Below are quotes from the call’s participants:
WBC Emeritus & The Ring Middleweight Champion, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez:
“It definitely wasn’t a lucky punch (vs. Paul Williams II). Anybody who has seen the tape – it’s not too long – see me throwing the same punch six times and landing five and then I knock him out. It was a premeditated punch, not lucky.”
“Like Lou said, he wants me to knock this boy out; however, people don’t know the quality of this champ to knock him out. I need to do the job and I’m ready to fight, if I knock him out or go the distance. But I will predict a knockout. I’m ready for either.”
“I’m very happy and content that I finally got my dues (after Williams II) to be recognized. It’s because of the hard work in the gym that I was able to come up with this victory.”
“I never want an easy fight. I want to fight the best. Mayweather cannot fight me; Manny Pacquiao cannot fight me. So, I need to fight somebody very challenging and the best opponent, or the best challenger, is Sergiy Dzinziruk. Nobody else is left.”
“Everybody’s wrong. The fight was officially made by HBO and HBO got the best available opponent, Dzinziruk, because he has the credentials. I didn’t lose the title, only for a few months, because after I beat Dzinziruk, whoever is at 160 (pounds) I want to fight, regardless of whom it’ll be. And I have no issues with that and nobody forced me to fight because I only want to fight the best.”
“I believe that in a way I gave up the title because I have a promise to fight Zbik and I needed to give up the title. However, I’m very proud and honored to be fighting for the Diamond belt that, I believe, is the most beautiful belt I’ve ever seen. There is lots of prestige to be part of that and I thank the WBC for this great opportunity and the WBC never closed to door to me, to the contrary, the WBC opened the door. Today, I am who I am.”
“It’s really a pity in my case because of problems fighting opponents or challenges. I’m not thinking of going up to 168 (pounds) because I’d be too small physically. So, I plan to stay at 160 for the rest of the year and then see what it takes for the future. I believe I’m too small for ’68. I will give too much of an advantage to 168-pounders.”
“I’m surprised that he (Dzinziruk) talked like that (“Sergio isn’t special”). But he will find out March 12th that he was wrong. I believe I have something special.”
“Really, this is the hardest training camp I’ve ever had. Former two-time champion, Daniel Santos, is with me, who fought Dzinziruk, and the other (sparring partner), Austin Trout, is the WBA 154-pound champion. I have the best sparring partners I can get.”
“I know very well…I’ve fought similar guys (to Dzinziruk) several times in Europe, but the problem is, no press in America know them. I’m used to it and he will use all of his intelligence against me and wait for me to make a mistake to counterpunch. I know what I need to do to avoid any complications. So, I have no problem with that.”
“It was very hard and sad to give up the title. I wanted to defend that title every time I could until the end of my career. But at this time I’m happy with the outcome, if my next fight after this I will recoup the title. I will demand to fight for the title, on behalf of my promoter, if he wants me to fight at 160, so (the winner of) Zbik and Chavez Jr. must face me or give up the title to me.”
“It (Feb. 21 was his birthday) was a very happy day for me. I got up at four in the morning, as normally, and finished training at 10 o’clock at night. It was no different except that I received phone calls of congratulations from all over the world and that was happy for me. But I worked normal like every day.”
“I will never celebrate - I dislike parties - after the fight. I like to be with my close friends and have dinner. That’s special. No, I won’t party after any fight. I don’t like parties.”
“I need to dictate the pace of the fight. I will not allow him to dictate. I’m the champion and I want to be the pound-for-pound best. So, I need to prove I can dictate the fight. The strategy I plan to use is being discussed. I just started discussing it with my trainer, Gabriel Sarmiento, because we do that the last week. For now, the only thing I do is training like I would train for any other fight.”
“It will be very good for Cotto, for me, and the fans so maybe it can happen in 2011.” (In regard to a fight between Martinez and Miguel Cotto.)
Martinez’ Advisor, Sampson Lewkowicz:
“I’m very happy to be part of Team Martinez and I definitely believe I have an excellent promoter who did a great job bringing Martinez to this position. Let’s hear from the champion, a great champion in and out of the ring, Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez.”
“He (Sergio) will not get in the ring with somebody who doesn’t have the stature. He will not do it.”
“He’s never talked about money. Every time when there are negotiations with Sergio Martinez and his team, there never was an issue and that is unheard of. He is the champion of the press; he is always available for the press.”
Statement from Martinez’ Trainer, Gabriel Sarmiento (read by Martinez’ strength-and-conditioning coach Cicilio Flores):
“Gabriel apologizes. He couldn’t be here today and in fact he’s training Javier Fortuna right now, who will also be on the undercard. Victor Cayo, he’s training him now, as well as Victor Gonzalez. Again, he apologizes for not being on this conference call. It’s very important to him but all he needs to say is his fighter, Sergio Martinez, is having the best training camp and one of the hardest training camps. In fact, he is hitting harder today than his last fight against Paul Williams. He is guaranteeing a knockout. He is very excited about this fight and he isn’t taking Dzinziruk lightly at all.
Promoter of “Diamond Elite” and Martinez, Lou DiBella:
“I want to point out that, even since our call (on Tues., Mar. 1), tickets are moving very, very well at Foxwoods. I’m urging people to get their tickets as quickly as possible, particularly at lower price ranges because those are moving very quickly and there are still some great ringside seats available. But I’m very, very happy with the performance of the event at the site and I think we’re going to have a great crowd at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods. As everyone knows it’s going to be televised by HBO Sports and Andy Lee and Craig McEwan are in the opening fight.
“The fact that this fight is happening is a tribute to the type of champion Sergio Martinez is. In a lot of ways this is a no-win fight: this is the best fighter in the world, Dzinziruk, that no one knows. He is a very difficult guy to fight because of his defensive style, because of his great jab, his movement, and he’s a very well skilled guy. He’s really unknown in this country, but this is the fight HBO wanted. They wanted Sergio in a difficult match-up and it’s typically Sergio Martinez’ way. Sergio said, ‘Put him in front of me and I’m going to fight him,’ and he is. He is the boss and that’s why he’s become the ‘People’s Champion.’ He lost his WBC title and he’s now fighting for the Diamond title. Honestly, he’s doing that because he’s fighting the best and this is why he has captured the imaginations of so many boxing fans and why everybody is looking forward to March 12th to see this fighter and what he brings.
“Certainly, I’m proud to have Sampson Lewkowicz, the great boxing guy and one of the smartest men in the sport and great judge of talent, as my partner and Sergio’s advisor. I wouldn’t be promoting Sergio Martinez if Sampson didn’t bring it to my attention and that’s been one of the most fortunate things to happen to my company in recent years. Certainly, promoting Sergio Martinez has been an absolute pleasure.”
“Obviously, Sergio is looking for the biggest fights possible. We pursued the possibilities with Cotto and had conversations with Arum but the fight didn’t materialize. He (Arum) wasn’t interested in reaching out beyond his stable. But this is the most difficult fight; this is the toughest fighter out there. I said it’s a no-win situation, but if Sergio knocks this guy out at least intelligent people in boxing and the people who’ve seen Dzinziruk fight will know what an accomplishment it is.
“It’s just unfortunate that with a fight of this degree of difficulty, that the public doesn’t know the opponent. The opponent is a champion in his own right. He’s in his mid-thirties and never lost a fight and has had loads of successful title defenses. He’s a very, very good fighter. And this is consistent with Sergio’s pattern: from Kermit Cintron to Paul Williams, to Kelly Pavlik, to Paul Williams, and now to Sergiy Dzinziruk. There’s not a single fighter in the sport, not one, that’s gone through a ‘Murderer’s Row’ like that in recent fights. And like I said, that’s a credit to the greatness of Sergio Martinez.”
“One thing that makes Sergio so unusual is, yeah, I felt the way I felt, but his attitude was, ‘if they think this is the hardest guy, put him in front of me.’ There haven’t been guys like that I’ve had. I’ve promoted guys before that don’t shy away from challenges, but I’ve never had a guy like this whose attitude is: if you think this guy is the hardest, then that’s who I want to fight.”
“If HBO holds true with that as their principle goal, forward through the rest of the year and holds everybody to the same standard, then you’ll never hear a peep out of us about them insisting on us fighting anybody. And the truth is, what Sergio said is 100-percent the reality because he didn’t make a peep out of fighting Dzinziruk because he realized that’s who they wanted him to fight, and when he knew he was going to be paid appropriately, he was gung-ho to do it. “
“Sergio is studying English and his teacher is Nadia (Sergio’s translator). She’s really good and after he beats Dzinziruk, I’m going to twist his arm to say a few words in English at the press conference.”
“People who want to watch Cotto will have to pay about $50 to watch it and the same people, in all probability if they’re boxing fans and have HBO, will go back-and-forth. They’ll buy pay-per-view and go back-and-forth to watch both shows because that’s how hardcore boxing fans are. But I’m confident people want to see Sergio Martinez and that we have a great doubleheader on HBO that people will watch. So, sometimes, there are two fight cards in one night and it’s unfortunate. I prefer that there be only one – it’s better for the sport but people who have HBO don’t have to pay extra money to see this fight but they have to pay $50 to see Cotto. So, I’m guessing that even the people buying the Cotto show will switch the channel to watch Sergio Martinez.”
Tickets for “Diamond Elite: Martinez vs. Dzinziruk” are priced at $450, $250, $125, $75, and $50, and are available now through the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods box office. Tickets can be purchased online at www.mgmatfoxwoods.com, by calling the box office at 1-866-646-0609, or in person at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods box office.