Edwin Valero, Antonio Pitaula Interview Transcript
The bell has already rung for the April 4 "Lightweight Lightning" main event between undefeated KO artist Edwin Valero and the hard-hitting Antonio Pitaula when the two pugilist joined each other on an international conference call this week and exchanged heated blows. The call also featured Jesus Chavez, who is excited to be fighting in his hometown of Austin, Texas and is seriously training for a bout against the extremely talented Michael Katsidis, a fight he needs to win.
Article posted on 19.03.2009
"Lightweight Lightning," an unprecedented four-bout pay-per-view card features Valero vs. Pitalua in a 12 round bout for the vacant WBC Interim World Lightweight Crown, Casamayor vs. Diaz in a 10 round lightweight bout, Katsidis vs. Chavez in a 10 round lightweight bout and Hernandez vs. Escobedo in a 10 round bout. The four-bout lightweight extravaganza will take place on Saturday, April 4th at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX..
The bouts are presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate and Southwest Airlines and will air live on pay-per-view beginning at 9pm ET / 6pm PT with a suggested retail price of $39.95.
Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75, $50, $35 and $25, are on sale now and may be purchased at the Frank Erwin Center box office, by phone at (512) 477-6060 or 1-800-982-2386 or online at TexasBoxOffice.com. Tickets are also available at Texas Box Office Outlets including select H-E-B stores located in Austin and surrounding areas.
*Robert Diaz of Golden Boy Promotions provided translation for this bilingual conference call
CONFERENCE CALL INTRODUCTION
David Itskowitch, Golden Boy Promotions: Thank you everybody for joining us today. I'll just briefly give some information on the show. We're very excited about this show. It features four lightweight fights featuring some of the best talent in the division. It's going to come from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas on the University of Texas at Austin campus. It will be available live on pay-per-view beginning at 9 pm Eastern/ 6 pm Pacific, with a suggested retail price of $39.95. We've got tickets still available starting at just $25 and they're available at the Erwin Center box office by phone at 800-982-2386 or online at texasboxoffice.com. The event is sponsored by Cerveza Tecate and Southwest Airlines. I'd like to thank them for helping to make this event possible.
The four fights that are going to be featured on this show; we're going to start the broadcast off with Carlos "Famoso" Hernandez versus Vicente Escobedo. The next fight on the broadcast will be Michael Katsidis versus Jesus Chavez, then Joel Casamayor versus Julio Diaz, and then finally ending the night would be a world title fight for the WBC World Lightweight Championship; Edwin Valero versus Antonio Pitalua. So top to bottom really a stacked card; we're very excited about it. It is kind of unprecedented to have this much talent and this many world champions; we have six world champions on the show. Now I want to start turning it over to the fighters. I'll introduce each one to say a few words before we open up to questions answers. First to say a few words - he's got a record of 24 and 0 with 24 knockouts; never has to hear of the scorecards being read. From Bolero Alto, Venezuela he's a former Junior Lightweight World Champion, now moving up to Lightweight for the first time. He won his first 18 bouts via first-round round knockouts. Edwin Valero.
David Itskowitch: Next to say a few words with a record of 46 and 3 with 40 KOs; fighting for his first world title, another hard-hitting fighter from Monteria, Columbia; Antonio Pitalua - Antonio.
Antonio Pitalua: I want to thank Golden Boy Promotions. I want to thank Oscar De La Hoya. I want to thank God for giving me this opportunity. I know who Edwin Valero is. I've followed his career and on April 4 he will also know who Antonio Pitalua is. I want to dedicate this to all the Latin; all the Hispanic community, and especially to all the Mexicans which is my second home.
David Itskowitch: Okay, thanks a lot. Last and certainly not least...he is from Texas; so he's the home town favorite on this show. He's a two-time world champion; he's got a record of 44 and 4 with 30 KOs. He's going to be fighting Michael Katsidis who many of you have probably seen is kind of a Arturo Gatti style type fighter and comes forward, cuts, gets knocked down, gets back up; Jesus "El Matador" Chavez - Jesus.
Jesus Chavez: Well thank you very much for having me here on this phone conference. I am very excited to be fighting here in Austin, fighting a great fighter such as Michael Katsidis, and I'm sure it is going to be a great night of boxing.
EDWIN VALERO vs. ANTONIO PITALUA
Q. Antonio and Edwin - this card, it has a lot of top Lightweight challengers and contenders in the 135 pound division, and given what happened a few weeks ago with Marquez knocking out Juan Diaz and then talking about wanting to move up to Junior Welterweight, this pay-per-view sort of seems like that opportunity for somebody to really truly shine and make themselves the guy in the lightweight division to watch out for.
Edwin Valero: First, I'm very happy to be fighting for the WBC and that's the only organization I'm interested in. If Marquez moves up in division vacating the other belts, it's of no interest to me. I'd like to fight the best in this division; I'd like for Marquez to stay in the Lightweight division as I consider him a 130 pounder naturally. So if he goes up to 140 it would really not be to fight the best. I'd like to fight me and once he fights me he can move on to fight at a different division and go up in weight, but at this point I'd like to fight the best fighters out there.
Q: I look forward to watching him train in person. I have one other question for Edwin - have you ever seen any tapes of Antonio Pitalua and can you describe Pitalua's style for fans and media who may have never seen a Columbian fight before?
Edwin Valero: Well I know Antonio Pitalua; I saw him in his last fight in Monterey, Mexico against Jose Armando Santa Cruz and I can tell you that he's a very aggressive, very strong fighter. He's a warrior with a lot of will to win.
You can tell he can punch; he has a pretty heavy punch. But unfortunately I can't help make his dreams come true; I'm not going to allow it.
Q: Mr. Pitalua, can you respond to Mr. Valero?
Antonio Pitalua: Yes, I know Edwin was there at my fight in August - in my last fight with Santa Cruz. And I want the public to know - I want everybody to know that I am a very aggressive fighter. I love to exchange toe-to-toe and that's me; that's my style. And I know I've heard rumors out there that Edwin Valero is challenging Juan Manual Marquez and stepping me aside but you know what, that's okay - that's fine because on April 4th the world - the Hispanics, the whole world are going to know who Antonio Pitalua is. He's not going to stop my dream of becoming a world champion.
Q: There's been a lot of talk of Edwin challenging Juan Manuel Marquez or maybe even Manny Pacquiao, and are you overlooking Antonio Pitalua and not giving him the respect?
Edwin Valero: No, no, no - I've never said I disrespect him; on the contrary, he's a good fighter. But I know of my capacity. I know what I can do, and I know what Pitalua brings. And he's a fighter that on the night of the fight he's going to roll; he's going to fall. He's too slow for me. I'm too fast, I'm too strong for him, and I want to fight the best. He's a good fighter, but I'm up for bigger and better things.
Q: Antonio what are your comments on Edwin's answer?
Antonio Pitalua: I respect what he's saying; that's fine. But let's see - let's see what happens on April 4. I know my capacities. I can take a punch. I fought my entire career - most of my career in Mexico. Edwin knows what Mexican fighters bring to the table and I've fought all tough fighters. I want to know who has he fought that's tough. Yes he can punch, but can he take a punch? And on April 4 we'll see because I can punch.
Kelly Swanson: On my goodness. Buy your tickets immediately.
Q: Edwin Valero, what is your medical situation? It's my understanding that you're not able to be licensed in every State in the Union. Do you have any concerns about your medical situation? Do you feel 100% comfortable that you're not putting yourself in harm's way other than the normal thing that all boxers go through as far as fighting?
Edwin Valero: Every fighter that steps in the ring runs a risk of being injured or being hurt. And I am in no more risk than any other fighter. You know, because of the procedure, because of the surgery that I had - I want to clarify, it was an accident that I had many years ago on a motorcycle. It was very minor it wasn't what it's played out to be. It was outside of my brain; it wasn't that they took my brain out, washed it and put it back in, and it was nothing like that. It was a vein that erupted and they took care of it. I've been to doctors all over the world. I've been to Argentina, I've been to Panama, I've been to Venezuela. I have seen all the best doctors in America.
I actually saw the doctor that performed the surgery on Marco Antonio Barrera; Doctor Madrazo and they've all told me the same that I'm clear to fight; that I'm okay; that I don't run any more risks than any other fighter.
In December I was in the Philippines and a doctor -- the President actually -- as a gift gave me an exam and they cleared me as well out there. So I want to repeat that I'm in no more danger than any other fighter, to suffer any more injuries or anything because of what I have. But it could happen to any one of us like it happened; and you mentioned a little while ago with the Jesus Chavez, Levander Johnson fight in the past.
Q: This of course will be your first fight in the lightweight division; you have obviously had, all of your wins by knockout at Junior Lightweight. And I wonder how confident are you of the power that you possess as a Junior Lightweight which is tremendous obviously. How well do you think it will carry up to five pounds?
Edwin Valero: Oh definitely. I feel very strong at Lightweight. Out of my 24 fights about 14 or 15 were at Lightweight. In the beginning of my career as there weren't titles or anything on the line, I didn't see a need to drop down to the 130 pound division; so again, most of my fights at the beginning of my career were at lightweight. So I feel very strong, feel very fast - I'd like to stay here for a few years, bring out some heat in this division; face the toughest opponents out there, and in the future, move up to 140 where I think I can also do something in boxing.
Q: You know this fight is taking place on the Golden Boy card because of the purse bid and the relationship with the Pitalua people, and I know that you have signed with Top Rank. What have you and Top Rank talked about as far as what your plans would be if you are able to capture this belt and take care of your business against Pitalua?
Edwin Valero: Right now there's nothing concrete done. We haven't sat down and really negotiated or talked anything beyond Pitalua. Right now on my mind everything is Pitalua. It's set on Pitalua; I have to finish this man first before we can have a sit down and discuss future plans.
Q: Edwin, how do you like training in Southern California again? You trained here - you were based here and you trained here like back in 2003 and 2004 and then you were gone for a number of years and now you're back training in the Southern California area. Does that that means anything to you?
Edwin Valero: Well first, it was 10 months that I lived here in Los Angeles. I enjoyed it; I was working here, fighting here, living here, but obviously when they pulled my license in 2004 I had to leave in 2005, first, Panama, Argentina and then I landed in Japan. I was there for a few years with my promoter from Teiken Boxing, Mr. Honda. After a while, living there and raising my family and my kids, it wasn't the ideal place that I wanted there for my family. So I spoke to Mr. Honda I needed a trainer that would train me personally that was dedicated to me all the time, and unfortunately in Japan I had a trainer, but he had many other fighters as well. We came out to the U.S.; at first I was in Las Vegas with Kenny Adams, but he became a little ill -- he has a problem with his heart -- and just a situation that happened and it was an emergency change.
And now I'm here in Los Angeles with "The Professor" Robert Alcazar and I feel very, very happy. We've clicked phenomenally and it's been a great click. We both think alike; we have many same ideas and I think together we can do a lot of good things in boxing.
Q: I had one final question for who's on representing Edwin. What's the exact status been of Edwin's licensing in Texas? New York kind of changed their - his status. Is Texas still the only place he's licensed currently?
Reynaldo Sol Arceneaux: Yes, his manager Jose Castillo and his promoter are negotiating and dealing that and making sure what all the requirements are so that they can start opening up and licensing him in other states.
Q: But right now it's just Texas?
Reynaldo Sol Arceneaux: Right now it's just Texas, correct.
Q: Edwin at 24 and 0 you decided to move from Junior Lightweight to Lightweight. Did you move up because you couldn't make the weight or you moved up to get better fights? And also at 24 and 0; 24 knockouts, are we going to see 25 and 0 with 25 knockouts after this fight?
Edwin Valero: Yes, to the first question - yes it was costing me a lot of trouble; a lot of sacrifice to make 130 pounds. We felt it was time to move up; that's why we vacated the belt and moved up to 135 and gained a little bit of weight and I feel strong and I feel good here.As far as your second question, well you know, that's what we're looking forward to on April 4th, to have the hand raised. And as I said before, I mentioned Antonio Pitalua brings the perfect, perfect style for him to fall and get knocked out. He's perfect for me; Antonio Pitalua is perfect.
Q: Okay great. And a question for Antonio - you've got I think, 13 knockouts in a row. What's your comment about Edwin's comment?
Antonio Pitalua: I respect his words; I respect what Valero says, but I repeat to you; I haven't lost since 2000. I've been winning by knockouts since then. All his words; whatever he says, the wind takes him. I don't get damaged; I don't get hurt from his words. We will see on April 4. He says I bring the perfect style, well you know what? He brings the perfect style for me too. And we'll see who brings out the best of whom.
Q: I've got a question for Edwin. Now Edwin, obviously with your exciting style and your obvious knockout power, you're one of the most talked about Junior Lightweights and now Lightweights, especially among the media and stuff.
But this is your first big Pay-per-view. I mean, not a lot of fans know of your fights, for the ones that have seen you on YouTube or really try to make it a point to check out your fights. So I was wondering if you could kind of tell us what it means to you to be finally featured on a big card like this?
Edwin Valero: I feel very fortunate to be on this card and I want the whole public to get what they're paying for and give them a great, great fight. And I want to thank the people at Golden Boy also for putting this card together. And I'm just very happy and very fortunate that we're, you know, being able to be on the card.
Q: Jesus Chavez, I've read your background; you've had some real perils in your life both in the boxing ring and outside the ring and I wanted to know what it really means to you to be able to have a fight in Austin of this magnitude where obviously you're loved by your fans. Is there some vindication for your overall career and the things that have happened, to be able to fight in front of your hometown fans?
Jesus Chavez: Obviously I feel very excited to be fighting here in Austin. It's not going to be a hard task for me. The magnitude of the fight really - I have been there before so that doesn't bother me. In Austin, I've fought here before also and I don't think that's going to bother me at all, so I feel very comfortable. I've hoped for something like this opportunity and I'm very happy; very motivated and I think it's going to be a great fight.
Q: This card, it's a lot of top Lightweight challengers and contenders in the 135 pound division, and given what happened a few weeks ago with Marquez knocking out Juan Diaz and then talking about wanting to move up to Junior Welterweight, this pay-per-view sort of seems like that opportunity for somebody to really truly shine and make themselves the guy in the Lightweight Division to watch out for. Do you think that a winner or the guy that looks the best on the card really might have a mandate to become that number one lightweight?
Jesus Chavez: I think that this fight card completely will eliminate some of those questions asked by the fighters whose capabilities are going to shine over others. And I think that yes, it's an opportunity for these fighters to become number one. But you have to understand Juan Manuel Marquez still has not moved up; he still remains the champion and he still remains the target.
Q: Jesus, I just wanted to ask you; and I know that I'm going back a couple of years here, but after your unfortunate fight with Levander Johnson, I know you took about a year and a half off and then you came back and you were stopped in the third round by Julio Diaz.Did you feel like you were ready mentally after what happened with Levander Johnson to come back and fight because I was a little surprised that you got stopped in the third round of that fight against Diaz.
Jesus Chavez: Well correction - I think that Julio Diaz did not stop me. If you saw the fight you would know that I had a knee injury. I think that that was probably the luckiest day for Julio Diaz to become champion of the world. Was I ready to fight? I was. Was I willing to win? I was. And I think that next time a question like is being thrown at me regarding me being knocked out by Julio Diaz, you need to look at the tape once again.
Q: Okay, that's fair enough. I didn't know about the knee injury so that's my bad and I apologize for that Jesus. So you were - you don't have any lingering effects psychologically from the Levander Johnson thing?
Jesus Chavez: The Levander Johnson incident, it's a topic that will always linger in my mind and in my heart. It's a very sad and unfortunate situation that I had to go through something like that, but I have Levander Johnson's family's support to continue on and to fight not only for the cause that I'm fighting for, but also to carry on and have Levander Johnson's name lifted every time my arm gets lifted.
Q: Yeah and now - of course now that you've mentioned it, the memory is coming back to me about the knee injury so again, my sincere apologies on that. That was my lack of research so I'll try not to let that happen again. Jesus you mentioned in your earlier answer to me when I asked about the person that looks the best on the card making a statement about being potentially number one; you brought up the fact that indeed Juan Manuel Marquez is still in the division and has not given up the title, and has not decided yet to 100% move up to Junior Welterweight. I wonder, is he the person in the division that you believe is number one at the moment, despite all the different belts that are out there and the person that you would aspire to face? Or would it be perhaps Julio Diaz in a rematch or what are your goals if you can take care of your business on this undercard?
Jesus Chavez: Well first of all on the undercard, my business is with Michael Katsidis. And I do know and I do understand that Juan Manuel Marquez became the man at 135 pounds when he beat Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz. Yes, I think that's a fight that I am interested in. Any fighter at Lightweight Division would hate to see him move up, but that is his choice, his prerogative, and if he wants to leave everything on the table for everybody else to fight each other, I'm up for whatever comes up. But I think that, Juan Manuel Marquez is the at man at 135 right now.
CONFERENCE CALL WRAP-UP
Q: Can I ask a question for David? I know you had kind of looked at San Antonio for this card a little bit. Was it a matter of thinking it was a better fit for Austin or lack of a venue here; availability or what - how did that come down?
David Itskowitch: It came down to venue. We talked to the people at the Spurs' arena, but they had something in that building that they couldn't clear out. We'd always kind of eyed Austin and we liked Austin. You know Jesus is from there...And then there's the Texas Relays are that weekend in town so they'll be a lot of people in town looking for something to do on Saturday night. You know we were leaning Austin's way and then we got a push when the building wasn't available in San Antonio.
Q: I see; okay. What is the aim for this? I guess is kind of Richard's baby. Is this supposed to be kind of a tournament or is it just a single card or what's the idea?
David Itskowitch: Obviously it started out - our thought was to have a tournament, but though Edwin is obviously signed with another promoter so, his participation and further bouts couldn't be guaranteed. You know, maybe you could refer to it as kind of, you know, a de facto tournament. Maybe the guys that win will fight each other but, you know, we couldn't guarantee it because we can't speak for Edwin. So I think it's also just kind of a way to shake things up in the Lightweight division with so much talent in it; have some cream rise to the top, and move on to the bigger fight.
David Itskowitch: I just want to remind everyone - get your tickets. These fights are hot fights; they're going to be good fights. Get your tickets if you're in Austin. If you're not in Austin you can see it on pay-per-view and thanks again for joining the call everyone.
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