Tarver/Muriqi, Dawson Press Conference Quotes
(left-to-right) Tarver, Chad Dawson and Muriqi pose after the press conference at The Connecticut Convention Center. 16.05.07 - Photo: TOM CASINO/SHOWTIME - Former undisputed light heavyweight champion, the legendary Antonio “Magic Man’’ Tarver, undefeated World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion “Awesome’’ Chad Dawson and 175-pound contender Elvir Muriqi were featured at a press conference Tuesday in Hartford, Conn., to formally announce the sensational world championship doubleheader Saturday, June 9, at the Connecticut Convention Center on SHOWTIME.
Article posted on 16.05.2007
Tickets, priced at $35, $50, $100, $200 and $500, are on sale at TicketMaster outlets, online at TicketMaster.com and at The Connecticut Convention Center (860) 249-6000.
The exciting, popular Tarver (24-4, 18 KOs), of Tampa, Fla., makes his first start in a year in the main event. The ex-World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and WBC light heavyweight champ engages Elvir Muriqi (34-3, 21 KOs) for the vacant International Boxing Organization 175-pound belt. The New York-based Muriqi has won three in a row and 21 of his last 23.
In the co-feature, Dawson (23-0, 15 KOs), of New Haven, Conn., makes the first defense of his WBC belt against Mexico’s hard-hitting Jesus “Chuy’’ Ruiz (19-4, 17 KOs).
A terrific event is presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing in association with Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and AT Entertainment. The world championship fights will air on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
"The last couple years have been great. I beat Roy Jones and made a motion picture. I fell short against Bernard Hopkins but now I feel great and am ready to fight. I would like to thank everybody involved for making this fight possible.
“I am all about challenges, and I have challenges all around me. But that’s what makes great champions. Champions fight any and all challengers.
“I am in the final chapter of a storybook career, especially when you consider what I had and where I started from. I have accomplished a lot and done it all. But I am not through.
“This last run, it is all about getting the respect of my peers and proving I am one of the greatest light heavyweight champions of all time.
“It is exciting for me to be fighting in Hartford and on SHOWTIME. In some ways, I feel like a new fighter. I feel rejuvenated. Something was missing before. But I am married now and back with trainer Jimmy Williams. So, in some ways, this is a new start for me.
“I took off one year. It was a long year and it broke my heart when the fight with Muriqi was first cancelled. But now we are set for June 9 and I am in shape and all set to go.
“My goal is to show the boxing world I am back, to get to where I was and to show I am the best.
“Everybody keeps talking about me fighting Dawson. That fight could happen, maybe sooner, or later. I’ve been in this game a long time and never ducked anybody. I have fought the best.
“In time, Dawson may get his wish, but he has to be patient, just like I was. There are no shortcuts. A couple of more nice, great wins by him and he might be in business.
“But right now my focus is totally on Muriqi and putting on a show for the fans on June 9. Some may think it would be easy to look past Muriqi, or underestimate him, but there is absolutely no chance of that happening. Fans are going to see a great show on June 9.’’
“I have been waiting for this kind of fight, this kind of moment, my whole life. I have always wanted to be in with this caliber of opponent, and with Tarver you have one of the best ever. The better the opponent, the better I fight.
“If now one believes in me now, they will after June 9. I have never had a chance to show how much talent I have always had, but that will change after the Tarver fight. The whole world will see. This is an opportunity for me that honestly I thought would never come.
Final Press Conference Quotes – March 1, 2007
“I came up the hard way. I wasn’t one of those Olympians who had 300 amateur fights and fought in the Olympics. I was a kick-boxer who had 10 amateur fights. So, most of my boxing career has been on-the-job training.
“On paper, I can see why Tarver’s people want to fight me. So, in that regard, I would not say they are making a mistake by fighting me.
“But once the fight starts, it is going to be a different story and they are going to see how big a mistake they really made.
“I can’t take anything away from Tarver, who I respect very much. But he had his time. It is my time now. I want everything he has and I am going to get it. I am going to shock the world and mess up a lot of future plans (like a Tarver-Dawson fight).
“This is my chance to get on the path to greatness. It is an honor to be fighting in Hartford and on SHOWTIME. I can’t wait for June 9.’’
“I am here to do a job – and that is to successfully defend my WBC title against Ruiz. Once I take care of that, who knows? Maybe I will fight Tarver (next), maybe I won’t. He is still a great champion and at the top of the division. I am trying to get to where he is at.
“I want to be known as the best, but I also want to get paid. There is no reason we couldn’t fight in September or sometime thereafter; if, that is, he wants to fight me and we take care of our business on June 9.
“I don’t mind being patient, but I don’t want to be too patient. I have a lot of options. I could drop down to 168 pounds and challenge Joe Calzaghe. But, obviously, the fight with Tarver is the one I want and the fans want.
“I am the champion, but Tarver knows if he loses to me that it could be the end of his career. In that respect, I have nothing to lose. But to be the best, you have to fight the best, and that’s why a Tarver fight would be so good for me.
“I have watched Ruiz on tape. He is definitely a hard puncher. I know he will be coming to win. I won’t be overlooking him at all, but this is a fight I should win. That said, those are the kinds of fights that sometimes are the most dangerous.’
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