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Amir Khan, Carlos Molina, Alfredo Angulo and Leo Santa Cruz Media Conference Call Transcript



 Amir Khan, Carlos Molina, Alfredo Angulo and Leo Santa Cruz Media Conference Call TranscriptPhoto: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME — Kelly Swanson – Thank you everybody for joining us. We know we had a busy boxing weekend this weekend and a very exciting one at that. So we appreciate you taking the time to call in and listen to the news on the next big, exciting boxing weekend, which is going to be coming up this Saturday, December 15th from Los Angeles. We have four fighters on the call today, as well as Stephen Espinoza, executive VP and general manager of Showtime Sports, and Asif Vali from Khan Promotions.

Oscar is going to make opening statements and make some introductions, and then he is doing some other things to help promote the show. So he’s going to drop off and I’ll take over and introduce the secondary fighters that come on after we introduce the first two. So without further ado, let me turn it over to Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. Oscar?

Oscar De La Hoya

Thank you, thank you very much, Kelly. Yes, we are extremely, extremely excited. First off, you know boxing is on a great roll, a great, exciting fight this weekend with Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Now boxing is moving on to a bigger stage in terms of viewership and people watching on free TV. Boxing is back on CBS.

We are extremely excited, extremely proud to be working with Showtime, to be working with Stephen Espinoza. I think having boxing on network television can only help the sport and can only elevate the sport to a whole new level. We are extremely excited to be having on Leo Santa Cruz, who will be fighting the main event on CBS this Saturday. We will also be putting on in the co-main event Joseph Diaz, who was is my eyes the best Olympian making his professional debut out of the 2012 squad of the U.S. team. This event is all taking place at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles.

Just because it’s close to the holidays and a way of giving back, Golden Boy Promotions, along with all the fighters, all the sponsors, AT&T and Corona, we wanted to step it up a notch. We wanted to give back. We’re starting off with the fights in the afternoon on CBS. After those fights we’re doing a big fan fest for all the fans who attend the fights with autographs, food, music, and then we’re moving on the Showtime Extreme portion of it and then on to the Showtime Championship Boxing.

So this is really, really exciting to work at Golden Boy Promotions. We’re really looking forward to it, to the fights, to the events, but most importantly giving back to all those fans who supported Golden Boy Promotions throughout this year. So without any further ado, I would like to introduce to you the man who makes it happen at Showtime. He is Stephen Espinoza. Stephen?

Stephen Espinoza

Thanks, Oscar. We’re here ending the year with perhaps our most ambitious undertaking of the entire year, a grand finale so to speak. Oscar’s already described a little bit about the ambitious plans that Golden Boy has from the toy drive to the toy giveaway to the fan fest. It’s a very generous holiday gift in truly a liberal sense.

Showtime’s big day starts at 1:30 Pacific/4:30 Eastern, with Showtime Boxing on CBS. First time boxing’s been on CBS in 15 years. This is something that CBS is excited about, very pleased to be able to do, and it’s obviously something that Showtime is also very happy that we’ve been given the opportunity. We’ve got two great young boxers that we’re very pleased to be highlighting.

We’ll have the pro-debut of 2012 Olympian, Joseph Diaz. I actually met JoJo; it’s been a year ago. It was December before the Olympics. He came to one of our shows. He couldn’t be a nicer young man and very, very talented in the ring.

Leo Santa Cruz, who continues a pretty incredible 2012, has gone from Extreme to Showtime Championship Boxing and now to CBS. He deserves every second of the attention he’s getting because he is a fighter who fights his heart out for the entire fight.

Then we will take a break, and as Oscar said, they’ll be filming with the fan fest at 9:00 Eastern. That’s very exciting. Shawn Porter on Showtime Extreme against Julio Diaz. At 10:00 Eastern we are premiering All Access the epilogue episode, which covers Fight Night and beyond. All Access Epilogue Cotto vs. Trout.

Then at 10:30 we will kick it off on Showtime for Showtime Championship boxing, the return of Alfredo Angulo, his second straight appearance on Showtime coming after a very impressive knockout there at Staples Center just a few weeks ago. We’ll then be featuring Deontay Wilder, another Olympian, a bronze medalist in 2008, with probably his toughest fight to date in Kelvin Price. Then we’re going to our main event, Amir Khan, his first appearance on Showtime versus a very tough challenger, the up and coming Carlos Molina

For my money, Amir is probably the most exciting fighter in the world. It’s all action, never a dull moment in Amir’s fights. I think that goes for all of these from Joseph Diaz to Leo Santa Cruz all the way through Shawn Porter. Deontay, Alfredo, these are continuing the incredible run of action fights that we’ve been providing and we’re very excited about it. Kelly, thanks.

K. Swanson

If you notice your fight week schedule, we’re going to be having toy drive events at the various workouts as well as the weigh-in. Also on Thursday, Oscar is going to be hosting a special toy drive gift at the Golden Boy building and he will be accompanied by none other than Santa Claus.

So we really encourage you guys, if you could, to mention the locations of the toy drive. The people do receive two tickets to the Khan v. Molina fight and I think that’s a generous gift that Golden Boy is giving to their loyal fans out in the L.A. area. Also the afternoon fight is a free ticket for the Santa Cruz portion of the show. So there’s a lot of giving back that Golden Boy is doing and I really want to commend them for their efforts.

At this point I am now going to introduce Alfredo Angulo. He will go first, and then we are hoping to have Leo Santa Cruz join us too. But Alfredo Angulo is of Baja California Mexico, now fighting out of Los Angeles, California. Of course everybody saw his return last month. He’s a junior middleweight and has already demonstrated his amazing punching power. He returned on the ring November 10th for the first time since his fight of the year battle with James Kirkland in 2011.

Of course, Mr. Angulo’s story has been well documented and we certainly welcome him back to the ring, his great fight back, and we’re so happy to have him again. He will be preparing to face Chula Vista’s Jorge Silva.

A. Angulo

Thank you so much, everybody. It’s the best. I thoroughly appreciate this, and also thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

K. Swanson

We’re also joined at this time by Leo Santa Cruz, very exciting. He’s going to be the main event on the CBS portion of the show. I think he’s absolutely adorable and he fights out of Los Angeles, California. He’s the current IBF Bantamweight World Champion, making his second title defense Saturday night. He’s a young Mexican-American phenom who is one of boxing’s brightest young stars, very exciting in the ring.

He has knocked out 11 of his last 12 opponents. He’s been very busy in the 2012 year, which always keeps a fighter crisp and able to continue his winning streak. On November 10th we saw him, too, and he scored a crushing knockout victory over Victor Zaleta in the 9th round. He will now face Alberto Guevara and again, that’s on network television, on CBS.

For the first time 15 years we have a show on CBS. So that’s very exciting, and Leo, we welcome you to the call and if you want to make an opening statement, we will open the questions up for both you and Alfredo.

Leo Santa Cruz

Thank you very much. I’m very happy to be here and thank you guys for having me.

Q

Leo, my question for you is pretty simple. You’re going to be in the first main event on network television for the CBS network for like Stephen Espinoza said first time since 1997. I believe their last time they had a main event was a world title fight when Bernard Hopkins knocked out Glen Johnson in the middleweight championship fight. It’s a long time ago, and he was a great fighter obviously. What are your thoughts about being highlighted in the return of network boxing on CBS?

L. Santa Cruz

I’m very happy. I’m very excited that they chose me to be the main event right there. It’s a dream come true and gives me more motivation to train harder and to focus more on this and try to give the fans a good show. I’m always in the gym training really, really hard for our fans because that’s what I came for, to give the fans what they want and hopefully everything goes good. I’m ready.

Q

I was going to ask you, I mean, because you are the main event and you are the champion going into the fight, if CBS looks to do more boxing in the future, which many boxing fans probably hope will happen, they are obviously hoping that they’re going to see a good fight. Does that add pressure knowing that they’re going to be looking for you to deliver something so they have a reason to continue to do boxing? If the fight was a complete flameout then maybe they would say you know what, there was a reason we stopped doing boxing in 1997. We don’t need this anymore. That another good fight from Leo Santa Cruz like you did so many times before could then get them pumped up even more to see more network boxing. So do you feel like you carry that a little bit on your shoulders, or are you just going to go and do your normal fight?

L. Santa Cruz

Yes. I want to please everybody, I want them to be happy and it makes me work harder and everything but I’m still going to go up there like I always do and do what I do because some people, they’re happy already with how I fight. There is a little bit of pressure but I am going to go out there and do what I do and try to please everybody and do my best.

D. Rafael

How old were you in 1997?

L. Santa Cruz

I was nine years old, eight years old, around there.

D. Rafael

So you were a kid last time this happened. So you probably don’t remember. So you’ve never watched a boxing match on network TV before probably.

L. Santa Cruz

Nope, never.

Q

Leo, Kelly called you adorable. I don’t think any of your opponents think that. Do you?

L. Santa Cruz

No, I don’t think so.

Q

I think you’re pretty much a terror. Very quick short turnaround for you. You start last month. Before that even with Morel and you come back and fight as a leader, that’s a pretty short turnaround from September to November. Are you comfortable with this pace? I mean, after fighting nine rounds you’re going to be right back in there just a little more than a month later.

L. Santa Cruz

Yes, they told me that if I was ready to come on and fight and I was like, yes, I want to fight. They told me that it was up to me and yes, I decided to fight because I wanted to finish the year strong. After this one I’m going to take a little rest and get ready and hopefully everything goes good on this one. I’ll take some rest and become stronger for next year.

Q

It’d be great for you to finish off the year with a third straight knockout in less than four months. How do you feel about that? Do you really feel like you want to go out there and just continue the dynamic performances that you’ve turned in?

L. Santa Cruz

Yes, I do. I would like to go out there and finish the year strong and finish with a knockout and this year could be good, because I do get more times and people get to know me and for this great exposure thanks to Golden Boy, to my manager, and to all my team. Thanks to them and that’s what I’m here for, to please all the fans and give them a good show.

Q

Last question I have is when you think of the Mexican fans; you’re a Mexican-American, you just probably watched one this past weekend. When you hear the crowd cheering for a guy like Marquez, do you imagine yourself reaching that kind of a level even though you’re only in your early defenses of your title?

L. Santa Cruz

Yes, I totally imagine myself that I one day I want to be like that and I want all the fans screaming for me and everything. Even imagining that and thinking of that it gives me chills and I feel really excited, so it gives me more motivation and strength to go in the gym and so one day I could become like that, like someone like Marquez and a true Mexican like that.

Q

Do you have a true Mexican boxing idol?

L. Santa Cruz

Yes, it was Cesar Chavez before and when he was beginning with him. Then it was Oscar Larios too. They were my biggest idols.

Q

Hey Alfredo, how long before you won a challenge for one of the junior middleweight titles? How long before you do that? I mean, I know you’ve only just been out of the-that was your first fight back in a long time. How many more fights do you think you want to have before you’re ready to step in there and win a belt?

A. Angulo

I’m ready to fight for a belt. I’m working, now the decision is up to my team and Golden Boy, he’s the decision for my opponents. I would be ready to fight for the belt tomorrow. I don’t care, the champions now are a good challenge and I’m ready. I’m working very hard-I know I stopped a lot of times, but I’m going for the title.

Q

If you were to have your choice of the champions, Austin Trout, Alvarez, Bundrage, etc. Would you have a preference? Would you want to go for one of the guys that aren’t considered so good first or would you want to go for Trout or Alvarez first?

A. Angulo

Any of those would be a great opportunity for me. I don’t care. I’ll fight for anybody.

Q

How big would an Alvarez fight be for you given that you’re both Mexicans?

A. Angulo

Every fight when two fighters-he’s Mexican, he’s a really good size. He fights really hard and with a lot of heart.

Q

Last question. Do you ever envision yourself being in the ring with Canelo? Have you ever, even when you weren’t able to fight, hearing about him and what level he’s reached, possibly being in the ring with him and how that would go?

A. Angulo

I don’t fight names. I fight opponents; I fight whoever is in front of me to get through him. So to me right now the name Canelo doesn’t mean anything because I have the other opponent. That’s who I fight, the one in front of me. It’s up to my promoter, it’s up to my trainer, and who they put in front of me and I’m ready to fight.

Q

Yes, my question if for Leo Santa Cruz. Leo, I just want to know back in November, was it even on your mind that you were going to fight in December, and if so, were there opponents already in mind?

L. Santa Cruz

No, they had given me some kind of clue. They told me that if everything came out good in November and everything was good that they had maybe something in December. They didn’t tell me that for sure but they had told me that maybe they were going to put me in the show. So I trained really hard so I could do good in November and I won. So yes I kind of knew that maybe in December they were going to give me another shot.

Q

Okay, so with that in mind, how does it affect the way you train for this fight as opposed to others? Most fighters going into training camp, they already know who they’re fighting and they know how to prepare. So for this fight is just you’re training for a fight as opposed to training for your specific opponent. So did that make a difference for this particular training camp?

L. Santa Cruz

A little bit because I didn’t know the other guy’s style or anything, but I kept training like how we train really hard and doing things that my dad showed me. He has really good ideas in the gym. He taught me to fight any kind of fight; all types of styles.

Robert Diaz

I just want to make it clear that this opponent was scheduled a few-as soon as we knew that he was back on we had the opponent lined up.

Q

Thanks, I appreciate it. Leo, just one more question. What does it mean to you, and we touched on it earlier, but returning to CBS, like you said you didn’t even grow up in an era where boxing was regularly showcased on network TV. So what does that mean to you? You’re bringing back something, I guess, to an entirely new generation.

L. Santa Cruz

It means a lot to me. I’m very grateful and happy that they picked me to be on this kind of TV because millions of people are going to be watching and this is what I need, exposure so that people to get to know me. Hopefully they become fans and they like how I fight so I can give them a good show and they keep on watching and following me.

Q

The question is for Alfredo. You’ve had your first fight. Obviously it was a very emotional night coming back into the ring. How difficult was it to get through those moments of the anguish, the difficulties that you had in the past?

A. Angulo

No, I’m a little bit more tranquil this time around. As I told everyone before the first fight, the training was done, the hard work was put in so I don’t get nervous but I do from the locker room to the ring. You know, obviously this time we’ve worked very hard where we’re back into the rhythm and it shouldn’t be as much of a surprise once we go out there and hear the crowd again. We’ll be used to it. We’ll be ready.

Q

This one is for Leo. 2012 was a very, very busy year. Do you expect 2013 to be the same scheduling and also your breakout year?

L. Santa Cruz

Yes, 2013 we’re going to train even harder and be ready and prepared so that the bigger fights come, the big names, and leave the crowd and make them happy. Definitely.

Q

Okay. Alfredo, you were sensational in your last fight. However, it was very quick. Do you want to get some more rounds in in this fight?

A. Angulo

Thank you for what you said. I think so. I’m ready for more rounds.

Q

Okay, and when I talked to you the last time you said you have some new weapons in your arsenal since working with Virgil Hunter. Will we see these new weapons in this fight?

A. Angulo

A lot of people, I hear the words, it’s very hard to tell and I used the word and the reason is the fight for the people on the field why is there a fight.

Q

Okay, and do you feel that you will challenge for a world title in 2013?

A. Angulo

I don’t know. I think so. You see it’s I think so like tomorrow Golden Boy officially is switched for even fight for the title, I think for the next year for sure.

Q

How do you feel about fighting on network television in front of a huge national audience in your hometown, how does it feel?

L. Santa Cruz

Exciting, happy, but at the same time really nervous and I have a lot of pressure on me because I want to give all the fans and the network a good show and I think it’s hard to do that and please everybody.

Q

All right, and you have been sensational at bantamweight. How long do you plan to stay at this division now before moving up?

L. Santa Cruz

The truth, I’ve been ready to move already like two months ago, but like the opportunities have been coming at this weight right now, and as opportunities keep coming, if there are opportunities to unify the belt and it’s a great opportunity for me, I think I will probably stay for a few months. If not, if there are better opportunities for moving up from 122, I think that next year is going to be my chance to move up and probably this is my last fight at 118.

K. Swanson

Thank you. Okay, so next up we’re switching to our main event. Oscar has already talked about the particulars, as well as Stephen Espinoza from Showtime, so I’m going to cut right to it and we will hear from Mr. Molina first, Carlos Molina of Norwalk, California. He’s undefeated as a professional, 17 and 0 with one draw and seven KOs. He’s a former national amateur champion. He has shared the ring with many top competitors and now he probably is stepping up, if not probably, definitely stepping up to face his toughest opponent to date and that, of course, is Amir Khan. Mr. Molina, if you want to make an opening comment, and then I will introduce Mr. Khan.

Carlos Molina

Sure, how are you guys doing? I’ve been training extremely hard for this fight. I’m excited and I’m ready. I’m ready to go a 12 hard round son Saturday. I’m just excited to be fighting here in my hometown of LA and be fighting a world class fighter like Amir Khan. I think it’s just going to elevate my skills, so like I said, my team has been working very hard with my head trainer Clemente Medina; my strength and conditioning coach, Luis Garcia, they’ve been pushing me to the max every single day. My manager, Frank Espinoza, my dad along my side. I’ve got a great team and come Saturday we’re going to show the world who Carlos Molina is.

K. Swanson

Of course without further ado, this is a fantastic fighter from Bolton, England, Mr. Khan, 26 and 3 with 18 knockouts. He’s the former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion. Of course, we all know he’s an Olympic silver medalist from the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. He gives a tremendous amount back in the U.K. and in Pakistan. We know he fights for all of the people that are attached to his life.

And you do know his history in the ring. He’s had unbelievable fights with top, top opponents and recently he did have a little bump on his radar, but he is back and probably the most exciting thing about this is that he has a new trainer, Virgil Hunter, so that’s a great association. He now is going to be facing Carlos Molina in his first fight back since he had his upset loss in July against Danny Garcia.

So Amir, if you want to make an opening statement and then we’ll open it up to the reporters?

Amir Khan

Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining the call. Training has gone great. I feel I’m in great condition and I know what mistakes I made in the previous fights and we’re not going to make them again. You will see a new Amir Khan come into this fight and I just want to say that the training that I’ve been doing with Virgil Hunter has been going great because to work on new techniques and new skills and everything and be a totally different fighter. I’m excited to show you all what the new Amir Khan is going to be like, but yes, training has been tough and hard.

The conditions have been very hard, as well. I kept everything really quiet and just being focused on what I need to do to. The training camp was in San Francisco. So it’s been a great camp and we just can’t wait to get in the ring there and put on a fight because it’s been such a long time since the last fight. I just want to get back in the ring now and show what Amir Khan is all about, but training, while in LA we’ve been doing the training over here as well and Virgil is also in LA, as well, so it’s fight week and it’s all about just making sure that we’re going to do things right and we’re going to stick to a game plan.

We know we’re up against a tough Carlos Molina, and we know what it’s like to fight and be inside, because they’re very confident and we’re not taking this fight lightly. We’ve taken it very seriously; especially we know that Carlos is going to come into the fight very confident after my last fight. So we’re going to be ready for everything he brings to the table and I’m excited more than anything. While the U.K. fans are excited to see me fight, fans that are in Pakistan and around the world and also in America, they’ve been messaging me and saying we can’t wait to see you fight come this Saturday. So I’m excited and I hope you guys are as well. Thank you.

Q

Hello, Carlos, do you feel like this is kind of your Rocky moment coming into this fight? You’re the big underdog and you’re going to be fighting in front of your hometown and a wink could potentially set you up with fights that for a title on the other 140 or 135 you beat a name like Khan?

C. Molina

Definitely. I know a lot of people see me as the underdog, but man, little do they know that we’re going to shock everybody on that night. Like I said, we’re training extremely hard. We’re going to be called the Sea Biscuit after this fight. We’re going to come out of nowhere and shock the world.

Q

How do you see this fight playing out with Amir?

C. Molina

I know Amir, he’s a fast fighter and I know he likes using his jab a lot, so I know we’re going to have to be working in there and I see it going 12 hard rounds and if it ends early, even better for me. But I just see this as being a great all action fight. It’s going to be great for the fans because there’s no way he’s going to put me down and I know he needs this win bad and he needs a little practice, so I know he’s going to go in there and like I said, we’re going to go to war.

Q

Thanks, Carlos. For Amir, you’ve lost two in a row coming into this fight. Do you feel a lot of pressure to go out there and really perform well, or would you just be happy with a win?

A. Khan

We just got to go in there and we’re going to do what we do best, really. It’s been a tough road. We fought some big names and so far I think coming into this fight against Carlos, it’s going to be another tough fight. We know it’s going to be tough and we’re just going to go in there and do what we do best. A win is a win and we’re just going to be sticking to the game plan and sticking to the instructions from the corner. Instead of me getting too wild and stuff, I’m just going to be the best I can be. We’re working on a great game plan for this fight, so I’m going to be just sticking to that.

Q

Just one more question for you, after what happened in the Lamont Peterson fight, were you a little bit apprehensive about fighting another guy in his backyard?

A. Khan

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Los Angeles as well, so it’s kind of a second home for me over here because we’ve trained over here for like four years, so I think it’s going to be perfect. It’s always tough when you fight someone is his backyard, but we know we have to maybe that’s the reason we’ve been working even harder, because we know we have to win even more convincingly when you come to someone’s backyard and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to be working harder.

Q

I wanted to know in your opening statement you talked about making corrections to mistakes that you made against Garcia. I’m wondering if you could tell me when you talk about fixing mistakes, in your mind what were those mistakes that you believe that you made in that fight.

A. Khan

We made mistakes when we usually go in there and it’s like there’s no defense and jumping into a war when we don’t need to have a war and the game plan going out the window and me getting over confident and just whereas if I just stick to the game plan more. I start to forget the things that got me far in my career and start to focus more on the power of speed or aggression or however in the work that I have.

We know about the boxing arena, we’re going to stick with that and we’re going to stick to the skills and be smart of everything because that’s what’s got me this far. So that’s why I’ve been working with Virgil and Virgil is a great trainer defensively as well. We’ve been working on a lot of new defenses, which I think will help me in this fight.

Q

Amir, do you get a little, I guess, maybe mad at yourself because, like you said, you maybe got a little reckless against Garcia. You were winning that fight easily, we know that. We were watching it. Garcia was able to finish the fight, but when you go back and have looked at it, do you just shake your head and say I can’t believe I got, like you said, out of control? How are you going to prevent yourself from doing that, because it seems to me, I’ve followed your whole career, that’s your nature, which is why we like watching you so much because you are on the edge of sometimes and trying to go for the knockout, which leaves you open a little bit?

A. Khan

Yes, definitely. I think it’s when you’re in a gym with other fighters, who have a similar style. I was in the gym with Manny Pacquiao he had a very similar style to me offensively a great fighter, and defensively we’re both not the best. We did a couple tough, tough sparring in there where we have to prove a point. There used to guys coming from all over the place all over the country to spar with, and we do spar that way. The way we spar is the way that we used to fight.

Then I’m gone because I’m a clever fighter. I’m a wild fighter. I should use my skills instead of jumping in there and getting into wars. I think it’s what you do in the gym; not you do in the ring. This comes from being very mentally and thinking about a lot of things and doing a lot of things different and that’s what I’m going to take into the ring.

Q

Just one more question for you, Amir, can you talk about what specifically Virgil has brought to you? You did well with Freddie for a while, won some world titles and such. Now you’re going with Virgil. We know he’s a good trainer, but what is different about him, say, than Freddie, or what do you believe he brings to you that will help you in the fight, or not just this fight, but in your career in general?

A. Khan

Yes, I think in my career, I think he’ll help me because he’s a great corner man. He will tell you straight if you’re doing something wrong. And also he sees a fight the way it should go and if you’re making mistakes, he’ll pull you up on them, and tell you how to change your style and stuff and also when we’re working in the gym together, we’ve changed a lot of stuff, which is the defense, working a lot on the defensive side, something I’ve always wanted to work on with a trainer.

I have offensively, that’s always going to be there because that’s just the nature of the fighter I am. I’m that type of fighter who likes to fight and get into a tear up, but at the same time defensive as well, Virgil has added to my fighting style I think is going to help me big time. It will take me to a different level seeing things better and also defending a lot of shots where I was normally just move and whereas now I can block them. I know exactly what to do, and like I said, come the fight, you will see the Amir Khan and you’ll see a very settled and very mature fighter.

Q

Are you saying the other trainers didn’t do those types of things, didn’t talk about defense, didn’t talk well in the corner between rounds, which you haven’t had a real fight with Virgil just yet, or are you just satisfied with how he does it also and then your other trainers have done the same thing?

A. Khan

Yes, the other trainers have been great, the ones I’ve worked with, but with Virgil, I think it’s just a little different. He tells you straight how it is. He will shout at you in the corner and also he’ll teach you more defense. With the other trainers it was mainly a lot of offense and the defense a little bit of defense, but with Virgil, there’s a lot of defense at the same time, because maybe that’s something I wanted to work on as well, so that’s why he has me working on the defensive side because offense is always going to be there.

But if it’s defensive, you think after that combination what position you should be in, what position you’re going to be in way before you throw a shot. I think it’s all about positioning and balance as well. He’s helped me on a lot as well, I’ve tried all this stuff as well, all this stuff he’s been teaching me. It’s made my sparring so much easier and so much cleaner and I’m a better fighter this way. But don’t get me wrong, the excitement is still going to be there. People want to see Amir Khan is very exciting and they will still see that, but a very more mature fighter.

Q

December is usually a pretty good month for you. Obviously the Peterson fight notwithstanding. Is there anything about this time of year that brings out good things in you, the McDonagh fight, I think the Barrera fight maybe.

A. Khan

Yes, December is always a nice time to have a fight because it’s coming towards end of year and it’s great to finish a year off strong. I’ve had a nice break coming to the December fight and it’s nice and relaxed and me changing a lot of things might count as well and being a lot more serious than ever, really. Even though I have to train hard for my previous fight for this fight, especially I know it’s a make or break fight for me. That’s why I’m taking it so seriously.

We can be more than ready in this fight. I will be in the best condition ever. Conditioning wise, boxing wise and everything is going hopefully come together on Friday and we’re going to win this fight and finish the year off strong and then put us in a good position coming into next year.

Q

Virgil Hunter, I spoke to him recently and he said a number of things, but one of the things that I’ve always thought with your fights, and I’ve always thought that this thing about your chin was overblown. What he said was it’s two things that cost you in the fights that you ended up being knocked out in. One he says you didn’t think when you got up. He said people are talking about his chin, but what they’re not looking at is it’s what he does when he gets up, because you got up from a heck of a punch.

I think what he’s talking about is you go right back into the fray. You didn’t gather yourself. What does it mean to you and how has he conveyed that to you?

A. Khan

Yes, we’ve seen the fight numerous times and two previous fights of mine and I tend to get to ballsy at times and where I should be more smart. I think he made me think more in that sense where why I get up from a knockdown and the shot that Garcia caught me with, I don’t think many lightweights would have got up off that fight. He’s a very big punisher and he hits very hard, but I got up the first time, got up the second time, but I don’t think I was thinking what was in my mind and what I was doing in the sparring.

On the wild card, I was in the wild card and going to wars. When someone hurts you in the sparring and you want to knock their head off, you want to go into a war with them. That’s totally got in my system of taking that in my system of where now if you do get caught with a shot, you regroup yourself. It’s all about thinking instead of jumping, rushing and making mistakes because when you’re not thinking enough you do start making more mistakes and you do start getting caught more.

I started realizing that with Virgil where he made me, when I do get caught with a good shot in sparring, he first couple of times it’s hard for me to slow myself down, but then I start slowing myself down and say okay, fine, you caught me one time. That’s fine. I start working on the, again, I start working on technique and then my time will come. This is boxing, a 12 round fight. It’s not a split where you go in there and try knocking your opponent out. And that’s what Virgil has taught me and put into my head where it’s a boxing fight.

You have to use your skills and if you’ve got 12 rounds to do it in, so take your time and be smart about everything and think about everything that you do. That’s why we’re doing more, the more thinking I’ve been doing is the more easier I’ve been working with Virgil and I’ve been enjoying it more as well.

Q

Manny Stewart once told me that Tommy Hearns was so concerned about the crowd, pleasing the crowd, that he never liked to hold guys when he got hurt. I wonder if there’s a part of you that that you get so excited, you really want to entertain, that you just didn’t think about holding, clinching, doing whatever it takes just to get out of jeopardy. Would that be accurate or is that not-

A. Khan

Yes, maybe that’s what it is. Maybe that’s what it is, you want to show how brave you are, how strong you are to everyone. I think that’s the wrong way of going about it. This time we’ve been working a lot with heavier guys and guys that have been holding me. We’ve been doing a lot of holding work as well like teaching me when you are hurt, what you have to do if you’re holding, using these things.

But we’ve also got a lot of other things that we’ve been working on when you are hurt in a fight what you should do to avoid getting into a fight. So we’ve been-Virgil is very smart that way. He’s been helping me do a lot of different things; not only just holding, but different things we’ve been working on.

Q

Hey Carlos. In fighters, great fighters who have had to transition from one trainer to a next or another, a lot of times they get caught in that transition and that’s a vulnerable time in their career, Jermain Taylor, Kelly Pavlik, guys like that. What are your thoughts about the vulnerability factor in terms of maybe catching Amir in transition?

C. Molina

Yes, I think he’s going to go out there with that game plan to be more defensive, but like Mike Tyson says, nobody has a game plan until you get punched in the face. I know Amir kind of loves to fight, so I think once we start putting those shots on him, I think he’s going to be in there. Like I said, we’re going to go to war.

Q

But he is a good boxer, and one thing that Virgil Hunter said is that if you’re going to get to Amir’s chin, you’re going to have to take a lot of punishment. Danny Garcia took a lot of punishment, Lamont Peterson really had to take some shots, and of course, he dropped McDonagh in the first round with a wicked body shot, so he’s a very capable fighter and I don’t think that’s something you can overlook.

What do you see in his arsenal and how much are you willing to walk through fire to get to his chin?

C. Molina

Yes, I’m willing to walk through hell and back, man. This is my shot. This is my opportunity, so I know I got to be smart about it. I just can’t run there and just attack a tiger. I’ve got to be smart about it and I know he’s a good boxer, so we have a great game plan for him. We’re going to execute it on Saturday.

Q

I know you have a fighter’s mentality and I’m not denigrating any of your opponents, but how big of a step up in quality and intensity and in marquee value is this fight for your career, and how much does it mean to you?

C. Molina

It’s a huge step. This fight right here is me beating Khan is going to catapult me to that level where everybody is going to know who I am. That’s why this fight means so much to me. Like I said, Amir is a world class fighter and me being in with a fighter at his level, it’s only going to make my boxing ability even greater, and everybody is going to know who I am.

Q

Okay, Amir, my question for you is what do you think about the work of Freddie Roach in Pacquiao’s corner last weekend?

A. Khan

Manny Pacquiao is a great friend and a good friend of mine. We worked together for such a long time and also Freddie is a great trainer. It’s a shame to see a friend like that get beat because it shows that’s boxing for you, and in boxing one punch can change a fight.

No matter who you are, and Manny is such a great fighter going into the fight I was probably the favorite to win the fight, but one punch can of change a fight and that’s boxing for you. We’ve been training very hard because we’ve been in that position where we were beaten and got caught with a shot. That’s boxing for you, so it’s like with my new trainer we’ve been working on the defense a lot and we’ve been working on a lot of new things.

Q

But in your personal opinion, Freddie Roach didn’t use the right strategy against Marquez?

A. Khan

Well, you don’t know because it is hard to point fingers and so if Freddie fought, like Manny fought., etc. You can’t really say anything, when the fight is so exciting with fighters like Marquez and Pacquiao who are very exciting. One punch can change a fight because they’re very experienced, so you can’t really blame no trainer or anyone. It was just that Marquez was very clever and very smart and he hit Manny Pacquiao with a good, clean shot.

Q

My first question is for Carlos Molina. Carlos, with only seven knockouts, you have a great record, 17 and 7 knockouts. By moving up in weight in your training are you doing anything different to win this fight?

C. Molina

Yes, I think we’re moving up five pounds and I think those five pounds are going to benefit me. It’s was never easy for me to make the 135 pounds and I think being 140 pounds I think I’ll be a lot more comfortable. We’ve been working a lot doing a lot of agility work and a lot of sand work and we’ve been doing a lot of cross-training just various types of training that is going to make me more explosive in the fight. I think I’m going to be stronger at this weight.

Q

Right, and what is the motivation going into this fight with a fighter like Amir “King” Khan, with a hard puncher, what are your goals when you fight him?

C. Molina

This is something I always dreamed of, something like I said I’ve always dreamed this since I was a little kid, having a big, huge fight right here, right here in the city where I’m from, the city of LA. I’m just so motivated and so excited for my opportunity. This is my time. It’s my time to show the world who I am and I’m ready to become a world champion.

Q

Right, and if you do win against Khan, would you fight your next fighter, would it be a junior welterweight Danny Garcia, or would you move back down to your weight to Adrien Broner in order to help you win the title?

C. Molina

Yes, right now I’m just focused directly on Amir Khan. Whatever happens after that, if it’s Broner, if it’s Garcia, it doesn’t matter. I just want to fight Amir Khan right now and whatever opportunity comes next and I’m going to be thankful for that.

A. Khan

I just want to thank everyone for coming onto this conference call and we’ve got training to go to as well, but yes, it’s going to be great. I hope you all come to the fight and we’ll see you all at the press conference waiting, but yes, we’re ready. We can’t wait to get into the ring and show you the new Amir Kahn and I just want to thank you all for coming, thank you.

C. Molina

Thank you guys for your questions. We’re ready. We’re ready to put on the show come December 15th.

END OF CALL

Khan vs. Molina is a 12 round fight for the vacant WBC Silver Super Lightweight Title and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Khan Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. In the co-featured attractions, charismatic unbeaten knockout artist and 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder squares off against undefeated Kelvin Price in a 10-round heavyweight clash for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight Championship and hard-hitting junior middleweight Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo of Los Angeles by way of Mexicali, Mexico faces Jorge Silva in a 10-round bout. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins live at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) with a ten round welterweight fight featuring rising star Shawn Porter vs. former World Champion Julio Diaz airing live on SHOWTIME EXTREME beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). The Sky Sports 1HD telecast begins live at 2:00 a.m. GMT on Sunday, December 16.

Santa Cruz vs. Guevara is a 12-round fight for Santa Cruz’s IBF Bantamweight World Championship and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. The CBS broadcast, which airs live from 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT until 6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. PT, will also feature the professional debut of 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr. as he faces Vicente Alfaro in a four-round junior featherweight fight.