Steve Forbes Talks About De La Hoya Fight
Kelly Swanson: Thank you everybody for calling in today for the Steve Forbes conference call. Again, Steve will be facing Oscar De La Hoya Saturday May 3rd at the Home Depot center in Los Angeles. We have so many great events being planned around the fight and I can just say that starting Saturday – this Saturday, both Steve and Oscar will be arriving in Los Angeles.. Oscar De La Hoya will be throwing out the first pitch at the Dodger's game and Steve will be doing the official coin toss at the LA Galaxy game. Those are both Saturday night. And we have a wealth of activities happening throughout the week. We will distributing a fight week schedule so everybody will have an opportunity to see all of the great things that are being planned including May 2, a special boxing night starting with a boxing show and concert also at the Home Depot Center. On the phone today we have Richard Schaefer from Golden Boy Promotions, Jeff Wald from The Contender Series, and of course Steve Forbes.
Article posted on 26.04.2008
Richard Schaefer: Welcome everybody to today's conference call. I just want to make a few remarks before I'm going to pass it on to Jeff Wald. First and foremost, I'm fully aware, and I'm sure so is everyone else, that Stevie Forbes is going into the fight despite as a heavy underdog. But having said that, that I think is exactly when fighters are at their best and the hungriest. I mean for Stevie Forbes, this is like his version of the gold metal fight, for him this is everything he has always been waiting for. He's been world champion already, so he knows how to compete at that level, and I know as well based on what I've heard that he has trained extremely hard like never before. And I know that Stevie Forbes is coming to fight, and it will be I think a much, much closer fight than most people anticipate because he is a champion, he's a true warrior and a true fighter, Stevie Forbes. So I look forward to seeing you all ringside come Saturday May 3rd. Having said that I would like to acknowledge as well Jeff Wald, he is the CEO of Tournament of Contender. Golden Boy and Tournament of Contender have an outstanding working relationship, really friendship, but have fought many fights together, so it's really a pleasure for me to work on this big show, on this big fight. Again the Tournament of Contender in particular with Jeff Wald.
Jeff Wald: I want to second what Richard says about our relationship with Golden Boy. I think this is our fourth or fifth fight. Oscar and some of the Golden Boy fighters who appeared on The Contender show - as matter of fact the episode last year - and I want to compliment Golden Boy on something that's I think is important to all the boxing. And the way they're doing this particular week free on HBO could have an audience as many as 10 million homes which will exceed even with the broadcast networks have been able to do with boxing. That's because Oscar De La Hoya around free TV is just a rare, rare, rare treat. That's number one. Number two, the fact that they've priced the tickets at the Home Depot the way they have to give ordinary fans a chance to go and see without paying Los Vegas or Atlantic City prices. So they're going to get a huge, huge crowd of real, real fans. And it's just all good for boxing guys. The more people who get to see a great sport, the better off we all are instead of trying to marginalize it with them that don't deserve to be pay per view. Regarding the fact that Richard and he have made this choice, I compliment them. I want to also reiterate what Richard said about Stevie. Stevie Forbes was a champion at 130 lbs, which you all know, and then moved up to 140 lbs. On The Contender, he fought way above his weight and went through all those fights like a knife through butter in his 38 professional fights he has never been on a canvas, not once. Nor was he on a canvas ever in his amateur career. He has great training, he has great focus, he is really a true professional the way that Oscar is and the way that we would like to see boxers perform. When he had a little pick up with Floyd Mayweather, I'm sorry with Roger Mayweather leaving in the middle of camp, his trainer, I don't think he lost an hour of training and was replaced with Jeff Mayweather. From my point of view that lessoned the drama in camp so, the focus went on to fight and not on the trainers. It's all about the fighter at the end of the day, you need a great jockey but without a great horse, you don't have anything. There was no hiccup in the camp on the Jeff Mayweather front. Steve handled that with such smoothness it was unbelievable. He is coming to fight. I know from experience there's nothing on earth more dangerous than a hungry fighter, and Steve is a hungry fighter in spite of having been a world champion, in spite on how he's done on The Contender, spite of winning his other fights. He's a hungry fighter and he want this, so I'm going to turn it over to a young man who I admire. And I want to thank Richard Golden Boy and Oscar again for the opportunity. This really is an incredible opportunity.
Steve Forbes: I just want to thank Golden Boy and also Tournament of Contenders. A special thanks to Jeff Wald and Richard Schaefer, you do a whole heck of a lot behind the scenes and I don't think you get enough credit. I'm just looking forward to fighting man. I've been a world champion before, you know, this is the opportunity of all opportunities. Looking forward man to go out there and fight even above any level I've ever fought at and I'm just looking forward to going out there and being 100%. And I know I'm a huge underdog, but I think boxing is built – this is the only sport where, I mean on paper, yeah you're an underdog, but once the bell rings, it's a live fight, a live dog. I'm here and I'm excited and I'm just ready to go out here and be in such a historical event, I'm excited about it.
Newark Star Ledger: My first question is, you come into a fight, and I talked to a few people just casually and everyone says, okay Stevie, it takes a lot to punch to hurt Oscar, and Steve isn't big enough or Steve has to reach. What does Steve Forbes bring in to this fight that gives him a better than average chance of winning?
Steve Forbes: I bring defense, fearlessness, competitive spirit. I mean it's funny that people say I like the big punch and yeah I'm not a puncher, but you ask 38 guys that I've been in the ring with, they'll tell you something different. If you notice, nobody's ever been able to bully me around the ring. I mean any fighter I ever fought, I mean you go with the last fight, Bojado, strong puncher, strong - he wasn't able to bully me around if you watch the fight. He was the one retreating at the end. And that's just from experience. I bring experience. I bring being calm, being a professional, not getting too over excited, you know, just going about my work as a workman does. And I think that bring a lot. And you talk about the size, you look at when Oscar fought Pernell Whitaker. Pernell Whitaker was natural lightweight fighter, he's smaller than I am. I mean if we really want to get technical, but I mean his boxing brilliance, kept him alive, in the fight and then a very close fight. But, you know, I'm not comparing myself to Pernell Whitaker, I mean but I'm saying as far as smart and knowing my tools. I know I'm a little guy. I know what I have to do but I'll use my skills in there.
Franklin McNeal: You were at 147 during the Contender series, how can fighting at or how was that experience healthful for you going into this fight knowing what it feels like to fight at 147?
Steve Forbes: I think during that Contender, the guys were naturally bigger than Oscar is, I mean, you had some of the guys that fought at high as 168. I mean strong, strong guys and I've always looked at Oscar more as welterweight that was just skilled enough to compete at the junior middleweight and middleweight divisions. But not really necessarily a big physical guy at junior middleweight, but more of a natural welterweight. So, I think, coming from the Contender with these big, big guys definitely helped me as far confidence and knowing that I can be in there with strong guys and, not be discouraged at all.
LA Daily News : Yesterday on Oscar's conference call in one breath he said, anybody thinking that I'm looking past seeing Forbes is wrong, I already did that with Felix Stern. In another breath he says, I kind feel like I'm already training for Floyd Mayweather. How focused do you think Oscar really just on you and not looking past Floyd.
Steve Forbes: Well, I think he's, a little more focused on me than people might think just because the simple fact of who he is training with. Like I said, I've trained with the Mayweather's pretty much my whole career and actually I never lost a fight with him either. So I'm sure, I'm more than sure that Big Floyd has put it in his head to be ready for Steve, so I think, I would say it's a little natural for him to kind of look at the super fight, but I don't think he's overlooking me as people may think. But I saw those comments yesterday myself, but I thought, Floyd is drilling in his head that, first things first, so I think is more a little more talk than what's really going at camp.
Morales: Looking at your record, you've had a fight or so with a nine count. So the count is no big deal for you. Are you ready to fight many rounds with Oscar?
Steve Forbes: Absolutely, I'm a decision fighter. If you watch my fights, I get stronger down the stretch, you know, I'm not a sprinter, I'm a marathon guy, I'm prepared to go twelve hard rounds. If there was some miracle knockout that I was able to lay, hey I would take it. But of course that's not my game, my game is being smart at boxing. So, I'm not going to say hey I'm going to try to knock Oscar out because that's stupid. I'm going to use my skills and try to get the points.
LA Times: Building off that point, how do you see the fight transpiring? I mean what should we expect to see if you have a dream scenario in the fight, a knockout?
Steve Forbes: I see this is the fight that Oscar really trying to force the issue early on. I'd say the first few rounds to try to make me believe that I shouldn't be in there with him. And I've already had this over and over in my mind and dreamed about it, he's going to really try to press the issue by trying to make me believe that maybe I shouldn't be in there. It's a mental fight, and then I see me overcoming that and being smart. People are going to see a lot of things that they haven't seen a fighter do in a very long time and I'm very confident on that and I just see me winning a fight. It may get a little boring at times during the fight, but I think for the most part it's going to be really, really exciting because I know Oscar wants to excite the crowd. I do too, I would hate to come into a fight like this, especially being the underdog and not be exciting. I want fans to remember me. I think it's going to be a good, action packed fight and you'll definitely see that I'm not intimidated whatsoever.
Lance Pugmire: To Stevie or Jeff – how much pressure, following the Gomez outing against Miguel Cotto, is there to uphold the reputation of The Contender brand?
Jeff Wald: Each of these guys, fight for themselves. I don't think Golden Boy or Top Rank or any of them feel they have to pull the brand. I think that we're the only company that gets that question because of coming off the TV show and people talk about reality. The one thing with Gomez is he never stopped fighting, the doctor stopped that fight. You know, he was out matched, no question about that in that fight, and he'll come back and he'll fight some others. Remember, when Cotto got beaten just as badly, he came back and beat Foley for the championship. But I think Steve Forbes stands on his own. His records stands on its own, his accomplishments before The Contender as a world champion stand on its own, and are we proud of him being a Contender fighter? The answer is yes. Would it be a thrill for us and for our brand to have him win? The answer is yes. But at the end of the day, Stevie Forbes fights for Stevie Forbes, he fights for Valerie Forbes, he fights for his baby, he fights for the same reason all of these kids fight, they fight for themselves and their family. We're pleased to have a great relationship with our fighters and it would be great for us too. But the whole thing about us being embarrassed, were not embarrassed or any of that, it's really in the press's head, not the public's. The public looks at each of these fights to see if they're competitive, fun to watch, entertaining, and whether they get their money's worth. And I will say this, Oscar didn't become the draw he is becoming, he's the largest draw in boxing by far, by being stupid in what his choice for opponents, for the most part throughout his career, he's picked opponents that give him a good fight. Sometimes even through his detriment where he might have lost. Is he expected to win this? Of course he is. All fighters expect to win.
But I think that Oscar knows because he knows boxing and as Stevie said, Floyd Mayweather, Sr. knows that it's a competitive fight, period. There is no easy Stevie Forbes and Oscar wants to prove something to move on before he retires, and this is Stevie Forbes' opportunity to put his place in history as well. And say that guy's really, really motivated, really professional, been in front of big audiences before, they're fighting for themselves. I don't think, The Contender is what it's about to Stevie. It's about Stevie.
Lance Pugmire: And I want to add to that I think the Contender, what they have really done, they given fighters an opportunity to expose themselves and really build themselves. You know, you have some of them winning, some of them losing, you see Alfonso Gomez when he beat Arturo Gotti stopped him more than you have Brian Vera beating Andy Lee. So it really is if you put fighters in good fights, obviously everybody wants to win, but win or lose, that doesn't mean that this the end of a fighter. It basically if they are an exciting fight, it's really often it's just the beginning.
Jeff Wald: Yeah, nobody cared who won with Gotti. They're just great fights and, you know, and Richard's right, our business, all of our business if to provide – we're entertainment, we're entertainment. The television, we're entertainment for the people who pay a lot money to come to the events and at the end of the day, you know, the public roots, they have their favorites, but all they care about when they leave, did they see a great exciting fight, did they have fun, did they get their money's worth? You know, it's like going to a good movie or a bad movie. And, you know, I think where Golden Boy has done very successfully, especially in the past couple of years is, put on good competitive entertaining fights. And that's why the public is growing. That's why we might do 10 million on HBO, that's why the countdown to the fight with Forbes and De La Hoya was one of the highest rated programs ever for HBO. Because the public has gotten use to a certain standard and same thing with The Contender, we put on entertaining matches in five rounds and give these guys exposure. And then it's up to them how they take it to the next level.
We love to see our guys win just the way Richard does, and I thank Richard, we have given guys exposure. But at the end of the day when they get in the ring, Oscar is thinking of nothing but what's in front of him, not thinking of his company or his businesses and Stevie Forbes isn't thinking about me, I hope.
411mania.com: First of all, I just want to say congratulations on your performance in The Contender, given you're last couple of fights, you've looked very good especially against Cotto. Now tell me a little bit about you're game now you've been fighting pretty often, you've had – this will be like your third fight within the last 14, 15 months and Oscar will be his first in the last year.
So obviously he's going to be a little bit rusty, like most fighters are, so are you looking to advantage of that? Trying to get some points early?
Steve Forbes: Yeah, I think so. Oscar is very strong, can punch very good. So any advantages that I have I'm going to take them I'll try to push the pace. But I've got to be careful because Oscar is a I don't want to say, oh he's actually younger than a lot of these fighters that are legends. But he's an old legend so I kind of want to push the pace, but be very careful because Oscar is one of the smartest fighters that I've ever seen. So it'll be fun to match wits with a guy like that, as far as boxing intelligence. I think it's a thinking man's fight but I will definitely will try to push the pace a little bit being that I believe he'll be a little bit rusty for the first few rounds or so, but I think he'll be fine after that.
Jeff Wald: And I want to say one thing about the laid off factor. Foreman laid off for almost 10 years before he came back and Sugar Ray Leonard fought Hagler after a five year layoff. So I think what Stevie said is absolutely right, Oscar's ring rust is going to last about one half of the first round.
Inside Fighting: The show on HBO talked about how you've been studying footage ever since you were a young child and I'm assuming that you've been studying Oscar's fights in this group very carefully. Many people have been talking about ways in which you supposedly don't match up with him. But do you feel that in your study that found some weaknesses in him that you can exploit?
Steve Forbes: Absolutely, I have. Will I divulge that information? No. But no, I've seen little, I mean it's not really weaknesses it's just kind of a little lapses as far as in concentration at moments in a fight You don't become a legend like Oscar by having too many weaknesses. So I wouldn't say that, I would say little lapses in focus, which a lot of fighters have, which I have, which 99% of each fighter has. So I've found little cases that I think will work for me.
Elias Cepeda: Would you see a win over De La Hoya as simply a great punctuation on what has already been in championship career or do you plan to use it when to go on and accomplish a lot more? Do you see yourself pushing forward for a while longer with your career and using that repel it?
Steve Forbes: Oh absolutely, I would see a win to keep pushing. I'm only 31 years old, it seems like I've been around a long time. But I'm 31 years old, I would love to fight, to continue to fight great fighters. You got heavy weights that want to come down and fight Oscar De La Hoya, that's how much he's been to boxing. So absolutely I would want to capitalize off it.
Elias Cepeda: One quick follow up there, what was your reaction and what was kind of like for you and your family, and your wife's kind of initial conversation in talk when you were offered this fight? I know you've been talking about it's a great opportunity, but I'm wondering if you could take fans of yours into that moment there and what was going through you're guys' heads and in terms of possibilities and what might lay ahead.
Steve Forbes: I got the call and when I knew it was a serious call I was in a little shock. Because I was like, things like this don't happen for me. So of course you kind of get the unreal attitude like this is not serious, you know. But I think after maybe an hour or so, it's like okay, now, we got to get to work. This is serious. Of course this is a huge opportunity, but best believe Oscar's going to come to knock my head off. So now it's time to get ready for a fight and start getting your camp and everything set together because it's a great opportunity and I'm excited, but at the same time you got a man that you got to be prepared for and make sure that you've earned everything you get in the ring. So from that point I was excited and happy, the next point I was like wow man, I got a little worried and said, okay I better make sure I dot the I's and cross the T's and get myself ready to fight. So that's what we had a conversation about.
FightNews.com: Win or lose with Oscar, do you have any plans at all to go down in weight because there's been a whole lot of talk about you coming up and have you ever thought about going back down to say 135 to fight, try to challenge (Diaz or Nate or someone?
Steve Forbes: I don't know, I would have to talk to Jeff Wald about that and possibility, I'm sure we'll be doing some stuff with Golden Boy and Richard Schaefer. But, actually probably the most comfortable I feel is 140 lbs. You never know, win or lose if I'll come down in weight. I'm sure I could make 140 pretty easy, but I'll see how I feel after the fight- win or lose, about how I feel about the weight.
Riverside Press: Steve when Roger Mayweather left the camp, how did you feel, did you get pissed at Floyd Jr?
Steve Forbes: Well knowing Floyd since we were kids, I was more disappointed in Floyd that he picked that time to do that, I mean we were already in camp three weeks. It was no secret that Roger was going to train me for the fight, It was announced at the press conference. I just thought he could have did that a different way. And so I wasn't pissed at Roger, me and Roger talked about it – I actually talk to him at least once week. We still have a great relationship. It's not a problem, I went to go visit him last week, no problem with Roger. I just felt like Floyd could have did it a little different.
David Avila: Who do you spar with to prepare for a guy like Oscar?
Steve Forbes: Well there's a lot of big guys, Nobody quite fights like Oscar. So you get some big guys and some could be some strong guys and just work on what you need to work on to get ready for a fight like that.
Newark Star Ledger: Steve, I'm kind of following up on David's question. But it has to do with the changing of the trainers. Not so much how it transpired, but the fact that normally when people think of changing a trainer especially at the timing of it that happened with you, but there would be a kind of a disruption. But the fact that it was going from Roger to Jeff, has the transition been relatively smooth for you?
Steve Forbes: Yeah, it's been real smooth, like I stated I've been knowing the Mayweather's' since I was 17 years old and I've trained with all of them.Even in the time I trained with Roger, Roger would have to leave out of town and so I work with Jeff. With Floyd - when I worked with Big Floyd, he'd have to go with another fighter and Jeff would come in or I would work with Roger. So it's not a problem at all it was, it was handled in maybe like three minutes. Not a problem at all. It would have been a different trainer, let's say another style, type of trainer, it would been really, really crucial I think, really tough to adjust. But the fact that it was Jeff Mayweather, it was easy.
Franklin McNeal: So the fights are pretty much is the same.
Steve Forbes: Yes, it's the absolute same.
"Homecoming" --- On Saturday, May 3, De La Hoya will face former world champion Steve Forbes, in what will be the first-ever boxing event at The Home Depot Center's soccer stadium. The bout will also mark De La Hoya's return home to fight for the first time in Los Angeles since 2000 as well as his return to HBO's World Championship Boxing for the first time since 2001. Homecoming" is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Tournament of Contenders, AEG and The Home Depot Center and is sponsored by Cazadores, Tecate, Rockstar Energy Drink, Southwest Airlines and Affliction Clothing. The match up will be televised live by HBO's World Championship Boxing beginning at 10pm ET / 7pm PT.
Tickets priced starting at $25.00 may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 213-480-3232 or by visiting ticketsmaster.com. Group tickets, VIP packages and Hospitality packages are available by calling 1-877-AEG-TICKETS (1-877-234-8425) or by visiting www.aegtickets.com.
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