Ward vs Barrera: Interview Transcript

Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) and undefeated, number one rated IBF light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (17-0, 12 KOs) hosted their final international media conference. Ward vs. Barrera, a 12-round IBF number one position and mandatory position eliminator which is presented by Roc Nation Sports in association with Main Events, takes place Saturday, March 26, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

The event is sponsored by Corona Extra, Ticketmaster, Corporate Travel Management Solutions (ctms), Glad, Lyft, Zappos, BodyArmor, SAN Nutrition, Shoe Palace, The Waterfront Hotel and Visit Oakland. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT. Opening the HBO telecast will be Joseph Diaz Jr. vs. Jayson Velez in a 10-round fight for the NABF Featherweight title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Miguel Cotto Promotions.

Tickets priced at $300, $150, $100, $50 and $25, not including applicable service charges and taxes are available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com (bit.ly/WardBarreraTix) and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Follow the conversation on Twitter by using #WardBarrera.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Andre Ward versus Sullivan Barrera Final International Media Conference Call. Your host for today, Dave Itskowitch, will now begin.

David Itskowitch: Thank you very much and thank you, everyone, for joining us today. We’re less than two weeks away from Andre Ward versus Sullivan Barrera on Saturday, March 26 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California which will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.

The 12-round IBF Number 1 position and mandatory position eliminator is presented by Roc Nation Sports in association with Main Events. Opening the HBO telecast will be Joseph Diaz, Jr versus Jason Velez in a 10-round fight for the NABF feather weight title which is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Miguel Cotto Promotions.

Our event is sponsored by Corona Extra, Ticketmaster, Corporate Travel Management Solutions (ctms), Glad, Lyft, Zappos, BodyArmor, SAN Nutrition, Shoe Palace, the Waterfront Hotel and Visit Oakland. Tickets priced from $25 to $300 are available at Ticketmaster. They’re going fast. We urge everyone to get out there and get your tickets as soon as possible.

Before we begin I’d like to acknowledge and thank several people who were instrumental in getting this fight made: Andre’s manager James Prince and attorney Josh Dubin, Main Event CEO Kathy Duva, Executive Vice President of HBO Sports Peter Nelson, as well as Ryan Northcott and the entire team at Oracle Arena.

Two of the light heavyweights on the planet will collide on March 26. They have a combined record of 45-0 with 27 knockouts. Neither has tasted defeat as a professional. While each man has a formidable opponent in front of him they both have their eyes on Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey Kovalev and his three belts and only one will move on to meet him.

Before we get to Andre for his opening statements and questions I just want to say that unfortunately, Virgil Hunter is not going to be joining us on the call. He had a last minute conflict arise. But if he were on the call I’m sure he would tell everyone that camp is going great and Andre is right on schedule. And will be ready to execute the game plan on March 26.

The next gentleman I’m going to introduce really doesn’t need much of an introduction. He was a 2004 Olympic gold medalist, the last U.S. boxer to bring home a gold. He destroyed the super-middleweight division with wins over Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham and Saio Bika. He dominated and knocked out former light heavyweight world champion, Chad Dawson in the 2012 showdown and his last fight he dominated former two-time world challenger, Paul Smith on June 20 at Oracle Arena.

On March 26 he makes his move up to light heavyweight with designs on doing what he did at super middleweight, cleaning out and dominating everyone that stands in his way. It’s my pleasure to introduce one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on planet; the future of the light heavyweight division with a record of 28-0 and 15 KOs, a man who has an unblemished record dating back to the age of 12 from Oakland, California, Andre Ward.

Andre Ward: Hey, David. Excited to be on the call as usual. Excited that the fight is a little under two weeks away. We got a really great camp. And, you know, excited to answer any questions. And I want to also thank everybody that’s associated with the event, my team, obviously HBO and everybody on the other side, Barrera side as well.

David Itskowitch: All right thank you, Andre. I guess we can turn the call over to questions now for Andre.

Operator: Our first question comes from Eddie Goldman with No Holds Barred. Please go ahead. Eddie, your line is open.

Eddie Goldman: In the time since the other conference call a couple of weeks ago, what have you learned about your opponent, Sullivan Barrera? And what can you tell us other than obviously you record and your experience, you see as your advantages over him?

Andre Ward: Well it’s tough to get into what I, you know, what I want to exploit and capitalize on. But he’s a solid fighter; he’s a good fighter. He seems to be technically sound. He seems to have a good pedigree. And he’s got a good team. So, yeah, we’ve taken him very seriously like we do every opponent. And, you know, he’s a formidable opponent for sure.

Eddie Goldman: What do you see the level of – the role of experience plays? Because he’s fought some former champions who were at the end of their career, and he got the knockout over Murat. But he’s never fought like a fighter on your level. How much does that really play into it?

Andre Ward: I mean, time will tell. You know I feel he’s going to see the difference in the fight. No question about that. You know, you can watch film, your team can tell you what they want to tell you. You can talk. You know, but at the end of the day when you get in there that’s a different story, man, and I’ve said that my whole career. And I think that’s one of my biggest strengths is for whatever reason what happens in that ring, you know, guys don’t see it on film. And, you know, when they get in there and figure out everything that’s going on, the fight’s over.

At the same time, you know, you can’t put too many eggs in that basket because at one point in time I was a young fighter back in 2009 and that same type of thing was said about me and I knew in my heart that I’m going to do this and nobody else believed it. So, you know, it’s tough. We know what we know, we see what we see and we look at records, we look at performance and we say okay, we take a mental note. You can’t put too much into that because, you know, guys tend to rise to the occasion sometimes so you got to be ready for that too.

Eddie Goldman: He’s had a string of knockouts and TKOs in shorter fights. Do you see this, you know, being a long fight or plan for that?

Andre Ward: Yeah, I mean, I always train for 12 rounds, a strong 12 rounds. And I think that’s something else he’s going to realize when he gets to the fight is the pace is not the normal pace he’s used to. And I believe he’s going to get tired. And I don’t mean he’s going to stop fighting but I mean, he’s going to feel it, there’s no question about it.

Eddie Goldman: Okay. Do you want to make a prediction?

Andre Ward: I think predictions are overrated. That’s never been my style, that’s never been how I approach a fight. The one thing I do is I always guarantee that I’m ready. And, you know, I’ve never come in a fight overweight. I’ve never come in a fight not prepared. And you can’t predict what happens in a boxing ring. I know that I’m prepared for war. You have to be ready for anything and that’s what I’m prepared for. I’m prepared for a tough-tough fight. But I expect to get my hand raised at the end of the night.

Operator: Our next question comes from Martin Gallegos. Please go ahead.

Martin Gallegos: HBO is back in Oakland for the first time since your Dawson fight in 2012. And, you know, since that time we’ve seen fighters like Terrence Crawford do big numbers in his hometown. Are you going to be looking to continue fighting in Oakland and perhaps replicating that type of success in Oakland like we’ve seen Crawford in Nebraska and stuff like that?

Andre Ward: Yeah, no, first of all it’s always an honor and a privilege to have the HBO team here in the Bay. You know, when you see that HBO truck you know it’s time to go to work, you know, the whole team is here, the whole production is in town and, you know, it’s a big deal so that’s first and foremost.

But, you know, I’ve heard people talk about all he does is fight in Oakland. But, you know, I’m coming up on almost 30 fights as a pro and I think this may be my 8th time fighting in Oakland. So it’s a huge disparity versus the amount of times I have fought here versus when I haven’t.

But we take it a fight at a time. We don’t just predict that the next five fights are going to be here. We look at the fight, we look at the opponent and we look at everything and the team makes the decision. So, you know, anytime I’m afforded that opportunity knowing what I’ve come from and knowing these type of moments do for the city and the Bay area as a whole, I’m going to jump all over it and I’m always excited about it. I train and prepare for every fight but there’s something special about fighting at home.

Martin Gallegos: Okay. And I think just getting to the fight a little bit, obviously, you know, you have a tough match up with Barrera coming up. With this being your first fight at 175 do you see any, you know, a lot of people are wanting to see you fight, you know, obviously Sergey Kokalev later in the year, do you see from the time that you’ve seen Kokalev fight in the past, any similarities between the two?

Andre Ward: Not really. Not really. I don’t think they’re similar at all between Barrera and Kokalev?

Martin Gallegos: Yeah.

Andre Ward: No. I don’t really see any similarities.

Martin Gallegos: Okay.

Andre Ward: Different body types, different styles, just different all together.

Operator: Our next question comes from Gayle Falkenthal with Community Digital News.

Gayle Falkenthal: Thank you very much. Andre, following up that last question, what differences do you feel at this new weight division? How would you describe those?

Andre Ward: Oh I get to eat more. That’s #1. I mean, you definitely feel stronger when you don’t have to strip extra pounds off, you definitely feel stronger. I mean, that’s just, you know, it’s kind of a no brainer. But I still feel like I have my speed. I still feel like I have all the things that made me who I was at super middleweight but I also feel a lot stronger at 175. You know, to be honest I’m a lot happier because I didn’t have to kill myself, per se, to make weight. So just definitely happier. I feel very strong and I feel like I still maintained all the things that made me who I was at 168.

Gayle Falkenthal: And changing gears a little bit, there’s been a lot of discussion about professional boxers competing in the Olympic games. You are the last American man to win a gold medal for the U.S. so I’d love to know what you think about that and whether or not you’d be tempted to go for two.

Andre Ward: Yeah, I read that and it’s pretty interesting. It’s pretty interesting. I think right now its just about maybe getting more information about how something like that will work. But it definitely has sparked my interest and has gotten my attention.

Gayle Falkenthal: And would you rule it out? Would you consider it?

Andre Ward: You can’t rule anything out. You know, you’ve to get all the facts on the table. You’ve got to get all the details. I don’t have all of that right now. And obviously I’m preparing for a fight but I would just want to see everything and then just kind of digest it and then make a decision from there. But definitely interesting, very interesting.

Gayle Falkenthal: I agree. Thank you very much, Andre. Good luck.

Andre Ward: Thank you.

David Itskowitch: Andre, I have a question for you. And I think it was sort of touched on a little bit. But, how has this camp gone differently from the other camps that you’ve had based on now being higher in weight?

Andre Ward: For the most part everything is the same. Same mentality, same work ethic. I think, from a preparation standpoint you add certain things in that you otherwise couldn’t add it, you know, at a lower weight. It’s not really about adding anymore armor or anything, more muscle, but you’re just able to implement other training strategies to prepare for the heavier weight. More explosion work, a little bit more strength work and I definitely think that the fans will see the results of all of this a few weeks from now come March 26.

Operator: Our next question comes Mitch Abramson with Ring TV.com. Please go ahead.

Mitch Abramson: Just wondering, what was your reaction when you heard the news about the Olympics, you know, potentially allowing pros to compete? I’m just curious about what your gut reaction was to that.

Andre Ward: I was surprised and intrigued at the same time. You know I was like, wow. Like I had to read it a couple of times over to make sure I was reading what I thought I was reading.

So my publicist, she’s heavy into USA Boxing. She’s been a focal point in USA Boxing for a long time. So I picked up the phone and I was like man, did you see this? She was like yes, it’s legitimate. You know we’re trying to get more information.

So I think that’s where I am with it. You’ve got a lot of thoughts like wow that would be amazing for your country. Just wanting to know more about the process and what that would actually look like. But I’m very interested and I think it’s a very interesting proposition.

Mitch Abramson: Do you think that a lot of other professional fighters will take the plunge and actually compete in the Olympics?

Andre Ward: It’s tricky, you know. I think it just depends on the individual because there’s an argument for doing it and there’s an argument for not doing it.

I mean you – you know I’ve heard a quote – I read a quote rather that, Manny Pacquiao said that he, you know, paraphrasing a little bit, where basically that he’s excited about it. Not to say that he’s going to do it, but he’s willing to do anything for his country.

So you have guys like maybe a Manny who’s just very gung ho and he’s ready to go. And you’ve got other guys who, maybe like a Floyd Mayweather where, does it really, even though he felt like he got robbed in ’96 for an opportunity to want to go, does it really make sense to him to do something like that at this stage in his career and with all that he’s accomplished?

It’s a three minute round fight. And do pros and in his case, a legend like that, want to take a risk of something happening where he takes a L, or it just doesn’t look good or anything can happen. Is that something you want to take a risk doing at this stage in your career?

I really think it depends on the individual. It’s going to be really interesting to see if this is legitimate, what decision I make. Because I’ve got a lot of reasons to do it and a lot of reasons not to do it. So, I don’t know, it’s tough to say.

David Itskowitch: While we’re waiting for the next question to queue up. Andre I have an off-subject question to ask you but, it’s appropriate given the time of year that it is. And I know you live in an area that has two very popular college basketball teams. So fortunately I’m not going to ask you to pick one or the other because one is in the tournament.

Do you have any thoughts on the NCAA Tournament and who’s going to win?

Andre Ward: Oh, my goodness, I’m the wrong guy to ask. I get people asking me all the time to build brackets and I cheat. You know I cheat. When it gets to the last eight and the final four, that’s when I tune in and I start watching.

But the excitement around the NCAA is just amazing. And I mean it’s worldwide. So yes, I think it’s a good. And to see these athletes compete at this level at that age with that kind of pressure on them is amazing to watch.

Operator: Our next question comes from Keith Idec with The Record. Please go ahead.

Keith Idec: I was just wondering if you’ve given more thought to, if everything goes well on March 26, would you like to get another fight in before you fight Kovalev, or is that something you haven’t decided yet?

Andre Ward: Yes, I think that I’ve left that in the hands of my manager and my promoters. I think that’s the plan.

I’ve been entrenched in this fight and haven’t even talked anything past this fight. The reality is, without this fight and without a victory in this fight, there is no fight too. There is no Kovalev.

So, you know with situations like this, I really got to kind of put my blinders on and any other distractions and really just focus on this. Because that is the reality of the situation.

Keith Idec: So do you feel like kind of – it depends on how you feel after this fight and then you’ll decide from there basically?

Andre Ward: Well again, I’m the type of person that I literally put my blinders on and I don’t deal with it, you know.

And after the fight it’s something that I can sit down with the team about. And I believe they’ll get something worked out that everybody is happy with.

Operator: Our next question comes from Richard Bioceros with Boxing News.

Richard Bioceros: Hey, I just got one question for you. How did it change you to be in a big movie like Creed with Sylvester Stallone? And do you see yourself wanting to be in more big movies like that again?

Andre Ward: Absolutely. I communicated that to my team and I hope I get some other opportunities because even more so than just the exposure and the opportunity, the process was really, really, fun. The process was really fun. And it’s work.

I mean I couldn’t believe that I – the scenes that everybody saw in the movie, I think that was either three or four 12-hour days that I shot in Philadelphia. I mean 12-hour days straight and you get small breaks when they’re trying to set up new scenes or go over certain things.

But you’re not really breaking for an extended period of time. And I’m going back to my hotel room icing my shoulder, taking Epsom Salt – I was like man, this is crazy. Like this is a movie but its work. You know you literally have to work.

So I left the set being appreciative and thankful but then really feeling like man, I enjoyed that. And I would love to do more of it.

Richard Bioceros: Hey Andre, Stallone he’s a big huge boxing fan. How is he outside of not working. Does he talk about a lot of boxing?

Andre Ward: He’s a regular dude from what I can tell. He’s a regular guy. We knew each other for years. You know I’m not a guy that’s going to be like hey, Sylvester Stallone. Like I just fall back you know, and just kind of play my role. And if he speaks I’ll speak or maybe I’ll wave. And he came up and was like “Hey Andre, how you doing?”

We just talked. We sat there and talked. And on the Red Carpet we talked for a long period of time. I talked to his brother. He’s an amazing man. And as storied as his career and his life has been, he seems to be just a regular person, which is really cool to see.

David Itskowitch: All right Andre, you want to give any closing thoughts before you sign off?

Andre Ward: It’s March 26, it’s around the corner. Everything that I’ve done as a super middleweight; that book is closed. And the same hunger that I had in 2009 when I was unaccomplished and I had my opportunity against Mikkel Kessler, that’s the same drive that I have right now, years later. It’s the same mindset that I have.

So I’m just thankful for the opportunity. I’m excited to showcase March 26. Don’t miss it.

David Itskowitch: All right I think we’re now ready to continue. I’d like to introduce now to say a few words and introduce Sullivan Barrera, the CEO of Main Events, Kathy Duva.

Kathy Duva: Hello. Thank you Dave. Welcome everyone. It is going to be my distinct pleasure to introduce to you a fantastic young fighter who has been in the background working hard, earning his shot. And he is one of the most exciting fighters I think, in his weight division certainly.

And somebody who’s coming in to win and is going to go in there and make a statement on next Saturday. So it is my pleasure to introduce Sullivan Barrera.

Sullivan Barrera: Hello everyone, good afternoon. Camp has been great. I feel great. I’m ready to make history on March 26.

Kathy Duva: Also, Luis Molina is on the phone and Abel Sanchez. Luis and Abel, would you like to say something? Luis, do you want to go first?

Luis Molina: Yes Kathy, thank you. I appreciate the opportunity that was presented to Sullivan to fight Andre Ward on the March 26. I’d like to thank HBO, everyone involved and looking for a great turnout on March 26.

Kathy Duva: And Abel, do you have anything to say? Is Abel there? I guess not. So, we’ll open it up to questions for anybody.

Abel Sanchez: Well we’re happy to be involved in this promotion that we feel is a big opportunity for Sullivan. We feel that it’s at the right moment for Sullivan being that he is 34-years-old. We’re fighting a great fighter in Andre Ward. I know a lot about him because of my other client.

Andre is undoubtedly one of the top three fighters in the world. So we’re looking forward to a very, very hard fight and hopefully it pleases the fans.

Operator: Our first question comes from Dan Rafael with ESPN. Please go ahead.

Dan Rafael: Thank you very much. Everybody, hello. My question is for Sullivan. If you could ask Sullivan you were very vocal on social media, calling Andre Ward out for this fight which is unusual. There’s not a lot of boxers who actively seek out fights with Andre Ward.

I’d like to know from you, what was the reason that you targeted Andre Ward and that you wanted this fight specifically so much? No title on the line. Obviously you’re the underdog. What was it about this matchup that had you calling him out so vocally, for a while?

Sullivan Barrera: One of the main reasons that I targeted him was because he is considered one of the top three or four fighters in the world. I admire him a lot. He’s a great talent. I love what he’s done. But I also consider myself a great talent and I also consider myself one of the best fighters in the world. And this opportunity is something that will prove to the world that I am at the top.

Dan Rafael: Abel, when you heard his desire for this fight as his trainer what were your thoughts about what he was doing and when this fight was made? I mean, I’m sure you have confidence in him. I know you see him regularly in the gym. But, you know, it’s a big step up for him in terms of the guys he’s faced previously. So when you saw that your guy was really, really dogging Ward on social media, calling this fight what were you thinking?

Abel Sanchez: Well as a coach you’re excited because your guy really wants to go at the best. That’s something that’s consistently a topic in the gym. And to have him put it out like that on social media. I want to have a guy that wants to go to fight – wants to go get his and become the star that everybody else is around you.

Dan Rafael: Could you ask Sullivan about the fact that Andre has not been the most active fighter in the world. He’s moving up in weight. Does he feel like it’s sort of the sweet spot of where he can get him? I know he had that Paul Smith fight but that was a while ago already and it didn’t really do a whole lot for him. But that what it means to him that he’s getting him in this right spot I think possibly, moving up in weight and the level of inactivity, they’re sort of right there to maybe catch him off guard a little bit possibly.

Sullivan Barrera: Yes I think that I’m getting him at the right moment not only because he’s moving up. He didn’t say anything about the inactivity by the way Dan, but he is moving up and I am ranked – rated number one in the IBF. So it’s a perfect time for me to prepare for the future.

Dan Rafael: All right. I just have one more question for Sullivan. Andre has been a consummate boxer. Maybe not the most power but he’s had some knockouts here and there. I wondered if when he looks at the – and you can answer this too Abel — when you make your plan for how you’re going to approach this fight do you think Sullivan needs to stalk him and bring it to him offensively or because of his background as also a quality amateur fighter, comes from a Cuban system, knows how to box also, or is he going to be the guy that’s going to try to box in Andre Ward and maybe, you know, how point him? It seems like a tough call either way.

Sullivan Barrera: So obviously right now I’m not going to divulge my strategy but I have – we have a plan and if I have to box, I’ll box. If I have to attack him, I will attack him. But I will be ready for anything that – as the fight goes on.

Abel Sanchez: As far as for me Dan, Andre Ward is a great fighter. Andre Ward has been inactive but he still has a history of some great, great fights in the past. For me as a coach I’ve always believed that I have to prepare my guys to the best of my guy’s ability and go in doing the things that we do best. We’re not going to adapt to Andre Ward. We’re going to do what we do best and if that’s not good enough then we’ll have to go back to the drawing board and start again. But if I start to adapt to Andre Ward then my guy’s not doing what he does best.

Operator: Our next question comes from Eddie Goldman with No Holds Barred.

Eddie Goldman: Thank you very much. Hello everybody. A question for Sullivan: obviously Andre Ward is very well known, Olympic gold medalist, undefeated, Super Six Champion and so forth. You’re coming into this fight also undefeated but not as well known a fighter to the TV audiences. Could you explain why you think you’re going to be able to win this fight and be the first person to defeat Andre Ward since he was basically a kid?

Sullivan Barrera: I like everybody else, recognize that Andre is a great boxer. But I too am a great boxer I believe. The only thing that’s missing in my resume is that I haven’t had the opportunity. I think this is the opportunity for me to prove that I am just as good.

Eddie Goldman: And a question for Abel Sanchez. Abel, Andre has described his own style in the past as being a chameleon. In other words, he could be a boxer, he can get into a slug fest, he could be a boxer puncher and he’s proven that in the ring. How do you – since Sullivan’s gotten a lot of knockouts and TKOs recently how do you prepare and what kind of Andre Ward do you think is going to show up for this fight?

Abel Sanchez: Well the Andre Ward that we’ve watched in the past we haven’t seen lately. But it’s the best that I can do is prepare Sullivan to take what’s given to him, to take what’s in front of him. Sullivan has a style that is from the – I meant to say from part of the Cuban school and part of my school. The attacking style that he has now and the knockouts that he has now are some of the stuff that we practice in the gym. It’s just a matter of going at Andre and taking what he gives us but not to let Andre breathe.

It’ll make for a great fight because Andre I think has to prove – in my opinion anyway has to prove that he belongs at 175. He’s starting a full-fledged 175-pounder that’s very athletic, that has a long history of a Cuban background and has had a great history with me. So if Andre can handle that more power to him if he’ll come out. We don’t think he can. We think that we’ll be too good for him at this moment in Andre’s career. So that remains to be seen I guess on March 26.

Eddie Goldman: And if this fight goes long Sullivan’s never fought 12 rounds before. How is he prepared physically and mentally for those 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th rounds if it goes that long?

Abel Sanchez: You know, all coaches that have that level fighters, we always train for 14, 15 rounds. We never train for 12. It’s just a matter of making sure that we convince him and we take care of him in the corner so that he can continue to perform at the level that he does at the beginning of the fight. You’re right, he has never been that distance but there’s always a first time. We’ll see how he reacts. It’s up to us to keep him calm.

Operator: Our next question comes from Gayle Falkenthal with Communities Digital News.

Gayle Falkenthal: Hi Abel. You just mentioned merging your style with the Cuban style of boxing in working with Sullivan. I’d like to know a little more about how you go about doing that. How do you merge a style of boxer that is a little different than your approach and get the best of both working for you?

Abel Sanchez: First you have to have a willing fighter. There’s a lot of Cuban fighters that just will not change. On my own with Sullivan, Sullivan was willing to do anything that I asked him to do. So if I’m having that luck in the gym that just shows him that we can change, that we can combine styles and make them better.

I wasn’t trying to change his Cuban style. What I was trying to do is just make him a little more aggressive, make him sit down on his punches a little bit more, have better balance, a little better positioning and technique with his legs. But we haven’t really changed it. We’ve added to it and by adding the two styles together I think that it just gives more opportunities to do what he has to do.

Gayle Falkenthal: Now I’m not going to ask you to name names but have you ever had a Cuban fighter come to you and want to work with you that you had to turn down for the reasons you just described?

Abel Sanchez: Actually no. I had Mikey Perez for a little while and he went off somewhere else. But I’ve never had anybody decline because whether it’s Cuban, Mexican or whatever if you’re not willing to work to what I do in the gym there’s no sense in me having them. So right off the bat we would’ve separated. There was no way that I would’ve worked with somebody that didn’t want to cooperate.

Gayle Falkenthal: So the question is have you ever had to turn someone down for that reason?

Abel Sanchez: No.

Gayle Falkenthal: No – don’t need any names.

Abel Sanchez: No Cubans, no. I’ve turned other fighters down but no Cubans.

David Itskowitch: Okay. Sullivan or Abel anyone have any closing thoughts?

Sullivan Barrera: Yes I’d like to thank my team, I’d like to thank HBO, I’d like to thank everybody that’s concerned that has something to do with me fighting Andre Ward. I promise that I will – to all the TV viewers that I will put up a great fight and I look forward to March 26.

David Itskowitch: Thank you. Kathy, anything to say in closing?

Kathy Duva: I want to think you Dave and Roc Nation Sports for the opportunity. And we’re all looking forward to March 26. It’s going to be a blast.

David Itskowitch: Thank you very much. And just in closing I wanted to thank everyone for being on the call today. Thank you to Andre and Sullivan, Kathy, Abel, Luis and everyone that joined us. Again March 26, Oracle Arena, Oakland, live on HBO. If you’re in the Bay Area get your tickets on Ticketmaster now. If you’re not going to be in the Bay Area you don’t really have a good excuse. But if you absolutely can’t be in the Bay Area please tune in on HBO at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.

Thank you again and we will see everyone next week in Oakland.