Joel Casamayor Conference Call Transcript

31/10/2007

Joel Casamayor Conference Call Transcript

PRESS RELEASE: David Itskowitch:    We’re excited that Joel Casamayor will be making his debut as a Golden Boy fighter on this amazing undercard of an amazing pay per view show. I think top to bottom this is one of the best shows in a long, long time.

 

                              Joel is going to be defending his Ring magazine and WBC interim lightweight championship titles against Jose Armando Santa Cruz which is an up-to-his- neck fight; it’s going to be a tough fight for Joel.

 

                              But Joel is ready for the fight. He’s been out of the ring for a little while but he’s excited to get back. And I will turn it over to Joel now for some opening statements. So everyone here’s Joel Casamayor from Miami, Florida by way of Cuba.

 

Joel Casamayor:    First of all I want to thank the media for being here and taking the time out to spend with me. I’m pleased to be with Golden Boy Promotions. It’s my first fight out with them and (unintelligible) I want to prove to them they made the right choice by signing me.

 

                              I haven’t fought in a year but I feel great; and come November 10 we’ll put a nice show on.

 

Q:                          Joel, I understand you’re back training with Joe Goossen. Can you just explain how that reunion came about and how things have been going with Joe? And also what exactly was the cause for the separation in the first place since obviously they had made such a good team for such a long time?

 

Casamayor:       First of all Joe Goossen is a great trainer. Joe and I have a lot of history together. We’ve won world titles together. We split up after the first Corrales fight. There was a problem with my management team; they basically wanted me to go train in a camp and Joe couldn’t leave his family.

 

                              So it wasn’t an ugly break up between us. We never had a problem. And basically it came time where I had been off for a year and I needed a lot of hard work, a lot of hard sparring. And I could only think of one guy that who could get me back on the ball -- Joe Goossen.

 

                              So I think in the next two, three years we’re going to make a lot of history and we’re going to win a couple more world titles together and hopefully retire together happily.

 

Q:                          Joel, there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in boxing with politics and titles being stripped away. And obviously you had the recognition as the real and one and only true lightweight champion after you defeated Diego [Corrales] in your third fight together. The belts kind of got stripped away from you; you still have The Ring magazine title.

 

                              Does it bother you that even though people like myself and many other fans consider you to be the true one and only lightweight champion that there are other members of the media and also fighters out there who have various sanctioning organization titles that ignore you because you don’t have one of the main sanctioning body titles and don’t refer to you as champion?

 

Casamayor:       Since I was a kid in Cuba I’ve been fighting the best (unintelligible) I won the Olympic gold medal in ‘92. In ’96 I was supposed to repeat. I left – I came to America to fight the best. That’s all I’ve done in my career; I’ve fought a lot of great fighters including Corrales, [Jose Luis] Castillo, [Acelino] Freitas when he was the real Freitas. Campbell – I beat [Nate] Campbell, I pushed him back. I ran a lot of guys out the ring.

 

                              You know what? I understand why these guys don’t want to fight me because I don’t have a belt. But you know what? I feel like (unintelligible) is the leverage (unintelligible) title for The Ring magazine belt and I’m a warrior. It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me, you know what I’m saying?

 

                              And for whoever has doubts November 10, they can tune in and watch the  pay-per-view. It’s going to be a great show. We’ve got a great event and tune in and I can show you guys who the real lightweight champion is, without question.

 

Q:                          Joel my question is recently two Cuban fighters got held up at the PanAm games; they were going to try to defect or maybe they weren’t going to try to defect. Either way they got transported back to Cuba from the recent PanAm games.

 

                              Having gone through this process yourself how do you feel about what happened to these guys and do you have any sense of what their life is going to be like back now in Cuba?

 

 

Casamayor:       First of all I don’t feel like the guys basically were setting up – they didn’t do the right thing for them. And that’s basically what happened. They got caught over in Brazil which worked with Cuba. This is a bad situation for the kids because now their careers are basically over; two kids who had a good future.

 

                              And I think when you make a decision like that you’ve got to make the decision and go. You know what I’m saying? Like I did in Mexico in ’06 when we made our decision, we crossed over and met with the head of Mexico when we crossed over. You have a decision you’ve got to make within seconds. It’s not something you can wait a week or two weeks. Because once you get sent back, your life is over and that’s basically where they’re at right now at this point in their life.

 

Q:                          Joel, this is your second appearance at The Garden. How do you feel about fighting in New York City at Madison Square Garden, formerly the ‘Mecca of Boxing;’ so much history there?

 

                              How do you feel about The Garden and fighting in New York City?

 

Casamayor:       I’m very happy. It’s the house that’s happening. I feel a kinship with it since one of the top champions, Kid Gavilan, who was a Cuban, was very famous for fighting at Madison Square Garden along with a lot of other (unintelligible). It’s just a pleasure to be able to lace my gloves up and lace my boots up there and go to war.

 

                              My first fight at The Garden, against Kid Diamond, I thought I won; that got a draw. But you know what? Everyone’s got their opinion. And I feel like I owe The Garden (unintelligible) and come November 10 I’m going to put on a great show. You know what I’m saying? Just keep showing the world who the best 135-pounder is in the world.

 

Q:                          What kind of a problem can Santa Cruz present to you? And what have you done to prepare for Santa Cruz?

 

Casamamayor:  Armando Santa Cruz is a good fighter. I sparred with him for the first Corrales fight and the third Corrales fight; he was one of my main sparring partners. So we know each other pretty well. But that’s sparring and once that headgear comes off and the punches come on, there’s a difference.

 

                              To be honest with you I do what I do every fight to get in great shape, I work my butt off and you know what? Once I step in the ring I want to fight; that’s all I want to do. And to be honest with you when you fight against me you’ve got to prepare for me – I don’t have to prepare for you, you know what I’m saying?

 

                              I’m going to do everything possible to make sure I leave that ring with my titles.

 

Q:                          Both Julio and Juan Diaz said that they offered fights to you and they were both turned down. My question is what happened? What stopped you from taking those fights?

 

Casamayor:       (laughing) Where were those contracts? When was that ever brought up? I don’t know anything about that. Everybody knows Joel Casamayor backs down from no one.

 

Everybody knows I’m a warrior; I’ve never backed down from anyone.  After I beat Corrales in our first fight I gave him a rematch five months later. I’m not afraid of anyone. Joel Casamayor is going to be scared of Juan and Julio?

 

                              That’s disrespectful to me.  If Julio or Juan Diaz can be so certain about that then let them sign the contract and let’s fight. There’s nothing to talk about.

 

Q:                          Joel, I would like to know what influenced you to sign with Golden Boy. And now that you’re with Golden Boy Promotions do you think it’ll be a lot easier now to get fights?

 

Casamayor:       100%. They’ve been getting big fights for everybody. That’s one of the main reasons I came and signed with them. I know Oscar’s a good guy and Eric and David and everybody at Golden Boy are great people.

 

                              And they understand the type of fighter I am and basically this whole year that I’ve been held back in my career that’s made me feel like after this fight I’ve got to prove myself to them and they’ve got to prove themselves to me.

 

                              Next year they’ve got to put a big fighter in front of me and I promise I’m not going to lose it.

 

Q:                          Now as far as Jose Armando Santa Cruz goes, he fought David Diaz for the title a year ago. And Santa Cruz was ahead on the scorecards and he was winning the fight up until he got cornered.

 

                              Among the elite at they 135 pound division where do you rank Santa Cruz? Do you look at him kind of like the gatekeeper of the division or…

 

Casamayor:       The kid to me he’s top guy – top-ten in the lightweight division. He was beating David Diaz easy. I think the kid might be a better fighter than David Diaz. People get lucky shots in the kid might be – to be honest with you might be better than any of the Diaz’s. He’s a very lanky guy; he’s tall, he got a good jab. He’s a strong kid.

 

                              He’s got a suspect chin but let me tell you one thing, when he steps into the ring November 10 he won’t be in there with David Diaz or anybody else. He’ll be in there with Joel Casamayor, the great Cuban, and he’s going to have to step up to the plate if he wants to beat me.

 

Cuban fighters are the best fighters in the world. They’ve proved that at the Olympic games. And I know the Olympics are different from fighting in the pros,  but I mean when you go then you take ten of 11 fights or 12 of the 13 fights, I mean you’ve got to prove that you’re the best.

 

                              And no doubt in my mind. If Cuba was to ever open up these kids would come over here and dominate. There’s no doubt in my mind.

 

Q:                          Basically you laughed at the fact that either one of the Diaz’s had offered you a fight.

 

And in the past you’ve complained about not getting some of the big fights. You’re winding down your career. Over the next couple of years more than likely you’re going to retire. Do you think maybe you’re going to have to leave the 135 pound division – maybe go up to 140 to get those last few really big high profile fights that you want before you retire?

 

Casamayor:       I’m the type of warrior that it doesn’t matter what it takes. I want to be in a big fight and that’s the type of stage I perform best in. And if it takes my moving up to 140, or maybe welterweight, it doesn’t matter. I’m that type of level of fighter, that type of caliber where I could beat anybody in the world from 135 to 145. I mean it doesn’t matter.

 

                              But I feel like there are enough big fights at 135 where I could probably –Pacquiao is a name I’ve been throwing up and (unintelligible) Juan. And (unintelligible) but I mean there’s (unintelligible) I know he probably don’t want no piece of me either.

 

                              But like I say if I’ve got to move up past 135 I’ll do it. It’s no problem.

 

Q:                          And my other question was going to have to be with Pacquiao because there has been a lot of rumors that, you know, you just said yourself that you’ve been throwing that name out a lot.

 

                              A year ago when I had interviewed you before your last Corrales fight, you had told me that you wanted to fight with Pacquiao.

 

                              Is there any type of bad blood between you guys – something that happened, you know, outside of boxing that makes you want to fight Pacquiao so bad?

 

Casamayor:       No bad blood. The bad blood is people are saying he’s the best pound for pound fighter around my division – the junior lightweight division. I say hold up there, I’m the best pound for pound fighter around any one of these weight classes.

 

                              And I just want to prove to the world that – Pacquiao is a good fighter, he’s a strong guy. He throws a lot of punches but there’s a class B and a class A and I’m that class A. I want to prove that to the world because everyone feels like Pacquiao is a killer and I feel like it’d be easy work for me. That’s the reason (unintelligible) ducking and hiding.

 

 

Q:                          Because of all the politics in boxing it’s been about a year since you’ve been in the ring and that last fight with the late Diego Corrales.

 

                              What you’ve been doing over the past year both to stay in shape and what fights you thought might have come up? And also the preparation leading up to this fight with Santa Cruz?

 

Casamayor:       To be honest with you outside of not fighting it was a great year. I spent a lot of time with my family, I rested my body. I had a (unintelligible) to get a fight in Panama; it didn’t come through. I basically – I was going to wait around for the Juan Diaz fight. He didn’t want to fight. He took Freitas.

 

                              I’m willing to fight either one of them; they didn’t want to make that happen. So basically for that year I mean I sat out. I was in Miami with my family just resting with my kids. My body rested good. Like I said I feel good – better.

 

                              And basically we left ten weeks ago to start training for Santa Cruz who you know is a rough guy. He’s a top-rated fighter. It was the first name Eric Gomez threw at me and I accepted it no problem.

 

                              As I always say I’m not afraid to fight anybody. I want the best.  I prepared hard doing what I always do – I came back with Joe Goossen and started work.

 

Q:                          Santa Cruz has fought twice this year although not on the very top level. Do you think there’s going to be any problem with ring rust for having not fought in about a year?

 

 

Casamayor:       I feel stronger than ever and I’m ready to fight.  I’ve been waiting a year to fight. And once the bell rings I feel like the rust is going to leave my body because I’ve got that type of superior ability where I can be able to move and make things happen, and get into the fight real early and take it from there.

 

Q:                          Last thing related to a point that was made earlier. Do you think from the boxing media and just the general sports media that you’re getting the respect that you deserve because the only official losses that you have on your record – the split decisions and the one decision to Freitas really could have gone the other way? In other words it’s conceivable that you could still be undefeated at this point.

 

                              But do you think everybody recognizes that at this stage?

 

Casamayor:       It hurts. When you beat the best you are the best. That’s the way I’ve been, and that’s the way I feel. I beat the late great Diego Corrales about a year ago. I haven’t been rewarded for it.

 

                              Speaking on those three losses I feel like I won all three fights. They were three close fights but you know what? You can’t cry about it. You’ve got to move forward. Now I’m with a big company like de la Hoya and they’re pushing behind me and I don’t think things like that will happen.

 

                              But let me tell you I’m really, really disappointed that I haven’t been getting the respect I deserve. In my heart I know I'm undefeated. There are a lot of people and a lot of fans and a lot of media who also feel I'm undefeated.

 

                              And like I said I can’t look back on the past.

All I can do is look forward to November 10, put on a great showing, and after that, hopefully come next year we’ve got a huge fight. Hopefully it’s Pacquiao, hopefully it’s Juan Diaz. It doesn’t matter.

 

Q:                          Joel, do you view your next fight against Santa Cruz can be just as dangerous as an opponent as let’s say maybe a Manny Pacquiao or a Juan Diaz perhaps?

 

Casamayor:       Basically Santa Cruz is a great fighter. He’s a top contender. He’s got things that Diaz and Pacquiao don’t like -- the tall frame and long arms.  He throws a lot of punches. Santa Cruz might be better than both of them.

 

                              I’m going to make easy work of him because that’s what I do.

 

Q:                          Your reaction to Juan Diaz’s momentum in recent months beating Freitas and Julio Diaz in consecutive fights. Is he the man to beat at 135?

 

Casamayor:       No way. No way. I’m the guy to beat at 135 pounds – it’s me. Freitas, you know, he had a year off. He’s (unintelligible) title (unintelligible). Juan Diaz made him quit; same thing with Julio. These are two different type of caliber fighters.

 

                              I mean look at their records. Look at the (unintelligible), look at the people he’s fought. I’m the real champion like I said in a lot of magazines I’m the true lightweight champion and…I’m the guy to beat at 135 pounds and if he beats me then he’s the guy at 135 pounds. But until someone steps in the ring and beats me I'm the man.