Undefeated No. 1 super welterweight contender and son of the living legend Julio César Chávez, Jr., his new trainer Freddie Roach, five-time world champion Marco Antonio Barrera, “Ireland’s” John Duddy, and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum hosted a media conference call to discuss “Latin Fury 15,which will be televised live on pay-per-view from the Alamodome in San Antonio. Here’s what they had to say.
LATIN FURY 15 CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT
BOB ARUM: It’s really a pleasure to be here in San Antonio. It’s a beautiful city, pretty warm, but the fights will take place in the air-conditioned Alamodome. It will be a super card headlined by the 12-round middleweight match between Julio César Chávez Jr. and “Ireland’s” John Duddy as well as the first fight with Top Rank, the future hall-of-famer Marco Antonio Barrera, who we hope we can guide to yet another world title because Marco would like to fight soon for a lightweight world title after this match. Two other matches – San Antonio super flyweights Raul Martinez and Gabriel Elizondo battle for the Texas State Championship, and Salvador Sanchez II, the nephew of the great Salvador Sanchez, will also be featured on the telecast. We are very excited to be back here in San Antonio, a city that means so much to the Chávez family. The legendary Julio César Chávez Sr fought an epic battle here against Pernell Whitaker in this same Alamodome where these fights will take place.
MARCO ANTONIO BARRERA: I am very happy to fight here in San Antonio and now I come here to fight in the same place that Julio César Chávez fought.
JOHN DUDDY: It is great to be back in San Antonio. I am looking forward to the fight and a very tough battle with Chávez and I think it’s going to be an exciting fight and I’m really looking forward to putting on a great show for the fans.
FREDDIE ROACH: Julio is in great shape for this one. We had a great training camp and we are just winding down now and I expect good things.
And now Julio César Chávez Jr who has just completed the most vigorous training camp of his career…
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: I am very happy to be here and very excited. I have a tough opponent in front of me and expect a tough fight but I’m in the best shape ever and I think it’s going to be a great night for the fans.
FREDDIE ROACH: There were a lot of warning signs about how he is lazy and doesn’t want to work and would he last a week with me. He is a great kid, great to work with and is very disciplined. He gets up in the morning and does his roadwork every day, comes in the gym and sparred up to 12 rounds with three sparring partners. Overall it was a real good experience and we enjoyed each other’s company and it was a pleasure.
I was going to give him one more day to arrive in camp before deciding I wasn’t going to have enough time with him but then he showed up. We had four weeks together and obviously it would have been better to have more but next time around we’ll get better and better. We know what we have in front of us and we’ll be ready for it.
RICARDO JIMENEZ: Chávez’s previous trainers were his uncles Rodolfo Chávez and Miguel Molleda
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: Without a doubt there have been a lot of changes for this training camp. I have never been with a trainer so capable. I had heard great things about him but until you go through a regimen like his you don’t know what he’s capable of doing. I know I’m in the best physical shape that I’ve ever been in and I am well prepared. I am happy that I made the decision to go train with him and I think it will pay off and you’ll see it.
Why did you make the change?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: It came to a point in my career that if I wanted to do better, if I wanted bigger and better things I had to make a change. I did it because I knew I needed it for my career, I still want to do great things in boxing and that’s what motivated me. I thought do I want to stay where I am or do I want to get better and this opportunity came and I took it and I’m very happy that I did.
Were you worried about living up to Freddie’s standards?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: Any time you make a move to the unknown you get nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect but once I made the decision I knew I would be capable of doing anything he asked of me. I knew I could a lot of things and wouldn’t be here now if I couldn’t. I needed that direction now and he has given it to me.
Did you sense any resistance from Julio?
FREDDIE ROACH: Not at all. Whatever I asked him to do, he did. He is a very capable person and he knows boxing.
Do you feel that not being the focal point of a fight will work to your advantage?
JOHN DUDDY: I am here to do a job like I do for every fight. I have to take care of my part of the bargain and everything else has nothing to do with me. I am just looking forward to getting in the ring on Saturday night and putting on a good show.
Do you think your chances will improve if you force Julio into a firefight?
JOHN DUDDY: I don’t know, I think we’ll have to wait and see. I think the two of us are pretty aggressive fighters. I’m sure there have been a few things worked on in the gym and I’ve worked on a few extra things and I’m looking forward to putting them on display on Saturday night. He’s a good fighter. The kid has won 40 fights and that is no lean feat. He’s done everything that has been asked of him and he’s got great potential.
Marco, how did your body feel when training began?
MARCO ANTONIO BARRERA: My body has not changed – it is the same as it has been for 20 years. I would like to say thank you to Bob Arum and Top Rank for giving me the opportunity to fight and show the world that I am here and ready for this fight.
Why did you want to resume your career?
MARCO ANTONIO BARRERA: I never really left. I have always been there and was just taking a rest.
How will the ring be configured for Saturday night?
BOB ARUM: It will be primarily at one end of the Alamodome. The reason is that they are setting up the other end for a convention. But that is the deal we made and we have plenty of seats on one end and that means that every seat, as low as $25, will be a great seat.
Tell us about the importance of this fight for you…
JOHN DUDDY: I think every fight is important. You need a victory. You don’t go out there in this game to lose. A win would mean great things. It would open doors to get closer to fighting for a world title. That’s what we are in the sport for, to try and move forward. I am looking forward to an exciting fight and the winner at the end has a good path in front of him.
How are you prepared to deal with the crowd that will most likely be pro-Chávez?
JOHN DUDDY: I am going to go out and fight like I do in every fight wherever I go.
What is it about this sport to want to get back in there again?
MARCO ANTONIO BARRERA: I never left the sport. I am always here. Now I am here for maybe two, three or four fights. In México City the TV is open and all the people will get to see me fight. I want to show all of México how I can still fight.
Is there a goal?
MARCO ANTONIO BARRERA: The idea is to fight for a world title in a short time. I know that I can and my body is good. I have experience. I don’t know the name of a champion that I will fight but I know that I am ready and will prove it in this fight. After that I will fight any champion. It doesn’t matter.
What is it about Marco Antonio?
BOB ARUM: He is a great fighter but I have to say, as Marco will tell you, he was always in the opposite corner. He gave fighters that I was promoting fits. Now I am happy that we are in the same corner and I hope to have him, very shortly, fight for a lightweight championship, maybe against Soto or maybe against Acosta – both fighters are under contract with Top Rank and so he’ll have that opportunity to fight for a fourth world title. Be the first Mexican to win world titles in four weight divisions. So I look forward to being in his corner when that happens.
Can you put a finger on why people still want to see him fight?
BOB ARUM: Boxing is entertainment. It is entertainment provided by well-conditioned athletes. Some of these athletes in boxing do not entertain. Marco Antonio Barrera has always entertained. He always comes to fight, whether he is a young guy fighting in the Los Angeles Forum or later on with classic fights against Erik Morales, he always entertained the fans. Fans don’t forget that. They want to be entertained.
Can you address what is on the horizon for all three fighters?
BOB ARUM: The middleweights will be moved t where they will fight for a middleweight title. This fight, and I know some people belittle it, but they are fighting for the WBC Silver Belt. That means the winner of this fight is the mandatory challenger for the middleweight champion. That means the winner of this fight is assured a championship match in the foreseeable future. If Chávez wins, and according to Freddie he is capable of making 154 pounds, he could fight Miguel Cotto as a possibility. As far as Marco Antonio Barrera is concerned, as I said, this is his first fight with Top rank and has a tough fight with DeJesus, if he comes through in this fight we will look to move him, before the end of the year for a lightweight championship match and he will have an opportunity to win a fourth world title. There is a lot on the line here in San Antonio.
Duddy would be in line to fight Sergio Martinez?
BOB ARUM: That is absolutely correct.
Freddie, when Julio was late were you starting to believe that the doubters were right?
FREDDIE ROACH: There was an over-under on how long he would last with me and they said he wouldn’t last a week. There was no betting going on. I pushed him and he was there for four weeks and we had a great training camp. The over won.
BOB ARUM: The reason he was late was because he had to get his work visa renewed. It got caught up in the bureaucratic mass. It was clearly approved right away but it took time for the paperwork to come through.
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: I am sure there were some doubters out there but I did not know of an over-under or anything like that. I know a lot of people didn’t think I could make it there but I knew I could. I know how tough I am and Freddie’s the judge of that. He knows what I can do. I needed someone to direct me and show me what I needed to do and the discipline I needed. I am real happy. Nobody forced me to do it. I am just happy I did it. I enjoy this new relationship I have.
FREDDIE ROACH: He has enjoyed the work, he really has.
JOHN DUDDY: This is the biggest fight of my career. I have always dreamed of fighting for a world title. This opportunity is in front of me and I am looking forward to making the best of it.
What was you father’s opinion when he made the trainer change?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: We had talked about it and he said that maybe I needed somebody to take me to the next level. We had thought about some guys and thinking about doing something. When I told him about Freddie Roach he got very excited. Freddie is not going to waste his time with a nobody or someone that has no talent. By Freddie taking me my father felt that Freddie gave me confidence that he would take me to that next level. He is very happy. He knows what Freddie is capable of doing and what a great trainer he is. I think he will take me to the next level.
Where did the idea come from?
(Julio came to Pacquiao’s training camp at Freddie’s Wild Card Boxing Club one day and watched while he prepared for Clottey.)
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: If you follow boxing you know what a great trainer he is and what he’s done in the past few years. The day I saw him train Pacquiao was the day I decided I want to be part of this. This is what I want. This is what I need. This was something that was going to help me for a long time. You have to earn it in boxing and I think Freddie has earned being called the best trainer in the world. He has shown that to me and that I made a great decision.
What was the most difficult part of changing?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: The rhythm in which they train and the intensity. The things they ask me to do are not hard to do they just ask that it be done at a certain pace. I was not used to working that intense for that long a time. I was not used to working that hard for that long a time.
Julio, what weight would you feel more comfortable fight at for your first world title?
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR: I am just thinking about Saturday. This is going to be the most important fight of my career to get me to the next level. If I win, God willing, Bob will tell me who I will fight. He will decide where I need to fight and who I need to fight.
What kind of contract do you have with Barrera?
BOB ARUM: We are gentlemen and have been in this business for a long time. My goal is to do the rest of his fights for his brilliant career and to bring to the point where he wins four world championships and maybe has a defense or two of those world titles and make some really good money and send him off to a proper retirement.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions and Tecate, Latin Fury 15: La Furia de México, headlined by the Julio César Chávez Jr. vs. John Duddy 12-round middleweight rumble, will be produced and distributed Live on Pay-Per-View, This Saturday! June 26, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. Remaining tickets, priced at $200, $100, $60, $40 and $25, can be purchased at the Alamodome box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or online at www.Ticketmaster.com.
12 Rds. – WBC Middleweight Silver Championship Belt
JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ JR. (40-0-1, 30 KOs), Culiacan, México
vs. IRELAND’S JOHN DUDDY (29-1, 18 KOs), Derry, Ireland
10 Rds. – Lightweights
MARCO ANTONIO BARRERA (68-7, 43 KOs), México City
vs. ADILTON DE JESUS (25-4, 20 KOs), Bahia, Brasil
10 Rds. – Texas State Super Flyweight Championship
RAUL MARTINEZ (26-1, 15 KOs), San Antonio, Texas
vs. GABRIEL ELIZONDO (22-3-1, 10 KOs), San Antonio, Texas
8 Rds. – Featherweights
SALVADOR SANCHEZ (19-3-2, 9 KOs), Tianguistenco, México
vs. TOMAS VILLA (22-7-4, 14 KOs), Midland, Texas