Gatti-Gomez Conference Call Quotes
The following is a summary of the media conference call that took place earlier today discussing the upcoming bout between Arturo Gatti and Alfonso Gomez on July 14th at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ courtesy of Main Events.
Featured on the conference call are Gatti, Gomez, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, and Executive Producer of The Contender, Jeff Wald.
Alfonso Gomez: I am training very hard for this fight. It is the hardest I have ever trained. My family, friends and promoters are impressed about how seriously I am taking this fight. To me, this is a make or break fight. I am 26 years old and have been a professional for 6 years, been fighting for 17 years and it is my time to shine. I have to do my best and I am going to go in there and fight my hardest. I never give up and I always give 100%, whether I am tired or whether I am weak I always keep going and keep going. This time I am going to be 110% and my legs are going to be there to counter-punch if I have to or to pressure him if I have to. All I can say is that I am certain I am going to win this fight.
What gives you an indication that you can beat him?
Gomez: When he goes against bigger guys, I see that he has crumbled with Oscar and Baldomir and Mayweather. When he moved up in weight, I think that is his downfall. He is very strong at 140 or 135 pounds but at welterweight I think I will be the bigger man and my conditioning will help me prevail in this fight and help me win.
Do you think the fight will turn into a Gatti-Ward type fight?
Gomez: It is very, very probably. For some reason, in my fights I go in with a game plan to box and don’t get hit as much but when the blood gets hot and the warrior in me comes out and we start brawling. I am going to try to be smart this fight and keep my distance because I am taller than him and have a longer reach, but if it comes down to going toe-to-toe like he did with Ward I have no problem doing it, I’ve done it 100 times and if it happens this time, I am going to do it.
Did you learn anything from Manfredo When he went to Wales?
Gomez: He went into the biggest crowd he has ever seen. I think I’m going to a pretty big crowd too, but I’ve seen the lights and that’s a good thing for me. I’ve heard the people cheer for me and against me where I have been the favorite or I’ve been the opponent so I am experience in that matter. Manfredo did not throw punches in that fight. I do throw punches even if I am going down I will continue to throw. Knowing I am going into Arturo Gatti’s backyard and knowing that everyone wants him to win to fight Chavez, Jr.; I am not going to allow anything to happen that will allow the referee to stop the fight. It won’t happen.
Jeff Wald: This will be a very exciting fight and I’m sure Arum would also love to make Gomez vs. Chavez Jr. also. The British Boxing Commission had ruled that the Manfredo fight was stopped early but there is nothing they can do about it. Kathy Duva is not Frank Warren and the New Jersey Commission is not the British Boxing Commission. I went to a dinner Frank Warren hosted the night before the fight and the judges and referee were there. I doubt that will happen the night before this fight at a Kathy Duva dinner.
Do you find it insulting that there is talk of another fight after you even fight him?
Gomez: Not at all insulting, but motivating. When I heard it, it didn’t make me mad it just motivated me. I will prove that I should be the one fighting Chavez, Jr. I will prove that it is my time to shine.
Kathy Duva: That information did not come from Main Events, it came from Top Rank. They approached us about the fight and what we told them was that Gatti had to get past Alfonso Gomez before we could talk about a fight like that. We are not taking Gomez lightly by any stretch of the imagination. Arturo’s not and if you look at the history of boxing, guy’s have lost numerous fights when they are supposed to have a bigger one is startling. It’s not just coincidence. Guy’s look past and forget about the one that is in front of them. I don’t think Arturo’s going to make that mistake and we certainly have not encouraged him to do it.
Who do you think is the biggest puncher you have faces so far?
Gomez: I think Manfredo. He has hit me the hardest. At the time, he was going to go up to super middleweight and I was still a welterweight. I got hit by a middleweight and he busted up my face but he didn’t take me down. That is great motivation for me going in against Gatti, knowing that he hits very hard, but he doesn’t hit as hard as a super middleweight.
Do you feel you could replace Gatti in boxing?
Gomez: It would be a privilege to be looked at in that way – he’s a legend and a human highlight film and he’s had that trilogy and after this fight, after I beat him, I am able to step into his shoes and able to carry the Atlantic City crowd like he did, it will be amazing.
Did you hear about the issues while the fight was being made?
Gomez: I did hear about it but it didn’t bother me at all. This is my opportunity to show that the Contender fighters and the Contender Promotion is real and we are real fighters. We will show that we are not just a reality show but real fighters and get what every boxer wants – the exposure and they want to have the bog fights. With the Contenders, we now have the exposure and the big fights and we now have to prove that we are real fighters.
Do you feel any pressure to KO Gatti because he is the hometown guy?
Gomez: There is always that worry, but I am training hard to make sure I win every round. I think if I win every round convincingly, it will be hard to take the fight away from me. If we had a rematch, I wouldn’t mind doing it again. But I doubt they would take it from me.
Would you like to fight Chavez Jr. if you win?
Gomez: For me, Chavez Sr. was and is my idol ever since I grew up watching him. He was the best boxer ever to come out of Mexico. If we made the fight it would be great, whether it be here or Mexico. I wouldn’t want to particularly fight him. There are so many names out there and my management would decide that.
Do you expect Gatti to fight differently now that he is with Ward?
Gomez: Whether he is with McGirt or Ward, he is the type of fighter who gives his heart to the fight. He will go to war because that is where his heart is and you have to go where your heart tells you to go. I am training with two fighters, one that will move around and make me use my legs and I train with fighters who are strong and will stand there and go toe-to-toe. Whatever his game plan is I will be ready for it. But at the end of the day we all know what he is going to do. He is going to be there to go toe-to-toe and I am going to do it.
I am going to prove that I don’t have slow feet and that I do have a jab. I kind of got upset about what Ward said because I partied with him at the Hall of Fame in New York and we had a great time but as a trainer he said I don’t have a jab and I have no legs but I am going to prove that. Everyone is going to see that I have one of the best jabs in boxing. I am moving around and catching the guy that is running and counter-punch the guy that is in front of me. I am going to prove that I have more skills than to just throw punches. I’m not just a puncher-thrower, I am a complete fighter.
What do you think about the competition you have faced compared with the best in boxing?
Gomez: Mayweather is the pound-for-pound best. I fought Manfredo who was a middleweight, I fought Ishe Smith. Those were fighters who were ranked who already fought for titles. So I am no different from those guys – I just need the opportunity. July 14 is my opportunity and I won’t let it go.
What do you think will happen with the AC crowd?
Gomez: They will look at me as an opponent and I got great exposure from the show and I am grateful for that. I won’t be surprised if I get a lot of cheers from the crowd when they announce my name. I’m not saying they will cheer more from me than Gatti, but I will get some cheers. I stepped up in the show and gave my heart and will do the same on July 14.
Arturo Gatti: I am training very hard for this fight. This is the hardest I have trained for any fight.
The last fight there is no excuses. Everyone saw what happened. Right now I am just happy to be back in the ring, especially against a guy like Gomez and this will put me right back where I belong. Gomez is the kind of guy that will do that for me. I am very prepared for the fight, I am very excited and I will have a nice surprise for everybody that night.
What is it like to be trained by Micky Ward?
Gatti: It has been very fun and he has been pushing me like crazy. I can’t believe how strong this guy is and I can’t believe I fought him three times. He works me very hard and right now he is waiting for me at the gym. He’s not there to teach me how to fight; nobody can do that any more. He’s a motivator and he will tell me what I do wrong and remind me and he is pushing me a lot. He is excited to work with me and I am excited working with him.
It is only about business. It has been about business all my life. I take this sport every seriously and the thing about Micky is he is a competitor just like I am and this is a great idea and Pat made the right decision and it is going to show and I can’t wait until July 14.
Do you spar with Micky?
Gatti: No, not at all. I wouldn’t want that anyway. It wouldn’t be very professional to do that. We would get some flashbacks. And it would be a war again. I respect Micky as a trainer now. I don’t want to fight him.
Do you get the idea he wants to spar?
Gatti: To help me out maybe.
What do you think about Alfonso, he seems to be the same type of fighter as you?
Gatti: To be quite honest, I only saw highlights of him. Pat Lynch is a master of picking my opponents. Every time I pick one, I lost. Every time Pat picks an opponent, I win. It is very exciting and I have a lot to lose and he has a lot to gain. So I know he is going to be very prepared for this fight and I am looking to have a good fight.
Do you think about the talk of Chavez Jr. in the fall?
Gatti: Not at all. I have heard about it but it does not come into my mind. I am in no position to be looking ahead of Alfonso. He’s a young lion and he is coming to win this fight and I know he is training like an animal like I am myself. I take one fight at a time and I have a lot of respect for this kid.
It is hard to live up to every performance that I have had. I can’t go in there and make every fight like the Gonzalez fight that is impossible. It all depends on your opponent. I had a pitiful performance (in my last fight) and it sucks and I know inside my heart that when I walked into the ring that I was going to have a horrible night but I had to go through with it. My fans knew better and they have been following me for the longest time and I am prepared to give myself a good fight for my promoters and of course my manager. I know they will not let me in the ring unless I am prepared physically and mentally and I am going to perform.
Kathy Duva, how does it make you feel that the Gatti-Ward trilogy is now an adjective for action?
Kathy Duva: When people asked me about my accomplishments as a promoter, I have to mention those fights and getting it done and bringing it to Atlantic City, for the second fight I think was crucial in the iconic status of those matches. It is great to know that this is the yardstick by witch other matches are measure and will be for some time. They did a poll on ESPN and it came out second of all time is people’s choice of favorite trilogies. That is quite an accomplishment when the only thing ahead of you is Ali-Frazier. Gatti and Ward were the ones the bled and bled and gave people all of those thrills.
Is this an opportunity to silence those who way you wouldn’t fight any more?
Gatti: That’s funny and let me tell you something. I can’t wait until after this performance because a lot of people are going to have their foot in their mouth. I know a lot of those people are close to me. I don’t have anything to prove to anybody. I know that I have a lot more left. Some performances are poor and you can’t have a great fight every night. Boxing is a sport where a guy has a couple of looses and they are finished. They forget that we are human beings and we have personal problems and that was the cause of my performance. But that’s OK, I am back, I’m clear and I’ve got the secret back and I can’t wait to get in the ring again.
Do you see yourself following in your friend’s footsteps and becoming a trainer?
Gatti: No. Right now I am trying to be a fighter. Being a trainer means that I will have to retire and I have no intentions of retiring any time soon. But boxing is in my blood and I will stick around. Maybe Kathy will give me a job one day too. Or I can work with Pat Lynch and sell some tickets.
Jeff Wald: Gatti Ward, for someone who has been a boxing fan for 44 years that is the benchmark.
Why do you continue?
Gatti: I just love what I do and I make a lot of money too. But I blew the opportunity to be a three-time world champion the last fight and I man on a mission. It is something very personal and it is tough to walk away when I know I can do it at the level of competition that I am in right now. I am fighting younger guys and I am more experience and more intelligent and I will fight one at a time and show the world that I can fight at that high level.
Can you tell us what you are doing differently for this fight?
Gatti: In my heart, I am happy personally and everything is going great for me. I am the type of person that trains like an animal. I was training harder because there were a lot of problems in my life and I think I burned myself out. My heart wasn’t there and I didn’t want to be in the ring that night but I had to. You can’t just walk away from it. I had no one to help, like in other sports such as basketball or football. I had to walk in that ring and face what I had to face and go home and dwell on what happened that night and it really bothered me and think about what happened, and it won’t happen again.
What do you expect from Gomez?
Gatti: I am sure he is in good shape spirit-wise and everything, but when you talk about hunger, I think I am hungrier than he is. I am so hungry. My stomach is very empty right now. I can’t wait to step into the ring and I am going to bring back the old Arturo with my boxing skill and I am going to forget about brawling. I am excited about the fight. This is a great opportunity for me. I want to thank Kathy and Pat for getting the right fight for me. It is a great opportunity and I am not going to blow it this time.
I can’t retire. The way I am working in the gym, there is no retirement schedule for me anytime soon.
What’s the secret?
Gatti: The secret was when I was 8 years old I wanted to become world champion and I did. I believe in what I do again and my heart is in it to do my best and I can’t wait to do it again.
Do you feel pressure to live up to what you have done in the past, more so than regular fighters?
Gatti: I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself. I am the one that criticizes myself the most. But that’s what makes me work even harder. The last fight I didn’t have it. It’s hard to say but I didn’t want to be in that ring that night. My favorite place to be is in that ring and that night I didn’t want to be there.
How do you feel about Mayweather popping off about you being a C+ fighter?
Gatti: Not really. Quite honestly, if he did say that, I don’t understand him. He would have to take those marbles out of his mouth for me to understand him.
Jeff Wald: Mayweather in his best day would never put on one tenth the exciting fights that Arturo has put on. For someone that has bought tickets, I bought tickets to Gatti and I don’t think I would buy tickets to Mayweather. I thought that was a terrible performance he put on against Oscar. I give Oscar all the credit of trying to fight. People will go see Arturo and they will go see Alfonso.
Gatti: If people want to go see fights, they will come see this. People go to see Mayweather to lose and they will come see me to fight and win the fight. That’s the difference. You can’t take anything away from Mayweather, he is a great fighter, you know what I mean? But I love the way I fight.
What did you think about Cotto-Judah?
Gatti: I saw the fight and I thought Cotto got rounds at the end. Judah keeps fading and I don’t know why. I don’t know if it conditioning or if he doesn’t train right. Maybe he has a problem with his physique. But he fades and if you have a fighter like Cotto and he is strong, you can’t win. I really thought that Zab was going to beat him every round. I think Cotto is strong and a tough guy but his chin is very suspect. Whoever he fights that can crack an egg, will put him to sleep. That’s all I can say.
Judah fought like a warrior. He did a lot more than people expected, especially against a fighter like Cotto who is strong and hungry. If he fought like he did against Mayweather – he played with Mayweather for 5 rounds – I thought that’s what he was going to do against Cotto. I thought he was going to win. Boxing…people don’t understand how tough of a business it is.
Did you consider retiring after the Baldomir fight?
Gatti: Not at all. It never crossed my mind. It just wasn’t working out for me that night. Whatever happened happened.
What about fighting Cotto?
Gatti: It would be a dream come true. But I can’t be jumping that far away. I’ve got Alfonso Gomez who is very hungry and very strong and he is probably stronger than Cotto so let me take care of him first. I wish Cotto the best and I want him to keep on winning. I’ve go to do what I’ve got to do and I keep jump ahead like that.
I am going to make that roof in Atlantic City explode that night. Now I am having a great training camp and a fun training camp. I felt bad for Teddy because we worked so hard and I felt bad for him because I know how hard he worked to get me in physical condition for that fight.
Was the split with Buddy part of the problem?
Gatti: Let me just say that I needed a change. Change is good. I changed from Hector Rocha to Buddy and look what happened. I am changing to Micky Ward and something nice is going to happen again.
Has the time off benefited you?
Gatti: It has rejuvenated me. You guys are going to see. I can’t wait until I walk into the ring. You guys are going to definitely see what I am talking about.
Are you worried about Gomez’ strength?
Gatti: We don’t care about that. I don’t have to worry about making weight the day before the fight. My weight will be on a week or two weeks before the fight. If guys are strong, I will be faster and I am just a naturally strong guy. And I am a strong puncher so I am not going to dwell on a guy that is strong like I did the last time. It didn’t work for me.
Have you had a chance to enjoy your new house?
Gatti: I was in it for a week and I was gone. My house is furniture over furniture. I am excited to win this fight and go back home.
What kind of effect do low blows have in a fight?
Gatti: Low blows do slow you down. I hit a guy low one time and I could tell it slowed him down and I’m not a dirty fighter.
How are you feeling now at 147?
Gatti: The year off let me get strong. 147 is where I am good at. I was thinking that 147 would be too big but I am good now. I don’t have to worry about trying to kill myself to make 147 and I am not going to try to be bigger than my opponent. Before I was lifting like crazy trying to be as big as my opponent but my performance was very poor. Right now I am a little 147 pounder but I am strong and I am fast and very explosive. I don’t lift weights anymore. I do pull-ups, dips and push-ups and that’s it.
Do you worry about the temptation to brawl?
Gatti: It’s funny you said that. When you make sure you are not going to brawl is when you practice. I told Pat that we don’t want guys that are going to come in and make me prove something in the gym because I pick up bad habits again. If I box in the gym, I will box in the fight and not try to be Arturo Gatti. If I brawl in sparring that’s what I am going to pick up and I will go into the fight and start brawling again. And we’ll make sure we are not going to make those mistakes again. I have to apply the right things to my training.
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