Chris Arreola, Israel Garcia Interview Transcript
LOU DIBELLA: First of all, I want to thank you for the opportunity, and I want to thank Cris for giving Israel this opportunity, Israel Garcia, better known as "King Kong" in New York. When I ran into Cristobal Arreola after he beat Chazz Witherspoon on the streets in Memphis ‑ he told me lineup another one of my fighters so he can beat him up. I'm lining up another one of my fighters, but I think this time you're in with a real tough guy, Cris.
Article posted on 17.09.2008
I'm very proud to promote Israel. He's one of the nicest guys I promote, the hardest working fighters and a rugged guy himself. He is a Puerto Rican‑American fighter from the hood in New York. A guy that has worked very, very hard I've promoted him in the last couple of years and last five or six fights of his career.
I think he's ready for this opportunity, and looking at it as an opportunity of a lifetime. We respect Cristobal Arreola right now as probably the best American heavyweight. And the guy who, right now, stands to have the best chance for an American fighter to win a title.
I have tremendous respect for Cristobal Arreola, and I know that Israel has his hands full. But I think Israel's going to go there knowing this is an opportunity of a lifetime. I expect this to be a much more exciting fight maybe than some people believe.
I know that Cristobal is a big favorite in this fight. I understand that. But I think this is one of the most rugged guys that Cristobal will have encountered to date. Israel is a guy that's going to go in there with no fear and nothing but, you know, come forward and rumble. And I know you like that kind of fight, and that's the kind of fight you're going to get.
I'll just pass it over to my fighter, as I said also, really, one of the finest gentlemen I've ever worked with, Israel "King Kong" Garcia.
ISRAEL GARCIA: I just want to thank you for giving me this opportunity. It's been a long time in the making. I've been fighting for it for ten years.
I went from promoter to promoter, and I finally found a promoter that I'm happy with. He's given me the confidence. And I just felt like I did with any of them.
I've fought with world champions and I've held my own. This is a great opportunity for me and I'm going to take advantage of it.
DAN GOOSSEN: Thank you very much. I want to introduce a young man who’s been with Cristobal for many, many years, one of the up‑and‑coming trainers in the business and certainly we've seen the results of his work with the constant improvement of Cris, Henry Ramirez.
HENRY RAMIREZ: Cris is in preparation for an exciting fight. We’ve looked at Israel Garcia as a fighter and looked at his tapes. He was basically what his promoter described: An aggressive guy, comes straightforward, looks at the fight, and that's going to fall right into our hands.
DAN GOOSSEN: Thank you very much. There's been a lot of talk on Cristobal Arreola. Lou just called him the best American prospect in the heavyweight division. I think he was holding back a little, because I believe he's the best heavyweight in the world today. That means all heavyweights. I know Cristobal's at that point of his career where he believes he's ready for anyone, and wants all the big names now. As we've said before, it's all a process of getting there and the next step is next Thursday.
His fan based is continually growing. We expect a sell out at Soboba. He's one of the most exciting fighters since the days of a prime Mike Tyson.
He comes in there with the attitude of knocking you out. That's his goal. He's got 21 KO's out of his 24 victories.
Although I believe that it should be 22 KO's. But since I have Chazz Witherspoon's promoter on the other line, I’ll stick to the record of only 21 KO’s. I believe for the reporters and fans that haven't had an opportunity to see Cristobal Arreola fight are in for a treat. For those of us that have seen him, we can’t wait to see more. There’s nothing better than pulling up a chair and watch this young man do his thing in the ring. We’re all in for a great, great time watching him fight.
I want to let him say a few words and then we'll get to the media questions. Top World Contender, the nightmare, Cristobal Arreola.
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: I want to thank Dan Goossen, and for giving me another opportunity to fight on TV and fight in my home base, my backyard. And coming up on the 25th, we will have a great fight.
If you can’t make it out there in person, look forward to watching it on Versus. Dan, and Al Hayman put me against a good fighter. Looking forward to it, I'll be ready for it.
DAN GOOSSEN: Next Thursday on Versus, we have two solid, solid fights with big, big stars. As Garcia mentioned, he sounds very confident and ready to give the fans their money’s worth. He felt this fight should have been made ten years ago.
We've got a hungry and good fighter in Garcia, with only one loss against his record. Kolle, likewise has only one loss. Both of these world-class fighters, Arreola and Williams, are taking up the challenge and realize that both of their challengers are the type of fighters that know that their careers could be made with an upset victory next Thursday.
Q. Cris, how do you feel about the east‑west competitions? Does it hype you up knowing that you're fighting someone like that?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: At this point in my career, there's no east‑west, north‑south competition. I'm trying to get a world title. It's mainly pick a fight. It's going to be a fight, it's going to be a good fight.
I'm sure King Kong feels the same way. There's no competition east‑west. If anything, there is more competition him being from Puerto Rican decent and me of Mexican decent. That's more of a rivalry than anything.
Q. What about the fact that you're getting more people that want to fight you now? It seems everybody's call you up from east, west, everywhere?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: Of course, once you're on top of the mound, they want to knock you down. The easy part is getting there, the hard part is staying there. Once everybody starts challenging you, it's a good thing. It's an honor. Now I've got to live up to what everybody thinks of me. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming.
You've got to come back to earth and realize that everybody's expecting a lot from you.
Q. Cris, I know how badly you want to become the first heavyweight world champion of Mexican decent. We've talked about that. But as Dan said, it is a process. But with that said knowing that you could fight some of the other world ranked guys right now and probably win, how do you guard against not overlooking a gentleman like Israel who, you know, at least over here is pretty much an unknown commodity. How do you guard against overlooking him?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: Knowing that he's hungry. Knowing that he wants to be where I'm at, and I'm still wanting to be a world heavyweight champion. He's still in the way. I still have to go out there and take care of business, just like he has to go out there and take care of business.
He's going to want to take me out, he's going to have to spill the same way. He's going to have to come in there sharp and ready to go.
Q. Israel, if I'm not mistaken, you're 38; is that correct?
ISRAEL GARCIA: Yes.
Q. I notice you didn't start your professional career until you were 28. How is it that you got what most would consider somewhat of a late start in the program?
ISRAEL GARCIA: Well, in the heavyweight division most of the fighters are late starters. I'm not a beat‑up fighter. I lost five years of my career dealing with promoters, like I said. I lost five years of my career with that. But I've never been in wars. So I'm not a beat‑up fighter.
I still feel I have enough time to accomplish what I need to accomplish.
Q. Israel, how exciting is it for you to get this kind of an opportunity against a world ranked fighter at this point?
ISRAEL GARCIA: It's a great opportunity. I'm happy he gave me the opportunity. I have a lot of respect for him. But like he said, we'll get in the ring, and it's a totally different story.
Q. Cris, I'm looking at, and I love the last question, but I'm looking at your activity. You fought five times in '06, three times in '07, and this is your third fight in '08; who gets the credit for that? Dan Goossen for keeping you busy or you for just wanting to be in the ring all the time?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: It's a team. We're a team. It's a team effort. You know, that's why Dan, Henry and Al we're all a team. I stay ready, and fight as much as possible. But it's only as good as the team is, you know.
Our team, we're one of the best teams out there. I want to continue that. We go out there to get the heavyweight title, and I still want to fight at least three times a year. I want to stay active. I love fighting, I love being in the fight. You know, Dan Goossen loves watching me fight, so I'll keep fighting.
Q. Dan, this is not in any disrespect King Kong, but everybody wants to know when is this guy going to fight for a belt, a real belt?
DAN GOOSSEN: Quite frankly, 2009 is going to be Cristobal’s year. We plan on going bearing down toward the heavyweight championship of the world starting next week. Cris is ready. We're ready. The boxing world is in dire need of Cristobal Arreola's success and quite frankly is in great anticipation of it.
And Cris is right. I love watching him fight because that's what it's all about as a fan. It's about fighting. I've seen tapes of Garcia. I know that he's no shrinking violet. He's going to come there to fight.
You know, there are no secrets about Cristobal Arreola. It's kind of what he just said. He loves to fight, and that doesn't mean hugging and holding his opponent.
So I'm sure Garcia's trained and realized that Arreola's not the type of fighter you can hug and hold because he won't let you. You've got to stand there and fight with him. That's what the fans like to see. That’s also what the networks like to see and quite frankly, that's what I like to see as a promoter.
DAN GOOSSEN: Lou, another bet you didn't pay up on?
Q. First question for Cris, as everybody knows the heavyweight division years ago used to be the most prestigious in all of boxing. Probably the heavyweight title was the most prestigious title in all of sports and it's no longer that. Tell us what you feel now that you're starting to talk about getting a title shot in the next year or so? Tell us what you feel you can bring to the heavyweight division that we haven't seen in so many years?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: Exactly what I said earlier. You know, I'm willing to fight three times a year, four times a year. I want to make sure that I defend my title. I honor the old school fighters, and just keep fighting.
A lot of people out there, I feel they don't want to fight each other, you know. So that's one thing I'm going to keep doing. I'm going to keep fighting. I'm going to make it exciting.
Just like come Thursday with me and Israel, you know, we're going to put in a fight. We're going to put in a show. I know he's going to come in here ready, and I'm excited. I know I'm going to have this opportunity again, but it's one thing to keep the heavyweight division exciting.
Q. You made a statement in the last fight with Witherspoon. Do you feel you have to not only win but look impressive and make a statement in this fight as well?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: Every time. I always have to make a statement no matter who the guy is. You know, because you're only as good as your last fight.
My last fight, I put in a statement, but that was the last fight. This is this fight.
Just like Mr. Israel said, he's going to come ready, so am I. And we're going to make a statement both of us together.
Q. Israel, you're sort of the fly in his ointment. You're hoping to upset him and derail all of these different plans. Tell us why you think you're going to be able to win this fight?
ISRAEL GARCIA: Well, I can fight either way. I can fight inside, I can box, I can do it all. It's a variety of things that you need to do as a boxer, and I feel I can do that.
Q. Have you watched tapes or TV of his recent fights like against Witherspoon or any of the others? Anything that you draw from that?
ISRAEL GARCIA: The only fight I really watched with him was with Witherspoon.
Q. Anything from that that you think oh, I saw something and I should be able to win that fight?
ISRAEL GARCIA: He's a tough fighter. There's a lot of, you know, you see mistakes that you have to take care of when you're in the ring, key mistakes. You've just got to, you know, take advantage of them.
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