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Abner Mares, Jhonny Gonzalez, Leo Santa Cruz & Victor Terrazas media conference call transcript



Richard Schaefer

Thank you very much and thank you all media members to be on the call, thank you to both fighters to be on the call. I remember a couple years ago we did a card called Action Heroes and then we, of course, just had another one a few weeks ago, Knockout Kings 2 and I think this card here from the Stub Hub Center would certainly fit perfectly into either one of those cards. Because one thing, which is for sure, that night, on Saturday night the 24th of August from Stub Hub Center, fists will fly, it will be heavy action and it’s going to be a tremendous night of boxing again.

It’s exactly these kinds of match ups, which Oscar and I discussed with our matchmakers, Eric Gomez and with Roberto Diaz. It’s these kind of match ups we like to bring to the fight fans.

First, we are going to go with the main event of the night, which is going to be pound-for-pound star Abner Mares defending his world title against Jhonny González.

Jhonny González doesn’t need much introduction with a record of (58 -8, 46 KO’s). I think that record speaks for itself. He’s one of the most exciting fighters with devastating power in his fists. He wants to win that world title back. He is already a former two-division world champion and really an amazing warrior. I know he’s been training hard, I know he’s going to be ready and it is a pleasure now for me to introduce to you the former two-division world champion Johnny González.

Jhonny González
Now, first of all, I want to say good morning to all of you. Thank you very much for being here. It’s a great honor and pleasure for me to be on this call. What can I say? The moment is near; the moment of the fight is near and I’m very excited.

Schaefer
Thank you, Jhonny. I’m going to now introduce Abner and then we can open it up for questions for both fighters.

Whoever you put in front of Abner he beats and not only beats but he looks sensational doing it. He clearly marched through all of these divisions and is finally now recognized as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He is the reigning and defending WBC Featherweight World Champion. His background goes back to the 2004 Olympics and then, of course, winning Showtime’s Bantamweight Championship series clearly put him in a place now where he is one of the best and one of the most exciting fighters in the sport.

There’s a handful of fighters that you know when you see them fight you know it’s going to be all action and you know it’s never going to be a boring fight and in that group, in that very elite group, Abner Mares certainly belongs. He fought Daniel Ponce de Leon for the WBC Featherweight Championship on May 4th in Las Vegas to now become a three time and three-division world champion and instead of going and taking an easy fight, a little breather, he’s going in against the always dangerous, as I mentioned before, Jhonny González. It is a pleasure and an honor for me to introduce to you the WBC World Champion and pound-for-pound star, Abner Mares.

Abner Mares

Richard, thank you for the kind words. Everyone, good morning. Happy to be here, happy to be on another press conference call and ready to give you guys another exciting fight come August 24th at the Stub Hub Center. I’m blessed, I can’t wait and it’s going to be really a magnificent night for the sport of boxing.

Schaefer

Thank you very much, Abner. I want to add that this fight is presented in association with Promociones del Pueblo, which is the promoter for Jhonny González. I like to open it up now for those two fighters for the media if you have any questions for Jhonny or for Abner please.

Q

I wanted to ask you how to do you feel physically and do you think it’s going to be easier for you this time around making weight? And also you talked about how you felt stronger and how your power carried, so if you can talk a little bit about that, too.

Mares

Well, good morning, first of all. I feel it’s going to be a lot more comfortable making weight, yes, because I’m moving up on weight. This is the second time fighting at this weight class. But then again, I am gaining muscle, so it’s not as easy, but then again it’s not as complicated making weight. I’m not struggling and I’m going to be strong, I’m going to be strong come August 24th. I can’t wait. Jhonny González is a tough fighter that I have in front of me and again, I feel strong physically and mentally.

Q

My question is for Abner and Jhonny González. Hey, guys. Do you feel coming into this fight it might be a little bit easier since you guys used to be sparring partners years ago? Is that going to affect the fight?

Mares

I’ll answer that question first. I don’t think so. Not at all. I think I proved that last fight when I fought Daniel Ponce de León. We had sparred many times. We were gym partners, we sparred many times, like I said, and it didn’t affect me or it did not affect him. I saw a different Ponce de León that night. I was able to win things out, but, again, you can’t expect the same type of fighter when you spar them come fight night. So I’m not looking for that. I know Jhonny comes with his A game, so I got to expect a tough Jhonny.

Gonzalez

No, not at all. That was many years ago; that was at the beginning of Abner’s pro career when he was just getting started. I think he’s demonstrated to the world and everybody that he’s a three-division world champion and the class that he has. He’s a tremendous fighter and one of the best in the division, so that, the sparring, has nothing to do with what we’ll see on Saturday night.

Q

Would there be an affect from the sparring in the past, that they know each other’s styles?

Mares

No, not at all. I expect the best Jhonny González. He’s going to come with his A game. That was many years ago we sparred. I appreciate my past sparring experience, because I learned a lot and gained some experience. But the winners will be the fans that are present and the fans in Mexico on Saturday the August 24th because they are going to see a great fight.

Q

What do you expect going into this fight with Abner? How has the preparation been? How has training been?”

Mares

Like all my other training camps; I always prepare 100%, especially for the most important fights. I added even more on this training camp because I’ve said it in the past, I’ve said it in weeks past, Abner is the best featherweight in the planet right now and for me to take his place I have to be very well prepared. What I can assure you is we’re going to give the public a great fight.

Q

Jhonny do you think this is your last big fight and are you close to retirement?”

Gonzalez

No, not at all. My body still feels great. My body’s still responding in the gym and the trainings. I definitely think this is a very important fight at this moment and we are looking forward to it and then going up another division to the super featherweight and then at that point fight even bigger fights there.

Q

There’s been fighters in the past that in the early stages of the career have had tough fight after tough fight and there has been an affect on them. Do you think you’re taking these fights at the right time or it’s been premature?”

Mares

No, I’m not. I’d say they happen at the precise time. I’ve learned from every fight. I’ve gained experience and I haven’t been beat up in any of my fights. I’ve learned a lot, gained experience and continue getting better and better and it’s been at the right age.

Q

Jhonny, how has it affected you now that you’ve been without your title for over a year?” What did you see in that fight between Abner and Ponce De Leon? Did you see any weaknesses or strengths or something that you saw when Abner won seeing that you lost your title to Ponce?

Gonzalez

In that fight with Ponce De Leon I wasn’t 100 percent mentally and physically there and that’s apparent. You have to see the difference. Styles makes fights. Ponce De Leon is a southpaw. Abner’s not a southpaw. He’s a clean fighter. I can’t say the same about Ponce De Leon. So I am coming in 100% prepared mentally and physically prepared and I think you’re going to see it on fight night.

Q

Jhonny, how frustrating was it to lose the way that you lost to Ponce De Leon after having established such a run in the division and successful title defenses?

Gonzalez

I was not frustrated at all. I was prepared physically very well, but mentally I wasn’t. I had some outside issues that affected me, some personal problems. I learned a lot experience wise. I went in there knowing that mentally I wasn’t there and then the head butt just broke my concentration even more. But now I learned from that experience to not go in there that way and this time I’m physically and mentally prepared.

Q

Can you shed light on any of the personal problems that you had?

Gonzalez

It was personal. Family issues.

Q

Given that you lost to Ponce De Leon and Abner beat him, and not only that Abner is ranked by The Ring as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, how rewarding and how easy is it to focus on a fight that could take you right back into the top level if you beat him?

Gonzalez

You pretty much answered your own question. It’s definitely motivating for the same reasons you said. He’s the best fighter, I’ve been saying it, at 126 pounds and that’s why we prepared 100% knowing that if we beat him we didn’t just beat anybody, we beat the best. We’ve trained very hard in the gym. We’ve prepared ourselves very well, as we know he did. So what I can tell you is come fight night it’s going to be a great fight for the public, the fans. Just like everybody’s expecting it to be that’s what we’re going to give them.”

Q

In every fight probably up until now, even the Ponce De Leon fight, there’s been an element of you have something to prove. The last fight you were looking for pound-for-pound performance, which you in fact turned in and were able to be ranked in the top 10 pound-for-pound. Now you’re probably perceived as the favorite because of everything you’ve done and the fact that he lost to a guy that you just beat. How do you motivate yourself for a fight like this and is there any extra pressure now that you’re the absolute favorite in this fight?

Mares

Well, first of all, no pressure at all, because I’m training the same way I train for all of my fights, all my previous fights, so I’m with the same hunger, the same desire to win every fight and to give a great show come fight night. I’m really glad and I’m blessed that people are seeing what I’ve been saying, that I’m one of the best fighters out there and I’m proving it fight after fight, fighting all these tough opponents. But as each fight comes to me, as each fighter keeps getting tougher and tougher there’s always something to prove. With Jhonny what do I have to prove? I have to prove that I am now one of the best, I’m one of the elite and I have to beat Jhonny. I can’t lose and I just have to win. It’s a fight where I can’t lose. And again, I’m fighting a tough fighter, an experienced fighter, close to 60 fights, 48 knockouts, great puncher, an experienced fighter. So his fight does not take anything away from me. I gain a lot.

Q

Do you think, either from you or your fans, that they want to see something sensational? Your last fight you had a knockout against a guy that was coming to beat you. Is there an element of “I have to top what I did the last fight” given your status now?

Mares

Well, yes, there’s always that. Well, I mean me, personally, there’s always that room for improvement or for learning. I go in the gym wanting to learn something new, as I have been doing it fight from fight, because I’ve been taking all these different opponents, different styles, and now I’m fighting a different style, a unique style in Jhonny; a clean fighter, really finesse boxer/puncher. So I have to go in there and just be better, show a different Abner Mares. And I can’t wait. Believe me, I trained hard, I trained differently for a different style, and you will see a different Abner Mares.

Come August 24th; a week from now you guys will see a different Abner Mares. You guys will see a tremendous fight from Jhonny and myself; a great fight. Boxing world wins. Can’t wait to prove again that I’m one of the elite. And I want to thank Showtime, I want to thank Golden Boy for always giving me good fights, for putting me on great defense, and this is another great fight for boxing. Thank you so much to all the press and come join us August 24th and if you can’t watch it on Showtime. It will be a tremendous fight. Thank you, Jhonny. Let’s give the fans a great fight.

Gonzalez

I want to thank everybody for calling in and for participating. I want to thank Showtime. I want to thank Golden Boy. I want to thank my promoter, Promociones del Pueblo, for having the confidence in me. I want to thank a great friend, a great fighter, a great champion, Abner Mares, for giving me this opportunity. And I also want to tell the public they’re going to enjoy a great type of fight that only happens when two Mexicans fight. Thank you, all. Thank you very much.”

Schaefer

I want to say something to Abner and I want to say something to all the media. First of all, this is going to be one of those fights, as I said in my opening remarks, you just don’t want to miss.

But I want to make another statement. Abner Mares is a pound-for-pound star. When I look at these pound-for-pound lists, and I know that different people have different opinions, I believe that Abner Mares, in my opinion, without any question, belongs in the number two spot on that pound-for-pound list. We have Andre Ward there, a fighter I respect, who has had tremendous accomplishments. He won the super six tournament. Abner Mares won the Bantamweight Tournament. Both of them fought the best in their division. Look what Abner Mares has done since then, since winning the bantamweight tournament? Look at what Ward has done since then. No question, in my opinion, that Abner belongs in the number two spot.

You look at Juan Manuel Marquez, who I believe is in the number three spot. He got dominated, and I mean dominated every second of every round, by Floyd Mayweather, who in my opinion is the clear number one pound-for-pound star.

But there’s no question, in my opinion, that Abner belongs there. Presently, Abner Mares is unquestionably one of the best fighters in the world; pound-for-pound. Make sure you tune into Showtime and if you are in Los Angeles or in Southern California make sure you show up at the Stub Hub Center, because it is a treat to see Abner Mares in action.

Now thank you, Abner. Thank you, Jhonny. I can’t wait to see you guys in a week here in Los Angeles at the press conference, and then, of course, weigh in and fight night. It’s going to be an exciting week. We can’t wait.

Schaefer

Before I’m going to introduce Victor Terrazas I just want to make another quick comment.

The card is sponsored by Corona and AT&T and it will be televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing. The preliminary fights are airing live on Showtime Extreme at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Pacific. The Showtime Championship Boxing telecast double-header will be immediately following the premier of All Access: Mayweather versus Canelo, which will begin at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, and the event can be heard as well in Spanish using Secondary Audio Programming, SAP.

Tickets are still available, are starting at $25, $50, $75, $150, and the way it’s looking is we are on track to have an other sellout event just like we did for Maidana and Lopez. In fact, current ticket sales are ahead of where we were with a little more than a week to go for Maidana and Lopez. So it’s going to be another tremendous night at the Stub Hub Center, formerly known as Home Depot Center, in Carson, California.

Now Victor Terrazas is defending his world title against one of the most exciting punchers and action fighters in the sport, irrespective of weight class. Leo Santa Cruz is certainly going to be opening up the Showtime telecast with a lot of fireworks.

Victor Terrazas, with a record of 37-2-1, 46 KO’s, of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, is the current WBC Super Bantamweight world champion. He’s a patient warrior whose time has come now. He’s 30-years old. Victor “Vikingo” Terrazas has only lost once since 2003, so he is coming off a tremendous run here. He’s on an 11 fight winning streak coming off a 12-round win over Cristian Mijares on April the 20th that earned him his first world championship, the WBC Super Bantamweight title. He obviously has no intentions to give up that hard earned title, which he worked for his entire career, his entire life and he will defend it against the rising star, Leo Santa Cruz. So it’s a pleasure now for me to introduce to you Victor “Vikingo” Terrazas.

Victor Terrazas

I can assure you all that it’s going to be a great fight. Leo Santa Cruz is a strong fighter; he comes forward. He started from the bottom and he’s been chipping at winning, getting wins, just like we all do. I now have the title and I’m going to go in there to defend it with all I have so that we can give the public a great fight. And the best man, the best prepared fighter will win that night.

Schaefer

Thank you Victor. Leo “Teremoto” Santa Cruz, with a record of (24-0-1,14 KO’s), of Huetamo, Mexico, now lives here in Los Angeles, is, as I said, an action puncher, a volume puncher. A guy if I could see only one guy fighting for the rest of my life, I can tell you it would be Leo Santa Cruz.

And for Leo Santa Cruz to go back to Carson has a lot of good memories, because this is the place where he won his first IBF Bantamweight World Championship with a 12-round decision win over Vusi Malinga back in 2012. So this is, in a way, a homecoming and he wants to duplicate what he did back in June 2012. Here he is a little over a year later, and going for his next world championship, second world title, moving up fighting in the super bantamweight weight class.

He has defended his belt three times in 2012 with very exciting victories over Eric Morel, Victor Zaleto and Alberto Guevara. He appeared as well on CBS last December, where he generated over 1.7 million viewers making it one of the most watched, if not the most watched, boxing telecast of any platform, of any network last year. So, clearly, Leo Santa Cruz is another fighter which is marching towards that top 10, cracking that top 10 pound-for-pound list.

It’s a pleasure and an honor for me now to introduce to you the former world champion, Leo Santa Cruz.

Leo Santa Cruz

Thank you very much for the words; I really appreciate it. I want to say greetings to everybody, and I’m very happy and excited for August 24th. I want to say that I’m ready. I’m training 100% and with my family over here, with my brother, my dad, and my whole team, I’m really ready. I know that with Terrazas it’s going to be a great fight. He’s a warrior. He’s a Mexican fighter; he comes forward with pressure in the ring. I’m going to do the same, because I want that title. I know he wants to defend the title. I know how we are, that when we win something we don’t want to lose it and I know he had struggled a lot for to win that title and that he’s going to come 100% prepared too. But I’m the same; I want that title. I want to win the same title for the same fight and I’m going to go give everything and give the fans what they want, a great show and a great fight.

Q

Is there anyone in your career that you have fought in the past that you believe that resembles Victor Terrazas fighting style?

Santa Cruz

I think he’s like all great Mexicans warriors, maybe like Guevara, he’ll fight as he comes forward. He has great techniques and great ring experience. He comes forward, attacking, working the body and working a few different techniques… But we’re going to work that in the gym, we’re working very hard, and we’re going to fight.

Q

How much of a difference has it been for the past two training camps, for the fight with Munoz and then fight for this, to train to fight at 122 as opposed to trying to make the bantamweight limit?

Santa Cruz

It hasn’t even been the same. There’s a difference, I mean the fighting with the weight class, before I’d have to go down to 118; it was a little bit more trouble. But we’ve been training the same, I think and doing the same. We have been doing different techniques that my dad’s been teaching me with my brother, and we are learning different things with style, because he kind of drops his jab, so we’re going to work on those things, like little mistakes we’ve seen on him on video we seen, and that’s what we have been doing. So everything else is the same; we train 100 percent for every fight, we don’t take any fight easy, we just we train hard.

Q

On Leo Santa Cruz on the same fight card as Abner Mares on this card and on past cards.

What’s the relationship between you two and do you see him as a potential future opponent, without looking past Victor Terrazas, of course.

Santa Cruz

No, if everything goes good I will win the title and hope to defend it. If the fans want the fight, I would want that fight. He’s my friend, we talk good and everything. I wouldn’t want to fight him, but if the fans want it we’d have to give it to them, because we have to give want the fans want and if they want that fight we will make it happen.

Schaefer

Yes, I can only echo that. If that’s the biggest fight, which has an opportunity, which the fans want, the network wants, and has an opportunity to make a substantial amount of money for both fighters, then let’s do it. And I know that Abner and Leo are the kind of fighters that never turn down anyone, they’re always up for a challenge. Both of them, as I said, are just tremendous fighters and both of them are really super nice guys outside of the ring as well. They respect each other and they are both a pleasure to promote. So we at Golden Boy believe in the best fighting the best, and if it’s going to happen with both of those guys, who are considered the best in these weight classes, we certainly won’t be standing in the way.

Q

Victor, how does Leo rank to the opponents you faced and what do you see as the most difficult aspect of his style?

Terrazas

No, I see him as very strong, obviously he’s a young strong fighter, and stronger than my past opponents. And I’ve been saying it; it’s a great honor to be on this mega card underneath Jhonny González, underneath Abner Mares. I’m very, very motivated. I’m very grateful and looking forward to it.

Q

Leo, how does he rank to your past opponents and what are his most difficult aspects of his style?

Santa Cruz

Oh, I think out of my entire career he’s the one with most experience, he is better than anyone I have fought in the past, he comes forward pressuring a lot. I think that his best attribute is the pressure in terms of punches, because he’s like a Mexican warrior coming forward and I think he’s going to come forward non-stop. If he’s always going to be right there in front of me we’re going to have a war. And, like he said, the better fighter is going to win the match, whoever trains hardest and whoever deserves it better is going to win the match.

Q

Leo, how is your brother?

Santa Cruz

He’s really good. Right now he is already gaining weight. He’s been around. He’s in the gym with me; he helps me out, give me water and things, like gloves and stuff like that. He’s doing really good. Thank you.

Q

How is that having him there? How is that for you emotionally? Does it add to your motivation?

Santa Cruz

Yes, it does. Before when I used to come train for my other fights he always used to stay home because his body was hurting and I was thinking maybe he was going to have to go to the hospital. He went to the hospital and then he came back, and then in a couple days he had to go back to the hospital so that really made me worry and I was not concentrating so much on the fight or on training. But now that I know that he’s right here and his body doesn’t hurt or he doesn’t have something wrong with him it gives me more confidence, more … and I am able to concentrate here in the gym. I am more relaxed and focused.

Q

People have been the talking about the potential for a Mares/Santa Cruz fight for quite a while. How far away is a fight like that right now and potentially what venues do you see, or locations, Mexico, United States?

Schaefer

Well, I really don’t want to talk about it, because, first of all, you have Leo Santa Cruz in a very, very difficult fight challenging for the world title, so I know that he has his work cut out for him. I know that Victor Terrazas is going to do whatever he can to defend his title. He waited all his life to get that title, so this is going to be one of those toe-to-toe fights and it’s going to be a great battle.

So the same goes for Jhonny González. Jhonny González was world champion. He was mentally, physically not all there when he fought Ponce de León, he lost the title, and ever since that night he and his promoter have been waiting for a potential opportunity at the world title again and here with Abner Mares he gets it. So he is going to be wanting that title back and Abner is going to want to show why he is pound-for-pound one of the best.

So I think it’s totally premature to discuss a potential fight between Abner and Leo. Let’s see what happens August the 24th. I think both fighters should have maybe a couple or so title defenses and then we’ll see, assuming everything goes well. But let’s do first things first. In boxing people have that thing always like you do one great fight and before it’s over people already talk about the next one. Let’s enjoy what we have. Let’s enjoy, let’s kick back, and this is what that night, August the 24th is, it’s about enjoying the sport of boxing. These are four Mexicans, these are four champions, and it’s going to be one night in Carson where we can sit back and enjoy as fight fans, as sports fans, because those four guys are going to do our sport proud. So let’s talk about that before we start talking about what’s next.

Q

The question is for Leo Santa Cruz. He hasn’t had this much rest between fights in a while, so my question is did it help more physically or mentally? And also all this time off, even though it’s only four and a half months, what did it allow him to prepare? How did he prepare differently having a little bit more time?

Santa Cruz

Well, yes, the timing it helped me a little bit, because I had more time to work on things that I had to work on. My dad has been watching videos and he has learned from my mistakes and things I need to improve on, and we’ve been working on those things. So I have had more time to work on those things and more time to prepare, like more conditioning and strength, stuff like that. But at the same time I think I prefer fighting more sooner. I know when I’m not fighting I feel uncomfortable; I want to keep on fighting. But the promoters and the managers know what they’re doing, and I think my body needed to rest. I think that’s a good decision they made. In my down time I learned a lot of new things and that helped me a lot.

Terrazas

Well, once again I want to thank everybody for having me on this call. I’m very excited, very happy to have been here. And also I want to remind everyone that when you get two Mexicans in the ring you can expect the best, and the best you will get on Saturday the 24th and the best will be the winner. Thank you very much.

Santa Cruz

I want to say thank you to WBC for this opportunity. I want to thank my manager, Al Haymon, Golden Boy, Richard, Showtime for this opportunity. On August 24th I’m going to go out there and give my best. I’m going to give it 100 percent to show the fans who I am and that I’ve come 100 percent prepared to give a good fight, same as Terrazas. I know he’s coming prepared too, because he doesn’t want to lose his title. And we both have struggled a lot to get to this point, so we both going to give a war out there and we’re going to leave everything in the ring. I am very excited and happy for August 24th.

Schaefer

Thank you, Victor. Thank you, Leo. One thing I know, August the 24th it’s going to be “show time” on SHOWTIME, baby! This is exactly continuing the trend SHOWTIME has established. No tune-ups, no lay offs, no nothing, just the best fighting the best.

And if you’re not going to watch it live on SHOWTIME that Saturday night make sure, if you have an opportunity, to be there in Carson for a great summer night. And I don’t think I have ever said this, but for $25 to see those two fights, it is the deal of the century. For $25 make sure you make it there. If you have never seen boxing come and see it, come and be part of it. The Stub Hub Center in Carson is one of the premier venues in the world when it comes to boxing, so make sure to be there, be part of it, and cheer these four warriors, these four champions on.

Thank you all for being on the call, and I can’t wait for fight time for the first bell to ring a week from Saturday. All the best. Thank you. Good-bye.