Manny Pacquiao / Bob Arum Conference Call Transcript
07.04.07 - FRED STERNBURG: On behalf of Top Rank and M.P. Promotions welcome to today’s conference call. This is Manny Pacquiao’s 2007 debut. Boxing’s pound-for-pound most exciting fighter, the consensus fighter of the year for 2006, and Congressional candidate Manny Pacquiao will be talking about his title defense which will be on April 14, a week from Saturday, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and, will be broadcast live headlining a great Pay-Per-View extravaganza..
Article posted on 08.04.2007
BOB ARUM: It’s a real pleasure to be here. “Blaze of Glory” is what we’ve announced as the title for the pay-per-view card . And believe me, it’s a package of fights that I think are really outstanding. Brian Viloria and Edgar Sosa are going to fight for the WBC mini-flyweight title; Julio Caesar Chavez, Jr. in a 10-round fight against big and tough Tony Shuler; then, a very highly-anticipated, particularly in Mexico, 115 pound WBC super-flyweight title fight between the champion Cristian Mijares and the entertaining and really extremely popular Jorge Arce. And then, in the main event, undefeated Jorge Solis of Mexico challenges the guy I believe is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world today, Manny Pacquiao, the pride of the Philippines.
It’s really a pleasure for us to do this pay-per-view card. And, we’re producing it ourselves. We’re doing the telecast ourselves. Now, what does that mean? That means you’re going to see four fights, one fight right after another, a lot of music, a lot of production background. A lot of it is a surprise. But, the show is going to move. There’s not going to be a lot of talking. We have great commentators in Al Bernstein and Wally Matthews. But, they’ve been told “We don’t want them to be long-winded. We don’t want them to stop the flow of the action.” And above all, there will not be a free replay the following week. If you don’t tune in on April 7 to watch it, you’re not going to get another chance to see it. This is a fan’s card. And, the fans are going to really enjoy it particularly since the card does feature the guy that is so exciting, that always brings drama and interest to any card that he’s on. And, it’s a pleasure to introduce him now to you. He’s here with Justin Fortune, who’s been training him, and Michael Koncz, who’s been looking after his affairs. Please welcome the future Congressman from the Philippines and the pride of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao.
MANNY PACQUIAO: Hello. Good afternoon everybody. I would like to thank you – all of you and also Bob Arum and M. P. Promotions. I am looking forward to returning to San Antonio for a great fight.
FRED STERNBURG: Operator, while we let the questions go into queue here I have one quick question for Justin Fortune who is on the line. Justin, you’ve been to many of Manny’s camps. How is he looking for this? How prepared is he for his debut for 2007?
JUSTIN FORTUNE: He’s very well prepared. He’s extremely fit on this – for this event too. Manny realizes the importance of this fight. And, he knows that you know he’s there to – everyone is out to beat Manny Pacquiao. And, he’s taking it very, very seriously. He trained very hard in the Philippines and came to us in good condition. And then, we’re just finishing him off basically. But, he’s in extremely good shape for this fight.
ROBERT MORALES, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: I know that in the one fight that you lost again Erik Morales there were a lot of outside distractions and they’ve been talked about. And, I know there were some problems with your promoter at the time. And now, you’re getting ready for this fight. And Bob Arum, your promoter, and Oscar de la Hoya who thinks he’s your promoter are battling in court. Has any of that been a distraction for you?
MANNY PACQUIAO: No. I didn’t think that anything has distracted me from training . Right now I’m very focused on the fight. And, I’m very concentrated on my training. And, I’m in great shape right now.
ROBERT MORALES: Bob, if I can ask you, what from your vantage point – you know and in fact you know you being Eric’s promoter, I know that you listen to what happened after his fight with Manny, the fight that Eric won. And, there were some things that I know Eric thought were excuses that Manny was making. With the situation the way it is now, how do you see Manny as far as you know the focus part of it? And, do you think any of this has taken a toll on him?
BOB ARUM: Well, none of this litigation, Robert, all of which we’ve been very successful in, as you see from reading the Internet – the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit threw out their motion for an emergency injunction. None of this has affected Manny because we’ve kept Manny out of it. And indeed, very little of it has even affected me because I’ve been out of it. This is something that’s handled primarily by the lawyers. And our firm, O’Melvany & Myers (ph), Dan Petrocelli (ph), David Moroscow (ph) are the best lawyers in the country. And, they’ve done a fabulous job and the results demonstrate that.
ROBERT MORALES: I just want to see if you can answer this rumor that we’ve been hearing that Freddie Roach is going to try and actually work the corner that night in Manny’s fight. Is that true or will you be the head trainer that night?
JUSTIN FORTUNE: I’m just as much in the dark as you are. I have no idea whether he’s coming in. One minute he’s coming. The next minute he’s not. So, I really don’t know. I’ve put a couple of calls in but I haven’t got through to him yet. As soon as I know, I’ll let you guys know.
BOB ARUM: Robert, you have to understand that Freddie is with De La Hoya. And, De La Hoya for the last month has been doing his damnedest to stop this fight. So, I mean it’s really inconsistent with Freddie coming. Freddie is down there in Puerto Rico. And, you know Justin has been working with Manny. And, Justin is a hell of a trainer.
JUSTIN FORTUNE: Thanks Bob.
ROBERT MORALES: And, you’re right about that Bob. It would be inconsistent with what’s been happening. So, I get the feeling that we probably are not going to see Freddie that night.
JUSTIN FORTUNE: Yes. I mean regardless of whether we see Freddie or not I mean Manny is in – I mean we train real hard for this. And, I’ve been with Manny now for the last probably four years now, for three or four years. So, our build up has been exactly the same for all the other fights, the Morales and the Barerras and whatnot. So, he’s very, very fit and ready to go, the same as we always are.
MICHAEL MARLEYBOXING CONFIDENTIAL.COM: Manny, I wanted to ask you two things. First, how do you feel about having or not having – as Mr. Morales just said, Justin is a good trainer and an excellent corner man and conditioner. But, will it make any sort of a mental difference to you or not – if Freddie Roach is not there in San Antonio?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I think Justin and Freddie Roach are the same for me because we’ve been together and training for the last four years. And, he knows what he can do and you know what he’s going to do to get me ready.
MICHAEL MARLEY: Have you spoken to Freddie yourself?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes.
MICHAEL MARLEY: And, did he tell you he’s coming?
MANNY PACQUIAO: He’s not – he’s not really sure. But, you know even – Freddie coming is just – Justin Fortune too, you know to the corner. It will be the trainer in that fight. He told me he’s going to do his best…and just that he’ll do – he will do everything to be with me.
MICHAEL MARLEY: In other words, Freddie is going to try to come?
MICHAEL MARLEY: Manny, the other question is about your political plans. I know that the fight is absolutely going to be televised live in the Philippines. What did you think about your opponent, your political opponent, asking that Filipino television not show the fight?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Well, that’s not true. It’s going to be shown in the Philippines. And, the people get mad if there’s somebody trying to stop the showing of the fight.
MICHAEL MARLEY: Manny is there any chance that your political plans – you know, you’re focusing on an election on May 14. Could that distract you from this fight or do you just separate them?
MANNY PACQUIAO: No, because when I get here in America and I start training I just – you know just train. And, I’m very focused on training and to my coming fight. I have a lot of people in The Philippines working my campaign and know how to campaign for Manny Pacquiao while I’m away training.
TRAE THOMPSON, “FORT WORTH STAR TELEGRAM”: Yes, Manny I was going to ask you about the last time you were in San Antonio. What do you remember about fighting Barrera there and just the atmosphere that night?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I remember the last fight in San Antonio – I remember that on that night there were a lot of Barrera fans. And, you know there were a lot of Mexican people. And, I hope this coming fight – I hope there will be a lot of Filipino and Mexican fans.
TRAE THOMPSON: Now, has your training been harder for this fight or have you kept to your same routine?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Well, there are some new techniques we applied for this fight because I’m fighting Solis. But for the most part, we do the same thing. What we do – what we did in the last training camp. But there are some new techniques that we applied for this training camp.
PAUL UPHAM, SECONDSOUT.COM: Hello Manny. Can you talk to me about your sparring for this fight, your training, how many rounds you’d like to spar before the fight? And, do you use many different sparring partners?
MANNY PACQUIAO: That’s a good question. I spar with the same guy when I fought Morales -- and Santa Cruz (ph) and David Zilla (ph) and a new Australian fighter who moves fast. And, they’re all bigger than me. They’re taller than me. So, we spar – we sparring – my sparring is good.
PAUL UPHAM: Manny, the Australian fighter Lenny Zeppa (ph), is he a good fighter, a good sparring partner?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Lenny Zeppa (ph), yes. He’s amateur (ph) style so speed and you know power. And also, there’s a fighter Santa Cruz (ph) and is taller like my opponent.
PAUL UPHAM: Manny, what do you know about your opponent for this fight? He’s never been beaten before. Have you seen much of him on videotape?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I saw him in his last fight and on tape. And, he’s good. He’s a good fighter. And, he’s undefeated. And, he has power. And, you know we don’t want to take advantage in this fight.
EDDIE GOLDMAN, SECONDSOUT RADIO: How are you going to approach this fighter, Solis, because while he is undefeated he has never really fought anybody even close to your level and he’s never had a world title fight before?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Well, I’m not going to be over-confident on this fight. And, you know Solis – he’s a good fighter. I’m training hard for this fight because he’s taller and this is my first time to fight taller than Morales.
EDDIE GOLDMAN: You said you watched some tape on him. Do you know much about his style? Is he anything like his brother who recently won a title back?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes. I saw his style and we prepared on that style. But, we have a lot of techniques for him. And, I’m sorry because we don’t want to tell you that because our technique is a secret. We don’t want to tell everybody. But, yes – everybody watching the fight will see the surprises I have for him.
EDDIE GOLDMAN: I know you never overlook anybody. But, do you have plans – or how many times do you want to fight this year in 2007? And if so, is there anyone that you’re looking forward to? Would it be Marquez or somebody else?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I don’t know. I don’t know what happens on this fight. We’ll just finish this fight – and then next – I’m waiting for other negotiations.
JUN ILAGAN, THE PHILIPPINE NEWS: Manny assuming you win the elections in the Philippines what happens to your boxing career?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I’m still continuing with my boxing career and still fighting because that’s my job. Boxing is my job and that’s my sport.
JUN ILAGAN: Yes, but are you confident about being able to do two things at the same time, sir?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes, I’m very confident that I can manage both
JUN ILAGAN: There is this rumor going on that you were convinced by (INAUDIBLE) to run for office considering the fact that you already expressed your intention not to run in the coming elections but then you changed your mind. What made you change your mind? Is it true that it was GMA who forced – or who convinced you to run against Custodio?
MANNY PACQUIAO: No, that’s not true …it’s my own decision from my heart – my decision from my heart to help the poor people, to help my countrymen.
JUN ILAGAN: Bob, Custodio is the incumbent Manny is running against. And, GMA is Gloria, the President (INAUDIBLE). My apologies.
BOB ARUM: And, the Malacon (ph), that’s the presidential residence right?
JUN ILAGAN: Yes, sir. It is.
BOB ARUM: OK. I just want the Americans to know that you’re talking about Mr. Ilagan..
JUN ILAGAN: So, what made you change your mind Manny? That’s my last question sir. What made you change your mind to run for congressman in South Cotabato in your area?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Well, it’s my own decision. Nobody told me to run. It’s my – from my heart. My decision is from my heart, you know, to help people.
JOHN WHISLER: I’ve been trying to do a little research. And, I don’t know that everyone is totally behind your campaign running for office. I think some of your fans are worried that you’ll choose politics over boxing. And, some of them are also worried that you will end up corrupted like most of the other politicians in your country. I just wondered how you …
BOB ARUM: In both countries. In both countries John.
JOHN WHISLER: Probably every country.
BOB ARUM: Right.
JOHN WHISLER: But, I just wondered how you felt about that that a lot of your fans don’t seem to want you to run.
MANNY PACQUIAO: I have a good plan – I am running because I have a good plan to – through (ph) the people of South Cotabato in district one and to help the people because there’s a lot of people who are poor. And, they need my help and because there are some politicians in my place that they’re all – they are always promising -- promising and they didn’t do anything. So, there are a lot of people – poor people that need help.
JOHN WHISLER: When you fought here against Barrera (ph), you say you remember the crowd being mostly Mexican. Were you treated well here? And, what else do you remember about – that was probably – maybe your – arguably your best fight of your career, biggest win. You must have good feelings about San Antonio and the Alamodome. Correct?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes.
JOHN WHISLER: What else do you recall about – were you treated well here?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes. The people there are good. They treated me like – they treated me like a king there and especially the people in the hotel.
JOHN WHISLER: Were many Filipinos from San Antonio – did you get to meet any of them?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes. We met there. And, right now I think there are a lot of Filipinos there that want to meet me.
YONG CHAVEZ, PHILIPPINE NEWS: Can I just get your reaction to the recent death of the Philippino boxer, Alito Cesnario (ph)?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Hello?
YOUNG CHAVEZ: Hello, Manny?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes.
YONG CHAVEZ: Can I just get your reaction to the recent of death of Filipino boxer, Angelito Sisnorio? You heard about it, right?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes. I called and I gave 50,000 pesos to the family.
YONG CHAVEZ: OK. What has been your most serious injury so far for yourself? Because, I know that every time a boxer dies or gets injured it probably – boxers like you probably get worried too. Right? What has been your most serious injury so far in your boxing career?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I don’t have any – I have never had a serious ring injury.
YOUNG CHAVEZ: Nothing serious?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Nothing serious because my corner is always behind me.
YOUNG CHAVEZ: OK. Is it true that you recently bought a 10-unit apartment building in L.A. that you wish to rent out to Filipino boxers at a low rate and why are you doing that?
MANNY PACQUIAO: We are still negotiating, no.
MANNY PACQUIAO: It’s a business investment.
TRAE THOMPSON: Yes. Manny you said earlier you hope there were more 50/50 Filipinos and Mexicans there at your fight. Do you feel a lot of respect from the Mexican fans for how you fight?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes. Yes, I think so because – I think they respect me especially the Mexicans that love boxing.
TRAE THOMPSON: Do you think they like you because your style is a lot like their fighters?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes. Yes, and I fight Mexican fighters and they’re always (ph) surprised (ph) my style, surprised (ph) my victories
TIM PRICE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Manny, if I understand correctly were you – were your promoters trying to get another Barrera fight for you rather than this one?
FRED STERNBURG: Bob, do you want to address that?
BOB ARUM: Yes. We offered a very, very good sum of money to Barrera and his promoter which they turned down, far more than Barrera got to fight Marquez. So unable to secure Barrera’s services, we went to this hot Mexican that was undefeated that everybody is saying is going to be the next big Mexican star in that division, Jorge Solis. And, we signed him to the fight because Manny only wants to fight the best.
I understand also that – Arce tells me that he talked with Barrera and Barrera is coming to the fight in San Antonio. So, you know the answer is yes. We tried to get Barrera to take the fight. He instead opted to fight Marquez for less money. And so, we went with Solis, as I said, the hot young Mexican fighter.
TIM PRICE: Thanks Bob. Manny did you – since your last fight did you take – did I refer to this correctly that you took a high school equivalency exam?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes.
TIM PRICE: OK. And, I’m assuming everything – I’m assuming you passed.
MANNY PACQUIAO: I passed it.
TIM PRICE: OK. Let me kind of run down then some things that are going on right now. You have your promoters or people who at least claim to be promoters fighting over you and a trainer that may or may not show up. You’re running for office. You could’ve fought Barrera. You took a high school equivalency test. I guess my question is real simple. Do you have a lot on your mind right now?
MANNY PACQUIAO: No.
TIM PRICE: Why not? How are you able to concentrate on boxing with all this other stuff going on?
MANNY PACQUIAO: My focus right now is to train hard and to get in shape and to concentrate on the fight. That’s all. I never let distractions get in the way of my training. Never.
TIM PRICE: Do you look back and just kind of step back from this and just kind of think “Wow there is a lot going on?” And, can you remember a time in your career when you did have as much going on?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I can do many things in that time – in one time.
CHUCK JOHNSON, USA TODAY: I heard about this briefcase of money that Golden Boy was supposed to give you in a limousine or something after you arrived in L.A. Can you clarify what exactly happened there and why is there a dispute over who is your promoter?
MANNY PACQUIAO: The case is in the court and I don’t want to talk about that. You know like what is said is to concentrate on the fight and to focus on the fight and get in shape 100 percent.
CHUCK JOHNSON: All right, thank you.
BOB ARUM: Chuck, district court – the United States District Court and the Circuit Court of Appeals have already spoken on the case. And, the De La Hoya people tried to stop the fight and were unsuccessful and that’s where the matter stands.
CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes, I just wanted to get Manny’s perspective on what happened. But, I guess I understand why …
BOB ARUM: We’ve kept – we’ve kept Manny out of this really and because there was – other than signing a declaration, he’s really had no involvement in the case.
JOHN WHISLER: Bob, I wanted to ask you a question about – I understand you kept Manny out of that situation. Did you ask him when he signed with De La Hoya when he was under contract with you – did you ask him why? Was he just – do you think your contract was up?
BOB ARUM: John, all of that has been covered in legal papers. And, the lawyers – even though I’m a lawyer, my lawyers themselves really – would really get on my case if I got into the merits. What we can do is email you some of the papers that have been filed, some of the decisions, and some of the deposition testimony and you can make your own judgment rather than me categorizing it. Because obviously, I’m going to categorize it one way. And, I just don’t want to say the wrong thing.
JOHN WHISLER: OK. You know Manny seems to be rising on a lot of people’s pound-for-pound lists. I think Floyd Mayweather has pretty much ruled that for some time now. Why do you think – I assume you think that Manny is number one now. Make a good case to me that Manny should be number one on those lists.
BOB ARUM: Because if you were paying $50, who would you want to see, Floyd Mayweather and his style or Manny Pacquiao and his style which is exciting, which is aggressive, which is entertaining or Floyd who is a tremendous tactician – and I don’t want to take anything away from Floyd. But, I think the public really has spoken on this that Manny is far – is the more exciting, the more entertaining fighter. And, he has his skills and Floyd has his skills. But, I think 95 percent of the boxing fans would rather watch Manny than Floyd.
I mean let’s be frank about it. I mean you’ve seen the Baldomir fight, the Bruseles fight, the Sharmba Mitchell fight. Would you want to pay money to see any of those kinds of fights again? And, I think the answer is no. And, if you saw Manny’s fights with Barrera, with Morales, with Marquez I’d pay to see Manny fight similar fights because they’re just so exciting and so gripping. And, he shows such great skills in it.
JOHN WHISLER: One question – one more for Manny. What is your goal now Manny in boxing, to become undisputed champion at 130 pounds, to be the pound-for-pound best, or what? What is your goal?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I want to be the best fighter. I would like to fight in the biggest fights.
ROBERT MORALES: Bob, do you have a timetable for when we’re going to see Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. in with world-class fighters?
BOB ARUM: Yes. We’re really stepping up his competition the last few fights even though you might say, “Well he’s still fighting journeymen.” But, you’ve got to realize he only – he had no amateur background. There will be a fight after this in June in Madison Square Garden against a recognized guy – a world- rated fighter. And then, we’re going to have a real surprise later in the year if he continues to progress. He’ll be fighting a really big name guy. I don’t want to go into it now but it’s going to be somebody that – it’s going to wow everybody.
KARL FREITAG: Manny, you have a lot going on outside the ring with all the litigation and the political campaign back home and (INAUDIBLE). Do you pretty much – are you not affected by having a lot of chaos like that in your life?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I’m not affected by the anything, including the litigation in my life. I just focus in when I get training and concentrate on the fight.
KARL FREITAG: When this fight is over and you start your political career are you going to be just as focused on that?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes. You know step by step focused.
KARL FREITAG: And, do you think it’ll be a problem to get away from your political career to train for a fight in the future when you’re in office?
MANNY PACQUIAO: No.
KARL FREITAG: Are you going to have people that will take over for you when you’re out when you’re gone?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes.
BOB ARUM: It’s not like a job that – where you’re running a city or a state. He’s going to – he will be a legislator. And, if the legislature is not in session around the year I mean there’ll be plenty of time for him to do boxing. And, many members of the Filipino Congress have other professions other than being a legislator. So, being a boxer is not particularly unique.
KARL FREITAG: Manny I haven’t heard you make a prediction on this fight. Are you looking to get an impressive knockout or what are you – what are you thinking?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I’ll do my best to make people happy and to give a good fight. I don’t want to predict this fight. I always do my best to make people happy.
BOB ARUM: It’s going to be a really great card from top to bottom. I think many of you guys who follow boxing know what a top competitive fight Mijares-Arce is. Believe me; Solis belongs in there with Manny. That’s going to be a great fight. Julio Caesar Chavez, Jr. going up as far as opponents are concerned, fighting a guy considerably bigger than he is in Shuler, and then Brian Viloria and Edgar Sosa should be a barn-burner. Four great fights. The Telecast starts 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time/ 6:p.m. Pacific Time, Saturday April 14. It’s on pay per view. If you can’t get to the Alamodome make sure you watch it on pay per view. Thanks everybody for participating in this call. And, we’ll see you down in San Antonio next week.
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