LOS ANGELES – Jump starting fight week on a high note, former WBC Middleweight Champion Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) hosted an international conference call ahead of his highly anticipated showdown against Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) this Saturday, May 6, presented live on HBO Pay-Per-View from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Chavez, Jr. was joined by his legendary father, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr., trainer Guillermo “Memo” Heredia, and Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya as he discussed his training camp and his upcoming fight.
Here is what Chavez, Jr., Chavez, Sr., and De La Hoya had to say on their conference call:
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions: We are really excited to showcase two of the most popular fighters in the world today who will clash on Cinco de Mayo weekend, May 6. It will be an unforgettable event that people will really look forward to.
And the response has been amazing, not only with the sold-out arena but with having to open up six more properties with the closed-circuit TV in Las Vegas, the huge buzz around the fight. We know tickets are going incredibly well. This fight is on HBO Pay-Per-View, I want to thank HBO who is always fired up to work with. They are our broadcast partners here in this incredible event.
JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ, SR., Former three division, six-time World Champion: Hello, happy to be here.
DE LA HOYA: I want to take also this opportunity to thank Tecate, our sponsor, BORN BOLD. The commercials have been running everywhere and thanks to Tecate, the commercials with Sylvester Stallone and Canelo have done a tremendous job in promoting an incredible event. I want to thank O’Reilly Auto Parts, Adriana’s Insurance and Interjet, for participating in this wonderful event.
And now the trainer, Angel “Memo” Heredia. From what I hear Chavez, Jr. is in incredible, incredible shape. We hear he’s on weight already, a few pounds over, and it shouldn’t be a big deal. The weight is no problem, and thanks to this man.
GUILLERMO “MEMO” HEREDIA, Trainer to Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.: Yes, I’m very honored and happy to be part of this great fight, and just excited. We’re just waiting for the day to come, which is almost a few days, so we’re ready and excited for this event.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Next up now, with boxing in his blood, former four-time WBC World Middleweight Champion. He’s proven that he is worthy of carrying the legacy he inherited by his father, living legend and six-time world champion, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr.
In his most recent performance, Chavez, Jr. met with highly-regarded Dominic Britsch, winning by a unanimous decision in Monterrey, Mexico in Nuevo Leon.
Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. will be putting his name and legacy on the line on May 6. And now let’s hear from the man himself, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
Q. Julio, curious about, we talked to Canelo and we talked about the magnitude of this fight within Mexican boxing communities, within all Mexicans of the culture, how big of a deal it is. I would like to hear your thoughts about how big you view it and if that has added anymore pressure because you are fighting another Mexican, and of course, wants to uphold the family name.
JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ, JR.: It’s very, very important for both fighters. Yes, it’s very important for him, but the fact that it’s two Mexicans, I think that this is one of the most important fights in the history of Mexico.
Q. And why do you think that, and do you feel a pressure to uphold your family name as part of your role in trying to win the fight, because of course, knowing how famous and how many big fights your dad won.
CHAVEZ, JR.: I just feel, because it’s a great event; it’s a big event, with two great Mexican fighters, and I feel that it’s my last opportunity, and I’m going to take advantage of it and do the best I can.
Q. You’ve been a world champion before and fought in some major fights in your career, but even though this isn’t a world-title fight, is this to you the biggest fight of your career, and if so, why, if, in fact, it is.
CHAVEZ, JR.: Yes, I do feel that this fight is the biggest fight of my career, just because it’s a big event, because of who I’m fighting and because of the opportunity. I’m going to take advantage of it and make the best of it.
Q. How much bad feeling is there between you and Canelo? What are your feelings towards him? This fight has been talked about for a long time, it’s happening, and it seems to me you don’t particularly like one another, but you can never quite tell. What’s your feelings about Canelo and how much do you want to get in there and basically beat him up?
CHAVEZ, JR.: Yes, there’s a real, true rivalry, and on Saturday night, people are going to see firsthand this rivalry, how real it is. Obviously we’re going to show it inside the ring.
Q. Julio, I’ve seen video of you in this training camp, and you look to be in incredible shape. What are you doing differently now, that you were not willing to do over the past few years as your career went in the wrong direction?
CHAVEZ, JR.: The difference is I was listening to my corner, Mr. Beristain, he had me doing certain training and I did it. It was very difficult in the beginning getting used to this new regimen, but it’s something that I did. I followed it and I think that’s the difference in this fight.
Q. As you look back at the five years since you were in a fight that was this big, what do you think is the reason why your motivation soured for a while?
CHAVEZ, JR.: The difference is that I was younger, less experienced, and over the years, I’ve learned from those kind of mistakes and the inexperience that I had, and that’s difference between then and this fight.
Q. When you watch Canelo’s biggest fights, what are the main vulnerabilities in his game that stick out to you?
CHAVEZ, JR.: One of the advantages is that he’s fought a lot of fighters, not always in their prime. Also, he’s a smaller fighter. He’s a good fighter but smaller for his division and I think that’s an advantage that I have.
I want to congratulate my brother. I’m very happy for his victory against Alvarez family, I know it’s difficult any time somebody loses, but it’s a sport. With regards to that fight, it’s totally separate from my fight. My fight is a different fight, different event, something that I have to focus on. But I congratulate my brother. I’m very happy for his victory.
I think that there’s a lot of excitement. I’m very excited about this. I think the people are excited about this and I want to thank everybody for all the support, and I think that on May 6, we are going to put on a great fight and everybody is going to be able to enjoy it.
Q. How do you envision what’s going to happen in this fight in six days? How do you feel about it, and also your weight?
CHAVEZ, JR.: I feel a lot better, you know, when I train hard and I’m focused, when I’m motivated as I am in this fight.
Also, with regards to the weight, I’m close to making weight already and I’ve done everything I’ve been asked to do with regards to my diet. It’s not easy, but I know when I focus on my diet and when I focus on making weight, I can do it. I’ve done it before, and this is just one additional time I’m doing it.
Q. Memo, can you talk about the training since December and your last fight?
MEMO HEREDIA: Yes, we’ve been training for a while. The Monterrey fight was a good beginning, a smaller fight, and it wasn’t as long a camp. This one was much better. It was a longer camp. I feel Julio is really strong, and always remember that Julio is a good fighter. He’s a smart fighter. And with his preparation, I think the combination of things is going to make for a great fight from Julio.
Q. I know there’s been a lot of discussion about whether you’ll make the weight or how you’re making the weight. I wanted to know, when it was being discussed, this fight, how confident were you that when you finally agreed to the 164.5, that you would be able to do it, or was there a little bit of, like I hope I can do this, I think I can do this, I’m going to work really hard to do this, but were there some anxious moments in there?
CHAVEZ, JR.: I always felt that 160 was a possible weight that I could make. When we were discussing this fight, I didn’t think it was an obstacle, because I knew that if I want it and I worked hard enough, I could go to 160.
The only difference was it going to be a lot of work. I felt it was going to be a lot of work and it has been a lot of work. Therefore, 164.5, the weight that we agreed to, I never felt that it wasn’t possible. It was just going to be a lot of work to get there.
Q. And even coming down a little bit from where you’ve had your most recent fights, do you think that the way that you win this fight is because you are a bigger guy than Canelo, you have a great chin, you always have, and you also have good punching power; and that if you take a good big guy and match him with a good guy that’s smaller, a lot of times the guy that wins is the bigger man. Do you feel like your best asset is that you can go out there and just push him around, impose your will on him and break him down in that way?
CHAVEZ, JR.: Well, it has been said that in boxing that that’s an important factor; that the weight and the bigger person is always going to have the advantage. That I think is true.
But I think with this fight, I’m just focusing on staying strong, making the weight the right way so that I’m in there and able to compete at that level. But I think really that this fight is going to come down to me being intelligent, me being smart, and I think that’s going to be the difference, also.
Q. Do you think you can knock him out?
CHAVEZ, JR.: Yes, I feel I can. I feel that I’m a bigger guy. I fought at light heavyweight. He’s never thought fighters this size, and because of that, if things pan out and I get the right shot, I think of course it can happen.
Q. I know your relationship with Canelo is not good. Is it because he feels that you have not — you have not had to work that hard because of your bloodlines, etc.? Is that why you think that he does not like you?
CHAVEZ, JR.: The answer is, I don’t know specifically why he doesn’t like me or this animosity exists. Maybe because I’m the son of Julio Cesar Chavez, I don’t know. That could be one of the reasons.
You know, we don’t always pick who we’re going to, but I can tell you this: I am the son of a legend, but some of — all of my accomplishments have come from my work. I’m the one who wins these fights, and I think one of the reasons they picked me is because I put on good fights. And I’m the type of fighter that people want to see, and they know that this fight with me will generate bigger revenue, and that’s another reason why this fight is happening.
Q. When you train, do you prefer to have your father around you, or does that sometimes put so much pressure on you? How do you feel about that?
CHAVEZ, JR.: I like my father to be around. It’s okay when he’s around. It’s just important for him to understand that he’s not my trainer. Sometimes we don’t always transmit instructions the way we would like for them to come out, but I have my own trainer. I picked Nacho Beristain, who is a great trainer; one of the best in the history of boxing.
But I will say that a lot of what I learned in boxing, I learned it watching my father as a little kid. I grew up watching him my whole life, and I learned a lot of what I know from watching my father.
Q. What is it that motivates you the most to want to win this fight?
CHAVEZ, JR.: Everything. I want to prove to everybody that I still can be and fight at the very top levels. And also, I want to dedicate this fight, I want to do well and dedicate this fight to my daughters.
Q. Is this a great opportunity and could make you a star again, but what if you lost?
CHAVEZ, JR.: I don’t plan on losing. It’s not something I’m thinking about. This fight and boxing is not about luck. It’s about hard work, and it’s what you have in your heart. And if you work hard and your heart is in it, you’ll have good results.
So no, it’s not luck, I don’t believe in luck, and I don’t plan on losing. So there’s nothing for me to discuss regarding that.
Q. What do you respect about Canelo?
CHAVEZ, JR.: He’s a good fighter. He’s had good fights. He’s fought good people, not always in their prime, but they have been good fighters, and I have respect for anybody who jumps in the ring. Anybody who is willing to go in the ring and fight deserves my respect.
I have no fear of anything, and I don’t fear my opponents. The only thing that I worry about is myself. I’m the only thing that I have to worry about.
Q. You talked a while ago about your pairing with Nacho Beristain for this training camp. What made you make the decision to go work with one of the most revered and respected trainers in boxing? Compared to the other trainers you’ve worked with over the course of your career that got you to obviously a very good record.
CHAVEZ, JR.: So why Nacho? The reason I chose Nacho is that I think he’s a great Mexican trainer, and I think he has the correct character that matches with me. I saw something in him, some type of connection, that I felt would be very good for me.
It wasn’t easy making adjustments. Like anytime you have a new trainer, it’s a difficult transition sometimes. But I felt that throughout the camp, he taught me a lot of things, some things that I changed in my boxing, that I think are going to help me the day of the fight. That’s the reason I chose him.
Q. We just had a spectacular worldwide fight viewed by millions halfway around the world, and the boxing community is still buzzing about it. Are you going to be able to build on that for your fight this weekend? Do you think that is a big advantage and plus for you this weekend?
CHAVEZ, JR.: This last fight this past weekend was exciting. It’s always an exciting event whenever there’s a heavyweight match up at this level, especially two guys who are action fighters and that’s what we saw this past weekend.
And like everything in boxing, it’s about the styles. Good styles create good fights and I think that’s what happened in that fight. And I think that we’re going to build upon that this Saturday, May 6. I think that my style with my opponent is a fight set up for that kind of event: Action fight with two styles that are going to be exciting for the people.
Q. Was there ever a time when things weren’t going so well for you, maybe after the Fonfara fight that you ever thought about hanging it up, or did that never cross your mind?
CHAVEZ, JR.: It may have crossed my mind at some point, obviously after the Fonfara fight and the Reyes fight, those were two fights where I don’t think that I had the same amount of passion that I needed to have.
But this fight is a lot different. This fight has created a lot of passion in me, a lot of enthusiasm, and I think that that’s the difference in this. Excited about this fight, and I think that you’re going to see a different Julio that’s excited.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: We will be sending out information for the coming days in Las Vegas, and we will see you May 6 in the much-anticipated Canelo Alvarez versus Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fight. Thank you very much.