Photos by: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME: Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward looks to take the next step toward a world title shot when Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism presents “Cayman Knockout: Championship Boxing” from the Caribbean on Friday, June 20, 2008, live on SHOWTIME’s ShoBox: The New Generation (11 p.m. ET/PT delayed on the west coast)..
Originating from the beautiful outdoor Truman Bodden Sports Complex in the capital city of George Town on Grand Cayman, the SHOWTIME telecast will feature a 12-round North American Boxing Organization (NABO) super middleweight championship bout between undefeated Ward (15-0, 10 KOs) and former Olympian Jerson Ravelo (18-2, 12 KOs). In another featured bout, once-beaten heavyweight Eddie Chambers (30-1, 16 KOs) will take on hard-hitting, six-foot-four-inch, 260-pound knockout artist, Raphael Butler (30-4, 23 KOs) in a 12-round United States Boxing (USBA) heavyweight championship contest.
What the fighters and promoters had to say at today’s press conference:
“I want to be the best fighter in my era. I will achieve that with class and integrity. I want to change the negative image that boxing has.”
“Both Ravelo and I represent ourselves differently from other fighters. We have respect for the sport of boxing and for each other.”
“I watched Ravello at Gleason’s gym. I know who he is and I respect him.”
“A victory over Ravelo could put me up in the top 10 for the WBO super middleweight title.”
“I am a Christian. God has a plan for my team. I’m not on my own timetable. I’m on his time table. There is a process. My time will come. Working hard for the NABO national title is part of the plan. The stakes are high.”
“It is going to be about preparation for this fight. Ward is a good fighter, and so am I. He is fast, and so am I.”
“I have broken my right hand and had it injured for four years without truly healing. Now, it is completely healed and it feels good and ready to fight.”
“I supported Ward in the Olympics. I made the Olympics in 2000, and it was a dream of mine to win. I achieved my goal, and now I will achieve my goal for a championship title on June 20.”
“I’m not saying I am going to knock Ward out. I’m just going to win. I’m ready to go the full 12 rounds.”
DAN GOOSSEN (Promoter Goossen Tutor)
“It’s seldom when you can sit in front of everyone and tell them that along with the spectacular fight they will witness, they will take in a beautiful venue as the Cayman Islands.”
“Sitting ringside outdoor in any arena located near the waves, the beach…. This is one of the most gorgeous prolific sites to have any event at.”
“Ward overcame all the odds by fighting a bigger man in the Olympics… All the experts thought he wouldn’t take the gold medal”
“Ward faces his toughest test on June 20 against Ravelo.”
“If I was going to build a fighter, it would be Ward. He is a skilled fighter with natural talent and a class act.”
“On June 20, Ward and Ravelo will do all of their trash talking with their fists.”
CHARLES CLIFFORD (Cayman Islands Minister)
“It’s an honor to host a class act event such as Ward vs. Ravelo”.
“We (Cayman Islands) fully embrace this event and are proud of our partnership with Goossen Tutor Promotions and SHOWTIME. We are proud of the talent that will display their skills.”
“The Truman Bodden Sports Complex has been refurbished. We have invested more than one million in the upgrades. We made substantial investments against the back drop of beautiful scenery.”
“Our objective is to make this at the very least an annual event.”
GORDON HALL (Executive Producer of ShoBox)
“On behalf of SHOWTIME, we’re extremely excited to be included in this fight card from Grand Cayman at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex. It will be the first televised boxing event in the history of the island.
“ShoBox: The New Generation is a series that showcases hopefully the youngest, brightest and most talented fighters that we can find. The one criterion is that they’re willing to be matched tough. I certainly think we have that with these two Olympians: Andre Ward and Jerson Ravelo.
“We’d like to have fighters appear, and hopefully reappear, on ShoBox and turn from prospects into contenders and go on to win world titles.
“Both Andre and Jerson have been on ShoBox before. It’s an extremely important fight at this point in their careers. Hopefully the winner will eventually go on and win a world title and become the 25th fighter that has fought on ShoBox and went on to win a world title.
“I care about the match-ups and making the best fights we possibly can, staying true to our definition of what ShoBox: The New Generation is all about.”
“Certainly this is a fight that epitomizes what ShoBox: The New Generation is all about and we’re extremely excited to be in Grand Gayman.”
“We’re looking forward to having the opportunity in the broadcast to showcase part of the island. We’ll certainly try to give the folks at home a little idea of what a beautiful spot this is.”
“At the end of the day, we look to have an extremely competitive fight and one that would continue to help the tradition of what we have tried to establish on ShoBox: matching young kids tough.”
STEVE FARHOOD (ShoBox Expert Analyst)
“I get excited about the match-ups on ShoBox, and this match-up between these two guys is as exciting for me as any we have this year.”
“There are a lot of contrasts: we have east coast, west coast; we have 2004 Olympics, 2000 Olympics; we have undefeated prospect/young contender in Andre, and Jerson is already a young veteran who wants what Andre has.”
“Gordon said we look to showcase young fighters in tough fights. I’d go a step further. I like to see young fighters matched tougher than they’ve ever been matched before. I think this is certainly the case with Andre Ward in this fight. Jerson Ravelo is young veteran and I think he’s definitely the toughest opponent of Andre’s young career.”
“I can’t wait to go. It’s just a little bit difficult to work when you are in a setting like Grand Cayman, but I’ll struggle through it.”