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29 MAY 2017

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Thurman And Garcia Conference Call Transcript


Lou DiBella
Thank you, everybody, for joining us for this call for what I think is going to be a Fight of the Year, if not the Fight of the Year, between champions Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, the World Welterweight Championship Unification at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Saturday, March 4th.
As I noted, this telecast will be Showtime on CBS and the CBS telecast will be live, live at 9:00 pm, ET/6:00 pm, PT.
It’s been a great roll of boxing that ended 2016 for Showtime and is beginning 2017 as the fights have been sensational in every platform that’s put out there. You know, this telecast being on CBS is a great story in itself and a great opportunity for the most eyeballs possible to see one of the very best fights you can make in all of boxing.
And I’d like to bring up to say a few words on this call the man that’s responsible for this great run for Showtime, Stephen Espinoza.
Stephen Espinoza
Thanks very much, Lou.
I echo your sentiments. You know, personally, I do believe this is boxing’s most anticipated fight of the year. Both Danny and Keith are undefeated. They’re in the prime of their careers and obviously both hold major world title belts in the welterweight division. They’re both highly-skilled boxers who are also powerful punchers. And this is a rare battle of undefeated champions fighting to unify the division. It’s so rare, in fact, that this is just the tenth world title unification bout in the history of the welterweight division. This will go down among the likes of Leonard versus Hearns, Trinidad versus De La Hoya, Mayweather versus Pacquiao. This is the kind of elite company this fight is in, in being a welterweight world title unification fight.
In fact, with Keith Thurman, the WBA Champion, and Danny Garcia, the WBC Champion, they’ll be fighting to unify the exact, same titles that Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns unified in their 1981 Fight of the Year.
And our last real statistic here, this will be just the third unification fight between undefeated welterweights in boxing history. Again, only the third time in boxing history that undefeated welterweights have met to unify titles, the last being Trinidad-De La Hoya in 1999. So given the quality of this matchup and the rarity of this matchup is, it’s no wonder why we’ve selected this bout to be just the second primetime boxing event on the CBS TV network in nearly 40 years.
This showdown obviously presents huge implications in the welterweight division which has historically always been boxing’s premium division. With the retirement of Floyd Mayweather, this fight will arguably determine who is the face of the new 147-pound division and certainly deserving the spot on the pound for pound list.
With that, I’ll turn it back to Lou. Suffice to say I can’t wait until March 4th.
L. DiBella
Thank you, Stephen.
First, I’d like to bring you the WBA World Welterweight Champion with the record of 27-0 with 22 KOs, the pride of Clearwater, Florida, Keith "One Time" Thurman.
Keith Thurman
Well, I’m happy to be here, looking forward to the questions and looking forward to this fight. It’s going to be a great fight.
L. DiBella
Mr. Garcia is 33-0, 19 KOs out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, like Keith, 28 years old. Danny is the WBC World Welterweight Champion.
Danny Garcia
Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it. I want to thank the media for joining us for this conference call and I’m excited about the fight on March 4. Can’t wait to unify titles that night. Thank you.
Q
Keith, what is your view of the balancing act between a great exposure but not fighting often enough, it would seem, for a top fighter?
K. Thurman
I just didn’t want to have a stay busy fight. I just wanted to have a fight that I wanted and it’s the fight that we’re getting. So if I had to wait for it, I wait for it. When fighters are staying busy, they put themselves on a certain fight schedule and then sometimes it’s hard to make the big fights happen because, this fighter is in a training camp and he’s getting ready for a fight and then the other guy starts his training camp to fight somebody else and I just wanted a fight that I want. I’m not complaining about my career. I’m not complaining about my exposure or my celebrity status. I’m not really in boxing to be a super celebrity even though there is super stardom in the sport of boxing. I’m living the dream that I’ve always wanted to live and I’m proud of it. This is a fight that I’m really looking forward to and I’m excited about it.
And then from here, I am hoping to give you guys a minimum of two fights this year. So we’ll be more active than we have been recently but things have happened last year. We have the injury, the car accident. That was a setback. And when setbacks occur, there’s nothing you can do. I’m young. I plan on being in this game for as long as I possibly can be.
So I’m not complaining at all. I’m happy to be where I am in the sport of boxing today.
Q
So are you saying that you’re willing to just wait it out and let Danny have the tune-up fight that he said that he needed and then make the fight now as opposed to trying to force the issue within the last year?
K. Thurman
This is the fight I wanted and I had no objective of waiting for it. If that’s what we needed to do, it’s not optimal, but at this stage, I can live off of one paycheck, and I was able to do that. My body went through a lot with the car accident and the rehab that I had to go through.
Last year was a big year for me. It was my 20th year anniversary in boxing, in the sport of boxing. And so even though I fought once, I got to sit back and relax and reflect and really just pat myself on the back and say, you’re champion of the world, you’ve accomplished the dreams that you Ben Getty set out for yourself as a young child. And I know it might be aggravating for fight fans, but for me, it was a blessing. I was happy to just reflect on all of my accomplishments and really just get ready to put on a tremendous performance for 2017. I got to travel the world a little bit last year and just do things for Keith Thurman and just appreciate what I’ve accomplished and the lifestyle that I’m living today.
I could have stayed busy. There were some options out there. Danny took his tune-up so that he didn’t want to go from Robert Guerrero and sitting, while I just fought Shawn Porter. So I would have been a little bit more active than them and they wanted to get back into activity and then take the big fight. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I respect that. And that’s why I waited to make this fight happen because this is the fight I wanted. I believe this is the fight the fight fans deserved. And I wanted to challenge myself and go for my second title.
Q
Keith, your thoughts about where this fight lies perhaps in the history of boxing?
K. Thurman
Boxing is all about is making history. That’s my ultimate goal is to not just make a living for myself, not just live my American dream and accomplish my goals as an athlete but my ultimate goal has been, ever since I was a child, is to make history in the sport of boxing so that when I’m done boxing, people get to remember who Keith "One Time" Thurman really was, what he brought to the welterweight division and hopefully, arguably, when people start talking about their favorite fighters and the greatest fighters of all time that there will be somebody standing in a circle who said "I really love that boy, Keith ’One Time’ Thurman." For me, that’s what it’s all about.
Q
Danny, your thoughts on that? About the unifying of those belts that those great fighters had and the rarity of this welterweight unifications?
D. Garcia
Yes, it feels good. It’s an honor. At the end of the day, you know, I feel like I’m this caliber of fighter. I’m an old school fighter in the streets of Philadelphia. I feel good that we fight for those titles and it gives me the opportunity to win my fourth world title.
Q
Is it part of your preparation mentality to go out there and try to prove people wrong?
D. Garcia
The critics will be the critics. They don’t know what I can do. I’ve been here before. It’s not new to me. But at the end of the day, I know what I can do and I’m a great champion, I’m a true champion and that’s what I’m going to show on March 4.
Q
Keith, tell us why you think you’re going to win on March 4th?
K. Thurman
Well, it’s because I’m an undefeated champion and I’ve never lost. I feel strong. I have a strong amateur background. He does, too. This is my life. This is what I do. I love the challenge. I love the fight game. I love another man trying to get the best of me right in front of me, going toe-to-toe with me. I just live for it.
I’ll never back down. I’m bigger than Danny naturally. He was always smaller than me in the amateurs. He’s smaller than me in the pros. He’s moving up. He might hold his weight well but I’m just a little bit bigger. So that gives me some confidence there.
We both have great records, great resumes, lots of knockouts, but I have less fights, more knockouts. So I believe that I do punch harder and that I’ll just edge him out statistically a little bit and it’s just going to come down to the fight who lands the right punches at the right time and strength and conditioning and just everything that the fight game is about. I always come prepared for this kind of fights. I’m just looking forward to it.
Nowadays, win, lose or draw, I’ll always be a champion. I’m not worried about nothing. I’m not worried about my reputation. Like I said, I’m living my dream. I’m trying to make history.
But it’s not easy to be Keith Thurman, I got an ’0’ and I’m not afraid to let it go. If you can beat me, beat me. I’m going to shake your hand at the end of the fight. I’m going to congratulate you at the end of the fight. But I don’t bow down to nobody and I know that I’m the greatest challenge that most fighters will ever face. So that’s where my confidence comes from and, you know, I’m just looking forward in the fight. It’s going to be a great fight.
Q
Danny, same question for you, why do you feel so confident you’re going to win this fight?
D. Garcia
I’m a true champion. I’ve been in the big fights before. I’ve been in unification fights before. I feel I’m the better fighter. I always rise to the occasion. And that’s pretty much it. At the end of the day, Danny Garcia, he comes to fight and he comes to win.
Q
Is there anything in Keith’s record or how do you watch Keith’s fights, Danny, that gives you confidence that you see something that you could beat him?
D. Garcia
We did our homework. We did the math. We’re coming in the fight with a great game plan and if anything happens, then we got to adjust. But we’ve done our homework and we’re confident going into this fight.
Q
Keith, is there anything you’ve seen in watching Danny’s recent fights that tells you you’re going to be able to win?
K. Thurman
Danny has always won. He has always prevailed in his fights. But ultimately, looking at the books and everything and looking at the record, I think Danny has been in more close decisions than I have been. The closest fight that I’ve been in was my most recent fight with Shawn Porter, a fighter who knows me very well and somebody who I competed against coming off of injury and a big layoff. So we feel stronger this camp. We feel more prepared and ready for this camp. And we believe that we’ll be able to make a statement.
He just let people be in the fight with him more than I believe fighters have been in the fight with me. I think I’ve had more dominant decisions over my opponents than Garcia and that gives me confidence in winning this fight.
Q
Keith, my question is for you. Is this fight personal for you?
K. Thurman
No, man. This is a kid that I’ve known since we were kids. If anything, I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished. I’m proud of everything he’s accomplished. He’s lived the life that I’ve lived in a different state in a different scenario. But we’re like two pit bulls. We were bred for this at a young age. We’re not new fighters. We didn’t pick up boxing yesterday. This isn’t new to us. This is the career that we chose while we were growing up. When people were trying to figure out what they want to be, we knew what we wanted to be. We knew we wanted to be fighters and this is what we wanted to do.
And I remember the day that Shawn Porter turned pro and he started to compete at 147 because Porter, as an amateur, competed at 165. And I remember when somebody passed on the knowledge that "Oh, Shawn Porter, he’s having his pro debut" and this and that and he’s fought so many fights now and he’s competing at 147, I mean, he was nobody to you guys until the reporter at the time and I knew from them I probably was actually nobody, too, and - but I knew, I said, "Oh, well, me and Shawn Porter are going to have to fight one day." And now, me and Danny Garcia have to fight.
This is what it is, man. There are a lot of other fighters out there today that I grew up with in the amateurs and it’s just great to see so many people just accomplishing their goals and their dreams. In life, you have to fight for survival. Everyone is fighting and everyone is struggling but we fighters, we truly fight to make a name for ourselves, and it kind of makes me laugh. It was humorous to me. <e and Danny Garcia were two champions. We’re going to be going toe-to-toe. And at the end of the night on March 4, one of us will prevail and one of us will be elevated in the welterweight division. And that’s just how it’s going to be.
Q
How do you feel about that, Danny? Is this personal?
D. Garcia
At the end of the day, it’s a business. It’s always personal when you’re going in and you’re going to fight with somebody. We’re not going in there to hug and to dance. It’s a fight. So it’s always personal to a certain level. And it is what it is.
Q
What’s your response to Keith’s words about your accomplishments and place in the 147-pound division?
D. Garcia
I’m the WBC Welterweight Champion of the world. I’ve been in the ring with a lot of great fighters. And come March 4th, I’m just fighting - in my book, I’m just fighting another name in the sport of boxing and that’s basically it. I’m ready for everything. I’ve always been ready for everything in my career. I’m a true champion. I’d fight anybody and I can’t wait to go into March 4th and show the world again why I’m one of the best fighters in the world.
Q
Your response to that, Keith?
K. Thurman
It’s going to be a great fight, man. You got two tremendous champions. I just believe that I am something that Danny has never faced before and it’s my job to prove that March 4th. It’s coming up right around the corner. He’s prepared physically and mentally. I’m prepared physically and mentally. Like I said, we didn’t start boxing yesterday. This is nothing new. The better man will prevail soon enough.
Q
Danny do you feel you’ve been underrated?
D. Garcia
I’ve been underrated my whole career. Every time I beat somebody there was an excuse or, every time I’m in a tough fight, they’re always saying "Oh, it was controversial," whatever or close fight. It is what it is. That’s the image the media is trying to give me. I know I’m a true champion and the hard work that I’m putting in day in, day out, I’m confident in anything I do in life. My job is not really to worry about the media and people underrating me. It is what it is because I know I’m a true champion. And that’s it.
Q
I’ve read where you said that if you win this fight, you feel like you will be the face of boxing. Why do you say that?
D. Garcia
Well, if you look at the last five years in the sport of boxing since 2012 and you look at the level of opposition that every other champion faced and you look at the level of opposition that I faced and the divisions that I won and unified are the hardest divisions in the sport of boxing. So the people I see in the last five years and titles that I won, it makes me the face of boxing.
Q
Keith, do you feel that way, too, that if you win this fight that you will be the so-called face of boxing?
K. Thurman
The winner of this fight is going to be the man of 147 division. Lately, the welterweight division, whoever is at the top of 147, kind of has been the face of boxing and it is due to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and things of that nature. The heavyweight division is coming back but the fight fans, true boxing fans, they’re on everything, They’re onto Triple G, Canelo, Wilder and Joshua.
But still, with all that going on, 147 is a tremendous weight class and the winner of this fight is going to get a little bit of what I call "spotlight priority". They’re going to step up into the world of boxing. They’re going to get talked about a lot more. And they’re going to get some high expectations sent upon them. This is what it is, man. It’s what comes when you are champion and you stay champion and you keep making a name for yourself.
It’s our job to fight. It’s our job to win. And it’s your guy’s job to talk about it and we’re always willing to do these interviews and things of that nature. So it’s just what comes with the territory. But I’m looking forward to making history at 147 and holding down this weight class for few more years.
Q
Danny, first of all, what does it mean to put the city of Philadelphia in the national spotlight for this fight?
Keith, what is your takeaway from your last fight against Shawn Porter?
And one final one, will you guys have a rematch if the guys don’t like the outcome of the fight?
D. Garcia
I feel good that I’ll be putting Philadelphia on the spotlight. That’s a city of great champions going back to Frazier, Bernard Hopkins, and a lot of great champions coming out of Philly. Philadelphia sports teams have struggled a little bit to make it far in any sport and I’ve been a champion for five years in the city of Philadelphia, so I felt like I’m holding the city down properly and they can be proud of me on March 4th.
K. Thurman
My fight versus Shawn Porter I just think I showed once again that just because a fighter puts his best foot forward doesn’t mean that he’s going to beat Keith "One Time" Thurman. Shawn Porter put on a tremendous performance. It was a very competitive fight. But I won the fight, unanimous, seven rounds to five rounds. It was what it was. I got cut. I didn’t let that distract me in the fight. I fought with hematomas. I’ve taken good power shots before. And I’m always competitive in the fight and I just think that the Shawn Porter fight was just another example how it’s not easy. There was never a "gimme" when you’re stepping in the ring with Keith "One Time" Thurman.
And when it comes to rematch with Danny Garcia, we just got to get this fight over with. We got to see what’s happening. I haven’t heard anything about any rematch policies or anything. Fight fans, a portion of them, still want me to rematch Shawn Porter. And we’re young enough. Rematches can happen. Because it’s not mandated or anything, I highly doubt that a rematch will be instant. Unless it’s a draw or something of that nature and then even then, who knows what our teams will come up with. A rematch isn’t what’s on our mind. Our mind is getting the victory on March 4th.
Q
Would you qualify any of the fights maybe against Peterson, Herrera, Judah, any of those fights, or maybe even the Matthysse fight as overcoming any kind of adversity?
D. Garcia
Yes, definitely. I faced adversity my whole life, not just in boxing, but in the street life of Philadelphia. I’ve been facing adversity since I’ve been a champion. I faced adversity during the Amir Khan fight. He cut me early. He won the first couple of rounds. I came back. I stopped him.
The Lucas Matthysse fight, I was the underdog. He put pressure on me. I dropped him late.
The Peterson fight, he’s tough, crafty, you know, veteran champion who’s faced everyone in the sport. So everything I’ve been through in my career led me to this fight. I’m a seasoned 28-year-old. I’m a seasoned champion and I feel good. I’ve been through a lot of adversity in my life and that’s what I live for -- to overcome anything.
Q
Do you feel like you’ve lined up the right fights to get you into this position for this weight class?
D. Garcia
To be honest with you I’ve been a welterweight - I was just shrinking myself down to 140 like after I fought Matthysse, my plan was to move up to 147 in 2013, because I couldn’t make the weight no more. We had the title, so, you know, we decided to keep squeezing ourselves down. It kind of hurt me in a couple of performances. I wasn’t able to perform my best because of the weight but I feel like I’ve been a true welterweight. I should have been a welterweight since 2013.
I’m tough for the weight class. I got big shoulders. So I definitely feel like welterweight is my natural weight class. I was just squeezing myself down throughout the years and I’m happy that I’m able to let my body grow and filling to the welterweight division now.
Q
Finishing up, do you feel that you are at your strongest right now?
And then also for both of you, could you each compare your results against Robert Guerrero?
D. Garcia
Yes, I definitely feel like I’m at my strongest right now. It’s always good to let your body grow and strain and not have to worry about weight and training to get better and not to lose weight.
As far as the Guerrero fight, he’s a tough, crafty veteran. Keith knocked him down but I beat him in a unanimous decision. I did box him but it’s what I had to do to get the win.
K. Thurman
Fights like that are just something for the fight fans and for everyone to do what we call a comparison or measuring stick. We got something in common there. We both dominated Guerrero. I did drop him. Danny didn’t drop him. But Danny did win unanimously. I commentated that fight. I had Danny winning the fight. Guerrero was competitive for a few rounds. But Danny stayed composed and eventually he just started setting up traps and just started teeing off of on Guerrero. Guerrero never made his adjustment and just throughout the round, round by round by round by round, it just became an easy fight for Danny.
And it is what it is, man. Manny Pacquiao beat fighters that Floyd Mayweather beat and Manny Pacquiao stopped certain people, Floyd didn’t. It didn’t stop Floyd Mayweather from winning the fight.
So at the end of the day, this is just going to be a competitive fight between Keith "One Time" Thurman and Danny "Swift" Garcia, man. It’s going to be a good fight. We’re going to challenge each other and one man is going to get the best of the other man. End of story.
Q
Keith how would you compare Danny to everyone you’ve faced before?
K. Thurman
Well, I’d have to say that Danny is definitely the most accomplished fighter that I’ve faced. I faced a lot of veterans but you’re a veteran when you got some years under your belt. Danny is still in his prime. He’s undefeated. And he’s ready and he wants to keep that ball rolling.
So I faced Shawn. He was young but he wasn’t undefeated. And the fight styles are different. Danny is very composed. Danny does always find a way to win and we’re going to try to be a little bit craftier so that he can’t solve this puzzle March 4th.
This is just going to be a good fight and I’m looking forward to the challenge. We’ve known each other for many years. We’ve never gotten to mix it up. The time is now. Everything is on the line. There’s no better time than now. There’s no better network than CBS. So I’m just looking forward to this. This is going to be a terrific fight.
Q
Danny, how would you compare him to everyone you’ve ever faced before?
D. Garcia
I’d say every fighter has their own identity. You can never really compare fighters. All fighters are different. We prepare for a fight; you got to prepare to make adjustments and things of that nature. He’s a 147-pound world champion. I’m a 147-pound world champion. And it’s a unification fight. They say he’s naturally bigger guy than me. We have to see about that on March 4th. Even though I’m coming up from a smaller weight class, I’m physically strong. I have punching power in both hands. And come March 4th, we’ll have to see. I’m ready for whatever comes with it, too.
Q
Is there any VADA or USADA testing in this fight, Danny or Keith?
D. Garcia
Yes. We used anti-doping. I know I’ve been tested multiple times already. He’s going to be tested, too, but, yes, anti-doping, yes.
L. DiBella
There has been USADA testing of both athletes for this fight. And, Danny, as the WBC champion, has enrolled in the Clean Boxing Program of the WBC. So he’s always subject to that test.
In order to be the WBC champion, as the WBC champion, Danny has enrolled in the year-round program, but the testing for this fight is USADA.
Q
I want to ask who are you guys sparring to prepare for each other? Danny?
D. Garcia
I’m sparring with some great, young prospects. Young fighters with a lot of speed and a lot of athleticism, a lot of power. One kid from Jersey and he’s a young, explosive fighter. I believe he’s going to be a world champion one day. We just have a lot of great work and we’re ready.
Q
And you, Keith Thurman?
K. Thurman
For me I brought in one of Danny Garcia’s past opponents and a veteran, Kendall Holt, just to get some of that veteran work, some good work, somebody who once upon a time coming up as a prospect, I possibly could have faced. And then my local boys in St. Pete, Clarence Booth, but he’s going to be on the undercard, fighting an up-and-coming Russian, and just a few other different looks.
We feel good. You never get to clone your opponent, so you just got to pick some people that you believe are going to get you some good work and get you ready for the fight.
Q
Keith can I get your prediction of how that Brook vs. Spence Jr. fight plays out?
K. Thurman
Well, it’s going to be a good fight. It’s a great matchup. Errol’s always been calling out everybody. He’s been steamrolling all the veterans and all the other opponents they have been putting in with him. I do believe that Kell Brook is definitely the biggest challenge to-date for him. When he fought the opponent that I faced, Bundu, before he got the knockdown and eventually the knockout upon Bundu, it was, for me, watching the fight, some of the most competitive rounds that Errol Spence has ever been through. I believe that Kell Brook is a better fighter than Bundu. Going overseas, you’re going to have to make a statement. He’s definitely going to have to win the fight, hands down, perfectly a knockdown, if not a stoppage. But I don’t know if it’s going to be as easy to break down Kell Brook as it was to break down Chris Algieri and Bundu.
I know he’s prepared for the challenge. I know he wants to bring the belt back home. I know he wants to face the winner of our fight. I love the fact that you have so many undefeated welterweights, young welterweights. After March 4th, there’ll be one less undefeated welterweight and through a few more eliminations, hopefully in the near future, we’ll have undisputed welterweight champion of the world, something we never had in the sport of boxing for of long time. And I think it’s just necessary. I think it’s that time and I don’t think there’s anything really holding us back from making that happen. I’m excited about it all. And I’m looking forward to the outcome of that fight.
But most important, what matters the most, is the outcome of my up-and-coming fight with Danny Garcia and it’s right around the corner. So we’re about to make this happen and it’s going to be a great fight as well.
Q
Danny, I wanted to get your take on your feelings about what happened with your father at the press conference.
D. Garcia
It is what it is. At the end of the day, it’s a press conference. I’ve seen worse things happen in press conferences before. Nobody got hurt. Nobody got hurt in the press conference. So, freedom of speech in America, you can say whatever you want to say and it is what it is. At the end of the day, there’s a fight coming March 4th and that’s what really matters.
Q
Were you embarrassed by what he had to say?
D. Garcia
My dad is from the inner city of Philadelphia. So he wasn’t being a racist. I know it’s not right but people say it each and every day in the city of Philly or any inner city. So he wasn’t being a racist. He was just talking like where he’s from. And I’m not saying he’s right. I’m not saying he’s wrong. But at the end of the day, it is what it is. I didn’t take it in any way because I know he didn’t mean it in that way. So it is what it is.



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