SAM SOLIMAN: Well Winky, I think Winky is one of the best (inaudible) fighters out there and we are also not going to be taking him lightly at all and, you know, we’ve fought the best all over the world, fought many undefeated fighters who are now defeated and so, you know, there’s no shell shock here. There really is no overawed by the (inaudible) of it all. I think we’ve been there, done that, and when we fight Winky on December 10, we’re going to find out who’s going to be eligible for the big championship fight against Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor.
FRED STERNBURG: Dave, how about you, any comments?
DAVE HEDGECOCK: We’re just elated that Sam took this fight and we’re going to be very prepared for this fight and come December 10 Sam will be the one fighting the winner of Taylor Hopkins.
FRED STERNBURG: Winky you’ve been through this a million times, I mean, over 50 fights. It seems like every time we do a conference call, you’re coming off your biggest victory, Shane Mosley twice and then Felix Trinidad. Your feelings going into this, why did you take this fight as opposed to waiting it out since you were already the mandatory challenger in the WBC and WBA?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well, like I said, I know how Sam feels about trying to get a big fight and no one would give it to him because I was in that same predicament. It’s an honor for me to be able to give him the same chance that Shane Mosley gave me. He deserves it. You know he’s going to fight me to win. He can do it with an attitude that he is going to get a world title shot and get another big fight. For me, I need a big fight. I need a fight that can get me excited and coming off of the fights with Mosley and Trinidad, it’s kind of hard to look forward to somebody who isn’t of the same caliber. So we came out, we got them Sam who is number one in the IBF. We have got to go out there and prepare ourselves and get ready for the fight, and like I say, we’re looking for a great fight. We are coming to fight, we always come to fight. The fans better come because it’s going to be a great fight.
FRED STERNBURG: Terrific. Just a reminder, this will be seen live on HBO World Championship Boxing at 10 p.m. Eastern Time, 7 o’clock Pacific Time. Tickets are going quickly but they are available at $50, $90 and $150 at the Mohegan Sun box office and all Ticketmaster outlets.
KEVIN IOLE, LAS VEGAS REVIEW: Yo Wink. How is your motivation being that Sam isn’t as well known as the guys you fought in the last three fights? Do you still have the same motivation, and can you get up the same way you did when you fought say Felix Trinidad?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well, I can’t lie. It’s not the same fighting Sam as it was fighting Tito Trinidad. But Sam is the number one contender. We’ve got to train hard and we’ve got to get motivated because we want to show the world that we’re the best fighter out there. So, to do that, you know what I’m saying, we’ve got to motivate ourselves. And like I say, it’s not hard to do that with a guy like Sam, because he’s a different kind of fighter (inaudible). We’ve just got to go ahead and prepare ourselves and win.
KEVIN IOLE: When Jermain Taylor gave up the IBF title, do you think that was a direct insinuation to you that he wasn’t planning to fight you in any event?
WINKY WRIGHT: Really, I don’t even know. I really don’t even try to get into all of that. If they want, like I tell people, that isn’t even the belt anymore because if they want to fight you, they’re going to fight you. If they don’t want to fight you, they’re going to give the belt up. So mainly I just want to fight and let the people know that I feel that I’m the best fighter (inaudible). If somebody gets in the ring with me then I’m ready to get in the ring and let’s prove it.
DAN RAFAEL, ESPN.COM: Bernard Hopkins says he’s going to retire early next year, January, February, whatever. Does that mean that in some way, shape or form you’d be rooting for Jermain Taylor to win that fight because it may be a more realistic scenario to have him fight you than it would be for Bernard Hopkins to fight you?
WINKY WRIGHT: Really I’m not rooting for either one. Whoever wins, wins. I’m not trying to pick who wants to fight me next (inaudible). Whoever goes and prepares themselves will win the fight, the best to them, I’m behind them. I think both of them are very good fighters so whoever wants to fight me, they fight me. If they don’t then they move on. That’s what I’m trying to build Winky Wright to. I don’t need another fighter like that to build my career. I’m trying to take care of myself. If it’s a Winky Wright fight you want to see, it’s because it’s a Winky Wright fight not because he’s fighting Jermain or he’s fighting Bernard.
DAN RAFAEL: OK. But it is often times it’s about the match up as well. So I’m wondering.
WINKY WRIGHT: Oh, it exactly is, but the fans can rely on me. Because they (Taylor or Hopkins) don’t want to fight me. It’s not me. I’m here, I’m ready. I’m willing. But they keep running. They don’t want to fight me so there’s nothing I can do.
DAN RAFAEL: I’m not trying to disrespect Sam Soliman here, but if you’re the winner do you think that it’s realistic that Bernard Hopkins would fight you on this one song type of fight?
WINKY WRIGHT: I think so, when we reach to the fans, to say who they want to fight. Who gets to fight who.
DAN RAFAEL: Sam, my question for you is, Winky mentioned about how he’s been ducked quite a bit and finally got fighters like Shane Mosley and Tito Trinidad to give him an opportunity but, with all due respect to your record, I don’t know if you were at the same level that Winky was when he got those opportunities. What have you done in your career to make you think that you deserve to be in the ring with the best, one of the top two best fighters in the world?
SAM SOLIMAN: Well we’ve got a lot in common me and Winky and the fact that we both travel the world, we’ve both looked around for the best fighters that are out there all over the world. Took our bags and went out to find and fight the best and I used all my power and ability as a manager, managing myself to be able to get me up there and I took fights on short notice, I took fights out of my weight division. I flew to fights from Europe to Australia, 24-hour flight, to take a five-day notice fight with Anthony Mundine, so I’ve done things that someone like Winky Wright was doing. So, we’ve got something in common, that we’ll both fight anyone, anywhere, anytime and that’s what makes it such a special fight that neither of us duck anybody and how I’ve fought many undefeated fighters, put a stop to their undefeated records and I’m sure that, that’s enough to clarify I’m a legitimate contender for this number one position.
DAN RAFAEL: Sam, what do you think of all wins you have? Who’s the one win that American fight fans should look at and say, ‘well you know that’s a real good win for this guy, Sam Soliman. Even though I never heard of him, it’s a reason to check this fight out?’
SAM SOLIMAN: Well Nader Hamdan and Raymond Joval, they’re my two, they’re the two best fighters apart from Howard Eastman who I was beaten, well a split decision. But that was four to five years ago, but Nader Hamdan and Joval, they were both, well Joval was 32 and 2 and Nader 33 and 0 and beating them I was fighting Nader In his home town. Jeff Fennech was the promoter of the show. He was the trainer and manager of Nader at the time and he was top three in the world and WBC and all the cards are against us and, you know, I come out just to prove that I wasn’t going to get shell shocked. I wasn’t going to be up there and it’s going to be like get overawed by the situation and I come through as the goods against a champion in Nader Hamdan IBF Pan Pacific and that’s what got us the top five spot in the world. And then beatimg Joval for the number one position in America set us up for this fight with the pound for pound number two in the world Winky Wright, so I couldn’t have asked for it to go in a better way. You know, so it’s just wait for December 10 and bring it home.
DAVE HEDGECOCK: Hi, it’s Dave Hedgecock here, Sam’s trainer. I think it’s a good thing to note that Winky also brings, looking for this position to fight for a world title, but we’ve also challenged Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins and we were number one in the IBF. And Jermain Taylor stepped aside from that and Bernard Hopkins asked for a special clearance so he could fight Jermain Taylor because they didn’t want to fight Sam Soliman. And I think that what could be going to happen this time is to what happened when Shane Mosley fought Winky Wright. I think that most people in the States thought that, or a good majority of the people in the States, thought that Shane Mosley was probably unbeatable and would probably beat Winky. Well I think we’re coming from the same sort of area and I think that the people over there are going to get quite surprised and it’s, you know, just important to note that we’ve been challenging these two top guys too and it’s credit to Winky to accept the challenge because no one else in the world (inaudible) courageous enough to do it, and vice versa.
FRANKLIN McNEIL, NEWARK STAR-LEDGER: My question is there’s been so much talk about Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins, possibly one of those two possibly being your next opponent. If they are not, if for whatever reason, you don’t fight them next, is there anyone else you, or other people you’d like to get in the ring with?
WINKY WRIGHT: Oh definitely. Like I said, first of all we’re going definitely win by December 10. But, (inaudible) everything goes our way. Yeah, I want to fight Bernard (inaudible) fight me. I’ll fight any of them. So, (inaudible) whoever wants to fight Winky Wright (inaudible) just sign their name on the dotted line and they can have it.
FRANKLIN McNEIL: Can you give me a couple of guys who are on your wish list, guys that you would want to fight.
WINKY WRIGHT: The other guys I would want to fight are, Bernard Hopkins, Jermain, Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, and that’s pretty much it. There’s nobody else I’d fight with the name recognition that can really do anything for me.
FRANKLIN McNEIL: OK. Thanks Wink. And this question is for Sam. Sam, I’d like to know, what do you think, or how, what would you say you bring to the ring or why would you be successful against Winky where two pound for pound fighters such as Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad were not? Why would you succeed where they failed?
SAM SOLIMAN: It’s pretty much the same answer as before. We are both similar in our careers, we’ve both gone down the same road, fought in the UK, fought in America, fought in how many countries all over the world and, you know, we’ve been there, done that before and been in these kinds of situations. I’ve had over 24 title fights, 12 rounders. Now, you know, (inaudible) shell shock (inaudible) pound for pound out there and in saying that, it builds up for a good fight because anyone who has followed any part of my career would say this is going to be one hell of a fight because (inaudible), he’s never been stopped. He’s fought (inaudible) all over the world in each country and you know, I’ve fought in Germany, I’ve fought in Amsterdam, I’ve fought in Scotland, in Ireland, fought in America, fought in Japan, (inaudible) so there’s no reason why I (inaudible). Winky is from the old school, he fights anyone who is out there too and that’s why I picked him and I’m excited about getting to fight someone of his caliber.
GEORGE WILLIS, NY POST: I wanted to know how close did you and Floyd Mayweather come to finalizing the deal, or do you think he was just a bunch of talk?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well, like I said, when I heard about it, I thought it was just people talking, but then I heard he wants a fight, so I was like ‘cool’ that’s a major deal. Then they kept going back and forth with the numbers and then I guess they got to a point where the numbers were pretty much good and then we didn’t hear nothing back. So, I think it could have been just a ploy. Like I said, just a way to keep his name out there, saying he will fight anybody, it don’t matter who it is, he’ll do this, he’ll do that. But when it came down to it, they didn’t want to sign a deal.
GEORGE WILLIS: Do you think there’s a void as far as, you know, Roy Jones was perceived, for so long as the best pound for pound guy. Do you think there’s a void there or an opening? Is it not really decided yet who is the marquee fighter?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well, like I said, for me, I’m trying to fight the best. If they want to say I’m pound for pound best, that’s cool. If they say I’m not, then that’s cool with me. But for me, I want to fight the best fighters. I do. And if the best fighters don’t want to fight me then that goes to show that I’m a pretty good fighter.
GEORGE WILLIS: Dan Birmingham? Is Dan there?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: Yeah, I’m here.
GEORGE WILLIS: Dan, Winky was so spectacular in his last fight. A lot of people think he won every round. How do you basically improve upon that and do you think he basically scared everybody that night?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: I thought he, we performed well, maybe too well in the public’s eye because we couldn’t get the rematch with Tito. We’re just going to continue to do the same thing we’ve been doing and look spectacular on the 10th that’s all.
GEORGE WILLIS: And Sam, Sam, did you see that fight, the Wink fight against Tito?
SAM SOLIMAN: (Inaudible). It was really good up here. We had a nice barbeque, couple of things on the barbie and enjoyed the fight. And that was very interesting because I was a big fan of Tito and I still am a big fan of Tito’s. You don’t forget what he’s done. I’ve got posters on my wall of Tito Trinidad. So, I’m a fan through and through and after Winky took him out the way he did he just proved he’s one of the best pound for pound. He wouldn’t be number two pound for pound in the world if he, you know, so, it was very interesting. And take a note of that and now we’re studying the tape and I’m going to be fighting him myself.
DAVID AVILA, RIVERSIDE PRESS-ENTERPRISE: Winky, have you ever seen a style like Sam Soliman’s?
WINKY WRIGHT: You know, not exactly like, yeah I’ve fought some fighters that have got the kind of awkward style that he’s got. But, no one fighter is exactly alike, so I can’t say yeah, I know somebody who fights just like him. You know what I mean? But, like I said, it works for him, so what may be awkward for somebody else, could be perfect for him. I’m going to be prepared to go in there and fight as hard every round as needed.
DAVID AVILA: In your career you fought more than 55, I mean, you’ve seen all kinds of styles. When you fight somebody that has something different, does that get you a little excited?
WINKY WRIGHT: Yeah, definitely. You know, it gets you excited. It gets you where you see where how you can get back in all the things that you worked on in the gym and saw in different fights around the world. You know what I mean? So, like I said, (inaudible) I’m trying to get myself involved in boxing and do a whole lot of big things and different things. I just formed a promotional company with my partner, Chris Lighty, in Winky Promotions. We will try to just do everything to satisfy us. If there’s nobody that wants to fight me, then I’m going to have to be the one to put the fights on.
DAVID AVILA: Absolutely. Sam, where did you develop your style? Did you have that since your younger days or did it just come about lately?
SAM SOLIMAN: Oh no, you know, I don’t even know how. I probably couldn’t even teach it. It’s just something that I do well and, I still fight the amateurs the same way as I fight the pros and it worked better for me on the pros. And I’ve been fortunate to have a trainer that’s able to customize myself and make it work for me even better rather than try to change my style and make it more orthodox and more text book. But you’ll see on December 10 when we take on the best.
LUIS CADIZ, BOXING2005.COM: Listen, with this fight now on December 10 and the following one, hopefully against the winner of Hopkins/Taylor, could we say that you abandoned the 154 pound division?
WINKY WRIGHT: Did I abandon it? No I didn’t abandon it. Like I’m saying, I’m just trying to give the fans the best fight out there. Before, nobody wanted to fight me at 154. So, with no big fight at that level we had to move 160. So, it depends. If we got a good fight out there at 154, we’re going to take it.
LUIS CADIZ: OK, great. Now, coming up soon we’re going to have Mosley and Vargas right?
WINKY WRIGHT: Uh huh.
LUIS CADIZ: Vargas would be a great rematch. Remember the first one? I mean, you know, that would be one of the best rematches and would mean very good results for you economically and professionally.
WINKY WRIGHT: Like I say, it is a possibility. Vargas when he got his split decision, you know, it cheated for him. He didn’t want to give a rematch. Now that I’m the man, I don’t want to give him a fight. So, when we need each other then it can happen but right now I’m not looking past all this (Soliman).
LUIS CADIZ: OK. And who do you think is going to win that fight?
WINKY WRIGHT: Mosley.
LUIS CADIZ: Mosley. You’ll take him on a third time?
WINKY WRIGHT: Huh?
LUIS CADIZ: Would you take him on a third time?
WINKY WRIGHT: Would I take Mosley on a third time?
LUIS CADIZ: Yeah.
WINKY WRIGHT: I don’t think the fans want to see me and Mosley a third time. You know what I mean? The first time was one sided, the second time he did a little bit better but I still won. So, I don’t think the fans want to see that again.
ALEX PIERPAOLI, KO FANTASY BOXING.CO: Hi this question is for Sam Soliman. Sam, you’ve seen Winky fight before. What most concerns you about him? Is it the southpaw style, defense? What are you most concerned about?
SAM SOLIMAN: He’s a package deal. He can box, he can brawl, he can do a bit of both. He can punch. You don’t get 25 knockouts by luck. So I’m prepared for anything really. I don’t know. Anything he puts on the table we will be prepared for. Planning for it like there’s no tomorrow and this is why it’s going to be one of the best fights of this year and I’m going to, we’re going to concern who’s going to be the middleweight champion of the world soon.
ALEX PIERPAOLI: Great. I’ve got a question for Chad Dawson if he’s there?
CHAD DAWSON: Yeah, I’m here.
ALEX PIERPAOLI: Chad, you’ve been training now with Dan Birmingham for a while. How has that changed you as a fighter? Have you gotten better sparring, just the whole technique there with Birmingham? Talk about that for a little.
CHAD DAWSON: You mean it’s the whole package. I’ve never worked with a trainer like Dan before. It’s fun, and I like, I love everything. He’s a good guy to talk to. I mean the whole package.
ALEX PIERPAOLI: Dan, do you have any comments you want to make about Chad?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: Yeah. Chad is in the position like Winky Wright was and before Winky surfaced he was the best kept secret in boxing and Chad’s right there right now. I’m sure he’s going to be my next world champion. I’m positive of it.
DAN RAFAEL: Are you in the United States yet or are you still in Australia?
SAM SOLIMAN: Still in Australia.
DAN RAFAEL: At what point before the fight will you be coming to the United States?
SAM SOLIMAN: We fly in the 24th of November, which is two weeks and a bit from the fight.
DAN RAFAEL: Since you have fought over in the United States a couple of times in your career, can you talk about just what goes into the preparation of having to change your schedule and get adjusted to coming here, especially coming all the way to the East Coast this time? How does that play into your preparation?
SAM SOLIMAN: Well, you know, just been (inaudible) overseas before, but it’s become second nature now. So, just going to do it how I do it every other time. I’ve fought and (inaudible) worked for us before so I’ll do it the same way again.
DAN RAFAEL: Can you tell me how you have done it other times?
SAM SOLIMAN: Just getting into the body clock from now. Like, you know, the body clock from now. It’s 6 in the morning here and it’s, what time is it over there again?
DAN RAFAEL: It’s about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
SAM SOLIMAN: Three in the afternoon, somewhere like that. So, like I’ll go to bed the week before the flight with the week before I fly out, close, similar times to America and to start training in American times and that’s what I’ve been doing my whole career.
KEITH IDEC, HERALD NEWS: Do you almost think that you were too good for your own good against, especially against Trinidad, whereas people don’t want to fight you at all now and they didn’t before?
WINKY WRIGHT: Yeah, I think so. But like I said, you can’t try to absorb how high you’re going to fight someone … how much you’re going to put on it and how much you’re not. Because with a guy like Trinidad, with his power, if you lay back, he’ll catch you then he knocks you out. You was doing good until you got knocked out. So, you’ve got to see a big game plan and do it with running around and that’s what I did. I just stayed with my game plan and did what I had to do to win.
KEITH IDEC: Even though this has been, you know, you made a lot of money fighting Mosley twice and fighting Trinidad, and you’re recognized as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. Has the experience been a little bit disappointing to you in that now you’re in the same position you were in before, whereas guys don’t want to fight you, maybe even more so than before?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well now that’s not the same because now they don’t want to fight me and people know that they’re scared of me. Before it was just me saying that they were scared, now I’ve got the people behind me saying to them ‘well you aren’t fighting Winky; you’re scared of Winky,’ so it’s different. So I’m glad to be in the situation that I am in now.
KEITH IDEC: You mentioned before you fought Hernandez and Candello that it was very difficult to get up for those kinds of fights, and with all due respect to Sam, now that you’ve been at the elite level and pretty much dominate it at that level, is it even harder maybe picking up for a fight of this magnitude now than it was for those fights?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well definitely. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Sam, but it’s just that once you get to that factor where everything is on the line where, you’re fighting someone where everybody thinks that he does this and does that, and you’re training to beat him, you know, for true professional you’ve got to train for everybody. So I know that Sam’s going to be training hard and he’s feeling the way I was feeling against him. So, I have to be ready, I’m going to be prepared for that. I want to win and I have to train as hard for Sam as I did for Shane and Felix. I cannot afford to lose any fights.
KEITH IDEC: Is Dan Birmingham still on the line?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: Yes, I’m here.
KEITH IDEC: Dan, can I just ask you a real quick, I know you made the Lacy/Calzaghe fight. Do you think that it’s going to come off this time or are you kind of going about it with trepidation being that Calzaghe’s pulled out a bunch of times?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: No, no. The fight’s on, everything’s signed and we’re just waiting on the date. The fight’s already made.
KEITH IDEC: OK. But, there’s no hesitation on your part though, be it based on what’s happened so far?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: Not at all. They put up $600,000 saying they’re going to fight so for me they’re going to fight.
SHERMAN CAIN, JOURNAL INQUIRER NEWS: Chad, you just recently switched promotional groups. You’ve been under the Gary Shaw banner for a couple of fights. What prompted the change and are there still any legal entanglements or hard feelings that are still lingering and what’s that situation?
CHAD DAWSON: I mean, that’s my job has just training and that’s what I’ve been doing. Whatever happened to me in my last (inaudible) it’s over and I’m just happy to be with Gary Shaw and training with Dan Birmingham. And even with being in the presence of Winky Wright and Jeff Lacy. So, I’m just doing my job.
SHERMAN CAIN: What made you want to make the move or decide to go with Gary Shaw and Dan Birmingham? Was there something in particular, the way Dan trains his fighters, or what was the reason behind it?
CHAD DAWSON: No. I watched Winky Wright for years. My manager and I, we look at a lot of different training but we thought that Dan would be a better fit. And with Gary, we liked what we saw so we went with Gary.
SHERMAN CAIN: And this question will be for Dan. Dan, is there a timetable for Chad as far as getting him to that next, I know he’s got the title fight this Friday, and getting him up to the Winky Wright level? What kind of timetable do you have and is he the kind of fighter that you see getting to that Winky Wright type level some day?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: Well the timetable is actually not up to me. The timetable is up to Gary and Chad’s manager and the TV networks and everybody else. But for me, right now, Chad Dawson is ready for anybody in the world. He’s got to get some more 12 round fights under his belt. One of these smaller titles, just like Winky did, and he’s ready for anybody.
WINKY WRIGHT: Can I add to those questions? This is Winky Wright. You know, I got to training with Chad for the first time. I heard a lot about Chad but I didn’t see him fight and so we came to train with him and I think he’s going to be a hell of a fighter. He’s got a great, great foundation. You know what I mean? (Inaudible) His defense is getting a lot better. He thinks in the ring, he’s not just going out to knock you out. I just think that in a little bit of time, you’re going to see Chad explode it out there on the scene. He’s a big kid. He’s 6’2” or 6’3”, whatever. He’s strong, he can box. You’re going to see big things coming from him.
KETIH IDEC: Hey Winky, just going back to something you said before. You said you wouldn’t be rooting for either guy in the Hopkins/Taylor fight, but who do you think is going to win?
WINKY WRIGHT: To speak truthfully, I think Jermain may win. You know, he did, he won the first time and Bernard was playing around too much in the first fight but I think Jermain believes in himself now. If Bernard had jumped on Jermain early in the fight I think that he probably would have won. So now Jermain has beat him. Jermain was hurt but he didn’t go down. Jermain is going to go into his fight knowing that ‘hey I can beat him.’ And, you know, I said, with that, I’m not betting on it either way. Like I said, the best fighter will win. But if I had to bet I’d bet Jermain.
KEITH IDEC: Just going back to the Vargas thing real quick too. Winky, you said that before, now that you’re in the driver’s seat, you don’t want to give him the fight. But do you almost think that even if you wanted to give him the fight that it wouldn’t be competitive at this point?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well definitely, because this time we’re going for the knockout round. And there won’t be no fight because I’m trying to knock his block off. Like I said, the way he handled the situation with us was wrong. He says he won (the first fight) and the people were saying ‘give Winky a rematch,’ even if he didn’t want to give me a rematch he could have said ‘I’ve got to give him a rematch.’ But instead, he’s making excuses like ‘Winky on his best day couldn’t beat me on my worst day’. And he runs from me. So now, he can’t downplay me now that everybody knows I won the first time and I have beaten guys he couldn’t – like Trinidad -- or wouldn’t face – like Mosley. But like I said, I’m a promoter now so if we decide to do that (fight Vargas), I’ll decide with my team and we’ll decide what the best thing for us as a promotional company.
KEITH IDEC: Do you think if you said to him, I’ll fight you, name the date, that he would accept a fight?
WINKY WRIGHT: I think he would. Like I said, because I don’t think he’s fighting too much longer. Vargas is picking and choosing who he’s fighting and then he’s fighting, once a year. So, that’s not a person who looks like his career is going to be going on for a long time. When it comes down to making the most of it (money), then that fight could be a possibility.
TIM SMITH, NY DAILY NEWS: Have you had to make any adjustments in your training or in your diet or in your preparation for, you know, fighting at 160 pounds or do you feel comfortable at that weight or natural or?
WINKY WRIGHT: Actually, actually I’m more comfortable at 160. I don’t have to lose the extra weight like when I had to train down to get to 154. I can be at 160, and I feel stronger and quicker. It’s just a little different. Like I said, I don’t think the fighter at 154 was quicker than the fighter at 160, but I have only fought at 160 once.
TIM SMITH: Have you made adjustment to training? I mean, are you sparring with guys maybe that were a little bit heavier than you normally would? Are you working with guys or are you working with guys that you would still be working with if you were at 154?
WINKY WRIGHT: Well,
TIM SMITH: Winky? I think I lost him.
DAN BIRMINGHAM: I can answer that if you want.
TIM SMITH: Have you guys ever made any adjustments in term of the weight of the sparring partners or anything?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: No not really. When I study the top tapes of Sam, you know, I tried to fix some guys in our gym that, you know, their styles are fairly similar, so we’re boxing guys like that.
TIM SMITH: OK. Have you guys made any kind of other changes or concessions in terms of what he’s eating, a diet or anything like that? I mean, for strength or for speed?
DAN BIRMINGHAM: I’ve got Darryl Hudson here and he’s living with Wink. You know, he’s secluded in a condominium away from his family and his food’s being cooked for him and, you know, Darryl’s an expert with nutrition, so I leave it to him.
CARLOS GUZMAN, FIGHT BEAT.COM: Yes, hi, this question is for Sam. Sam, have you fluctuated in weight all the way from junior middleweight up to cruiser weight. Can you explain what’s caused that? Why have you been all over the place?
SAM SOLIMAN: You’ve done your homework, not many Americans know about all that.
CARLOS GUZMAN: That’s my job.
SAM SOLIMAN: Yeah, you know, I couldn’t get fights in my weight, same as Winky I couldn’t get fights in my weight division and no one would fight me in my weight so they’re willing to take the risk to fight Sam Soliman knowing that he’ll be out of his weight range and then we’ll be able to beat him out of his weight range and 80 percent of the time they’ve come unstuck, especially because they’ve underestimated the fact that even though we’re middleweights, I’ve fought at cruiser weight and light heavyweight and I’d sparred with guys all my life so it was no suffering and surprise when I got out there and fought at that weight.
CARLOS GUZMAN: Do you think it’s an advantage to you that you’re a big guy coming down to middleweight, while Winky is kind of a smaller guy moving up?
SAM SOLIMAN: Not at all. He’s not small. Look what he did; he fought Trinidad, one of the strongest boxers pound for pound in the world. I mean, you have a look at Trinidad’s record, it’s close to Vargas’ record and how many knockouts and how many wins and he pushed him around so he’s a very strong fighter and he comes down in weight (inaudible) because he knows I know and he will be coming down to (inaudible) 100 miles an hour and it would be a good close fight and I promise you that come the later rounds of the fight I’ll take over. I’ll change (inaudible), I’ll take over and (inaudible).
CARLOS GUZMAN: It sounds exciting. You also sparred with Kostya Tszyu. Was that been a learning experience for you? How’s that been?
SAM SOLIMAN: (Inaudible). So, I think (inaudible). More importantly, is that, now our only thing is that I’ve now got Anton Popov (ph) and Jamie Pittman flying down from Russia. He’s built his record up here (inaudible) 205 amateur fights and a former world champion. (Inaudible) Those are two great boxers you great ability are going to run amuck in America when it comes their time for a championship fight and so, you know, all the preparation is perfect for this fight and I thank Kostya for letting his champions come down here from Russia to do the work here with me in Australia and both Jamie Pittman and Anton Popov you’ll be seeing some big things happen with those.
CARLOS GUZMAN: Thanks. My last question will be to Winky Wright. Winky, this will be a first time headlining HBO. Is there added pressure? Do you feel any added pressure to put on a good show and, you know, maybe even go for a knockout?
WINKY WRIGHT: This is not my first time here on HBO. I fought Shane twice and then Tito. So I don’t feel any pressure to try and knock him out. If people want to see a great fight, what happens is going to happen. So, what I do, you know, whatever happens, it was supposed to happen.
CARLOS GUZMAN: Right. And I want to apologize. I didn’t mean it that way, I just meant that like, without a marquee name, the other side of the ring.
WINKY WRIGHT: Oh, OK.
CARLOS GUZMAN: That’s what I meant. You’re basically holding up the show.
WINKY WRIGHT: OK, well I don’t see it that way. I feel, yes, definitely my name is the name that is drawing the crowd. Two fighters will go out there and fight. The two best middleweights are coming into the ring, and will give their all to win.
FRED STERNBURG: Dan Goossen promotes Sam Soliman and Dan, I just want to give you an opportunity to talk about Sam and the fight please.
DAN GOSSEN: Well thanks Fred. I’m really not going to say much. I’m just going to let Sam’s actions go out there and kind of speak for themselves and I believe he’s got what it takes and we’ll just let it go at that. It’s good to be a part of the promotion and I’m happy to get the opportunity for Sam and got to hand it to Winky going for it.
FRED STERNBURG: Thank you Dan. Well, on behalf of the Mohegan Sun, Gary Shaw Productions, and Goossen Tutor Promotions, I want to thank both Sam and Winky and their camps, and Milt and Bob Yalen at Mohegan Sun. It’s December 10, ‘All For One,’ Winky Wright and Sam Soliman fighting to become the undisputed mandatory challenger in the middleweight division to fight the winner of the Bernard Hopkins/Jermain Taylor world middleweight title rematch, which will be a week before. HBO will televise Wright-Soliman live at 10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific. Good seats are still available at the Mohegan Sun box office. Undefeated super middleweight contender Chad Dawson will be headlining the undercard. We look forward to seeing you there. I know Sam gets to the States and will be training in Los Angeles on the 24th of November and we look forward to getting everyone together with him and introducing him to the American media in-person.