Juan Manuel Marquez, Ignacio Beristain Interview
Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain: I would like to send a special hello and best wishes to everybody. All the boxing fans around the world--not just California, not just Nevada, but everywhere because this is a fight that the whole world's been waiting for. So I'd like to send all the best to everybody.
Article posted on 29.08.2009
Oscar de la Hoya: I would now like to introduce to you - he's the number two pound-for-pound on the list. He's the number one Mexican fighter in the world. People would even consider him the number one fighter pound-for-pound in the world. He has a record of 54 with 37 KOs, he is trained and managed by Nacho Beristain he has had a great 15-year career. Former WBA/WBO Featherweight World Champion, he also had a great tremendous amateur career with Golden Glove win under his belt. His first fight against Manny Pacquiao on May 8, 2004 ended in a draw and the second fight against Manny Pacquiao on March 15, 2008, he lost in a highly controversial split decision. He was the first to stop Casamayor in September 2008. And most recently, he stopped Juan Diaz in the ninth round for the WBO/WBA 135 pound title fight in February of 2009. Without any further ado I would love to introduce to you the champ from Mexico City, Mexico, Juan Manuel "Dinamita" Marquez..
Juan Manuel Marquez: First of all thank you very much I'm very, very happy to be here and I want to thank all the fans for all the support they're giving me. We're very, happy with the way training is going and the preparation, it's gone very well. And I send all the best to all the fans around the world. Thank you.
Q: Juan, I have two quick questions and first it's with the utmost respect that I ask what is your strategy for beating someone who is naturally bigger, faster and younger? And secondly has it been hard to retain your speed while you put on weight?
Juan Manuel Marquez: Well the strategy is that you have use to counter the speed, the youth and the bigger fighters is the strategy that I've always used in my fights...a lot of intelligence and a lot of the skill is what has brought me to where I'm at today. And to answer the second question, we've maintained work and speed at the same time. When I finish sparring sessions with the bigger gloves, I take them off and I put on the lighter gloves to work on speed. So throughout camp that I've worked on speed so that we have that when it comes to fight night.
Q: Juan Manuel, you mentioned your intelligence and using that as an advantage, but I also want to know if you believe Mayweather's lay off is something that you can exploit in any way?
Juan Manuel Marquez: No, that's not even in my mind. We're not working or training for Mayweather that's been out of the ring or that can be less fast, not as fast or without the distance. I'm training for the best Mayweather there is. And that's what we're working hard to achieve, working on the speed, working on the strategy inside the ring. We're looking forward to facing the best Mayweather.
Q: Oscar, this fight on paper, when you look at these two fighters, Juan Manuel obviously is one of the best fighters in the world pound-for-pound, but there seems to be prevailing thought that he's too small for Floyd. And do you think people are looking past his overall accomplishments and what is it that you can do as a promoter to convince people more that this is a very competitive fight?
Oscar de la Hoya: Well we're coming into a new era in boxing where weight doesn't matter anymore. It's all about who wants to fight, who has the better skill, who really wants it. I think in past fights including mine with Manny Pacquiao, it doesn't matter how big you are. It doesn't matter how small you are. It matters how much you want it because inside the ring, if you fight until the end you're going to win the fight. And one thing about Juan Manuel Marquez, I mean I was with him in the press conference with Mayweather and he's not that much bigger. And so I think it's going to be a huge advantage for Marquez going up a few pounds and Mayweather having to come down just the way it was with Pacquiao and myself, and I feel that people know that Mayweather is in for one tough fight on September 19. Marquez will have the whole nation of Mexico behind him because it will be the Mexican Independence weekend and that is a lot of pressure on Mayweather because he has to perform. He has been away for almost two years and Mayweather has to perform so I think it's going to be one tremendous fight where you can never ever count out the smaller guy.
Q: Juan Manuel, how do you imagine the fight? How do you plan on stopping him and - or how do you plan on stopping his speed?
Juan Manuel Marquez: It's going to be a very difficult fight, I am going to come in with a lot of speed like I have always done and that makes it very difficult. And to the second question, you've got to come in and bob and weave and bend and make him miss and then counter him and wait for the right moments and pick your shots.
Q: With less than a month to go for the fight, how is the preparation and how are you feeling?
Juan Manuel Marquez: Very good. The preparation has gone very, very well. There have been no injuries and come September 19 we're going to be ready.
Q: Do you think this fight with Mayweather is going to be much more difficult than your fights with Pacquiao?
Juan Manuel Marquez: Yes, definitely, I do believe so. He's a counter puncher, he's very fast and elusive and also a very defensive fighter so that will make it much more difficult.
Q: Sunday was your birthday. How did you celebrate it?
Juan Manuel Marquez: I celebrated with my family, but I am very concentrated right now, I'm totally focused on the fight. And I just spent some time with my family which is very important. But right now my focus is on the fight.
Q: Nacho, I'm not sure this is accurate, but a Filipino Web site quotes you saying that you are concerned about Juan Manuel's speed in light of him building up in bulk. Is that true? And either way is that a concern? Or has his speed declined at all because of the bulk?
Nacho Beristain: No, there's always concern when you're bulking up in weight and working and training that you're going to lose a little bit of speed. But no, on the contrary I'm very happy to say that Juan at this point in training has been acquiring much more speed than in fights in the past. Everything's come together. So, we're looking very, very good. I'm very happy to how things are coming along. And we'll see on September 19.
Q: One last follow-up for Juan, is there any way to quantify how much weight you've gained either in pounds or kilos or are you not clear on how much you've gained in terms of bulk?
Juan Manuel Marquez: With the postponement of the fight it was originally scheduled for July and then moved over to September. It actually helped us to continue working on building muscle. Right now I'm approximately about 65 kilos. And I'm very happy. I mean its all muscle and I feel good. I feel strong.
Q: The promotion for this fight is very, very big. In fact, Oscar it seems even bigger than some of your fights. I know that this fight will be shown in movie theaters in the US. Where will it be shown in Mexico?
Oscar de la Hoya: Yes, you have two great fighters, the best fighters, in boxing today. And not only the best fighters in boxing, but the best fighters that the fans want to see.
And you're right, that this fight is being promoted bigger than a lot of my fights. We're going to be showing it in 170 theaters across the country, but also in Mexico with Televisa.
Q: Oscar, as a promoter of this fight, can you visualize and can you see maybe down the line the winner of Marquez and Mayweather fighting the winner of Pacquiao-Cotto?
Oscar de la Hoya: Right now let's concentrate on this fight. And obviously if Marquez wins this fight he becomes one of the biggest fighters in Mexico along the lines of Julio Cesar Chavez. But after this fight we will sit down and go over everything. There's a lot of fights out there for him. And let's concentrate on this fight at the moment.
Q: Yes. The other day at WWE Monday Night Raw, one of the wrestlers predicted that Juan Manuel was going to knock out Mayweather. So, the question is, Juan, do you expect or are you going out there for the knockout?
Juan Manuel Marquez: We don't like to predict. We don't like to say we're going to knock them out or win by decision. We're just going to go in there and work very hard.
We've been working four or five months for this fight, looking forward to it. And we're going to work hard. We're going to push them. We're going to go in there. And if the knockout comes great.
Q: How are you taking all this pressure being the defender of Mexican fighters and fighting for your country, fighting against the great defensive fighter like Mayweather, the bigger fighter? How are you taking all this pressure? And how are you able to stand it?
Juan Manuel Marquez: On the contrary - I don't see it as pressure. I see it as motivation. I just work hard and I appreciate everything that's been done and to the level that it's been done by my promoters. And I understand the magnitude of this fight. What I do is in training, I separate it. I do my work in the gym. I train really hard. I get ready. I'm focused for the fight. And in my mind I separate. I know what's in the gym and what's out. And on September 19 I'm going to be 100% focused.
Q: Mayweather has said at your best, Juan Manuel, you will never reach what Mayweather once had. Now that he's coming back - he may not have exactly what he had back then, but that - that you will never reach him at his best speed or strength. And how do you feel about Oscar saying that you're number two on the pound-for-pound list?
Juan Manuel Marquez: I'm glad he's thinking that way. On September 19 we will find out.
I'm going to work hard. Like I said in the past he's a greater fighter. He's the best fighter. But we will see what Juan Manuel is able to achieve in his eyes. And as far as Oscar, I'm very honored that he considers me in the top of the world. But I want to make it clear that it is on some pound-for-pound list that they have me as number two. In our eyes, Oscar's eyes and many experts' eyes, Mayweather is number one pound-for-pound. And that is why the title of the fight is "Number One/ Numero Uno".
Q: Nacho, how did the postponement of the fight effect training?
Nacho Beristain: We've been in this game a very long time. We have the experience in boxing. It's something that happens. What today is red tomorrow can be green, and then we know and we work around that. It actually helped Juan Manuel. We took advantage of it because the more time he was able to work on strengthening and gear towards our goal. And our goal is to come out with the victory on September 19.
Q: Hey this is for Mr. Beristain, if you could just talk a little bit about how Juan Manuel's boxing has improved over the last few years? How he has developed as a fighter?
Nacho Beristain: Well, Juan Manuel, ever since he was a youngster, and I can go back to knowing him almost as a young child, he showed attributes of being a great fighter and what he's become. And obviously through the years he's matured in and out of the ring. He's learned his craft very well. The only thing that sometimes concerns me is that, he sometimes gets a little bit tired of the routine. But I do believe that Juan Manuel can become the first Mexican born fighter to win titles in four divisions. And I haven't talked to him lately about it, but I hope that the itch of accomplishing that will keep him motivated and focused to continue on trying to reach this before he retires.
Q: Yes, this question is for Juan. How does it feel making this kind of money? Did you ever imagine that you'd be making this kind of money for a fight and how does it affect you in your preparation?
Juan Manuel Marquez: No. That's never in your mind as far as you're going fight-per-fight. Obviously it's a good thing, but I think it just reflects on the sacrifice and the hard work is being paid off. And as far as the postponement of the fight, it actually helped so that we could achieve more time - with more time to get to where we want to go so we're 100% and not worrying about any type of over training as well.
Q: My second question is about ten years ago both you and Floyd fought on the same card. In fact that day I think you lost yout first fight ever against Freddie Norwood and did you ever imagine you'd be fighting Floyd Mayweather, now and for this - what's at stake?
Juan Manuel Marquez: No, like I said, you never know what lies ahead. And yes you're right; we fought on the same card. I was a co-main event in 1999 to his - he was the main event. At that time, no it wasn't in my mind that we could fight.
But now here it is on September 19. It's an honor and I'm very motivated and very happy to be fighting one of the best fighters out there.
Q: Oscar, as a promoter, there's been so much talk about weight in this fight.
Do you feel that fight fans today care about the title belt or are they more concerned about the individual matchups? And as someone who promotes boxing, what do you try to do now? Look for the best matchup such as this fight, or do you care about the weight divisions anymore?
Oscar de la Hoya: The matchup is what matters most. The fans do not care about what title is at stake. The fans don't even know about what title is at stake because there's too many. And we at Golden Boy wanted to make sure we put on the best fights possible for the fans. When you have Juan Manuel Marquez against Floyd Mayweather and the whole card from top to bottom, being an excellent one, this goes to show you that the fans just want to see great fights. People are asking for great fights and it's about time that a promoter comes along and gives you great fights. So when you have two fighters going up for a title, it doesn't mean anything anymore. What matters most is that to give the fight fans the best fight possible. And that's how boxing is going to progress. That's how boxing is going to stay alive and well the way it is now because you're watching the best fighting the best.
Q: Thank you and I have one question please for Juan. Do you find the television show 24\7 to be a distraction to you or do you find it to be an interesting to your work out as you prepare for this fight?
Juan Manual Marquez: No I am very happy to have them here. As the Mexican media has told me and all my friends the press, I am the very first Mexican to be on the 24\7 and to me that's a huge honor. And I treat it like they are not here when it comes time to training. I train like they're not there but I'm really, really honored to be the first Mexican on a 24\7.
Q: This question is for Juan Manual Marquez or for Nacho Beristain I was wondering if you could shed some light on your sparring sessions? Maybe tell us a little bit about who you have sparred with, how big the sparring partners are or if they are all fast and defensive minded boxers?
Nacho Beristain: We have a couple of sparring partners that have been sacrificing and working really hard to help Juan. Alejandro Barrera who is a Mexican fighter, has been working with Juan and he's been very happy with the work.
We also have a young Panamanian fighter, who's very, very fast and showing Juan a lot of the difficulties, boxing defensive wise that we expect to see on fight night and today we're going to confirm a young fighter out of Venezuela that is leaving Mexicali on his way back and will stop in Mexico to see if he can help Juan. I am hoping it's Jorge Linares, not his brother because he might be too big for this point in training which we are looking for a lot of the speed now with faster fighters.
Q: Okay, the question is for Nacho, Juan Manuel and Oscar, it's been passed by Nevada Boxing Commission that the instant replay can now be used for the fight and this could become the first big fight that it will be used. What benefit and how can it help the status of boxing and maybe in this fight?
Nacho Beristain: It's a great opportunity to sort of stop a little bit of some bad calls from the judges or bad decisions, for instance if it would have been used in the fight with Juan and Manny Pacquiao it could have been a different outcome.
Everybody in the world saw Juan Manuel win. And it would help, because it leaves a sour taste when you have stuff like that happen. So hopefully this is a great opportunity to prevent that a little bit.
Oscar de la Hoya: Not only that, but the instant replay can show if it was an illegal blow, a head butt, if the cut was caused by a punch, or an elbow and it could benefit the outcome. It could benefit the fighter and change the outcome.
Kelly Swanson: As an update, Floyd Mayweather will have his national conference call with his trainers next Tuesday, September 1 followed by his media day on Wednesday, Sept. 2 in Las Vegas. Juan Manuel will also be holding his media day in Mexico City on that day as well and then we lead into fight week and everybody will receive a fight week schedule. In the coming weeks we also have several press releases that we are sending out with some other updates so we look forward to your continued coverage and we'd like to thank Juan and Nacho for being with us today and Rob Diaz for his help with the translation.
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Mayweather vs. Marquez: "Number One/Numero Uno," is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions in association with Marquez Boxing Promotions and is sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, AT&T, Quaker State, Dewalt Tools, Affliction Clothing and Southwest Airlines. The 12-round bout will take place Saturday, Sept. 19 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev. and will be produced and distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Tickets priced at $1,000, $750, $600, $300 and $150, not including applicable service charges, are on sale now and limited to 10 per person and ticket sales at $150 are limited to two (2) per person with a total ticket limit of 10 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets previously purchased for the July 18 date will be honored.
The Mayweather vs. Marquez pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, has a suggested retail price of $49.95, will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View® and will be available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View®, a division of Home Box Office, Inc., is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For Mayweather vs. Marquez fight week updates, log on to www.hbo.com.
HBO's Emmy®-Award-winning all-access reality series "24/7" returns to HBO® with an all new edition as "Mayweather/Marquez 24/7" premieres Saturday, August 29 at 10:15 pm ET/PT. The four-episode series will chronicle the preparations and back stories of both fighters as they train for their September 19 pay-per-view showdown.
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