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Alfredo Angulo, Virgil Hunter Interview Transcript
Virgil Hunter – Alfredo is very much up for this fight and into this fight. That’s not to say he wasn’t in any other bouts that he did, but we understand the magnitude of this opportunity and we intend to make the most of it.
I’m very pleased with the camp situation. We’re fortunate to have several of the guys in camp doing mini camps and conditioning, and because of that we’re able to provide Alfredo with a lot of different looks in sparring, which I feel complements the style that he has and he has the opportunity to pick up on various things that the styles offer.
Everything’s going great, no injuries, no setbacks, we’re right on schedule, we’ll be on target on everything, and you’re going to have a very determined fighter now, Alfredo Angulo, on March 8, and it’s going to be a fight that I don’t think the world, anybody in the boxing world should want to miss. I think everybody should tune in.
You mentioned the word “opportunity” and I agree with you, I think in boxing a lot of it has to do with opportunity. There are a lot of talented fighters, there are a lot of hungry fighters, but it is about creating these opportunities, and when Alfredo talked to me and really wanted a fight with Canelo, obviously there are a lot of fighters out there who would love to have this fight because Canelo is one of the superstars of the sport. When you are the kind of fighter like Alfredo is, a warrior, always looking for the biggest and best challenges, then that is exactly what he wants.
For us here at Golden Boy I like to get these kinds of opportunities and then it is up to Alfredo to have the right motivation, we know he has the talent and we know he has the desire to get up and show on March 8 who is the best 154 pounder. With Alfredo, I got to know him a bit outside of the ring as well. He truly is one of the kindest and nicest people outside of the ring I have ever met, and a stark contrast with the person in the ring, where he is just a vicious warrior and always on the attack, and I think that’s why he has so many fans all around the world. When Angulo fights, people watch, and there’s going to be no exception on March 8.
It is a pleasure now for me to introduce to you one of the most exciting fighters, his battle in 2011 with James Kirkland was a candidate for Fight of the Year. He is originally from Mexicali, Baja California, fighting now out of Los Angeles, record of 22-2 and 18 KO’s, Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo.
Hi, guys. I really appreciate everybody being here and I really appreciate the opportunity for this conference call. Thank you so much to SHOWTIME and Golden Boy for this opportunity, it’s very exciting to be on this pay-per-view. Thank you so much for this opportunity, I really appreciate it, and I have been working really hard for this fight and will put on a really great fight for the fans.
OK, gracias, Alfredo. We are going to open it now to the media for questions; if you have any questions for Alfredo or for Virgil Hunter, they’re both on the line.
Richard you talked about opportunity for Alfredo, obviously he’s getting some special treatment and respect being on this call by himself, it’s a great opportunity for him, but can you characterize what happens if he wins and what happens if he loses.
Well, I think you don’t just get the opportunity, you earn the opportunity, and I think Alfredo has earned that in the way he fought and the way he fights. Boxing has really moved away, I think, particularly in the last couple of years or so, where excitement, win or lose, is being more rewarded than it used to be and fighters don’t really have to go back in the line if they lose in an exciting fashion, and sometimes an exciting loss these days is, frankly, more valuable than a boring win. I will give you an example, like a Rigondeaux, and I don’t mean to knock in any way or shape Rigondeaux, I respect him, I admire his talent, he’s one of the best fighters in my opinion, but crowds like to be entertained, and Alfredo has that style. So I think he has earned this through his hard work and dedication to the sport, and of course a win, nobody wants to lose, but you know, Alfredo is must-see TV, and I don’t think anything changes in that regard.
Now, if you beat somebody like Canelo and you are in the 154-pound weight class, there are of course many big names and opportunities out there, and I don’t need to tell you who the biggest name is, we all know that, that of course is Floyd Mayweather. So I am not going to go and make any statements or promises and so on now, ‘if you win you’re going to get Floyd or so,’ but there are other big names there whether it’s Miguel Cotto or so on, so the door certainly would open and it would lead to mega-fights. I think Alfredo knows that, but Alfredo is a veteran, and he was actually telling me that at the L.A. press conference, he’s not thinking ahead of that. His only task at hand is Canelo Alvarez, and I think Alfredo would be foolish, which I know he is not, to look past Canelo Alvarez. So, his focus is on Canelo and let’s see what happens.
I talked to Andre Ward yesterday and he had some really specific things to say about Angulo’s punch placement and his pursuit, his ability to cut off the ring. He also said that he anticipated sparring with Alfredo for a second time last night. What do you take from Andre’s comments and also did that sparring session take place again last night and what have you gained from it.
First of all I’m not sure if I’m going to be boxing any more with Andre or not, it’s not up to me, but the times that I did box with him, he’s a very good fighter. He’s got a lot of talent, experience, and he’s got a lot of qualities that are superior to Canelo. So I know that it’s helping me, and to be able to be in that ring with Andre Ward, it’s a plus for me and it’s a positive. I’m very grateful to him for the work, for the nice comments, because he knows how important this fight is to me.
Alfredo, this is a huge opportunity, as Richard has said, and you realize it. What is at stake for you, given the fact that you were chosen over some pretty tough competition for this fight, and are you going to sell out and really just probably fight your best, hardest fight ever?
Yes, you know, I’m very grateful. I want to thank, once again, Richard Schaefer and the entire team at Golden Boy Promotions for this opportunity, for having the confidence in me so that I can be in this kind of fight. But at the same time I feel that I won my spot, I won my spot through my hard work and my style of fighting. I’ve always given 100 percent up in that ring, and I’ve given it my all, so I kind of feel that I won my spot, and there’s a reason why I’m in this fight. This is a very, very big opportunity for me and I want to take full advantage.
Virgil, you said there have been no injuries, obviously, he suffered an eye injury in the last fight, can you characterize that? And also, what are the benefits that you see in him having sparred with guys like Amir Khan, who’s smaller and quicker, and obviously Andre Ward, who’s bigger and the complete package?
Just to the injuries on his eye, other than swelling, wasn’t what people assumed it was, and it was unfortunate because the diagnosis that night was done in the ring before he even stepped out, and it wasn’t by a doctor it was speculation by someone else. The injury was definitely an abrasion on the cornea, what the ophthalmologist felt was pretty much like a poke or something like that, and we’ll leave it at that.
The sparring with the different guys is that I never changed his style because that’s him, and I wanted him to naturally gravitate towards other things that would mesh with his style, and by doing that and showing him different looks, different styles of boxing. Then, as he and I talked about when he was training in Los Angeles and pretty much sparring against one type of style, he stays locked in that style, but now because he’s been exposed to different styles, different looks, very fast and quick styles, he’s been picking up and adapting to these things naturally and naturally integrating them into his style without being force fed, without being mind fed. It’s come along naturally through his participation and observation. So that to me was the benefit and the purpose of different looks and styles. But we do also have sparring partners in camp simulating the style of Canelo also.
Alfredo, do you think you can win the fight if it goes the distance, or do you feel you have to stop Canelo in order to get the victory?
Well, sincerely it’s hard to answer that. I really can’t say. I’m training to win. I’m training to win whatever happens, whether it goes the distance, or if the knockout comes, I’m training to win. So, I can’t really answer that.
Are you driven by your underdog status? You seem to almost be, if you win this it’s definitely kind of a Rocky story come to life. Does that fact drive you at all, or do you just try to keep emotion out of it?
You know, I really don’t think about that. I really don’t care. I’ve been the underdog most of my career, I’ve gone against the current and I just do my job and I work hard. But I really don’t think about that.
I just want to add to that, last I checked his nickname is actually not the underdog, it’s “El Perro,” the dog. He is not the underdog. He is the dog.
Virgil, does Canelo’s power and style concern you at all?
Of course his style concerns me. Anybody that Alfredo, or any other fighter in the stable, who he goes up against concerns me. He’s a good fighter. He’s proven that. And he’s not anybody to be playing with in the ring, so of course his style concerns me.
At the last fight with Canelo and Floyd you made a comment that you felt that maybe Saul didn’t have enough experience to be able to beat Floyd. In this fight do you feel that you have the experience to beat Saul?
I’ve been in the ring with good fighters, talented fighters. I also have an extensive amateur background, so I have plenty of experience. But, you know, Canelo’s also been getting better, he’s been getting better and he’s had some good experience in the last few years, so that’s what’s going to make this fight very interesting. It’s going to be an interesting fight, and we’ll see what happens.
There’s obviously other fighters that were being mentioned as possible opponents for Canelo, but for some reason you were chosen. Why do you think you were chosen?
I think the reason that Canelo decided to fight against me is because he’s a smart fighter and he knows that he wanted to prove to his fans that he’s ready to fight a good fighter, a fighter that’s very strong, and most importantly, a fighter that makes exciting fights. I know that I’ve proven throughout my career that I always give exciting fights, and I think that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to make a good show and we’re going to put on an exciting fight.
Virgil, how difficult is it to train a fighter that’s very, very aggressive and to get him to be disciplined and to have other attributes, possibly defensive attributes?
Alfredo’s not a difficult fighter to train. The difficult fighter to train is the one who doesn’t want to train, that’s the difficult one. So he’s not a difficult fighter to train. My intention, it’s obvious, is that I don’t teach the style that Alfredo was taught, but I believe that if you’re going to be a good coach that you should subject yourself to the various styles that these champions possess so you can learn. Two years from now I might have another Alfredo and I’ll know even more what to do. Defense is something that I do very well, and within his style we continue to work on this, and I see the improvement daily.
So, it’s a pleasure working with him, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, because he gives it his all, he doesn’t play around, he doesn’t kid around, and any fight that he goes in he’s in that fight. He got an opportunity to win that fight and proved in his last outing (Erislandy Lara) against what some consider the best 154 pounder in the world, and certainly was the best amateur that ever existed, so going into a fight with Alfredo Angulo I’m always going to go in confident because I know he’s always going to have an opportunity to win that fight.
Alfredo, in your last fight against Lara, it was a tough, competitive fight, it was back-and-forth, you knocked him down twice. I’m just curious from your perspective what did you take out of that performance, and do you have any regrets at all about the way that fight ended?
I learned plenty in that fight. But most importantly I feel that I demonstrated that I can adapt to any style and I can fight pretty much any style boxer. I’m working hard every day with Virgil, I’m learning every day, and that’s the most important thing, that I’m learning and I’m ready to put on a good show, all the time.
Alfredo, since you faced a southpaw last time out and someone that has a Cuban amateur background that Lara has, are you looking forward to facing someone like Saul Alvarez who is the complete style contrast, a guy that will go out there and give you a war?
You know, basically, I’m happy to fight. That’s my job, I’m supposed to be fighting, and I’m happy to fight, and it’s my job to figure out styles. I’m just glad that I have Virgil on my side to help me construct a game plan and figure out the styles. I am happy that I’m facing another Mexican, because as all the fans know, everybody knows when two Mexicans get in the ring it’s a guaranteed show, it’s a guaranteed exciting show. And March 8, don’t expect anything different.
There’s no title on the line in this fight against Saul Alvarez, but being the fact that he had the biggest fight ever with Mayweather in his last fight do you see this as a title fight, just being on this big grand stage and fighting someone that is well known, like Saul Alvarez?
You know, I pretty much consider all my fights like world title fights. Yes, I know that in this fight it’s not going to be for a title, but my motivation, my world title is the fans, winning over the fans, making sure that they’re happy with my performance. That’s my motivation, and I consider that kind of like winning a world title if they’re happy.
What do you consider the most dangerous attribute that Canelo has that he’s going to bring to the fight? And how do you classify him, what level do you see him and how do you classify yourself?
Canelo has gained a lot of experience the last couple of years, but he’s a fighter that has fast hands and he can also box if he wants to, so those are maybe some of the attributes, some of the things that I have to look out for. As far as myself, categorizing myself, I really can’t say. I don’t pay attention to that. All I do is fight, and I let my fighting do the talking for me. Canelo knows that I’m a good fighter, and that’s basically all I can say.
Alfredo, Canelo’s coming off of a loss just like you are. Whose loss was more valuable in experience to the defeated fighter and why?
Both fights were very, very different. Canelo is coming off a loss to Floyd Mayweather, the pound for pound No. 1 fighter in the world, and in that fight he hardly touched him. My fight, I’m coming off a loss to one of the best fighters in the world, and that is Erislandy Lara, and in a fight that arguably I was winning. It was a very, very entertaining fight, a very exciting fight, and I was possibly winning the fight. So, both fights were very, very different.
Alfredo, have you noticed the recent trend of A-side Golden Boy boxers getting upset by rugged Latino fighters in need of career defining wins; for example, Maidana did it against Broner, Jhonny Gonzalez beat Abner Mares and Victor Ortiz was knocked out by Luis Collazo. What do you think about that?
Yes, yes, I have noticed. But that’s the beautiful thing about boxing, it goes to show that you can be the best fighter in the world but if you don’t train and you let your guard down, anybody can come and beat you. That’s why you’ve got to be ready at every turn and you have to train hard.
Would you continue this trend, Alfredo, and upset Golden Boy’s Canelo to earn your signature victory? And if you win, what would you like to do next, Floyd Mayweather sweepstakes perhaps?
God willing, it’s going to be that way. That’s what I want, that’s what I’m working for, and it will happen that way. As far as who I want to fight next, I’m not thinking about that. I’m just thinking about Canelo Alvarez right now, that’s on my mind, and it’s not up to me. It’s up to my team. It’s up to Golden Boy, Richard Schaefer, to decide who I’ll fight next. I’m not worrying about that. The most important thing for me right now is Canelo Alvarez.
You spoke very respectfully of Lara, Alfredo. He beat you and he beat Austin Trout, can he beat Floyd Mayweather? How good is he?
Well, you know I really can’t say. They both have very similar styles. I think if they ever fought each other, I know for sure it will be a boring fight because all they do is they worry about their defense, or they try to do a lot of defense, or they turn their backs a lot, so I know that for sure. I know that it would be a boring fight if they ever fought each other.
All right, I’d like to thank Virgil and Alfredo to be on the call. I’d like to thank all the media members for their support of this great top to bottom, “TOE TO TOE: Canelo vs. Angulo” and all the other great fights.
Just a few fight week activity updates, we’re going to have, on Sunday, March 2, at Olvera Street in Los Angeles a fan rally sending off the fighters. We have Canelo there, Alfredo there, Leo Santa Cruz, Cristian Mijares, Omar Figueroa and Ricardo Alvarez. On Tuesday, March 4 is the official arrival at the MGM in the afternoon, starting at 1:00, of all the fighters.
On Wednesday it’s going to be an open workout in the MGM Grand lobby, open to the public, with all the fighters participating. Then on Thursday March 6 we have the final press conference for the full card. On Friday of course is the weigh in, and then on Saturday it’s Fight Night, March 8t, live from the MGM Grand. Make sure you tell your readers or listeners that tickets are still available, we do anticipate a sell out, and I’m excited to see you all in Las Vegas on March 8h. Thank you very much.
“TOE TO TOE: Canelo vs. Angulo,” a 12-round super welterweight fight taking place Saturday, March 8 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Promotions and sponsored by Corona, AT&T and Casamigos Tequila. In world title fights on the undercard, Two-Division World Champion Leo “Terremoto” Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 KO’s) will defend his WBC Super Bantamweight World Title against former Two-Time World Champion Cristian “El Diamante” Mijares (49-7-2, 24 KO’s); exciting young star Omar “Panterita” Figueroa (24-0-1, 17 KO’s) will risk his WBC Lightweight Title against Canelo’s brother Ricardo “Dinamita” Alvarez (23-2-3, 14 KO’s) and “King” Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6 KO’s) will defend his IBF Junior Middleweight Championship against undefeated Jermall Charlo (17-0, 13 KO’s). Carlos Molina vs. Jermall Charlo is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Warriors Boxing. This event will be produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. The event can be heard in Spanish using secondary audio programming (SAP). “TOE TO TOE: Canelo vs. Angulo” will be broadcast on over 400 select movie theaters across the country.
Tickets are on sale now and are priced at $600, $400, $200, $100, $50 and $25, not including applicable service charges and taxes, with a total ticket limit of 10 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com orwww.ticketmaster.com. Movie theater tickets are available at participating theater box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com.
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