Promoter Gary Shaw opened Thursday’s final Chad Dawson-Glen Johnson press conference asking for a moment of silence for Jasper Howard, the University of Connecticut football player who was stabbed to death on campus on Oct. 18. Dawson will honor Howard’s memory on Saturday night by wearing his number 6 on his trunks and on the back of his warm-up robe. Shaw then praised all four fighters – Dawson, Johnson, Alfredo Angulo and Harry Joe Yorgey–taking part in Title Night at the XL Center on Saturday as “true gentleman.” He added: “You don’t see a lot of smack talking and swearing going on with these guys. It’s all about the fight.”
Photos: Richard A. Esposito
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In an otherwise lively and festive event, Dawson and his crew donned new Yankee hats and “El Perro” Angulo passed out doggie treats to his opponent Yorgey before addressing the media.
“I’ve always been a Yankee fan. I’ve from the East Coast,” Dawson said of the newly crowned World Series champions. “I think they threw that last game just to bring it back and win it in Yankee Stadium.”
Shaw said Saturday will be a “day of reckoning” for both Angulo, who has been staying at Shaw’s Wayne Manor in New Jersey the previous three weeks to train, and Yorgey. “A couple of days ago we found out that both of them would be fighting for a WBO interim world title,” Shaw said. “This is a big moment for both young fighters. Alfredo Angulo is the single best Mexican fighter in the world.”
Chad Dawson: “The first fight I did what I had to do. I stacked up the rounds. It’s like any fighter. You get hit, you want to hit back. My whole goal for this fight is to hit and not to be hit. Stick and move. I’m not a knockout puncher. I’m not going in there looking for the knockout. I will keep out-boxing you. I will out-point you. That’s what got me to 28-0. Why would I want to change that?”
Glen Johnson: “I definitely feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I know I will win the fight. I feel like I’m stronger and better prepared than the last time we did this.”
Henry Foster, Johnson’s manager: “We just finished the best camp ever. We are ready for this fight. My fighter is the best light heavyweight in the world and we will show that on Saturday night.”
Harry Joe Yorgey: “I guarantee a good show on Saturday night. I’m not 22-0 for nothing and he’s not 16-1 for nothing so I know it will be a great show.
People recognize me more now. I used to fight in front of 600 people in the amateurs. I have a big fan club. It’s just now more extended. I’ve gotten letters from people overseas and other states like Nebraska. I came back from the Hearns fight that was televised and somebody stopped me at a stop sign and asked for my autograph. It was crazy.
I used to beat up one of my brothers then have my other brother act like Larry Merchant and have him fake an interview with me and practice signing autographs. I’ve always wanted this. It’s like a dream come true. I love being in the spotlight and I love people. Some people shy away from it but I love it.”
Alfredo Angulo: “All the work is done now. We’ve trained and now we’re ready to fight. Yorgey is a moving fighter. He moves around a lot. I’m the exact opposite. We have different styles so that will make for an exciting fight. I’ve been enjoying myself all week. I’m relaxed and ready to go.”
The spectacular night of boxing takes place on HBO beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT, from the XL Center. Remaining tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75, $50, and $35, (plus any applicable fees and surcharges), can be purchased at the XL Center box office, at all Ticketmaster outlets, through Ticketmaster Charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at www.xlcenter.com.