Exclusive Interview: Art Pellulo

By G. Leon


Exclusive Interview: Art Pellulo

Freitas promoter speaks on Casamayor rematch and more!

GL: Earlier in the week Boxingtalk.com broke the news of WBO lightweight champion Acelino Freitas unretiring himself to challenge Joel Casamayor to a unification rematch. What can you tell us about this? "At the WBO convention Popo said that he wanted to fight Casamayor for the WBO and WBC belts and try to win his fifth world title. He's not interested in a lot of different fights, he's really not interested in fighting anybody but Casamayor. If he doesn't fight Casamayor, there's a good chance he won't fight again."

GL: So it's Casamayor or bust for Popo? There's some pretty intriguing fights that can be made with Jesus Chavez and Juan Diaz.

Art Pellulo: "Jesus Chavez doesn't mean that much to anybody so I don't know how intriguing that match-up is. There is no interest in the fight with Jesus Chavez, who can't make the fight with Julio Diaz who is his mandatory because he's not physically fit. They offered him a certain amount of money and I understand he turned down the fight. Now I hear it's going to purse-bid and I'm also hearing rumors that he could be injured so I'm not sure where he fits into anything."

GL: And Juan Diaz?

AP: "Juan Diaz is a good fighter and Don King would love to make the match because if you fight Freitas you get paid. It's something King has talked to me about but he's not really on the top of the list. The first agenda is to make Casamayor. There is a rivalry between the two of them , there's intrigue there because it's a fight the people want to see and the networks like the fight. I'm not saying they wouldn't like Juan Diaz, I think he's a great young fighter. Right now the top priority is making something happen with Casamayor. If that fight can't be made we'll work from there."

GL: It's no secret that your company was interested in signing him before he went with King. I'm not sure if you know but Willie Savannah recently told Boxingtalk that Diaz still hasn't signed a promotional agreement with King and he's going to be a free agent on November 5. With that being said, are you going to put your hand in that hat again to see if you can scoop Juan Diaz. I imagine if you had him you would look to match him with either Popo or Hatton.

AP: "Let me say this to you, of course I'd be interested in signing him that's why I went to Houston to see Willie. At first I wanted to make Diaz and Acelino, but now that's something that's up to Popo but I'm not sure how realistic it is right now. The Hatton fight is always a possibility but let's see what Diaz does on November 4 before anything."

GL: You said Don talked to you about Popo-Diaz, did the two of speak on Rodney Jones and his mandatory to Cory Spinks? What's the deal with that fight?

AP: "We were trying to make the match but we're having a problem putting the fight somewhere. It's not a fight that people are looking to buy right now because they don't like the styles. We're still trying to find a venue and a network willing to buy it."

GL: Tell us about Ricky's Hatton return to 140 against Juan Urango.

AP: "It's a great fight and a lot of people don't realize that Juan Urango is a much better fighter than people give him credit for. The fight will take place at the Phillips Arena on Janurary 13 and it will be shown live on HBO World Championship Boxing."

GL: After Hatton's did less than impress in his last fight do you feel it's crucial for him to look great in this fight and possibly score the KO?

AP: "Well I thought he looked very impressive. I disagree with the reporter who is interviewing me. I know you believe Collazo won the fight, but I thought it was impressive for him to capture the title in his first fight in America,his first fight in a new weight class on a new network, and his rating was very good. I don't know if you're going to knock guys out at this level all the time and Juan Urango is a very good fighter who will be at his best because he knows what he's up against."

GL: Although you were impressed with Hatton versus Collazo, do you feel he is a better fighter at 140 than he is at welterweight?

AP: "His trainers seem to think that, but I don't know that for sure. His father and his handlers who are on top of that seem to feel he would be better off at 140."

GL: What else is shaking with Banner Promotions?

AP: "Alonzo Butler our new heavyweight is someone to keep an eye on. He's a young kid, he's 24-0 with 18 KO's and we think he's going to be a real comer. Koba Gogaladze is going to get a shot at Joan Guzman as the top avaialble contender. We're going to be doing an ESPN show on February 16 at the Wynn Resort and that will take place on NBA All Star weekend. It will be an ESPN weekend of specials. We're doing the boxing event on Friday night and it's going to be invited guests only, they're going to move the SportsCenter set down there. Thursday night is an 18 table pool tournament with Magic Johnson and there's one event after the lined up right until the All Star Game tips off."


Send questions and comments to: gleon@boxingtalk.com