Google+ Button Facebook Button Twitter Button



Ads by Yahoo

Andre Berto vs Soto Karass: Interview Transcript



Kelly Swanson Thank you, everybody, for joining us in this sizzling week of summer, but I’m so excited to actually be doing a conference call again, and we have a great fight to talk about. I think it’s really the big first, big, big fight of the summer, and I’m looking forward to watching it. So, we have both fighters, Andre Berto and Jesus Soto Karass joining us, and to make those introductions and open it up for questions, I’m going to turn it over to Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. Oscar?

Oscar De La Hoya

Thank you, Kelly. It’s always a pleasure to introduce such a great lineup like July 27th. First of all, I want to thank everybody at Golden Boy Promotions and Leija & Battah Promotions for all their hard work. Also, I would like to acknowledge Teiken Promotions and KO International who is an association and putting this together with Golden Boy Promotions, all the sponsors, Corona and AT&T for all of your support, your support of boxing.

We are, like I said, excited to be showcasing the first big event of the summer, Saturday, July 27th live from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. As we all know, San Antonio, Texas is now a hotbed for staging big events, for staging big fights with big names and the fans there are some of the best, if not the best, fans come out and support not only their favorite fighter but the support of boxing in general. This event will be taking place live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. Eastern. So, I want to thank, once again, our good friends Stephen Espinoza there at Showtime.

Tickets are priced and are going fast actually, and when I say going fast I’m not kidding, at $200 and all the way down to $10. So, I assure you that we will have a big sellout by the week of the fight, a few days before the event with those types of prices. We have three fights that will be televised live on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing. This event is being billed as Knockout Kings II. As you all know, Knockout Kings I was a huge success led by Josesito Lopez and this main event by far will be an exciting one.

The first fight that’s being televised will be Diego Chavez versus Keith Thurman. That’ll be 12 rounds for the WBA interim welterweight world title. As you all know, Keith Thurman, at one time, is off to bigger and better things, but on the 27th, he’s got a very, very tough, tough, I wouldn’t call it test, it’s a real fight against Diego Chavez, and I’m sure everyone who’s seen Diego Chavez is a guy that you cannot take lightly.

The co-main event is an exciting one that everyone I’m sure in Texas is looking forward to, their own Omar Figueroa Jr. versus Nihito Arakawa. That will be a 12-round fight for the WBC interim lightweight world title and Omar Figueroa once again keeps on proving to the fans that he’s progressing, he’s learning, he’s got punching power with both hands.

The main event, obviously the people are really, really excited about, you have Andre Berto versus Soto Karass, which will be a 12 rounder for the vacant NABF welterweight title, and it is my pleasure to be introducing to you one of the participants in the main event. He was a member of the 2004 Haitian Olympic Team. He’s obviously known for his charity work, especially in Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake that hit in the country there, and he has a tremendous, tremendous record, first winning a world title against Miguel Rodriguez, which he stopped in the seventh round to win the WBC welterweight world title.

He successfully defended his title five times before having a tremendous, tremendous fight against Victor Ortiz in 2011, which was billed fight of the year, and now he’s back. He bounced back against a very tough, tough fighter, Jan Zaveck for the IBF welterweight world championship title, and now, once again, he engaged in fight of the year candidate against Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero in a tremendous, tremendous fight.

And this fight here, once again, shows the character of Andre Berto. He is a fighter. He is a warrior. He wants to get back to the top and he knows that facing Jesus Soto Karass is that step to that world title. So, without any further ado, let me introduce to you with a record of 28-2, 22 knockouts out of Winter Haven, Florida, Andre Berto.

Andre Berto

Hello. Training camp has been going tremendously. I’ve been out here in the Bay Area and I’ve been having a hell of a training camp, man. I’m in definitely one of the toughest and one of the best training camps I’ve been a part of, definitely in tremendous shape mentally, physically and spiritually. So, like I said, I’m in shape, I’m ready to go, and we’re definitely going to get over to San Antonio, hell of a show coming the 27th, definitely going to be a show that’s not going to disappoint, I can promise you that.

De La Hoya

Thank you very much, Andre, and now for the other fighter participating in the main event, obviously don’t let the records fool you. He does have a record of 27-8 with 3 draws and 17 knockouts. He always gives a supreme, supreme effort against any opponent that he’s facing.

He’s coming off a fresh win in January against Selcuk Aydin, who we obviously know gave a very difficult and valiant effort against Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. He has defeated fighters that include Euri Gonzalez, El Harrak, Vince Phillips, David Estrada, to name a few. He is a fighter that in the second half of his career is getting better. So, we all know that Andre Berto and Soto Karass will give a tremendous, tremendous performance. So, let’s welcome Jesus Soto Karass.

Soto Karass

Hi. Thank you all for being on the call. Thank you, Oscar, for the kind words, and I’m here. I’m in training camp at Ponce De Leon’s Gym, and I know it’s going to be a great fight. The fight’s going to be a war, and I know Berto very well. That’s why I’m preparing myself 100 percent. I don’t want to give him any advantages and I’ll be ready for the fight.

I’m very grateful to Leija Battah Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions for this opportunity. I participated in the first Knockout Kings and now I’m going to be participating again in the second go around as the main event and I’m not going to disappoint you.

De La Hoya

Before we introduce it to the media, I would like to make an announcement that I will be introducing a bonus for the best knockout among those three fights that are televised. So, this is obviously an extra incentive for the fighters, for the fans and we’re definitely looking forward to another great evening, July 27th live from Texas, Knockout Kings II. Thank you.

Q

Thank you. Oscar, very quickly on the knockout bonus, what’s the bonus how much do these guys get for the best knockout and who determines the winner?

De La Hoya

That’s actually-I have to decide and talk it over with Mike Battah, who is the co-promoter there in Texas, but it will definitely be a substantial amount.

Q

Okay, and I think, if I’m not mistaken, when you guys did that last time around for the other Knockout Kings last year, I believe you had a thing where the fans could vote for it and it was announced at the end of the SHOWTIME broadcast. Is that correct? Are you going to try to do that again?

De La Hoya

We will try and do that once again. So, it’s definitely going to make more fighting. They’re going to get their money’s worth.

Q

Oscar, I wanted to ask you to talk a little bit about the way you view the rise of Omar Figueroa who was very impressive on the undercard in April when Canelo faced Austin Trout. It seems like he has an extremely phantom like style. He’s got a growing fan base down in Texas and he’s in this fight fighting for an interim world title. Can you just talk about where you see him progressing because it seems to me with the right matches and a little more TLC with his matchmaking that he could become something really big in this sport?

De La Hoya

Absolutely. Omar Figueroa is a guy who every fight, every opponent we put him in against, he’s getting better and better. He’s passing the test with flying colors, and now, it’s time to step it up and step it up big time. July 27th is not going to be an easy fight for him, but these are the types of fights that he wants and these are the types of fights that we’re comfortable putting him in with. These are difficult fights, but we feel comfortable that he will continue to pass these tests with flying colors. I don’t think there’s a limit to where he can go.

Omar Figueroa, he has fabulous and amazing fan base especially after his knockout win April 20th on the Canelo Alvarez card and Trout. Ever since we’ve signed Omar Figueroa, he keeps on proving us wrong. He keeps on proving that he can be moved faster at a faster pace. So, every fight that he has, he always tells me look, when am I going to get that world title and he started asking me that after ten fights. So, this is a kid that we feel is going to go very, very far.

Q

Andre, I wanted just to hear from you what it’s been like having your first training camp with somebody other than Tony for I think probably your entire boxing life, now that you’re working with Virgil Hunter?

How different is it and what kind of changes are there and are you learning new things or are you just fine-tuning things that are already there? Just sort of take me through what it’s been like because you’ve got to be so used to being the same kind of camp for so many years?

Berto

Yeah, definitely. This right here is definitely a different situation for me-how do I say it? I’m not sure have the right words, but definitely it’s a tough training camp, technical training camp and very-these guys are really precise on what they do and things they want you to work on and it’s not just going to camp and just working the same routines, just getting in shape. One of these guys here they definitely just work on strategy and a lot of repetition and they definitely just pound that into you so that you get the game plan right. So, it’s definitely a training camp that I love. It’s different, but it’s definitely effective, and I’m excited to show the skills off on the 27th, sure.

Q

Andre, what has been the biggest difference in the way that Virgil runs a camp with a fighter compared to the way Tony ran a camp with you? I’m just trying to get an idea. Is it more different time and date, different type of things you work on? Is he more laid back? Does he screen more? What is the main things that you were like wow, this is different than what I’m used to for the last several years?

Berto

It’s different. Here, like the schedule-my schedule situation is it’s kind of up and down. Back home in Florida, we always had the same routine, the same schedule every day. Here, things maneuver, things change and they definitely go by how you feel.

You definitely work a lot smarter than just a lot harder. Of course, they work harder, but they definitely work a lot smarter. I come from my dad and Tony and everybody back home, it was just work hard as hell, pound that out every day and just try to get in the best shape possible, and once you reach a level like this right here and you want to try to work a lot more smarter than just everybody working as hard as possible, but like I said, both coaches are great. They just have different strategies.

Q

Is there one thing that Virgil is trying to beat into your head as far as we need to do this that might have been different before … whether you want to talk about moving your head or defensively or something with one of your opponents?

Berto

Definitely. Coming out here, Virgil, of course I’ve known since I was like 13, but just being here and him just watching me go through camp and get in better shape and just see all my skills, he definitely sees that I’m a strong athlete so it doesn’t take much just to move and just to change a couple of things. So, just basically just from a defensive point or just on-just sitting on the ropes getting too comfortable and we’re doing this, doing that because I used to get a lot comfortable in training camps before and I think there’s a lot of bad habits because of that.

So, it’s just the fact on just me just being the athlete that I know I can be and just staying sharp and just staying alert and not just getting comfortable and picking up bad habits and going back to the basics on things. So, Virgil, he definitely continues to point that out for me. He doesn’t let me get lazy. He doesn’t let me get comfortable and he knows what I can do.

Like I said, he’s watched me ever since I was 13 years old, an amateur. So, he knows I’m capable of it and I have definitely been able to blossom and just be able to work on my techniques like I need to. He just has to put somebody on my ass on the regular.

Q

What’s the one bad habit, like the worst habit let’s say, that he’s trying to work out with you?

Berto

That’s kind of hard to say on the phone. I don’t want to put too much information out there, but we are working on a lot of different things, but definitely improve a lot of different areas, and just like I said, I’m the type of guy that I’m a tremendous athlete already. So, it just takes little things for me to change some things up. If it’s just me letting my back leg touch the ropes, he don’t even say one word and just moved his hand that I can slip off the rope or me just working my jab, me just doing this, me just doing that.

It’s just takes little signals and he know that I react quickly instead of me being in a predicament, being very talented and been working with the team for so long and they know what I’m capable of, but in the gym back home they would let me-they used to let me just get away with just a lot of things just because they know how talented I am, they know that when fight time comes, I’ll be ready to go, but in time, sometimes you just create those bad habits just by just continue doing them in the gym, and they start sitting on you and they start just being first nature.

So, just working some things up out of that and then getting back sharp where I need to be, but like I said, Tony, he’s a tremendous coach, man. He’s one of the best in the game. He brought me to the Olympics. He brought me to two-time world champion. He’s a tremendous guy, but I just thought I just needed a change.

Q

Talked to Virgil Hunter today and he said that the biggest thing he wants to see you do is to develop your own identity in the ring. He specifically pointed out that the shoulder roll that you tried to do against Guerrero, he had never seen that before. What does he mean by that? What do you gather he means by that by the things that you guys are working on, and are you developing the identity that you think he wants you to develop?

Berto

Yeah because I see it’s a situation I believe that just, like I said, that he’s watched me for many years in amateurs and a lot of people in general, they’ve watched me come up as a high prospect in boxing and they see that I had my own style, but in time, in time, just going through that I’m not going to say just amateur, being a young fighter just continue, me just watching the fighters, in time, you pick up certain things or just trying out certain things, it might not be for you. It might not be for you at the end of the day. So, it’s just a fact of just getting back to the basics on what I do and that’s to stay strong, stay good on my defense work on my jab and work on my strong combination and just be me at the end of the day, but it’s very easy for anybody to pick up certain things and just try to try them out to see how they affect and see how they work for you, but it’s the fact of just trying to do you and that’s work mind, that defense and staying sharp.

I have the hand speed. I have the power. I have the athleticism and it’s just the fact of just putting everything together and I believe being in a camp, Virg is able to see all of that. So, he feels that I can do whatever I want to do, but it’s better just to stick to me and do what I do.

Q

Did you kind of lose your identity? Did you get away from what you used to do and kind of get lost and you just more or less were throwing things against a wall to see if they stuck?

Berto

Yeah, the thing with me, man, I’m-everyone that knows me, man, from back home, they know I’m a hard worker and they know that every time I go out I try to improve and they know that I’m always really just looking for things to do better and just me just going to the gym just working on different things and trying to see how they work for me and see how they can improve my game or just try different things and see if it’s not too well for me. So, it was almost kind of too much of trying and try other little things to a point that almost kind of confuses you and just better just to have to set your own game plan.

So, I think that’s where everything pretty much came together for me. We really sat down and really analyzed a lot of things and we’ve been working on a lot of different things at camp, we definitely made that understood and just being in camp and just seeing tremendous, tremendous improvements, not just me being that old Andre Berto, that ferocious kid, that kid that say wow I have tight defense and combination and I’ve been able pretty much do whatever I want to do. From time to time, of course, I can work a lot of other little small things but don’t be so committed on it just pretty much just stay who I am.

Q

The last thing he said was confidence. You seem to be developing a confidence in what you’re doing right now and bringing that identity.

Berto

For sure.

Q

Are you confident you can, against a guy like Soto Karass, who’s rugged, kind of unorthodox and is always involved in brawls, can you stay away from what you did in your last two fights, which wasn’t what you’re saying now?

Berto

Yeah, for sure. Like I said, I just improved mentally, physically, spiritually, just all the way around. You see that-Virg sees it. He sees that I’m getting back to who I need to be, and that’s being a fighter that’s in tremendous shape and that’s being a fighter that’s supremely confident and being a fighter that just looks like I can do whatever I want to do in there, and when I’m on point and when I’m at the best that I can be, there’s nobody in the welterweight division that can doing anything with me. So, he’s been saying that, and like I said, man, we’re actually going to be straight, and it doesn’t matter what it gets to. He’s seen me box kids’ heads off out here in the gym. At the same time, he sees me just stay behind that defense and just bang it out, but of course, I’m going to try to be smarter in there and just try to do what we got to do.

Q

Jesus, talking about Andre is really working on getting back to where he used to be, do you feel confident that you can get him out of his game, that once he gets hit, he’ll go back to what he was in his last two fights, which is more your style and what you’ve been doing pretty much in all of your fights?

Soto Karass

I’m going to do my game plan. I can’t worry about him, about him being the fighter he was or whether he’s going to resort to being the fighter he was the last couple of fights. I can’t worry about that. I have to do my game plan, what I’ve been working towards in the gym. I will say this, that I’m going to be in great shape. I’m going to be ready for a war. If wants to box, we can box. If he wants to stand and fight, we can fight. If I have to counter or be on the inside, whatever it is, I’m just training to win and that’s my game plan; I’ve got to win.”

Q

Jesus, Oscar said in the introductory remarks you were in the first installment of Knockout Kings and I don’t think you got the bonus in that one, but you are a guy that have gotten a lot of good TV exposure and you make great fights not necessarily because you always wins. What does it means to you or is it important to you to understand that you-I know you want to win the fight obviously but that you can keep getting these kinds of fights because you are liked by the fans and by the TV people because you are highly entertaining and what does that mean to you as opposed to maybe not always getting the W but certainly getting a lot of exposure?

Soto Karass

Look, it’s great that people see me that way. It’s great that everybody that follows me, the fans and everybody, they see me that way, but I want to win. The bottom line is I want to win. That’s the important thing for me is winning. Yes, I’m going to give a great performance like I always do. I’m ready to die in the ring like every Mexican, but the important thing for me is to win. I have the mentality of winning. I have to win. It’s for the future of my family. It’s for the future of my trainers. It’s a lot of hard work. The bottom line is I want to win, and it’s okay to have great fights and this and that but my objection is to win.

Q

What is your objective?

Q

To win, I have to got to win.

Q

Given that Andre is coming off of a loss to Guerrero, he got knocked down two times in that fight by Andre’s own admission, not his best night, do you view Andre as being a little more vulnerable maybe in this fight than he has been in past fights and you can take advantage with the kind of pressure style that you employ and the tremendous amount of punching output that you have that you can keep Andre on the losing skit?

Soto Karass

I’m expecting a well-prepared Berto. I’m coming to win. I’m coming to win and that’s what I’m preparing for. I’m getting ready for the best possible Berto there is. In fact, I haven’t even studied any of the last fights because he can throw those out the window. I’m getting ready for the best possible Berto, a guy that’s going to be well prepared and is going to come to win. I know that Berto wants to be a world champion again. I also want to be a champion. That’s what I’ve been waiting for all my career, all my life and a victory here is going to possibly get the winner into position for a world title. So, no, I’m not thinking of the Berto that had the last couple of fights. I’m thinking of the best possible prepared Berto that’s going to come to win and that’s what I’m training for.

Q

My question is for Andre Berto. Much has changed in the last couple of years. Where are you as a fighter and are you satisfied with where you are as far as your career?

Berto

Of course, as a fighter and in terms of general, like I said, at the end of the day, man, we’re fighters. Do you know what I mean? As far as at the end of the day, we go through our ups and downs, but the place where I’m at now is a great place. At the top of the year, I’ve done made the changes that I need to make and now I’m at a place that I’ve been in a very long time all the way around. So, I guess I’m just ready to get back to work and really to go in here and handle business like I know how to do.

Q

What type of fight are you expecting or are you anticipating from Soto Karass?

Berto

It doesn’t matter. I just have to bring that pressure and bring the fight, but I’m anticipating whatever. He wants to do that, that’s fine. We’ve been trained for that, and if he wants to box, we can do that, that’s fine. We’ve been trained for that as well. So, we’re just trying to make sure that we’re covering all bases.

Q

This is for Andre Berto. The question on the switch of trainers, we all saw how Ortiz and Guerrero were real effective on smothering you on the inside. We know that Hunter and Ward, they’re really good at that style. Was that part of the reason that prompted you to change up the game plan because we know you’re very effective when you have space for your leverage, but on the inside is where you have trouble?

Berto

Definitely. When it came to my decision and what I needed to make, I looked at the overall situation in the end and it definitely Virgil and Ward, everybody on this side, and when it comes to working on the inside, when it comes to working on defense they’re very, very, very effective. So, like I said, I’m just trying to make sure we’ve been improving on our all-around game if it’s inside work or if it’s outside work where I’m the best at.

So, like I said, we’re covering all bases. We’re handling the shape. We’re working inside, outside, everywhere it goes. So, it doesn’t matter where the fight goes, we’re going to be ready to go.

Q

We also know there’s also we’ve seen a pattern of you kind of anemia here and there sometimes. Is there still a problem as far as low iron in your blood?

Berto

Yeah, of course, I have some doctors that work real close to me and they’re trying to make sure everything is good when it comes to my anemia situation and everything right now at this point is on point. We’re sharp. We’re in shape. All the way around, we’re good.

Q

I’ve got one question for Soto Karass regarding his underdog role continuously and bouts of. Does that motivate him, or does it anger him or how does that affect him seeing that sometimes he’s seen as the gatekeeper but fighting for the upset?

Soto Karass

It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to me. It’s the same whether I’m favored or not. It doesn’t really matter to me. It doesn’t make me uncomfortable. What I will say is that the fans, everybody’s always going to get 100% the best of Soto Karass and it doesn’t really matter what they think. They think that I don’t have the tools or I’m not capable of winning, that’s fine. They can think whatever they want, but I do know this is that I go into every fight wanting to win and I’m always going to give the best of me and I’m going to be 100 percent.

Q

Jesus, what can we expect from you in this fight?

Soto Karass

Well, what can I say? You guys follow my career. You know who I am. You know me already. You’re going to get the best of me. I will say this that I feel a little smarter in this fight because this is going to be very tough. It’s a very dangerous fight. So, I’m going to be a little smarter in this fight, but it’s going to be the same Soto Karass. You’re going to get 100% and you’re going to get a good fight out of me.

Q

What about your nickname, El Renuente? What does that mean? Why did you get it?

Soto Karass

I actually got it from my ex-coach, and it means lazy. It means lazy. I guess because when we used to work in the past, he would ask me if I wanted to do mitts or if I wanted to work out with any of the bags and I didn’t. I just wanted to spar and it’s kind of a joke, so that’s what they call me is El Renuente.

K. Swanson

Okay, no problem. So, that was our last question. We appreciate both fighters taking the time out of their training to join us today. Again, we look forward to the fight which is July 27th for the NABF Welterweight Championship from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, televised live on SHOWTIME, and Andre, any final comments?

Berto

To all the fans in San Antonio, definitely come out. It’s going to be a tremendous show. When it comes to Soto Karass, he knows that I know him pretty well and I’ve been around people and been training in the past with people that know him very, very, very well. So, he knows that I’m definitely going to be ready all the way across the board for him.

So, like I said, San Antonio, definitely come out. It’s going to be a hell of a show. We’ve got a hell of a main event. We’ve got a hell of a undercard and I can’t wait. Like I said, it’s been a while, man, and I’m just ready for fight and tired of training. I’m ready to go. So, like I said, I respect Soto Karass because he always comes to fight. So, it’s going to be a good show, man.

K. Swanson

Okay, great, and any final comments from Jesus Soto Karass?

Soto Karass

I just want to say to everybody thank you and I’ll see you on the 27th in San Antonio at the AT&T Center and you can expect a war, a very good fight. I’m coming to win. I know Berto’s coming to win. I hope he’s well prepared, but it’s going to be a very, very good show and a good performance. So, thank you very much.

END OF CALL

“KNOCKOUT KINGS II,” featuring former Two-Time Welterweight World Champion Andre Berto facing tough Mexican veteran contender Jesus Soto Karass in a 12-round main event for the vacant NABF Welterweight Championship, takes place Saturday, July 27 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The event is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Leija & Battah Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. In the 12-round co-featured attractions, Weslaco, Texas’ undefeated rising star Omar Figueroa Jr. squares off against Tokyo’s Nihito Arakawa for the vacant WBC Interim Lightweight World Championship in a fight promoted in association with Teiken Promotions and undefeated power-puncher Diego Chaves faces fellow unbeaten knockout artist Keith Thurman for Chaves’ WBA Interim Welterweight World Championship in a fight promoted in association with KO International. The tripleheader will be broadcast live on SHOWTIME® at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT and will be available in Spanish via second audio programming (SAP).

Tickets priced at $200, $100, $50, $25 and $10, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges, are on sale now and are available for purchase at the AT&T Center box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com and ATTCenter.com all Ticketmaster locations, by calling (800) 745-3000 or through Leija & Battah Promotions by calling (210) 979-3302 or emailing m@leijabattahpromo.com.