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Khan-Alexander undercard quotes

Kelly Swanson


Thanks everybody for calling in. This is really a great conference call. I’m excited that two of the fighters calling in are calling all the way from Italy. So, I think that’s something different for us and it’s exciting.

But before we get to this call, I just wanted to make some announcements. This is the undercard conference call for December 13 fight card headlined by Amir Khan vs. Devon Alexander. The fighters that you’re talking today will be on the televised portion of the show.


Just to let everybody know, fight week is coming next week and we’re going to kick if off on Monday with the main event conference call. At 11 a.m. PT, we will have Devon Alexander and Amir Khan available for a media conference call. That’s on Monday, December 8.

Then on Wednesday, December 10, media activities start at MGM Grand with the grand arrivals and workouts of all of the televised fighters. That’s at 1 p.m. Then Thursday, the press conference will take place at 11:30 a.m. These are all Pacific Time and Friday we will have the weigh in at 1 p.m. and that’s open to the public.

As I mentioned, today on the phone, we’re going to have Keith Thurman, Leonard Bundu, Abner Mares, Jose Ramirez, Jermall Charlo and also Lenny Bottai. We’re going to start with Jermall and Lenny and to make those introductions we have Alessandro Favorini on the call as the agent for both Bundu and Bottai and he will also serve as our translator. Thank you very much for that.

Now, I’m going to turn the call over to Eric Gomez to make the introductions and then talk a little bit more about the show.

Eric Gomez

Thank you, Kelly, I’m very excited about this card. Obviously, four world-class bouts televised on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®. We’re very happy to be back at MGM Grand. We have a couple of fighters from Italy and we have Jose Ramirez from Mexico; so, this is going to be great.

The telecast: the main event, Amir Khan versus Devon Alexander, will be a 12-round welterweight bout for the WBC Silver title. The co-feature, Keith Thurman versus Leonard Bundu, will be a 12-round bout for the WBA Interim Welterweight World title. Abner Mares is making his return to SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING in a 10-roung bout against Jose Ramirez and opening up will be Jermall Charlo versus Lenny Bottai in a 12-round IBF Junior Middleweight Title eliminator.

We will also have a SHOWTIME EXTREME show, which will televise Jermall’s brother, Jermell versus Mario Lozano. We’ll also have hot prospect and U.S. Olympian Errol Spence fighting along with, the return of Victor of Ortiz and he’ll be televised on SHOWTIME EXTREME Saturday, December 13th at MGM Grand, live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and SHOWTIME EXTREME. The telecast starts on EXTREME at 4 p.m. PT. The Championship telecast starts at 6 p.m. PT.

The main event, Khan versus Alexander, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Khan Promotions and The Great Promotions; Thurman-Bundu and Charlo-Bottai is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with DiBella Entertainment. I want to thank the sponsors as always: Corona Extra, AT&T and Mexico, Live it/Believe it.

Tickets are still on sale. It’s a hot ticket. Tickets are going very, very well. Tickets are priced for ringside at $300 and as low as $50. You can get them on sale at the MGM Grand Ticket Office, or you can go online, www.mgmgrand.com, or also on Ticketmaster’s website, www.ticketmaster.com.

So without further ado, I want to introduce to you calling all the way from Italy Lenny Bottai to say a few words. Lenny.

Lenny Bottai

Hello everybody, I’m excited about coming to Las Vegas to fight at MGM Grand, which is kind of a temple of boxing and I’m also excited to fight for a world title. It’s basically my chance to be in the limelight of worldwide boxing. So, I really look forward to being there.

E. Gomez

Thank you. Now, I want to introduce Jermall Charlo out of Houston, Texas. He’s 19-0, 15 KOs, only 24-years-old, and one of the hottest fighters in boxing. Obviously, he had a little bit of bad luck. He was supposed to fight for the title earlier this year. That didn’t happen, but he is going to get a chance to fight an eliminator that potentially gets him to a world title fight. So, I want to introduce Jermall Charlo to say a few words. Jermall.

Jermall Charlo

I just wanted to say I’m just real proud to be back in MGM and fighting on the main stage again. Obviously there was a minor setback, it is really due for a major come up. So, I’m really excited to be fighting a guy from Italy who’s going to give me his all and put me in the obvious No. 1 spot.

E. Gomez

Great. Thank you, Jermall. So with that, we’re going to open it up to questions. We’re going to open it up to the media to ask both guys about the fight.

Q

Jermall, can you tell us your perception of what Bottai brings to the table? What is his fighting style and how do you expect to beat him?

J. Charlo

Well, from what I know, what Ronnie Shields has told me — he’s a brawler. He’s going to come out with a lot of punches. He starts very early. He has very good defense. I mean he’s an ‘A fighter.’ He’s been in the game for a while, and I’m just looking for like, for a hard fight, a hard 12 rounds. The winner of me and Lenny’s fight gets a shot at Cornelius Bundrage.

Q

Lenny, this is his first fight on American soil. How are you preparing for that opportunity?

L. Bottai

I see two main issues. The first one is the physical side, how to handle nine hours difference in time zones, and this kind of bothers me.

The mental part, the judges, the atmosphere, the big stage is not bothering me at all. On the other hand, it excites me. I know that it can be a big boost for my career. I know I have nothing to lose; I have more to gain and less to lose than my opponent, Charlo. So, I’m mentally ready. I’m just a little bit worried about the time zones because this is a thing which I’ve never experienced before, nine hours.

Q

How will you account for that time zone? Are you going to arrive earlier?

L. Bottai

I’m arriving December the 6, seven days before the fight.

Q

Jermall, how have you and your brother handled the lost opportunities? Then are you kind of each kind of building each other up? How did you digest that and bounce back, and how do you use this to bounce back?

J. Charlo

It’s pretty comical. Me and Jermell, both facing a little bit of adversity early on in our careers. So, we just kind of say it’s the way of God — it’s God’s plan. It’s the way God wants it to be. I really was supposed to have the IBF (title fight) right now, but I’m not looking at that anymore. I’m looking at the eliminator bout.

And Lenny thinks that he and I have more to lose than he does, but that’s not the case ’cause I’m younger and right now, I can’t take any more setbacks than I have already taken. So, I’m just really ready and I’m just preparing myself for the worst.

Q

How did your experience help your brother? Were you able to look at him and say, “Hey, look, man, I’ve been through this” because I know you guys are very, very close and the likelihood of something like that happening to two people, let alone two twins is very unlikely.

J. Charlo

Well, if my brother caught a cold, usually, a week or two later I would catch it too. So, it’s kind of like, what we’ve been going through all of our lives. So, we looked at each other and grinned and were like, ‘Look, it’s going to happen sooner or later. So, it is what it is.’ We just have to face the facts, and I told my brother the same thing he told me and we get the idea that sooner or later we’re going to get our chance to shine for the rest of the world, and now it’s my time.

Q

Could you describe your fighting style? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are you bringing to the table and what will we be seeing on Dec. 13?

L. Bottai

Boxing is kind of a situational sport. You have to do what it takes to win. Adjust to the moment. Adjust to the situation. If you just stick to your game plan, you risk, in case it doesn’t work, to be messed up. I want to keep my options open and to fight the best way that allows me to fight Charlo.

Q

Jermall, can you just describe the emotion of having this presented to you, but also knowing that it was because your brother wasn’t getting the opportunity?

J. Charlo

Yeah, I mean Jermell and I both looked at each other and was just like, ‘You’re jealous of me now, you know?’ We never experienced anything like this before and we’re just trading places. As a matter of fact, the fans that were tuned into watch the Jermell and Andrade’s fight tuned in to watch me and Lenny fight. So, we’re just trading places. We’ve both been working hard in the gym and we’ve both been giving it our all. So, I mean it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter which place we’ve got in. We’re just going to be there for the fight.

I’m actually a little bit more happy than he is because I’m on the SHOWTIME part of it, but I’m even more happier that my brother gets a chance to outperform me and then get dressed to come and cheer me and watch my fight.

E. Gomez

Thank you very much. Next up, is Jose Ramirez, he is out of Mexico with a record of 25-4, 15 KOs. He’s one of the top featherweights out there. He obviously has a great opportunity in fighting Abner Mares. So, I want him to say a few words, Jose Ramirez.

Jose Ramirez

I want to thank everyone for this call, for this opportunity. I’m ready. I’m going to be fighting Abner Mares on December 13 and I’m ready to give it all in the ring. I’m ready to leave everything on the line. I’m coming off a loss with Lomachenko, but I believe that loss is what taught me and strengthened me and is going to give me the experience coming up in this next fight.

E. Gomez

Thank you. Muchas gracias, Jose. Now, to introduce Abner. He’s a former three-time world champion, three divisions with a record of 27-1 and 1 with 14 KOs, Abner Mares.

A. Mares

Hey, how are you guys doing? First of all, I’m really excited about the fact on December 13 on such a big card and at such a big venue such in Las Vegas, Nev. That I’ll let people know that Abner Mares is still here, still fighting and coming back with a bang.

E. Gomez

Thank you very much Abner. Kelly, can we open it up?

K. Swanson

Yes, go ahead. Operator, go ahead and open up for questions.

Q

My first question is for Jose. You haven’t been in the ring since the Lomachenko fight, and having observed Abner, how would you compare them as fighters? Abner seems to be a little bit more — just as diverse and maybe a little bit more — definitely a little bit more experienced.

J. Ramirez

Well, first of all, I want to make clear that, yes, even though I haven’t fought in a little more than a year since the Lomachenko fight, I haven’t stopped training. I’ve been in the gym, staying ready, knowing that this type of opportunity would come by. To answer your question, as far as the differences, well, first of all, Lomachenko’s a southpaw and a little taller, and you know what? I’m ready. I’m hoping to adapt to Abner’s style and give a great performance, a great fight come fight night.

Q

Abner, what did you take away from when Ramirez fought Lomachenko? Lomachenko was taking a huge step up because that was a guy who has been around for a while. What did you take away from Jose’s performance, and you personally having been someone who had been out of the ring for quite a while, what do you think he’s having to overcome in stepping in against you that you can take advantage of?

A. Mares

Well, I think it’s pretty much obvious that the loss has not affected him whatsoever because he lost against a great fighter in Lomachenko. The only thing I can take away from it is pretty much him knowing that I’m just like Lomachenko as far as experience. But, I can’t really compare them. I can’t really say too much because, again, he fought a southpaw. Lomachenko’s a southpaw. All I can say is he’s ready for me and I’m ready for him. And my year starts now. That’s all I can say.

Q

Abner, obviously, there’s been a lot of talk of a potential fight between yourself and Leo Santa Cruz. You said your year starts now, but you also referenced that people still look at the Gonzales fight as something you want to put behind you. Is it difficult to focus on this fight and this fight only considering how badly you want to fight someone like Leo Santa Cruz?

A. Mares

No, it’s not difficult at all because there is no paper signed. I mean there’s just speculation; there’s talks like any other fight. So, my concentration and my focus right now is against Jose Ramirez, no one else and if the fight were to happen later on in the year, let’s do it. But right now, my focus is on Jose Ramirez and no one else.

Q

Abner, how do you think the fans have changed, if they’ve changed with you since the Jhonny Gonzalez fight? Has there been any change, or how do you feel about it?

A. Mares

Well, it’s a tough crowd out there; I’ll tell you that much. It’s a tough crowd/fan base to keep happy. But at the end of the day, as long as I’m happy, my family is, I’m going to continue with my career.I think the fans right now are a little bit upset because of the win, I’m sorry, the loss, and I didn’t get the rematch, but that rematch will come in time. That’s all I have to say.

Q

You’ve gone back to Clemente Medina, your former trainer. Have you picked up and gone back to the Abner Mares that became the three-division world champion and the youngest in the history of Mexico?

A. Mares

You know what? Yeah. There’s something that I have to look for and that was my flow. I lost my flow a little bit, and I found it. It’s back. Coming back with my family. Picking up my trainer, Clemente Medina and my whole team. There’s nothing like being at home and I will demonstrate that in this next fight. I will demonstrate that Abner Mares is back.

I was watching a fight this past weekend and there was a lot of mention of the featherweight division. Obviously, I’m not mentioned because I’m not a world champion, but that itself inspires me and motivates me. That’s the word I’m looking for; motivates me a lot because I’ve been at this level and I will be back.

Q

Jose, is it true that you have nothing to lose and everything to win, or do you lose something if you don’t win the fight with Abner?

J. Ramirez

Yes, of course. I mean I have everything to gain, everything to win. Abner Mares is a great fighter, a great champion. My biggest achievement has been going to the Philippines and beating the local “Boom Boom” Bautista and come December 13 there’ll be no exception. I mean I’m going in there to give my soul. I’m giving the best. I don’t know what’s going to happen. God willing, both of us come out unharmed, but I can tell you that I’m going to go in there and give it my best, and I’m grateful to Abner for the opportunity.

A. Mares

I would like to close it by thanking Jose Ramirez for taking this fight, thanking Golden Boy Promotions, SHOWTIME for giving me the opportunity to end my year and to get more income for my kids for Christmas. Thank you, guys, so much and God bless you all and thank you.

J. Ramirez

Yes, I want to thank everybody for this opportunity. I mean Golden Boy, Abner Mares also for the opportunity and to let everybody know December 13 I’m ready to give a great spectacular showing. Thank you very much.

K. Swanson

Okay. Muchas gracias and now we’re going to move on and we are ready with Keith Thurman and Leonard Bundu. So, I’m going to turn it back over to Eric Gomez to make these introductions and then we will let you guys talk to the media.

E. Gomez

Great. Thank you. I want to introduce Leonard “The Lion” Bundu with a record of 31-0-2 and 11 KOs. Bundu represented Italy in the 2000 Olympic Games. He’s making his United States debut and SHOWTIME debut. He is the current European and Commonwealth Champion, and he’s also highly ranked – No. 3 in the WBC, No. 4 in the WBA and IBF. So, let’s give him a warm welcome and have him say a few words. Leonard, can you say a few words please?

Leonard Bundu

All right. Thank you very much. I’m really happy to be here and I’m really happy to have the chance to compete where every boxer wants to compete and I’m ready to put on a good show and thank everybody organizing this and Keith Thurman too for giving me the opportunity. We box over in Europe too. We do some good boxing. So, I’m ready for December 13. Thank you very much.

E. Gomez

Great. Thank you. Thank you very much. Now, the interim WBA Welterweight World Champion, Keith “One Time” Thurman with a record of 23-0, 21 KOs. He’s one of the most exciting fighters, biggest punchers in boxing today and in his spare time, he wrestles alligators down in Florida. Keith, can you say a few words?

Keith Thurman

Thank you, everybody who’s on this call. It’s my pleasure to be here. I’m truly looking forward to getting back in the ring December 13. I look forward to the challenge that Bundu is offering as an Olympian, as a European boxer, as a guy who switches.

It’s a great fight; two undefeated fighters going up against each other. It’s been a while since I’ve been back in the ring, and I’m eager to perform back under the bright lights.

Q

Keith, why have you only fought once this year, and are we going to see you more busy next year?

K. Thurman

Yes, boxing is boxing. You never know what you’re going to get. This year, my body did not allow me to fight three times as we planned. I had to do a layoff in camp. My left shoulder wasn’t feeling great. I went through six weeks of physical therapy and then we continued to do the advice that the doctor said.

It’s feeling great. You guys know how much I love to throw that left hook of mine, and I’m just really looking forward to getting back. I’m a little disappointed. I had to brush off some of the dust, but December 13 we’re back in action and I’m excited.

Q

Leonard, what comes to mind when you think of fighting on American soil for the first time as far as you’re concerned — the judges, the atmosphere, and how do you plan to deal with the time difference? Will you arrive early?

L. Bundu

Yes. Well, I’m very excited to fight on American soil of course and for the time difference, I’m leaving tomorrow. I’ll be arriving tomorrow evening. So, we have about 10 days to adapt.

And for the experience, I didn’t fight, but I was at the Mayweather-Maidana II fight, at MGM Grand. I saw what it was like being there and I know I was a spectator, but I always know what I’m going to get. And then plus, I’ve already fought outside of Italy. I’ve fought in Germany. I fought in England twice, which is a big show. So, I kind of know what I’m going to. I’m very excited and I know I’m going to put on a good show.

Q

Leonard, you just celebrated your 40th birthday which is — that means you’re getting up there. What can you tell your fans or spectators about your age?

L. Bundu

I know I’m going against a very tough fighter, a very good fighter, but the problem is that I actually don’t have any problem with my age. I feel just as fit, maybe even better than I was 10 years ago. I’m really getting better and better with each of my fights. So, for me, I mean I’ve been reading all the stories that Keith Thurman is going to fight this 40-year-old guy. But to me, it’s not me. That 40-year-old guy is not me. I already said before I feel as young as he is. I mean I still do my things. I don’t think like an old person. I mean I have wife, my wife and kids, but I still go to the gym every day. I feel fit and I’m prepared. I know it’s going to be tough, maybe my toughest fight, but I’m ready to go, to give it all.

Q

Leonard, do you see this as a brawl or a boxing match, or a little bit of both?

L. Bundu

Well, given Keith’s power, I have to adapt. I have to use my intelligence, my tactics. I have experience. I box pretty well. I’m a very instinctive guy. So, I don’t like planning fights too much. When I get in the ring, I adapt. So of course, I’m not going to trade punches with him, but I’ll adapt. I’ll put on a good show for sure.

Q

You’re also fighting on the same night as Tim Bradley and Chaves; Chaves being the guy, who you beat. Does that raise the stakes for you? Do you really feel good about the opportunity that fans can see all of you guys performing on the same night and compare and contrast?

K. Thurman

Yeah. When you’ve got that many welterweights performing the same night there’s going to be a lot of talk. Twitter and all the social media are going to go crazy around midnight, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m just really happy to be getting back in the ring. I’m really happy to showcase my skills and my talent once again. I’m extremely excited to be going up against an undefeated fighter who was an Olympian, who presents a European style.

We’ve seen the skills that Kell Brook brought to the table when he fought Shawn Porter, and it’s interesting, man. A lot of people in the U.S. don’t know Bundu, but we know that the Europeans can box. And for him to be an Olympian, you heard him, he doesn’t feel 40. Age is just a number to him. His last fight, he fought a young man who was 28-years-old and fought him in his hometown and beat him.

He is a smart boxer, an intelligent fighter, and it’s going to be a great fight. Overall I do put in my head, in the back of my mind that not only do I want to win, but I would like to outperform every welterweight that steps in the ring that night.

Q

Keith, have you thought about what’s next, or are you just focusing on the task as hand? You have a lot of people that see a great future ahead for you. So, are you focusing on the task at hand, or are you also looking ahead?

K. Thurman

A great future is great, but you must focus on the present because without focusing on the present, you will never get to the future. The time is now. The bout is December 13, Leonard Bundu. I’m 26-years-old and I learn from every experience, and I’m truly looking forward to the challenges that we may present that night, overcoming those challenges, walking away with the victory, and moving on in my career. But first, we must perform great come December 13.

Q

Leonard, have you thought about what’s next, or are you just focused on what’s in front of you?

L. Bundu

Well, just like Keith said, I take it one step at a time. In this fight, of course, I’m the underdog. Everybody is looking at me as a lamb to be slaughtered, but I’m coming to try and win. I’m coming for respect because a lot of people don’t give me the respect I deserve. I’m coming to show people that I’m a top welterweight and I’m going to give it all I have and I really appreciate Keith’s words, that he knows that, we really box over here in Europe too.

We already have some European champions that became world champions. I’m just looking one step at a time of course and then after that, I’ll be ready to fight anybody else. But as far as now, I’m looking at December 13th and that I’m going to give it all I have.

K. Swanson

Okay. That’s it, guys. That’s the last question for this group. Eric, if you want to wrap it up and say good-bye and any last comments from Leonard Bundu and Keith Thurman would be appreciated and then we’ll hang up.

L. Bundu

I want to thank everybody. I want to thank Golden Boy Promotions, SHOWTIME, Al Haymon for giving me this opportunity. I want to thank Keith for accepting me to fight and I really look forward to putting on a good show on December 13. Thank you, all, very much.

K. Thurman

Yes, thank you, everybody that have tuned into this. Thank you, Golden Boy, SHOWTIME, Al Haymon. This is a terrific card. I’m happy to be back in the ring. I’m happy to be the co-main event.

Thank you, Bundu. I’m looking forward to a terrific performance, a great clean fight. Best of luck to everybody. I’ll see you December 13.

E. Gomez

Once again, Saturday, December 13th at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. I want to thank SHOWTIME. I want to thank the sponsors involved: Corona Extra, AT&T; Mexico, Live it/Believe it, also the MGM for hosting us. Once again, tickets are on sale. Tickets are going great. Tickets are priced from $50 all the way to $300 for ringside. Thank you, guys, and I’ll see you there.

# # #

“ROYAL BATTLE: Khan vs. Alexander” a 12-round welterweight bout for the WBC Silver Welterweight Title, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Khan Promotions and The Great Promotions and is sponsored by Corona Extra, AT&T and Mexico – Live It To Believe It! The event will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. and will air on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). In the co-main event, Keith Thurman defends his interim WBA Welterweight World Title against Leonard Bundu. Additionally, Abner Mares will face Jose Ramirez in a 10-round featherweight bout and opening the telecast, Jermall Charlo will meet Lenny Bottai in a 12-round IBF Junior Middleweight Title eliminator. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast will also be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP). Preliminary bouts will be televised on SHOWTIME EXTREME (7 p.m. ET/PT).

Tickets for the live event are on sale and are priced at $300, $200, $100, and $50, not including applicable service charges and taxes. Tickets are limited to eight (8) per person with a limit of four (4) at the $50 price range. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

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