Kelly Swanson: Thank you, everybody, for calling in. We appreciate you participating in this conference call. We are here on the line with a wonderful card that we’re going to be announcing February 16th. It’s really kind of a return of three of the participants that were in Atlantic City on November 17th last year, again, bringing a lot of relief to the residents of Atlantic City because it had just happened after the hurricane.
So, the guys did a great job. It was a wonderful fight night and now we’re back again. And we’re going to just start the call with the heavyweights and then move into the lightweights. I’m going to go ahead and introduce Oscar de la Hoya who is going to talk a little bit about the fight and then make the introductions. Oscar.
Oscar de la Hoya: Yes, I’m here. Thank you very much. We’re extremely, extremely excited to once again return back to Atlantic City where first and foremost we were able to raise a big amount of money that went towards the Boys and Girls Clubs there in Atlantic City.
In our last outing with Adrien Broner, with Banks, also with Seth Mitchell, so it was an exciting, exciting event and a very successful event in terms of giving back to Atlantic City.
The main event, as you know Adrien Broner vs. Gavin Rees will be at WBC Lightweight World Title fight and we also have the co-main events, which will be a 12 round, NABO and WBC Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship fight, which will feature Johnathon Banks vs. Seth Mitchell. This event is being promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Caesars Atlantic City, Corona and AT&T.
We are very pleased to be televising this event live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. eastern time and the tickets are priced relatively cheap, with ringside being at $200, going down to $150 and you can watch this incredible event for only $25.
At this moment I would like to take the opportunity to introduce one of the participants who will be fighting on the co-main event. His record is 25-1 with 19 knockouts. He is from Brandywine, Maryland. He’s a former standout at Michigan State University, where he was a linebacker. And he’s become relatively quickly one of the fighters in the heavyweight division to bring back excitement to the heavyweight division here in the United States.
He is no stranger to Atlantic City. People, the fans there love him. He brings an exciting style. He’s a puncher who definitely brings a lot to the table when it comes to excitement. Let me introduce to you Seth Mitchell.
Seth Mitchell: Thanks, Oscar. Appreciate that. First and foremost I’d like to say Happy New Year to everybody that’s listening on the call. And I want to thank my promotional company, Golden Boy. I want to thank my team, Al Haymon at HBO for just providing me with this opportunity again. I also want to thank Johnathon Banks for accepting the rematch and fighting me again.
It was a tough defeat for me. Mentally and physically I was fine after the fight, but just experiencing that first loss it was a tough pill to swallow, but I tell people it’s a gift. I’ve been in the game for, actually, yesterday was six years all together amateur and pro, so I’m learning on the job, but I’m a quick learner and I definitely learned a lot from that fight. And a lot of people said Emanuel Steward had a lot to do with the fight and things of that nature.
I don’t really look too much into that because I said if I had gone out there and I had blown Johnathon Banks out in the first round people would have said, well, he had a lot on his plate and things of that nature, so I learned a lot. I’m excited for this fight. I’ve been in training camp basically since December. I’ve been training so I’m very focused for the fight.
Again, I want to thank Johnathon for accepting the fight and I’m definitely looking forward to the fight and looking forward to a difference. I tell people I’m fighting at the same time, same venue, same opponent, just a different outcome this time. So, I’m definitely looking forward to putting on another great fight for the fans and I’m excited.
De La Hoya: Thank you very much, Seth. And just to add, Seth Mitchell is the one who wanted this rematch and it goes to show you the character, it goes to show you the hard work that he’s putting into this rematch. I strongly believe we will see a stronger, faster and, most importantly, wiser Seth Mitchell, one fighter who was on the canvas, got back up and is going to fight even harder, so this is one fight that we’re really, really looking forward to live on HBO Championship Boxing.
So, now it is my pleasure to introduce to you, who will introduce Johnathon Banks; he is a managing director of K2 Promotions, to introduce his fighter, Tom Loeffler.
Tom Loeffler: Thank you, Oscar. We’re excited to be working again with Golden Boy on this fight and with the rematch. As everybody saw in the first fight it was a very exciting heavyweight fight. Seth Mitchell was touted to be, at that time, the fastest rising American heavyweight and he had a lot of exposure on HBO, had tremendous knockouts in his career, so what Johnathon accomplished in that fight with training Wladimir Klitschko the week before and then going through the funeral services of Emanuel Steward and then coming back and having his win on HBO again. So, Seth Mitchell was a tremendous accomplishment.
We’re looking forward to the rematch. I’d like to at this point introduce Banks. He’s rated number three right now in the WBC and number five in the WBO, America’s Heavyweight right now, Johnathon Banks.
Johnathon Banks: Thanks a lot, Tom. First of all, I want to say hello to everybody who is on the call. I look forward to the fight February on HBO. I look forward to the rematch. As always, my hat continuously pulls off to Seth Mitchell because he always shows a lot of character, which is something I personally admire in fighters because a lot of fighters don’t do that. So, I personally just want to take my hat off to him, as always.
And I know he’s going to come back stronger. I know he’s going to come back even more prepared than the first time and I’m really looking forward to a good competitive fight.
Q: Seth, can you just kind of give us an idea of what you learned from the last fight against Johnathon Banks and what you want to do differently this time to get a different outcome?
Mitchell: We had a great game plan going into the fight, but as I watched the fight tape, even though hands down I won the first round, my balance and my distance were terrible in that fight. And I got a little overzealous, audacious, so just patience and I’m definitely working on my balance and my distance and it’s just a learning process, but I’m a sponge, man, and learning lessons sometimes you’ve got to get knocked down to grow.
In my case you’ve got to get knocked down three times. And I’ve got to say it was a tough pill to swallow, but it definitely made me a better fighter and we’ve just been working on my eyes and my balance and my distance, just not being so aggressive naturally. If you know me, when it comes to competing I’m a pit bull; I’m very aggressive, but I’ve just got to learn how to channel that and use it and do it at the right time.
Q: Seth, I just want to ask you, I heard what you said about it’s a learning experience and the things you said you were working on with the balance and the distance, but I think you know as well as anybody that if you go into a big time, any kind of fight, but especially a big fight on network like HBO with a lot of people watching, fans, media, etc., and you lose a second time in a row, it’s extraordinarily bad for somebody’s career.
How much pressure do you feel that this is a, they’re all must wins I guess in this business, but even more than your must win fight?
Mitchell: Well, absolutely. I like to be where the stakes are high. When I went back in the dressing room after the fight, when I talked to Al Haymon I asked him two questions. I asked him how much did this set me back and when can I get a rematch.
So, I just want it to be known that I wanted this rematch. It’s not like I was forced into the rematch. Not taking anything away from Johnathon Banks, but I feel that I can beat Johnathon Banks and that’s just the type of person I am. That’s my character. It’s not me being arrogant or anything. But I would be lying to you if I didn’t know that this was a vital fight in my career, not to say that it’s a career ending fight, but it definitely would set me back.
I want to be where the stakes are high. This is the classroom that I want to be in and I understand that I’m young in the game and I’m learning, but I’ve got to learn and win at the same time and that’s something that I know and I’m very focused and I definitely expect to win the rematch.
Q: Seth, could you just address also that when the fight was over and you’re back in the dressing room and it’s starting now to sort of set in what happened, what were you thinking about? Were you like I can’t believe what just happened or were you just in shock? What was your emotion at that time because, no disrespect to Johnathon, it was considered to be a major upset because of what happened. And not only that you lost, because we knew that John was also a good fighter, but it was the manner in which you lost that was probably most surprising.
What were you feeling? Were you just dumbfounded, like you couldn’t believe that that just happened?
Mitchell: The first two days, it was like you just said, did this really just happen? Did I just lose this fight? But actually, it was better that it happened that way than if I’d have went out there and just got totally outclassed with four, five, six rounds and then got knocked out.
So, I’m an optimistic person. I try to look at the glass as half full, but it was difficult. Like I say, thanks to Johnathon I didn’t enjoy my Thanksgiving. Even though, it was funny, I’m looking at my wife, she’s cooking dinner and everything and the kids are running around, all of the blessings that I have around me, but I still had that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach.
So, it’s just going to make me a better fighter and a stronger fighter, but it took me about a week to get over the fight. But then, after that, it was just you got to get better. It’s a learning experience and that’s how I took it.
Q: John, a question for you about the fight. You won the fight. It was a resounding victory. You scored a bunch of knockdowns and stop a highly touted guy in the second round. You know, it’s pretty definitive. So, my question for you is he had a rematch clause that he exercised, obviously. You were contractually bound to take this fight and you’ll be once again on HBO. I assume you’re getting a better payday than you got the first time around.
But after scoring such a big victory, are you a little disappointed maybe that you have to go back in with him as opposed to moving on to something bigger and better?
Banks: You said, am I disappointed?
Q: Yeah, because when you score that kind of win in a resounding fashion, most times guys, it’s not like it was a close decision or it was controversial, or was a draw. You went out there and basically did what you had to do. You got rid of him in two rounds and most guys after that move on. But he had the rematch clause, so now you really didn’t have a choice, I suppose, to take this.
So, some guys might be a little resentful of that because you might have had an opportunity to move on to something bigger and better, unless this is the better fight for you?
Banks: Yeah, I mean, I definitely wanted to move on to something different or, I wouldn’t say bigger or better any time. But I would have wanted to move on to something different, but you’ve got to go with what the paper, what’s in black and white. And he chose to exercise the rematch clause. That’s what he wanted so that’s what we’re going to do.
I think that I can’t stop taking my hat off to the dude because I would have done the same thing if I was in his position. He’s a true fighter at heart and that’s what fighters do. So, I wasn’t shocked about it, but I thought I would have been there doing something different, but it didn’t totally shock me because I knew going into the fight, I knew what type of guy I was facing.
I knew I was facing an extremely relentless dude that was all straightforward, that was coming for a victory. No matter how he was going to get it, I knew he was coming for that. So, I wasn’t surprised that he wanted that. So, it’s no resentment as far as I should be doing something else. This is what’s in front of me and that’s basically what I’m focusing on.
Q: And you just expect to do the same thing once again?
Banks: In my opinion I look forward to a victory. I don’t know how. I didn’t know how the first one was going to come and I don’t know how the second one is going to come, but I’m confident about Johnathon and I do believe I’ll be victorious.
Q: Seth, I was looking up, I know you haven’t used the word revenge or anything like that. But you did talk about the sick feeling, so I looked up a word, redemption, and I came up with a couple of definitions. And I wanted to see how you thought this applies to you.
It says, “to make good, to get over or to win back, to change for the better or to eliminate blame or doubt.” Does that word apply to you in this situation and, if so, how?
Mitchell: I want to get this nasty taste out of my mouth, I want to win the fight. This is what I do to support my family as of right now and I have to continue to win. So, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s redemption because Johnathon, he came out there and he did what he was supposed to do and that’s what I plan on doing this time.
I plan on coming out victorious. But I definitely want to; I’m the type of person, I don’t get too high off the praise and I don’t let the criticism bring me down to much. So, when you say that I want eliminate doubt, just like he said, he believes in himself, I believe in myself. I believe in Seth Mitchell.
And I just want to go out there and not prove to myself because I believe in myself already. I just want to go out and get this victory, I want to right this wrong, that’s basically what I want to do.
Q: Johnathon, one of the things that you said about Seth and you also I think mentioned about Travis Walker kind of goes along with some of the things that Evander Holyfield once told me and he said that he really appreciates when a bigger fighter comes to him because he feels like he can set him up and he feels like there’s a lot of real estate to hit. You kind of implied that one of the best things about Seth is that he’s going to come to you. Can you characterize what you mean by that and why that was, I don’t know if we want to call it an advantage, but preferable to you possibly?
Banks: Well, it’s not an advantage of any kind, but it’s just my particular style, that when a guy comes forward a lot of times it’s almost you can see or not too much see, but you almost know. If someone’s coming forward you pretty much know they’re coming forward to punch.
So, that’s basically the situation. But that’s what happened, I guess, the first time around, but what I’m understanding and the reality of it is that happened the first time around, but I’ve really got a big guy feeling that I’m going to get a different opponent the second time around because like the dude said, he said he’s a sponge and he soaked up a lot of knowledge and he’s forever continuously learning so I believe the second time around everything will be really different on his side.
But that’s usually what I mean when I say about someone coming forward towards me is that’s just me; I see things a little different.
Q: When you say you think he’s going to be different, how do you fathom him being different as a fighter and you’re a boxer? I’ve seen fights where you will just go ahead and box your way to victory. So, how do you imagine this being a different fight?
Banks: The only thing we can do, especially as fighters and trainers actually, too, the only thing we can do is assume how this guy is going to be. The difference is knowing that you’re going against a top level guy, knowing you’re going against someone who’s, like he said, you want to right a wrong that’s done, he has to look at himself; he already said he knew what he did wrong. So, that’s already being corrected as we speak.
So, therefore the way I just figure that when I say I’m facing a different guy, I think he’s going to come at me a little different and I have to come at him different because we’ve been in a square circle once before. So, we’ve both got to come at each other a little different. It would be very ignorant of me to walk on this fight thinking the same thing, that I’m fighting the style of guy, same type of guy I fought the first match. I’m not going to do anything like that.
Q: How difficult has it been to recharge your battery since a loss that can be described as stunning no less. Was it tough for you to get back in the gym and have you worked harder than you did before or have you pretty much been the same?
Mitchell: It wasn’t hard at all. The eighth of this month has been six years total that I’ve been boxing and I’ve never been out of the gym longer than three weeks. And so we fought November 17. I was back in the gym on December 1, I was back in the gym training. I hadn’t started a training camp yet.
I start my training camp usually about two months out, but I never underestimate any opponent before I get into the ring and I’m always in shape when I get into the ring, so as far as me training harder and getting in better shape, I was in tiptop shape when I fought Johnathon the first time and we definitely have just made a conscious effort on some technical things as far as balance and things of that nature, so we’ve really been focusing on that.
But I’ve been getting good work and just learning. Like I said, I definitely learned a lot from this fight and I think the people and the fans, they’ll see a better Seth come the 16th of February.
Q: So, you had no problems regaining the vigor that you had previously as an undefeated fighter? Were you at all despondent at all after that loss or did you just say, okay, it’s in the past, I’m moving forward?
Mitchell: I mean, to say it didn’t hurt I would be telling a bold faced lie. I didn’t want to eat for three or four days. It took me a week. We fought on Saturday and I didn’t stop having that sick feeling in my stomach until Friday. But I never was discouraged like, oh, shit, I’ll continue boxing. That never crept into my mind at all and physically I was fine right after the fight.
But that competitor inside of me, that was hurt. And another thing I think it’s easier for one to overcome something like that. Before this fight I never once said that I’m the best, I can’t be defeated. I believe that any time somebody steps into that ring, they can be defeated, especially in the heavyweight division. It only takes one shot.
So, my mentality was there before the fight as well as afterwards. It was a tough pill to swallow. It took me about a week to get over it, but then after that it was back to the gym and you look at the fight and you learn from it and I just try to grow as a fighter. And I think I’ve done that and I believe it’ll show on the 16th.
Q: But was it hard to watch the fight again?
Mitchell: It upset me because, like I said, even though I felt that I won the first round, when I watched the first round some of the technical things that I was doing in my lunging and my reaching, it could have been over in the first round.
One time I threw a right hand and I just reached with it so bad and Johnathon stepped back and threw a little chopping shot and it just missed me and that happened. Even though I won the first round and I felt I was winning the second round, but eventually my mistakes and my lunging and reaching caught up with me, caught me with a shot that I didn’t see, equilibrium shot and the rest is history.
But it was just frustrating to watch the fight because I don’t feel that Johnathon beat me necessarily. I think that my technique and my stuff was so bad that it wouldn’t have been hard for anybody to beat me that night if they could.
Q: All right, thanks. Johnathon, you, obviously, won’t have the distractions that you had first time around. Is that going to help you do you feel?
Banks: Well, I didn’t feel I had any distractions the first time around.
Q: You didn’t? Training Wladimir and then flying to Detroit and then coming back for the fight, you didn’t look at that as being distractions?
Banks: No. It was the situation that I had to handle, but it wasn’t a distraction.
Q: Did you talk to Wladimir after the fight and did he see it and did you discuss the fight at all?
Banks: Me and Wladimir talked and yes, he saw the fight.
Q: What were his thoughts?
Banks: He just said congratulations.
Q: Seth, you indicated that you’re much like a sponge. Part of the problem with that is you seem to absorbing yet not handling very well some of the power of the heavyweights that you’ve fought before. The Witherspoon fight was an example and Johnathon taking you out like that. Does that cause you any concern going in and as you move up, assuming a victory here against some of the bigger heating heavyweights in the division and what do you to counter that?
Mitchell: No, it doesn’t concern me. With the Johnathon Banks fight, when I watched the fight, I was like wow, that shot didn’t even look that hard or whatever. But when you don’t see shots coming and by me lunging and my eyes weren’t on my target and when you don’t see shots coming, they affect you a lot more.
It’s like if you’re scared of spiders and you see a spider across the room it doesn’t affect you that much. You might still have those nerves, but you’re not as scared versus you coming into the room and I tell you, stop, there goes a spider. You know what I’m saying? You’re going to jump and you’re going to move because you don’t know where it’s at and when you don’t see shots coming, it can affect you even if they’re not that hard.
And that’s what happened in the fight. My eyes weren’t on my target. I was lunging, I was leaning over. I actually have a picture that I keep in my phone. It was right before I got knocked down and my legs were spread so far apart and I was lunging so bad and it was right before Johnathon knocked me down. I just keep that as a reminder.
But the shots that you don’t see affect you a lot more. But I’m not worried about it. You can’t let that fester in you. You’ve just got to work on getting better and doing better the next time out. That’s what I plan on doing.
Q: Coming into this fight and I know that you’re both professionals, you never overlook an opponent. Two questions for you really. One is do you think that Mitchell’s inexperience contributed to the win and will contribute to another win? One of the things that I thought I noticed was that on the inside you got the better of him. Do you expect him to change his strategy and try to keep you at the end of his punches a little bit more this time?
Banks: Well, first of all, a lot of people said something about Mitchell’s inexperience. I didn’t see, even on his previous fights, a few of them, I didn’t see his inexperience that everyone says that he has. In my opinion, what I said was, they said how can you go up against a guy – this was all before the first fight, how do you feel going against a guy that don’t have as much experience?
I said it doesn’t matter. If he catches me with a punch that first round I can’t come back from it. Experience no longer matters at that point. So, I’ve never seen Mitchell’s inexperience. Every fighter makes mistakes. We have to learn and we grew from them.
Mentally, that’s not even in my mind because all I’m looking at is there’s a big guy, he’s a big heavyweight, he can punch and he’s coming for a victory. That’s all I’m seeing. So, I don’t see no inexperience.
Q: And lastly, assuming a win in this fight, which I know you will not assume the win, but should you prevail, moving forward is a fight with Klitschko something you would consider or how difficult would that be given your familiarity and your training of Wladimir?
Banks: That’s a question that I really, really have no clue to the answer. Yes, I am the trainer of Wladimir Klitschko, so a fight with him would be so less likely. But all I can think about is Mitchell. So, to be honest about it, I can’t see past that because if I don’t go past that then everything is irrelevant.
Swanson: Okay, great everybody. Thank you so much. Heavyweights Johnathon and Seth, we appreciate you being on the phone. Any last comments before we get to the lightweights?
Banks: See you on February 16th.
Mitchell: Yes, I’ll just see everybody February 16th and I’m looking forward to putting on a good show and I’m just thankful to have this opportunity again and thankful that Johnathon accepted it.
Swanson: Okay, great. Thank you, guys. Now, if you could drop the phone, go ahead and get off the line because we have now our main event feature Adrien Broner vs. Gavin Rees for 12 rounds of WBC and Lightweight World Championship. And, again, as we mentioned at the top of the call, the card is set for Saturday, February 16th Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City promoted by Golden Promotions and RR Promotions, sponsored by Caesars Atlantic City, Corona, AT&T, televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:30 p.m. eastern and pacific.
Tickets are available. Price $200, $150 and $25 and you can call Ticketmaster or call Boardwalk Hall box office. Now, for this segment of our call we are going to hold the champion, Adrien Broner, and do the introductions. We certainly welcome this young man from across the pond and we appreciate him staying up late because we know it’s late over in the U.K.
So, to join us now is Anthony Weaver. He’s the director of PR for Matchroom, Gavin Rees’ promoter.
Anthony Weaver: Hi, how are you doing?
Swanson: Good. Do you want to make an opening statement and introduce Gavin for us and then Gavin can make a quick statement and then we’ll introduce Adrien and then we will open it up for questions from the press.
Weaver: Sure. Thanks very much. Thanks for inviting us on the call first of all. It’s not a secret these two guys are going to meet and it’s great that we’re formalizing everything now and ready to talk about the fight.
I know, from our point of view, Matchroom Boxing we’re delighted to be working with Golden Boy again and I know also with Gavin as well, you’ve got someone who’s on the cusp of something big and something that Adrien, who we’ve got massive respect for, is an incredibly talented fighter and I know Gavin is chomping at the bit to go over and cause a problem in itself.
We’re really excited. The part we’re very excited about, we think it’s going to be a great fight for North American fans and I know one that U.K. fans will stay up for because these two guys. So, thanks for having us on and let’s bring Gavin on.
Swanson: Okay, Gavin, go ahead if you want to make an opening statement and, please, somebody needs to mute their line because it’s really hard to hear. So, if you’re in a location that you could get to a quieter spot, it’s really hard to hear. So, Gavin, if you want to make an opening statement? Then we’ll introduce Adrien. Thank you. Gavin.
Gavin Rees: Hi, all. Hi to everyone who is listening. We’ll put on a good show on the 16th of February and cause a massive upset. Adrien’s a great fighter and I can’t wait for the meet.
Swanson: Okay, thank you so much. Great accent. Okay, now I’m going to go ahead and introduce Dave Itskowitch from Golden Boy Promotions who is going to make the introduction for Adrien “The Problem” Broner. Dave.
David Itskowitch: Thank you, Kelly. I am once again honored to be introducing one of the most talented fighters in the world, a rising star who is gaining recognition and notoriety with every fight as he gets better and better and more aggressive with every fight.
Most recently he captured his second world championship in his second weight division with an immediately dominant performance and knocking out Antonio DeMarco in Atlantic City in November. He’s known for his charisma, having his hair brushed in the ring, rapping himself into the ring, but he’s also known for his unbelievable talent.
It’s my pleasure to introduce to you now, from Cincinnati, Ohio with a record of 25-0, 21 KO’s, the current WBC Lightweight World Champion, Adrien “The Problem” Broner. Adrien.
Broner: Hey, what’s going on everybody? You all know what to expect. I know I’m going against a guy who’s just exciting, 140 or something like that. I really haven’t heard too much of him, but I know he’s going to come and fight. Everybody comes to win a world title when they fight for a world title.
So, I’m going to train like I always do, like it’s the biggest night of my life. It is what it is. I’m a two time world champion, two time at the age of 23. There aren’t too many people who can say they’re a two time world champion. And we can fight today. I’ve been training. Training camp has been going well. After the DeMarco fight I was right back in the gym on Monday.
So, February 16th I want Gavin, Gavin, Gavin, like I said, I really don’t know this guy. I just want him to bring his A game because if you want to get things just right you have to bring nothing but you’re A game, so I just hope he’s ready and I hope he is in shape because it’s going to be a long night.
Rees: It’s going to be a long night for you, Broner.
Broner: It’s going to be a hell of a night and I just want him to bring his A game and I want to thank him for taking this fight, too.
Rees: Well, thanks for keeping my belt warm.
Swanson: All right, fighting words already.
Q: Thank you very much. Hello, everybody. Hey, Gavin, it’s good to talk to you. I’ve had a chance to see you on video several times during your career, but I don’t think many people in America have gotten a chance to watch you. Could you just describe your style for those who have never seen the type of fighter that you are?
Rees: I think I heard a bit of that coming forward, boxer fighter. I know it will be a great and fight that’s why I’m confident of winning.
Q: You held the world title at 140 pounds and then a few years ago you dropped down to 135. Could you talk about just for a minute what was the decision-making process to do that and do you feel that because you have had experience against bigger opponents that that set you up nicely against Adrien who has only had one title fight in the lightweight division since he came off junior lightweight.
Rees: I was never a 140 fighter, but going down to, yeah, 135, I’ve seen no titles being offered and they offered the 140 so I obviously took it. I won that title and defend and lost it. I liked the party life so I didn’t train. Didn’t really like boxing at the time, so I knuckled down after I lost and I came down to 135 and I won at the next level.
Q: And you feel like, after seeing the way Adrien disposed of DeMarco, who at the time was considered to be maybe the number one fighter in the lightweight division, you felt like even after seeing that that you would stack up well against Adrien’s abilities?
Rees: Yeah, of course, I’m a fighter. I’m a real fighter, I’ll fight anybody. I’ll go in there to fight anybody. I know he’s a great fighter. I’m going over there to give out the fight of my life and I know it’ll be one hell of a fight. So, I’m fully confident. I’ve got a game plan, so we’ll see on the night what happens.
Q: Adrien, question for you, when the process was going on where your promoter and your management and everything, they were looking for a good opponent for you to take on, Gavin’s name didn’t exactly come to the foreground right away. It took a little while to try to go down the list and talk about him and see if he would take the fight.
During that period of time, did you ever at that point contemplate about maybe going right up to junior welterweight to find a name that was maybe more known to the American fans?
Broner: Negative. That’s what everybody wants you to do. They’ve just seen me dominate and put on a great performance, a hell of a performance that I certainl don’t want to downgrade on my performance against the world champion, he was the world champion, DeMarco, and they want me to just automatically go up to 140.
No, I just moved up to this weight. I still make the weight eating steak and potatoes every night at training camp. I make the weight comfortably, so I’m going to stay here for a lot of good fights that I still can have at 135 pounds. So, I’m going to flush out this lightweight division and then we can go up to the light welterweight and crush their dreams. So, we’re going to stay here for a while.
Q: Okay, now one thing you said, I don’t know who’s downgraded your performance against DeMarco. Everything I’ve heard and read and seen with my own eyes was that you got a lot of credit for the way you took him apart and because it seemed like to many of us that watched that fight or that covered that fight that you did it in such a dominant and pretty easy fashion, quite frankly, I wonder from your point of view because it did seem like it was such an easy win for you, how do you keep that hunger to make sure you’re in the best possible shape and that you are as focused and hungry to do that because you were able to take out the number one guy so easily, how do you get yourself up for somebody like Gavin, who’s not that big a name in this country, even though he’s been a world champion in a different weight class, been the European champion, but has no particular reputation in the United States?
Broner: Like I said before, he’s a former world champion so he has to be somebody, even though I really don’t know him that much, I have to keep throwing that in there because I really don’t know these guys. I just fight whoever they put in front of me. People come to me and they’re like you’re handpicking fighters.
I don’t pick my fights. I just fight whoever is weighing in on the time it’s to weigh in. Sometimes I don’t even know, sometimes I don’t even know until three weeks out or a month out. So, this is new to me. I know Gavin’s not just a walkover. He was a world titlist and he’s got to have a record, 37-1 or something like that with a draw. That’s a hell of a record on the professional level.
I just prepare like it’s the last fight of my life. I put my heart on the line and I’m one who does take the chances because I believe in myself, so if he’s coming to fight it’s going to be a hell of a fight.
Q: I just have one other question for you, Adrien. I saw the video of you hanging out with Mayweather. I believe you guys were in Las Vegas and I think there was some discussion on that video about you saying that, or maybe him saying it; I forget who said it, about you wanting to fight on his undercard when he goes back in the ring on May 4th and I’m wondering that if you’re able to take care of this title defense against Gavin Rees on February 16th is that something that’s actually possible or were you guys just messing around that maybe you could be back in the ring as soon as May and beyond that in big mega Pay-per-View undercard?
Broner: Listen, with Adrien Broner anything is possible. I don’t get hit that much. I don’t. I’m just being honest, I don’t get hit that much and my fights don’t last that long. I’m not saying that I’m coming in looking for a knockout, but I’m just blessed with the best of both worlds. I’ve got the speed and I’ve got power in both hands, so it only takes one mistake.
And that’s for both fighters, that’s for me and him. And in boxing it only takes one mistake and a fight can be over, so with that being said if I do come out of this fight untouched there is a great possibility that I will be on the May 4th card.
Q: Okay. Thank you, very much, Gavin. I appreciate your time. Thank you, Adrien. Look forward to seeing you guys duke it out. Thanks.
Q: Listen, I do this a lot with you because you get a lot of people comparing you to Floyd and to other fighters of other eras and so what I find myself doing is talking to those fighters from other eras and one of which I talked to today, I just posted a story with Sugar Ray Leonard. I talked to him about you, I talked to him about Canelo, Gary Russell, Brandon Rios and Danny Garcia.
And with everyone but you he had kind of a caveat. With you he said he has everything, talent, he’s offensive, he’s defensive, he’s got a lot of power. When you hear someone like Sugar Ray Leonard say that without qualifying anything, does that mean anything to you? What does that mean?
Broner: It means a lot. But honestly, he told me that when I was 10 years old at the national tournament. He probably doesn’t even remember. He took me up to his room, he let me play the game, he signed my picture and everything. He’s a real down to earth guy. I remember meeting him. He probably doesn’t remember, but like I said, I’ve got a hell of a memory.
Just for him saying that, it brings a smile to my face. I work hard and now I’m really getting to show the world who Adrien Broner really is and honestly, I still haven’t showed everything I have. So, just tune in. You’ll see a lot more.
Q: When and where was that, you said you were ten years old, when was that and what competition was that?
Broner: Yeah, yeah.
Q: When was that when you met Sugar Ray Leonard and in what competition was that, where was that?
Broner: I was ten years old so it was the national tournament in Kansas.
Q: The last question I wanted to ask you, you made a reference to the fact that you’ll take chances, you’ll stand and fight. And I think that’s another thing he commented on is that you’ll fight. Why do that if you have, just playing devil’s advocate, if you have the ability to not get hit, why take those chances? Is that something that is a fighter in you or is that to please the fans?
Broner: No, it’s not about the fans. It’s just different strokes for different folks. Like I said, I can still stand in front of a guy and not get hit. You don’t have to move just to not get hit. There’s a lot of certain ways, you can do certain things that you just won’t get hit and I was blessed with the talent and I can do it all.
Like I said, I can brawl like a bang, but at the end of the day, people don’t hit me much.
Q: Hi, Gavin. You were supposed to fight somebody at the end of last year. Was it a blessing in disguise now that that didn’t work out?
Rees: Yeah, of course, the fight got called off just before Christmas and New Year and the fight is now getting confirmed and we’re in great shape and looking forward to the fight. I think Adrien is a great fighter, so we’ll both bring our A games to the table and it should be a great fight.
Q: And I’m glad that you have no hesitation to accepting the fight, you didn’t want to get very much money or anything like that, which is surely what boxing is about for you, it will surely be your biggest fight yet.
Rees: Yeah,the guy said we’ll discuss the money. I said don’t worry about me, get in the fight. I’m a real fighter. I’ll fight anybody, like I said, I’ll go anywhere. So, the fight first, money second to me. It’s a massive fight and a massive opportunity for me so I’m looking forward to it.
Q: You’ve had 39 fights. Do you think you’ve yet to get the recognition you deserve?
Rees: I will get it after this fight, no problem, that’s for sure.
Q: And Adrien said he hasn’t seen much of you, he doesn’t know much about you. Do you think he’ll underestimate you?
Rees: Maybe, I don’t know. I’m sure he’s got a great team going into it, so I am not worried.
Q: Will you be doing anything different with your training? You’re staying in well?
Rees: Well, we’ve gone out about three weeks before, something like next week sometime, just sorting that out. So, it’s going well that’s about it really.
Q: And just finally, we know about Adrien’s boxing. He’s also got his own style outside the ring, brushing his hair. What do you make of all that?
Rees: I’ll brush if for him if he wants.
Q: Thanks for doing this. Adrien, I’ll come to you in just a second if that’s okay, if you’re there?
Broner: I’m here.
Q: Awesome, thank you. Gavin, I was curious. You’re fighting outside of Europe for the first time I think and also that you’re nearly ten years older than your opponent. So, I’m curious as to how you think you’re going to overcome those challenges.
Rees: Yeah, no challenges. I’m a better fighter than I’ve been in last two performances, my best was where I went to Paris, went over there and beat the European Champion. And back at home in my early career everyone knows I didn’t live the life of a true fighter, partying a lot and didn’t live the lifestyle and I’ve turned it round now before it’s too late.
Q: And the fact that you’re fighting in the States, you must find that exciting, I guess, or glamorous?
Rees: Yeah, every kid’s dream, every person’s dream to box in a big show in America and fight the champion. And, obviously, a dream come true to win a title off him. He’s a great fighter, as I said, and come home victorious and be a world champion myself.
Q: He’s said, hasn’t he, on this conference call that he doesn’t know an awful lot about you and your style. Do you think that will be an advantage to yourself?
Rees: Like I said, I’ve certainly got a great team and they can all look into it and have a game plan themselves. But, like I say, he’s a great kid so it should be a great fight.
Q: How much do you know about he fights?
Rees: Oh, a fair bit. There’s loads of videos. I see him box all the time, he’s always on Ringside. He’s, obviously, a very talented boy for his age, even for anybody’s age. He’s a great kid, so I’m really looking forward to the fight and just glad they’re giving me this chance to prove how good I am.
Q: We’ve heard an awful lot, haven’t we, from these American journalists joining on this call about how this Broner guy is. From what you’ve seen, from what you’ve read how are you going to combat what he does and how are you going to beat him? I appreciate he’s listening in, by the way, so you might not want to give too much away.
Rees: I’ll just go in with my own game. And I’ll let him worry about that. He’s a tricky customer. I’m not only too daft, you know he’s clever. So, we’ve got a plan, okay, no problem.
Q: All right. Thank you for your time. I’m curious about the fact that you said that you don’t know an awful lot about Gavin’s style. How, between now and the evening of the fight how are you going to get acquainted with what it is that he’ll bring?
Broner: I don’t need to get acquainted with nothing he’s going to bring because whatever he brings to the table I’m going to be ready for. Like I said before I don’t watch tape of fighters. I don’t study their best move. I don’t study their best punch because at the end of the day if you got your best punch or if you’ve got your best move, all of it means nothing if you can’t land a shot.
So, my main focus is just staying sharp, staying focused and be mentally and physically prepared for this fight and I will be.
Q: Do you think that this fight against Gavin, and everyone has been talking about how you’re the favorite, are you looking upon this as a stepping stone to bigger fights?
Rees: No fight is a stepping stone because in any fight you can be knocked out or beaten. So, like I said before I’m going to make this real clear for everybody who’s listening. Every fight I train for it like it’s the last and the biggest fight of my life, so just because I don’t know much of Gavin Rees, I really don’t know him, I don’t know him. Just because I don’t know much of him that makes him even more dangerous because I don’t know what he can bring.
I don’t know if he hits like Mike Tyson and got more speed than me. I don’t know, I just don’t know much of him. What I’m saying is whatever he brings to the table I’m going to be ready for it.
Q: Is there, in any of what you’ve just said, a certain arrogance, the fact that you don’t know anything about the fighter you’re going to be taking on?
Broner: No, it’s not arrogance, it’s just the truth. Like I said, I’ll fight anybody. I’m here to fight anybody. Whoever comes inside that ring when it’s fight time, I put my heart on the line, I put it out on the line and I leave it all in the ring.
Q: Hey, guys, how are you? Good. Gavin, a quick question for you, have you been to the States before, vacation, recreation, anything like that or will this be your first trip?
Rees: No, I went to Las Vegas and New York to see Hopkins and Jones.
Q: Oh, so you’re somewhat familiar with the travel. You think that shouldn’t be any issue for you at all?
Rees: No, that’s okay. I’ll be out three weeks before, two and a half, three weeks before, something like that so I’ll be acclimatizing already.
Q: Hey, Gavin, I’m sorry I didn’t get to you earlier. When you hear Adrien say that he might stand and fight you what do you think of that? Is that better for you? Does it make a difference?
Rees: It’s whatever he brings to the table and I’ve got the same, too. I’ve got a great guard and fast hand, so I have seen a lot of videos and things like that so he might not admit it now, but they know what they’re doing.
Q: Going into his last fight DeMarco by a lot of us was perceived to be the best lightweight before Adrien beat him, what do you think, did he do anything wrong or was Adrien just that much better than him in every possible way? Is there anything you can capitalize on?
Rees: Loads of them after he lost.. What I would say he was in for a great fight, put on a great display, and he beat him easily. Surely won’t be doing that.
Swanson: Let’s get final comments from the fighter. Gavin, if you’d like to go first. Any final thoughts and we’ll see you in America soon?
Rees: Yeah, you’ll see me on the 16th and put my name on the world map when I become two weight world champion. Thanks very much.
Swanson: Thank you. And, Adrien?
Broner: All right, Gavin, welcome to America. Train hard, man.
Rees: You, too.
Broner: You can come and watch training camp. I’ll help you out.
Rees: I’ll be over tomorrow.
Broner: Okay. I’ll see you in February.
Swanson: Okay. Thanks, everybody. Thanks for joining us and we appreciate the opportunity to have all the fighters on today’s call. Thank you so much. Bye, everybody.
END OF CALL
Broner vs. Rees, a 12-round fight for Broner’s WBC Lightweight World Championship will take place Saturday, February 16 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The event is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, R&R Promotions, sponsored by Caesars Atlantic City, Corona and AT&T and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. The co-main event will be a 12-round heavyweight clash between Johnathon Banks and Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell for Banks’ NABO and WBC International Heavyweight titles, which is presented in association with K2 Promotions.
Tickets priced at $200, $100, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes and service charges, are available for purchase at the Boardwalk Hall box office, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at www.ticketmaster.com
CONTACTS: Ramiro Gonzalez/Monica Sears, Golden Boy Promotions: (213) 489-5631
Bill Caplan, Golden Boy Promotions: (818) 831-0046(o)/(818) 515-1616 (c)
Kelly Swanson/Lisa Milner, Swanson Communications: (202) 783-5500
Denise DuBose-LaGuidice, R&R Promotions: (330) 808-1493
Anthony Leaver, Matchroom Boxing/Rees: +44 7813 845144
Bernie Bahrmasel, K2 Promotions/Banks: (773) 592-2986
Lorin Chvotkin, Seth Mitchell: (240) 498-1478
Kevin Flaherty, HBO: (212) 512-5052
Jerry Eisenband, Caesars: (609) 343-2463