JA: Nirmal did you get a chance to watch the fight?
"We left the hotel at around 5:30 in the morning and got back home with Luis at about 8 in the morning and watched the fight. The 10th, 11th and 12th rounds Luis won, there was no way Ricky won the 11th round and in the 12th round Luis dropped him. I looked at the fight twice just to make sure what I saw was accurate. I received over 100 calls supporting Luis and everyone at the end of the day is saying that Luis got robbed. There were people from England at the hotel saying “We love Ricky, but we think that you guys won the fight”.JA: Did the fight look different on TV than in person?
NL: I judged the fight 113-114 for Luis but I really had the fight 112-115 for Luis. When they took that point away from Luis in the first round I still had Luis winning the fight 7-5, there was one round that you could consider a draw but I gave that round to Ricky. Luis is still the champion at the end of the day; Ricky didn’t do anything spectacular to win the fight. At no point in the fight did he ever hurt Luis; Luis was landing all off the harder punches in the fight. Ricky was throwing a lot of punches but you didn’t see him get hurt or budge his legs. JA: Do you think that the commentary was biased towards Ricky?
NL: At the end of the day they knew what Luis was doing and how well he was doing. In the 8th or 9th round I heard them saying that Luis was losing a little bit off steam but it wasn’t like that, he was waiting for the championship rounds which was the 10th, 11th and 12th. Luis won rounds 2-6 and after that you could give Ricky a round here or there. Luis won the 10th round and I don’t know how they gave him the 11th round. In the 12th round Luis won the round really big, at some point in time I heard them say Luis won the first two minutes but Ricky came on strong towards the end of the round, Ricky didn’t throw more than 2-3 punches in the round because he was hurt in the round. I was upset with the referee because when he came in the locker room before the fight we told him that he was going to hold and hit when they are tied, Ricky did all of that and the referee didn’t do a thing about it. Look at the 12th round again, the referee picked Ricky up off the floor rubbed his gloves off and started talking to him in his ear, what kind of bullshit is that. I think Boston got us back from last year when we beat there hero. Even though we were in our own country, I feel that this was terrorism in the boxing world. JA: You were talking at the post fight press conference on how you guys were treated unfairly; can you elaborate a little bit more on that?
NL: I think that Banner Promotions did a poor job of handling us through out the week. We are the champion of the world and we are staying in a second class hotel, we also chose to train in a second class gym, we chose that because we love hanging out with the kids and the non-believers. JA: Ricky stayed at a first class hotel; do you think that you should have been staying at a first class hotel too?
NL: I thought we should have. Whenever there is a world title fight I believe that the two fighters should be treated fairly. All the managers and workers at the Holiday Inn did a great job. They gave us a whole lot of lee way in what we wanted to do and the whole stay was A+, so I really can’t say anything bad about the Holiday Inn. When we felt like we were at a lower point in the promotion the Holiday Inn really made our day from day one until we left. They worked with us on when we wanted to eat, we gave something’s back to them and they appreciated it. At the end of the day I am not really mad about that because it worked out to our advantage. At the end of the day I thought that they should have treated Luis a lot better. JA: In what aspects could they have treated Luis better?
NL: We could have received phone calls saying where to be at and have a person take us from point A to B. We didn’t know where the gym was, we had to literally go on the computer to find out where it was and drive over there. A lot of people talk about Don but whenever we asked something from Don we always received it. JA: Why was the fight promoted by Banner promotions when Luis is the champion?
NL: HBO signed Ricky Hatton and they didn’t sign Luis Collazo. Banner is Ricky’s American promotional company and they had the upper hand in the negotiations. We took the lowest part of the pay day, we was taking a risk in fighting Ricky Hatton. In my mind at the end of the day we had to knock Ricky out to win the fight, the three points on the judges score cards should have gone the other way. JA: Where do you think this puts Luis in the welterweight division?
NL: Well two things could happen. HBO could say well they went the other way on the decision but we are going to give you a second chance to fight again on HBO. I think that he gained a lot but I also think that he lost a lot. A lot of people know who Luis is now but will he now have the Winky Wright syndrome where no one wants to fight him. Luis got to the top and I wouldn’t understand why he would have to go back down to the bottom and start all over. JA: What kind of steps are you looking to take to possibly get an immediate rematch with Ricky Hatton?
NL: We are having a protest on the fight because there was no WBA sanctioned judges or referee on the fight. There was no drug work after the fight which is the first time in history that I heard you don’t have drug work done after a fight. We want to know why there was no drug test after the fight, we are clean and we are not saying that Ricky did anything wrong but we want to make sure everything was been done by procedure. We were in the locker room after the fight about to get it the drug test done and the commissioner comes in and tells us that it isn’t going to happen. It was really crazy how things were going down. I think at the beginning we was setup to lose, I think that Luis had to knock him out and if he didn’t he would have been the winner. Even if Luis knocked him down in the 12th round, one judge would have had the fight a draw and the other two judges would have had it for Ricky. I think we were fighting a losing battle from day one. JA: Hindsight is always 20-20 but if you knew about all the stuff that went down during the past week would you still taken the fight?
NL: We would have still taken the fight and the only thing that I think we would have changed was to have Luis come out more aggressive in the fight. I think that Luis was aggressive in the fight and I think that Luis won the fight. JA: What do you think this says for Luis Collazo?
NL: I think that this sends a message to the world don’t under estimate Luis Collazo. Luis Collazo is one of the best fighters in the world and is right up there with the Mayweather, Gatti, Baldomir. We would love to fight the winner of the Gatti-Baldomir fight.JA: Have you talked to Don and if so what does Don have to say in all this?
NL: Don is upset and knows that we were not treated fairly in the fight and that is why he is sending in the protest to the WBA. At the end of the day if Ricky stays at 147 they should have a rematch and if he doesn’t than Luis should fight for the vacant title against the number one contender in the division. JA: What do you want to come out of this article most?
NL: I want the fans to not underestimate the fighters because boxing is a game where you get one opportunity. If you have to fight the champion of the world or just fight for respect and we did that, we fought one of the best fighters in the world and held our own for 12 rounds and I thought that we won the fight.
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