Boxing


Interview Transcript: Diaz, Irwin, Brock, Eitienne

20.01.05 - At only 21 years old, Houstonís own Juan Diaz is professional boxingís youngest world champion. The undefeated Diaz will defend his WBA lightweight crown on Jan 21, 2005, in a highly anticipated, action-packed featured12 round bout against WBA #10 ranked contender Billy Irwin at Reliant Center in Houston, TX. In the co-feature bout undefeated 2000 U.S. Olympian Calvin Brock faces Clifford ďThe Black RhinoĒ Etienne in a 10 round heavyweight bout..

Friday Night's broadcast on ESPN2 begins at 9:00 PM ET

CLIFFORD ETIENNE

Are you training with Mike?

No, I am training with myself and my trainer.

I donít believe in do or die. That means either you do, or you die. I donít think this has anything to do with me dieing. Regardless of how the situation is. Saying do or die - I wouldnít want to put that type of pressure on myself. I feel good and Iím in excellent shape. Blow that out of the water Ė here comes a new man to town. I heard Calvin Brock talking about this and talking about that. I donít know why heís got a big head anyway. Iíve been working hard. Iíve been paying my dues. Iíve been getting up in the morning at 4:30 and getting my miles in. BRING IT ON.

Big fights?

It wasnít just the Tyson fight. People forget I fought on pay-per-view when Lewis fought Tua. They forget I fought Lamon Brewster when he was undefeated. Iím not worried about that. I love to fight and thatís my thing. Iím like a throwback. Iím like a Bernard Hopkins. I was in school at 15 while I was learning my trade. I admit to a lot of rough times. And thatís all making me better. Me and Mike are cool. Iíve seen him around here. Weíve been around each other. Business is business. I learned that you donít know everything about the fight game. You will always learn. I learned how my body is working now, what kind of food to eat. Iím always learning and getting better at it.

We (Tyson) may spar together. I donít care. Iíll get in the ring with anybody. I donít know why some people would be scared to get in the ring with him. If you are a fighter, you are supposedly a man with a big heart. Thatís what you do, thatís your trade. Iím not scared.

I think that may be an advantage, plus, Iím confident. I know what I can do. I know who I am. They are going to have to kill me inside that ring. All this work. Waking up at 4:30 in the morning and working out three times a day. If heís not ready, he better go make his will out today. In my world, heís a boy.

I grew upÖI became a man in prison. I did my time and if you are going to step in the ring with me, you are going to do hard time. There arenít too many men with the will to win that I have. I used to fight in prison for no money. Money is not an issue with me. When people sign a contract to fight me, they think they can beat me. Well then, come on son.

As they come, knockíem down. Take on all comers. Iím a throwback. I like to fight.

We are not going to even need a referee. Iím from the old school. Glove us up, put us in the ring and ring the bell. I donít think heís ready for me. I donít think heíll ever be ready for me. We are just going to get in the ring and fight. And when the smoke clears, I will be the last man standing.


CALVIN BROCK

Trianing is going perfectly well. This is one of the best raining camps Iíve ever had. No injuries. This is the best shape Iíve ever been in.

TOM YANKELLO. Brock trainer

We are covering all bases. He could fight this guy however way we ant to fight him. We could fight from the outside. We are prepared to adjust to anything we see in the ring. Heís been doing great things in sparring and dominating sparring partners. Heís the quickest we have ever seen him. Heís ready to go.

CALVIN BROCK

My fundamentals in boxing have become pretty sound now. I have been performing well in my matches. This is the next step to becoming heavyweight champion of the world. I didnít call anybody out. They called my dad and said they had Etienne lined up for January 21, ďWill you take the fight?Ē I said yes. I feel like this is the opponent God chose for me to become the next heavyweight champion.

I will weight between 222 and 225. If itís in the morning Iím about 223 but I never get higher than 225.

I havenít seen any tapes but I was told, by my trainer that he (Etienne) is there to be hit. And if he is there to be hit then I should win the fight, because I donít get hit.

I havenít watched any of his films but I have seen him fight in real time on the undercard when he fought Frez Oquendo. I just prepare myself for anything that he will bring. I will just react and I think things work out better that way. My jab is a factor no matter who I fight.

I graduated form the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a business administration degree, major in finance. Bank of America came to the campus to do on-campus interviewing. I was one of the few interviewees out of many. I got out of the first interview and there were six left for the job and they were only going to hire two.

I was an operation call analyst at the bank in my hometown. My job was to direct the people so that they would have their problems taken care of. My goal when I started going to the boxing gym was to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. When I got back from the Olympics, my boss asked me what I was going to do. I told him I would turn pro but work until I signed my contract. He said just go now so I donít have to continue to invest money you in the training program here. So I left and put my professional team together and here I am.

I look up to Juan Diaz because he is taking on a grueling schedule and he is so young. He is a student and a professional boxer. I was an amateur boxer and a student. Now heís a world champion with great boxing skills. He has a very good head and great fundamental boxing skills. Heís going to go a long way.

Thinking that the only title shot I can get would be against Klitschko, but thatís not what I put my faith in. My faith is that God will open doors that no man can shut. I will be heavyweight champion of the world and there is nothing any man will be able to do about it.

I feel I need to be spectacular on Friday to get my career going. Going into the Olympics I was one of three expected to win a Gold Medal. I didnít do well then was overlooked coming out. I got a bad rap Ė canít punch, wonít train. Which was all a lie. I couldnít have been a successful amateur and not been a hard worker. In boxing you are only as good as your last win. I definitely need to win and itís a plus if I knock him out.

I sparred with McCline for a week. I boxed southpaw for him. I used to fight southpaw back when. I didnít have much of a hard time with him. I was his best sparring partner. He and Jimmy Glenn said I was the best work that Jameel had.

Main Events is my promoter. My dad, Calvin Brock is my manager and he trains me when I am at home and Tom Yankello is my head coach.

After this fight Iím not sure what will happen.

Sam Peter?

Probably not him. He is kind of like a stable-mate of mine. He is a good friend and we have the same trainer. He was going to be in my corner for this fight but he is now fighting on the 22nd. We (Peter) sparred only a couple of times back in 2001 when I was in Vegas. Back then he was much lighter and more of a boxer as well. I really canít say but I know he was strong the second time I sparred with him. We were good friends so I really canít tell you how he is if heís really going all out.

I will take on anyone. I see myself taking on a couple of more before I get a title match. I left my job with the bank to go into boxing, so Iím moving forward with that 100% and to become the world heavyweight champion.

Guinn?

That tells me to work hard and rely on God to progress my career. One thing I have been able to do is develop. Some people think I havenít gotten the press I deserve, but I never did let that frustrate me, I will just keep developing and get to the top like I did in the amateurs. When I came out of the amateurs I was No. 1 and I feel it will be the same way in the pros. I would rather take a little longer and develop than lose and have to work my way back up. I want to retire undefeated. Everything in his Godís hands and he points me in the right direction. I can see what a loss does to your career just by seeing what happened to Dominic.


JUAN DIAZ

I think I have made a pretty good name for myself. I know a lot of people still underestimate me. They donít give me the credit but thatís fine with me. I have to prove to the world that I am young, but one of the best.

I like the fact that Iím not getting a lot of easy fights. Irwin is not going to be fighting like he's 36. He's going to be fighting like he's 23 and this is going to be his last chance at a world title. So I have to be ready for that 23-year-old Irwin. I will come out strong, and if that doesn't work I will try to outbox him with my jab.

I am an action fighter and I like to throw a lot of punches. I will put pressure on him and see how he reacts to that. If that doesnít work I will use my jab and box him. I have an experienced corner and they will let me know what I have to do to win the fight.

Have you thought about a unification bout?


SHELLY FINKEL

We made an offer to him (Diaz), he accepted it then didnít. Then he said he was back in, then he wouldnít return Carlís or my phone calls. This has gone on 3 different occasions. Iím not saying heís afraid of Juan. I can tell you Juan authorized the team to make the match. He was prepared and was supposed to be on a double-header with us on Friday and supposed to fight Juan in April. Savannah accepted the fight on behalf of Juan and Diaz did not go through with it. We will do whatever is in his best interests and right now that means winning on Friday. He continues to beat everyone in front of him convincingly.

He is, both in and out of the ring, a very mature 21-year-old. Heís been boxing for a long time. He works very hard because he knows what it takes to get him there. Heís 2 or 3 years away from maximum strength. I believe he can fight. Corrales is a great fighter. But I thought during the last half of the (his last) fight he got tired. Juan is not going to get tired.

Elder is definitely a possibility. We are working on several people for the next fight. As soon as we found out that Diaz was a definite no go, we had to move forward. One of the great things about Juan is he likes to fight. The more active that you are in what you do - the better you will get. No matter what that is. Right now Friday is the most important fight. After Friday there are many candidates and we will determine that after the fight.

JUAN DIAZ

I always prepare myself for a 12-round fight. I am ready for both plan A and B. I know Irwin doesnít throw a lot of punches. Iím an action fighter so Iím going to go in and make my fight. My corner will direct me and let me know what I have to do to win the fight.

Iím not a one-punch KO fighter, so I have to throw a lot of punches.

School?

Classes start this Wednesday night and I will be there. I will be taking three classes Ė 9 hours - two government classes and a geography class. I will attend class from 5 - 8:15 on Wednesday. It is the first day of class for the semester so I don't want to miss it. It is when you get to meet the teacher and he gets to meet you. If you are not here they take it personally. I am taking 3 classes this semester. I plan on graduating 1 1/2 to 2 years from now with a degree in political science. The kids in my class come up to me and say "Hey I saw you on TV." Then they love to talk about boxing. I really don't have much trouble finding study partners.

Why would you not focus on career now and school later?

The reason my parents moved to this country was so we could get a good education. I have heard people ask me that all the time. You just never know what could happen tomorrow. I could break my hand or break my leg at any day, then where will all of the millions be? If I stay in school, no one will be able to take that away from me and I will always have my degree to fall back on.

After a fight that I win, I kind of sit back and concentrate on my studiesÖbut when Iím getting ready for a fight I know what to do and I donít have time to relax.

Your family?

My mom doesnít really like me fighting. She tells me that Iím always going to be her baby. I say, whoa, Iím 21 now, Iím not a baby anymore. They are behind me 100%, but they are not the kind of people that like to be in front of the camera. They are happy with the attention that I get and are real happy with how Iím doing with my life. Sometimes I tell them some reporters want to talk to them and they just say, ďIím just your mom, let them concentrate on you.Ē

Things have been going real good for me. Very fast paced since I won the world title in July. Every day I think about how much hard work it took for me to get here and realize how much work I have to do to stay here. I know that I can lose it at any time.

If I win this boxing match, things will be looking good for me. He comes to the ring and will try his best to bring a good fight but I think I will beat him.

Article posted on 21.01.2005



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