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Saul Alvarez ready for Josesito Lopez on Saturday
Oscar De La Hoya
Thank you very much to all the media, everyone, participating. We are getting closer to Knockout Kings. We are very, very excited and thrilled that everyone is coming together and making this event one of the most publicized, one of the most promoted events in boxing history.
September 15 is a very special day and a very special weekend for all the Mexicans and Mexicans across the world. We wanted to make sure we back it with a tremendous, tremendous card on September 15th. But at the same time, we wanted to make sure that the whole world knows that live on Showtime Championship Boxing, live from the MGM, there will be big time boxing in Las Vegas.
We obviously know it is headlined by Canelo Alvarez versus Josesito Lopez. The semi main event is Jhonny Gonzalez versus Daniel Ponce De Leon, which will be a 12 rounder for the WBC featherweight world title. Also, it’s a pleasure to also have Marcos Maidana versus Jesus Soto Karass, which should be a barnburner. That’ll be a 12 rounder for the WBA intercontinental welterweight title, and Leo Santa Cruz versus Eric Morel, which is a12 round bantamweight world championship fight.
This is a card that makes me especially proud. These are the types of cards that we dream about watching for free, and especially live from an A-class venue like the MGM. We are extremely happy to announce that we already have more than 12,000 tickets sold. They’re selling fast and we’re expecting a complete sell out.
So that goes to show you the admiration they have for Josesito Lopez and it goes to show you the popularity and respect they have for Canelo Alvarez. And to explain to you more about Showtime Championship Boxing and all of their programming and supporting what they will be doing leading up to this magnificent event, I would like to introduce to you the Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Sports, Stephen Espinoza.
Thank you, Oscar. I’ll keep my comments brief so we can hear from the important guys, from the fighters. A couple of notes picking up on Oscar’s themes. We just closed our Vegas Flyaway Sweepstakes for this event.
It was the most successful and largest sweepstakes that Showtime has ever done, including the sweepstakes we’ve held on Mike Tyson fights. We had a record number of entries that goes back through 26 years of Showtime Boxing. We’ve set a new record, significantly higher than the previous high, which were Tyson events. So again, that goes to show the fan interest in this type of an event.
Those of you who were at the Victor Ortiz/Josesito Lopez fight back in June, I think it was June 21st to be exact, at a press conference I stood up and said that this would not be an easy fight for Victor Ortiz. It wasn’t hyperbole. It wasn’t exaggeration. I truly meant it and I was not surprised when Josesito backed up my prescription.
And today I’ll say the same thing about our event on September 15. This is not an easy fight for Canelo Alvarez. Canelo is a great champion, very accomplished in his own right, but I think some out there still have the perception that there’s a significant weight difference, that there is a difference in skill.
I’m here to tell you that that’s not the case. Every single fighter on this card is very carefully matched and is matched to make an action packed, hard hitting fight, and we look forward to having exactly that on September 15th. Thank you all. I’ll stick around for questions later if anyone needs me.
De La Hoya
Thank you very much, Stephen. At this time, I would like to introduce to you Alex from Thompson Boxing Promotions to introduce to you Josesito Lopez, who is a remarkable, remarkable young man. If you had the opportunity to see the Showtime special they had on Canelo and Josesito Lopez, it was just well put together. It was incredible how they portrayed the stories of both young men.
Josesito Lopez is one person that we all could admire, a fighter who we should all respect. He truly is the American dream. He truly is a fighter who a lot of people-I have to admit, including myself-didn’t believe he could beat Victor Ortiz and he did it in spectacular fashion. And that’s why he’s here now, because he feels and he thinks that he can do it once again in spectacular fashion.
Just like Rocky went up against Apollo Creed or just like Rocky went up against fighters like Drago, Josesito Lopez is one person who believes in himself, one fighter who never gives up and he’s going to fight to the end. So without any further ado I would like to introduce to you Alex Camponovo of Thompson Boxing Promotions.
Thank you very much, Oscar. Thank you and everybody at Golden Boy Promotions. Thanks to MGM; a great venue for a fantastic event, also to Showtime for making this fight possible and to our partner with Josesito Lopez, Goossen Tutor Promotions. Dan himself couldn’t be here with us today.
Before we go into Josesito Lopez, I’d like to introduce to you a man that has been in the corner for Josesito Lopez since the beginning of his career, first as an assistant, then as the main trainer because Josesito lost his trainer, Andy Suarez, at a very early stage of his career.
That’s when this man took the reins and has gone through everything that’s Josesito’s been through in the ring, inside and outside the ring. Not only is he a mentor, a friend and a very important figure of his life, but he’s also the trainer and the man that listens to him on a regular basis. I’d like to introduce to you Henry Ramirez.
Hello, everyone. Thank you, Alex. I want to thank of course Showtime, everybody at Goossen Tutor and Thompson Boxing Promotions for sticking all the way through the rough times, and obviously Golden Boy Promotions for giving us the opportunity with the Ortiz fight, which has in turn led to the opportunity with Canelo.
Thank you, Henry. As you all know, we’ve heard a lot of the comments and we’ve read all of the comments from the people in the boxing industry and also the fans. And me personally, I’ve heard that Josesito is too small to face Canelo Alvarez. Josesito doesn’t have the same skills as Canelo Alvarez. Josesito will not be able to hang in the ring with a guy like Canelo Alvarez, who, according to what I’m reading, is just a monster.
I’ve heard all that stuff. Josesito’s heard all that stuff. All the fans have been talking about it. Not all of them. A lot of them do in fact like this match up like we do. That’s the reason why we’re here today.
Yes, Canelo’s a bigger man. He’s an undefeated world champion, but he’s just a man, just like Jose. And I’d like to introduce to you the person that wants to beat him. It’s not the person that has trained for the last eight weeks to be ready for this fight. He’s been waiting his whole life for this opportunity.
This moment that has come to him has arrived in the hardest of ways. He’s had a nine-year career that has a lot of ups and many downs, a lot of fights that he was supposed to win and he got the shorter end of the stick. He went to other towns to fight hometown favorites and he wasn’t fortunate enough to get those victories.
But he kept on working on his craft and he always came up stronger than ever, win, lose or draw, and we’re very proud of him because he has captured this moment. He was able to make it happen due to his fantastic performance against Victor Ortiz back on June 23rd.
And a lot of people will ask, and I’ll ask to you when you’re listening to Josesito, can lightening strike twice? And my answer is yes. He’s ready for this fight. He’s been waiting his entire life, his whole career, to defeat a guy like Canelo Alvarez. Let me introduce to you Josesito Lopez.
Good afternoon, everyone. First of all I’d like to thank my promoters; Thompson Boxing, Goossen Tutor, Golden Boy promotions for the great opportunity; Showtime for really making this event possible and making it a memorable one. I’d like to thank everyone. I understand the type of battle I’m going into and I prepared to the best of my ability and I’m ready to showcase my skill September 15th.
Josesito, this is the fight of your life, the fight you’ve been waiting for. You’re fighting a young champion. You were in a similar situation against Victor Ortiz. Nobody gave you a chance. Does that motivate you? How do you feel about being in this position?
My motivation for this fight is that I’m fighting the best. I’m fighting the best in the division I field. I’m fighting the champion. He’s undefeated. That’s my motivation. I’m ready. I prepared well for this fight and I’m going to be ready for this fight.
Are you ready again to celebrate and to throw a party, like you have in the last fight?
I’m ready to do the same. I’m ready for this fight. I’m ready to do the same. I took advantage of the fight with Victor Ortiz. I’m planning to take advantage of this opportunity. So I’m ready and just hoping this will open up more doors for me in the future.
Great. Now looking back at your fight with Victor Ortiz and the fight now that’s ahead of you, no one has really expected you to win against Ortiz but you did. Do you enjoy being the underdog? Is it an advantage for you at all?
I love the position really. I mean the more people don’t believe in me, probably the better for me. I think that that makes victory that much sweeter, motivation that much bigger. I think that’s really what pushes me and the few believers that I have, I think, are a motivation to me to get bigger and stronger.
Now you’re moving up in weight once again, but what you do think the key is to winning against a guy who’s bigger than you? Who’s going to be bigger than you on fight night?
You know, naturally he’s going to be a bigger fighter. He’s going to be a heavier fighter. He’s going to look a lot bigger. So we trained hard. We worked hard. We had big sparing partners in our training camp, you know, to get used to that heavier weight. We prepared well. I feel that I’m stronger than ever and I’m prepared to prove it.
Now just really quickly, Canelo has been quoted to have his eyes on Mayweather next. What are your thoughts on that?
You know what? I really hope there are no plans really, but if there are, I’m going to try to ruin those plans.
If you pull off the perceived upset, would you be interested in staying at 154? Or would you go down in weight?
Like I’ve said before, I absolutely don’t plan anything after the fight. My fight is September 15th and that’s all I’m thinking about. Anything that happens of that fight, we’ll have plenty of time to figure out our future. For right now, my future is September 15th.
Does Canelo Alvarez have a rematch clause should he lose?
I don’t believe so. I don’t believe so.
One year ago this weekend, you were fighting as a preliminary on the Mayweather/Ortiz card and this year you’re headlining the card. How do you feel right now?
I never really think about it too much. I think I do well as far as controlling my mental state. Every fight is a tough fight and I prepare for a really tough fight. And I really don’t think about how big this event is. That doesn’t really get to me. I know that at the end of the day, it’s me and my rival in front of me in the ring and that’s all that I prepare for.
Josesito, you’re pretty much having to come up two weight classes to face Canelo, which could be a difficult transition. How’s the transition to 154 coming along for you?
We’re not really focusing on weight too much, which is completely different. We’re focusing on weight more of maintaining weight really, ’cause throughout these intense workouts it’s natural to start losing some weight.
So we’ve been maintaining weight well. I think we’ve had a great nutritional diet that we’ve followed and I’m feeling stronger and better than ever and I think that’s definitely what I’m going to have to need to come out with the victory. I know that I need to fight the best fight of my life to win.
Have you studied Canelo and what weaknesses do you think he might have that you can expose?
Yes. I’ve studied some videos. I looked at him, and obviously like any fighter, he has some weaknesses. All of us do. He’s well conditioned. He always comes in shape. He’s going to be ready for the fight. But he’s the type of fighter that likes to dictate the pace and likes to dictate the fight, and I think we have to provide game plan so we can beat him and obviously be victorious.
Finally, if you beat Canelo, what position would that put you in your career?
I think that obviously I would like to believe that beating Canelo I would be in the best position in my career. I’ve worked very hard to be in the position I am in now, but, you know, obviously the main focus for me is to be able to beat him and to open doors in my career and let the public decide what my status is in boxing.
Josesito, you know when you were brought in as a replacement to fight Victor Ortiz very, very few people gave you a change to win that fight. We all saw what happened. Do you think that people underestimated you or had you gotten a lot better in the succeeding period before that fight?
I really don’t think I was really underestimated. I know Victor Ortiz was preparing for a big fight of his own. I’m pretty sure that he didn’t underestimate me. I feel that every fight, win or lose, I’m getting better, and I feel that this is really-I’m really reaching the strongest and the peak of my career within the next couple few years.
So I feel like I’m getting better. I think the weight, moving up in weight, I think it made a bigger difference for me than it actually did for my opponents. I think that that’s really what the difference was in the fight. I felt a lot better inside the ring.
Is that moving up in weight again, do you think that’ll actually be to your advantage, that you don’t have to cut weight as much for this fight with Canelo?
I wouldn’t say exactly that that would be an advantage for me, but it’s definitely an advantage for me. I think his size is an advantage for him, but I think we had plenty of time to prepare for this fight and I think it’ll definitely play a role weight wise. And I think that for this fight I’m going to be the strongest I’ve ever been and I’m excited.
Would you like to make a prediction for the fight?
You know what? I never really-I never predict anything for the fight. I’m ready for a battle and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and I’m definitely going into Vegas to pull off that upset.
De La Hoya
At this moment, I would like to introduce Canelo Alvarez. He hails out of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He’s the WBC Super Welterweight World Champion. He’s been a pro since 2005, and he’s coming off his dominant, unanimous decision win over future hall of famer, Sugar Shane Mosley.
He’s making his Showtime debut on Mexico’s biggest holiday weekend of the year, the Mexican Independence weekend. He has a record of 40-0 with 29 knockouts, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Canelo Alvarez.
I’m very happy to be with all of you here today and I’m ready for the fight.
We’re a week away from the fight. How are you feeling?
Very good. I’m very good, you know, just finishing up with training. I’m in Las Vegas now. We’re just going over details and fine tuning everything for the fight.
Aside from the obvious problem of two main idols, Mexican idols, competing on the same night and fighting, how do you feel about two Mexican fighters being in the eye of the world, in the boxing world, showcasing both of them as main events in Las Vegas?
It’s great being Mexican and we’re capturing the eye of the world of boxing, showcased in Las Vegas on major cards, I feel very great and I’m honored.
What’s your assessment of Josesito as a fighter? Are you over confident because you have a weight advantage?
He’s a very smart fighter. He’s a good fighter, very smart. He’s got very, very good combinations so I think he’s a very good fighter. And no, I’m never overconfident. I’ve prepared very well. I never, you know, think that any fighter’s are going to be an easy fight. So I’m not overconfident and I’m very, very well prepared for this fight.”
You know, your life has changed in the last few months. You’re living now in the U.S. You’re learning English. How do you feel about the changes in your life at this point?
I’m feeling very good. I thank God that everything’s going good. It hasn’t been much time since the last fight. I’ve been staying here in the U.S., but I’ve had a training camp of two and a half months. Everything’s going very, very well; all aspects of my life are changing right now, not only in my personal, but obviously in boxing as well. I’m feeling really, really good.
Obviously it’s a big honor for you to be fighting on Independence Day, but it’s a little bit of Independence Day for you as well. It’s your first headline big show in Las Vegas. How do you feel about that?
It is a big honor. It’s a big honor to be representing my country, Mexico, and to be headlining as well, but you know what? I mean the most important thing for me is to concentrate on this fight. Think about this fight. I’m not thinking about anything else, just this fight and what I have to do.
You’ve been criticized for fighting a fight against a welterweight. Do you feel pressure to win by knockout? That you have to knock him out? And also, of course, because of the big bonus, the $100,000 bonus for the best knockout of the night. Do you feel pressure?
No, not at all. I never think about the knockouts. I go into every fight, do my work, and none of that stuff puts pressure on me at all.
There’s a lot of rumors about you possibly fighting Mayweather. A lot of people out here think that maybe the best fight for you first would be Cotto, fighting first. What do you think about that?
You know, I don’t think about that. I really don’t. I’m just thinking about this fight. Next week I have to fight Josesito and obviously there’s always a lot of rumors, people talking, but I’m just thinking about Josesito and there’s no secret; I just want to fight the best.
Which aspect of your game do you think is going to be the most difficult for Lopez coming into this fight against you? You’ve got a hungry fighter who really doesn’t have anything to lose and everything to gain, as you stated before. What do you think’s going to be the most difficult for him coming in to face you?
Obviously he’s a very good fighter. He’s a fighter that knows how to pressure. He’s also a fighter that knows how to counterpunch, but I think that I’m going to be prepared for everything. I’ll do my best and I’m going to be prepared for the fight.
The second part to the question there, at this stage of your career, at such a young age, you have reached what is a dream for many boxers out there. And coming into this coming up weekend where you’re going to be on Mexican Independence Day, one of the largest days ever, what’s your motivation to keep performing at that elite level?
I am motivated by everything. I have done so much in my career already to get to this point. So I’m motivated by everything. You know, by the fans, by my team members, everything motivates me. So I’m just happy. I’m excited. I sacrificed so much and I’m ready to go.
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