Boxing


Karmazin-Messi, Cintron-Feliciano Conference call Quotes

16.08.07 - Kermit Cintron will defend his IBF welterweight title against Jesse Feliciano in one of three 12-round fights Saturday, Sept. 8, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on SHOWTIME PPV. In another, Roman Karmazin faces Luca Messi for the WBA super welterweight Intercontinental crown.

In the highly anticipated Sept. 8 main event, two-time world champion Fernando Vargas faces three-time world champion Ricardo Mayorga at a catch weight of 162 pounds.

Tickets priced at $300, $150, $100 and $50 are on sale online at Ticketmaster.com, via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (213) 480-3232 or (714) 740-2000 and at Ticketmaster ticket centers including Wherehouse Music, Robinsons-May, Tower Records and Ritmo Latino locations. Tickets are also available at STAPLES Center box office and the box office at TEAM LA at Universal CityWalk.

Opening Comments

Karmazin: I've been training very hard, and I'm taking this fight extra seriously, not only because I have a tough opponent in front of me, but also because my trainer, Boris Zykanov, recently passed away. Iíve dedicated my next fight, this fight, and my title run for a new title to my late trainer. I'm training very hard and very seriously to make him proud.

Messi: I trained in Italy for two months. I've been in Miami, or I will be in Miami, for about five weeks in total, for sparring. I'm happy. I feel very good, and the heat is making me get acclimated to the hot weather.

Question: Roman, what do you know about of Luca Messi?

Karmazin: I haven't had a chance to study some film yet. I plan on studying him. I've just been working more on getting ready for the fight and sparring a bit. But I don't take him for granted. I heard he's a very good fighter with a good pedigree. On this level, fighting for what we're fighting for, I don't expect him to be anything but world‑class.

Question: Luca, itís been a little over a year since you fought and lost to (Michelle) Piccirillo. What have you been doing to stay sharp?

Messi: I continue to train. I have my own gym in Miami and have my own trainer. I had problems with my promoter. I was with him and then with Don King. Now I'm back with Don King Promotions. So I had some legal problems. Thatís why I didn't fight.

Question: Luca, will you make a prediction on the fight?

Messi: The only thing I'm going to say is I am coming to win and I'm going to win. That's enough.

Question: Roman, what is your prediction?

Karmazin: The results of the fight; only God knows what the results are going to be, but anything can happen in boxing. But I only come out to win and that is my plan. I intend to win.

Question: Luca, what is your background?

Messi: This is only my second fight in America. I was an Italian 154‑pound champion. I came over as somewhat of an unknown on Aug.13, 2005 and fought Alejandro Garcia, who was like 24‑1 and had 22 knockouts and it went to decision. I surprised everybody. I was tenacious and did a nice job. That was my only title shot. And the rest of it is explanatory on my record.

Question: Roman, if triumphant, would you like a rematch with Cory Spinks, who dethroned you two fights ago?

Karmazin: I would very much like a rematch with Spinks; that's actually all I want right now.

Question: Luca, despite your inactivity the last few years, do you think a victory over Karmazin can make you a major player in the 154‑pound division?

Messi: Exactly, which is why I'm fighting a tough fighter like him. I know he's classified and very highly regarded and I want to show (what I can do). I know that when I win it will place me in the highest possible position for a title fight.

Question: Luca, even if you lose, are you going to get back into the ring again?

Messi: I am sure, absolutely sure, that Don King will put me back in the ring for a title because I came to America because I was promised this by Don King, and I'm here for that reason. Don and I are very good friends. It was my Italian friends and I who invited Don over and facilitated the visit where you saw Don meeting and shaking hands with the Pope.

My brother is a priest and my good friend, a parish priest, sings in the choir in the Vatican. It was through my brother and Don Gilberto that got us in to see the Pope.

I'm from Bergemo, Italy. That's why I'm known as the ďBergemo Bomber.íí I want to change my name from the Bergemo Bomber to Miami Made in Paradise (Laughter).

Question: Luca, so you got Don hooked up with the Pope?

Messi: Yes. I've got the Victoria Gym, a youth program there. It's a huge gym. It has a swimming pool and everything. And the priests are always invited free there. All the priests, the monsignor, the bishop, they come and work out; they swim in the wintertime because it's cold where I come from. It was easy for me through my brother and Don Gilberto, the monsignor, and the bishop to hook it up because of that.

Question: Roman, how has the loss of your trainer impacted the atmosphere of your training camp?

Karmazin: Losing Boris is a very big loss to me on many levels. But right now I've been working with Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym (Hollywood, Calif.). That's where I trained before with Boris. I'm in the same atmosphere I have been in the past.

Question: Freddieís now in the Philippines, is he going to be coming back Sept. 8 to work your corner?

Karmazin: Yes, absolutely, he assured me he'd be there.

Question: Luca, what is it about Miami that you like in terms of being able to train down there?

Messi: Because of all the beautiful women. (Laughter) I like it because of the sparring partners. I have terrific sparring partners. I don't have that in Italy. Sparring partners are too easy in Italy. Here they are tougher; also my trainer is here. I love and hate him so much.

Question: What part of Italy are you from?

Messi: I'm Neapolitan. My mother is from Naples. But I was raised in Bergemo, Italy, which is near Milano, a very wealthy suburb of Milano.

Question: Luca, is your family all very religious; and if so, how did you end up fighting ‑‑ were you an altar boy to begin with?

Messi: It's very interesting, my family is not that religious. But it's really strange, my brother became a priest and I became a boxer. I'm the first boxer in my family. My brother, Alejandro, is the first priest.

Question: Was your family against you fighting?

Messi: I grew up poor. Even though we're from the south, from Naples, which is poor, I worked at 13 and 14 years old in the foundry area where they make the steel and stuff like that. It's very dangerous and very hard work, so they didn't care if I was boxing or working with hot metal. It's very dangerous. So they never gave a second thought about me being a fighter.

Question: Is your brother, the priest, younger or older?

Messi: He's older.

Question: Luca, is it important for you to win this fight or do you need to win it impressively?

Messi: I feel it's important to win, and I don't care how I win.

Question: Roman, you said Cory Spinks is a top priority to fight again. But being this is for a WBA Intercontinental title, would you turn down a fight for the WBA title, right?

Karmazin: No, of course I wouldn't turn it down. I would take that fight.

Opening comments

Cintron: First of all, I want to thank Main Events and Don King and also SHOWTIME for giving me the opportunity to be able to defend my title one more time. Feliciano is a great fighter. Seems strong from the fights I've seen of him. He comes to fight. He never backs up. Always forward. He's a fighter that tries to win his fights. And I'm getting ready for the fight and I'll be ready for Sept. 8 to defend my title one more time successfully.

Feliciano: My thoughts are, man, I can't believe I got this shot. I've been waiting for this all my life. And now that I have it, I'm going to give it all I've got. I am a true warrior. And I'd like to thank Kermit Cintron for letting me get this shot and Main Events and Don King and Star Boxing. Itís going to be a tremendous show. Cintron is there to defend his title and he comes to fight as well. Once we put our gloves together, it's going to be a major war. It's not going to be a Mayweather fight. It's going to be the real deal.

Question: What was your initial reaction when you found out that you had the opportunity?

Feliciano: I was very excited. I didn't think I would get this shot so soon. I thought maybe next year. But I'll take it however I can get it. I'm ready. I've got nothing to lose. I am going all out.

Question: Kermit, what do you know about this guy? Is there any chance you might overlook him to move on to bigger and better names?

Cintron: No, not at all. I take my fights seriously. They're putting Jesse Feliciano in front of me for a reason. They're giving him the opportunity to fight me for my title. And like I said, he's a fighter that comes to fight and I know he has three good wins under his belt. So I'm not taking this fight lightly. Just going to go in there and do what I do best.

Question: Kermit, how tough was it to get over your knockout loss to Antonio Margarito?

Cintron: It was a fight I wasn't well prepared for. Just a loss, it just happened. And not being well prepared for that fight, only having four weeks of training and only two weeks of being able to hit with my right hand, I just wasn't well prepared for the fight. But I took the fight like a warrior. The loss did me good -- I think that it got me stronger mentally, physically and emotionally.

Question: Why were you only able to train four weeks and what was the matter with your hand?

Cintron: I just had a ruptured tendon. Took cartilage and had no blood flow going to my middle knuckle so my bone was dying. I had to get that fixed, and finally they got it fixed and it's been 100 percent since.

Question: Were you surprised you were able to recover that quickly from that first loss? A few fights later, you we're fighting for a championship. How exciting was that for you to be able to be right back in the thick of things?

Cintron: Definitely not surprised. I knew I could do it. It was just the fact of having the proper training and the proper trainers around me. I was not surprised at all. I decided to go back in there and fight, win fights. I knew that eventually I was going to get my title shot again.

Question: The welterweight division is pretty awesome right now. What kind of a mark would you like to be able to leave on this division in the next few years?

Cintron: Just want to definitely be myself in and outside the ring. And I definitely want to unify the titles. One of my biggest goals is to being able to win all titles and be the undisputed welterweight champion of the world.

Question: Would you want to fight Margarito again, only this time if you were healthy and with a two‑month training camp?

Cintron: Yes, I definitely would love to fight Margarito again, to avenge that loss, and move on to better things.

Question: Kermit, can you talk about your last fight and how, after a couple fights not using it, you have been able to utilize the jab? Do you just think you're just a better, more well‑rounded fighter now?

Cintron: I think that I definitely am. I just needed the proper training and having the proper trainer. I've been improved a lot ever since I've been with Emanuel (Steward), and it's going to continue. I'm going to continue to look better and better as fights goes on.

Question: Everyone seems to have made a big deal of how you were working the pads before your last fight. Was that a factor?

Cintron: The pads, just in general, I had a perfect training camp in Austria, getting ready for the Walter Matthysse fight. I had no complaints at all. I had no injuries. I was 100 percent. I was ready to go. I was focused mentally, physically and emotionally, I was ready.

Question: Kermit, coming off such an impressive knockout, do you feel the need to ‑‑ is it possible for you to top that performance?

Cintron: It was a great performance. Like I said, Emanuel and I have been working hard together. I'm still young in the sport, still learning. I've been boxing seven years. I know I'm going to be better. And as fights, as time goes on, as fights go on, you're going to see that Kermit Cintron will improve more and more.

Question: Jesse, obviously fighting for the title is big and obviously is what you fight for. But Kermit is a much different fighter than, say, Delvin Rodriguez and even Alfonso Gomez. Do you approach it differently, or do you just do what you normally do?

Feliciano: A little bit of both. Like he said, he's not just any regular fighter or any other fighter at that. He's at a whole other level, a whole other stage. I can't go in there like I did in other fights all big-headed. I have to maintain and focus and mentally be ready as well as physical.

Question: Jesse, what do you credit for your resurgence in the sport?

Feliciano: I credit my father. He's been there for me. He's my boxing manager, baby‑sitter/caretaker. He's been everything, taking care of me and helping me. And also credit goes to my son, Jesse James. If it wasn't for my son, I would never have been in this game still. I won that USBA title for my son, rest in peace. He died on June 11th. I dedicate my life to my son.

Question: What happened to your son?

Feliciano: The veins in his lungs were obstructed and his heart only had three chambers instead of four. So he didn't have a good chance of making it. He was alive for about 13 hours. I got to hold him and bathe him before he passed away.

Question: Kermit, didn't your arm turn black in the Margarito fight?

Cintron: My knuckle was turning black.

Question: Did doctors say you would never fight again?

Cintron: The doctor did say that if what they did wasn't going to work, then that would have been it for me.

Question: Kermit, what do you think about (WBO welterweight champion) Paul Williams?

Cintron: I'll fight Paul Williams any day. Everybody keeps saying I'm avoiding Williams. I'm not avoiding him. I think Paul Williams is avoiding me. I think the fight with Paul Williams; it would be a perfect match for me and a great win for me.

Question: Kermit, how important is it to get your revenge against Margarito as opposed to getting a shot at unifying the title against the other champions?

Cintron: Both. I want to fight everybody. I want to fight Margarito. I want to fight every other champion out there in the welterweight division.

Question: Kermit, what has been the reaction following your last fight?

Cintron: A lot of people have been calling. A lot of people have been impressed about it, the way I look, the way I stopped him. Everybody's been impressed. It's a good feeling that a lot of people are opening their eyes and seeing that the fight against Margarito was a difference Kermit Cintron.

Question: Kermit, how do you see this fight playing out?

Cintron: I'm just going to go in well prepared. Feliciano is a fighter that comes to fight and never backs down. I see it a win for me.

Question: Prediction?

Cintron: I don't have any. As long as I win the fight, that's all that matters.

Question: Kermit, last few fights you've been training in Europe and over the place. Where will you concentrate your training camp for this fight?

Cintron: I'm in the Poconos. I'm here with Jermain Taylor.

Question: You've been talking about unifying the titles. Will you wait and see what happens in the next (Miguel) Cotto fight?

Cintron: I think that any possibility I can get to unify the titles I'll take. I'm here. The plan is to keep me busy. That's what we're doing. Eventually by 2008, we'll be unifying the titles.

Question: Specifically what things do you need to learn in order to continue to be successful?

Cintron: I think in boxing you never stop learning. Emanuel Stewart knows every trick in the book about boxing and little by little we've been going one‑on‑one with it and learning.

Question: Kermit, it seems as though regardless to what you've done since the loss to Margarito, you still get questions regarding that fight. Does it bother you?

Cintron: No, it doesn't bother me at all. It's a fight that I looked bad in. I lost a fight. And who cares. I moved on. Everybody's still, I guess, still on that date back in '04. I moved on with my career. I'm a world champion now.

Question: Why would you come back to fight a guy like Jesse Feliciano, who is on such a roll in these last few fights?

Cintron: This is a fight that Main Events and SHOWTIME gave me. It's just through a fight to keep me busy with what I do. I think the busier I am the better I get.

Question: Can you motivate yourself to fight a guy moving up in weight after the tough fights youíve had?

Cintron: I don't take any fight lightly. Every fighter that steps in there is trying to hurt me. They're trying to win against me of course they want to get the title away from me. That's not going to happen. I train hard for every fight, if not harder, and you will see Sept. 8.

Question: This is the biggest fight of your career, Jesse. Can you continue your level of success?

Feliciano: I'm raising the bar, as you can see. I'm on a whole other level. I'm on a winning streak; I'm not losing. But I think it's going to last. Good things are going to happen to me.

Question: Kermit, what are your thoughts on fighting Floyd Mayweather?

Cintron: It's a fight that every fighter in the welterweight division wants. That's a fight I would love to have, but that's his decision. With my style, Mayweather would be a great fight for me.

Question: Your style is going to pose problems for all the other champs; do you think it's going to be a stumbling block in regards to you unifying?

Cintron: It's up to the other champions. If I don't get the opportunities I will continue to defend my title successfully until I get a chance to fight for the other titles. I think that there are champions they'll fight me.

Question: Were you sparring with Wladimir Klitschko?

Cintron: Yes.

Question: How did it go?

Cintron: It was a totally different experience but it was a great experience for me.

Question: Fighting somebody that tall is getting you ready for Paul Williams, right?

Cintron: Yeah.

Question: Jesse, some regard you as a stay-busy fighter, someone that others fight to stay busy? What do you think about that?

Feliciano: I think it motivates me more to do a better job.

Question: Kermit, you're fighting less than two months after knocking out Matthysse. Is there added pressure to come back so quickly?

Cintron: Not at all, no pressure at all. These are the things I like. I like to stay busy. The sooner I get back into the ring, the better it is. The more fights I get, the better I get.

Question: Jesse, why do you think you have the advantage in this fight especially after the spectacular knockout that Kermit had in his last fight in July?

Feliciano: Everybody thinks I'm the underdog. Everybody wants to fight me because they think it will be an easy fight. Iíll be ready. I'm training hard. This fight is the real deal and we're both coming to fight and we're probably going to steal the show.

Question: What specifically did you see in the fight that Kermit won against Matthysse that you think you can take advantage of?

Feliciano: I'm not really too sure if I can answer that question. But all I saw was a good, pinpoint sharp-shooting assassin right there. He just took that guy out. I don't know, man. It's going to be all‑out war is all I can say. I'm not going to go down in the second round.

Question: Kermit, have you gained more respect since the Matthysse fight?

Cintron: People are still talking about my loss against Margarito, but I've moved on. That was the past. I'm in a better position than I ever was back then. But I do get some props as well.

Question: Did you feel when you first started working with Emmanuel that you had to prove yourself to him?

Cintron: Yeah, definitely and I did prove myself sparring with a kid named Dominic Dawson, who is an extremely fast, good boxer, who is going to be probably making the Olympic team. That's who I've actually been sparring with right now. But, yeah, I definitely felt that I needed to prove myself.

Question: Are you disappointed a guy you called out, Shane Mosley, is fighting Cotto instead?

Article posted on 16.08.2007



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