TOM LOEFFLER: I couldn’t be more excited about kicking off fight week – this fight between Roman and McWilliams is not even a co-feature. It is a co-main event. Roman being the No. 1 pound-for-pound champion in the sport of boxing and arguably McWilliams being one of his toughest fights that’s he’s had. This will be Roman’s 3rd time on HBO since his debut on HBO last year. His awareness internationally and also the respect he has received has skyrocketed with the boxing media and the boxing fans. We are looking to have a sold out Forum and also the biggest capacity they have had for any boxing event since they transformed the historic venue.
ROMAN GONZALEZ: I feel very happy about this fight. He is a great boxer and I believe that I am in great condition.
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: It’s an honor for me to have this opportunity. I have been training very hard. I have to give the champion all of the credit. I have been working very hard and I plan to get that title.
How much longer do you think you can pair Gennady and Roman together?
TOM LOEFFLER: It’s been a fantastic pairing and the fans really respond when they see the No. 1 & No. 2 P4P fighters on the same show. We really worked hard to make it happen this time – this is the third time they have been on the same show together. If everything goes the right way, and I mentioned this is a very difficult fight for him, if everything goes the right way against McWilliams then I think he will have earned the right to be a main event fighter on HBO.
CARLOS BLANDON: My personal opinion is that I am just so happy that Roman is fighting on the undercard of one of the greatest fighters pound-4-pound, GGG. I think it’s a great blessing that HBO puts us on the card with the knockout artist. I do believe that eventually Roman will be the main event and we leave that up to HBO and K2. We know that they do their jobs to the best of their ability with Teiken Promotions and we will be ready for that when it comes. But for now GGG is the main event and we will be taken under consideration.
ROMAN GONZALEZ: I believe that both fighters, Golovkin and myself, are both main events and I hope that after this fight they give me an opportunity to be my own main event.
This is your second shot at a flyweight world title, can you reflect on your first fight in Thailand in 2014? You knocked him down but got the split decision loss
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: I’m a fighter that likes to fight. I know I had good moments in the ring. If we fought in a different territory, I know that it would have been different because he was holding throughout the fight and I couldn’t do a lot of things. But I don’t have any excuses. It is already by me. I am motivated to get a world title because that has always been my dream.
Are you intimidated at all by fighting the man who most regard as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world?
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: That motivates me more because I am in boxing to fight the best. It has been my dream since I was a little kid, to fight on HBO and to fight the best in the world. Having thoughts that some think I can’t beat him motivates me even more. At the end of the day the best man will win.
What will a win mean for you?
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: It will be excellent. It’s not only fighting the best in the world but to be a champion at the same time as my twin brother will be a dream come true.
How does it feel to be ranked No. 1 but not have the purses there yet? Do you feel that one day you could make over $1M to break the record of Carbajal and Gonzalez? Do you believe the purses are not that big due to the weight class?
ROMAN GONZALEZ: Yes, due to the fact of my weight class, the purses are not as high. I do believe that after this fight, where Arroyo and I will give such a great fight, that soon I will be receiving the purses that I deserve.
Do you feel a special pressure representing Nicaragua?
ROMAN GONZALEZ: No, I feel very happy and very proud of myself that all of the Nicaraguans are so nice to me. It’s a great honor for me to represent Nicaragua.
Arroyo, do you feel a special responsibility to represent Puerto Rico in a certain way?
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: Of course it is a great responsibility every time I step up into the ring. I do it to represent my country but I am really relaxed. It is going to be a hard fight. I am really concentrating and I am going to do my best.
What is the Forum capacity and what number are you at right now?
TOM LOEFFLER: We are expecting over 16,000 people at the Forum on Saturday night. There are still some tickets available this week. We are very close. We have over 14,000 tickets sold right now. It is definitely one of the biggest shows in California history. Over 16,000 will be considered a sell-out and as I mentioned it will be the highest attendance figure for any boxing event since the Forum was renovated. They are very happy about Gennady and Roman returning and the LA fans have responded. It’s been almost a year since they fought at the Forum and the fans have responded for these two great match-ups.
The last fighter to take you to a decision was Estrada. Do you believe Arroyo has the same tools to go the distance?
ROMAN GONZALEZ: I believe that every fighter is different. At the same time, the conditioning I had with Juan Francisco Estrada was not the same conditioning as today. The training camps I have had for the last two fights have put me in great condition for the fights. I know that McWilliams will be prepared for the fight and I have also prepared to the best of my ability.
What weight are you right now? This was your second training camp in Costa Rica – how do you feel?
ROMAN GONZALEZ: I am three pounds over the weight right now – 115 lbs. The training camps in Costa Rica have gone really well and have put me in top condition for Saturday night.
Why did you choose Costa Rica? Is it hard to train in Nicaragua?
ROMAN GONZALEZ: There is a lot of media attention in Nicaragua which makes it difficult to concentrate on training. Going to Costa Rica lets me put all my efforts into training for the fight.
Since you have been out of the ring for almost a year, were you hesitant to take the fight against the best fighter in the world?
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: I have done it before. It was not my decision to be out of the ring. I had prepared myself for three or four fights during that time and the fights didn’t go through. It wasn’t what I decided but things happen in boxing. But all of the training has been there and it won’t be a factor.
What can you take away from the loss to Estrada to use against Roman?
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: I can’t really compare it because it is two different fighters. Estrada was a fighter that holds on too much. He did a lot of grabbing. I know this fight will be much more explosive because Roman is aggressive and I am aggressive.
What are your thoughts on Roman? Is he living up to the hype? What do you think about what he can do in the ring?
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: He’s a great fighter and deserves what he has accomplished. I respect that but on the 23rd when I am going up in the ring, I’m not going to have that on my mind. I am going for what I want and that is to win a world title. I know that fans want a great fight and that’s what I plan to give.
Who would you match Roman up with for an HBO main event?
TOM LOEFFLER: It’s hard to speculate with Gennady and Roman on future opponents. If Roman is not successful on Saturday all of the plans go out the window. As with Gennady, there has been a lot of talk with him and Canelo but there is nothing to speculate on. If Roman is not successful against McWilliams or if Gennady is not successful against Wade…This is probably one of Roman’s toughest fights – for McWilliams to go to Thailand to lose a split decision along with his great amateur background makes for a difficult fight. We will see how everything goes on Saturday then sit own with Mr. Honda and Carlos Blandon and see what happens at that point.
What has HBO said about Roman headlining?
TOM LOEFFLER: We’ve been pushing for that and Roman has gotten a great response form the HBO viewers and if he wins on Saturday we will have more discussions.
Do you think Roman can achieve the “Gold Standard” that Carbajal and Gonzalez set some time ago and what are the challenges?
TOM LOEFFLER: If you remember Michael Carbajal and Chiquita Gonzalez both had great stories. Both were built up and to have that fight at the Forum made for an historic event. I think Roman is getting a lot of international media attention and has a lot of momentum behind his career. It depends on having someone at the same level and there are a lot of great fighters in the lower divisions. I think it’s possible and the more exposure the lighter divisions get the easier it will be to make that type of fight possible.
TOM LOEFFLER: Certainly McWilliams brings a lot of support from Puerto Rico and being the flag-bearer for the Olympic team for his country in 2008 and that’s the type of thing you need to make that type of fight – two very marketable fighters.
What was the feeling to carry the Olympic flag?
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: It was an honor to me being in front of my whole, not only my boxing team, but all of the other sports. I was very grateful and to also have my brother with me also fighting in the Olympics – it was a great honor.
What do you think about getting this opportunity?
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: I am prepared for the fight. I missed out on my first opportunity at a world title but that doesn’t mean I can’t make it now. It is a dream come true to finally fight on HBO. I am ready and on the 23rd, the best man will win. I know it’s going to be a hard fight and the fans are going to be the ones to enjoy it.
Does being No. 1 pound-for-pound affect the way you fight in the ring?
ROMAN GONZALEZ: It is a big blessing. I have trained very hard. I feel like I have trained enough to win. I train for my family and for my country. It is a big motivation to be No. 1 and be able to maintain that.
Do you go into this fight looking for the knockout or just waiting and if it comes it comes?
ROMAN GONZALEZ: I have never said that I am going to knock an opponent out. I am going to give my best and I am going to pay attention to my corner and if the knockout comes, then I welcome it but I am not looking for the knockout.
Why do you think you can win this fight?
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: I didn’t just start yesterday. I have been boxing all my life. I am here to fight the best. I have always wanted to fight the best. The training that I have and the experience – I already know that I can give my best. At the end of the day the best man will win. I am very motivated and I am going to the ring for the win.
Do you think Roman may be looking beyond you?
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: I can’t answer that. Only he can tell you that. I don’t think so, but really I don’t know.
Roman, what plans to you have outside of the ring?
ROMAN GONZALEZ: This is, for me, to keep motivating young people and to be able tell people to keep away from any vices if there is any opportunity to do so.
Do you see bigger things in store for you after Saturday night?
ROMAN GONZALEZ: It motivates me because God gives me the will to win on Saturday. I know that after that fight there will be a lot higher purses and bigger fights and that motivates me.
Stylistically, will Arroyo be the most difficult fighter to date?
ROMAN GONZALEZ: I will find that out on Saturday. It could be very hard. It could be very easy. I do not know. I know he is a warrior, but I will find out if it will be the hardest fight on Saturday.
PETER RIVERA: We like to show our appreciation for everyone that is on the call. I would also like to thank Tom Loeffler and Carlos and Chocolatito Gonzalez to let us be on this great show. I want to say to the fans this will be a great fight and I hope that on Saturday we will have a new world champion from Puerto Rico and the twin brothers can be world champions at the same time.
McWILLIAMS ARROYO: On the 23rd, watch the fight. I am going for the win. It’s going to be a great, great fight.
ROMAN GONZALEZ: I am very happy and I hope on Saturday we are able to give the best fight possible.
TOM LOEFFLER: I have to thank both teams – Peter Rivera and from PR Best Boxing Promotions and McWilliams Arroyo. When we reached out to Peter there was no hesitation in taking the fight and working together again with Mr. Honda and Teiken Promotions and Carlos from Chocolatito’s side it really came together and that’s how you make the best fights. I think the fans will be in for a great treat Saturday night at the Forum.