Boxing


Juan Diaz, Fernando Angulo Showtime Quotes

19.10.06 - The 20-year anniversary celebration of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING continues with an exciting world championship doubleheader on Saturday, Nov. 4, when Sergei “White Wolf” Liakhovich (23-1, 14 KOs) defends his WBO heavyweight title against Shannon “The Cannon’’ Briggs (47-4-1, 41 KOs) and WBA lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz (30-0, 15 KOs) risks his crown against Fernando “La Fiera” Angulo (18-3, 12 KOs). The Don King Productions-promoted twinbill will air on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast) from Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz..

Angulo: I am feeling very well and strong. I am preparing as I expected to prepare. We have been training in Los Angeles and training to win. That is my plan.

Question: Fernando, tell us a little bit about your upbringing. It is a very unusual story.

Angulo: My childhood is what I would consider a bit embarrassing. I did grow up fairly close to the Ecuadorian Amazon and it was very, very close to the jungle. When I was approximately seven years of age, I had to leave my parents. They were abusive. I would stay away for a period of two years in the jungle and then come back to my hometown and stay there for about three months. During the time that I would return I would stay with people in the town. They were always very hospitable and very generous and would allow me to stay in their homes. In return for food and a roof over my head, I would do small jobs of picking coffee or picking cacao. So my beginnings were very humble and very difficult.

Question: Fernando, there is no shame in that. We do not pick our parents. But when you spent this year or two in the rain forest, did you see people? Were you foraging for yourself? Or did you hook up with other people? What happened to you out there?

Angulo: I am from a town that is right at the edge of the jungle, so I grew up very much accustomed to a jungle. To me, it was not a new experience. I have done farming. When I would go into the very inner parts, I was alone. The times that I would come out, people would help me. I would have to beg for food on the street. I would be walking around with just some shorts, a tee shirt, barefoot, and in the cold. Sometimes I would sleep in the street in the city alone. Sometimes people would give me a home. Sometimes when I went into the jungle, I would sleep there alone and survive on my own natural instincts and what I knew from growing up. When I became an amateur at the age of 16 is when my life changed a bit.

Question: Juan, do you have some opening comments?

Diaz: Yes, my story is not that emotional and not that hard. I have much respect for Mr. Angulo for surviving all of that and being where he is at now. I was born in the United States, went back to Mexico and then my parents came back here. They worked hard to give both my brother and I a good education, and now I am at the University of Houston, a world champion. I can say that they were very, very successful on what they tried and set out to accomplish, which is for my brother and I to have a better future. And now I just want to thank all the fans all around the United States who supported me and who did not have any doubt that I would be where I am at now.

Question: Juan, how has the balance been at the university along with training for this fight?

Diaz: It has been a little tough.

Question: Are you going to classes full-time?

Diaz: No, that is part-time. Four classes is full-time; three is part-time. So I started doing three classes, but all the training I have been doing recently has got me down to one class only, so no matter how hard it gets, I have to only take one class. That is all I am going to take. But I am going to continue going because I know that staying in school is what keeps me motivated and keeps me winning.

Question: Fernando, you have not fought since December. Diaz looks like he is going to be your toughest opponent. How you are preparing and what are your plans against him?

Angulo: My strategy is to train very hard and train consistently. I am in excellent condition. I do regard my opponent to be one who is always in good condition, a guy who throws a lot of punches, to be a very strong fighter. But I am confident that I am in excellent condition and because of my conditioning and training, I will be taking the title to Ecuador.

Question: Juan, have you seen any tape of Fernando, and how are you going to approach him?

Diaz: I have seen film on him. He is a very strong puncher. If I was to compare him to somebody, I would say he is kind of like a (Ricardo) Mayorga type of fighter. He is real strong and he is a little awkward. Those are the most dangerous fighters to fight, so I have got to be on my best night and be real, real focused in order to fight and beat Angulo.

Question: Juan, would you agree that he looked like he was in phenomenal condition at the press conference?

Diaz: Yes, yes. I know that from my previous fights that all the fights that I fight, they come in great shape because they obviously want to become champions of the world.

Question: They want what you have?

Diaz: Yes, and that is why they are not going to lose that opportunity or waste it.

Question: Juan, what does it mean to you to be fighting now for (new promoter) Don King?

Diaz: It is a very exciting time for me because I remember back in the day when I was eight years old and my favorite fighter was Julio Cesar Chavez and I used to see Don King get up in the ring with him and those Pay-Per-View shows. Now I look back and I think back and I see myself, he is going to be stepping in the ring with me. It is just amazing how far along I have come through my professional boxing career. It is just very exciting to be in this position and to be fighting such a spectacular fight.

Question: Juan, is there any distraction that you have tried to tender a contract beyond just this one-fight deal and it has not come to pass yet? Does that bother you at all?

Diaz: Well, no, it does not bother me at all because I have my manager who is taking care of that, and he is the businessman and I am the fighter. So whatever happens is going to happen, and if it works out, fine. If not, then both the promoter and us will move along with what we have to do. So I am just focused on staying champion on Nov..

Question: Fernando, what do you have to say to those who think you are way out of your league in this match against Diaz?

Angulo: First and foremost, Juan Diaz is not superior to me. He is the champion, but I have all the class and the qualities to be a champion, and I will demonstrate this by fighting and beating the champion. I am very hungry and I have very, very strong desires to become champion.

Question: Fernando, will you admit that, on paper, Diaz is the best opponent you have faced?

Angulo: On paper, Juan Diaz is the champion. Therefore, since I am fighting for that title, he is the best opponent I have faced. But I have had many tough fights, none have been for the title, but they have been difficult. I expect this to be a very difficult fight, but it is difficult not just because I am facing the champion, but I feel I am also fighting the judges. I know my mind must be clear. I must have a positive mindset, but I am comfortable because I am completely prepared. I invite all the fans to watch this fight on SHOWTIME so that they can witness how good a fighter and opponent I am.

Question: Fernando, how will you overcome the experience advantage your opponent has?

Angulo: In terms of the experience, I do not want to provide any details but on Nov. 4 you will see how I will deal with Juan's experience. I am a quiet boxer; I am not one to talk much. But I will demonstrate that I am more than capable of dealing with Diaz's experience.

Question: Juan, when do you think you will be able to set up an opportunity to pick up another title and how important is it to you to become the undisputed lightweight champion?

Diaz: It is very important for me to unify the division, but right now I am not thinking ahead. I have a date with Angulo on the 4th, and that is the only thing that I am concentrating on. I never plan or look ahead because unexpected things happen all the time, not just in boxing but in our lives. So I prepare myself mentally, physically, and everything that I can try to do so that I win on Nov. 4. Then, I will talk about some possible unification bouts.

Question: Juan, you have beaten so many quality fighters as a professional. Is there anyone in the division that you think is going to be able to challenge you down the line?

Diaz: There are a lot of fighters that are really dangerous. You have seen fighters who are coming from losing records and they beat top, top opponents. So any fighter that steps in there is a threat to you, and right now anybody that steps through that ring, I see them as a big threat. But as far as me wanting to fight other fighters, the fight that I would really love would be against the new WBC champion, Joel Casamayor, or Jesus Chavez, who is another champ.

Question: Juan, do you think that Fernando is overmatched here? True, he is a threat like anybody, but do you think your record stands far above his?

Diaz: I do not see him as undermatched because a lot of the experts have been proven wrong so many times, and champions themselves have proven themselves wrong. So those are the kinds of things that keep me motivated and training hard. You cannot take this guy lightly.

Question: Fernando, what is the name of the town that you grew up in and how big was it? And does anybody in that town know that you will be fighting or where that you will be fighting for a world title on Nov. 4?

Angulo: The town that I grew up in, actually, the city is quite large with millions, but I grew up in a very small part by the edge, right by the jungle. So it was not highly populated.

Question: How many people live there?

Angulo: It is a province that at this time certainly has a population in the millions, but when I was growing up, it was a very, very small, small town.

Question: How many amateur fights did you have?

Angulo: I had 25 amateur fights, and I lost five of them. I did not stay as an amateur for very long because I did not like it. I became an amateur only for the purpose of eventually becoming a professional.

Question: You started when you were 16, correct?

Angulo: Yes.

Question: Are there people in this small area near the jungle that knew you? Do they actually know you are fighting?

Angulo: Actually, I have been very quiet about the fight because I have been very focused. I am sure that now that there are newspapers that people might know about it, but personally, I am not aware of anyone who is aware that I will be fighting. I am totally concentrated, and my goal for more than seven years has been to fight for a world championship. I have not spoken to anybody from my hometown, and so my personal knowledge is that they do not know anything.

Question: If you were to win, would you go back to Ecuador? I understand you live in Venezuela now, but would you want to go back there and visit?

Angulo: I would love to return. I am living in Venezuela presently. That is where I have been developing myself professionally as a fighter. I have been away from Ecuador for the last five years approximately, but I am Ecuadorian from the root and from the heart, so I plan to first return to Venezuela immediately after the fight, with the title, and then go to Ecuador and spend a vacation there, because I miss it.

Question: You are training in Los Angeles with Venezuelan trainers, right?

Angulo: Yes.

Question: Juan, there is a lot of talk about the heavyweights and how nobody cares about them anymore. Are you a fan of the heavyweights?

Diaz: A little bit. I watched a couple of fights. One of the real, real exciting fights I watched was between James Toney and Samuel Peter.

Question: Juan, as a fighter, what would the solution be to bring more interest, more people back to the heavyweight division? What would you like to see?

Diaz: I think it is because we have a lot of Russian champions and a lot of the people, they want to see some American champions. For example, they see somebody growing up, coming fresh from the Olympics and starting their career, like Shannon Briggs was saying earlier, they can kind of relate to them because they see them grow up in front of their faces on TV. A lot of the Russian champions, they come overseas, and next thing you know, they are champions, so the people do not really know too much about them or what they are about.

Question: Would you like to see an American heavyweight champion?

Diaz: I think that everybody around the world deserves a chance to fight for the championship, to become champion. So I feel that whoever trains hard, then I am all for that guy no matter where he is from, what color he is. I am for whoever has trained hard and wants it.

Question: What did you think of Casamayor in his winning effort against Diego Corrales?

Diaz: I thought he looked a lot better than he did in this last fight. He looked stronger. He looked like he was in great shape. I am just hoping that we can make that fight happen after Nov. 4 or sometime after that.

Article posted on 19.10.2006



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