit faster. The thing about Mell is I see he takes different approaches to different fights whereas Mall, he kind of comes about each fight the same way.
I watch the fight of me and Mall all week to see what I can do better. Not necessarily to compare in any way. That’s what we watch tape on Mell for.
Dan Rafael: So having watched the videos and preparing to fight Jermell and having gone 12 round with Jermall, do you have an opinion of who you think is better?
I can’t tell you, man. They both undefeated. I’ll tell you June 9 after I have to fight both of them I can tell you who’s the better fighter. I’m looking more so as to be a better Austin. So, be the best Austin Trout I can be in order to take on the best Jermell Charlo. We not fighting Jermall Charlo/ He’s got his own things that he’s dealing with/
That’s not something that I’m concerning myself with. I just got to be the best me in order to deal with the best Mell.
Do you feel like your career is a little bit on the line here?
Honestly, I felt that way when I was undefeated. Every fight my career was at stake. If I took a loss, I have to go back to the bottom. I feel like every fights my most important fight.
But I’m feeling good now. I’m looking forward to June 9. I have a feeling that we can steal the show. It’s going to be a great fight. I got this lion in his prime and I’m going in to tame the lion and become world champion again.
You’ve had one round in now what will be, like, 14 months. Any sense of rust?
I’m rusty as shit, yes. I think I’m rusty as shit, hell yes. Man, I put my life on the line every time I spar. That’s why we spar with world champions. So if the world thinking, like, yes, this kid, he just got one spectacular knock-out, yes, yes, yes, yes. Man, I’ll shut that shit out the way I was supposed to, and I barely touched the kid on the chin and he went to sleep so that mean I must be doing something right in training.
I’m a clean fighter. I eat clean, I train clean. They test me, I’m clean. Everything is right. I’m not a mistake and everybody got a different favorite. I’m promised for something that a lot of different people aren’t promised. My work ethic and abilities are different, and I watch everything that’s going on in the weight division. So with that being said, I have a big fight in front of me.
Austin Trout was talking about coming to steal the show like he just said. He wants to win another world title. That’s enough for me to get on my bike and know that I got to grind this shit out all the way until June 10. So I’m not focused on anything that I did before. I got 12 rounds, 36 minutes to be am animal every time I step in that ring and I’m going to do what I got to do.
We can go to the 10th round and I promise you I will be the same way I am from the first round. If he beat me, that means he’s better than me and I’ve always known that.
How much longer do you think you can hold 154?
I ain’t moving up. I’ll tell you all now. I’m making weight. I’m hydrated. Yes, I’m all the way good. Like, I’m right now, I’m waiting on the WBC to – I’m actually for me seven day weigh in and I’m going to surprise them with that. They actually for my 30-day weigh in and they were completely surprised from then. So I’m excited, I love this weight division, especially because I’m separated from my brother. I don’t want to be in the same weight division where it’s almost looking like who the better fighter? Who the better twin?
When it comes down to our careers and stuff, man, different oppositions make different fighters and I’ve always been in there with some of the best in the weight division. I’ve been in there with, to me, some top-tier guys, and so has Trout. You can’t take that away from him at all. He’s fought all of the top guys, everybody. This ain’t a rookie that I’m getting in the ring with. And so, my life is on the line just like his. So may the best win – may the best man win.
Have you had a chance to just kind of reflect on what it says about the career that you’ve had that despite the layoffs and the losses to the top guys in recent fights, that you continue to get big fights and big opportunities like this?
In a sense, yes, but for real? Nah, not really, because I got to look forward. The past is the past and I’m trying to rewrite my story with the career defining win. Beating Jermell Charlo will be career defining. It will be bigger to me than beating Cotto in the Garden, straight up. People will make excuses for that, but looking back, it’s cool and all, but I ain’t looking towards the past. I’m always looking to the future. And the future, it really is going through Jermell.
Are there pieces from other fighters that you’ve been in with that you can compare to him and what he does well?
All I can do is just learn the lessons that I need to learn from my past experiences and I’ve learned lessons from fighting Jermall. I’ve learned lessons fighting Hurd. And that’s just building to making a better me. Not necessarily then comparing to Jermell, because, again, he’s a separate man. He’s his own man and all I can focus on really is just being the best I can be.
Is Louie Burke still involved in this camp and can you talk about his role?
Yes, he’s involved. He came out to help be another set of eyes and he knows me. He’s been with me my whole career and even though I am with Barry Hunter, he’s the head coach, I still have him around to keep me grounded and humble. And he was out here for two weeks of this camp and when I was home we’re in the gym working.
We were on the phone and helps with the game plan and then him and Barry are on the same page with the game plan. Everybody’s on the same page and there’s a lot of unity in this camp. So it’s all good.