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Thank you very much. And thank you to all the media to be on today's call. I’m really excited. My first boxing conference call after almost three years out of the sport. So, I'm really excited to be at it again.
And what better way to do it than with a double header like this? It’s rare enough to have a match up like Jesus Cuellar versus Abner Mares, which has fight of the year written all over it.
But to have Jermall Charlo versus Julian Williams which is another fight of the year candidate - I can tell you that right now. To have two fight of the year candidates, it's like today's day and age almost unheard of. And so, it really is a very special treat.
I want to thank first and foremost the fighters for agreeing to these great up match-ups. I want to thank SHOWTIME for the commitment to the sport, to showcase fights like that. Stephen Espinoza goes out there and wants to put together competitive match-ups. And I think he is doing an absolutely terrific job.
But before we begin, I just want to make a brief comment. The sport of boxing lost a great friend yesterday, Todd Harlib, who could be seen in countless fighter's quarters including Jermall Charlo, who is on the phone with us today.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and the whole boxing community at this time. So, I'm very sorry about having to report this.
This fight here which we're discussing today is without any question one of the best fights which can be made in the sport, irrespective of weight class. It is a fight which was really demanded by fight fans and by media.
A lot of people wondered if it was ever going to happen? And here it is. Here it is, one of the most talked about fights, one of the most asked for fights to be seen live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on December 10th as part of this terrific double header with Cuellar and Mares.
The fight is in association with Premier Boxing Champions live from the Galen Center at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles which is a terrific new state-of-the-art arena where the basketball and volleyball teams of the university play as well. It has hosted a fight there as well before with the heavyweight title fight with Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola.
So, if you live in and around the Los Angeles area or somewhere in Southern California, please, make sure you come out and be part of this terrific doubleheader. Tickets are available and are starting at as little as $35.00. Fantastic seats for $35.00
To purchase tickets, please, go to www.galentix.com.
It is a pleasure now to introduce to you our co-promoter. This fight is a co-promotion between Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions. Tom Brown is very familiar with the arena there at the Galen Center. He was the one who put together the fight with Stiverne and Arreola back in the days. And so it's a pleasure now to turn it over to Tom Brown to make a few comments.
Well, thank you very much, Richard. I just want to say that TGB Promotions is thrilled to be partnered once again with Stephen Espinoza and the great team at SHOWTIME along with Richard Schaefer and Ringstar Sports.
I'm also happy to back on the beautiful campus of the University of Southern California at the Galen Center.
The idea of championship fight between Charlo and Julian Williams is - as Richard just mentioned - is a can't miss match-up between two of the best junior middleweights in the world.
So, this, along with the main event - the WBA Featherweight Championship fight between Cuellar and Mares makes it a can't miss night. And like Richard said, two possible fight of the year candidate fights.
Richard and I are working out putting together an action packed under card which will be announced very soon. So, we're looking forward to a great night on December 10th at a great venue with even greater fights. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Tom. Now the next man I'm going to introduce is a good friend of mine. We have known each other for a long time. And we put together some of the biggest fights in the past. Back in 2013 when we were on fire.
Everybody recognized SHOWTIME as the leader in the sport of boxing. And that is because of Stephen Espinoza. Stephen is first and foremost a fan. And he likes to sit there and see great match ups. And that's exactly what you're getting here.
So, we as fight fans. We as members from the media being promoters or whatever, we can really benefit from Stephen's passion of putting together these amazing fights.
So, it's a pleasure for me to introduce to you now - I know his title is Executive Vice President in charge of Sports but I'm calling him the President of SHOWTIME Sports. I always - and I always did that. Remember?
Yes, you're right. Since the first day I had this job. Thank you, Richard. We're thrilled to be working with Richard and Ringstar and Tom Brown and TGB once again. And a special welcome Richard, who we are happy to see back in the sport. Not just because he's my friend but because he is one of the standup guys in the sport. Very professional and a straight shooter. It's something that this sport can use more of.
So, the combination of Tom and Richard is two straight arrows - as straight as they come. And I'm thrilled to be working with both of them.
This year SHOWTIME really has continued to deliver the biggest and best fights. And I think there's really no question that we've had the strongest lineup of the best and most significant match ups of any network in boxing.
2016 so far has included two fight of the year contenders, a KO of the year contender. Fight after fight of top ten opponent versus top ten.
And as we wrap 2016 and go into 2017, we are definitely looking to keep that momentum going. We recently announced seven great match ups - 14 top 10 fighters taking on each other – in six world title fights.
And we could go on and on about the numbers. Three fights which are number one versus number two in the division. But among the pleasures of doing that is getting to make fights like this one.
Ever since Floyd retired, going on a little more than a year ago, there's one question that personally I get and all of us here at SHOWTIME get consistently.
And that's, you know, who's the next star? Who's the next super star? Who's going to be carrying the sport going forward. And the good thing about this sport of boxing is that that gets determined in the ring. I can't tell you.
Even if I were to pick two or there that I thought would develop that way, look - they've got to perform in the ring. But it's fights like this one. Like, Jermall Charlo versus Julian Williams, that determine who are the next stars.
We've got two young fighters in the peaks of their career. One world champion who's established himself as really one of the future stars of the sport. And taking on one of the toughest contenders in any division in Williams.
We're very proud of both of these fighters. They both been home grown here on SHOWTIME. Jermall has fought with us five times before. Julian has been on SHOWTIME seven times. So, we're proud that both of the role that SHOWTIME has played in both their careers.
But more importantly, we're proud that these guys stepped up to take this kind of fight. Jermall Charlo was seen as one of the most exciting, young, champions in the sport. He's defended that title successfully, built a fan base in his hometown of Houston, and really looks to really take over the division and elevate to the star echelon of the sport.
Julian Williams has been a guy that people have quietly identified as one of the rising stars for quite some time. I know he's been patiently waiting - and sometimes not so patiently waiting - for his shot. And so I know he'll be ready.
I think it's somewhat fitting that this fight is taking on December 10th, a week before the very legendary Philadelphia world champion Bernard Hopkins retires. Philly fighters are a long tradition. And it takes a lot of work and a special kind of individual to be called a Philly fighter. Just fighting in Philly doesn't make you a Philly fighter. And I know Julian is poised to carry that title of Philly fighter very proudly and actively for many years to come.
So, of all the fights that we've announced. And there's a lot of quality fights. This fight - the Charlo-Williams fight - is one of the ones that I'm most excited about. Two young guys at the peaks of their career really battling to determine who could be controlling this division for a long time to come.
This will help determine who are the future stars of our sport. Richard?
Thank you very much, Stephen, very well said. And for me, we all know they are terrific fighters. They're both are undefeated. I've known them - both of them - for a long time. I've been involved with many of their fights.
They are terrific young men outside of the ring as well. And just as good as it gets inside of the ring. So, they're really - both of them - they carry the total package. And you're right, Stephen, he has patience and sometimes not so patiently been waiting.
It is a pleasure for me now to introduce to you Julian Williams, who is trained by Stephen Edwards. He's the number one ranked contender by the IBF in the Junior Middleweight division. And he secured his top ranking after stopping Marcello Matano in the 7th round in March.
He's undefeated with a record of 22-0-1, 14 knockouts, Julian Williams.
Hey, how's everybody doing? First I want to send my thoughts prayers out to Todd Harlib and his whole family and loved ones. He was a great guy. He was a great cut man and even better guy. And I consider him as a friend. I think it's a sad time right now, so, I just want to do that first of all.
Training's been going really well. We've got a really good team and lots of good sparring. We have a really good camp so far. I think this is a really, really good fight. I think it was a fight that hardcore boxing fans needed to see.
It's a fight that had to happen. I commend Charlo for stepping up and being a true champion. And I want to show the world what I already know. I'm extremely motivated. And I know Jermall is motivated too.
So, I think you guys are going to see a real shoot-out. He's got all the tools and skills. And I've got all the tools and skills. And you're going to see who comes out on top on this night.
And I'm 100% sure it'll be me.
. Now Jermall Charlo and his brothers, well, I've known them since their first fight. And what a journey it has been.
Today he is the undefeated IBF Junior Middleweight World Champion. He's training with Ronnie Shields. One of the most legendary trainers out of Houston, Texas.
He won his title by stopping Cornelius Bundrage in the third-round last September. And has defended his belt already twice including a unanimous decision victory over former - very game world champion - Austin Trout in May.
And it's a pleasure now for me to introduce to you again, somebody I've introduced before many times. The IBF Junior Middleweight World Champion, Jermall Charlo.
Thank you, Richard. Like Julian said, Todd was my man. And I want to give his family and everyone that's close to Todd my prayers and my condolences.
I hear Julian talk about he's 100% ready. And he's 100% sure he's going to win this fight. But I've heard that before. I'm ready for the stakes. I'm ready for this level. Sorry the fight took so long. It wasn't necessarily up to me. But I think everything happens for a reason. And it's perfect timing and I can't wait to get in there and show the world what I'm actually made of against a guy that's so highly confident about the things that I do.
Okay. I agree with you. Things do happen for a reason. I'm very happy that I'm the one who has the honor to promote this fight and this entire card. I know it's going to be toe-to-toe battles with the two of you.
And I know with Cueller and Mares as well. They say styles make fights. I think those styles of those four fighters are perfectly done. And I just can't wait for December 10th at the Galen Center and live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
We are going to open it now to the media for questions for any of the participants on the call.
Jermall, I know that you had to have a procedure that you did voluntarily on your eye. Can you give me any details about that? What exactly was the issue? Was it just a matter of, like, you're as blind as a bat? Or was there something else that was going on there?
It wasn't necessarily voluntarily. I pretty much had some vision problems up to my last fight in Las Vegas.
I fought the fight. I adjusted myself to be able to fight unclear. So now I got the procedure done. Yes, the fight was supposed to happen in October. And I wanted it then. But it was just for me to be able to clear the medical exam. Less stress now to go ahead and go 20/20 and I'm ready now.
Like I said everything happens for a reason. And crystal clear vision is one of the things that helps me make the fight easier.
And which eye was it, by the way, Jermall?
Both of them? Okay, and now you feel like a new person?
I'm 110%, crystal clear, I'm good. I'm ready.
How much better will that make you? That you can now see clearly. I mean your fighting skills are one thing. But now you can see the target, obviously, much better it sounds like. I mean do you think that will make you a much better, precise fighter?
It gives me a lot more confidence. Of course, it's something important and I probably had to get it. I haven't fought with crystal clear vision my whole life.
So now I'm even more motivated motivated. I'm eager to get in there to see what the new person is like.
Did you think about having this earlier in your career?
Yes, I always wanted it. I always wanted it. But I'm a superstitious guy. So, I like to keep things, the way I always wanted. It’s just something I feel like it's going to take me to the next level.
Some people suggested maybe he would vacate the title and go up to middleweight to not fight you. When all that was happening and you were sitting there as a mandatory for him - what was your personal feeling about what was going on?
I didn't really know about the medical situation until about mid-September.
I actually thought that he would fight. And not think about the notion that he would vacate. The fact that he kept complaining about weight the previous fights. If the fight was being delayed, people are going to start saying this is how boxing is.
But I didn't think that he was - I thought that he was putting the fight off for whatever reason. But like I said, at the time I didn't know what the reason was.
All that is under the bridge. It doesn't even matter anymore. The fight is December 10th. You know what I mean. He said he's going to bring his A game. He's got 20/20 vision. I had 20/20 vision my whole life. Now we're even.
So, there will be no excuses.
When you found out that it was finally done and it was good to go. And SHOWTIME was going to announce it and the fight was on. What was your feeling? Was it relief? Was it excitement?
I just felt like I wanted to get to work. The whole process has made me practice my patience.
I wasn't overly excited because I knew I would fight for the world title my next fight with someone. I was more so like let's look at the work. I want to start training camp immediately and get myself ready to win.
Was there any frustration that you guys were not in the main event? And that you're in a co-feature. Or did you kind of understand because Abner Mares is Southern California. And that's the reason why you guys are put in the co-feature.
Richard Schaefer is a good promoter. He has a lot of experience in the game. I'm not worried about being the opening or the main event or any of that.
Of course, I'm tired of being in second place. I feel like Kevin Durant. But it's not in the sense of, like, nothing I can do about it.
And then Julian, same question for you. Is there any surprise that you guys were put in the co-feature and not the main event?
To be honest with you, I didn't really even think about it. I just want to get in the ring and put some gloves on so we can get this thing going.
I think everything happens for a reason. Abner Mares is a really good fighter. He's like a three division champion. He earned his stripes.
So, obviously, we've got more work to do before we can headline the card. So, I didn't think about it and on top on of that I never thought about.
The fact is you're absolutely right. Each one of those events could be a main event. And in any other network would be a main event. Some other networks would probably even make it a pay-per-view.
So, that's how good this card is. It could have very easily brrn Charlo-Williams is the main event if it would have been in Philly. It would have been. If it would have been in Houston, it would have been.
It's in LA in Southern California. So, that's why we have Cuellar and Mares. This is about creating excitement. It's about the fans and so on. All four of those guys are just terrific champions. That's what they are. Terrific people. It doesn't really impact one way or the other.
And I'll add from the network perspective, one of the things that we were grateful for in working with fighters like these and promotors like Tom and Richard is, what we want to put together as far as blockbuster events, we don't have those ego problems.
Richard is absolutely right. Not every network programs this way. But what we're trying to do - we as a group of fighters, promoters, managers, is show off the best this sport has to offer.
So, we're really over delivering on each card. This clearly could've been a main event in Houston or Philly or anywhere else. But the idea was, this was going to be a slate of A++ level fights top to bottom.
And that requires the commitment of everybody. And people realizing it’s about not having ego. And just realizing that rising tide lifts all boats.
Jermall, where do you think Julian Williams rates as an opponent?
We're both on the way up to the top level. He’s definitely one of my best opponents up to this date. He's hungry as me. I'm not necessarily worried about any of the things he said about being as hungry as he is to be fighting me. I was that guy too. Being ready to fight K9 and waiting and waiting.
He's my toughest opponent. And I'm ready for it.
Tell us about taking this fight. And why it's important to you.
Every fight is a hard fight. Every fight I have to come out and give my best and be on my A-game. So it's a good fight to me technically. This is the Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins back in middleweight type of fight. We're going to get down and get ready. I'm ready for it.
This part of our legacy is everything that I've wanted, growing up as a young fighter, young champion. Seeing these great fights being broadcast on SHOWTIME. And it's, like, now is my turn. And I have to deliver everything that I've always wanted. And that is something I've been waiting for.
And it just so happens it has to be Julian Williams. And like I said we both came up the hard route. It wasn't, like, as easy as I give my hand off to my challenger being one of the best in the world. And that's kind of what I want to be classified as.
Julian, also, you've been very vocal about this fight. Tell us why you're so confident you're going to be able to win this fight.
I'm confident because of what I can do.
I'm confident because I want to be the junior middleweight champion of the world. I think Jermall's a good fighter. But he doesn't recognize the scene before. He's engaged, strong, and fast. I just want to make sure we have no excuses about weight and that kind of talk.
No weight problem. There's no weight problem. Get that out of your mind. There's no weight problem. I’ll tell you everybody knows.
You had talked about Todd Harlib earlier. Can you elaborate on what he meant to you? And the confidence he brought to you as a cutman?
Todd taught me a lot. He meant a lot to me also. Ronnie Shields and Todd elaborated about how long they'd been around the boxing game and seen the same things they're seeing now.
Todd, meant a lot. Just spoke to him, like, a couple of days ago because he sent me a few guys to work with. I know he had went over to Russia and caught a little bug. But I didn't think it would be nothing. I prayed for him. And hoped he got better.
It's like I said, it just happened to be something that, I can't control. So, I just have to keep fighting. And hope that my next cut man is just as good as Todd. I've even been across the ring and looked at Todd working on another guy. And he came talked to me and let me know that it was just all business. And Jermall, just stay focused. Don't worry about anybody.
I'm just putting the fight in God's hands. And hoping that I never have to need the urgency to need Todd again.
I spoke to Ronnie, he said that you told him that this fight is going to be a little more special because you're going to possibly dedicate this fight to him. Is that going to take any form representing his name on your robe or your trunks or anything like that?
Yes, I'm dedicating this fight to Todd. Actually once we map everything out. But I want to keep talking about it.
I dedicate this fight to Todd. He’s a real close friend of mine. And it's just unfortunate for me to have to get in the locker room and not have Todd helping me out and everything like that. So of course, I feel some sadness about him not being here. But I know he's in good hands. So that's the main thing.
Is this fight right here the first one that really will test you and perhaps take you to the next level and start to light that fuse for you?
Yes, definitely. Definitely. Whenever you've got a 50/50 fight, two guys 26-years-old both in the prime of their careers. It's going to be a test for both fighters.
It’s rare we see two fighters get in the ring in this type of fight. So I think it's definitely the first step in building my legacy.
Richard, what does this fight represent in the scheme of this division which is a stacked division and these two fighters in particular?
I think you have two of the best fighters in their division fighting in this particular fight. And so this is an extremely significant fight for the division. And these are two - somebody said before - these are two young undefeated and confident fighters who dare to be great.
At this point in their career fighting each other they dare to be great. And that is. These kinds of fights will separate one from the other. And I think the sky is the limit here for within that division and potentially other divisions.
But that's how you build a champion into a star and then a super star. These kinds of fights, you know, these kinds of meaningful fights. And in order for that to happen, you need to have two fighters who are willing to challenge themselves.
And as I said, dare to be great.
Jermall, what weaknesses do you see in Julian Williams that you plan to exploit on fight night?
Nothing, he's a strong guy. Whatever you all want to say about him. He's good, old-school fighter. I'm tired of hearing questions about what he's done or what he does.
I'm a champion for a reason. I'm staying champion. I don't plan on moving. I don't plan on none of that stuff that you all talked about. I'm good.
What do you consider your biggest advantage going into this fight?
That I'm not supposed to go and be in some superstar. Look. It's a business. I'm betting and fighting for everything that boxing has to offer.
And my advantage is being focused and humble and strong-minded like I've always been.
For both fighters, how important is building a new chapter in your career? And maybe a new idol in boxing.
Oh, it's an extremely big fight. I think whoever wins this fight is going to be considered the best junior middleweight in the world. I think whoever wins the fight will have the most significant win in the junior middleweight division.
I think since Canelo was basically says he's not fighting in this division. Whoever wins the fight is going to be king of the division.
So, I think it's extremely, extremely important.
Very big fight, very important fight for me, clinch the division. It's going to be a good fight, man. I'm ready to just give everything I have. It’s going to be a good fight for me. And it's going to be a good fight for Julian. We both hit it big and we both need to give the fans what they want to see. So, it's that time.
Richard, how important for you was what this first event with Ringstar Sports would be? And for Stephen, how important was having these great fights for Showtime this year?
Well, from the SHOWTIME perspective, our goal is to provide spectacular fights every month or more often if we can. Sometimes dues to scheduling or injuries or things, there are some gaps in our schedule.
But once we came back, we wanted to end the year strong. And really, send a message about our commitment to the sport. So, with the help of the promotors, the managers, and most importantly the fighters, we're able to put together a slate that is stronger than anything we've seen again in recent boxing programming schedule. It really is all without the use of pay-per-view. And it's all top guy versus top guy.
It's something that is very special to us. We're very proud of. And we're looking to continue it throughout all of 2017.
Well, and for me, I think my reputation speaks for itself. I like to put together big events, significant fights, and that's what I've always done.
And this right here is no exception to come back and together promote a card which consists without any question of two potential Fight of the Year candidates. Two barn burners in one night is a dream come true.
And to do that for my hometown. To do it from the University of Southern California, USC, Galen Center the newest indoor venue in Los Angeles. And the university where two of my sons go to school. It's a very special night for me.
And it's a very special night as well because Charlo and Williams and Mares and Cuellar - I have known these young men for a long time. So really it's nice - it's like a coming home or coming back.
Since this was the last question, I understand, I'd like to thank you all. But I want to make one comment. Yes, they both have 20/20 vision. But let there be no question about it. The name of this card is 50/50. And you know why it's 50/50.
Because these two fights are 50/50 fights. And so, may the better man win that night. As a fan, I'm excited. I can't wait for December 10th. Please, please, make it out to Galen Center. For $35.00 you can watch two of the best fights of the year in one night at the Galen Center. Or if you can't make it there. Then make sure you turn in on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING at 10:00 pm ET/7:00 pm PT. I'm looking forward to see you all during fight week. And thank you very much.
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