Boxing


Conference Call Quotes: Antonio Tarver-Elvir Muriqi

31.05.07 - Legendary former undisputed light heavyweight world champion Antonio “Magic Man’’ Tarver (24-4, 18 KOs), of Tampa, Fla., makes his eagerly anticipated return to the ring when he faces New York-based Elvir “The Kosovo Kid” Muriqi (34-3, 21 KOs) for the world IBO light heavyweight crown on Saturday, June 9 on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).

In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-featured bout at The Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn., undefeated “Awesome” Chad Dawson (23-0, 1 NC, 15 KOs), of New Haven, Conn., will make the first defense of his WBC light heavyweight title against hard-hitting Jesus “Chuy’’ Ruiz (19-4, 17 KOs), of Long Beach, Calif., by way of Guadalajara, Mexico.

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 event is presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, in association with Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and AT Entertainment.

Opening Statements

DeGuardia: This fight will take place June 9 at Connecticut Convention Center, which is a lovely, brand new center in Hartford, Conn. Tickets are still available through TicketMaster or at the Connecticut Convention Center. So you can pick up tickets for the event (if you) want to get there live. Otherwise, you can catch it on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. It is certainly going to be a night of boxing fit for SHOWTIME, which has been showing some of the best fights lately. The co-feature fight (is) Chad Dawson (defending his) world championship fight against Chuy Ruiz and the main event is between Antonio Tarver and Elvir Muriqi. We are proud to be presenting this fight. Antonio Tarver has done everything in this game and is an ambassador for the sport. He is the most loquacious and well-spoken athlete in this business. He has accomplished an awful lot – from being a medalist in the Olympics for our country, to being a world champion and carrying that over to becoming a star on the movie screen in “Rocky Balboa.” It is real fitting that he is going to fight a guy who is considered to be the Rocky of boxing, Elvir Muriqi, a guy who is rough, tough and has made his way up through the ranks and is hungry for a victory in a fight like this. So we are glad to have this fight, and we are proud to be promoting in the Connecticut Convention Center. We look forward to having you there on June 9.

Tarver: I am anxious. Like I told a reporter last week when I had my open workout, it feels like a rebirth. I had time to step away from the game. I watched and saw what was out there. Personally, I am what the game is missing. The old Antonio Tarver, the electrifying fighter that puts those punches together in beautiful combinations (with a) great display of defense, hitting and not being able to be hit, punching power and boxing ability. This is what we will bring June 9. People think I have accomplished everything there is to accomplish in boxing, but I am here to put the world on notice and let them know that I have not even scratched the surface. My whole thing is that I plan on, before leaving this game, being recognized as the best fighter pound for pound because if you saw what they considered the best in the world a couple of weeks ago, they have not seen anything yet. So I am anxious. In my rematches and comebacks, I have been hard to beat and I am taking this fight as a come-back fight and a rematch of coming off of (an) unforgettable night last June. We are going to put that fight to bed and let everybody know that the “Magic Man” is back and I am up to my old tricks again.

Muriqi: I have been waiting all my life for this kind of moment and this kind of fight because I know when I fight, when I spar, or whatever I do with the good fighters, I perform right. This is a great opportunity, not just to fight a guy that was a champion (who has done) everything else. (There are a) lot of champions in the world. But they only have a couple of superstars in boxing and he is one of them. On June 9, people will start looking at me as a superstar. For somebody to give me a chance to do that, I would like to thank Joe DeGuardia, Star Boxing and Antonio Tarver. I also thank SHOWTIME for having this fight. After June 9, you will see a complete and smart Elvir Muriqi. I will actually surprise a lot of people.

Begin Press Questions



Question: Elvir, are you looking at this fight to make a statement?

Muriqi: Not just to the boxing world, but to the whole world. I live in the United States and I am Albanian. I grew up in Kosovo and then I came here when I was 17. But this fight will put me on the map and make history for me and for Albanians all over the world. It is an honor to be in this position so I can fight the best guy in the division. So it makes me feel great because if you beat a guy like this, you are ready-made. All the doors all over the world open. It is not just in the boxing game, but in life period.

Question: Antonio, what kind of adjustments have you had to make in preparation for this fight after being off a year? Or is that not a big deal?

Tarver: Every fight is a big deal. That is how we are approaching it. Every time I step in the ring it is a big deal. I am giving these guys a chance of a lifetime to truly submit their legacy, make a name for themselves, get rich and become a star. When you get opportunities like that, these guys are coming to win. So I am faced with the challenge every time. I have been in his shoes and you cannot accomplish a dream if you cannot dream big. So that is why I have to put these guys’ dreams to bed. I am not here to give away anything I worked hard for. I am here for a reason, not a season, and this is my purpose. I was born for this. I am coming and bringing the best Antonio Tarver, and I am glad to be back. Taking that time off (helped). I had a busy two-three years and needed a break. I needed to let my body rest, let my mind heal, and now I am rejuvenated and I am back with a vengeance on the light heavyweight division. This is still my weight division even though I had a bad night in June. I am here to say that I love my position and I am not going to give this away for anyone. I will fight like I have all the dreams. I have not accomplished a thing. Until I stamp my ticket to the Hall of Fame, I will not be satisfied. Until I am revered as the best light heavyweight ever, I will not be satisfied. Unfortunately, Elvir, you are next and after I dispose of you then it is whoever. I am taking names. I am back. I am hungry. I am rededicated and the whole light heavyweight division is in trouble.

Question: Antonio, what was it like after not getting the decision against (Bernard) Hopkins? Was that tough to deal with? And how long did it take you to recover and get to the point where you knew it was time to get back in the ring?

Tarver: Fortunately, I did not receive any serious injuries that night, but I was a dead man walking. I do not know what happened and there are a lot of things that have come up lately that I am questioning. I just know at the press conference, the electricity was there. At the weigh-in, the electricity was there. The night of the fight, I was a dead man walking, just a shell of myself. I do not know what happened before the fight. (But a number of things) have gone through my mind. My sister mentioned something that really did not sit with me at the time because I was in a fog. Even when I am not in shape, I know how to fight. That is natural. For me not to even fight and perform, it is beyond me. So I am thinking it was like my spirit was taken from me. I could not get emotionally involved, could not get mentally involved, and I in at one of the biggest fights of my career. Something happened. I do not want to point the finger. I believe that there was a possibility that they got to me, or someone got to me with ordering room service, a drink of water or whatever. But I was not myself. As big as that fight was, I could not get into it mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or nothing. I was zapped for whatever reason. I cannot blame it on my trainer because we trained properly. We were ready. But when I went to bed and woke up that day, I was a zombie and I do not know what happened. My sister thought that maybe I could have been poisoned; maybe somebody tampered with some food and took something away from me. But I can go and walk off the street and spar and fight eight or nine rounds with no problem. That is just my nature. For me not to fight and get hit with straight right hands all night (is mystifying). My reflexes were not there, my counter punching ability was not there. Something went terribly wrong. So I put it behind me. That is what I did. I forgot about it and now it is time to move on. Whatever happened happened. He had a unanimous decision on my worst day. He should have killed me that night, but he could not even stop me. So that is the motivation that I have to know that I am truly built to be a champion.

Question: Elvir, are you training in any way special for this fight? Have you fought anybody that you can compare style-wise to Tarver?

Muriqi: I have fought two southpaws, but (that) was really nothing. Like everybody else, on the way to the top, you fight some sometimes, but not that much. I knocked both of them out in their first round. Tarver is by far the best guy I have ever fought. Like Tarver said, he has not scratched the surface and has not accomplished anything. I will be happy with what he has done. On June 9, I am going to start (getting to) where he is at today. I have been having good sparring in preparation for this fight. It is just a mental game knowing you are fighting this kind of guy. My mental game is up and (so is) my calmness. He said he can go in the gym and spar eight to 10 rounds, but I can do the same thing. I do not take the fact that he has been off for a year for granted. I want to beat the best Antonio Tarver that he can be because if he is better then I am better. I am expecting him to be the best he can be. I just want to accomplish what he accomplished, to become a world champion.

Question: Antonio, are you concerned opponents are now thinking of you as a stepping stone?

Tarver: I do not think any fighter in the world would ever be that silly.

Question: Does it give you extra motivation to know these guys are looking at you as a resume builder?

Tarver: I am not going to say that is how people are looking at me. They are stupid and silly to think that I am some resume builder. I resent that statement.

Question: Antonio, how seriously do you think about the possibility of getting drugged? Is that just a possible scenario or do you give a lot of credence to that possibility?

Tarver: It is a great possibility. The stakes were high. When you look at that fight, which I have not seen the fight in its entirety, everybody that knows me knew that something was terribly wrong from when I walked from the dressing room to the ring. Something was wrong all day. It is a possibility, but I cannot say that my preparation was any different than it has been. I have always been committed, dedicated and a hard worker. So when you look at those assets, then you have to say something else happened for me to fight so flat, so lifeless, so emotionless, so un-spirited in one of the biggest fights of my career. Something definitely happened and something was terribly wrong. I wish I would have had a blood test right after the fight. Normally, they do drug test you after the fight. I do not know if there is any possibility of going back and getting that urinalysis and examining it to see what happened. Mentally, I was beat out of the game – could not get focused, could not get up for the fight – and that is just not like me.

Question: Why did you choose to have Jimmy Williams as your trainer again?

Tarver: I would not say that Buddy (McGirt) and I have parted ways. I just chose to stay in Tampa for this fight. I think you will see the difference in just being home, being comfortable, being relaxed, and being focused. I think at this stage of my career, as a three time champion, soon to be four, I am looking at every fight as really stamping my mark on the game. I need a trainer that is going to give me 110 percent. I do not need to share a gym with four and five different other fighters. Buddy is making his money and doing his thing, but right now I need someone who is going to be focused on me every day, not (just) part time. I need to be selfish with me right now. So I have Jimmy Williams, somebody that I know eats, sleeps and drinks the game plan, the fight and me. So I feel more comfortable with that. I know Jimmy is here for one reason only and that is for my success. If Buddy can come and be a part of Team Tarver while we are here in Tampa, the only thing I ask him to do is come (here) once or twice a week, work with me, and be a team player and then he is on. But unfortunately, he was not able to consistently do that and I understand. Buddy has to make his money and make a living. He has to support his kids. I have to do the same. So it was one of those types of decisions. Who knows? I might rethink it and after this fight go back. But right now, where my career is at, I am not inclined to be sharing the gym with eight to 10, maybe sometimes 12 fighters at a time. That is not me and it will never be me. So if I have to open and build my own gym, I will. But when I go to work, I want everybody in that gym to be focused on one thing – the job at hand. I need my training to be 110 percent focused on me.

Question: Antonio, you hear the hunger your opponent has. How do you still have that hunger when you have accomplished so many things?

Tarver: When I got into this game, it was never about money, the fame and all that. I just wanted to be the best. This is why I am giving back to boxing because boxing needs me. I know when I am at my best, I am one of the most electrifying fighters out there. I am what the game has been missing. They say the best two fighters in the world came together and fought the other night. But when I left, I left wondering if I had even witnessed a fight. God bless Diego Corrales. He laid it all out on the line. We need more warriors like that in the game. Win, lose or draw – whether he is knocking somebody out or getting knocked out, he gave his all and that is what I am giving back to boxing because boxing has given me so much.

Question: Antonio, what do you have to do to bring the attention back to you on June 9? Were you disappointed when you found out that (there were other fights) the same night?

Tarver: I was never disappointed because that is out of my control. That is a great fight. But people have choices. They are going to choose to see my fight or they are going to choose to see (the other) fight. We have to go in here and take care of business. If you do not see my fight on SHOWTIME, you are going to miss it. Do not let it be said, ‘Where were you when Antonio Tarver, once again, put on a performance and showed the world that he is still by far the best?’ We have Chad Dawson on the undercard, a young guy trying to make a name and a presence for himself. SHOWTIME has already proven to be the leader in boxing now with the great fights they have been putting on, and I am glad they showed interest in Elvir and me to put us on (as headliners). It is a great opportunity to show the world I am back.

Question: Antonio, you put on a lot of weight for the ‘Rocky’ movie, then you cut back down for the Hopkins fight. In retrospect, did the weight gain and loss affect you? Since that fight, did you try to consciously keep your weight a little closer to the limit?

Tarver: I have speculated on what really hurt me in that fight. It could have been a combination of a lot of things. But I have lost weight like that before, never that much, but I am used to coming down from 200-205. So I never really balked at that. Like I said, there were a lot of things that went wrong that night and prior to that I cannot really put a finger on. But that is spilled milk. Hopefully, if Hopkins is fortunate enough to get by Winky Wright, I take care of my business on June 9, and the fight will be there. I will show the world and prove once again that I am better in rematches. I have defeated every man that stepped in front of me, and so that would be what I will be remembered for if that rematch ever happened. But I am not looking past Elvir. This guy has big dreams. He wants to make his country and his family proud. That is what is at stake. When you get a guy like him that is hungry and starving for an opportunity like this, you have to be very careful because these are the guys that when you put their backs against the ropes that is when they are the most dangerous. So every time out, I am used to this type of pressure. Glen Johnson was a guy that took advantage of an opportunity the first time around, but we had to come back and show him who the champ is truly. But when I step up, I put it all on the line – my name, my credibility, everything I have accomplished. If they beat me, that is a shortcut to the top. They do not have to go through the struggles I had to, fighting the guys that were 12-0, 10-0 when I was 3- or 4-0. That is why I am able to be here today, three time undisputed light heavyweight champion, and soon to be four times. I am still here at the ripe old age of 38. A lot of people never thought I would be here.

Question: Antonio, not to look past the Muriqi fight, but Roy Jones is fighting again and you really seem to have his number and you are still the two biggest names in the division. What are the chances we will see Jones-Tarver IV?

Tarver: You can never count Roy Jones out. The guy has gone through some tumultuous years over the last couple of years. But he is fighting a guy that is undefeated. If Jones is able to beat him and look good, then the Roy Jones fans will once again come out of the woodwork and support their fighter. He still has a good fan base. Even when I fought him in Tampa, my hometown, they booed me on the way in, but they cheered me on the way out. But they love Roy Jones and as long as he can continue to put the fans in the seats, he is credible.

Question: Antonio, you want to be remembered as a Hall of Famer, you want to go down as the greatest light heavyweight ever. What do you feel you need to do to accomplish that?

Tarver: If I am successful and look good in winning my fight on June 9, if I ever get a chance to fight Hopkins, I think that would be enough. But I am not going to stop there. I just want to be consistent, continue to be one of the biggest names in the game, take the sport to mainstream, and be a crossover star.

Question: Joe, how are tickets selling?

DeGuardia: They are steadily selling. We are looking for a good walk-up when the fighters get into town.

Question: What day are they getting in?

DeGuardia: They will be in on Tuesday. There will be a press conference Wednesday in Connecticut.

Question: Antonio, if not being in the ‘Rocky’ movie meant that you would have beat Hopkins, what would your decision have been on playing that part?

Tarver: I am no dummy. I think anybody would have cut their right arm off to be in a position to co-star in a major motion picture, a franchise as big as ‘Rocky.’ That is a no-brainer. If I had it to do all over again, I would do it the same way. I do not think I lost anything but a fight and I am always able to redeem myself and put myself in position to have a rematch. But it is once in a lifetime playing in ‘Rocky.’ Ten years from now, I do not think people are going to remember me (for) losing to Bernard Hopkins. I think they are going to forever remember me for playing in ‘Rocky Balboa.’ You can always go get the DVD.

Question: Elvir, how do you feel about getting this opportunity?

Muriqi: Antonio had a lot of amateur fights. I was not a star as an amateur. I won the Golden Gloves, but I did not have a lot of fights. I have to fight a lot more fights than Antonio had to fight to fight big fights. I fought a lot more four-round, six-round and everything and so it took longer to get to this road. But in the meantime, Antonio did that during his amateur career. I have never been in the ring until now with anybody that was better than me. Even the three losses on my record, if you were present, you would know that the guys were not better than me. Everybody has a path to come to the top. Everybody has a different path. This is the way of my path to come to the top. On June 9, you guys will have a great fight.

Question: Elvir, have you done anything special that maybe you have not done for other fights?

Muriqi: If you know you are fighting a great fighter, you have to train harder and your mind just gets to another level. Your training intensity is different. It is not like you are fighting a nobody. This is the guy that has everything that I want. My rounds of sparring, my running, and my rest – everything is there and everything will show on June 9, and everybody will have a different respect for Elvir Muriqi after June 9.

Question: Antonio, how do you feel about fighting Elvir and where he has come from and the battles he has had?

Tarver: I can relate to it. I have been there before. I did not come this far to stop right now. Unfortunately, he is going to be a part of history, but it will not be historic. He is going to play a role in mine. They are going to say it was a great night of boxing on June 9, but they are going to tell my story when it is all over with because I am going through something bigger right now. Right now, I cannot be stopped. I am focused; I have had a great training camp. I have two of the toughest guys in camp with me right now. The pressure that we think that Muriqi is going to bring, I think we have duplicated if not surpassed in my training camp for the last two and a half to three months. Everyday, these guys are trying to take my head off and I like that because I feel that is what is going to happen on June 9. It is going to be the matador and the bull and I am going to be the matador. As he is chasing and pressing, I am going to be sizing him up and giving him angles and putting those combinations on him. You can train and practice, but you can never really truly duplicate the intensity, the fire as those big lights come on and the whole world is watching. You cannot prepare for that, and you can only get that through experience. So I am going to take Elvir Muriqi on a magic carpet ride, but when it is all said and done, he is going to be able to shake his head and say that he was able to be in the ring with one of the best fighters in history, one of the best fighters that ever donned the (gloves) in the light heavyweight division. When I step away from the game, they are going to know Antonio Tarver was the best light heavyweight ever – ever – in the game of boxing.

Question: They are talking about after this fight, if you both win, of having you go up against Dawson. Is it important for you to actually look better than him in this fight?

Tarver: There is no competition. I have one guy to beat. I cannot beat everybody in one night. Everybody is making a whole big deal out of this thing. But I respect Chad because he seems like a very sophisticated and intelligent young brother coming up that obviously knows the business. But he needs to slap his manager and his promoter in the mouth because every time they open their mouth, the line gets longer. The man just won the fight with his last opponent and got knocked down winning the fight. Everybody is talking trash but Chad. It is no competition with me and Chad. I have never ducked anyone. I beat them all. I am the people’s champ and they all got to come through me if they want to get paid and if they want to get rich and famous. They have to come through me. So they can have all the belts, but I got the tickets. It is just like poker. If you got bad cards, fold, do not keep trying to bluff because you are not bluffing anybody. We are not going to fight unless I want to fight because they do not have enough money to pay me to fight the guy. So if they keep their mouth shut, I might give them a break after June 9. That is only up to me.

Question: Antonio, you want to be revered as one of the best light heavyweights of all time, but what do you have to do to accomplish that. Who do you consider to be among the best light heavyweight of all time?

Tarver: I would have to say, to me, Archie Moore, Michael Spinks definitely, Holyfield – he did not stay long though. There have been some great ones out there. That being said, I think a win over Hopkins and you would have to put me up there with the greatest. Bob Foster is one of the best and greatest. I think a win over Hopkins in a rematch would mean that I have beaten every professional I have ever stepped in the ring with; I think that goes a long way.

Question: Has the prospect of going up to heavyweight and trying to get a title ever crossed your mind?

Tarver: I just really do not think there is a dominant heavyweight that really can say, OK, if I go up there and fight a heavyweight, it is going to be $1.5 million to $2 million Pay-Per-View draw. It is just not there. The marquis heavyweight is just not there. If you get a guy with crossover appeal like a Mike Tyson or someone like that, of course you want to go up there and make a mark. But guys like James Toney, Chris Bird, they are just not bringing the bucks to the table. For me to go up there, and take that type of risk, it would be defeating the purpose.

Question: What if that rematch with Hopkins does not happen?

Tarver: He is a smart man. For the record, Bernard does not even know what it feels like to be in the ring with Antonio Tarver. He can truly say that. He got away with murder and if he wants to keep that victory, let him ride off in the sunset. But if he ever gets back in the ring with me again, I will show the world what the real champ is all about. I will destroy him if Winky Wright does not beat me to it.

Question: How has the year off helped you physically?

Tarver: I think rest and time off always helps a fighter because sometimes just the pressure fights, back-to-back, you are bound to have a night off or a letdown. So backing away from the game, regrouping, and really finding out what it is I want out of this game – it is not about the money or the fame, we got that – I want the legendary status, I want to stamp my ticket to the Hall of Fame and I want to show these people that I am the best fighter out there in the game today. That is what gets me up right now.

Question: How has being in this position before helped you going into this fight?

Tarver: I am a student of the game. I can look back and see what went wrong and make sure that those mistakes do not happen again. I know that the stakes are high for me right now. Everybody is going to be watching. For some people to think that I am a shot fighter, that I am just a shell of myself and do not have what it takes to be one of the best today, that I am past my prime is ludicrous and beyond my imagination. If they can see me work, and we should be paying admission to see me training – it is just that beautiful. So when we put all that together, it is going to be an electrifying night on June 9. I am back, I am sharp, I am well rested, and I am ready to go. I am going to continue to stay in shape. I am not going to have these long layoffs anymore. I think you are going to see that that is going to be the difference in me and what I have looked like in the past coming off of three, four or five month layoffs and not being in a gym for two or three months, which is unheard of for a fighter at this level, of my magnitude. It is something that I should never have been doing and I am going to make sure that whoever I work with, they know that we are going to be ready to go right after June 9 and beyond.

Question: Elvir, you are coming into this fight with an opportunity of being the first man to beat him coming off of his loss. Is that an extra motivation for you?

Muriqi: I do not even look at him as losing or layoff or any of that. I do not look at any of those things. Those things do not matter. What matters is that night and what you do. I want him to be the best he can be, because if he is the best he can be, he will get the best out of me. So I am expecting him to be the best he can be. The only thing that crosses my mind is me making sure that I perform that night to my ability and to be successful that night.

Question: Antonio, have you had a chance yet to develop a relationship with SHOWTIME and how do you compare that to whatever relationship you had (before)?

Tarver: I just know that SHOWTIME really has stepped up to the plate basically. It is great to know that you are wanted and they have put their best foot forward. It has been a great relationship so far. They have respected the fact that the main objective here is to look great and put on a great show on June 9. They really respect the fighter and I just think that I am not going to draw comparisons. But I think SHOWTIME has really shown that they are a quality and premium cable television network, and that is why they are considered the best in boxing right now. I appreciate everything that they have done.

Question: Antonio, you do not like the way Dawson’s people keep shooting off their mouths. Being that this fight is in his hometown, if both of you have explosive performances and the talk becomes Tarver versus Dawson, is that the fight you will look at next, especially if Hopkins says he does not want to fight you again?

Tarver: I am not chasing Hopkins. I am just saying it would be a great fight. I am not chasing anybody. I have options. I can fight any one of the champions out there. I do not have to fight anybody. But it is disrespectful for his manager to try to ambush me at a press conference when the guy has just won his title and has not even made his first defense. Now, all of a sudden, everybody is ducking him. How many fights can you have? It just does not make any sense. It is ridiculous for them to act like that. It shows that they are desperate. But if they are going to do that, they need to come with some respect. I understand the game, and nobody can make me fight Chad Dawson. So if I give the guy an opportunity, it is going to be because I want to, because I feel like the fight is going to make sense and dollars. When I beat Chad Dawson, it has to give me something. I am not here trying to give away advantages. I am into taking advantages. I am a businessman. So my whole thing is the more they open their mouths and make themselves look ridiculous, act like they have real cards that they are holding. When you play poker, you throw away a bad hand. I am the only one holding the aces. That is my point. You do not bluff me when you do not have any hand. I have options. If I choose to fight Chad, it will be because I feel like it is a great fight and that when I beat Chad, it will give me something, it is going to add to my ledger, and it is going to add to my legend. I do not think right now that he is in a position to command a fight with me. He has not beaten anybody. As the people’s champ, I think a fight with Jeff Lacy would be more credible because I think Jeff has the bigger name right now than Chad Dawson. I am on the record saying that because I think I can really show the world what a guy like (Joe) Calzaghe should have done. How do you beat a man for 12 rounds unmercifully and do not stop him or knock him out? Because you are hitting with feathers, that is why. You are punching with paper. There is no man going to stand up and take a beating from me for 12 rounds. Period. Calzaghe is fool’s gold. If he wants to fight, I am willing and ready to step up to fight. I think that fight makes more sense than a Chad Dawson fight. So my whole thing is that I know that I have options.

Begin Closing Comments.



DeGuardia: I want to thank everybody on this call and the press for their support of this fight. You have two great athletes on the phone in Elvir Muriqi and Antonio Tarver and two guys who are incredible gentlemen. They speak well. As you can see, they both promise that it will be a real fight on June 9.

Tarver: We are doing big things, baby, and like I said, it is going to be show time come June 9, and it is time for me to show the world that I am still here, still hungry and still determined. I am not soft, not one bit. I know what is at stake. I have a hungry lion in front of me, but he is not going to come and get any meat. I am here to tell the world, I am putting them on notice. There is not going to be any more nice (guy). I am here to shock the world. I will be at my best – the speed, the quickness, the agility, the defense, the punching power – all of that will be on display come June 9. After we take care of business on June 9, come one and come all.

Muriqi: I want to thank SHOWTIME, Star Boxing, Joe DeGuardia and Antonio for taking this fight with me. I also thank the fans all over the world – the Albanians and everybody that has supported me so much. They always wanted me to fight the best and I do not think they will let me down on June 9 because they will come and see a complete Elvir Muriqi. The next great chapter will start on June 9 for Elvir Muriqi. I thank all of them and I thank all the press. I thank everybody for this night. On June 9, you guys are going to see a great fight.

Article posted on 01.06.2007



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