Today's final press conference for the Chavez Jr vs Martinez fight on Saturday night got a little heated all around. Make sure you get to the bottom for the fighter comments if you don't read the whole thing -- they're worth it.
Bob Arum, Top Rank (Chavez Jr's Promoter)
"If there's one thing that has been missed, it's putting this fight in its historical perspective. Today, I ran into people I hadn't seen since the 1970s, when I was promoting fights for Carlos Monzon. And I realized how significant and important major middleweight championship matches have been in the history of boxing. That's why when you talk about UFC, they don't have the history and the background that we in boxing have.
"The great fights between Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta. Marcel Cerdan, the great Frenchman who was a middleweight champion. The great fights between Carlos Monzon and Rodrigo Valdez. Then we had the Marvin Hagler era. The great middleweight championships with Hagler and Hearns, and Hagler and Leonard. And then moving on, Roberto Duran and Iran Barkley and Roy Jones and James Toney. So the middleweight division really has this whole historic aura, which is part of why this event is so significant.
"And believe me -- believe me -- this fight on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack (Center) between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Sergio Martinez will go into the annals of the great, significant middleweight championships in history."
Lou DiBella, DiBella Entertainment (Martinez's Promoter)
"I want to give (Chavez) a lot of credit for taking this fight, for wanting this fight. And his father, nodding his head over there, wanting to kick my ass."
"What happens when the best fight the best? What happens is you sell 19,186 tickets. There's press coverage that's unprecedented, I think, in the middleweight division for a very long time. This is the biggest middleweight fight I've seen for many years. This is the fight that should be happening. This is the fight that is happening."
"The main event here is what it's supposed to be. One of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, a guy whose popularity has increased dramatically. To a young man who's the son of a legend who stepped out of his father's shadow in the last few years."
"(Everyone) was intelligent enough to wait until this became a betting fight, letting it percolate until it became the big fight."
Mark Taffet, HBO Pay-Per-View
"Lou DiBella and Sergio Martinez and his team said, 'We're ready whenever they are.' Bob said, 'When the time is right, you're gonna see that fight.' There were some people who questioned whether he was going to go through with that. We've got the fight that we want. We've got the fight that the fans want. ... (The sell out) tells you that Lou and Bob and the fighters have answered the cry of the public and are delivering the most highly-anticipated fight of the year."
"Sergio for a number of years has been a wonderful man inside and outside of the ring. We're proud of everything he stands for. The history and tradition that the Chavez family stands for, the courage that they show in the ring, the type of fans that they have earned the old-fashioned way -- you can't say enough about them."
Pablo Sarmiento, Martinez's Trainer
"Sergio is in this moment at the best time. The eight weeks of training was really perfect. He's very motivated to shut up Chavez Jr, because he really talked a lot on 24/7, like the chicken that he is. He talks to the cameras but not in front of Sergio. With Sergio, he doesn't look into his eyes. I want you to understand that Sergio will pull off your head."
"When anybody asks who the best trainer in the world is, I say it's Freddie Roach. And really, when you see his work you learn a lot about him."
"But when you saw on 24/7 that Freddie Roach was alone, and Chavez didn't come to train, he showed that he has no respect for boxing, and no respect for his trainer. Because of that, you'll pay a high price. You'll be knocked out by Sergio."
Freddie Roach, Chavez's Trainer
"We've had a little bit of an unusual training camp. Sometimes we train at one in the morning, sometimes at three in the morning, sometimes we finish at 6 am. But we get the work in. We've been working every day. I've had to wait for him a couple times, but for a world champion I will wait."
"This is a great fight, and I'm ready for this one. I've prepared myself for this one. I trained a long time dancing because I don't need much more than that to beat Chavez Jr up. This is good enough to break his face in a thousand pieces. It will not be an easy knockout. I will punish him a lot, and then after that, I will knock him out. He will suffer a lot. I hope that somebody in your corner, the doctor, your team, your management -- be sure that they stop the fight. Because I will never stop. I will continue punishing you."
"I never was a puppet of my promoter. ... I want to fight the best. Not like Junior. I want no optional defense. I want what the people want. You're not supposed to take this fight. It will be very painful for you. I will do it for the Argentinean people, all the Latino people, all the Mexican people that support me. Because you never respect the sport, it's going to be painful for you."
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr
"I'm very happy that the fight is getting very close. Martinez is a liar. Barker and Macklin were not the best challengers. They were picked by his promoter."
"Honestly, everybody knows him. He's a liar. I've seen him on the tapes when he's been knocked out or knocked down, and his eyes are white. He looked pretty good. I don't know how he's going to beat me. ... He only talks bullshit and says he's the best fighter, but in the fight, he runs and runs. He doesn't fight for the people. He doesn't fight for the sport."
"On 24/7, I saw one thing. He said it was very difficult to keep Kelly Pavlik off of him. This Saturday he's going to have me in front of him and all over him."
"I'm not only going to beat you, I'm going to retire you. This Saturday, I'm going to retire you from boxing."
- Sampson Lewkowicz, who advises Martinez, and Fernando Beltran, a co-promoter for Chavez, got into a bit of a debate, and by debate, I mean to say that Lewkowicz basically challenged him to a fight, and Beltran responded by calling him a clown who talks but never does anything.
- Beltran argued with everyone, actually. He challenged Sarmiento to his percentage for the fight as a bet on the fight. He and Lou DiBella got into a verbal scuffle over Beltran saying that usually Sergio fights at small venues and this will be his big fight debut. The best part of that was DiBella saying that this is Sergio's second-straight sellout, the last at Madison Square Garden, which was actually at the MSG Theater (about 5K capacity). Beltran responded, "Oh, the Theater!"
- After Sergio's verbal assault from hell, Bob Arum took the mic not to introduce Chavez, but to basically give him a pep talk and say he's proud of him. It was really weird. Very, "You can do this, Jimmy! Believe in yourself! Don't be afraid!"
- Julio Cesar Chavez Sr has this hilariously rude and arrogant habit of just speaking over anyone who dares translate his words to English, and since I don't know Spanish it was impossible for me to get a section up there for his quotes, but he did say that Sergio "is going to have to eat all the shit that he's been talking."
- Daniel Geale, who will attend the fight, was at the presser, and DiBella acknowledged him in the audience, offering congratulations for his title unification on September 1.
- Martinez is about a 2-to-1 favorite right now, but there's talk that by the time the fight is on, it could be even money.