On Wednesday (November 3), Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito hosted a conference call for their November 13 contest. Below is the entire transcript, which also features quotes from Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, and trainers Freddie Roach and Robert Garcia. Some interesting points to note before reading.
– Margarito will weigh between 158-160 on fight night
– Pacquiao is not thinking about retirement
– Pacquiao’s team nor Bob Arum believe the catchweight clause of 150 pounds hurts Pacquiao’s claim of going for a record eighth title in a new weight class
– Margarito believes he’s had some of the best sparring of his career with this camp
MANNY PACQUIAO / FREDDIE ROACH;
ANTONIO MARGARITO / ROBERT GARCIA
Conference Call Transcript,
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
BOB ARUM: We are getting ready to move the operation to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Manny and Tony have had great work in training. You have had the opportunity to see them working out either in person or on HBO on 24/7. I want to commend both fighters for the wonderful way they have handled everything in this promotion and I particularly want to commend Manny Pacquiao, the Congressman from Sarangani province, who took the time Friday night to help with the re-election of Senator Harry Reid. Manny, I would just like to say that Senator Reid and all the people in Nevada are really grateful for your help in mobilizing the final votes which led to Senator Reid’s victory. Without further adieu, I would like to introduce the seven-division world champion, seeking his eighth title, Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao.
MANNY PACQUIAO: Hello Bob. Good morning to everybody and than you Bob.
FREDDIE ROACH: In the Philippines we had a pretty good training camp. It wasn’t our best. We did miss one day for the president but that is unusual. Comparative-wise we have never had a bad training camp. He is in great shape and since we have been here in the States at the Wild Card he has been running the mountains to the Hollywood sign and so-forth. Everything is on track now and we are 100% ready for the fight. Manny told me he will not disappoint me and I know that’s true I expect great things. He sparred nine rounds yesterday with three different opponents and did very well and we are starting to taper back now, cutting back each day and saving it for the fight at this moment.
**This Sunday Manny Pacquiao will be featured on 60 minutes (7 p.m. ET/PT on CBS).
Do you believe this was a good training camp?
MANNY PACQUIAO: For the early part of the camp, not the last three weeks in the Philippines, it was not as good and Freddie was not happy. That is why I am trying my best now to get in great shape and to work and that’s what I did. Freddie was very happy when I got back here and he saw my condition especially during sparring and there is no problem.
Freddie is worried about me and I understand that. We had a good training camp this time.
Can you tell us your feelings on an eighth title?
MANNY PACQUIAO: This is why I do my best in training this time. This is going to be another record in boxing and I have to be in great condition to win. We consider this a very important fight in my whole career.
Margarito is sort of a villain in this fight. Does that help sell the fight?
FREDDIE ROACH: I’m a professional and I do my job. There will be no tampering with hand-wraps this time. It’s not an issue – it’s in the past. We are past that now. We are fighting on equal terms. It helps the fight in general because of the press and the notoriety of the fight. But it doesn’t change the fight at all; it will be on the up-and-up. Both will be equal in hand-wraps and that’s the way it is.
How do you think ticket sales will go since the World Series. We [Arlington, Texas] have never had a World Series before and it added six extra games…
BOB ARUM: First of all, I would like to congratulate the San Francisco Giants for winning the World Series. The Texas Rangers had a terrific year and I’m sure they’ll be back. I think it’s good that a team the area is as successful as the Texas Rangers. It stimulates interest and drives readers to the sports pages. Unfortunately the Cowboys haven’t been as successful this year as one may have liked. I would love to see the Cowboys with a better record. The response to the ticket sales has been great. We are tracking well ahead of where we were at the Clottey fight and I’m very optimistic. It’s a great area. The ball team in the World Series and the Cowboys trying to right themselves and there are great fans in the North Texas area. I think we will exceed it. The first fight we did 50,000 and change and I think this fight we will exceed it. I think we will do over 60,000.
When you enter the ring, you will be going against the heaviest man you have ever fought…
MANNY PACQUIAO: In our training today we started hard against big guys, taller to give them that advantage. We had plans for this camp to train for him and prepared ourselves with that strategy so we will have no problem with him. We do our best in training. With our strategy, we are not worried about the size. I believe I can fight the bigger guys even though I am small compared to them but we always believe in our talent.
FREDDIE ROACH: The bigger he is the better it is for us. Size doesn’t win fights, skill does and we outweigh them in that department. This will not be a difficult fight for us at all.
What do you think about Robert García and do you think he has a bright future as a trainer?
FREDDIE ROACH: I think he is a very good trainer and he has some good prospects in his camp. I have seen his work. His guys are all good and I think he has a great future.
Does it concern you that Margarito may be more serious in camp while Manny even is the States has had distractions? Is it a concern?
MANNY PACQUIAO: For me it is not a distraction as long as I train hard. You train hard and do your job there is no distraction about that. Of course the focus still is there. Nothing to worry about.
FREDDIE ROACH: I agree with Manny, you see him singing on the Jimmy Kimmel show is very relaxing. Manny likes to sing – he relaxes and he’s always been a multi-tasker. There is no way Margarito has trained harder than us. Manny is in great shape and that will show on the 13th.
Are you thinking about retirement due to political career?
MANNY PACQUIAO: No, the political career has not affected my boxing career.
I have time for politics and I have time for boxing. Right now my focus is still into boxing. Once I get into training there is full focus on the fight so I am ready. No retirement. Not yet. I can still fight.
You had a foot issue in camp…how do you feel? Is all that behind you?
MANNY PACQUIAO: My feeling right now, I am ready. I am excited for the fight on the 13th. Tell the fans there is nothing to worry about. The only worry we have is how to give the fans a good show that are watching on the 13th.
FREDDIE ROACH: We have always had a good training camp and I give this one a “B”. We only missed one day that I was upset about but it was just one day and it probably did more good than harm. We are training hard for the fight and doing all the roadwork. We are doing all the work. We are not taking this fight lightly. Manny knows how to get in shape and he’s done that for this fight.
MANNY PACQUIAO: I am in 100% condition and there is nothing to worry about.
What about the catch weight?
BOR ARUM: Catch-weights have existed in the whole history of boxing. I remember Sugar Ray Leonard winning the light heavyweight championship of the world coming in at 165 – the catch weight was 166. When he and Tommy [Hearns] fought for the super middleweight title the catch weight was 162. This is not something new in boxing. The maximum weight limit for each category is just that, the maximum limit. Fighters all throughout history have agreed to fight at a catch-weight. I don’t think it affects it at all that this is the eighth divisional world title. It is being fought at a weight that is above welterweight, at a maximum weight of 150 lbs; therefore it qualifies as a super welterweight championship fight.
FREDDIE ROACH: This is the second time it has been done. It was just a negotiation for the fight. Both fighters agreed to a contract and the weight. I don’t understand the issue. They are both above 147 for the eighth divisional world title. There is no issue in my mind.
MANNY PACQUIAO: I am just a fighter that trains and I fight in the ring. That is a job for my promoter, Bob Arum, to negotiate what the weight is going to be.
How did the singing come about and how did you choose the John Lennon song, Imagine?
MANNY PACQUIAO: It is a good song, “Imagine.” I was having fun with Will Ferrell, he is a funny guy. When I got there, we practiced twice and that was it.
BOB ARUM: I thought it was very good. I am a huge Beatles fan, they are my favorites. Manny did a wonderful job and it was really something special. To see a fighter sing a song like Lennon’s “Imagine” was great.
FREDDIE ROACH: I thought it was great. I saw it the next morning on the computer. It looked like he was very relaxed and having fun. I didn’t know Will Ferrell was that good a singer and I liked it a lot.
Do you think he will stop Margarito?
FREDDIE ROACH: I think we will overwhelm him with the punches he will land on him with the fast hands and combinations. In eight or nine rounds I think we will break him down. Margarito throws a lot of punches and he makes too many mistakes to beat us. He has bad habits and we are going to take advantage of all of them.
Where do you place Manny in boxing history?
BOB ARUM: I have never promoted a fighter before that has so captivated a country and a people the way Manny has. He is idolized and followed by every Filipino, whether he is in the Philippines or anywhere else around the world. It is a phenomenon like I have never seen before. I promoted 25 Ali fights and other fights for Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and George Foreman, but I have never seen the enthusiasm of a people towards a fighter the way I see the enthusiasm for Manny Pacquiao.
You’ve got to realize that next to the Hispanics, the Filipinos are the largest ethnic group in Nevada. Harry’s victory was a result of tremendous support of both the Hispanic and Filipino community. Manny has to get a lot of credit for his help in backing Senator Reid.
Do you think Margarito needs to win or have a good fight to clear his name?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I know he is going to try his best to win the fight. My concern is what an exciting fight we can give to the people who are going to watch. I am hoping we can give a good fight and make people happy by our performance.
FREDDIE ROACH: To me, he was suspended for a year, he did his time and now he is a free man now and he is eligible to fight. It is the best fight out there for us right now. It is going to be an action-packed fight. It is going to be better than the Clottey fight of course. Everyone knows Margarito throws punches. He is a volume puncher; he is a three-time world champion. We’ve got our hands full but we are ready and have what it takes to beat him. I don’t see any issues.
Would a win help clear his past?
FREDDIE ROACH: It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the past. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He is fighting the best fighter in the world. Any fighter in the world that fights Manny Pacquiao has nothing to lose.
Who has more risk?
BOB ARUM: I must say that as the promoter of this fight that each fighter will do everything he can to win the fight. Each fighter is well prepared. Each fighter is coming in there to win Manny will say it is more important for him and Tony will say that it is more important to him.
MANNY PACQUIAO: I want to say thank you to all the fans for supporting us and hope you watch on November 13th. It is going to be a great fight between Antonio Margarito and me. We will do our best to give an exciting fight. Thank you very much to all of you.
BOB ARUM: I want to welcome Antonio and Robert onto this call. Both of them have worked extremely hard to prepare for this fight. I want to thank each of them helping with the promotion as we get ready to go the North Texas/Dallas area at the end of this week and I’d like for Tony to say a few words and then Robert to say a few words.
ANTONIO MARGARITO: It has been a great training camp. We are really ready for this fight. I think you are going to see a great fight. I have prepared 100% and I just can’t wait to get up in the ring.
ROBERT GARCIA: We now have two weeks to go and we are very excited. We have had a great camp. We have had a lot of fun.
BOB ARUM: One of Robert Garcia’s other fighters, the sensational Brandon Rios, will be the first televised fight on the card. He has replaced Kelly Pavlik and Brandon will fight Omri Lowther of Valdosta, Georgia, a terrific punching fighter with 14 wins, two losses, 10 KOs…should be a really good fight. So Robert is going to be busy on November 13th.
How tough has it been to get through the negatives to concentrate on this fight?
ANTONIO MARGARITO: I try not to dwell on the negative. I know people will ask the questions and I have to answer the questions and I have no problem with them. To me, right now all I am concentrating right now is on the fight. I know it is going to be asked but for me I have to concentrate on the fight. Everything is in the past and I can’t wait until November 13.
It is going to be a super fight and I can’t wait to be up in the ring.
Do you feel fortunate to get a fight of this magnitude?
ANTONIO MARGARITO: I thank God for getting this opportunity. Of course Bob Arum has been behind me the whole time and I thank him too. I know it is a great opportunity and I’m going to take advantage of it. I know how hard it was to make the fight real and I’m very happy that it’s finally here.
Is he motivated to have the best performance of his career?
ANTONIO MARGARITO: That’s what I’m looking forward to. Not only did I have a great camp, but I am also looking to have a great performance. I want to show everyone that I belong at this level against the best fighter in the world and that’s one of the things I want to do for this fight.
BOB ARUM: Everybody is entitled to their opinion. I am a trained lawyer and I believe in justice and I believe that Antonio Margarito was not treated fairly by the California Commission. I believe that Antonio Margarito did not know anything of what was in those hand wraps and did not have an opportunity to try that and that the revocation of his license was unfounded and I said that at the time before there was even a conversation about a Margarito fight against Manny Pacquiao. I am delighted that Antonio came through all of this and I am delighted that the Texas boxing commission read the record and saw what was in fact the true facts surrounding this situation and gave Antonio a license and I am delighted to be the promoter of this fight.
Freddie I have great respect for and he’s a great trainer. Manny is a dear friend a tremendous fighter. Like me, they have their own opinions. I just happen to disagree with both of them on this issue.
Can you discuss your relationship with Bob Arum?
ANTONIO MARGARITO: I am very grateful. Not only now because of what has happened during this controversy, but going back to the beginning of my career. He made me a world champion. He has always been behind me and gotten me big fights. I am very grateful not only for getting me this fight but for everything he has done for me.
What has kept you a Top Rank fighter all these years?
ANTONIO MARGARITO: I am very happy where I am. I have always been treated well by Top Rank. I have done everything I have been supposed to do. I never looked to go anywhere else. Why would I go anywhere else when I am with the best? I will end up my career with them.
Are you emulating Pacquiao’s style in sparring?
ROBERT GARCIA: We have four great sparring partners. They have speed. They have very good skills and a lot of power. All four combined did a great job in preparing us for this fight. They gave us great sparring and we are very happy.
ANTONIO MARGARITO: I was very happy with the sparring we got for this fight. We got some guys that are very quick and really fast. We have one guy that is a 154-pounder and very strong. I think we had some of the best sparring I ever had for a camp. I want to thank them because they really made me work hard and I think I had a really good training camp with sparring.
ROBERT GARCIA: I have always admired Pacquiao’s career. He has done good things in boxing. He is seven-time world champion. You can’t beat that. But watching his fights over and over we know he makes mistakes.
ANTONIO MARGARITO: What he has done no other fighter has done. Coming from a small weight and moving up to this heavier weight. I have to admire someone that can keep the power going and he is going up and he’s a great boxer.
What are your strengths as a trainer?
ROBERT GARCIA: I know when a fighter is taking it easy and I know when a fighter needs a day off. I did it for many years. I know how to get a fighter to give his best. I know not to take all the credit. I try to get the fighter to do exactly what I tell him to do.
Do you have to do things differently while training a world champion?
ROBERT GARCIA: He gets the same training. Obviously if I have a four-round fighter he will get less sparring than what Tony would get for a championship fight. Everyone here in Oxnard knows that all the fighters are happy and everyone gets the same treatment. Even with the magnitude of this fight, I keep the doors open to the gym. I do have someone at the door making sure that the people we let in we can trust and believe. Besides that, all my fighters get the same treatment.
What do you think will be your biggest advantage over him?
ANTONIO MARGARITO: I couldn’t tell you anyone that comes close to his style or the way he fights. I never fought anyone like that or anyone that comes close. I see his speed. I know he is a fast guy but he is a smaller guy also. I see some things there, but I would never consider it an easy fight or think I have big advantages over him because I don’t. He may think he can be a big puncher in this weight division, so I want to get up in the ring to see what we can do with each other.
What have you learned about yourself and this experience?
ANTONIO MARGARITO: Boxing is one of those books that continues to be written and nothing is set in stone. I just go fight as much as possible and see how it plays out.
Every time you step in the ring, everything is on the line. Your life is on the line. Everything is on the line. In every fight your life is on the line. When you go in there, you try to do your best to win and out everything you can into it.
Do you think Antonio will get a license in California in the future?
BOB ARUM: That is up to the California Commission. I can’t speak for them one way or another. I thought he should have gotten the license the last time. I have faith in the American system. I have faith in the system of justice in this great country of America and I believe that in the end, all things will come right.
Did you see Manny Pacquiao singing in the Jimmy Kimmel show?
ANTONIO MARGARITO: All I can tell you is that he is a better boxer than he is a singer. I think maybe he should dedicate himself more to boxing.
ROBERT GARCIA: I did not hear the song. I have heard him sing in the Philippines, but I didn’t see that the other night.
What do you expect Margarito to weigh on fight night?
ROBERT GARCIA: I expect he will weight about 158, 160.