DAN GOOSSEN: My gratitude goes out to Versus Network and the Soboba Casino for making this all possible. This is our first fight on Versus and we're really looking forward to providing a great event. We are equally ecstatic that we could have such high‑profile fighters on the event.
I know it's the biggest event that Versus has had on their network, and that includes the one bout with Ricky Hatton.
Soboba Casino has been a big supporter of boxing for the last seven years with us, and this is one event they really we're very excited to move forward on. I have known Bobby Salgado, the Tribal Chairman at Soboba Casino for many years. He is a huge Cristobal Arreola fan and boxing fan and he goes back to the days of Jerry Quarry and all the great boxers from the old Olympic Auditorium.
We're really looking forward to the event. The two fighters we have on the call now most everyone knows… Paul Williams is the man that tracked down Antonio Margarito when Margarito was the WBO Welterweight Champion and beat him at the sold out Home Depot Center on July 14th, a year ago.
He subsequently lost and regained his welterweight championship by impressive fashion within a four month period. A fighter that has been compared to Hall of Famer, Tommy Hearns, because of his size and being able to fight in the 147‑pound division. Paul is now looking to add to his resume from the standpoint of simultaneously fight within the 147‑pound to 168‑pound division, as requested by Paul.
Originally we were looking only from 147 to 160, and Paul added that he believes any good challenges that can be made for him up to 168 pounds is on the table.
I want to make it perfectly clear to everyone, and to quell the rumors that Paul cannot make 147 pounds any longer is incorrect. He and his trainer, George Peterson, are also on the phone call and both will confirm to everyone that Paul can and still will make 147 pounds, and that he doesn’t want to give up his WBO 147‑pound title.
The challenger for Paul, Andy "Chaos" Kolle, is also on the line with us. A natural middleweight and someone that, believe me, is a very hungry fighter. Kolle believes that he's in this fight and can give Paul Williams a type of challenge where he'll send him back to the 147‑pound division for good.
Like Williams, Kolle stands at 6' 1", with arms very close to Paul's size. His record of 17 wins and 12 KO's, shows that he hits with power. Before we get to Paul and George Peterson, Paul’s trainer, we also have on the line with Andy, his manager and trainer, Chuck Horton.
I'll let Andy open it up by saying a few words, and then we'll send it over to Paul, and let the media ask their questions.
ANDY KOLLE: Thanks a lot. I just want to thank everybody for giving me this shot. It's a shot I've been looking for my whole career. Just come out there and fight a legitimate world champion.
I have a lot of respect for Paul Williams. I think he's a great fighter. I believe though it's my time. My opportunity and my time to shine. I can't let this opportunity pass, and I believe I will be victorious.
I would have never taken this fight as an opponent. I took it because I legitimately believe I can win this fight.
DAN GOOSSEN: Chuck, do you have anything to add to that?
CHUCK HORTON: No, but we've been looking at Paul Williams for a long time. Just a couple of things... Thanks for having us on this show and everything. We've both got a lot of respect for him as a fighter. We were in town with Margarito when Paul was able to beat Antonio. We have much respect for both fighters. Antonio and Paul.
And Andy stayed out in camp, and that camp's a tough camp, and we were out there the whole time. So that should tell you about Andy Kolle right there.
We've been really training hard for this fight. We're just excited to get in the ring and to show everybody how good a fighter Andy Kolle is.
DAN GOOSSEN: Now I've got to compliment both of you, because I believe that the most feared man in boxing today is Paul Williams and as we all know, there have been very few fighters that have been willing to take up the challenge with Paul from 147 pounds through 168 pounds. So my hat is off to you for giving it your best shot in your belief of upsetting Paul’s plans.
Now let me introduce the most feared man not only in the welterweight division, but in all of boxing, the hard working punisher himself, Paul “The Punisher” Williams, the WBO welterweight champion. Paul?
PAUL WILLIAMS: Hi, everybody. You know, I'm just excited to be in the ring. I’ll be bringing everything I have into the ring. I always perform at my fullest level. I'm not taking anything lightly, you know what I'm saying?
I'm glad for the opportunity again to get back in the ring on the 25th. I'm facing a bigger guy. But it's no thing. I've been in with bigger guys all my life. I'm smaller, so I'm taking Andy very seriously, because I know if you take somebody lightly they can get you up out of there.
I'm looking forward to getting out there on the 25th, and having a good night. I'm pretty sure he's looking to upset me, but I'm not looking to be upset again. I'm training hard. I'm just ready to get in the ring and take on everybody in different weight classes.
DAN GOOSSEN: I'm going to bring up Mr. George Peterson for a few words, and then we'll send it to the media. George?
GEORGE PETERSON: We're excited about this opportunity, of course. Paul wanted to make a statement in the various weight classes. His whole objective is a clean 147‑pound division, and move up through the various weight classes. So that's going to be his approach to it.
This was an opening and Andy is a nice opponent for us. So we're looking for it. I'm sure it's going to be a good fight. Paul has not fought anybody his size and his reach. So we're looking for an outstanding fight that night. We'll be present and the crowd will be pleased with it.
Q. Paul, I know you're glad to be getting back into the ring. I know how tough it's been for you guys to get anybody to step up to the plate. So when I ask you this first question please don't anybody take any offense to this. Paul, I saw you about a month ago, you looked at a bunch of us at the table and you said that you only wanted to fight big names from now on. That you have deserved and you have earned that. You felt if you didn't that you might be kind of taking a step backwards in your career. Based on that, how does that fit in with this fight? Are you disappointed that, again, not to disrespect Mr. Kolle, but are you disappointed that you're not fighting a big name right now after everything that you've accomplished?
PAUL WILLIAMS: No, I'm not upset I'm not fighting a big name. Because I'm moving up in weight. The big guys, and the big names and the big weights, they didn't want it. So we're still looking for bigger guys.
Hey, we'll take Andy. He's a worthy opponent. He'll get in there and get it on. I'm still fighting 147, too. But you know what guys? Bottom line is, the guys with the big names didn't want it. So we're not going to sit around and wait for them and say, okay, we'll fight them when they’re ready. No, we're going to keep moving.
Q. Dan, I know that Mr. Kolle is a more than adequate fighter. So if you listen, Mr. Kolle, don't take any disrespect. But Dan, I know how hard you tried to make the Margarito fight. We all know why that didn't happen, it wasn't on you guys. What other fighters did you try to get for Paul who turned you guys down?
DAN GOOSSEN: You could really go down the list of welterweights, super welterweights, and up. But I think the statement that's being made here is two‑fold. One is that Paul understands that the pool of fighters willing to fight him is very limited. He’s not the most feared man in boxing for nothing. So rather than sitting back and peeling off two or three HBO dates a year, we're looking to keep Paul busy and to create opportunities.
The fight with Kolle will answer some questions and hopefully open up new opportunities. People are going to see how does Paul handle a fighter that's naturally bigger such as Andy Kolle, which would have been the same questions that would have been asked if he had fought Pavlik. We've got all the confidence in the world in Paul Williams and when you see Kolle fight, you'll be able to see he would give any middleweight a run for his money. Andy comes to fight, and doesn’t have an ounce of quit in him. He's a real fighter and one picked for a purpose, which is to show that Paul Williams is serious moving up and down in weight for specific challenges.
So these questions people may have will be answered next Thursday, but more importantly, it will open up a whole new opportunity for Paul and to the fans and also give other fighters the opportunity to fight Paul outside the welterweight division.
Paul doesn't want to give up that WBO title. But keeping his 147 WBO title, while winning a title in the 154‑pound division, 160‑pound division, 168‑pound division, will make history since it hasn't been done in this modern era.
You've had fighters that have gone up in weight like Shane Mosely and Floyd Mayweather, but Shane went from 147 to 154 after a loss at 147. Floyd, has successfully campaigned at various weights, but never to the extent of doing the various weights simultaneously, which is what Paul wants to accomplish. Very few have done it to the extreme that Paul and George are willing to do it on.
Now to get a little more specific with your question, Collazo, Judah, Mosely, Margariito, Baldomir, you name it, we asked. It never came down to a matter of money. It was a matter of they just didn't want to get into the ring with Paul. Who blames them, right?
Q. Andy, you've been on a nice little run since the fight against Ward. I believe you're 8‑0, 7‑0 since then. What have you learned from that fight against Ward that, you know, has allowed you to go on this round, number one, and to deal with Andre's speed, will that help you against Paul next week?
ANDY KOLLE: Yeah, well I learned a lot. First of all, stepping the foot on the big stage for the first time in my career at 9‑0 whatever I was at the time. That was a big step for me to come out there. I had never seen a fighter of the caliber of Andre; the speed and everything that he brought to the ring. So to just get that experience was really nice.
Now that I've been there now, I know it's nothing. It's the same old fight. You've still got to go out there and once that bell rings, it's just me and Paul. I don't have to worry about the cameras and the lights.
But as far as dealing with the speed, it was a different thing. I had to go looking for Andre. He was always running around. I had to go find him. But with Paul, he'll be there, ready to fight. We'll stand in the middle of the ring and go at it.
Q. If you win this fight next week, obviously, everything's going to change for you. Have you thought about the day after, September 26th, and how life will change for you?
ANDY KOLLE: No, not at all, actually. I just think about the fight at hand. I've got a big fight on my hands and I'm not going to look past it. Don't count your chickens before they hatch. You want to go out there and make sure you have the focus on the fight and not worry about the glory that's coming afterwards?
Q. George, Paul's been in this kind of situation before where he was fighting a guy in Quintana, he was expected to beat, but he wound up losing the fight. How do you keep him focused to where history doesn't repeat itself next week?
GEORGE PETERSON: Well, that happens, first of all. Paul was focused. That particular night he just couldn't get in his rhythm, couldn't get going, and occasionally it happens. Doesn't happen that often, but you'll find from time to time fighters will fall in that mode. That particular night he fell in that mode.
We were convinced that Quintana had no business being in the same ring as Paul Williams. We were definitely convinced of that. And the outcome of the second fight, we knew where he was going to be in every inch of that ring. That's why it was so easy for Paul. Paul executed that night, which he didn't do the first night.
So it's about execution. No one is able to handle this guy with his talent, with his speed, and with his ring knowledge and generalship in the ring, even from 147 to 160.
As a result of that, you know, he's confident that he's going to be victorious. It's going to be a really good fight. It's not going to be like baking pies, because Andy is a good fighter. No disrespect to him, but we are prepared to do whatever is necessary to win.
Q. Dan, what are the difficulties in promoting a guy no one wants to fight?
DAN GOOSSEN: Well, quite frankly, I like it. Because if I get a fighter everyone wants to fight, he's not going to be around long. So it's exciting, especially when you have a fighter that can move around from weight division to weight division. It makes it that much more pleasurable and unusual. This alone can be history in the making.
I'm not concerned about it because Paul has the size to do it. The reason most fighters turn down the chance to fight Paul is because he is feared. It’s not based upon money because Paul generates money for his challengers. If that wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t have been able to offer Margarito a $4 million plus guarantee. It boils down to being the most feared fighter in the world. Paul’s time will come where no one will be able to turn down a fight with him.
We just need to do what we’re doing now. …Fighting September 25th on Versus and winning and looking for our next immediate big fight.
Q. Paul, does all of this talk about Margarito and Pavlik and all these other guys ‑‑ on September 25th, you have a young fighter with a chance to make a name for himself, Andy Kolle in front of you. How are you making sure that you're not going to overlook him? You're going to really focus on this one fighter?
PAUL WILLIAMS: I never overlook anybody. I'm the one that's the underdog. I keep motivated. Like, okay, this guy's the man. I've got to come get him so I can be the man again. That's how I look at it.
All those other guys are not even on my mind. I could care less about Margarito, Cotto or whoever else is in the 147‑pound division right now. My main thing is to get focused on the 25th for Andy. That is my main focus right there.
If something doesn't go my way in the ring, what do I got to do to overcome that in the ring, you know?
Q. What do you expect to happen now that you're fighting this fight at middleweight against a fighter who is naturally at middleweight when you've been fighting at welterweight. How do you think that's going to effect you? You don't have as much weight to lose, but you're fighting a bigger man?
PAUL WILLIAMS: You know, he's bringing his awesome to the ring, I'm going to bring mine to the ring, it will be a big explosion in the ring. That's for him to come and try to gain some respect.
That's his weight class. I'm coming to his weight class, so he feels like he's the man in that weight. So I've got to earn his respect, you know what I'm saying? I've got to make him earn my respect. If I get in the ring with him, we're going to have to duke it out.
Q. Andy, this is a chance for you to really put yourself on the map. Tell us why you think you can win this fight against Paul Williams?
ANDY KOLLE: I've just seen a lot of his fights, watched a lot of his fights. I've seen he's always been the taller man in the ring. It's not so much the weight or anything. But he's always been the taller man. I feel we're closer to the height. I feel I've got the tools. I see the opening in his offense that leaves him wide open for some shots, and I think I can capitalize on it.
Q. Did you see his two fights with Quintana, and any comments on what you saw from those most recent fights that you could benefit from?
ANDY KOLLE: I've watched the fights. I've seen most of the fights. The Quintana fight I didn't pay too much attention to it, because Carlos Quintana is a different fighter than me for one thing.
And that first fight, that didn't look like Paul to me. Not the Paul I've seen in other fights. So I went back to some of the earlier fights that he won, knowing what he's going to do when he's winning. Like in his first fight against Quintana, it didn't look like Paul. The second fight went so quick, it was hard to learn anything off of it.
But Quintana's a different fighter than I am, so it's going to be a different fight?
Q. Did you watch his fight with Margarito?
ANDY KOLLE: I did watch it.
Q. Any comments you saw that you can benefit from? Obviously, Margarito's a different fighter as well, but anything can you benefit from that?
ANDY KOLLE: You said it best right there. Margarito's a completely different style of fighter than me. He's got the straight coming forward, throwing hooks all day.
That fight wasn't much to watch. Just the way Paul move around the ring and control the ring, I watch that a little bit and show how he had the ring generalship. That's about as far as I went with the Margarito fight.
Q. Do either of you want to make a prediction for the fight, Paul?
PAUL WILLIAMS: You know, I'm going in there to win. That is the only prediction I can make. It's like any other fighter I'm going to get in the ring with, they think they're going to win the fight. But I'm going to win.
Q. Do you want to make a prediction?
ANDY KOLLE: I'm in the same boat. I'm not going to make a prediction. I just know I'm coming to this fight to win it, and I plan on coming out victorious.
Q. Paul, can you tell me a little bit about how you made this decision to offer to go up in weight, and possibly down as well? Where that came from, why and what you think about that?
PAUL WILLIAMS: Mostly it wasn't just my reasoning, it came from me and Mr. Peterson's idea. We were looking to fight a big name. We were looking to fight Pavlik, but that fell out. So you know, it wasn't about Pavlik, he's in a different weight, you know what I'm saying?
But we're not vacating the 147. You know, we'll fight anybody in there. If we can't get any big fights at 147, we're like let's go the other way. What other weight classes can I make? That's how that fight came about.
Q. Dan, your thoughts on that as well?
DAN GOOSSEN: It's what I said earlier. Paul's the best in the 147‑pound division, and willing to become the best going all the way up to 168 pounds. I'm looking forward to September 25th and his middleweight coming out party.
As George said, it's not anything that we can look past with Kolle. He’s tough and Paul will have to be on top of his game to beat him. So with a victory September 25th ithere is no doubt that his next bout will be down in weight. I know Andy's going to try to do everything in his power to change those plans, though.
Q. Paul, is your training in Puerto Rico again? Is that where you're training?
PAUL WILLIAMS: No, we're in D.C. I don't want to get cold. Go to Puerto Rico and I'll get cold.
Q. Are you currently sparring with middleweights right now?
PAUL WILLIAMS: I'm sparring with everybody in the gym. Lightweights, middleweights, it doesn't matter. Anyone will work. George, Kolle, Chuck, you want to have any last comments?
ANDY KOLLE: No, just looking forward to Thursday night. I'll see you out there.
DAN GOOSSEN: Paul?
PAUL WILLIAMS: I just feel like I always do, you know. It's going to be a big fight. So the fans can really enjoy it.
DAN GOOSSEN: I appreciate you both taking time out of your training today. George, make sure you get rid of my picture off that heavy bag.
GEORGE PETERSON: Okay. (Laughing).
Q. Dan, I know one of the big superstars you had back in the day was Michael Nunn. How does Paul Williams rank up some of the great fighters that you've had?
DAN GOOSSEN: I think it's a combination of having the three best young fighters in the world today. At the head of the class is Paul Williams, and then Cristobal Arreola, who we're going to hear from, shortly and our Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward.
Paul is very similar to a Michael Nunn because of his size and his ability not only to box, but to knock you out with that one single punch as he displayed with Quintana.
Come next Thursday, I believe the fans and media will see that Paul's just getting better and better with each fight: Not only physically, but more importantly, mentally. He’s done it the old fashioned way, fighting anybody and everybody. It's all clicking now. So I feel we’re going to see the best Paul Williams next Thursday and see his continual climb to history.
I believe greatness is written all over him. That's why many fighters don't want to step into the ring with him. He will become a very big star in our sport. Just keep on watching.
Q. Paul, very few champions are doing what you're doing, actually fighting outside of the HBO or Showtime tent for this fight. In the older days, not going back that far, but they have exposed themselves in outlets like network TV. How important is this for you to fight on a network that might have more of a viewing audience? Because it's not a pay service like an HBO or a Showtime?
PAUL WILLIAMS: I don't look at it like that. I look at it that it's just me. That's my main thing. I don't worry about the stuff, the crowd, the TVs. None of that. My main focus is to go out there and perform. I want to look good against my opponent. I'm just going to do what I'm supposed to do.
Q. Dan, is it important that nowadays, fighters and champions fight on networks? I mean, everybody now has to fight on pay‑per‑view telecasts or HBO or Showtime. A lot of fans don't have those outlets.
DAN GOOSSEN: Santos, you really did hit the nail on the head. It's very much what George Peterson, Al Haymon, and myself have been talking about with Paul and Cristobal. And that is to get them out on other mediums where more fans have the opportunity to see these young men fight.
I mean, they're exciting fighters. There are 75 million plus homes on Versus, and it's a great network to showcase the fighters of this caliber. We want to build up the fighter and build up the audience for all.
As you mentioned with HBO and Showtime, along with pay‑per‑view, at times can be very limiting to a fighter’s growth. But this is good to keep premium fighters in front of a growing audience and something that we want to continue working on.
I believe all of us, Paul, George and Al with our forward thinking of understanding that the more people that see Paul and Cristobal and the more often they see them, the more fans they're going to attract and build.
-END 1ST HALF OF CONFERENCE CALL -
LOU DIBELLA: First of all, I want to thank you for the opportunity, and I want to thank Cris for giving Israel this opportunity, Israel Garcia, better known as "King Kong" in New York.
LOU DIBELLA: When I ran into Cristobal Arreola after he beat Chazz Witherspoon on the streets in Memphis ‑ he told me lineup another one of my fighters so he can beat him up. I'm lining up another one of my fighters, but I think this time you're in with a real tough guy, Cris.
I'm very proud to promote Israel. He's one of the nicest guys I promote, the hardest working fighters and a rugged guy himself. He is a Puerto Rican‑American fighter from the hood in New York. A guy that has worked very, very hard I've promoted him in the last couple of years and last five or six fights of his career.
I think he's ready for this opportunity, and looking at it as an opportunity of a lifetime. We respect Cristobal Arreola right now as probably the best American heavyweight. And the guy who, right now, stands to have the best chance for an American fighter to win a title.
I have tremendous respect for Cristobal Arreola, and I know that Israel has his hands full. But I think Israel's going to go there knowing this is an opportunity of a lifetime. I expect this to be a much more exciting fight maybe than some people believe.
I know that Cristobal is a big favorite in this fight. I understand that. But I think this is one of the most rugged guys that Cristobal will have encountered to date. Israel is a guy that's going to go in there with no fear and nothing but, you know, come forward and rumble. And I know you like that kind of fight, and that's the kind of fight you're going to get.
I'll just pass it over to my fighter, as I said also, really, one of the finest gentlemen I've ever worked with, Israel "King Kong" Garcia.
ISRAEL GARCIA: I just want to thank you for giving me this opportunity. It's been a long time in the making. I've been fighting for it for ten years.
I went from promoter to promoter, and I finally found a promoter that I'm happy with. He's given me the confidence. And I just felt like I did with any of them.
I've fought with world champions and I've held my own. This is a great opportunity for me and I'm going to take advantage of it.
DAN GOOSSEN: Thank you very much. I want to introduce a young man who’s been with Cristobal for many, many years, one of the up‑and‑coming trainers in the business and certainly we've seen the results of his work with the constant improvement of Cris, Henry Ramirez.
HENRY RAMIREZ: Cris is in preparation for an exciting fight. We’ve looked at Israel Garcia as a fighter and looked at his tapes. He was basically what his promoter described: An aggressive guy, comes straightforward, looks at the fight, and that's going to fall right into our hands.
DAN GOOSSEN: Thank you very much. There's been a lot of talk on Cristobal Arreola. Lou just called him the best American prospect in the heavyweight division. I think he was holding back a little, because I believe he's the best heavyweight in the world today. That means all heavyweights. I know Cristobal's at that point of his career where he believes he's ready for anyone, and wants all the big names now. As we've said before, it's all a process of getting there and the next step is next Thursday.
His fan based is continually growing. We expect a sell out at Soboba. He's one of the most exciting fighters since the days of a prime Mike Tyson.
He comes in there with the attitude of knocking you out. That's his goal. He's got 21 KO's out of his 24 victories.
Although I believe that it should be 22 KO's. But since I have Chazz Witherspoon's promoter on the other line, I’ll stick to the record of only 21 KO’s. I believe for the reporters and fans that haven't had an opportunity to see Cristobal Arreola fight are in for a treat. For those of us that have seen him, we can’t wait to see more. There’s nothing better than pulling up a chair and watch this young man do his thing in the ring. We’re all in for a great, great time watching him fight.
I want to let him say a few words and then we'll get to the media questions. Top World Contender, the nightmare, Cristobal Arreola.
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: I want to thank Dan Goossen, and for giving me another opportunity to fight on TV and fight in my home base, my backyard. And coming up on the 25th, we will have a great fight.
If you can’t make it out there in person, look forward to watching it on Versus. Dan, and Al Hayman put me against a good fighter. Looking forward to it, I'll be ready for it.
DAN GOOSSEN: Next Thursday on Versus, we have two solid, solid fights with big, big stars. As Garcia mentioned, he sounds very confident and ready to give the fans their money’s worth. He felt this fight should have been made ten years ago.
We've got a hungry and good fighter in Garcia, with only one loss against his record. Kolle, likewise has only one loss. Both of these world-class fighters, Arreola and Williams, are taking up the challenge and realize that both of their challengers are the type of fighters that know that their careers could be made with an upset victory next Thursday.
Q. Cris, how do you feel about the east‑west competitions? Does it hype you up knowing that you're fighting someone like that?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: At this point in my career, there's no east‑west, north‑south competition. I'm trying to get a world title. It's mainly pick a fight. It's going to be a fight, it's going to be a good fight.
I'm sure King Kong feels the same way. There's no competition east‑west. If anything, there is more competition him being from Puerto Rican decent and me of Mexican decent. That's more of a rivalry than anything.
Q. What about the fact that you're getting more people that want to fight you now? It seems everybody's call you up from east, west, everywhere?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: Of course, once you're on top of the mound, they want to knock you down. The easy part is getting there, the hard part is staying there. Once everybody starts challenging you, it's a good thing. It's an honor. Now I've got to live up to what everybody thinks of me. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming.
You've got to come back to earth and realize that everybody's expecting a lot from you.
Q. Cris, I know how badly you want to become the first heavyweight world champion of Mexican decent. We've talked about that. But as Dan said, it is a process. But with that said knowing that you could fight some of the other world ranked guys right now and probably win, how do you guard against not overlooking a gentleman like Israel who, you know, at least over here is pretty much an unknown commodity. How do you guard against overlooking him?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: Knowing that he's hungry. Knowing that he wants to be where I'm at, and I'm still wanting to be a world heavyweight champion. He's still in the way. I still have to go out there and take care of business, just like he has to go out there and take care of business.
He's going to want to take me out, he's going to have to spill the same way. He's going to have to come in there sharp and ready to go.
Q. Israel, if I'm not mistaken, you're 38; is that correct?
ISRAEL GARCIA: Yes.
Q. I notice you didn't start your professional career until you were 28. How is it that you got what most would consider somewhat of a late start in the program?
ISRAEL GARCIA: Well, in the heavyweight division most of the fighters are late starters. I'm not a beat‑up fighter. I lost five years of my career dealing with promoters, like I said. I lost five years of my career with that. But I've never been in wars. So I'm not a beat‑up fighter.
I still feel I have enough time to accomplish what I need to accomplish.
Q. Israel, how exciting is it for you to get this kind of an opportunity against a world ranked fighter at this point?
ISRAEL GARCIA: It's a great opportunity. I'm happy he gave me the opportunity. I have a lot of respect for him. But like he said, we'll get in the ring, and it's a totally different story.
Q. Cris, I'm looking at, and I love the last question, but I'm looking at your activity. You fought five times in '06, three times in '07, and this is your third fight in '08; who gets the credit for that? Dan Goossen for keeping you busy or you for just wanting to be in the ring all the time?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: It's a team. We're a team. It's a team effort. You know, that's why Dan, Henry and Al we're all a team. I stay ready, and fight as much as possible. But it's only as good as the team is, you know.
Our team, we're one of the best teams out there. I want to continue that. We go out there to get the heavyweight title, and I still want to fight at least three times a year. I want to stay active. I love fighting, I love being in the fight. You know, Dan Goossen loves watching me fight, so I'll keep fighting.
Q. Dan, this is not in any disrespect King Kong, but everybody wants to know when is this guy going to fight for a belt, a real belt?
DAN GOOSSEN: Quite frankly, 2009 is going to be Cristobal’s year. We plan on going bearing down toward the heavyweight championship of the world starting next week. Cris is ready. We're ready. The boxing world is in dire need of Cristobal Arreola's success and quite frankly is in great anticipation of it.
And Cris is right. I love watching him fight because that's what it's all about as a fan. It's about fighting. I've seen tapes of Garcia. I know that he's no shrinking violet. He's going to come there to fight.
You know, there are no secrets about Cristobal Arreola. It's kind of what he just said. He loves to fight, and that doesn't mean hugging and holding his opponent.
So I'm sure Garcia's trained and realized that Arreola's not the type of fighter you can hug and hold because he won't let you. You've got to stand there and fight with him. That's what the fans like to see. That’s also what the networks like to see and quite frankly, that's what I like to see as a promoter.
DAN GOOSSEN: Lou, another bet you didn't pay up on?
Q. First question for Cris, as everybody knows the heavyweight division years ago used to be the most prestigious in all of boxing. Probably the heavyweight title was the most prestigious title in all of sports and it's no longer that. Tell us what you feel now that you're starting to talk about getting a title shot in the next year or so? Tell us what you feel you can bring to the heavyweight division that we haven't seen in so many years?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: Exactly what I said earlier. You know, I'm willing to fight three times a year, four times a year. I want to make sure that I defend my title. I honor the old school fighters, and just keep fighting.
A lot of people out there, I feel they don't want to fight each other, you know. So that's one thing I'm going to keep doing. I'm going to keep fighting. I'm going to make it exciting.
Just like come Thursday with me and Israel, you know, we're going to put in a fight. We're going to put in a show. I know he's going to come in here ready, and I'm excited. I know I'm going to have this opportunity again, but it's one thing to keep the heavyweight division exciting.
Q. You made a statement in the last fight with Witherspoon. Do you feel you have to not only win but look impressive and make a statement in this fight as well?
CRISTOBAL ARREOLA: Every time. I always have to make a statement no matter who the guy is. You know, because you're only as good as your last fight.
My last fight, I put in a statement, but that was the last fight. This is this fight.
Just like Mr. Israel said, he's going to come ready, so am I. And we're going to make a statement both of us together.
Q. Israel, you're sort of the fly in his ointment. You're hoping to upset him and derail all of these different plans. Tell us why you think you're going to be able to win this fight?
ISRAEL GARCIA: Well, I can fight either way. I can fight inside, I can box, I can do it all. It's a variety of things that you need to do as a boxer, and I feel I can do that.
Q. Have you watched tapes or TV of his recent fights like against Witherspoon or any of the others? Anything that you draw from that?
ISRAEL GARCIA: The only fight I really watched with him was with Witherspoon.
Q. Anything from that that you think oh, I saw something and I should be able to win that fight?
ISRAEL GARCIA: He's a tough fighter. There's a lot of, you know, you see mistakes that you have to take care of when you're in the ring, key mistakes. You've just got to, you know, take advantage of them.