Odlanier Solis Interview Transcript
BOB ARUM: These are very exciting times for Top Rank. Last Saturday we presented THE EVENT at Cowboys Stadium this Saturday we are proud in another way. We’ll be staging a fight card in the beautiful Florida Keys. It’s going to be a tremendous setting and a very good card and for the people that can’t get down to the keys can watch it on FOX and it is going to be a spectacular show. The event will at Mallory Square in Key West and the venue is right next to the Atlantic Ocean. During the course of the fight there may be some Cuban fighters who come up in rafts and put one foot on our soil so we can fill up our roster. We are going to be showcasing a terrific heavyweight match.. Odlanier Solis is an Olympic Gold Medal champion and World Cup champion. I saw him fight at Madison Square Garden (MSG). Because of his quickness, fast hands and power, we believe he is a real prospect to beat either one of the Klitschko brothers and this fight against Carl Drummond who is a big heavyweight is going to help demonstrate that to the boxing public. We are looking with a fight against either Klitschko sometime this year. Top Rank hasn’t done much in the heavyweight division recently but with Solis, we believe he is a future heavyweight champion. Watch on Saturday night and you can make your own determination.
Article posted on 19.03.2010
DAVID JOHNSON (Key West Promoter): I would have to say this is the best card we have put on. We are proud to be working with Top Rank and to have Solis. We just have a great card and there is no other way to put it.
TONY GONZALEZ (Arena Box): I think it is symbolic that we are only 90 miles off the coast of Cuba and that Solis is going to be fighting so close to his country, the closest since his defection.
BOB ARUM: The old man isn’t going to be around much longer and my dream would be to take Solis and have him defend his title in Havana.
ODLANIER SOLIS: I put in a lot of work for this fight and I am aware that I am fighting only 90 miles from my country and I want to put on the best performance possible, not only for the public that is going to be present in Key West, but my countrymen in Cuba.
BOB ARUM: First of all, we were contacted by the Vitali Klitschko people when their fight with Valuev fell out and they almost agreed to do the fight with Solis but they went in another direction and are fighting a Polish guy. I think we may very well be up next. I think the Klitschkos are the real heavyweight champions, you can make an argument for either of them but Haye is a very good fighter and I know he has a belt and if we could make a match with Haye, we would certainly do that. Top Rank currently has two heavyweights that are in the mix – Sam Peter who fought in Dallas and Solis. Those are our two horses and we are ready to take on all the champions so matter who it is.
What happened in the Klitschko negotiations?
BOB ARUM: The Klitschko people spoke to HBO about doing the fight on June 5 rather than May 29 and if they did it on June 5, HBO said it would buy the fight but it would deprive the Yankee Stadium card of becoming an event and we declined that. They want to get back on American television and that was the good thing – if he fought Solis, it would be carried on HBO. Everybody is talking about Solis. They saw him at MSG and if his performance against Drummond, who I saw train at the Wild Card gym, is a big guy and looks like he has a lot of skill and if Solis comes through with Drummond I’m sure we’ll be able to land a title shot this year.
How many fights are you away from a title shot?
ODLANIER SOLIS: Since I turned professional, my goal has always been the same and I felt that I have been ready to fight for the most prized crown in this industry, which is the heavyweight crown. I was ready then and I’m ready now and I’ll always be ready. When given the opportunity I will take full advantage and make the best of it.
BOB ARUM: Obviously it is up to getting one of the champions to fight Solis and I’m very optimistic that will happen sometime before the end of the year, definitely.
Thanks to Ahmet Öner, we co-promote one of the best if not the best lighter weight fighters in the world in Yuri Gamboa and who we are going to showcase on HBO this summer in a major match. Everybody knows that Cuba has developed a tremendous boxing program. Prior to recent times a lot of their fighters were not appealing, they were left-handers and boxed very well but now we have Solis and Gamboa, two tremendous talents who are two of the most exciting boxers in the world today.
ODLANIER SOLIS: I haven’t been on the island in over 3 years and I don’t know what their mindset it. We have opened up a trail way to prove to them that there is life after amateur boxing and they can take up professional boxing but there are a lot of sacrifices that are involved in it but they can use us as an example.
ODLANIER SOLIS: I have dropped weight from the last fight.
BOB ARUM: By and large, most of the Cuban people who live in the US left in the first wave when Castro took power. They are of a different class and they have relatively little desire to follow boxing, particularly with Cuban fighters. The idea was, if you put an event in Miami you’d get a tremendous number of fans – not true. But because these fighters are so proficient that when they become world champions, their exposure has to be done on television so fight fans can see them fight and see how good they are. At the end of January, Ross Greenburg was sitting behind me and Gamboa blew him away so now every conversation with him is “when can we get Gamboa back in the ring and get him on HBO.” With that attitude, it won’t be long before Gamboa is a household name athlete in the United States and around the world without a particular fan base like the Cuban community.
ODLANIER SOLIS: I have a son over there and I can make phone calls.
BOB ARUM: Assuming Solis does what he is capable of on Saturday night, he will demonstrate to the world what we are dealing with here. Then we will make a full court press on the various champions and go for a title fight. He’s ready. These Cuban guys have had such great training. He’s 29 and a heavyweight reaches his peak at about 31 or 32. Let the people watch on Saturday night and make their own determination.
We are going to move Sam Peter as well. I was there when Peter fought Klitschko and he had Klitschko down three times and he lost the decision. The decision was correct because in the rounds he didn’t knock him down, Klitschko boxed his ears off. Those are interesting fights and if the Klitschkos and David Haye want to get on American television they can do that by fighting Solis or Sam Peter. Right now they are fighting fighting garbage fights. This Polish guy is a club fighter – I would make the over-under with he and Solis 30 seconds.
BOB ARUM: In five years it would be worth pursuing, but right now I think that is ahead of the game. It is the wave of the future.
March 13 PPV number?
BOB ARUM: Right now all we have are the dish numbers and they are excellent. If the cable numbers come in at the same level, we have hit a home run.
What kind of fight are you expecting from Drummond?
ODLANIER SOLIS: Whichever way he wants to fight…if he wants to fight close in or if he wants to stay away and try to box…I am ready for whichever style he brings. I have seen his videos and I’ve seen that he changes styles every once in a while so I am well prepared for this fight.
BOB ARUM: David Johnson and Carl Moretti have told me that for all the media that are attending this fight, we are going to take them fishing and there is a prize for the biggest catch. Key West in a beautiful place and now we are staging this wonderful event. We also have an eight-round fight with Jorge Diaz from Jersey City against Alejandro Lopez of Tijuana. Get down to the beautiful Florida Keys and if you can’t, make sure to watch us on live on FOX Sports Net or FOX En Español at 10 PM ET / 7 PM PT.
Undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) International heavyweight champion Odlanier Solis (15-0, 11 KOs), a former Cuban Olympic gold medalist and the WBC's No. 2-rated heavyweight contender, defends his title against one-time world heavyweight championship challenger Carl Drummond (26-2, 20 KOs), of Limon, Costa Rica. The Solis-Drummond title tilt will headline Saturday's Top Rank Live, televised live on FOX Sports Net and FOX En Español, beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT (check your local listings. Some markets may air it delayed) from Mallory Square in the beautiful Florida Keys. The televised card will also feature an eight-round battle between undefeated super bantamweights Alejandro Lopez (15-0, 4 KOs), of Tijuana, Mexico and Jorge Diaz (12-0, 8 KOs), of Jersey City, NJ.
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