Los Angeles, CA (June 28th, 2007 – In a highly anticipated match and can’t miss candidate for Fight of the Year, WBO welterweight champion Antonio Margarito will defend his belt against undefeated, No. 1-ranked and mandatory challenger, Paul “The Punisher” Williams in the main event of “Pride N’ Punishment” on Saturday, July 14, in the outdoor tennis stadium at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The 12-round bout, presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions, will be televised on HBO “World Championship Boxing.”
“The winner of this fight is the preeminent welterweight in the world — and that includes (Miguel) Cotto or anyone else in the 147-pound division,’’ promoter Dan Goossen said. Tickets for “Pride N’ Punishment” are available for as low as $25, with VIP floor seats priced at $300. Other tickets in the bowl are available at $50, $75 and $150 and are on sale at TicketMaster outlets and online at www.Ticketmaster.com, as well as The Home Depot Center Box Office (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Group tickets are available online at www.aegtickets.com or by calling 1-877-AEG-TICKETS. The first bout will begin at 5:30 p.m. PT.
Question: Antonio, are you doing anything differently in training for this fight? Does Paul Williams present a different type of challenge for you than some of the other guys who you have defended your title against?
Margarito: We have been doing different things. Not every fighter is the same fighter, so on July 14, you will definitely see a new and different Antonio Margarito.
Question: Paul, what kind of challenge does it present to you to fight a guy like Margarito? Can you compare him to any of the fighters you have fought?
Williams: No sir. Like he said, every fighter fights differently. I am (fighting) the best fighter in the whole world. I am not taking him lightly. I know he has power in both his hands. Anything he brings to us, I am prepared for.
Question: Antonio, have there been any injuries?
Margarito: Camp has been going great. No injuries whatsoever. I am happy, positive, and I am anxious to get in the ring.
Question: Paul, has there been any distractions to take away from the training?
Williams: No injuries or anything. Just going through the pain, blood, sweat and tears. That is all you can go through. It is just a one-night chance. I am blessed and I am happy with the way things are going. We are very confident that we are going to win this fight. You will see some fireworks, believe me. There is going to be another Fourth of July.
Question: Antonio, in your last fight with Joshua Clottey, he seemed to give you trouble in the beginning. Even though Williams is a different fighter and has a different style, is there anything in your training you have done to adjust to avoid any problems coming up again?
Margarito: I do not want to make any excuses, but a lot of different things happened during that training camp. It was not a good training camp. Yes, you did see a rough Antonio Margarito there, but you are not going to see that same person on July 14. You will see a whole different fighter there, a very different fighter.
Question: Antonio, you are not used to fighting fighters who are taller than you. How much is that going to be a factor?
Margarito: It should not be a problem. We have got some sparring. We were able to find tall sparring partners. I have fought fighters that have been somewhat taller, maybe not as tall as Paul, but that should not be a problem. We have been training real hard for this type of fight.
Question: Paul, why at your age and with your experience do you feel you are ready to fight one of the top world class fighters like Antonio Margarito, and defeat him on July 14?
Williams: I believe I proved to myself and I have proved to the world that I deserve a title shot. I feel like it is my time. I have been doing this going on eight years. I want to put my mark in the boxing record books as one of the greats. I do not want to fight any easy fight. I want the hard fights. Bottom line, it is my time. I am hungry for it; I have starved for this since day one.
Question: Antonio, do you agree that it seems that whenever you fight difficult fights such as the one you are going into, you come out very well prepared.
Margarito: Yes, sometimes the fights that seemed like they were going to be the most difficult seemed to be the easiest because of my preparation. Everything has been going perfectly, so I feel very confident I will be victorious on July 14.
Question: Paul, how has training in Puerto Rico been helpful to your career compared to other training camps that you have had in the U.S.?
Williams: It has been going very well. It was too cold in Washington D.C. with the ice and snow. So we came to Puerto Rico where it is always hotter. Everybody sends a lot of love down here. I am prepared. Everything is convenient. I am a blessed man to be where I am at today and I am going to prove it July 14. I train hard and will come out as a world champion.
Question: Paul, you come from South Carolina and Georgia, where there is not a whole lot of boxing there. How did you get into boxing?
Williams: Well, there is a friend of the family. He is my mom’s best friend and he was an amateur coach. He trained my brother and I in the sport. We fell in love with it. We messed around at 160 and then came down to 147 because the weight was so easy to make. I feel comfortable at 147, so we wanted to get a belt at 147 and then possibly move up to 160.
Question: Who has been your toughest fight so far?
Williams: Walter Matthysse has been my toughest fight.
Question: Why was he your toughest?
Williams: He had power in both hands. You had to be ready every minute of the fight because any time he hits you, he could take you out. Of course, I train myself for that and that is why I am ready for Margarito. I know he has power in both hands. I am going to be on my p’s and q’s and do what I do best and that is punish people.
Question: Antonio, do you feel this is the most difficult opponent you have had to face?
Margarito: No, I do not feel that this is the most difficult opponent I have faced. I have faced tough opponents with more experience and tougher fighters. I am well prepared for this fight and well prepared for Paul. I will be in there ready for everything he has to give. I am going to give my best too. I feel very confident I am going to be victorious in this fight.
Question: Dan, can you give your thoughts on why you are so confident that your kid will win?
Goossen: We always have the confidence, whether or not we won the purse bid or not. The bottom line is that Paul and Bob said that the best way to prove you are the best is to fight the best and be the king of the mountain. That is what we need in boxing. You have (Miguel) Cotto who just beat Judah – he has brought a lot of attention to this 147 pound division. You have Margarito who has defended his title numerous times and is considered the most feared welterweight in the world. You have Paul Williams who realizes that assimilating victory, an exciting victory over Antonio Margarito, puts him right at the top of the heap, eye to eye with anybody out there – De La Hoya, Mayweather, Cotto, it does not matter. Those are the big fights. We said it on a press conference awhile back. This is like a remake of the Hearns-Leonard-Duran era where you just had all these three guys fighting each other and really bringing a lot of excitement to the boxing world, and that is what I see with Williams. I believe everyone will be a winner because it is going to be a great fight. I am that confident in this fight, but I am confident that Williams is the best 147 pounder in the world.
Question: Antonio, you are saying that you are going to change totally. What’s going to change?
Margarito: You are going to be seeing the same Margarito in the fight – a fighter that goes in and gives all his heart and fights for the people. I am fighting a different fighter. I am fighting Paul Williams who is a southpaw. I have to make adjustments and I have to make changes and that is why I say you are going to see a different Antonio. You will still see the same Antonio — there with the heart, with the Mexican pride, that wants to put on great fights for his people.
Question: Bob, the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight was supposed to be the fight to save boxing. We all know how that went. Then Judah versus Cotto was such a great fight that that fight seemed to be a fight that saved us from the fight that was supposed to save boxing. Do you think Margarito-Williams will be as exciting as Cotto and Judah was?
Arum: You cannot predict with certainty how a fight is going to unfold. However, based on what I have seen of the styles of these fighters, it cannot help but be an exciting fight. Now, how exciting compared to Cotto-Judah? We will have to see. But certainly, it is going to be more exciting in the ring than De La Hoya-Mayweather.
Question: Paul, you remind a lot of people of Tommy Hearns, but who were some of the fighters that you looked up to when you were a kid and who were some of the fighters that you would compare yourself to today?
Williams: Not being ignorant or cocky, I never looked at the fights back in the days. When I got into boxing, I found there were guys that were in the gym as amateurs moving up. I just learned different styles from them and made them into my own little style. I have seen the fights of Hearns and Hagler and all the other fighters, but am I basing my style on them? No sir, I look into myself.
Question: Antonio, with the fight at the Home Depot Center you are seemingly going to have the home field advantage. What does that mean to you? Also, have you ever had a fight where you have been the local favorite like you will be in this fight?
Margarito: I never go into a fight wondering if I am the favorite, or if the crowd is with me or not. I go in there to do my job. I go in there to fight and to give a good fight and try to make more fans by fighting the best fights.
Question: Paul, conversely, even though you have fought at the Home Depot Center before, and your fight was probably the best fight of the night when you beat Matthysse, did it matter to you where this fight was held? Did you care where this fight was or whether you were viewed as a villain or favorite?
Williams: No sir. Just about all my fights have been away from home. I put on a good show; I do not give a boring show. It does not matter where I fight. On July 14, I am just going to put on a great show. I know Margarito is going to bring his A game, but he needs to bring his AAA game because I am coming out there with my guns blazing.
Question: Bob, will the winner of this fight face Cotto, or is the World Boxing Association asking Cotto to defend his title? If Margarito wins, do you see a fight between Margarito and Cotto?
Arum: If Margarito wins, that fight has been signed. There is no question. If Paul Williams wins, we have to see what kind of fight it is. There are other fighters out there. We have talked to the World Boxing Association. There is no question on a unification match or that they will agree on an exemption so Cotto can fight a world champion of another organization.
Question: Antonio, the last time you fought against a southpaw was against (Daniel) Santos. What would be different between the styles of Santos and Williams?
Margarito: Not really anything. I have been preparing for a southpaw and I am ready. I am not going to be making any excuses. I am ready to fight Paul Williams. I am ready to go.
Question: This seems like this is just going to be a tremendous slugfest in the middle of the ring from start to finish. The question is, do you see this fight going the distance?
Margarito: No, I really do not believe this fight will go the difference. If Paul Williams is going to fight the way he has been saying he will fight, this fight will not be going the distance.
Question: Paul, do you feel this fight could possibly go the distance?
Margarito: With my confidence level, I do not think the fight will go the distance. If it did, I would be punishing him the whole 12 rounds.
Question: Paul, you mentioned especially in interviews in Puerto Rico that Margarito makes too many mistakes, you are going to capitalize on them and you do not feel he will last six rounds if he commits the same mistakes. What type of mistakes do you mean?
Williams: I will tell you that on July 14.
Question: Paul, when this fight was initially signed and you were told that you were finally going to get your shot at a world title and against the guy you have been calling out, Antonio Margarito, what was your reaction?
Williams: That was what I have been waiting on. There are a lot of fighters that never get to that point. I made it. I am just really happy and I appreciate Dan and Bob Arum for making this fight happen. I get a chance to be a world champion. I just thank God everyday that he gave me the talent and the gift, so I can get this opportunity to fight for a world title. I appreciate all those guys at HBO for putting on this fight.
Question: Is there is a rematch clause for either fighter in the contract?
Goossen: No, there is not.
Question: Dan, if your guy wins, are you going to work with Top Rank to make Cotto his next opponent, or will you seek another opponent before a potential Williams-Cotto fight?
Goossen: Here is the way that I look at it. I have had numerous conversations with Bob. I believe Paul is going to show on July 14 that he is the preeminent welterweight in the world. No disrespect to Miguel Cotto because he is a tremendous fighter and an exciting fighter. With Paul’s physical abilities, along with his athletic abilities inside that ring, it makes him the Babe Ruth of the welterweight division in our eyes. That remains to be seen and proven on July 14. Going back to the question, yes, we want to do exactly what Paul said, and that is the best have to fight the best. We are at the level of this sport where Paul, with the type of victory that I believe he is going to get, will catapult himself into the brackets where we can do tremendous numbers in attendance and everything else. It will be a fight that a lot of people will want to see.
Question: Antonio, where would you like a fight with Cotto to happen if it happens?
Margarito: I would prefer it being in Las Vegas. I really do hope it is there.
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