Winky Wright-Sam Soliman Conference Call Transcript
FRED STERNBURG, GARY SHAW PRODUCTIONS: On behalf of Gary Shaw Productions, the Mohegan Sun and Goossen Tutor Promotions, I want to welcome you to todayís conference call. We have a very exciting fight coming up on December 10 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Weíre calling it ďAll For OneĒ because thatís what theyíre doing. They are fighting for the undisputed position of being the number one contender and mandatory challenger in the middleweight division in the WBC, WBA and IBF ratings.. The winner of the Jermain Taylor - Bernard Hopkins middleweight championship fight the week before will have to fight the winner of our fight on December 10, which once and for all will determine the worldís best middleweight. Both Sam Soliman and Winky Wright should be applauded; instead of sitting on their mandatories, they are risking them to become the undisputed mandatory, fast-tracking the fight that will determine the true world middleweight champion.
Article posted on 17.11.2005
I know youíve all been waiting a bit here so letís get right to it. On the call today we have both Winky Wright and his trainer, Dan Birmingham. We have Sam Soliman and his trainer Dave Hedgecock, calling in from Australia. We also have Chad Dawson, the undefeated super middleweight, world-rated No. 16 by the WBC, as well. Chad, a native of New Haven, who is fighting Ian Gardner this Friday, for his first professional title, the vacant NABO super middleweight title, will be headlining the Wright-Soliman undercard.
From the Mohegan Sun, I know he wanted to say a few words, we have Milt Chwasky on. Milt, please say hi to everybody.
MILT CHWASKY, MOHEGAN SUN: I want to say ďHiĒ on behalf of Mohegan Sun and tell you all how excited we are about these fights because I know Winky and I know Sam are tops in their profession and I know how important this career-making fight is for both of them. We appreciate the opportunity and we look forward to a wonderful promotion.
FRED STERNBURG: Great, well letís get right to it here. Sam, welcome to the call; Dave, if you could both just tell us how camp is going, your thoughts. I know youíre coming over here in a few weeks to train in LA before you head up to Connecticut. Your thoughts about taking the fight, how training is going please?
SAM SOLIMAN: Well Winky, I think Winky is one of the best (inaudible) fighters out there and we are also not going to be taking him lightly at all and, you know, weíve fought the best all over the world, fought many undefeated fighters who are now defeated and so, you know, thereís no shell shock here. There really is no overawed by the (inaudible) of it all. I think weíve been there, done that, and when we fight Winky on December 10, weíre going to find out whoís going to be eligible for the big championship fight against Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor.
FRED STERNBURG: Dave, how about you, any comments?
DAVE HEDGECOCK: Weíre just elated that Sam took this fight and weíre going to be very prepared for this fight and come December 10 Sam will be the one fighting the winner of Taylor Hopkins.
FRED STERNBURG: Winky youíve been through this a million times, I mean, over 50 fights. It seems like every time we do a conference call, youíre coming off your biggest victory, Shane Mosley twice and then Felix Trinidad. Your feelings going into this, why did you take this fight as opposed to waiting it out since you were already the mandatory challenger in the WBC and WBA?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well, like I said, I know how Sam feels about trying to get a big fight and no one would give it to him because I was in that same predicament. Itís an honor for me to be able to give him the same chance that Shane Mosley gave me. He deserves it. You know heís going to fight me to win. He can do it with an attitude that he is going to get a world title shot and get another big fight. For me, I need a big fight. I need a fight that can get me excited and coming off of the fights with Mosley and Trinidad, itís kind of hard to look forward to somebody who isnít of the same caliber. So we came out, we got them Sam who is number one in the IBF. We have got to go out there and prepare ourselves and get ready for the fight, and like I say, weíre looking for a great fight. We are coming to fight, we always come to fight. The fans better come because itís going to be a great fight.
FRED STERNBURG: Terrific. Just a reminder, this will be seen live on HBO World Championship Boxing at 10 p.m. Eastern Time, 7 oíclock Pacific Time. Tickets are going quickly but they are available at $50, $90 and $150 at the Mohegan Sun box office and all Ticketmaster outlets.
KEVIN IOLE, LAS VEGAS REVIEW: Yo Wink. How is your motivation being that Sam isnít as well known as the guys you fought in the last three fights? Do you still have the same motivation, and can you get up the same way you did when you fought say Felix Trinidad?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well, I canít lie. Itís not the same fighting Sam as it was fighting Tito Trinidad. But Sam is the number one contender. Weíve got to train hard and weíve got to get motivated because we want to show the world that weíre the best fighter out there. So, to do that, you know what Iím saying, weíve got to motivate ourselves. And like I say, itís not hard to do that with a guy like Sam, because heís a different kind of fighter (inaudible). Weíve just got to go ahead and prepare ourselves and win.
KEVIN IOLE: When Jermain Taylor gave up the IBF title, do you think that was a direct insinuation to you that he wasnít planning to fight you in any event?
WINKY WRIGHT: Really, I donít even know. I really donít even try to get into all of that. If they want, like I tell people, that isnít even the belt anymore because if they want to fight you, theyíre going to fight you. If they donít want to fight you, theyíre going to give the belt up. So mainly I just want to fight and let the people know that I feel that Iím the best fighter (inaudible). If somebody gets in the ring with me then Iím ready to get in the ring and letís prove it.
DAN RAFAEL, ESPN.COM: Bernard Hopkins says heís going to retire early next year, January, February, whatever. Does that mean that in some way, shape or form youíd be rooting for Jermain Taylor to win that fight because it may be a more realistic scenario to have him fight you than it would be for Bernard Hopkins to fight you?
WINKY WRIGHT: Really Iím not rooting for either one. Whoever wins, wins. Iím not trying to pick who wants to fight me next (inaudible). Whoever goes and prepares themselves will win the fight, the best to them, Iím behind them. I think both of them are very good fighters so whoever wants to fight me, they fight me. If they donít then they move on. Thatís what Iím trying to build Winky Wright to. I donít need another fighter like that to build my career. Iím trying to take care of myself. If itís a Winky Wright fight you want to see, itís because itís a Winky Wright fight not because heís fighting Jermain or heís fighting Bernard.
DAN RAFAEL: OK. But it is often times itís about the match up as well. So Iím wondering.
WINKY WRIGHT: Oh, it exactly is, but the fans can rely on me. Because they (Taylor or Hopkins) donít want to fight me. Itís not me. Iím here, Iím ready. Iím willing. But they keep running. They donít want to fight me so thereís nothing I can do.
DAN RAFAEL: Iím not trying to disrespect Sam Soliman here, but if youíre the winner do you think that itís realistic that Bernard Hopkins would fight you on this one song type of fight?
WINKY WRIGHT: I think so, when we reach to the fans, to say who they want to fight. Who gets to fight who.
DAN RAFAEL: Sam, my question for you is, Winky mentioned about how heís been ducked quite a bit and finally got fighters like Shane Mosley and Tito Trinidad to give him an opportunity but, with all due respect to your record, I donít know if you were at the same level that Winky was when he got those opportunities. What have you done in your career to make you think that you deserve to be in the ring with the best, one of the top two best fighters in the world?
SAM SOLIMAN: Well weíve got a lot in common me and Winky and the fact that we both travel the world, weíve both looked around for the best fighters that are out there all over the world. Took our bags and went out to find and fight the best and I used all my power and ability as a manager, managing myself to be able to get me up there and I took fights on short notice, I took fights out of my weight division. I flew to fights from Europe to Australia, 24-hour flight, to take a five-day notice fight with Anthony Mundine, so Iíve done things that someone like Winky Wright was doing. So, weíve got something in common, that weíll both fight anyone, anywhere, anytime and thatís what makes it such a special fight that neither of us duck anybody and how Iíve fought many undefeated fighters, put a stop to their undefeated records and Iím sure that, thatís enough to clarify Iím a legitimate contender for this number one position.
DAN RAFAEL: Sam, what do you think of all wins you have? Whoís the one win that American fight fans should look at and say, Ďwell you know thatís a real good win for this guy, Sam Soliman. Even though I never heard of him, itís a reason to check this fight out?í
SAM SOLIMAN: Well Nader Hamdan and Raymond Joval, theyíre my two, theyíre the two best fighters apart from Howard Eastman who I was beaten, well a split decision. But that was four to five years ago, but Nader Hamdan and Joval, they were both, well Joval was 32 and 2 and Nader 33 and 0 and beating them I was fighting Nader In his home town. Jeff Fennech was the promoter of the show. He was the trainer and manager of Nader at the time and he was top three in the world and WBC and all the cards are against us and, you know, I come out just to prove that I wasnít going to get shell shocked. I wasnít going to be up there and itís going to be like get overawed by the situation and I come through as the goods against a champion in Nader Hamdan IBF Pan Pacific and thatís what got us the top five spot in the world. And then beatimg Joval for the number one position in America set us up for this fight with the pound for pound number two in the world Winky Wright, so I couldnít have asked for it to go in a better way. You know, so itís just wait for December 10 and bring it home.
DAVE HEDGECOCK: Hi, itís Dave Hedgecock here, Samís trainer. I think itís a good thing to note that Winky also brings, looking for this position to fight for a world title, but weíve also challenged Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins and we were number one in the IBF. And Jermain Taylor stepped aside from that and Bernard Hopkins asked for a special clearance so he could fight Jermain Taylor because they didnít want to fight Sam Soliman. And I think that what could be going to happen this time is to what happened when Shane Mosley fought Winky Wright. I think that most people in the States thought that, or a good majority of the people in the States, thought that Shane Mosley was probably unbeatable and would probably beat Winky. Well I think weíre coming from the same sort of area and I think that the people over there are going to get quite surprised and itís, you know, just important to note that weíve been challenging these two top guys too and itís credit to Winky to accept the challenge because no one else in the world (inaudible) courageous enough to do it, and vice versa.
FRANKLIN McNEIL, NEWARK STAR-LEDGER: My question is thereís been so much talk about Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins, possibly one of those two possibly being your next opponent. If they are not, if for whatever reason, you donít fight them next, is there anyone else you, or other people youíd like to get in the ring with?
WINKY WRIGHT: Oh definitely. Like I said, first of all weíre going definitely win by December 10. But, (inaudible) everything goes our way. Yeah, I want to fight Bernard (inaudible) fight me. Iíll fight any of them. So, (inaudible) whoever wants to fight Winky Wright (inaudible) just sign their name on the dotted line and they can have it.
FRANKLIN McNEIL: Can you give me a couple of guys who are on your wish list, guys that you would want to fight.
WINKY WRIGHT: The other guys I would want to fight are, Bernard Hopkins, Jermain, Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, and thatís pretty much it. Thereís nobody else Iíd fight with the name recognition that can really do anything for me.
FRANKLIN McNEIL: OK. Thanks Wink. And this question is for Sam. Sam, Iíd like to know, what do you think, or how, what would you say you bring to the ring or why would you be successful against Winky where two pound for pound fighters such as Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad were not? Why would you succeed where they failed?
SAM SOLIMAN: Itís pretty much the same answer as before. We are both similar in our careers, weíve both gone down the same road, fought in the UK, fought in America, fought in how many countries all over the world and, you know, weíve been there, done that before and been in these kinds of situations. Iíve had over 24 title fights, 12 rounders. Now, you know, (inaudible) shell shock (inaudible) pound for pound out there and in saying that, it builds up for a good fight because anyone who has followed any part of my career would say this is going to be one hell of a fight because (inaudible), heís never been stopped. Heís fought (inaudible) all over the world in each country and you know, Iíve fought in Germany, Iíve fought in Amsterdam, Iíve fought in Scotland, in Ireland, fought in America, fought in Japan, (inaudible) so thereís no reason why I (inaudible). Winky is from the old school, he fights anyone who is out there too and thatís why I picked him and Iím excited about getting to fight someone of his caliber.
GEORGE WILLIS, NY POST: I wanted to know how close did you and Floyd Mayweather come to finalizing the deal, or do you think he was just a bunch of talk?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well, like I said, when I heard about it, I thought it was just people talking, but then I heard he wants a fight, so I was like Ďcoolí thatís a major deal. Then they kept going back and forth with the numbers and then I guess they got to a point where the numbers were pretty much good and then we didnít hear nothing back. So, I think it could have been just a ploy. Like I said, just a way to keep his name out there, saying he will fight anybody, it donít matter who it is, heíll do this, heíll do that. But when it came down to it, they didnít want to sign a deal.
GEORGE WILLIS: Do you think thereís a void as far as, you know, Roy Jones was perceived, for so long as the best pound for pound guy. Do you think thereís a void there or an opening? Is it not really decided yet who is the marquee fighter?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well, like I said, for me, Iím trying to fight the best. If they want to say Iím pound for pound best, thatís cool. If they say Iím not, then thatís cool with me. But for me, I want to fight the best fighters. I do. And if the best fighters donít want to fight me then that goes to show that Iím a pretty good fighter.
GEORGE WILLIS: Dan Birmingham? Is Dan there?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: Yeah, Iím here.
GEORGE WILLIS: Dan, Winky was so spectacular in his last fight. A lot of people think he won every round. How do you basically improve upon that and do you think he basically scared everybody that night?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: I thought he, we performed well, maybe too well in the publicís eye because we couldnít get the rematch with Tito. Weíre just going to continue to do the same thing weíve been doing and look spectacular on the 10th thatís all.
GEORGE WILLIS: And Sam, Sam, did you see that fight, the Wink fight against Tito?
SAM SOLIMAN: (Inaudible). It was really good up here. We had a nice barbeque, couple of things on the barbie and enjoyed the fight. And that was very interesting because I was a big fan of Tito and I still am a big fan of Titoís. You donít forget what heís done. Iíve got posters on my wall of Tito Trinidad. So, Iím a fan through and through and after Winky took him out the way he did he just proved heís one of the best pound for pound. He wouldnít be number two pound for pound in the world if he, you know, so, it was very interesting. And take a note of that and now weíre studying the tape and Iím going to be fighting him myself.
DAVID AVILA, RIVERSIDE PRESS-ENTERPRISE: Winky, have you ever seen a style like Sam Solimanís?
WINKY WRIGHT: You know, not exactly like, yeah Iíve fought some fighters that have got the kind of awkward style that heís got. But, no one fighter is exactly alike, so I canít say yeah, I know somebody who fights just like him. You know what I mean? But, like I said, it works for him, so what may be awkward for somebody else, could be perfect for him. Iím going to be prepared to go in there and fight as hard every round as needed.
DAVID AVILA: In your career you fought more than 55, I mean, youíve seen all kinds of styles. When you fight somebody that has something different, does that get you a little excited?
WINKY WRIGHT: Yeah, definitely. You know, it gets you excited. It gets you where you see where how you can get back in all the things that you worked on in the gym and saw in different fights around the world. You know what I mean? So, like I said, (inaudible) Iím trying to get myself involved in boxing and do a whole lot of big things and different things. I just formed a promotional company with my partner, Chris Lighty, in Winky Promotions. We will try to just do everything to satisfy us. If thereís nobody that wants to fight me, then Iím going to have to be the one to put the fights on.
DAVID AVILA: Absolutely. Sam, where did you develop your style? Did you have that since your younger days or did it just come about lately?
SAM SOLIMAN: Oh no, you know, I donít even know how. I probably couldnít even teach it. Itís just something that I do well and, I still fight the amateurs the same way as I fight the pros and it worked better for me on the pros. And Iíve been fortunate to have a trainer thatís able to customize myself and make it work for me even better rather than try to change my style and make it more orthodox and more text book. But youíll see on December 10 when we take on the best.
LUIS CADIZ, BOXING2005.COM: Listen, with this fight now on December 10 and the following one, hopefully against the winner of Hopkins/Taylor, could we say that you abandoned the 154 pound division?
WINKY WRIGHT: Did I abandon it? No I didnít abandon it. Like Iím saying, Iím just trying to give the fans the best fight out there. Before, nobody wanted to fight me at 154. So, with no big fight at that level we had to move 160. So, it depends. If we got a good fight out there at 154, weíre going to take it.
LUIS CADIZ: OK, great. Now, coming up soon weíre going to have Mosley and Vargas right?
WINKY WRIGHT: Uh huh.
LUIS CADIZ: Vargas would be a great rematch. Remember the first one? I mean, you know, that would be one of the best rematches and would mean very good results for you economically and professionally.
WINKY WRIGHT: Like I say, it is a possibility. Vargas when he got his split decision, you know, it cheated for him. He didnít want to give a rematch. Now that Iím the man, I donít want to give him a fight. So, when we need each other then it can happen but right now Iím not looking past all this (Soliman).
LUIS CADIZ: OK. And who do you think is going to win that fight?
WINKY WRIGHT: Mosley.
LUIS CADIZ: Mosley. Youíll take him on a third time?
WINKY WRIGHT: Huh?
LUIS CADIZ: Would you take him on a third time?
WINKY WRIGHT: Would I take Mosley on a third time?
LUIS CADIZ: Yeah.
WINKY WRIGHT: I donít think the fans want to see me and Mosley a third time. You know what I mean? The first time was one sided, the second time he did a little bit better but I still won. So, I donít think the fans want to see that again.
ALEX PIERPAOLI, KO FANTASY BOXING.CO: Hi this question is for Sam Soliman. Sam, youíve seen Winky fight before. What most concerns you about him? Is it the southpaw style, defense? What are you most concerned about?
SAM SOLIMAN: Heís a package deal. He can box, he can brawl, he can do a bit of both. He can punch. You donít get 25 knockouts by luck. So Iím prepared for anything really. I donít know. Anything he puts on the table we will be prepared for. Planning for it like thereís no tomorrow and this is why itís going to be one of the best fights of this year and Iím going to, weíre going to concern whoís going to be the middleweight champion of the world soon.
ALEX PIERPAOLI: Great. Iíve got a question for Chad Dawson if heís there?
CHAD DAWSON: Yeah, Iím here.
ALEX PIERPAOLI: Chad, youíve been training now with Dan Birmingham for a while. How has that changed you as a fighter? Have you gotten better sparring, just the whole technique there with Birmingham? Talk about that for a little.
CHAD DAWSON: You mean itís the whole package. Iíve never worked with a trainer like Dan before. Itís fun, and I like, I love everything. Heís a good guy to talk to. I mean the whole package.
ALEX PIERPAOLI: Dan, do you have any comments you want to make about Chad?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: Yeah. Chad is in the position like Winky Wright was and before Winky surfaced he was the best kept secret in boxing and Chadís right there right now. Iím sure heís going to be my next world champion. Iím positive of it.
DAN RAFAEL: Are you in the United States yet or are you still in Australia?
SAM SOLIMAN: Still in Australia.
DAN RAFAEL: At what point before the fight will you be coming to the United States?
SAM SOLIMAN: We fly in the 24th of November, which is two weeks and a bit from the fight.
DAN RAFAEL: Since you have fought over in the United States a couple of times in your career, can you talk about just what goes into the preparation of having to change your schedule and get adjusted to coming here, especially coming all the way to the East Coast this time? How does that play into your preparation?
SAM SOLIMAN: Well, you know, just been (inaudible) overseas before, but itís become second nature now. So, just going to do it how I do it every other time. Iíve fought and (inaudible) worked for us before so Iíll do it the same way again.
DAN RAFAEL: Can you tell me how you have done it other times?
SAM SOLIMAN: Just getting into the body clock from now. Like, you know, the body clock from now. Itís 6 in the morning here and itís, what time is it over there again?
DAN RAFAEL: Itís about 3 oíclock in the afternoon.
SAM SOLIMAN: Three in the afternoon, somewhere like that. So, like Iíll go to bed the week before the flight with the week before I fly out, close, similar times to America and to start training in American times and thatís what Iíve been doing my whole career.
KEITH IDEC, HERALD NEWS: Do you almost think that you were too good for your own good against, especially against Trinidad, whereas people donít want to fight you at all now and they didnít before?
WINKY WRIGHT: Yeah, I think so. But like I said, you canít try to absorb how high youíre going to fight someone Ö how much youíre going to put on it and how much youíre not. Because with a guy like Trinidad, with his power, if you lay back, heíll catch you then he knocks you out. You was doing good until you got knocked out. So, youíve got to see a big game plan and do it with running around and thatís what I did. I just stayed with my game plan and did what I had to do to win.
KEITH IDEC: Even though this has been, you know, you made a lot of money fighting Mosley twice and fighting Trinidad, and youíre recognized as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. Has the experience been a little bit disappointing to you in that now youíre in the same position you were in before, whereas guys donít want to fight you, maybe even more so than before?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well now thatís not the same because now they donít want to fight me and people know that theyíre scared of me. Before it was just me saying that they were scared, now Iíve got the people behind me saying to them Ďwell you arenít fighting Winky; youíre scared of Winky,í so itís different. So Iím glad to be in the situation that I am in now.
KEITH IDEC: You mentioned before you fought Hernandez and Candello that it was very difficult to get up for those kinds of fights, and with all due respect to Sam, now that youíve been at the elite level and pretty much dominate it at that level, is it even harder maybe picking up for a fight of this magnitude now than it was for those fights?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well definitely. Like I said, Iím not taking anything away from Sam, but itís just that once you get to that factor where everything is on the line where, youíre fighting someone where everybody thinks that he does this and does that, and youíre training to beat him, you know, for true professional youíve got to train for everybody. So I know that Samís going to be training hard and heís feeling the way I was feeling against him. So, I have to be ready, Iím going to be prepared for that. I want to win and I have to train as hard for Sam as I did for Shane and Felix. I cannot afford to lose any fights.
KEITH IDEC: Is Dan Birmingham still on the line?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: Yes, Iím here.
KEITH IDEC: Dan, can I just ask you a real quick, I know you made the Lacy/Calzaghe fight. Do you think that itís going to come off this time or are you kind of going about it with trepidation being that Calzagheís pulled out a bunch of times?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: No, no. The fightís on, everythingís signed and weíre just waiting on the date. The fightís already made.
KEITH IDEC: OK. But, thereís no hesitation on your part though, be it based on whatís happened so far?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: Not at all. They put up $600,000 saying theyíre going to fight so for me theyíre going to fight.
SHERMAN CAIN, JOURNAL INQUIRER NEWS: Chad, you just recently switched promotional groups. Youíve been under the Gary Shaw banner for a couple of fights. What prompted the change and are there still any legal entanglements or hard feelings that are still lingering and whatís that situation?
CHAD DAWSON: I mean, thatís my job has just training and thatís what Iíve been doing. Whatever happened to me in my last (inaudible) itís over and Iím just happy to be with Gary Shaw and training with Dan Birmingham. And even with being in the presence of Winky Wright and Jeff Lacy. So, Iím just doing my job.
SHERMAN CAIN: What made you want to make the move or decide to go with Gary Shaw and Dan Birmingham? Was there something in particular, the way Dan trains his fighters, or what was the reason behind it?
CHAD DAWSON: No. I watched Winky Wright for years. My manager and I, we look at a lot of different training but we thought that Dan would be a better fit. And with Gary, we liked what we saw so we went with Gary.
SHERMAN CAIN: And this question will be for Dan. Dan, is there a timetable for Chad as far as getting him to that next, I know heís got the title fight this Friday, and getting him up to the Winky Wright level? What kind of timetable do you have and is he the kind of fighter that you see getting to that Winky Wright type level some day?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: Well the timetable is actually not up to me. The timetable is up to Gary and Chadís manager and the TV networks and everybody else. But for me, right now, Chad Dawson is ready for anybody in the world. Heís got to get some more 12 round fights under his belt. One of these smaller titles, just like Winky did, and heís ready for anybody.
WINKY WRIGHT: Can I add to those questions? This is Winky Wright. You know, I got to training with Chad for the first time. I heard a lot about Chad but I didnít see him fight and so we came to train with him and I think heís going to be a hell of a fighter. Heís got a great, great foundation. You know what I mean? (Inaudible) His defense is getting a lot better. He thinks in the ring, heís not just going out to knock you out. I just think that in a little bit of time, youíre going to see Chad explode it out there on the scene. Heís a big kid. Heís 6í2Ē or 6í3Ē, whatever. Heís strong, he can box. Youíre going to see big things coming from him.
KETIH IDEC: Hey Winky, just going back to something you said before. You said you wouldnít be rooting for either guy in the Hopkins/Taylor fight, but who do you think is going to win?
WINKY WRIGHT: To speak truthfully, I think Jermain may win. You know, he did, he won the first time and Bernard was playing around too much in the first fight but I think Jermain believes in himself now. If Bernard had jumped on Jermain early in the fight I think that he probably would have won. So now Jermain has beat him. Jermain was hurt but he didnít go down. Jermain is going to go into his fight knowing that Ďhey I can beat him.í And, you know, I said, with that, Iím not betting on it either way. Like I said, the best fighter will win. But if I had to bet Iíd bet Jermain.
KEITH IDEC: Just going back to the Vargas thing real quick too. Winky, you said that before, now that youíre in the driverís seat, you donít want to give him the fight. But do you almost think that even if you wanted to give him the fight that it wouldnít be competitive at this point?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well definitely, because this time weíre going for the knockout round. And there wonít be no fight because Iím trying to knock his block off. Like I said, the way he handled the situation with us was wrong. He says he won (the first fight) and the people were saying Ďgive Winky a rematch,í even if he didnít want to give me a rematch he could have said ĎIíve got to give him a rematch.í But instead, heís making excuses like ĎWinky on his best day couldnít beat me on my worst dayí. And he runs from me. So now, he canít downplay me now that everybody knows I won the first time and I have beaten guys he couldnít Ė like Trinidad -- or wouldnít face Ė like Mosley. But like I said, Iím a promoter now so if we decide to do that (fight Vargas), Iíll decide with my team and weíll decide what the best thing for us as a promotional company.
KEITH IDEC: Do you think if you said to him, Iíll fight you, name the date, that he would accept a fight?
WINKY WRIGHT: I think he would. Like I said, because I donít think heís fighting too much longer. Vargas is picking and choosing who heís fighting and then heís fighting, once a year. So, thatís not a person who looks like his career is going to be going on for a long time. When it comes down to making the most of it (money), then that fight could be a possibility.
TIM SMITH, NY DAILY NEWS: Have you had to make any adjustments in your training or in your diet or in your preparation for, you know, fighting at 160 pounds or do you feel comfortable at that weight or natural or?
WINKY WRIGHT: Actually, actually Iím more comfortable at 160. I donít have to lose the extra weight like when I had to train down to get to 154. I can be at 160, and I feel stronger and quicker. Itís just a little different. Like I said, I donít think the fighter at 154 was quicker than the fighter at 160, but I have only fought at 160 once.
TIM SMITH: Have you made adjustment to training? I mean, are you sparring with guys maybe that were a little bit heavier than you normally would? Are you working with guys or are you working with guys that you would still be working with if you were at 154?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well,
TIM SMITH: Winky? I think I lost him.
DAN BIRMINGHAM: I can answer that if you want.
TIM SMITH: Have you guys ever made any adjustments in term of the weight of the sparring partners or anything?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: No not really. When I study the top tapes of Sam, you know, I tried to fix some guys in our gym that, you know, their styles are fairly similar, so weíre boxing guys like that.
TIM SMITH: OK. Have you guys made any kind of other changes or concessions in terms of what heís eating, a diet or anything like that? I mean, for strength or for speed?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: Iíve got Darryl Hudson here and heís living with Wink. You know, heís secluded in a condominium away from his family and his foodís being cooked for him and, you know, Darrylís an expert with nutrition, so I leave it to him.
CARLOS GUZMAN, FIGHT BEAT.COM: Yes, hi, this question is for Sam. Sam, have you fluctuated in weight all the way from junior middleweight up to cruiser weight. Can you explain whatís caused that? Why have you been all over the place?
SAM SOLIMAN: Youíve done your homework, not many Americans know about all that.
CARLOS GUZMAN: Thatís my job.
SAM SOLIMAN: Yeah, you know, I couldnít get fights in my weight, same as Winky I couldnít get fights in my weight division and no one would fight me in my weight so theyíre willing to take the risk to fight Sam Soliman knowing that heíll be out of his weight range and then weíll be able to beat him out of his weight range and 80 percent of the time theyíve come unstuck, especially because theyíve underestimated the fact that even though weíre middleweights, Iíve fought at cruiser weight and light heavyweight and Iíd sparred with guys all my life so it was no suffering and surprise when I got out there and fought at that weight.
CARLOS GUZMAN: Do you think itís an advantage to you that youíre a big guy coming down to middleweight, while Winky is kind of a smaller guy moving up?
SAM SOLIMAN: Not at all. Heís not small. Look what he did; he fought Trinidad, one of the strongest boxers pound for pound in the world. I mean, you have a look at Trinidadís record, itís close to Vargasí record and how many knockouts and how many wins and he pushed him around so heís a very strong fighter and he comes down in weight (inaudible) because he knows I know and he will be coming down to (inaudible) 100 miles an hour and it would be a good close fight and I promise you that come the later rounds of the fight Iíll take over. Iíll change (inaudible), Iíll take over and (inaudible).
CARLOS GUZMAN: It sounds exciting. You also sparred with Kostya Tszyu. Was that been a learning experience for you? Howís that been?
SAM SOLIMAN: (Inaudible). So, I think (inaudible). More importantly, is that, now our only thing is that Iíve now got Anton Popov (ph) and Jamie Pittman flying down from Russia. Heís built his record up here (inaudible) 205 amateur fights and a former world champion. (Inaudible) Those are two great boxers you great ability are going to run amuck in America when it comes their time for a championship fight and so, you know, all the preparation is perfect for this fight and I thank Kostya for letting his champions come down here from Russia to do the work here with me in Australia and both Jamie Pittman and Anton Popov youíll be seeing some big things happen with those.
CARLOS GUZMAN: Thanks. My last question will be to Winky Wright. Winky, this will be a first time headlining HBO. Is there added pressure? Do you feel any added pressure to put on a good show and, you know, maybe even go for a knockout?
WINKY WRIGHT: This is not my first time here on HBO. I fought Shane twice and then Tito. So I donít feel any pressure to try and knock him out. If people want to see a great fight, what happens is going to happen. So, what I do, you know, whatever happens, it was supposed to happen.
CARLOS GUZMAN: Right. And I want to apologize. I didnít mean it that way, I just meant that like, without a marquee name, the other side of the ring.
WINKY WRIGHT: Oh, OK.
CARLOS GUZMAN: Thatís what I meant. Youíre basically holding up the show.
WINKY WRIGHT: OK, well I donít see it that way. I feel, yes, definitely my name is the name that is drawing the crowd. Two fighters will go out there and fight. The two best middleweights are coming into the ring, and will give their all to win.
FRED STERNBURG: Dan Goossen promotes Sam Soliman and Dan, I just want to give you an opportunity to talk about Sam and the fight please.
DAN GOSSEN: Well thanks Fred. Iím really not going to say much. Iím just going to let Samís actions go out there and kind of speak for themselves and I believe heís got what it takes and weíll just let it go at that. Itís good to be a part of the promotion and Iím happy to get the opportunity for Sam and got to hand it to Winky going for it.
FRED STERNBURG: Thank you Dan. Well, on behalf of the Mohegan Sun, Gary Shaw Productions, and Gossen Tutor Promotions, I want to thank both Sam and Winky and their camps, and Milt and Bob Yalen at Mohegan Sun. Itís December 10, ĎAll For One,í Winky Wright and Sam Soliman fighting to become the undisputed mandatory challenger in the middleweight division to fight the winner of the Bernard Hopkins/Jermain Taylor world middleweight title rematch, which will be a week before. HBO will televise Wright-Soliman live at 10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific. Good seats are still available at the Mohegan Sun box office. Undefeated super middleweight contender Chad Dawson will be headlining the under card. We look forward to seeing you there. I know Sam gets to the States and will be training in Los Angeles on the 24th of November and we look forward to getting everyone together with him and introducing him to the American media in-person.
Thanks again for calling in.
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