Thanks, everybody, for joining us today for this great call to officially announce a very exciting match up. And without further ado, to talk a little bit about that match up, I’m going to introduce Chris DeBlasio, Vice President of Sports Communications for SHOWTIME.
Thanks, Kelly. I’m going to keep this brief. I know we want to talk to the fighters on this card. But I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t represent for Stephen Espinoza, who couldn’t be on the call today, how very excited we are for the debut of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on our network on Saturday, April 18, for our SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader. It’s going to be a great night. On the call with us and in the ring across from Julio Chavez Jr. on that night is Andrzej Fonfara, a man that we know that really comes to fight. He brought it on his first fight on SHOWTIME last year when he fought Adonis Stevenson. And that was a thrilling affair. And we’re looking forward to a real test and a great challenge for Chavez Jr. And we’re excited to have him on behalf of all of us at SHOWTIME. We welcome both of you guys and, of course, thanks to all the press for being on the call. Thank you, Kelly.
Thank you, everybody. Okay. We’re going to go ahead and introduce the fighters and their trainers for you. First we have Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., former middleweight world champion, Andrzej Fonfara, the former world title challenger, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. — we all know who he is, and certainly out of respect to the great legend that he is, we welcome him to the call — Joe Goossen, who is Julio’s trainer, and Sam Colonna, who is Fonfara’s trainer.
So, at this time, what I’d like to do is ask Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to make opening remarks about this fight and a little bit about what he’s doing now in training camp and just how he feels about the fight.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
I’m training very well. I’m training (at a higher) level than the best. I’m doing more physical training (and I’m getting closer to the) weight of 172 pounds. And I think I’m in great shape, you know? I have a lot of time and don’t stay in this kind of shape.
Okay. Now let’s hear from Andrzej Fonfara. Andrzej, could you talk a little bit and tell us how you feel about fighting Jr.?
I’m feeling great. I think Chavez Jr. is a great fighter, world champion. And you know, it’s good fight for me. I trained hard for the fight. We got very good camp. Now, we start a sparring session. You know, my weight is good. My training’s–all trainings are good. I spent two weeks in Houston. I’m trained there, too. Then I’m back to Chicago. We finished camp here. And I’m–you know, I’m ready for meet Chavez in the ring April 18 and show him I’m better boxer.
Okay. Excellent. Thank you so much. Next we’ll have the trainers say something very brief before we turn it over to the media for call. So, Joe Goossen, he is Julio Cesar Chavez’s trainer at this point. Joe, would you like to make a couple comments?
Thank you. Number one, I want to thank SHOWTIME because we’re very excited about performing for SHOWTIME on Julio’s debut fight with SHOWTIME. And that being said, you know, Julio is very, very serious about this fight. Like Fonfara, he trained for a few weeks in Los Angeles. And now, we’re up in Lake Tahoe, up in the high altitude in the mountains here. It’s very secluded. It’s very concentrated work. Julio is — I can just tell you this — is very dedicated to this fight, mentally, physically, and spiritually. He’s shown me that he’s willing to work very hard for this fight, which always works out well when a fighter cooperates in training. And he’s doing that 110 percent. And I can’t tell you how happy I am, number one, to be working with Julio Jr. It’s been something that I’ve always wanted to do. And of course, I know his father very well. And I’m very honored to be a part of the team. And I can’t wait ’til April 18 to display all of Julio’s talents and to go there. And we’ve got one objective. And that’s to win the fight. With the way Julio’s training, I’m very confident in what we’re doing right now. So, I’m very happy with that. And I’m sure Andrzej’s doing the same thing, training very hard. With that being said, thank you.
Thank you. Now, Sam Colonna, if you could give us a comment, and then we’ll open it up for questions.
Well, first, I’d like to thank everybody for getting this together. It’s an honor to be part of it. But, you know, before they picked Julio Cesar Chavez to fight, they were throwing names at us. And I would say no. And another name came. I would say no. As soon as they said, ‘What about Julio Cesar Chavez,’ I said, ‘That’s the fight we want.’ The style is perfect for us. He comes right at us. And it’s going to be a great fight for Andrzej to show what the power and the dedication he has towards it. He knows that this fight here is going to bring him to the top. And it’s an honor to fight Julio Cesar Chavez. It’s somebody I wanted him to fight for years. But the weight was never the same. Andrzej moved up. And then now, it’s perfect. So, it’s going to be a great fight. I think we’re going to bring a lot of action to this fight. And it’s going to be a jammed action fight. I’m glad that this fight happened. And I can’t wait for April 18.
Okay. Thank you. And now, last but not least, I’d like to get a couple comments from Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. about his son fighting Fonfara and what he anticipates that will be like. Julio?
Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.
I didn’t want this fight. I know that, for my son, I know it’s a hard fight. It’s a difficult fight. And I didn’t want it. Fonfara is very strong. But my son wanted this fight. He wanted fighters that have a high category. He wanted a hard fight. And he believed that winning this fight will give him more credibility. And that’s why he chose Fonfara.
This is for Chavez Jr. Julio, how do you feel coming off a year layoff?
J. Cesar Chavez Jr.
I feel good. I know it’s difficult when you’re off. It’s difficult to regain your timing. But I’ve been training, working at my skills. And I think, you know, I’m very confident because I have spent all my life in boxing. I’m in the 13th year of my professional career. So I don’t think this is a problem because this fight is at 172 pounds. I don’t need to have a problem with weight. And at 172, I feel good in sparring. I feel good in training. And I think I’m ready for this fight and ready to win another world title.
Speaking of that world title, how do you feel about guys like Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev?
J. Cesar Chavez Jr.
Oh, these guys very strong. But I think, after this fight, I’m going down to 168 and stay in this weight class. One or two years ago I moved to 175 but that was too much for my body. Now, I’m 168. But, for the one year off, this fight is at 172.
Andrzej, how do you feel physically coming off the Adonis Stevenson battle?
I think I showed against Stevenson that I was a fighter. Physically, I feel good now. Since that fight, I’ve been training much harder. I think, because of that fight, I’m a better boxer because, you know, I learn a lot in fights. I’m ready for Chavez, I’ve trained hard for this fight, like, you know, Chavez says. He’s trained hard for this fight. But I always train hard. It doesn’t matter if it’s Chavez or whoever else, I’m always training hard.
This is for both Julio Jr. and Sr. For Jr., obviously, there’s a benefit and maybe a drawback, too, to having such a famous name. Benefit is that everybody knows your father and what he accomplished. And that brings you attention early in your career as it has. The possible drawback is that you’re always going to be compared to him, which some would say was almost an impossible, impossibly high standard to try to live up to. From your perspective and also from your father’s, what about that, the burden and the benefit of having such a famous name?
J. Cesar Chavez Jr.
I think I’m well respected because I’m world champion. But, you know, I think this is an advantage. But this doesn’t help me in the ring. I’m proven in the ring. I beat the champions. I beat the number one, number two, number three and number four at 168 pounds. And I’ve showed everybody, the people, that I can fight, too. I am a good fighter and (I put on good fights). And people like see my fights. My style is a good style for the people. And I think this fight, too, the style of Fonfara is to come to fight, he’s a fighter with a great heart and great chin. And both of us will make a great fight.
J. Cesar Chavez Sr.
The name has helped. Obviously, it’s helped get attention, but we are very different. He — my son fights at a higher weight than I fought. And so, there’s a lot of difference. Physically, he’s a lot bigger than I was. So, there’s good and bad, and we understand that. But, he’s his own fighter just like I was.
Sam, you mentioned earlier that you had a lot of names mentioned for Andrzej before you finally settled on Chavez. Are you willing to reveal some of those names?
You know what? I really don’t have them right in front of me. But, there were at least three, four different guys they were throwing at us. And as soon as they said Chavez, I go, ‘That’s the guy we want,’ because, like I said earlier, the style is perfect for us. And we don’t have to look for him too much, you know? He’s going to be right there for us. So, the style is really, really mixed good.
Andrzej, you’ve fought at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight. How does it feel fighting at 172? And do you see yourself moving possibly down in weight in the near future, or do you feel you’re a true light heavyweight?
I’m a light heavyweight fighter. That’s because I’m fighting with Chavez. That’s why we have a catch-weight. And that’s why I go down. I usually fight at 175, at least for maybe two years. And this my weight. It’s not impossible for me to go, like, two, three pounds down because, you know, when I fought Stevenson last year in May, I was 173 then. And I felt good then. Two pounds down is not problem for me. Should be good, you know? Just more diet, more work in the last week. And I should be good.
Julio Jr., how much of a relief is it for you to finally fight after a year? I know it’s been trying for you with the whole lawsuit and everything. So, how does it feel for you to know you finally have a fight up ahead?
J. Cesar Chavez Jr.
I feel good. I feel great, you know, because this problem offended me a lot mentally more than physically. But I’m really happy that this problem is better now. I have a fight in front of me. And you know, I’m not remembering anything about that. I’m just focusing on the fight April 18 for Fonfara. I feel good, I feel great. You know I can’t tell you with words how I feel because I’m better to the ring. (But I’m very excited to be returning) to the ring.
Joe Goossen, which of the skills of Julio Cesar are translating the best for the light heavyweight division?
Well, first off, Julio is a well-rounded fighter. I mean, we’ve seen him box before. And we’ve seen him pressure before. I don’t want to tip my hand on what we’re going to do but we have studied the films. We’ve talked about the films of Andrzej. And of course, we’re developing a game plan. I think the weight — basically, 172 is very close to 68. It’s a weight he’s fought at before. So I don’t think the weight is going to be a problem at all. The way he’s working right now and the weight he’s at right now, I think we’re going to be able to hit the 172 mark quite easily. But, again, as far as what skills he has that we’re going to bring to the table is something that I think is private to us. But Julio Jr. is a multi-talented fighter. Just watching him spar yesterday, when we needed a box, he did it beautifully. And when we needed pressure in a few rounds, he pulled it off exactly how I like it. So I’m very confident that whatever style we bring and game plan we bring, we’re going to be successful with it.
Can you make the weight?
J. Cesar Chavez Jr.
Yes. Sure. I’ll make 172 because I pay $100,000 per a pound (if I don’t). I can’t pay that kind of money. I’ve never weighed more than 172 in a fight. The only fight I made 172 is with Brian Vera, the first fight. But in all the rest of my career of boxing, in all my championship bouts (I never didn’t make weight). I don’t know why you ask me that. Okay. Maybe, I’m a bigger fighter, you know? I know I am a bigger fighter. But, I don’t have problems. And (if he does) not make the weight, maybe I’ll win $100,000 more.
So, Julio, you’re hoping for $100,000 from Andrzej Fonfara, but you’re saying that he should not hope for $100,000 from you?
J. Cesar Chavez Jr.
No, no. I think that the fight’s in the right way. And he’s not going to take advantage of anybody, you know, because (I come in lighter). You know, the weight is pretty good I think for both fighters.
Can you talk about your decision to have Joe Goossen in your corner, you feel, as a result of the Vera fight, that you owe the fans a performance?
J. Cesar Chavez Jr.
Well, I’ve known Joe Goossen for a long time. He’s a great trainer. He’s a great person. He’s somebody that motivates fighters. And we have a true connection. We’ve connected again. And I like him a lot. I like that he’s a hard worker, just like me. And I think, together, we’re going to do really well. With regards to the performance, I can tell you that, this show is for the people. It’s going to be a great fight. It’s going to be a better fight. And now, with my new promotion company and with knowing who my opponent is going to be in advance, I think it’s going to be a great night.
That was our last question. So, again, we really appreciate the fighters taking time to join us. We look forward to this fantastic matchup between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Andrzej Fonfara on Saturday, April 18, from StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., live on SHOWTIME at 10:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. PT. Thank you so much for joining us.
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Tickets for the event, which is co-promoted by Goossen Promotions and Chavez Promotions, are priced at $200, $150, $100, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes, fees and service charges, are on sale now and are available for purchase online at AXS.com.
Chavez Jr. vs. Fonfara, is a 12-round bout that takes place at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. and will air on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT). The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP).
For more information visit www.sports.sho.com, follow on Twitter at @SHOSports, @jcchavezjr1, @andrzej_fonfara, @StubHubCenter and @Swanson_Comm, follow the conversation using #ChavezFonfara, become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SHOBoxing or visit the SHOWTIME Boxing Blog at http://theboxingblog.sho.com.