LOU DiBELLA: Thanks for joining us and it’s wonderful to work on this great event with Top Rank. The ticket sales and Thomas & Mack have been incredible and it’s going to be a clean sellout. I would urge everyone to get their tickets now. There are tickets left, particularly the least expensive [$75 and $50]. I do not expect there to be any tickets left on fight week so I urge people to get out and get their tickets now. I want to thank our sponsors for this event – Tecate, AT & T and Wynn Las Vegas. They have been wonderful. When you have a product to sell, it sells. We have the two best middleweights in the world getting it on — Martínez, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and Julio César Chávez Jr., the son of the legend. It’s easy to sell this fight because it’s a great betting fight. The odds right now are slightly in Sergio’s favor but they could sway by the first bell when all the Méxican-American fans have made their way to the Vegas sports books.
PABLO SARMIENTO: This fight will be a very tough fight. We are fooling each other if we don’t think that will be. We have worked very hard for the past two months. We need to be intelligent in the ring and we will come out victorious.
SAMSON LEWKOWICZ: As the advisor, I need to congratulate Lou DiBella. Many people say that it is hard to deal with Bob Arum and I would like to say everybody is wrong. It is an honor for me to work with him for the first time and this is actually the first big event of my life. I am looking forward to this because if you ask Martínez, you know it wasn’t about the money. He wanted the fight and he wanted it very badly. He took it very personally. He didn’t ask me “how much,” he said “when.” And “when” is September 15th, so I am very happy. I am looking forward to seeing what will be the best fight of the year.
LOU DiBELLA: And now I would like to introduce who I think is the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, some have him No. 3 but I believe he is No. 2 – the true middleweight world champion fighting a younger, bigger, stronger man and the son of a legend, Sergio Martínez is very confident and prepared and one of the best people in boxing, Sergio “Maravila” Martínez.
SERGIO MARTÍNEZ: My trainer and I have worked very hard for the past two months. People will see who the REAL middleweight champion is because they know who the best is right now and that is Sergio “Maravila” Martínez. We all know that Chávez has the title, but on September 15th, the belt will go to the rightful owner and that is Sergio.
How personally is Sergio taking this fight?
SERGIO MARTÍNEZ: It is personal. Not only do I want the title, but I have wanted to fight Chávez for a long time.
What areas would you say you have a great advantage over Chávez?
SERGIO MARTÍNEZ: Julio César Chávez is fighting Sergio Martínez. Regardless of the preparation of his entire career, it would not make a difference; I will knock him out anyway. I believe that I am No. 2 in this sport, so that is good enough to know that I will beat him. He cannot beat me. He cannot. I don’t really know if there is an easy aspect of him in his fighting, but I now that I am better than him.
What is the reason for this animosity?
SERGIO MARTÍNEZ: It is very simple. I cannot accept the fact he is world champion. The only reason he is world champion is because he is Julio César Chávez Jr., the son of the legend and his mouth is so big – even bigger than his own brain and he’s talking too much.
SAMSON LEWKOWICZ: I have known Sergio Martínez for the past five years and I have never seen him so motivated. He never disliked any of his opponents and always had respect for them. But Chávez took something away from him and he believes he was wronged. And he believes that he had to wait too long to get it back. This all has given him more motivation from the people is Spain and he is an idol in Argentina. Chávez Jr. has a big mouth and he is very insulting and he will pay the price on September 15. I never go to camp, because everyone has their own job. Pablo does his own. Sergio does his own. I do my own. And Lou does his own. But I went twice, three times and I never saw him so motivated, so hungry – looking toward the date.
LOU DiBELLA: There is a contrast on how these guys were raised and who they are. Chávez Jr. was raised with a silver spoon in his mouth. He’s been in the ring on someone’s shoulders since he was a baby. He was handled with kid gloves as a fighter on the rise. He was basically handed the opportunity to win the belt maybe a little bit before he was the fighter he is now. Sergio Martínez was raised in a slum, the worst ghetto in Argentina, with no shoes. He had to fight his way thru bullies just to get to school. He had to go to Europe to fight for peanuts. He got $900 to fight Antonio Margarito. It took him until his early 30’s to become a name or an attraction in boxing. Contrast the superstar kid, son of the legend whose had everything on a silver platter and the other had to work his ass off to get it.
Has Sergio seen improvements in Chávez Jr.?
SERGIO MARTÍNEZ: I believe that he has learned a lot from Freddie Roach. Secondly, regardless of the good man, he is not one of the great fighters. He is a good one, but not one of the best.
What kind of plan will you have for Chávez and are you worried about a decision?
SERGIO MARTÍNEZ: The speed and the power that I will deliver to Chávez on Septmbr 15th will be enough to knock him out. I will not wait for the judges.
What do you think needs to be done to get more of the best fighting the best?
LOU DiBELLA: I have always been able to do business with Bob Arum and he’s always been able to do business with me. Apparently Dan Goossen and Gary Shaw can do business together and that’s why these fights are happening. Here are two fights, one of which we think is not happening, and in the absence of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, this captures the attention of the casual boxing fan. Chávez Jr. and Martínez is a fight that is high on that list and the other fight, which is about as good a fight as you will get on premium TV. As long as there is an uneven playing field and as long as some people don’t do business with others and as long as some personalities get in the way of others, you will not see the best fighting the best. At the moment, just celebrate the fact you have these really good fights in the next couple of weeks. What has to be done? It’s very easy to make a deal – it’s not rocket science – it’s not that hard to figure out how to make a boxing deal. If it’s a premium cable deal – you know what money is in the pot and you know what’s available from sponsorship and gate. It doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to do it. If it’s a Pay-Per-View fight, you work out a percentage to get the deal done. That’s what was done here and the winner is the fan.
LOU DiBELLA: The only roadblock to getting this fight done was they didn’t think Chávez Jr. was ready – and that was good promotion and management. Chavez Jr. is now bigger. He looks like a different guy now – he’s grown up. He has a he size advantage over Sergio which is why this fight is so appealing. The fight is now universally thought of as a very dangerous fight.
Do you believe your style will leave you open?
SERGIO MARTÍNEZ: I fought all 53 of my fights with my hands down. I did it with Paul Williams. I did it with Kelly Pavlik. Why not with Chávez? What will be the difference? I will do it again with my hands down.
SAMSON LEWKOWICZ: In the 53 fights, he only lost one – against Margarito. That was the only one and he was not ready for the fight. The other was a draw and that was robbery – against Paul Williams. His style has been very successful and now fighters are trying to imitate him. Right now I am in Russia and people have been coming up to me wishing Sergio good luck which says to me everyone knows Sergio’s style, worldwide.
LOU DiBELLA: Even after 53 fights it still makes me nervous (LOL).
BOB ARUM: I would first like to say that the response to this fight, which we thought would be enormous, and it has exceeded our expectations. The ticket sales have been off the charts. The Thomas & Mack Center, where the fight is being held – the lower bowl and the floor, which is about 10,000 seats, sold out completely two weeks ago. Now the upper bowl has less than 900 seats available. We are looking at a sellout by the end of the week. We have opened up 6,000 to 7,000 closed circuit seats in the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, which is our host. The closed circuit sales around the country, supported by Joe Gagliardi, are tremendous. So we are on track to do very big pay-per-view business on this fight. Foreign sales are terrific. We are very enthused and it just goes to show if you give people a quality match, they will respond.
FERNANDO BELTRAN (Chávez Jr. co-promoter): Thank you. We are honored to be here and can’t wait for the 15th and we know the winner will be Julio César Chávez Jr.
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: Just so everyone knows, I have really been preparing for this fight for about a year. I have not stopped training since February, through two fights and I am ready to not only compete, but to win this fight.
You are not only fighting one of the best fighters in your division but one of the best fighters in the world. That proves what you are willing to risk when other champions risk nothing…
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: That is exactly what I’m about. I’m about fighting the best fighters. I want to give the fans a great fight. On September 15th I am very confident I am going to win the fight and that I will give everyone a fight that I will remember for a long time. This is the fight I am willing to do to give them that.
What do you think made everyone realize you are ready for this fight?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: I think they saw the dedication and the preparation that I had in the past year. I noticed improvement and I feel very confident in what I can accomplish. I know how hard it has been working day after day to get to this point and I’m not going to disappoint anyone.
What is your biggest advantage? Your size?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: I think that is going to be one of the keys but not the only key to the fight. I know I am bigger and stronger than he is but I know I need to box. You are going to see a complete boxer – able to do a lot of things. My height advantage will also help me to box and do some other things in the ring.
Does the fact that Martínez is taking this fight personally bother you?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: I know he has a big mouth and on September 15th I am going to shut him up once and for all. He’s just a big clown.
Looking back a few years, did you ever think you’d become the fighter you are today?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: To me it is like a dream to get to this level – a championship level fighter. I always dreamed about it and I knew I’d have to work really hard to get there. I knew I had it in me – I just had to work at it and figure out how to do it and I think I have.
Have you ever seen anyone go from 160 to 180 in the 24 hours prior to the fight?
FREDDIE ROACH: We do take the weight off then re-hydrate him and he eats well. He does put a lot of weight on but he’s not breaking any rules. He’s just making weight and then putting the weight back on that he took off and he’s very strong going in the ring.
Will it be more difficult to fight a fighter that will be moving around?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: I know he has a different style so I will also have to fight differently. I will have to box more. I have the strategy to beat him and you’ll see it on September 15.
Are you working on getting to the body in the fight?
FREDDIE ROACH: Martínez is a smaller guy so it will be a little harder to get to his body but we have a plan to set traps to catch him on the ropes and break the body down and take his legs away from him. It’s a difficult task but something we have been working on and something we plan on doing well.
How much does your undefeated record mean to you?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: I don’t like to lose. That’s the bottom line. I don’t like to lose. I know in this sport you win and you lose but I don’t train to lose. Every time I go in the ring I give it my all and I hope everyone enjoys the fight. Having an undefeated record is nice but the most important thing is to give everything of yourself in the ring.
What has your father’s influence been in this training camp?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: He has always been a great supporter of me. He’s always been there when I needed him. He’s willing to help me any way he can. I look forward to him being here so we can talk about things.
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: It is important to be able to speak to someone who went through the same thing I am going through now. He has been in some very big fights and I get to talk to him to make sure I am doing the right thing.
What did Julio do to make you think he was ready for this fight?
FREDDIE ROACH: Handling the southpaw stance of Andy Lee was, I think, a big thing. He hadn’t had a lot of experience with southpaws and he fought that fight great. After that fight we knew it was time to step up. We knew Martínez was a southpaw. We know how to fight a southpaw now and his father and I have been coming up with a game plan. Julio has some ideas also so the 3 of us are putting the plan together.
FREDDIE ROACH: Yes. In the gym he shows me moves that he sees against southpaws that will work and he’s showing me that and I’m delivering that to his son and he’s been working on them. They are very good moves and very logical of course.
Did you get anything out of the Macklin and Barker fights?
FREDDIE ROACH: You know we have been watching a lot of tape. He has some patterns that can be read. But he’s a complicated guy with his speed. He also hides his left hand well and gets people to follow him but we know how to cut the ring off. We have a good game plan set up but we did learn some from watching those tapes.
Why training in Vegas as opposed to Wild Card?
FREDDIE ROACH: We wanted to get used to the heat and weather and it’s really been hot here. We’ve been working through it and it’s going to be hotter on fight night and we’ll work through it and we’ll be ready.
Martínez is a strong puncher – what do you think about your defense?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: Of course we have been working on our defense and trying to counter everything he will do in the ring. But I am not so certain he is a hard puncher and we will find that out in the ring. I don’t think he’s that big of a puncher.
How do you feel about the talk from people, and specifically Lou DiBella, regarding how you have had it easy following the legend?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: I can’t help that people say that stuff about me. I am the son and that is who I am. He is my dad, but little by little I have proven myself. I have proven it in the ring. You have seen what I have done in the ring the past few fights. You can’t take that away from me – my victories and my championship. I have done a lot of things on my own. I have my own story now. They can say whatever they want but I have proven myself and it hasn’t been easy.
How have you been preparing to fight a lefty?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: I feel like I got a lot of great work sparring against the three southpaws we have had in the gym. They each brought different things to the table. I think they are tougher than Martínez so when I get to the fight it will be easy. Right now I am very used to fighting a lefty and know what I have to do in the ring and that is because of those three sparring partners.
What made you change your mind to want to fight Martínez now?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: I always wanted to fight him. When I won the title I knew I was going to have to fight him and I wanted to fight him whenever he was ready. My promoter told me after my fight in El Paso that the fight was done and I was very happy. I knew the fight was going to happen and everyone knew the fight was going to happen. The people want to see it and I want to fight it. I am about the people and to give the people the best fights in boxing. That’s why this fight is happening now.
You have shown something different in every fight – is that important to you?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: I want to show people I can do many things. I don’t want to do the same thing every time. I don’t want my opponent to think I fight the same way every time. I want to give them something different to think about in every fight and when they see the fight on September 15th they will see something different from me again.
What will be new this fight?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, JR: There are a lot of things I have been working on and you will see it on September 15th. I don’t want to tell you now because I don’t want you running to the other guy to tell him. All I can tell you is you are going to see a lot of better things from me.
** ONLY $75 and $50 tickets are left for this Méxican Independence Day Weekend Middleweight World Championship fight. This fight takes place almost 20 years to the day of CHÁVEZ vs. CAMACHO, September 12, 1992, where over 19,000 tickets were sold.
BOB ARUM: I would like to say something about how you promote. Everybody has been raising questions about why Julio didn’t fight Martínez before. One of the reasons was he was learning his trade and now he’s a lot better prepared. We could have taken a chance with him and Martínez about a year ago. The problem would have been it would not have been nearly as big a fight. It would not have had the same stage. Julio was really able to catch the attention of the public after the fights with Zbik and with Rubio, Manfredo, with Lee, and with this great exposure on HBO, he being the highest rating getter. When this fight happens on September 15th and if Julio is successful, which we believe he will be, Julio will become one of the biggest attractions in all of boxing. He becomes on the level of a Pacquiao, of a Mayweather, by virtue of the fact that the gate is selling out here, the closed circuit is doing extremely well and the pay-per-view numbers should be much higher than anyone anticipated. The fact that he is fighting Martínez now has brought tremendous attention, which wouldn’t have been the case a year ago. He’s better prepared and it’s a win-win for everybody. With the possible exception of Martínez, it is a win-win, but it’s a win for him too because he will get a bigger purse. That’s why this fight is happening now and why it has a tremendous buzz to it and that’s why everyone wants to watch this fight on September 15th. Julio is a great young man, a tremendous fighter and we all know he can perform and will perform on September 15.
FERNANDO BELTRAN: We feel very, very proud of Julio César Chávez Jr. He has worked very hard to become a tremendous fighter. I believe the people are going to see a great Julio César Chávez Jr. on the 15th so I recommend to everybody to buy the pay-per-view. The odds of this fight are even and you know we are going to have a sensational match. The fans are going to be the true winners of this match because they will be presented with a tremendous match. Chávez is a sensational young man in and out of the ring and he will begin to write history in gold letters following this fight.
FREDDIE ROACH: The best fighting the best and Chávez will be the best middleweight in the world after September 15th.
Promoted by Top Rank®, Zanfer Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, in association with Wynn Las Vegas, AT&T and Tecate, the Chávez Jr. vs. Martínez Middleweight Championship Event will take place Saturday, September 15, Méxican Independence Day Weekend, at the Thomas & Mack Center, on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT. The live pay-per-view undercard will feature four exciting bouts.
Remaining tickets to the Julio César Chávez Jr. vs. Sergio Martínez World Middleweight Championship, priced at $75 and $50, can be purchased at the Thomas & Mack Center box office and Town Square Las Vegas Concierge. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.unlvtickets.com. To charge by telephone call (702) 739-FANS.
Tickets to the Wynn Las Vegas closed circuit presentation are priced at $70 for reserved seating in the intimate Encore Theater and $50 for general admission in the Lafite Ballroom at Wynn. Ticket prices are inclusive of applicable taxes and fees and can be purchased by calling (702) 770-7118, through the website wynnlasvegas.com or by visiting the Wynn Ticket Office (Friday-Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. PT / Wednesday-Thursday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. PT) or the Wynn Concierge (Daily: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. PT.)
24/7 CHÁVEZ JR./MARTÍNEZ episode two debuts This Saturday! Sept. 8 at 12:30 a.m. ET/PT on HBO.