Lee Samuels: Greetings everyone. I’m in Las Vegas today. Bob Arum, my boss, is in Los Angeles, and David Diaz is in St. Louis training with his trainers, Kevin Cunningham and Jim Strickland. And David the WBC Lightweight Champion is with us along with Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Strickland who are working hard with him. He’ll be in Chicago soon for the big fight, August 4th, The War For 4, Erik Morales versus David Diaz on Pay-For-View..
At this time Bob Arum will take it from here and he’ll introduce David. Bob?
Bob Arum: Thank you Lee. It’s a pleasure to be on this call. August 4th will be a terrific event. In addition to the main event, the lightweight championship of the world between David Diaz and Erik Morales, we have some great fighters on the card; Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., a kid from Puerto Rico who is supposedly the next big star after Miguel Cotto; Juan Manuel Lopez whose on the card; and then a terrific IBF Flyweight or Mini Flyweight Championship with (Soleece) and (Mayo) also on the card.
So it’s a great, great night of boxing. It’ll be a fun night. It’ll be presented the way boxing should be presented with the top DJ playing, terrific music all night with one fight following the other with not a lot of talk from the announcers.
And for those people who love boxing, this will be a tremendous night. Erik Morales goes for his fourth World Title; if he’s successful, the first Mexican to win four championships.
But standing in his way is the champion David Diaz, a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team. A man earned his right to fight on that team by defeating Zab Judah many years ago. David is a determined fighter. A guy who throws punches at a tremendous rate, very, very entertaining. He’s been training in St. Louis with Kevin Cunningham and Jim Strickland. He told me a while ago that he’s really prepared for this fight and so let him tell you. It’s a pleasure to introduce champion David Diaz.
David Diaz: Thank you for that intro Bob. Yeah, we’re over here in St. Louis with Kevin Cunningham and Jim Strickland getting ready for this championship fight where I’m going to defend my title with everything I’ve got. And I’m not going to let Erick Morales go for that four that he’s so desperately wants. So I’m ready.
Bob Arum: Okay, Lee.
Lee Samuel: Yeah, I think we should – and I see Dominic Pesoli is with us, our co-promoter 8 Count Promotions. Dominic, hello?
Dominic Pelosi: Good afternoon everyone. I’m very excited to be part of this show. David, you know, I’ve known for quite some time and I’d just like to say that he’s got, you know, the heart of a lion and he’s a very exciting fighter. And I know he’s, you know, very motivated and, you know, I know he’s ready to go and he’s going to put on an entertaining fight for us. But I’m also very glad to be part of this whole event and, you know, we’re looking to really put on a great show and I think we’re going to have a nice crowd of people there. And, you know, I’m just very excited to be part of this whole ordeal.
Lee Samuels: Okay, (Nancy) why don’t we start giving instructions how to – for the reporters to ask questions.
Dan Rafael: Thanks a lot, appreciate it Lee. How are you David?
David Diaz: I’m pretty good. How are you doing?
Dan Rafael: I’m good. David I was at your fight when you were fighting Jose Armando Santa Cruz, didn’t look good there for awhile. Can you talk about the type of fighter you are that you could come back in a fight that you were clearly losing desperately and to score a big knockout the way you did and put yourself in this position for the fight coming up next Saturday?
David Diaz: Yeah, well we prepare ourselves very well for every fight. We do a lot of conditioning to get to go start the fight when we have to. I mean in that particular fight what everybody seems to forget and not look at was that we laid the groundwork first to go to the body. And we seen the tapes with Kevin and (Strick) in the room and we were like this guy fades in the (last). We just got to go for the body right away. We’re going to sacrifice, you know, a couple of rounds here and there. But it all planned out perfectly. And we ended up winning in a dramatic fashion.
Now I’m going to say this, I didn’t – we didn’t know we were going to knock him out. We just felt that we were going to beat him in the later rounds. We didn’t predict the knockout or nothing but it happened. But it all started with the body work. We knew that we had to do the body work and that the guy would fall at the end, you know, I mean that we would be able to capitalize on it and we did.
Dan Rafael: David, were you discouraged at any point during that fight?
David Diaz: Never. You never get discouraged because we train so hard that we know we could go all the way to the fourth round. And if we were fighting 15 we could do 15 too. So we’re just – we get prepared for every fight. And we don’t leave anything to chance.
Dan Rafael: Is it fair to say that working that body was what you’ll look to do against a guy like Erik Morales who has lost I guess three of his last four fights and, you know, hasn’t taken the punches as well as he has in the past?
David Diaz: I mean you can say whatever. That’s what I plan on doing. I mean just working and see what comes out of it. I mean we can go in there and say we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that and then it doesn’t work. So we’ve got to adapt. And I think that’s something that I can do well and my opponent does as well. With the experience these guys got behind me, I mean they’ve seen it all and they know what to say to help me overcome anything.
Dan Rafael: One more question David. Do you feel a little bit disrespected? You’re fighting your hometown. You have the belt. Erik Morales has been on the losing streak and yet the fight is called Morales versus Diaz, The War For 4 as a title towards his aspirations to win that fourth title. And it’s almost as though you’re an afterthought.
David Diaz: No. I mean that’s motivation man. That’s all I see it. I see (unintelligible) motivation I find something that lights the fire under me and that’s what they just did. They want to name it, they can call it Erik’s Fight or whatever they want to call it, it’s just I know that I’m going to go in there and give them my all and would not leave nothing to chance; training as hard as can be down here.
And the results going to see on August 4th; you guys will be able to see. This is my chance to show the world that I belong at the 135-pound (unintelligible) champion.
Dan Rafael: Okay. Thank you very much David. Good luck to you.
David Diaz: Thank you Dan.
Operator: Thank you. And next question comes from (Jose Sanchez) from (All) Newspaper Chicago.
Lee Samuels: (Jose) hold for a second. David, can you translate for us please?
David Diaz: Oh let me. Yeah, he just asked me that, you know, it’s called Erik Morales War For 4 and stuff. He’s just asking me how I would name it if this was my building. And I said this is the beginning of David Diaz’s era. So that’s how I would (build it).
Lee Samuels: Okay, David, please translate for us.
David Diaz: He just asked me what are my preparations and for what am I doing for this fight, I mean getting down to the last couple weeks. And I’m just sharpening up. And a lot of prepare work from Kevin and, you know, just winding it down a little bit, picking it up, winding it down, you know. So it’s we’re getting there. We’re getting to get real sharp, real sharp.
Lee Samuels: Okay.
(Jose Sanchez): Thank you David.
Lee Samuels: Thank you (Jose). We’ll see you in Chicago.
(Robert Valentine): David, good to talk with you today.
David Diaz: Hey, how are you doing man?
(Robert Valentine): Correct me if I’m wrong. You went (Simonds) High School.
David Diaz: Yeah, I went to (Simonds) High School.
(Robert Valentine): Talk about what it means to be coming back here and fighting such a big fight in your hometown with so many, you know, fans who kind of grew up with you.
David Diaz: I mean it’s a dream come true. This vision goes back to winning my first Golden Glove in ’93 and when it was called the World’s (Mah Horizon). Now it’s called the (unintelligible). But it was called the World’s (Mah Horizon) and I won my first Golden Gloves Title there.
And afterwards, I mean there was only like about 3,000 or under 3,000 people there but I was like man, this is where I would like to come and make a title fight. You know, a fight for a title where it’s packed and crowded and, you know, the fans are going for me and, you know, something like that. Now I get to defend my title which is even better and against a great legend like Erik Morales. So I mean you can’t ask for anything better. I mean I’ve waited ten years for this. So I get to do it and get to do it at home so I’m very happy about it. But I did graduate from (Sheers) though, man.
(Robert Valentine): You graduated from (Sheers)?
David Diaz: Yeah, I graduated from (Sheers). Got to go with the bull dogs man or they’d kill me.
(Robert Valentine): What’s the preparation for the next week? What do you kind of do to get yourself mentally ready, you know, for all the butterflies and all the emotions that you’re going to be going through?
David Diaz: Just no butterflies. Just look at tape, get pad work. Definitely we need pad work just to stay sharp and then that’s why we’re here with Kevin right now. Getting the pad work in there so we can be sharp as a knife and get out there and camaraderie stuff, you know. And just get prepared for that. Just think about Morales, that’s it. I mean what else can you do?
(Robert Valentine): All right. Thank you very much.
David Diaz: Thanks.
Lee Samuels: Thank you (Robert). I’ll see you at ring side. Okay, (Nancy).
(Carl Freitag): This is going to be a fight in your hometown and, you know, Morales is the great legend. Who do you think the crowd’s going to be rooting for?
David Diaz: Man, you know what 50/50. I hope it’s 50/50. That’s what I’m hoping for, you know, because it – that’s my hometown so I hope it’s 50/50. And I can give them the other half, you know, it’s not a problem. And regardless if they come to cheer for Morales, if it’s 70/30, by the end of the night it’s going to be 100% Diaz.
(Carl Freitag): Are you going to knock him out in this fight?
David Diaz: I’m going to do what I have to do to win. I can’t say I’m going to knock him out but I got to do what I have to do to win.
(Carl Freitag): You’re talking about cutting him up and things I mean, you’re looking to not go the full 12?
David Diaz: Well I would just say I’m going to go out there and do what we need to do man. I’m talking about we want to be sharp and that’s why I made that reference of, you know, we’ve got to cut him up, do what we have to do to win.
(Carl Freitag): You’ve been off for a year. And do you think going into a real big fight like this and didn’t you want to get a tune-up or something first?
David Diaz: No, I mean he’s been off almost the same so it doesn’t really matter. Rest is good for you and we’ve been in the gym doing what we have to do working and stuff like that so, getting our spawning in there so. So we’re pretty happy with the way things are right now.
(Carl Freitag): You’ve been working with Kevin Cunningham for this fight. Is that doing anything with your style or are you doing anything different?
David Diaz: No, we’re just in there doing what we have to do. Kevin’s been helping just on the way I fight and just sharpening it up a little bit more. That’s all it is. He’s not – I’m not going to be no Cory Spinx or anything like that so, you know, just adding to what I already have and helping me on what I already have.
(Carl Freitag): Fighting a legend like this are you going to go into the ring feeling a lot of respect or are you just not even going to think about that?
David Diaz: Man, respect stays out of the ring. There’s no respect in the ring. If you give the guy respect in the ring, he’s going to eat you up. So my respect is only outside the ring. You can’t knock what Erik has done over his career. I mean you got to give him that. And that’s what I plan on doing. I respect him outside the ring but inside the ring we just got to go and fight man.
(Carl Freytag): Okay, David good luck in the fight. Thanks a lot.
Dan Rafael: Okay, thanks a lot. David or Kevin are you there also? Is this your first fight working together?
Kevin Cunningham: What’s up Dan?
Dan Rafael: Hey Kevin.
Kevin Cunningham: Hey, no we worked together on his last fight.
Dan Rafael: So your second fight with David.
Kevin Cunningham: Yeah.
Dan Rafael: How did you guys hook up?
Kevin Cunningham: But we’ve been around. David’s been at camp before. He was the chief spawn partner for (Strick)’s (2-to-1).
Dan Rafael: Okay. Is that how you got to know him?
Kevin Cunningham: No, no, no.
David Diaz: No, we…
Kevin Cunningham: (Strick’s) is my man. His main man is (Strick), that’s my main man. So we’ve been – you know, David’s spawned on (unintelligible) (about promoting shows and things) and David’s (spawned) (unintelligible).
Dan Rafael: Okay. So I know (Strick)’s been with you. You’ve been with him for a while, right?
Jim Strickland: Yeah.
Kevin Cunningham: Oh yes.
Dan Rafael: Okay, I just wanted to get that clear. So you’ve known each other a long time but this is the second time where you’re actually Kevin going to be part of the corner with David and (Strick).
Kevin Cunningham: Yes.
Jim Strickland: Yes sir.
Dan Rafael: Okay, I got you. I got a question also for David. I know you’re very proud to be defending your WBC Title in this fight. Is it a little bit odd because of the way that you came to acquire the title? I mean you had won the interim title against Jose Armando Santa Cruz and then for whatever reason that I still can’t figure out they took the title away from Casamayor and, you know, gave you the full title. Do you feel like you have something to prove that you really deserve to have that real title by beating Morales?
David Diaz: Well okay, there’s two parts to that question. I mean, yeah, it’s not so much to prove to anybody but just to myself that I am the champion and, you know. And the thing is that they told Casamayor way before even before Diego Corrales, when Diego Corrales lost the belt on the scale, they told him if you beat Corrales you have to defend the title against David Diaz. It’s mandatory no matter what. I understand the man wanted to make more money fighting someone else but I was his mandatory.
If you don’t fight your mandatory that’s not following the rules of the WBC. So he got stripped. I had one already, the (HM) Title from Santa Cruz and they gave me the belt. Now saying that, if I were to lost to Cruz, Santa Cruz would have been the World Champion. Santa Cruz would have been fighting and then probably there would have been no argument. But I’m the champ and I’m going to defend title because it is my title.
Dan Rafael: David, would you like after the Morales fight, just to be clear about everything, would you like to fight Casamayor just to show that you really deserved it?
David Diaz: To deserve it, I believe (unintelligible)…
Dan Rafael: You know, I don’t mean – I’m not trying to be disrespectful, I’m…
David Diaz: When he didn’t want to fight me. So I don’t know, I mean I’m not thinking that far ahead. I think one fight at a time. And time will tell. Bob Arum is my promoter. You’d have to talk with him about it and see what he says. He’s the one that’s going to be guiding my career now. So he’s the one that’s making all the plans and seeing what’s next after me.
Right now all I know is I’ve got to fight Erik Morales.
Dan Rafael: Right. Do you consider Joe Casamayor to be one of the best lightweights in the world?
David Diaz: Well I mean everybody’s saying that he’s one of the best. I personally don’t like his style; don’t like his style of fighting. But hey, if people want to train him the best whatever, they can do it. I personally don’t think so.
Lee Samuels: (Nancy) I see (Robert Morales) wants to ask a question. Let’s see what (Robert) wants.
(Robert Morales): Thank you. Thanks Lee. Hey David how are you doing man?
David Diaz: Hi man.
(Robert Morales): Hey listen, you know, looking at your record, I see that you have fought over 140 pounds ten times. And you actually started out your first fight was at 142 pounds where has Erik had, you know, started out at 122 pounds. There’s a lot of talk out there that, you know, you’re just going to be too darn big for Erik, that Erik is biting off more than can chew in his quest to get those four championships. What do you see? And a lot of people are talking about that, what do you think about that? Or do you think you’re going to be just too big for this man?
David Diaz: Well, you know, I’m not buying into anything. I’m just getting ready for the fight. I’m going in there to do what I have to do and that’s just it. I mean yeah, before I fought a heavyweight because, you know, I wasn’t doing the right things. I had nobody to tell me hey, you know what you got to do this like this.
Finally got with (Strick) and he (pleaded) with me for about two, three years, David you can get to 35. I’m like (Strick), no I can’t. And he’s like, David you can do it, he’s like. Two, three weeks before the fight I was hitting 40 without a problem. So he’s like you can hit 35 and I listened to him and again good things happened. You’ve got to listen to the wise men.
(Robert Morales): David this, and correct me if I’m wrong, this is probably going to be the biggest stage on which you have fought in your professional career. That said tell me about the thoughts heading into this fight. Are you nervous, any butterflies, what are some of those things going on in your head right now?
David Diaz: Honestly nothing. I mean I’m cool, I’m calm. I’m happy this fight is happening. I’m really excited about it. I’m not nervous at all and this is just another fight for me, man, seriously. I haven’t even, you know, express, you know, when people say you’re the World’s Champ, I mean they tell me that but, you know, it’s still hard to believe.
So I mean so this fight is – it’s just about the same way. I mean we just – I’m taking it day by day. That’s it. Nothing to get, you know, nervous about.
(Robert Morales): All right thanks man. Good luck.
David Diaz: It’s what I do for a living so.
(Robert Morales): All right. Awesome. Thank you man.
David Diaz: Thank you.
(Roberto Rajar): All right. You keep saying that, you know, you have watched Morales for many years and there’s nothing to think about for the past ten days only for Morales. Without giving out anything, can you tell us what is your thoughts on Morales and what is his weakest points? And what kind of training did you do specifically for Morales, not just training that you do for every fight but something that you see on Morales that says I’ve got to go to the body, got to go to the jaw whatever, can you discuss that?
David Diaz: Well I mean for this fight we just feel that we have to do a little bit of everything, you know, I mean we’ve got to – when he wants to box, we’ve got to bang. When he wants to bang, we box. So I feel that I could do that and basically I think that’s what we’re going to do is just go out there and see what happens. I mean like I say, I can say certain things and none of it comes to pass, you know, I mean nothing that I say works so we have to adapt. So everybody is just going to have to wait and see for the fight and see what we have to do to beat Morales.
(Roberto Rajar): I see. I would like you to say something in Spanish to the people here in Southern California who are going to be watching the television and probably they don’t know you very well, what would you say to them in Spanish?
David Diaz: (Spanish Spoken). (Roberto Rajar): Would you like to translate that?
David Diaz: Yeah, just saying that I want everybody out there in Southern California to go and order the fight and check it out. And you guys are going to see David Diaz, God willing everything’s going to go all right, and we’re going to do good work on August 4th. And people will be proud to see me fight on August 4th.
(Roberto Rajar): Thank you for your time and good luck.
David Diaz: Thank you.
Lee Samuels: Okay (Nancy) before we continue, we will be in Los Angeles on Monday with Erik Morales and Jose Cesar Chavez, Jr. at the El Paseo Inn on Olvera St. at 11:00 am. And then from there (Al Trabli) will be heading to Chicago.
Operator: Thank you. Our final question comes from Eddie Goldman from SecondsOut Radio.
Eddie Goldman: Thanks. Hey David, how’s everything going today?
David Diaz: Everything went great today.
Eddie Goldman: Let me ask you this. Everyone knows that Erik Morales has been a legend but we also know he’s lost his last three fights and lost his last four out of five even though a lot of those were against people like Manny Pacquiao. Can you tell us how much you think Morales has left at this point in his career?
David Diaz: I can’t answer that. I don’t know what he’s got left. What I can tell you is that David is ready. He’s going to get ready for this fight and I hope he comes ready, you know, I hope these five pounds help him out to be sharp and we can go to war and because that’s what it’s going to be, this fight is going to be a war.
I’m just hoping that he comes up and answers the bell right. And that’s all I can say about that, I mean I don’t know what’s in his mind or whatever. I can’t speak for the guy. But I know that I’m going to be ready for this fight.
Eddie Goldman: How much do you think this weight difference makes because this is the weight you’re at and you won a title that way, this is the first time he’s fighting at this weight?
David Diaz: Well I mean like I’m pretty sure it’s going to help him a little bit because, you know, and he was struggling to meet 30. So five pounds is five pounds. Five pounds can help you or hurt you. It just depends the way he does it. You know, the way he gets down to fighting weight. But I assume that the five pounds are going to do him good and he’s going to come out and ready to fight.
Eddie Goldman: Okay, do you want to make a prediction for the fight?
David Diaz: No predictions, (Spanish Spoken), sorry.
Eddie Goldman: Okay, good luck on the 4th. Thanks.
Lee Samuels: Eddie, thank you very much. Bob that was our last question.
Bob Arum: Okay. Thanks everybody for being on the call. Thank you David some outstanding comments to these questions.
I look forward to a great show a week from Saturday, August 4th. It’s on Pay-For-View distributed by HBO. The price is $44.95. There’s some great tickets available at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. We anticipate a really strong crowd. And a lot of people will be cheering for Erik Morales but Chicago is going to come out for David Diaz and it should be a tremendous night of boxing.
Lee Samuels: Thank you Bob. Thank you David. And David we’ll see you in Chicago.
David Diaz: Bye man.
It will be the Battle of Midway when three-division world champion ERIK “El Terrible” MORALES, making his Chicago debut and seeking his record fourth world title in as many weight divisions, rumbles with WBC lightweight champion and Chicago native DAVID DIAZ in the main event of “The War for 4!” Promoted by Top Rank Inc., in association with Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Promotions, “The War for 4!” world championship extravaganza will take place Saturday, August 4 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL and broadcast live on pay-per-view.
The pay-per-view broadcast will also feature two additional world title fights and the Chicago debut of undefeated welterweight contender Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., son of the legendary three-division world champion and Mexican icon Julio Cesar Chavez.