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Robert Guerrero vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai conference call transcript
Hello and thank you for joining today’s call. On the line we have Robert Guerrero and Yoshihiro Kamegai, two exciting fighters who will engage in a 12-round welterweight fight this Saturday, June 21st from the StubHub Center in Carson and live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®. Let’s get started with the call now and I will turn it over to Oscar De La Hoya, the Founder and President of Golden Boy Promotions.
Oscar De La Hoya
Thank you very much, Marylyn. It’s exciting to be on the call with two exciting fighters. You have Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero going against Yoshihiro Kamegai. Everybody is really thrilled to have Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero back. We all know he’s motivated and excited to once again show his skills and his talents with a vengeance.
He’s fighting a kid in Yoshihiro Kamegai who is a hard puncher, a tough kid, but this is what the StubHub and Golden Boy Promotions are all about, giving the fans exciting fights and the best names in boxing.
We have the featured bouts, which will be Devon Alexander vs. Jesus Soto Karass and that will be a 10-round super welterweight bout. The co-main event, which a lot of people are very excited about, you have two young amateur stars, Gary Russell, Jr. vs. Vasyl Lomachenko. That will be a 12-rounder for the vacant WBO World title and, obviously, the main event, which everybody is ecstatic about.
We still have tickets available. They are moving fast. As you all know, StubHub Center, for the last three or four fights, is always close in selling out so you want to make sure you get your tickets as soon as possible or just go up there and walk up to the StubHub Center box office and get your tickets. They are priced at $25 and, as you know, every seat is a great seat, and you can sit ringside for $150.
I would like now to take this time to thank the sponsors. I want to thank Corona, thank you very much for all your support and what you do for boxing and for Golden Boy. Also AT&T, they’re marketing and making sure the fans across the country know that SHOWTIME is staging another one of their terrific fights along with Golden Boy Promotions.
Let me take this opportunity now to introduce to you the participant who will be facing Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. He’s back in Carson, California for the second time following one of his hard-fought battles against Johan Perez in June of 2013. He has since then won two of his fights against Tim Hunt and Jung-Hoon Yang. His reputation, obviously, has been as a puncher and a fighter that never backs down.
Obviously, a victory over a fighter like Guerrero, he’s thinking of going up against the best of the best here in Guerrero on Saturday and he knows this fight is very important against Guerrero, so let me introduce to you, with a record of 24-1 (21 KOs) out of Tokyo, Japan, Yoshihiro Kamegai. If you want to say a few words, Yoshihiro.
First of all, I’m very pleased that I am able to come back and be promoted back in California. I want to thank Golden Boy Promotions, SHOWTIME and Teiken Promotions. I’m very excited to be back. Once I got here my conditioning is improving and camp-wise, I’ve sparred a little and I’m feeling very, very good.
O. De La Hoya
Okay, thank you very much. Now let me introduce to you one of our elite fighters for many years in this sport. He is a southpaw boxer/puncher. He’s won four world titles in four different weight classes, from 130 pounds all the way to 147 pounds, beating the likes of Joel Casamayor, Andre Berto, Michael Katsidis, Selcuk Aydin, which was an amazing, amazing fight and he’s one of only four fighters, in the history of boxing to win a world championship in his first fight after jumping a weight class.
He’s among the elite in this sport. He captured his world title defeating two-time World Champion Andre Berto in November of 2012 in a thrilling fashion and how he’s stepping back into the ring for the first time since he fought Mayweather in May of 2013. Let me introduce to you with a record of 31-2 (18 KOs) out of Gilroy, California, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero.
Thank you, Oscar. I just want to thank everybody for putting this together and Golden Boy and Showtime for having me on. I’m excited. I’m back and I can’t wait. It’s been a year already, so it’s way overdue. I had a good rest and through that downtime, while I was resting, I was keeping in shape. Now I’ve joined up with CrossFit and my condition is incredible right now. I’m feeling great. I’m feeling strong and I’m excited to be back in the ring.
It’s been 13 months since the fight with Floyd. Why such a long layoff?
I had three fights back-to-back-to-back. The Aydin fight was a tough 12-round fight with him, hard puncher. Then I had the tough fight with Berto, too. We went at it for 12 rounds and then also the Mayweather fight. Those training camps are brutal and they were real close together. So, I took a little bit of time to recover and recoup and I’m back. January 1st I was back in the gym training and I’m excited to be back in.
Putting the loss to Mayweather behind you as you look forward, what other things do you want to do?
The first thing is putting that loss behind me and learning from it and growing from it, becoming a better fighter. The main focus is Saturday night. Like I said, I was out for a year, there’s always that ring rust, so you want to focus on the guy that’s in front of you and then worry about everything after. So, there’s a long road and I know Mayweather has three more fights lined up for him, and I’ll try to get back into that position and give it another shot.
I felt it wasn’t the best of me in there and you tend to follow to certain styles, trying to be the guy just walking guys down where you’ve got a lot more God-given abilities that you’ve got to put to use. So, there’s a lot more that I can bring to the table when I fight, I wasn’t really satisfied with my performance then and I want to get back up and make it happen.
For you or any other fighter who is out 13 months, what is the biggest concern?
The biggest concern just being out that long, putting those little gloves on, no head gear. But I’m in great shape. I’m ready to go. I’m excited. I’m always game to fight all the time, whether it’s inside, outside, however it’s going to go, I’m always game and I’m excited to be coming back.
When you have that type of layoff, a year, you get hungry. You’re starved, you want to get out there and you’re excited, you’re refreshed and you want to be back in that ring. You’ve got to go in there with 100 percent confidence and do your job. Kamegai is a tough guy. I’ve been watching film on him and he comes to fight. He’s one of those guys, like Oscar mentioned, that doesn’t back down. He just keeps coming. He wants to get it on with you. I’ve seen a couple of times in the ring where he does get hit with a good shot, it just fires him up and he wants to go for it.
So, actually, missing being in the ring, is that part of it?
Yeah. When you’ve done something pretty much your whole life, there’s like an empty spot there and you want to be in that ring all the time, especially always being in the gym and you get that urge to fight and it’s been a year, so I have that urge right now.
How tough was it mentally to bounce back from the loss with Floyd?
The bounceback, it wasn’t tough at all. You’ve got to learn from experiences like that. I lost to the best fighter in the world. You want to get better, you want to get stronger, you want to get faster. Seeing the type of foot speed he had and hand speed in front of me, it makes you want to step your game up more, so it really lit a fire under me to become a better fighter, to start using every tool that I have and not just get put into one dimension, where I started walking guys down, like I did with Berto, and trying to be that big man and trying to have muscles, where when you get a quick guy like Floyd, it’s tough to muscle because he used those legs and those quick feet.
Have you tried anything new in your training camp this time, have you tried some new ways of working out?
Oh yeah, I teamed up with CrossFit. They’re doing a project on me right now and it’s just been amazing, just everything I’ve been working on, being stronger, being faster. My endurance is through the roof. I’m excited to go out there and put everything together, my boxing skills and then the strength and conditioning done through CrossFit. I think it’s a great match. I can’t wait to get out there and fight.
Given the fact that you’ve had a layoff, is it good that you’re fighting a guy that you expect to be right in front of you or do you expect him to be right in front of you and for it to be more like the Berto fight and the previous fight?
I’m expecting him to come and fight. By watching film, this type of guy, he’s a fighter. He comes to fight. He doesn’t mess around. He wants to win and he wants to win with good fashion. He’ll come and bang you up if he has to and if he has to move he’ll move a little bit. But you’ve got to come ready for everything.
That’s one of the things I learned fighting Floyd, you’ve got to be ready for everything. You’ve got to be ready to move, you’ve got to be ready to bang it out, you’ve got to be ready to change things up, change direction, do what you’ve got to do, change your game plan. It makes you grow as a fighter, so that’s one of the things that having the lay off helps with, it gives you a fresh start when you start training again.
You take that layoff and then you go back and assess everything and you start fresh and you start from the beginning. When you’re in training camps and you train and train and train and train, you tend to develop bad habits and habits that stay with you and you start falling into a certain type of a style or a one dimensional style where you and start forgetting about the rest of the stuff you can do.
What memories doe you have of being in that fight at StubHub Center and how do you hope to shore up some of the defensive flaws that were exposed in the loss?
What I remember from the last fight is the arena, it was a very large arena and I do recall that I had some challenges communication-wise because my team and I did not speak the same language. So, coming back this time I have a different team. We speak the same language and we’re in a better position than we were before.
Do you think that Robert’s style is conducive to your style? Do you feel like you want to dictate an active pace to see what the layoff has taken away from Robert?
First of all, in terms of styles I think we have a very interactive style. Any time, to get into the ring with a top-level fighter like Robert Guerrero, to me I’m looking at it as a challenge. I have not gone in with someone with that high of a level, so I’m looking at it as going into a challenge and I have trained myself to go into a challenge. As far as his ring rust, he’s had a long layoff before and I saw his fight after that and he came in in very good condition. So, I expect him to be in the best condition that he’s been in, so I’ve trained and conditioned myself to fight the best Robert Guerrero that’s out there.
Oscar, Gary Russell Jr. said on the conference call that his fight could represent a breakthrough between Top Rank fighters, Al Haymon’s fighters and Golden Boy’s fighters given that both camps have great fighters and there are some potential match-ups. Your thoughts on what he said.
O. De La Hoya
Well, I think it’s wonderful to hear from a fighter like Gary Russell that he wants to engage in these big major fights, regardless of promoters. That’s what it’s really all about. It’s not about promoters and egos. It’s about the fighters and the fans. So, I’m optimistic that in the near future the fight fans will get what they deserve.
I recall a few years ago it didn’t end so great when you fought another Asian fighter in San Jose, Daud Yordan. Does this guy resemble him at all?
No. Yordan was a tough fighter who fought kind of scared like a cat backed into a corner. So, it was like he was scratching his way out throwing headbutts and elbows, whatever. With Kamegai, he comes to fight. He comes to fight, he comes to do his thing, he comes in great shape. He doesn’t back down. He’s one of those guys that you have to respect and you’ve got to come out and put out your best performance because if you don’t, you come up short.
So, he’s that type of guy where he’s coming to fight and he’s not going to be one of those guys where he’s going to really get dirty or use his head or scratch his way out. Just look at his record. Twenty-one knockouts, he comes to put you out.
What prompted you to get into the CrossFit, Robert? Did you feel your strength wasn’t at the level you need it to be?
Just something new. You’re always looking to better yourself as a fighter, your conditioning, your endurance, your strength, your speed. One of the guys that runs the CrossFit Games is a good friend of mine, Dave Castro, and he approached me on if I wanted to try it out. I was a skeptical at first with the weight and stuff like that. You never want to get bulked up and tight.
I tried it out and it just blew my mind, all the stuff I could be doing to better my game, how much it elevated my game in the last couple of months. I’m excited, I’m excited and it fits just right.
Would you say that the speed and power doesn’t necessarily translate into a better physique?
Well, definitely the power is there. Power is God-given, it’s natural. My quick feet are God-given, it’s natural. But building everything around it, connecting that little bit more of building your body up, certain muscles that the average person doesn’t know how to touch to work out you’re working on.
So, it builds the package up and it adds to everything, it’s incredible some of the stuff I’ve been doing and I can’t wait, I can’t wait to get out there and go out there and perform and do what I do best.
Is it distracting at all to have your dad, Ruben, involved in the reality show business?
No, it doesn’t affect anything. He’s like that on a daily basis, so pretty much they’re just following him around now, just getting it on footage where everybody can see. He does his thing, but I’m focused on what I’ve got to do, he’s focused on what I’ve got to do, so he knows when to turn it on and when to turn it off. I’m happy the way camp went, everything went good and he’s doing his thing. I take my hat off to him. He’s a good guy, he’s out there making it happen.
You’re up against a slugger and you’re a boxer/puncher. Do you plan to avoid getting into a punching contest or are you willing to slug with this guy?
I’m going to go out there and stick to my game plan. You’ve got to be smart in the ring. I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do. If it comes to a boxing match, it will be a boxing match. If it becomes a slug match, I’m always game for a slug match. So, we’ll see how it plays out. I’m going to go out there and execute my game plan to the best ability that I can and get the job done.
Like I said, Kamegai, he’s game and you know he’s not backing down. He’s going to come and give it his all. Like he said himself, he’s prepared for a world class fighter, prepared just for me, so you know when guys prepare like that for a world class fighter, the caliber of my stature makes him 10% better and they come and fight hard because they know this is the opportunity to do big things and move themselves along in the boxing world.
Yoshihiro, how do you intend to deal with Robert’s speed and his jab?
He is very fast, obviously, and he throws a lot of jabs and in the training camp I’ve basically tried to keep a good distance and have a good defense against his jabs and not get hit.
Oscar, will you be willing to have, if he’s still in your camp, to have Robert fight a Top Rank fighter after if he wins on Saturday?
O. De La Hoya
Well, Golden Boy just wants to make the biggest and the best fights and if it means making the most money, making the best fights happen that the fight fans want to watch, that’s what’s going to happen. We’re all about the fans, giving them the best fights that we have to offer and, obviously, we know Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero is one of the few elite fighters that boxing has today, so whether Golden Boy has an opponent or whether any other promoter has an opponent where we can make the biggest fight happen, that’s what must happen for the fans.
# # #
Guerrero vs. Kamegai is a 12-round fight promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. In the co-main event Gary Russell Jr. faces Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomachenko in a 12-round showdown for the vacant WBO World Featherweight Title and in the opener Devon Alexander will face off against Jesus Soto Karass in a 10-round super welterweight match up. It will take place at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., and will air as the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® main event live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) and will be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP).
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