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Victor Ortiz, Luis Collazo Interview



Monica Sears

Thank you very much. Thanks, everyone, for joining us today on this call. We have an exciting card to discuss today, headlining with Victor Ortiz and Luis Collazo, who will both be on the line.

Before we get to that, I’d like to turn it over now to Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. Richard?

Richard Schaefer

Thank you, Monica, and hello to all the media members. Thank you for being on today’s call to discuss this Super Bowl week fight, taking place on Thursday, January 30 from the Barclays Center between Victor Ortiz and Luis Collazo.

First of all, a big thank you to FOX Sports 1. We all know that the Super Bowl will be on FOX, and FOX Sports 1 is quickly becoming the leader in sports programming and is doing a terrific job. I want to thank them for their commitment to boxing and making the necessary funds available to bring a big showdown, a fight of this magnitude, to their viewers. So thank you very much to FOX and the entire FOX family.

The fight is sponsored by Corona and Casamigos Tequila. I want to thank our sponsors as well and of course our friends from the Barclays Center led by the CEO, Brett Yormark. The fight will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Barclays Center doors open at 6 p.m. and the first fight of a loaded card begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are priced, as I think it’s a hallmark of Golden Boy events, very attractively, starting at $25; for $25 you can be at the great Barclays Center and witness a fantastic card. There’s a lot of local talent on there. We have Marcus Browne, Emmanuel Gonzalez, Zachary Ochoa and others from the New York area and from Brooklyn.

We have a great televised tripleheader. The opening bout is going to be Gary Russell, Jr. against Miguel Tamayo in an 8-round super featherweight bout. Gary Russell Jr. is continuing to chase the big fights, bigger world title fights. I know some of the media members have attacked him for the quality of opponents and things like that, but I just want to set the record straight here, he was ready, willing, and able to fight Jhonny Gonzalez, has called out Jhonny Gonzalez, we made a substantial offer to Jhonny Gonzalez’s people to get that fight, and Jhonny Gonzalez and his team turned it down. He is, as well, the mandatory for the winner of Salido and Lomachenko and has full intentions to go after the winner of that fight. So, I’m happy to have Gary back to make sure he stays sharp and showcase his immense talents at the Barclays Center against game Miguel Tamayo.

Then, we go to the co-main event, a fighter who is quickly becoming a fans’ favorite in and around New York. He has a very exciting style, a record of 15-0 with 10 KO’s, that is Eddie Gomez, Eddie Gomez from the Bronx. He is taking on another undefeated fighter, Daquan Arnett from Winter Park, Florida, who has a record of 11-0, so this is a battle of two undefeated fighters.

And all that is leading up to the great fight, I call it the Super Fight, between Victor Ortiz and Luis Collazo. For both fighters it’s an important fight, it’s sort of like a crossroad fight, they both know what’s at stake. There’s going to be tremendous exposure on that card on that week in New York, and Luis Collazo, the former WBA Welterweight World Champion who held the belt from 2005 to 2006, is a veteran, is considered to be a veteran, but you have to remember he’s actually only 32-years-young. He’s been coming off two back-to-back wins at the Barclays Center, lost a fight at the Barclays Center, and obviously has his recent victory in September of last year on FOX Sports 1, so he’s another newcomer to FOX Sports 1. He has been waiting, pushing for a big fight and here’s his opportunity to go in against of the marquee names in the sport, Victor Ortiz.

But before I’m going to talk about Victor and all his accomplishments, I’d like to introduce to you now Luis Collazo, with a record of 34 fights, 17 knockouts, of Brooklyn, New York. Luis, please make some opening comments.

Luis Collazo

How are you doing, guys?

Camp has been good. I’m very excited for this opportunity. Thank God I got it and I just can’t wait for that bell to ring January 30th. I’ve waited quite some time and it’s here, just seven days away. I can’t wait.

Schaefer

Great. Thank you, Luis. I mentioned we’re going to, obviously afterwards, make both fighters available to the media on the call for any questions you might have. I was talking about veterans, and you look at Victor Ortiz, who fought, Floyd Mayweather, Andre Berto, Marcus Maidana, Antonio Diaz and Josesito Lopez, you look at all these names I think the word “veteran” sort of comes to mind as well, but in fact he’s only 26-years-young, 26, even though he’s going to be turning 27 the day after the fight, he’s still 26. He has big plans for the 30th and he has big plans for the 31st as well.

He is, without any question, one of boxing’s most charismatic young stars, has made headlines in the ring with his exciting style. People like to see his fights. You just never know what happens, but you know that it’s going to be something exciting. The word “boring” and Victor Ortiz, just don’t go together. There’s always excitement in the air when Victor Ortiz starts that ring walk people are at the edge of their seats.

He has clearly crossed over into the bright lights of Hollywood. He had his controversial fight, there was his controversial fight with Mayweather, where a lot of people felt that it was sort of like a bit of a sucker punch, and obviously he wants to begin the road and hopefully it will lead him to another Mayweather fight. But he knows that he cannot look past Luis Collazo. He has been doing the Dancing with the Stars, has been one of the cast members there and has been as well the fighter, the boxer who has gone the furthest in that challenge, in that competition. Then, most recently he was with The Expendables 3 cast, where he had a significant role and was there with all these stars filming Expendables 3. And now as a fight fan I am happy to say that Victor is back, that the excitement in boxing is back, and it is a pleasure now for me to introduce to you a great guy in the ring, a great guy out of the ring, and that is “Vicious” Victor Ortiz. Victor?

Ortiz

Hey, how’s everybody doing today?

Schaefer

Very good. Do you have any comments on the training, on your coming back? Tell us what’s going on.

Ortiz

Training’s been rough. It’s been tough. My coaches haven’t let up on me, not one day. We’re ready; I’m ready for January 30th. I’ve been waiting for a little while now to get back in the ring, and you know what, what better than to fight a great fighter like Luis Collazo himself. I’m not taking anyone lightly. I’m here; I’ve been training my butt off, and waiting to hear the sound of that bell January 30th.

Schaefer

Great. Thank you, Victor. Operator, if we can open it now to the media, please, so that they can ask questions from Luis and from Victor.

Q

Hello, everybody. Hi, Victor, how are you?

Ortiz

I’m well, thank you. How are you?

Q

I’m good, thank you very much. Victor, it’s been about 18 months, 19 months, I guess, by the time you get into the ring with Luis next week. I know you had the injury that was a big part of your layoff and you did other things, like Richard mentioned, with the Dancing with the Stars appearances and the movie with The Expendables, but can you talk a little bit about your time off away from the ring and how you feel it was either a negative or a positive going forward in your career?

Ortiz

Everything happens for a reason, we never quite get an answer for what reason that happened. At the end of the day, you know what, I took my break and used it for what it was worth. I took my time, let my jaw heal just right, and that was it, but while I was doing that I had some more opportunities arise my way, and went out of my way and do some things that people in the sport of boxing and just in the world period. So, at this point in time I’m ready. I’m back.

Q

When you were away, and I’m sure enjoying those other activities, as you talked about, with the movie and the Dancing with the Stars stuff, while that was going on, though, did you miss boxing, or were you happy to just have probably really the first extended break you’ve had in a long, long time, since you’ve been a pro anyway.

Ortiz

It disgusted me to watch boxing, because a lot of these top contenders or top fighters that are there, they’re only there by mistake. So, I couldn’t bear to watch fighters that I know I can beat time and time again, so I tried to stay away from watching it, and now I’m back and I’m all in.

Q

What is your goal in this comeback?

Ortiz

Well, I never left. I don’t even consider it a comeback. Right after I broke my jaw, a few days later I was in the gym, the boxing gym, hitting a punching bag with my mouth wired shut, so the only difference is this time around we have cameras, we have a television set that’s going to be there watching and recording and broadcasting.

Q

What is your main goal now, is it to regain the title or some other aspect?

Ortiz

Oh, absolutely. I’m 26-years-old, I’ve been waiting for a long time.

Q

Luis, Victor is coming off that long, I guess, about 19-month layoff. I was just looking at your record, in the span of time in which Victor has had his layoff doing his other stuff and letting the jaw heal, you, although you had some long breaks in your career, have been quite busy compared to where Victor was, you’ve had three fights already in that 18 month span. Do you feel like -and three wins, by the way- do you feel like that activity level and the fact, frankly, that you’re fighting at home in Brooklyn is going to have a big impact, that you’ll be fresher than Victor and that having those rounds and that regular activity you’ll be sharp, that that’s going to be a big factor in this important fight for you?

Collazo

Probably. Like you said, I had three fights this last year alone. And eighteen/nineteen months is some time, maybe this break was not on his favor. I don’t know. Only time will tell. Come next week to the show and see for yourself.

Q

Do you think being at home is more comforting for you, or does it make a difference?

Collazo

To be honest, it doesn’t make a difference. At the end of the day, once that bell rings there isn’t anybody going to get into that ring, it’s just you and the opponent. So, you’ve got to go in there and take care of business and that’s it.

Q

All right. One other thing for you guys, the winner of this fight, I’m not sure if the next fight afterwards can be a world title fight, but, Richard, maybe you can address this, Golden Boy has all kinds of guys in the Welterweight Division and the winner of this fight I would think is going to fit right in there with one of those big events. Is that what you think about with what the outcome of this fight will be, that it will push either of you guys into one of those big fights, and maybe, Richard, when they’re done you can address that also. Thank you.

Collazo

Well, right now for me Victor Ortiz is everything, and a victory over him, my future moves on. Otherwise it’s not going to move on; those fights are not going to happen. So right now my main focus is Victor Ortiz, and that’s it, Victor’s in my radar and that’s the only one.

Q

How about you, Victor?

Ortiz

Luis is obviously focused on me and vice versa. That’s the only guy I’m looking forward to right now. You guys can talk and say about the next this and that, but really it’s Luis and I at the end of the day and that’s that.

Q

And Richard, you’re the one that doesn’t have to necessarily think just about the 30th, about the fight they’re having, you can think about what’s ahead.

Schaefer

Oh, my focus is on this fight because this is a big fight and I want to make sure that the exposure and so on. But, yes, I mean, obviously as a promoter I do sort of like look what could be in store and I think if you are Luis Collazo or Victor Ortiz, I mean these are two very recognized names in the sport of boxing, have been both fighters, have been involved in some big fights, and the person, the one who wins this fight is clearly in the mix for some of those bigger showdowns. I think clearly this is a door open to a world title shot and to other big showdowns, no question about it. And I’m not going to go as far as to say well the winner is going to fight Mayweather next, because I don’t think that’s really the statement, but I think the statement is that there is strings of big names out there in the Welterweight Division, I would say about 90% of them are promoted by Golden Boy, and that there is a certain path where the winner of that will eventually … title shot and maybe down the road maybe even a Mayweather shot.

Q

Do you feel more confortable outside or inside of the ring?

Ortiz

Well, pretty much I was forced to be out of the gym, out of boxing for a little while, but I took advantage of that. And now I’m ready for January 30th. Other than that, that’s that. That’s it. And that’s where I’m most comfortable at, boxing. The movies and all that stuff, it comes and goes, but at the end of the day the reality of it is I’m a boxer. That’s where I’m at home. That’s where I’m comfortable

Q

How’s camp going?

Ortiz

Camp is tough. Anybody who says that camp was good and easy is pretty much lying. All I said is Collazo’s a very tough person to fight against and obviously we’ve got to prepare to our full potential and our best because he’s not a guy that … . That’s all I pretty much said.

Q

How does it feel to fight at the Barclays Center?

Ortiz

It doesn’t really matter where a fight is. A fight is a fight, whether it’s here, California, Chicago. At the end of the day it comes down to two warriors. So I’m ready.

Q

How do you feel about fighting Victor Ortiz on January 30?

Collazo

I’m grateful and I’m thankful for fighting a big name as is Victor Ortiz and I’m very excited and I can’t wait for next week.

Q

Victor, are you approaching this as phase two of your career, or a continuation of your career in general, given you’ve had this time off to regroup and kind of reenergize?

Ortiz

You know what, at this point in time, I’m 26-years-old, I mean, I’m not going anywhere any time soon. So at this point in time it’s just a continuation of my career. I never left. I never retired. I never did any of that. I was just taking a break healing, so now I’m back.

Q

Mm-hmm. Have you had a chance to work on some things to maybe expand your arsenal in the ring during this time off? Are we going to see a little different type of fighter maybe than we’ve seen in the past?

Ortiz

I think you can judge that on the 30th.

Q

Mm-hmm, okay. By the way, how did that fragrance thing work out? When I saw you in Vegas you were getting ready to launch that, how did that business go for you?

Ortiz

Oh, it’s great. It’s great. Thankfully, it’s doing all right.

Q

This question is for Luis Collazo. Luis, Victor’s had some interesting finishes to some of his fights, and I wonder when you’re preparing to fight him, do you have to actually train or do you have to take into account the fact that something bizarre might happen in your place? How do you prepare for that?

Collazo

I’m going in for the long haul. Whatever happened in history or whatever happened in his fight, that’s on him, he’s got to deal with it mentally, not me. Come January 30th I’m going to go in there and just try to take him out. There’s no way around it. I’m going to go in there, take care of business, and come out victorious.

Q

Is there any concern that something bizarre might happen in the course of the fight, because they’ve happened in some of his previous fights?

Collazo

To be honest, I don’t know. I can’t tell what’s going to happen in the future. I’m just, when the day comes I’ll definitely be ready for it, and whatever happens, happens.

Q

All right, thanks. I had a question for Richard. Richard, how are you doing?

Schaefer

Yes, good, how are you as well?

Q

Yes, I’m good. Richard, having this fight just a couple of days away from the Super Bowl, just talk about the decision to have the fight so close to the big game.

Schaefer

Well, you know, last weekend I was watching the championship game on FOX and they were talking about the Victor Ortiz fight, and I have to say it was pretty cool. I liked it. It’s great for the sport of boxing to get exposure. It’s great for the sport of boxing to have somebody like FOX and FOX Sports 1 more and more involved in boxing. I think all that is great news for the sport, and it shows you the strength of boxing. To have the added exposure of Super Bowl Week and a lot of people, celebrities, athletes, and so on, are going to be in town and are going to be coming to the fight, I think all that just takes that fight and the exposure to fighters, most importantly to a totally different level. And so I’m happy for the fighters and I’m happy for the sport of boxing to have this big fight during Super Bowl Week.

Q

Is there any concern that maybe some of the attention from the big game will maybe, that the boxing card might get swallowed up because everyone is paying attention to the Super Bowl and they might not realize that there’s a boxing show also in town?

Schaefer

No, I think between the way the Barclays Center has marketed the event and what my team has done, our marketing staff, and what FOX has done, I think there is going to be plenty of attention to the fight. And there’s a time for everything and I think on Thursday night the place to be in New York is going to be the Barclays Center, and so I’m very excited about it.

Q

All right, thanks. And I have a question for Victor. Hey, Victor, how are you?

Ortiz

Good, good, thank you.

Q

Thanks. Victor, does it bother you at all that you have still the reputation of somebody who’s capable of doing something unpredictable in the ring and that whenever you fight there’s always, an anything can happen kind of quality? Does that bother you, or do you kind of just go with it?

Ortiz

Nice comment. The media have their perception. I have mine. They have their comments and concerns. I have mine. At the end of the day it comes down to me.

Q

Victor, I missed you while you were gone. Hey, Richard used the term “veteran” and I know what he means by that, you’re 26-years-old but you’ve been in with some pretty big fights, I mean, and all the guys that you’ve been in fights with have gone on to other big fights. When you hear the word “veteran” and you’re 26-years-old, what does that mean to you when you think about your experiences in the ring, the ups, the downs, having to come back, fighting the best fighter in the world, what does it mean?

Ortiz

I’ve learned a lot. As a young fighter, I learned a lot very quick, and I don’t trade it for anything. I mean, I consider myself a veteran just like Collazo, so I’m right there.

Q

You have told me in the past that you thought Collazo beat Andre Berto, and I wonder also, also being a Southpaw and I know you have different styles, did you take anything away from that fight, since you both fought him, that helped you against Berto and also that will help you in this fight against Luis Collazo?

Ortiz

Well, that’s a question that you’ll have to get an answer to January 30th.

Q

What did you think about his fight with Berto, and what kind of, I guess, respect did you gain about him as a fighter?

Ortiz

He was kind of short on people from that fight. I still think he beat Berto, and that’s that.

Q

Okay. Thanks a lot, Victor. And, Luis, are you there?

Collazo

I’m here.

Q

Yes, I know you said that being at home it doesn’t make a difference, but you told me this is going to be your fourth time fighting at Barclays and it’s also in your backyard and you do seem to have a lot of support there. Is it going to feel like home? Talk about that atmosphere when you walk in there for the fourth time.

Collazo

Well, it’s going to be electric. Any time you fight in New York, the fans alone are just tremendous. They show you tremendous support. And being a local guy is great, is an advantage and that’s going to show come Thursday night. I’m very excited. I’m stoked.

Q

Does it heighten the expectation for you to perform?

Collazo

My main thing is to go out there and stay with the game plan. I’m going to perform regardless. I’m the type of fighter who just wants to give the boxing fans what they want: excitement. That’s my main thing.

Q

Okay, my last question for you, Luis, and I guess, Victor, if you want to weigh in. This kind of has the boxer/puncher feel to it, like Victor being the puncher and you being the boxer, do you see it that way? If not, how do you see the fight developing strategically?

Collazo

Well, you could call it that. I’m not a big one-punch knockout artist, but I think the accumulation of my shots could hurt a fighter. Victor’s known for a big punch, but hey, he fought different people, I’m not those fighters, each his own. Maybe I might take those shots better than other fighters, who knows? Come January 30th we’ll find out.

Q

Thanks a lot. Victor, do you have a comment on that?

Ortiz

No.

Q

All right, thanks a lot, guys. Good luck next week.

Q

Has your break helped you mature as a fighter?

Ortiz

Look, outside of the ring, I’m pretty sure I may have grown a few inches, maybe. I was just being a smart aleck, though. And other than that, I pretty much I didn’t really do anything different. I just kept relevant and just stuck to boxing. I missed it, but I just couldn’t box with a broken jaw.

Q

Victor, where do you see yourself in the future?

Ortiz

There’s one person in front of me right now, that’s Luis Collazo. I don’t look past Luis Collazo. He’s a heck of a fighter, and that’s that.

Q

How does my jaw and spine feel?

Ortiz

They feel good. Thank you.

Q

Luis, do you feel you have advantage over Victor Ortiz?

Collazo

I don’t know, only time will tell. Come next week and find out. I know I’m ready.

Q

Richard, how strong is this site for the year for Golden Boy. Do you think that this is the right stuff for Golden Boy Promotions this year?

Schaefer

Well, you know, last year was a fantastic year. SHOWTIME and Golden Boy had a great year, and so did HBO. So, that’s what happens when you have many of the big names fighting in the last quarter of 2013, you get the year going with a bit of a delay. But I think there are some great fights coming up now, you see this weekend is a very interesting showdown on SHOWTIME between Lamont Peterson and Dierry Jean. Then, of course right after that, the following week we have this great showdown with Victor Ortiz and Luis Collazo. And the reason why I mention the Peterson fight as well and this fight here, they are both in that very hot 140 and 147 pound weight class. It’s sort of like the weight classes where we have, as a company, have focused on the most over the past couple of years, and I think the trend of great showdowns in and around these weight classes is continuing and is clearly carrying into 2014. And then, other than everybody’s waiting for Floyd Mayweather, who is he going to fight at the welterweight limit as well, so there’s a lot of showdowns we’re working on at the 140 and 147 pound weight class and this fight here fits right in, because, as I said before, these are two of the big names at the 147 pound weight class and it’s sort of like it’s a crossroad fight for both guys.

But let’s do one more question and then I want to give the guys enough time that they can go back to the gym and get ready.

Q

Victor, I just had a few quick questions for you, and one for Luis. Prior to you taking a long layoff, obviously you were coming up through the rankings and you became champion, so, there’s a lot of expectations. Do you feel there’s more pressure now that you’ve done the Dancing with the Stars, you’ve done the Expendables 3, and now you have a mainstream audience that doesn’t even usually pay attention to boxing and now knows your name, do you feel that there’s more pressure now after all that media attention, or before when you were rising up the ranks and there was a lot loftier expectations for you?

Ortiz

No, there’s no difference, thankfully. I just keep doing my thing. And I’m just blessed, and for January 30th.

Q

Thank you. Okay, earlier you also said that you were sitting back and you were watching certain fighters that you felt that they were at the top that didn’t deserve it. Who do you think is at the top that doesn’t deserve it?

Ortiz

If I told you, I’d have to kill you. I’m just joking. You know, time will tell. But at this point in time there’s one guy in my way, that’s Luis Collazo. Period.

Q

All right, cool. And I just have a quick question for Luis here if he’s still on.

Collazo

I’m here.

Q

All right, a lot of times obviously when you hear people are talking about your fight with Ortiz they keep talking about the layoff. Do you feel that if you do get past Ortiz that you might not get the credit because they’re going to bring up the fact that he was off for a year and a half?

Collazo

I don’t know. His name alone should just ring bells, I guess. He’s got a high key name in the boxing world, so a win over him, it doesn’t matter how he performs.

Schaefer

All right, thank you. Thank y