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Guerrero-Katsidis, Kirkland Conference Call Transcript - Boxing News
 
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 Last update:  3/24/2011       Read more by Golden Boy         
   
Guerrero-Katsidis, Kirkland Conference Call Transcript
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Monica Sears

I just want to, first of all, thank all of the media for calling in to today's call and as well as our participants we have Richard Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions on the call, as well as Robert Guerrero calling in from Las Vegas and Michael Katsidis, all of the way from Thailand.

Richard Schaefer    

Hello, everybody.  I'm going to keep my opening remarks very short, because I really want to thank Michael and his team to be on the phone here with the time difference in Thailand.  It's getting pretty late over there.  We are really excited to have this HBO Pay-Per-View April 9th, Action Heroes.  There are going to be some action heroes on the call here today, I think you will find they have defined the word action hero with, of course, Michael Katsidis, Robert Guerrero.  We are going to have afterwards an opportunity to hear from James Kirkland as well, who is going to be on the call.

The event is sponsored by Tecate, by AT&T, by DeWalt Tools and Tres Generaciones Tequila, which is a new sponsor, which Golden Boy recently picked up.  It's the leading tequila in Mexico and here in the United States as well, so we're really happy that they have put their weight behind it.

Tickets are priced extremely well, starting at $25 and we really have made a very good experience with having the tickets priced from $25 to $350.  We have done that recently as well at a show, which we've done here in Los Angeles with Canelo Álvarez.  I think that pricing is important and we really want to accommodate fight fans with any size of wallet to really give them an opportunity to see these action heroes live, in action from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

It's a pleasure now to talk to you about one of the featured bouts, a co-feature of the card really, Robert Guerrero against Michael Katsidis, one of the most talked about fights.  A lot of fight fans are really looking forward to this fight.  It's going to be all action and with Michael Katsidis, that's always the case.  Michael Katsidis, with a record of 27 and 3 with 22 knockouts is from Toowoomba, Australia.  He's training in Thailand.  He is a former two-time world champion and known for his exciting back-and-forth fights, including the 2007 Slug Fest with Czar Amonsot and his 2008 see-saw battle with Joel Casamayor.

He is currently riding a streak of memorable performances, which include a stoppage of Matador Chavez, a big win over Vicente Escobedo and the three-round blitz of then undefeated Kevin Mitchell in England.  His last bout he faced a tough fight against the legendary Juan Manuel Márquez. Katsidis puts the future hall of famer on the canvas before being halted in the ninth round.

But really, there is only one word to describe Michael Katsidis and that is excitement.  He really brings it to the fight, to the ring.  He is clearly, if you have to define action hero and you would look it up in the dictionary you would find Michael Katsidis' name right next to it.  It's an honor and a pleasure to introduce to you now from Thailand, Michael Katsidis.

Michael Katsidis

Well, training has been as per usual, Richard.  We've been doing the same thing for a long time now.  We come to Thailand approximately a couple of months before every fight and it's hot and we do the work.  I can expect a very tough night come April.

Richard Schaefer    

Great.  Maybe a quick question:  I'm curious to know, why is it that you picked Thailand as a training camp?

Michael Katsidis      

Well, it's not comfortable in the ring and I think Thailand, of all places, just gets by, just needs the bare necessities, so it's very tough and rugged conditions here.  There are very few luxuries.  If you can become comfortable in those surroundings, well, I guess you feel a little bit more at home in the ring, in the fire.  So I guess that's probably the reason why we come here.  The other thing is it works, so if something isn't broken, don't fix it.

Richard Schaefer    

Great.  Absolutely.  Please, Michael, if you could stay on the line, we're going to open it afterwards for Q&A for the media so they can ask you questions.

It is a pleasure now for me to introduce to you all Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero with a record of 28-1 from Gilroy, California, who is training in Las Vegas for this fight.  He's a three-time and two-division former world champion.  He's rapidly closing in on another world title shot after giving up his Junior Lightweight crown in early 2010 to care for his ill wife, Casey.  Now that she has fully recovered, Robert has put together wins over Roberto Arrieta and the Cuban Legend, Former World Champion, Joel Casamayor and U.S. Olympian, Vicente Escobedo.

Obviously, he is extremely motivated for this fight.  He knows that it's a difficult fight.  He knows what Michael Katsidis brings to the ring and each one of these two fighters really know that a victory here is going to open the door for a world title shot most likely in the next fight, so an extremely important fight.

Robert, I think, for the first time is now training actually in Las Vegas.  Before that he obviously had double duty by training and most importantly, caring for his wife.  An amazing human being, Robert Guerrero, an amazing fighter and it really is an honor now to turn it over to Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero.

Robert Guerrero

Thank you, Richard.  I really appreciate the kind words.  I just want to thank everybody for coming on and I just want to thank Golden Boy for making the fight and staying behind me through everything I've been through and they've always had my back, so I'm real excited about that.  It's going to be a great fight.  I'm excited about this fight.  I can't wait until April 9th.  This is actually the first time I've been out in an actual training camp.  I mean it's been quite a few years already, so I think you're going to see a whole different Robert Guerrero this fight.

I'm really, really, really pleased the way training camp is going and everything is falling into place the way it's supposed to fall into place.  The main, number one thing with my case is being 100% focused.  I'm always in great shape.  Just coming out to a training camp and just staying secluded and doing what I have to do to prepare for a fight, it is just going to make me that much a better fighter.  So we're having a great camp.  I'm excited about this fight.  I can't wait to come out and put on a show for the world and showcase a whole new Robert Guerrero.

Richard Schaefer    

Thank you very much, Robert.  Two really, truly great people outside of the ring; Michael Katsidis and Robert and two of the most exciting fighters inside the ring.  It really is a pleasure and an honor to put this fight together and work with both of them.

Q

Michael, I wanted to start with you.  You're just coming off a very tough fight a few months ago in November against Juan Manuel Márquez.  I think a lot of fighters in your situation might next want to fight somebody that's more kind of a tune-up fight, but you chose to go right back into the fire against Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero.  Why did you decide to take that path?

Michael Katsidis

Why not?  It's for a world title and this is what I'm in the game for.  You want to achieve this as much as you can, so if the opportunity is there you take it.  That's exactly what I do.  I fight.  This is my job.  This is my living.  It's as simple as that.  I'm not here for a holiday.

Q       

Richard, can you address that?  Can you tell me maybe the conversation you had with Michael that led to him taking this fight with Robert?

Richard Schaefer    

Well, Michael is one of those fighters, who always is looking for the biggest fight and the biggest challenges and that really is, I think, what defines Michael.  When we asked him about Robert Guerrero, he was immediately on board.  He is one of those guys who really doesn't turn down any fight and the bigger the fight the happier Michael Katsidis is.

Q       

Robert, I have a couple of quick questions for you.  Robert, first of all, what did it mean to you to get this award that the Boxing Writers' Association is going to present to you in a few months the Courage Award?

Robert Guerrero

It's an honor.  It's an honor.  I really appreciate getting the award.  Everything I had to go through and for the Writers' Association to recognize what kind of person I am not just in the ring, but outside of the ring, it's really an honor.

Q       

Robert, how is Casey doing?

Robert Guerrero

She is doing great.  She just did a year last month on being cancer free and I couldn't be happier.  It takes a huge weight off your shoulders and makes everything easier to prepare for fights.

Q       

One last thing:  What do you think about Michael Katsidis and what's it going to take to beat him?

Robert Guerrero

Michael is a tough fighter.  I mean he comes to fight every fight.  It's going to take a lot to beat him.  You've got to be well prepared.  You've got to train hard.  Everything has to be right throughout the camp, you know, the food, everything you do.  You can't leave no stone unturned and that's what I'm doing.  I'm excited about it, because this is truly a fan's fight right here where you're going to see two guys go at it and give it their all.

Michael Katsidis      

I have a question.  What's the Courage Award?

Richard Schaefer    

The Courage Award is an award, which is given by the Boxing Writers of America to fighters who have basically done special things, which have shown their courage outside of the ring as well.  The fact that Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero has really given up his world title, has really, in a way, has totally focused on his wife first and her illness made the Boxing Writers' Association of America award him this May; I think it's May 6th; with the Courage Award.  That's what that is.

Q       

I want to start with a question for Robert.  What I'm curious about is you have been sitting as a mandatory challenger for one of the lightweight titles now for a little bit and I know you were not able to get the fight with Márquez.  I imagine that has to be a little bit frustrating.  You've won world titles before.  You are mandatory, yet cannot somehow get a world title shot, so now you're taking this fight.  Can you talk about any level of frustration you have about not being able to get either Márquez himself or a shot at a belt or a vacant belt, whatever may be the case?

Robert Guerrero

Yes.  I mean at first I was a little frustrated trying to get the fight and it's not there.  Richard and Golden Boy, they tried to make a fight.  It didn't happen.  It didn't happen.  I'm not going to sit and groan and cry about it or anything.  If it happens it happens, but I mean I don't define my career on one fight and just keep on trucking and moving on.  We got the fight with Michael Katsidis, who is a tough character and he comes to fight, so it's about making big fights.  Unfortunately, Márquez don't want to take the fight with me.  I just leave it at that, so-

Richard Schaefer

Let me maybe just quickly jump in here as well.  When Juan Manuel Márquez actually did his mandatory against Michael Katsidis not too long ago, and so he does have some time as it relates to his mandatory.  However, the WBO has contacted us a couple of days ago and asked what Márquez' plans were because obviously he hasn't fought for a while and there are no announcements or nothing.  So they actually are looking at potentially sanctioning this fight here between Robert and Katsidis for an interim world title and then, obviously, the winner of that would have to fight Márquez.

We don't know what Márquez's plan or plans are.  I am actually scheduled to meet with him next week in Mexico and see what he is planning on doing, but obviously, you're absolutely right, Dan.  The winner of this fight is not only in line for the world title fight, but actually, if Márquez would decide to move up or do something different, they might become the WBO Lightweight World Champion.

Q       

Robert, one other question I wanted to ask you about:  In moving your training camp to do like an actual training camp away from home, because you feel more comfortable because of the fact that your wife is doing much better now, how much more focused does that make you now that you're away?  Because you know you still have your family at home.  Michael has been used to doing that, going off to Thailand and doing his training camps is nothing unusual for him, but this is a little bit of a different thing for you in recent fights.  How has the change been from going away from home to a real training camp?

Robert Guerrero

It's been great.  It's been great.  It's nice to be able to do what you love and focus on what you love.  It makes everything a lot easier to concentrate and focus on just straight boxing, which when you're at home and you're doing your training at home you have the kids there.  You're taking them to school or you're picking them up and you're helping the wife here.  Throughout the day, as a fighter, you've got to be straight boxing or not.  I was getting by doing that and it was tough.  It was tough and coming out to a training camp makes everything easy where now it's just boxing.  I can focus, having my meals on time, getting the running done on time.  I don't have to worry about I'm going to help out at the house.  I'm going to help out, pick up the kids or I'm going to help the wife do this; where I'm able to just relax and rest and be ready for the next day again to train hard and give it my all.  So it makes things a lot easier.

I'm excited.  I'm excited to be out here training in a training camp.  It was long overdue.  I needed to get out to a training camp.  Unfortunately, the situation I was in with my wife didn't let me.  I'm excited.  She's excited.  She knows I love training and I love fighting, so when I come out to a training camp she knows I'm going to be 100% focused and everybody does.  In the training camp you can just focus, focus on being ready.

Q       

Robert, which gym in Vegas are you training at?

Robert Guerrero

I'm training at Pound 4 Pound.

Q       

Michael, I've got a question for you.  We know that you're coming off the tough loss against Márquez not that long ago.  How long does it take you to get over a loss like that, to sort of then put it behind you and start to focus on climbing the ladder again?

Michael Katsidis

That night.  The night you lose a fight, you have a fight and you get the results and then you back up and then you go again.  Look, I'm really happy that this fight here I'm fighting against the number-one in the world.  I was very happy just to hear what Richard just said about the world title, because rightly so.  This is a great thing and I'm going to be prepared for it.

Q       

I wanted to also ask you there were some reports in the media in your home country in Australia about the fact that you had like a small, little cut.  Some people made it seem like it was a bad cut, several stitches.  Could you just clarify what happened with that situation?  Obviously, you're fighting so it's, I guess, not much of an issue, but I just wanted to hear your side of what happened with that.

Michael Katsidis      

Yes.  I was cut.  That's the thing-

Q       

They said it-

Michael Katsidis      

I'm eternally known for that and it was an issue, but it's not now.  I'm right to fight.  Of course, if I didn't take the fight based on a cut I wouldn't sleep at night.  I don't think I'd be a happy person at all, because I fight and what's a cut?  A cut's nothing.

Q       

How bad was it though?  How many stitches did you require?

Michael Katsidis      

Well, it was just a cut.

Q     

But I mean, Michael, there are different degrees.  It could be a bad cut.  It could be just a little nick.  I mean how severe was it

Michael Katsidis      

It depends on the person.  I mean some people get a small cut and they don't want to fight-

Q

I mean with you.  I mean with this specific injury.

Michael Katsidis      

Well, if you're talking about me, I'll fight.  It just doesn't- I'll fight the best.  I'm fighting the best now because that's what I want to do.  So nothing is going to stop me doing that.  I'm just-

Richard Schaefer    

What I think and obviously, when we heard about it, Dan, we were worried as well and we wanted to make sure that he was clear to fight.  Michael went to the doctor and we got the necessary documents and so on that he was okay to fight and okay to train.  But Michael is right; I mean for some people a small cut might look like a big cut and I think, knowing Michael-

Q

No one questions Michael, because of his heart and desire to fight.  I'm only asking how many stitches did he need in the cut when he got clipped.

Michael Katsidis

Yes.  It's not ridiculous.  I'm not going to go into a fight if the moment you get tapped the fight is over.  I'm not like that, but if there's something, if there's an injury, if there's any sort of incident like that nothing is going to stop me like that.  I'm not stupid in that sense, but I am very keen to fight and like I said, this guy is the number-one guy in the world.  Who else is there to fight?  Márquez isn't going to fight ... so he gets off the top, so Márquez can drop his titles and me and Robert can fight for the title.  That's great.  It should be that way.

Q       

How many stitches was it?

Richard Schaefer    

Was it like two or three stitches, something like that?

Michael Katsidis

I didn't even count.  I didn't even count it-... the cut.  Get it fixed up and go from there.  I didn't even look at it.  Actually, you wouldn't even think I've been cut to look at it now.

Q

This is for Robert.  Can you tell us how important it is to you to win a third title in a third weight class and if you achieve that goal what it tells you about yourself as a fighter?

Robert Guerrero

Well, it will actually be my fourth world title, my third in three different weight classes.  It's nice.  It's nice to know every weight class you've been to you've won a world title.  You just don't want to pass up a weight class and not do nothing there and just move on.  I want to come through and try to win a title in every weight class I hit, so it is very important and I'm excited that I got the opportunity and that I'm number-one in the world and that the next fight possibly could be for a world championship.  It's motivating.  It gets you going and makes you want to work hard.

Q

How do you feel training and fighting at lightweight as compared to featherweight and junior lightweight?

Robert Guerrero

I feel great at lightweight.  I think I'm really coming into being a full-fledged lightweight.  Just being in camp, eating right, doing everything right, everything right on time and doing the proper training to prepare for a fight I feel strong.  I feel fast.  I feel I'm going to be super ready for fight night.

Q       

One last question:  Usually when somebody has won four world titles and particularly if they've done so over three weight classes, we're talking about an elite fighter.  We're talking about somebody who is rated in the top ten pound-for-pound.  Is that something you ever think about?  Is that the kind of recognition that you'd like to have sooner?

Robert Guerrero

Oh, yes.  It would be nice to get all of that recognition, but I let everything take its course and I put God first and everything after that.  In good time, everything will be there.  I'm one of the guys where I think if you always try to force something that's not there it never works out, so I'll just keep on doing what I've been doing and fighting and putting out great fights and winning and everything will be there.

Q       

When you look at the pound-for-pound list and you see guys that you've known for a long time, like Nonito Donaire, who is now like in the top five of everybody's pound-for-pound list and do you believe that you can be that good, that you could be rated that high one day?

Robert Guerrero

Oh, yes.  Yes.  Definitely.  I mean if you don't think that you shouldn't be in boxing.  You've got to have the most confidence in yourself and your ability of getting the job done.  I just take my hat off to guys like Nonito Donaire and other guys where they go out there and give it their best.  They deserve everything that came their way.

Q

I just have a couple of questions for Mr. Guerrero.  I know you've been asked this question about are you coming back into the ring, but I'd like to ask you to just get a different angle, how smart are you to come back to fight after taking care of your wife?  How smart are you and what has she told you about getting back into the ring?

Robert Guerrero

I'm real inspired.  Seeing what cancer patients go through and how tough it is for them, I always say they're fighting for their lives and they don't have a choice.  They've got to do the fight.  For us fighters it's a choice.  Either you box or you don't.  It's our choice.  I'm doing what I love to do, what I've been doing since I was nine-years-old and it's an honor to get in that ring and enjoy it.  I mean you get out there and enjoy it and cherish every moment you get, because boxing doesn't last forever.  It flies right by you and you've got to enjoy it while it lasts.

It's real inspiring to see what they go through and it makes you want to get out there and appreciate everything and work even more, that much more because, like I said, you enjoy it.  You've got to love doing it.  You want to give it your all.

Q

This is my last question for you:  I know the big stage for a lot of professional boxers, like yourself, fighting in Las Vegas, how excited are you about fighting in Las Vegas?  This will be your third or fourth fight, I believe.

RobertGuerrero

I'm excited.  I'm excited to be fighting on a Pay-Per-View fight, being in Las Vegas, fighting in front of thousands and thousands of fans and fighting in front of millions of people around the world.  It's very exciting and you just got to go and appreciate it and put out the best work you can put.

Q       

First of all, I'd like to thank both of you guys for sharing your lives with us, because you both have overcome a lot, like Richard said, outside of the ring and bring a lot of excitement into the ring.  Michael, can you shed some light for us on exactly what it has taken for you emotionally to be involved in the type of fight you were in with Juan Manuel Márquez and to come right back, given what you've been through and why you're able to do it?  What does it take for an individual like yourself to do that?

Michael Katsidis

You just have to dig deep.  I have a belief that if something doesn't kill you it only makes you stronger.  This is one of those things.  If we can work through that camp, as we did for the Márquez one, it's been a hell of  a lot better working for this camp.  I can sleep well at night.  There is no problem.  Everything is going very, very well in those regards.  So you just really have to dig deep and when I look inside I always aim to find more, so I'm motivated for it.

Q       

Not to belabor the point, but Dan asked you the question:  Where was the cut and how long ago did it happen?

Michael Katsidis      

Was it three weeks ago, I think, a couple of weeks ago.

Q       

Where was it?

Michael Katsidis      

On my eye.

Q

Which one?

Michael Katsidis      

You want to know which eye?  Do you want to go for it?

Q       

No.

Richard Schaefer    

It doesn't really matter.  You're going to see he got it stitched up.  It required a couple of stitches.  He provided all of the medical documents and was cleared to resume training, including sparring.  So of course, he's ready to go.  I can appreciate that Michael is a bit hesitant-

Q       

I understand.

Richard Schaefer    

-to give details to that and I hope you all can accept that.  Thank you.

Q       

I do.  I just wanted to kind of-because of the fact that he's overcome so much and he just makes so little of it-I mean that just adds to the kind of character that he brings to the ring.

Richard Schaefer    

That's the kind of warrior he is.  As he said before, he's not going to let a little cut slow him down.  That's just the kind of guy he is.  Being, of course, his promoter-

Michael Katsidis      

I said I'll be circling to my left.  Put it that way.

Q       

Let me move on.  Each of you, like I said, has overcome a lot.  Can you, Michael, give me a scouting report on Robert and, Robert, also give me a scouting report on Michael?  Just how you think your styles will mesh in the fight?

Michael Katsidis      

Do you want me to go first?

Q       

Sure, Michael, go first.

Michael Katsidis      

Did you say how I think-what was it?  I didn't hear the question properly.

Q       

I wanted to know, both of you have exciting styles.  Could you give me a scouting report on each other and then how you think your styles will mesh, how you see the fight going in the ring?

Michael Katsidis      

Well, I don't know.  I fight to fight, so if anything happens during the fight I don't care what the fight looks like or I don't try to make a great fight.  I don't say, "Look, it's going to be a great fight."  I'm just going to win it.  That's what I go in there to do, so I'm not focused on any of that.  I work more on myself.  I don't look at who I'm fighting so much.  It is very much in synch when I'm in there, so I work a lot off that and I guess as a result you have a lot of exciting fights.  But that's where I am with that.

Q       

Robert?

Robert Guerrero     

I just think it's going to be a great fight.  He comes forward.  He comes.  He's tough.  He's strong.  He puts a lot of pressure and throws a lot of punches.  I think it's going to be a war and it's going to be an exciting fight.  Like I've been saying before, it's going to be a fan's fight where they're going to get a lot of excitement and a lot of punching.  I'm excited about this fight because it's going to show the world what kind of fighter I am.

Q       

Richard, this question is for you.  Obviously, both of these guys have put it on the line.  They're both deserving of a title shot.  How close will the winner be to being a champion?  I know you said the WBO might sanction this, but how close?  Would Márquez be stripped?  Do you have any timetable for that?

Richard Schaefer    

Well, by the way, I just got word-I mean as we speak I was put a note in front of me that the WBA as well has a tentative sanction for the vacant WBA Interim Lightweight title.  So obviously, both the WBA and the WBO, who's champion is Juan Manuel Márquez, would like to know what Márquez's plans are since nothing has been announced.  So it seems like the WBA and the WBO, it looks like they will be sanctioning this as an interim title bout with the winner of the fight becoming the mandatory to Márquez in case Márquez decides to stay at 135 pounds.  If, obviously, he would be moving up in weight then the winner of that fight will become full champion.

I think that I know sometimes people attack the sanctioning organizations for doing certain things they're doing with vacant titles and emeritus titles and all of these sorts of titles, but I think in this particular case you really have two of the best fighters in the weight class fighting each other.  So I'm sure that you would all agree that this is really, not only is it deserving, but I think it's fitting that these two guys, these two warriors, these two action heroes are actually going to fight for a title.

Q       

Finally, Richard, I don't know if you can answer this or not, but can you shed any light on Márquez's contract status?

Richard Schaefer    

No, I'm not going to do that.  I'm going to be sitting down with Juan Manuel next week.  We did have an exclusive, good faith negotiating period, which was not honored by Juan Manuel, but I am going to sit down with him next week and see what can be worked out.

Q       

Robert, as a featherweight you were known for your defensive skills.  You're a little more balls out, shall we say, as a lightweight.  Have you ever fought someone who poses so many defensive problems?

Robert Guerrero

No, not at all.  Like I said, I'm excited about this.  Michael Katsidis, he's going to come to fight and so am I, so it's going to be a great fight.

Q       

I mean is the best defense a good offense or are you going to try to tame him or what?

Robert            Guerrero

You've got to mix everything up.  You've got to mix up offense, defense and it all depends.  It all depends.  Every fighter is a different fighter and what works for one fighter doesn't work for another, so styles make fights and I think my style and Michael Katsidis' style is going to make a great matchup and you guys are going to be in store for a great fight.

Q       

A question for Richard Schaefer:  Robert has always had, at least in the past two or three years, trouble getting the fights he wants and this Juan Manuel Márquez situation is another indicator of that.  What is the problem getting Robert the fights you'd like to get him?

Richard Schaefer    

Well, first of all, I think when Robert joined us how he has advanced his career and how he is now appearing on a regular basis on HBO I think is a big step in Robert's career.  I think the big fights, they will come, because sometimes you just can't force them.  You either have to maneuver yourself into a mandatory position and sometimes it's just something, which just doesn't happen overnight, but I know that Robert wants the big fight and I think our track record is pretty good when you look at putting big fights together.

Look what happened with Juan Manuel Márquez when he was at Top Rank.  He never got any of the big fights.  He came to us and we were able to get him into the big fight.  I am sure; I am convinced; I have no doubt that that is going to be the same with Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero.  Look at Michael Katsidis.  Michael Katsidis had many big fights, including most recently, his fight with Juan Manuel Márquez.  Sometimes it takes a little patience and when you are a very good fighter, like both of these guys are, very dangerous fighters, then there has to be some extra incentive for opponents or for some of these other big names to really go into a fight with somebody as dangerous as Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero or Michael Katsidis.  So it's something, which just happens, but again, I have no doubt that the big fights will happen for Robert down the line.

Q       

Well, does this mean that one problem has been that Robert really hasn't created the public demand for these big fights?

Richard Schaefer    

No.  I think he has done that.  I mean, again, if you look at since Robert has been with Golden Boy how he has advanced, how we together as a team have advanced his career, his visibility, his reputation and given him the platforms with HBO where he can showcase how good and how exciting he is, I think it's just a matter of time.  I mean things just don't always happen exactly when you want them and that is true for many fights.  I mean look, Pacquiao and Mayweather hasn't happened yet.  Sometimes fight fans need to learn to have a little patience and things will happen.  I think, again, if you look at the track record over the past five or six years, how we have delivered constantly big fights, I have no intentions to stop that and I think with Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero you have one of the best, young, most exciting fighters in the world and these fights will come.  Just have some patience.

Monica Sears

Thank you, everyone.  At this time, we're going to transfer over, so we want to give Robert and Michael a big thank you for calling in today.  If you guys want to make any closing comments before we switch over?

Richard Schaefer    

Thank you.  No.  I think this is a fantastic fight.  I'm really excited.  I know fight fans are excited.  I really can't wait for the first bell to ring for this showdown, because I know that both guys-and I think you all heard that in their comments and in their voices today-both guys know how important of a fight this is.  They will come at their best and they will give their best, as they always do.  I'm really excited about it.  Thank you very much, Robert.  Thank you very much, Michael.  I'll see you guys in a couple of weeks in Las Vegas.

Robert Guerrero

All right.  Thank you.

Michael Katsidis      

Thank you.

Richard Schaefer    

James Kirkland: Talking about action heroes, first of all, I don't remember having had three true action heroes on one call.  This is just amazing.  He is truly one of the most exciting guys.  When he fights you just don't even want to blink.  You just don't know what's going to happen and so with James Kirkland coming back about a month ago on the March 5th card here in Los Angeles with his devastating knockout he was ready to fight the same night again.  Obviously, that doesn't work, so we had to tell him he's got to wait a couple of weeks so we can find another opponent, which we did.  He fought last Friday another exciting knockout performance in the second round.

Now here we are.  He is ready to be back on an HBO Pay-Per-View.  James Kirkland has a record of 27-0 with 24 knockouts.  Originally, from Austin, Texas and now he resides and trains in Las Vegas.  He is really eager to keep the momentum going.  We will be announcing shortly his opponent.  He has been coming down in weight.  I think the last fight was at 162 or so and now we're looking at coming down at 158 for his next fight and eventually bring him down to the 154 division, where he really belongs.  If everything continues to go as well as it has been since he's been coming back to have a world title shot sometime later on this year.

It's a pleasure to introduce now to you one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting fighter today in the sport, James Kirkland.

James Kirkland

I want to start this off by letting everybody know God has been good to me.  I give all honors and glory to God right now for giving me this opportunity, being able to talk to you all and get not a second chance, but more like a third chance as far as my criminal background.  No longer is that ever going to be a problem again, because I'm not going to let it take any action in my life any more.

Richard Schaefer    

Do you want to make a few comments about your new training camp in Las Vegas?  You moved there.  It's now going to be your third fight that you're training from there.  Do you have any comments about that?

James Kirkland       

I got to let everybody know, man, being with Kenny Adams and with Chris and starting a new training camp away from my baseline has been beautiful.  Kenny Adams, he knows all of the ropes.  He's worked with tons of world champions and he's just adding.  We're putting a package together as far as with this training to be unstoppable and just working hard, hitting the gym as much as possible.

Yes, I love to fight, I love the thrill of action, a person wanting to try to take advantage-what's the word?-try to bring all that he can bring to you in the ring.  I just love a fight and someone wanting to come in this training camp and being with Kenny Adams and he's giving me how to sit down all the punches, how to be able to keep my defense to a certain ability, but not lose my offense at the same time.  It's just nice, man, as far as switching my environment, from being in a negative environment and then coming to a positive environment as far as switching friends and changing up my whole lifestyle and eventually bringing my family down here, it's just wonderful.

Richard Schaefer    

Thank you, James.  I can tell you that on behalf of all the fight fans out there and if you follow the blogs and social networks and so on, it is absolutely amazing, staggering, the kind of interest sports and fight fans have in your comeback.  How the world is really following you and watching you because they know that you always bring your A game and I know you will bring it again on April the 9th, and we're excited to have you on the card.

I'm going to pass it over now to the media again, if you guys have any questions for James, please go ahead.

Q       

James, you've had two fights now in your comeback.  They didn't last very long.  I guess one was, I believe, 34 seconds, and the other one was in the first round.  Have you been able to ascertain anything about where you are in your boxing, based on those two quick, quick fights?  Where do you think you are after like two minutes of work?

James Kirkland       

Basically, right now, I just give myself just work; I'm focusing on just getting the work in and being able to bring all my, being able to see the punches, being able to know what's coming and to be able to adjust to any type of style.  All that stuff is still being taught, I mean, it's still being, like, you're never going to forget.  It's like riding a bike, but to add to it, to make sure it's there.  To be accurate at everything that you do when you're in the ring and knowing how to adjust, that's what the process is.  Still on the rise, still going, but as far as being able to get in there and to be able to do what I know how to do, I'm going to do that any time.  It's just that I want to be able to get the work in.  I just need to focus in on the work and I know, maybe I've got no work in the fight because I'm putting so much pressure and a lot of emotions into my fight.

I had a sparring partner, you know, he fell out.  I just recently picked a new sparring guy and, you know, I really didn't get a lot of sparring, but that's basically what we're going to be focusing on for this training camp come April 9th and just staying busy.  So, that's my main mind frame is just staying busy.

Q       

When you had the two fights and you had the brief burst of time in the ring, not in the gym, but in the actual fight, did you feel like you were shaking off that rust or were they just over too quick, that you really couldn't tell anything about it?

James Kirkland       

Honestly, when people say ring rust and those types of things, when I was away I was training.  I was training just in spar, you know, different things that you couldn't do, but I still train, I still made sure that I had some running in, I made sure I had different things in to where I could be able to either lose weight faster, be able to jump back into the game as soon as possible.  So, when they say ring rust and the way I feel in the ring, I feel super positive, super strong.  I really feel as strong as I've ever been as far as the speed because the speed is not all the way there like I would like it to be because of the excess weight.  So, until then I'm going to be at 58, the smallest I've been since I've been out.  And it's easy.  I learned a few things as far as eating right, as far as water weight, the whole nine.  Once you learn that it gives you a better thing of knowledge and everything is easy.

Q       

I wanted to ask you one other thing.  You probably could talk for hours about this, but if you could give us a brief look at it, when you went away you were right on the verge of being in a major world championship fight.  You were going to fight I think it was on the Pacquiao undercard when he fought Ricky Hatton, a big show and everything was set up very nicely for you to have some huge fights and some big paydays.

Then you got yourself in trouble and you were out for, what, 18 months I guess, away in prison, haven't fought, by the time you get in the ring April 9th, I believe it will be almost about two years roughly to the day when your last fight took place.  How did you deal with that mentally and what were your feelings like?  Oh, my God, I screwed up so bad or what was it like, just sitting there doing the time thinking about what might have been?

James Kirkland

Basically, man, your dreams are all shattered.  You're hurting physically, you're hurting mentally, spiritually, you're all down; everything is just like a sore thumb.  Everything about you is just gone.  You lose, not just access to the boxing, you lose access to your family.  Your key is your loved ones, people that really care about you, people that have been backing you up for many years, staying behind you and people that wish the best for you and then you make a dumb and a careless decision.

What I have done, it's just like-and then when you're facing time, it's like, oh, man, you're like how much time am I going to get and you really don't know.  At the same time, I had to stay prayed up.  I had to keep praying to God and just stand positive, try to keep my mind focused on achieving and if God wants what's best for me, he'll make a great comeback out of this and that's what happened, man.

I just got blessed and got a 24 month sentence, came home, 18, 19 months, was in the halfway house training.  Then there was the fight and then basically moved out here to Vegas just to set aside foolish things and it's just like, man, it's time to grow and I got Richard Schaefer's Golden Boy, I've got the whole Golden Boy Promotion behind me and positive, positive people, man.

Q       

Did you look at it-?  Oh, go ahead.

James Kirkland       

It's like nothing can take me off my stool right now, nothing can take me off this, what I'm going to do, so the only thing I say, 2011 and 2012 there's going to be so much excitement in boxing.  People can only just hear about it, but just to know that it's going to happen, because I'm not going to let nothing take me from my dream, I'm not going to let nothing inspire me to do the wrong thing.  It's all positive around me now; I don't have, not one negative person or anything that's not worth being around me is not going to be around me.

Q       

So, you are now determined to-I guess, like you said I your opening remarks, this is sort of like your third chance because before the incident, before you had some previous trouble.  That you are determined to do the right things, not put yourself in a position that's going to get you in trouble, being surrounded by the right people that aren't going to cause you trouble.  I mean, is that like something you think about every single day?

James Kirkland

Every single day, man, I've got to have a positive mind frame, even though it feels like, wow, man, why me?  But every day I drive to make this to be a positive thing, you know, as far as being a world champion, I'm going to be dedicated to that.  I know it's going to happen.  I just have to wait my time.  I fell off by doing something stupid, and now this is a positive thing because I'm glad I went through the situation and got to see everybody for who they were and who was really for Kirkland.  Who was really there for me, who really has the passion for Kirkland to see me make it and go as a boxer and not just a boxer, but a role model to the younger people.

Those are the people that have been behind me and everybody showed their true colors when I went to jail.  So now that I'm out.  I know everybody for who they are as far as the people who were around me and it wasn't a handful of people, one handful of people.  So therefore they gave me the mind frame to say if I don't have not this many people that's going to stay behind me and really willing to back me up, me leaving shouldn't be a problem.

So, me, I just got to go-if I can't get a handful of people, not even a handful of people, so the best thing for me to do is just to move and better my horizons.  I'm down in Vegas.  I've got Kenny Adams, tons of world champions.  He knows what it takes to win and he knows the drive, he knows the passion that I have and he's willing to teach me things that I don't know.  He's willing to learn things that I do know that he may know, but coming from a left-handed perspective, we're growing.  This can never get worse; this can only get greater and get better.

Q       

Now, one of the guys in your promotional company is Bernard Hopkins, a senior member of the company, one of the owners, great world champion, going to the Hall of Fame, had a similar incident back in his earlier days.  He did four and a half years in prison and has come out of prison and never got in trouble another day in his life and made a ton of money and won a lot of bouts.  Have you ever sought out his advice to talk to him about his own experiences and to see how he was able to come out, come back to society and not put himself in that kind of situation ever again?

James Kirkland       

I have talked to Bernard Hopkins.  This was my first time going to jail, but like going to my second one, catching this case right here, I talked to him and he basically just has the same mind frame.  That he got the same attention, for me, is the good thing as far as not just staying focused on boxing.

As far as the decision I made with my friends as far as making the move and as far as cutting those people to the side and letting old bad habits be old things, no longer a habit, but put those things on the back burner.  Put it in the back of your head, no longer going to ever think about doing again.  Those things are no longer a problem, but the advice that he gave was all positive.  It's everything that a man could want and I'm just coming to the table to let everybody know, man, that was a poor, poor, careless, dumb decision that I made.  I learned from my actions.  I feel that I am a role model.  It's just that when you're put in certain situations you make careless decisions, you go off your gut and what you think is right, but the right thing is to go the other way.

Richard Schaefer    

Well, Dan, I just quickly to mention something here as well, because you mentioned Bernard Hopkins.  After this happened, Bernard actually called me and he said what he would like to do, sometime hopefully this summer, he would like to put together a ... fight, some sort of a program, a session where he can speak to the young fighters.  He would like very much James there as well to share these experiences they went through and how to learn from that and how those influences-  If you're a young fighter and you suddenly start making money, you're going to have friends, which you have so many friends and so many hangers-on.  And maybe not so good elements are attaching themselves to you and they're trying to drag you down.

To basically have Bernard and James in a way mentor some of these young fighters and tell them how to avoid these kinds of pitfalls and I think I can very much see James in that role that he can share his experiences with some of the young fighters.  I think James would be terrific in that, because those who know James Kirkland know what a warm and caring human being he is and just a wonderful person he is and I am sure that James has learned and has learned the hard way from these mistakes.  I think it would be great for James to share these experiences with the young fighters.

Q       

I was wondering, with the recent addition of so many new versions of familiar championship titles becoming available in the sport of boxing-and by that I'm referring to Super Champions, Diamond Titles, etc., Interim Belts-do you feel that the status of being a champion has been or is being diminished in any way?  Also what are your championship goals with that in mind?

James Kirkland

Basically, as far as being a champion or wanting to be a champion, all these different elements want to be this and-I have a desire for boxing that's unbelievable, to the point that I know that I'm going to make it because I've got positive people around me.  So when it comes down to being a world champion, hands down I know I'm going to be one.

It's just the drive and then the timing and the right decision and the fighter, but me, I'm always ready, so when it comes to being a champion, I'm a true champion because I overcame all the things that I overcame even in jail, and decisions, the whole package.  I just know what it takes to win and what it takes to be a world champion and so when my turn comes, my time will come.  You know, it's all to my people, but it will come and I will be champion.

Q       

Now, in your last fight you got punched up quite a bit.  Was it because you were trying to figure out the timing still, you know, having been only your second fight since getting out and being inactive so long or was it just because the level of opponent, maybe you kind of rest on your defense a little more and once the opponent starts stepping up your defense will improve?

James Kirkland

Really, to be honest with you, when you have those type of opponents-it's like a Mayorga.  He has a certain style where he doesn't throw straight punches, the aqua fighters.  So when you're fighting those type of people, they've got the aqua style, it makes you look like you're off balance.  It makes your style, it makes your fight not go as well as you want it to be.

Because the type of opponent I have, when I fight aqua people and people that throw behind their backs, they throw backwards, the slap punches, it makes my fight look like it's not where it's supposed to be.  It makes your timing not adjustable.  It makes you, where you get hit with all careless shots because they're coming from all different angles.  So, like I said, my last performance, it was fairly well.  Even though there was a second round knockout, it was all right in my book, but it was an all right fight.

Q       

Okay, that's pretty much what I was trying to get at is once the level opponent steps up and you're fighting top ten level guys, I mean is that part of it, too?  You just felt that with this opponent you could kind of get away with a lot more than when you're fighting top five, top ten level guys?

James Kirkland

Oh, yeah.  When my opponent steps up, not saying that I'm trying to be careless or less, what's the word, less aware of my opponent's ability to hit me, that's not the point.  It's just that when you get those type of people that are top ten level guys, those punches are coming fast, they're coming straight down the pike, you can see it, you can time them, you can turn, you know what you're doing because you're fighting a boxer.  But when you fight someone that slaps and those from any which way and angle, you got a problem.

Q       

Then, my last question would be, this will be your third fight of the year, third fight of the month even.  Where do you expect to find yourself by the end of this year?  Do you expect to be ready for, like I said earlier, the top level guys and a legitimate title by then or you expect by the end of the year to just be getting to that point and how many times in your mind would you like to see the ring before the end of 2011?

James Kirkland       

Honestly, man, if I could fight- I want to fight every day, but as far as when it comes to it,-the level that I think I'm going to be on.  What I bring myself into for 2011-I really feel that at the end of 2011, I'll be either ranked, be the number one in the world or about to fight for a world title, or if not already have fought for a world title.  Because the training that I'm doing right now, the adjusting and the things that I have for this fight and the new things that I'm doing, you're going to be able to see April the 9th, you're going to say, man, this guy right here, Kirkland, he's already been a remarkable guy, but he really is ready.  He is really a true champion and we need to give it to him.

So, April 9th, just be looking for not just a new Kirkland, but an experienced Kirkland, one that hasn't lost anything.  The ring rust, I'm trying to find where the rust is at, but I'm all for it, I'm honored and I just thank Golden Boy and the whole team that are standing behind me and wishing the best for me.

Richard Schaefer    

All right, thank you, everyone.  Before we end the call I do want to mention two people as well, who were really, really instrumental and who were there for James and that was, of course, his two co-managers, Cameron Duncan and Michael Miller.  Michael Miller did a terrific job and I really want to thank them as well.

I echo James' sentiments.  I think we have a close-knit, great team and we have one goal.  We all work towards that goal.  Each one knows what their position is and what their responsibilities are and that goal, of course, is to have James Kirkland with his hand raised as the new World Champion and we know that we all will be working hard towards that goal and we're really happy, James, that you're back and you're so excited.

Great, thank you, everyone, and I hope to see you all in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks, MGM Grand, action here April the 9th, HBO Pay-Per-View, a great, great card.  The kind of event you don't want to miss any of the fights and looking forward to talk to you in the coming weeks.  Thank you so much, bye.  Thanks, James.

James Kirkland       

All right, thank you, God bless.

Tags: James Kirkland , Michael Katsidis , Robert Guerrero , Katsidis vs Guerrero , Katsidis-Guerrero



 User Comments and Feedback (must register to comment)

comment by ColWallace, on 03-24-2011
Very touchy. Usually gregarious in character, gives great no BS quotes and there's a few in the transcript (thank-you boxingscene), but obviously in a mean mood. This fight will be interesting.

comment by ShoulderRoll, on 03-24-2011
Katsidis sure was touchy about the cut.

Post A Comment/View More User Comments (2) 

   
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