Boxing


Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Rafael Marquez quotes

NEW YORK (Oct. 25, 2010) -- Puerto Rican superstar and WBO featherweight world champ Juan Manuel Lopez and Mexican legend and future Hall of Famer Rafael Marquez participated in an international media conference call on Monday to discuss their upcoming rivalry fight on Saturday, Nov. 6, LIVE on SHOWTIMEģ from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

One of boxingís fastest rising stars, Lopez (29-0, 26 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico, will attempt to make the third defense of his WBO crown. The 27-year-old champion has registered an astounding 26 knockouts in 29 professional fights. The power-punching southpaw will now face the toughest and most important test of his career in Marquez, a battle-tested great with a relentless desire to win at all costs.

Marquez (39-5, 35 KOs), of Mťxico City, a former IBF bantamweight (118) champion, cemented himself in boxing lore when he moved up to 122 pounds to take on Israel Vazquez in what became an unforgettable four-fight series that saw each warrior win a pair of battles. The 35-year-old is coming off a third-round knockout of Vazquez in the final installment of the series in only his second fight at featherweight (126). Now, heíll take on the younger Lopez at 126 pounds in a quest for a world title in his third division.

In the co-feature, world-ranked contender Allan Green will face veteran contender and former world champ Glen Johnson in a must-win Super Six World Boxing Classic bout. The winner of the 12-rounder will earn a spot in the tournament Semifinals.

Hereís what the fighters had to say on Monday.

JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ:

ďIím really looking forward to the fight. Itís going to be a great fight for the fans and Iím looking forward to getting in the ring.

ďOn paper this looks like my toughest fight. The (Rogers) Mtagwa didnít look like it was the toughest fight but it turned out to be my toughest fight I had. So you canít really speculate on that. All you can do is prepare yourself very well. You have to be in the best condition to fight this type of fighter.

ďIím very humbled when people compare me to Felix Trinidad. You know heís my idol and now my good friend. Any comparison you give me to him inside the ring or outside I will take. Iím happy to take comparisons with me and Felix.Ē

On Rafael Marquez:

ďWithout a doubt I know heís coming to prove himself that heís still at the same level as heís always been. Iím out to prove that Iím at the same level thatís heís at. I think the fans are going to be real excited about this fight and I canít see how it will not be a good fight. We both have a lot to prove and weíre willing to give up everything in the ring.Ē

On the Puerto Rico vs. Mexico matchup?

ďI donít want to put extra pressure on me but I understand the tradition of Puerto Rico fighters fighting against boxers from Mexico. I think Puerto Ricans expect a lot from me and I hope to give them the best fight that I can. And I know heís going to give all he can and itís going to be another great fight for the rivalry.Ē

You have only fought just nine rounds in the last 13 months. How will that affect your preparation?

ďI donít put too much stock in that. I know I prepare myself well for 12 rounds every time out. So the preparation is always the same. I try to be in the best shape possible.Ē

What concerns you most about Marquez?

ďWe are very aware of what he can do. Heís a tremendous fighter and he has a lot of skills. And I know he wants to win just as bad as I do. I know just how dangerous he is.

ďI expect the fight to end in a knockout but I donít expect it to end early. I think it will be a long fight and I will end it with a knockout but late. I think we both have the power to knock each other out. As long as it lasts itís going to be a war.

ďI just have to box intelligent. I just have to box smart when I get in there. If I need to box, Iíll box. If I need to fight, Iíll fight. But youíre definitely going to see a war. Weíre both going to exchange a lot of punches.

ďThese are the kinds of fights I need to prove myself.

ďI think heís going to be very aggressive. Heíll come at me. I also feel like they want to get me to the late rounds. They think Iím going to get tired and Iím not going to be able to fight 12 rounds at the same pace like he will. Weíll just have to see what type of guy they get: If they get that real aggressive guy or if they get the guy who is going to counter.

ďMy expectations are that it will be a fight of the year candidate. I know weíre both going to go for it and try to win it. I hope no one misses this fight because itís going to be one of the best ones of the year.Ē

RAFAEL MARQUEZ:

ďMy injury is fine. It was tough to have to suspend the fight but my preparation never stopped. Iíve been running and doing other things just not hitting anything. Iím very well prepared. This fight is important and I think it will be a great fight.

ďI wouldnít compare (Lopez) to anyone really. If I had to pick a level of fighter I would probably put him at the level of a Tim Austin or a Mark Johnson, two very good lefthanders that I have fought in the past. He probably has a little bit more power than those two but they were both great fighters when I fought them. Thatís who I would compare him to since theyíre both lefthanded and have quick hands.

ďItís going to be a real tough fight. Iím going to give the fans the best fight that I can and, of course, all the fans watching on SHOWTIME.Ē

ďItís very important being Puerto Rico versus Mexico. Itís probably the most important fight of my career. I havenít fought too many Puerto Ricans at the level that Iím fighting this fight. This guy is very intelligent and he knows what heís doing in the ring. Itís so important I donít leave any stones unturned because I know how important this fight is.Ē

What do you say to people who say you might not have much left at age 35?

ďI tell them that theyíre wrong. As long as you take care of yourself and as long as you prepare well for a fight that shouldnít be any problem. I think my brother proved it against Juan Diaz, who was 10 years younger than him. Iíve always taken care of myself and I think I have a lot left to give. I think that age doesnít matter. I donít see that as a problem. I really donít.Ē

Do you expect a long fight?

ďIt could actually go either way. Weíre both so powerful that it could end earlier than late because of our power.

ďThis is one of the biggest fights you will ever see in the lower weight divisions. We both have a lot to prove and the fans are going to enjoy it. Iím looking forward to giving the fans another great fight.

ďI donít see him being a lefthander as that much of a problem. Obviously you donít fight that many lefthanders at the championship level. But Iíve never had any problems with it. I donít see it as a big problem. You have to be at your best to fight any guys at this level.

ďIím ready for whatever he decides to bring. If he wants to exchange, Iíll exchange. If he wants to box, Iíll box. I just think when you fight a fighter who is a really great fighter itís a huge motivator to get better and fight the best fight that I can.

ďIíve seen some of the videotape on him. I see how strong and powerful he is, but I also see his weaknesses. I see that he has a weak chin. So we have to take advantage of that and put our punches together and use a lot of combinations. I have to use all of my experience and all of my power and all my intelligence in the ring to get to him. Itís a winnable fight, no question. I can win this fight. I just have to be smart enough to know what to do in there. I canít be reckless.

ďThis is a very important fight. If you canít make it to Vegas then be sure to tune in on SHOWTIME because itís going to be a war.Ē

Article posted on 26.10.2010



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