22.02.07 – SHOWTIME continues to live up to its billing as America’s No. 1 Boxing Network as it delivers yet another incredibly compelling match-up Saturday, March, 3, 2007. In one of the most highly anticipated fights in years, Israel Vazquez will defend his WBC super bantamweight title against IBF/IBO bantamweight champion Rafael Marquez in the main event on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (9 p.m. ET/PT delayed on the west coast). The showdown between two of boxing’s most exceptionally talented and exciting warriors at the peaks of their boxing games will be promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, Sycuan Ringside Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions..
In an excellent co-feature, undefeated hard-hitting IBF/IBO flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan defends against former IBF champion and current top contender Victor Burgos.
Tickets, priced at $25, $50, $75, $100, $150 and a limited amount at $200, are on sale through all TicketMaster outlets and on-line at ticketmaster.com. Tickets also may be purchased at The Home Depot Center box office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday.
Darchinyan and Burgos opening comments.
Burgos: I want to thank you for the opportunity. I have been training 35 days up in the mountains in Pueblo, in Mexico. I know it is going to be a tough fight but I am very confident that once again I will win a title in another division.
Darchinyan: Burgos just said he was training 35 days for this fight. I hope that is enough for him to be ready because I am ready to throw him a good fight and defeat. I do not want to comment, just knock him out in the first round and finish. I want to show the crowd and the people my skill. I am ready. I did more than 150 rounds in Australia. I will make a very good fight.
Burgos: Darchinyan is very confident he is going to beat me. He’s talking about a knockout. Well, I don’t think he is even going to hurt me. He is in for a big surprise. Do not miss March 3. He will fight a real fighter. I have been in the ring with big punchers, with big fighters in my division, and I think I have more experience than him. I have almost 65 altogether and my experience will make the difference in the ring.
Darchinyan: I hope he is going to be like that because I want to show my power.
Burgos: He is the one that should be worried after the second or third round when he figures out that he is not hurting me with his punches. I have been in wars in the ring. He has never been in a real war in the ring like I have been with big fighters. So Darchinyan better just watch out and know what to do when he figures out that he is not hurting me.
Question: Vic, what is your motivation for facing Burgos? He is not a champion, nor is he Jorge Arce. Are you willing to fight Lorenzo Parra or Omar Narvaez and are you willing to go to Thailand to fight Wong Jong Kim?
Darchinyan: Wong Jong Kim just likes sitting in Thailand. I am not sure that he is like a real champion. I have challenged Jorge Arce many times. I went to Mexico and challenged him after his fight. I hope in the future that he will fight me.
Question: Do you think Arce is too big for you?
Darchinyan: I have never been 130 pounds, but I cannot wait to see his style and everything. He looks like a very easy fighter and I can hurt him very easily too. I would just love fighting him for the entire world to see. And when I am fighting Victor Burgos, he will be slaughtered. I am very confident. He will lose this fight when I knock him out.
Question: Vic, do you think you are starting to get the respect that you deserve?
Darchinyan: I like to show that boxers in the lighter weight classes can be very exciting too. In my last fight, for example, I just gave him time. When the time came for punching, he just put his hands up and walked to the corner (instead of winning by KO, Darchinyan had to settle for a technical decision). He did not show a thing. This time, I am going to show my power right away in the first round so nothing happens like last time to me again.
Question: Victor, why did you take a fight against an undefeated opponent and a champion?
Burgos: Jorge Arce is just publicity. Jorge Arce is always afraid of good fighters because he knows he is going to lose. Arce does not want to fight me again. He always does that. He does not have the weapons to beat anybody that is good. I took the fight with Darchinyan because I was an IBF champion and I want to be the IBF champion again. Darchinyan is a great fighter, but that is what I like to fight – big fighters because I like to prove that I can fight them. I lost to big(-name) fighters, but I have beaten big(-name) fighters too. I am really sure that this time I am going to win.
Question: Do either of you want to make a prediction?
Darchinyan: I can say good luck. I want to show a good fight and not be disappointed. I want him to give me a real good fight because it makes me look nice in the ring.
Burgos: Good luck to Darchinyan. I am going to step into the ring and give him the biggest surprise of his life. I am going to walk away with that title. Thank you, SHOWTIME, for giving me the opportunity. I will prove that even with some losses I can fight anybody and I am going to prove it on March 3.
Darchinyan: I am going to be very happy if he can walk out by himself. No one is going to help him walk out.
Vazquez and Marquez – opening comments.
Vazquez: I feel ready. I feel good. I have been waiting for this fight for a long time. I cannot wait to get inside the ring.
Marquez: I am 100 percent. Everything will be in place before March 3 to win the fight.
Question: Rafael, where are you training right now?
Marquez: I am training in a gym in Mexico City, but my conditioning took place in the high altitudes.
Question: Israel, talk about facing a fighter that many believe will be a good challenge?
Vazquez: Well, he is a fighter that carries a lot of punch for 118 and I think we are interested to see what kind of power he can bring at 122.
Question: What will a victory do for your career?
Vazquez: It will open a lot of doors if I beat Marquez it is just another wave of opportunity for me. Whoever wins this fight March 3 is definitely going to have a lot of doors opened for him.
Question: Rafael, why did you finally decide to make the move to 122 pounds and what are your expectations in that division?
Marquez: I feel stronger at 122. It was my decision to move to 122, so I am going to be prepared well for the fight and hopefully March 3 I will bring the title to Mexico.
Question: Many are touting this as a fight of the year candidate. Do you view it the same way?
Vazquez: I think it is going to be a fight of the year definitely. You have got to consider it a fight of the year candidate because I am going to give it my all and we are all looking forward to it. I am definitely going to give my all in the ring come March 3.
Marquez: I feel great. I am going to give everything I have got to make the fans happy and obviously to make it the fight of the year. It is an important fight for me. I am going to give it my best.
Question: How do you both prepare mentally going into something that is expected to be a war?
Marquez: I just prepare myself thinking of Vazquez all the time. When I train, everything I do is related to Israel Vazquez. Obviously, I take my rest. I do rest a lot after my hard training. Preparation and being in great condition gives you the mental strength to be ready for the fight.
Vazquez: I am physically and mentally ready. I will give 100 percent. I am going to give what the fans want to see. Mentally and physically, I am as prepared as I have ever been. I am just ready to give my all once I get inside that ring.
Question: Both of you are almost exactly the same size except for fighting in different weight classes. How much of a difference will that make for Rafael moving from 118 to 122?
Marquez: The four-pound difference does not do anything to me. I feel stronger actually. I wanted to move up a long time ago. But I am ready and I feel much stronger now. I will be great.
Question: Israel, how much do you think the weight difference will make for Rafael moving up?
Vazquez: He is going to have to deal with fighting me. I am a natural 122-pounder. He has never had to do that before. So I think that will be the biggest obstacle or problem facing him. He is going to have to fight a natural 122 and this is the weight I am really comfortable at and have been comfortable at my entire career. That’s the biggest obstacle for him to negotiate.
Question: Israel, how does it feel fighting your second straight world champion from Mexico City and does it mean anything to you?
Vazquez: It is going to be great for the fans too because it is not just he and I going at it. It is going to be a fight that everyone can enjoy. I can say that I am proud that I am a Mexican fighter and both of us are going to be going at it toe to toe once.
Question: Rafael, what kind of attention is this fight getting in Mexico City?
Vazquez: There is a lot of expectation going on around this fight. People are talking about it and I am going to do my best. When I go inside the ring, I fight for myself and I fight for my people. My pride is really on the line. So it will be a great fight. The fans will not be disappointed.
Question: Rafael, does it bother you that Israel feels that he is a favorite?
Marquez: No – because I do not feel I am a favorite. But I am going to give everything I have got.
Question: Rafael, are there any worries about fighting Vazquez?
Marquez: No (there is nothing about him that worries) me at all. He is a great champion. He is going to be giving his best in the ring, but nothing to worry about.
Question: Israel, you have lived in Los Angeles most of your career after you came to California. Do you feel it has hurt or hindered you or do you feel that it has helped you?
Vazquez: It has been a positive experience because I feel I have had more exposure here in the U.S. than in Mexico and in Mexico City where I am from. So overall, I think it was a good decision on my part to move here because it opened a lot of doors for me. I have had a lot more exposure here and I have been in a lot of big fights here. Maybe I would not have been able to do that if I were in Mexico.
Question: In terms of family, has it hurt your personal life being so far away?
Vazquez: That is a complicated issue because I am divided on that, but I had to do what is best for my career. I understand what you are saying that my family is there and I am over here and I am torn between professional and family obligations. So yes, it is a complicated issue. I am divided on it, but overall it was a business decision to come here to California and get the exposure that I wanted and need for my career.
Question: Israel, can you give us an idea of how your camp wants you to fight Marquez?
Vazquez: Well, if we told you that, then it would not be much of a fight. We do not want to give away our strategy or techniques. It is a good question, but you will have to wait and see March 3 what is going to happen. We have trained hard for this and you will see our strategy and technique once the bell rings.
Question: Israel, you say you want to move up to face Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera in the future. At this point, how hard is it to make 122 pounds?
Vazquez: My manager, Frank Espinoza, and I have been talking about moving up in weight and it is something that has been on our minds lately, but it is something that I am going to take slowly. I want to say that I do want a shot at Manny and I do want a shot at Barrera. When it does happen, or if it does happen, those are the two fighters that are on our list to one day meet. It will be a great fight. Those will be great fights for us and for boxing as well.
Question: So, is making 122 easy for you?
Vazquez: Yes, I am fine with 122 and once we get done with this fight and see how that goes, then maybe we jump up to 126. The bottom line is that I want to be remembered as a great fighter, not only in just one division, but in multiple divisions. So that is the overall goal. We cannot give you a timetable as to when that is going to happen, but I am comfortable and I feel fine and I feel easy at 122.
Question: Rafael, are you worried you will be at a disadvantage coming up to 122 considering Israel has been able to dominate smaller world champions?
Marquez: I do not feel any disadvantages moving up to 122. I am strong and a great fighter, so why should I feel that way?
Begin Closing Comments.
Vazquez: I just want to thank everyone involved who worked on getting this fight and finally get it started. We hope the fans leave with a great taste in their mouths on March 3. It is going to be a great fight. We have been saying it all along and we will deliver March 3.
Marquez: First of all, thank everybody that made this possible. On March 3, I am going to give a great fight. This will be a great fight for the fans, for the L.A. people and for all fans of boxing.