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Francisco Vargas and Orlando Salido Media Conference Call Transcript

- Latest Orlando Salido Francisco Vargas Vargas vs. Salido Vargas-SalidoEric Gomez: Good afternoon to everyone and good morning to some of you west coasters. Welcome to the Francisco Vargas Orlando Salido international media call. We are rapidly approaching what would be a thrilling fight between Mexican Warriors on Saturday, June 4th at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Francisco ‘El Bandido’ Vargas versus Orlando ‘Siri’ Salido will battle in what will sure to be a candidate for fight of the year for Vargas’ WBC Super Featherweight Championship live on HBO Boxing After Dark. HBO is by far the best network in boxing and the StubHub Center is one of the best venues to watch live boxing in southern California. The StubHub is no stranger to great fights and this fight is surely going to down as one of the best fights of the year and it will add to the book at the StubHub Center.

Before the exciting main event, I just want to make a quick reminder announcement. The co-feature will be Julian ‘El Camaron’ Ramirez 16-0 with 8 knockouts and he’s going to be facing Abraham ‘Chamaco’ Lopez who is 20-0 with knockouts. They’ll be meeting each other at the featherweight division to fight for the NABA title.

Tickets are still available. This fight is surely going to be a sellout. We have about, a little over 1,000 tickets left. Ticket prices start at $25. You can purchase tickets on, by phone, or at the StubHub Center box office. Fans can come out and enjoy a great night of boxing or obviously you can watch it on HBO. Lastly, I want to thank the sponsors that are involved in this great event Cerveza Tectate, BORN BOLD, Casa Mexico Tequila, and Hands of Stone: The True Story of Roberto Duran in theaters August.

And now let’s get to the fighters. First up is team Salido. I want to introduce a good friend and the person who was very instrumental in helping make this fight. He’s the manager for Orlando Salido and that’s Mr. Sean Gibbons. Sean?

Sean Gibbons: Yes, thank you, Eric. We’re just here right now in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, Orlando’s hometown, where we’ve been training for the last about 45 days. Everything’s going perfect. We’re very happy with the way everything is right now.

Eric Gomez: Great. Thank you, Sean. Thank you very much. Now if we can get a few comments from his trainer, his longtime trainer, Santos Moreno, who’s done a great job with Salido and he’s been there for all the title fights. Santos, can you please make a few comments in how everything is, training?

Santos Moreno: [Speaking Spanish].

Eric Gomez: Yes, in Spanish.

Santos Moreno: [Speaking Spanish].

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Ricardo Jimenez (Interpreting): Yes, Moreno, we are working very hard getting ready for this fight. We’re trained to win this fight and that’s what we’re working on, almost done here to close it out in just one more week. We’ll work real hard, and then be ready to go.

Eric Gomez: Thank you very much. Gracias, Santos, mucho gracias. Okay, so now.

Santos Moreno: [Speaking Spanish].

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Eric Gomez: Gracias. So now he’s no stranger to thrilling wars, Orlando ‘Siri’ Salido is a three-time former world champion. He’s been a professional since 1996. He’s fought some of the best fighters in our era including Juan Manuel Marquez, Robert Guerrero, Yuriokis Gamboa, Mikey Garcia, Vasyl Lomachenko; but he’s probably best known for his two fight series with Juan Manuel Lopez and Rocky Martinez. And obviously on June 4th, Salido’s looking to become a champion once again, and when he faces ‘Bandido’ Vargas.

If I can have Orlando Salido say a few words, please.

Orlando Salido: [Speaking Spanish].

Ricardo Jimenez (Interpreting): Yes, I’m happy to have this opportunity working with real hard. I know it’s going to be a real tough fight. I’m looking forward to it to give our fans a great fight. I’ll be really looking to get the upset win here over Vargas.

Eric Gomez: Great. Thank you, Ricardo. Gracious, Orlando. [Speaking Spanish]. Okay, now let me introduce real quick, team Vargas. He’s headed by his manager, Ralph Heredia, who’s done a great job with him for the last year or so.

And Ralph, if you can please say a few words about this fight and about your fighter.

Ralph Heredia: Thank you. Good morning and good afternoon to everybody. I just wanted everybody to know that we’re very excited. We have located camp in California now. Everything is going well. We had three tests and they all came back negative, so we’re very excited about that and we know that this fight is right around the corner.

I believe, not only as a manager, but as a fan, like Eric mentioned is definitely going to be a candidate for fighter of the year. We respect Salido. We know he’s a tough veteran warrior that has the experience and you cannot underestimate his heart. So excited and can’t wait for June 4th.

Eric Gomez: Great. Thank you very much. Thank you for the nice words, Ralph. Now, to his fighter, he’s a member of the 2008 Mexican Olympic Team, Francisco ‘El Bandido’ Vargas has continued to represent his country as a professional. He struck gold in 2015 by winning the WBC Super Featherweight World Title and was considered by most the writers the fight of the year.

He’s a former NABF and WBO International Super Featherweight Champion. And at 31 years old, he’s pretty much on top of the division. His biggest win, again, came last year against Takashi Miura. If I can have him say a few words with a great record of 23-0, 1 draw, 17 knockouts, Francisco ‘El Bandido’ Vargas. Francisco.

Francisco Vargas: [Speaking Spanish].

Ralph Heredia (Interpreting): Good morning and good afternoon to everybody. I’m very excited. I know that June 4th is right around the corner and I know that I’ve done everything to prepare for this veteran, this great ex-champion. And the winners from this fight will be the fans. They’re going to get a very exciting fight.

Eric Gomez: That’s great. Thank you. Thank you very much. Gracias, Francisco. Okay, so now, Ellen, let’s open it up to questions.

Operator: Thank you. We will now begin the question and answer session. If you have a question, please press star then one on your touchtone phone. If you wish to be removed from the queue, please press the pound sign or hash key. If you are using a speakerphone, you may need to pick up the handset first before pressing the numbers. Once again, for any questions press star then one.

Our first question is from Dan Rafael with ESPN.

Dan Rafael: Thank you very much. Hello, everybody. Eric, could you ask Francisco when he won the title against Miura in what was the 2015 fight of the year for most people, he comes back and he takes on a fight that most people are going to think is going to be another knockdown, drag out, kind of brawl. I want to know from Francisco, why this fight in his first defense and does he expect the same kind of fight, also, Eric, that many of us expect?

Eric Gomez: Okay. Okay, I’ll ask him the question, then Ralph, you can translate. [Speaking Spanish].

Francisco Vargas: [Speaking Spanish].

Ralph Heredia (Interpreting): I had always said I want to fight the best and I consider Salido one of the best. And I believe that both of our styles match very good in the ring and is going to make a very exciting fight and that’s the reason I’m excited. And I want to continue to be the best; in order to be the best, you have to fight the best, and I consider him one of the best. And I know that it definitely could be a candidate for fight of the year.

Dan Rafael: All right, Eric, could you—thank you for that, Ralph—could you also ask Francisco, obviously we’ve heard and written about what happened with his drug test from Mexico, can he address that and talk about when he came back to California? I think you said in the introduction that since his return to California, where he’s been tested by VADA three times, is that correct? And how much of a distraction has that been having the additional testing since what happened occurred?

Eric Gomez: I think it might’ve been more by now; it might’ve been four or five times by now. Ralph can answer that as far as the testing. But let me ask him. [Speaking Spanish].

Francisco Vargas: [Speaking Spanish].

Ralph Heredia (Interpreting): First of all, I have always been a clean fighter. I’m going to continue to be a clean fighter.

Ralph Heredia: We’re the ones that requested the testing and here are some facts, Dan Rafael. Francisco Vargas was tested in California on April 15th, no, I’m sorry, before that. Yes, I’m sorry, he was tested on April 15th in California. Tests came back negative. He goes to Mexico City on April 16th.

His mom makes one of his favorite dishes, which is carne asada with bone and it’s made in broth. He has dinner on Wednesday and there’s leftovers and he eats them Thursday. Thursday evening, VADA knocks on his door; he gets tested. Okay, and that was on the, I believe it was on the 21st—five days later. That test came back positive for clenbuterol. But here’s the thing. I want you to focus on this, Dan Rafael, on the doses, as far as how much he tested it, because I did my own research with Victor Conte, that I believe is one of [indiscernible] and I just wanted to get his input.

He tested back for clenbuterol 1.3. What does that translate? I was not educated to know. He told me that most laboratories do not even test for anything under 0.20. He was very surprised that VADA picked up 1.3. When I had a conversation with Victor I asked him, “If you have a dirty athlete, within that grace period, what should he test?” He says, “Ralph, any individual that tries to do something deliberate, once he will test 50, 5, 0.” So he replied and he said that basically the dosage that Francisco showed had to be some contaminated food, which was the meat.

Since then, Dan Rafael, Francisco was tested in Mexico three times right after that. All three times it came back negative for clenbuterol. Since then he has been tested in California two more times, okay, and those tests we’re still waiting for the results because he was tested Sunday morning and Monday afternoon. But rest assured, if he was dirty and doing something deliberate, not only would’ve the doses been much higher, but he would’ve tested positive on the first test when he was in California, which was the 15th.

Also, something that Francisco mentioned, and I was in the same boat as he was, I used to hear these stories; never believed it. Never. But like Francisco said, you don’t believe it til it happens to you. And believe me when I tell you, these are facts. I’m glad that it happened because I believe this is not only going to help Francisco, but it’s going to help a lot of athletes that are clean. And hopefully the technology will be there or that it can distinguish when somebody does something deliberate—

Dan Rafael: So, Ralph, part of the question that I had for him, I’m not sure if there was an answer there, was just—and by the way, I happen to believe what you guys say. Most of the time I’m thinking a guy that gets tested positive is dirty. In this particular instance because of the many, many factors, I happen to believe you guys. So my question to you is how much of a distraction has it been, both going through that situation, having it come out, going to deal with the Commission to get special permission to still have this fight still not get taken down, and then to have to undergo additional testing than you would normally have to go? Has it been a distraction? Can you ask Francisco to answer that?

Ralph Heredia: You know what, I’m sorry, Dan. He did answer that when Eric asked him the question. He said, “No.” He said, “He is willing to do to anything, any test. You can test me every hour on the hour. It doesn’t bother me. Why? Because I’m clean and I have nothing to hide.” So to answer your question, there has been no distraction because he knows that he’s clean and he wants the opponent to be clean, also. He wants a clean sport. That’s why we’re doing this.

Dan Rafael: All right. That’s great. Thank you very much for that, guys. I have a couple of questions for Orlando.

Ricardo, if you’re translating, I’d appreciate that. My question, one question for Orlando is he has had three fights and he’s had a whole bunch of significant, very action-packed, hard, tough fights, but in specific he’s coming off three in a row against the Thailand fighter with multiple knockdowns and then the two wars with Rocky Martinez. I’m wondering from Orlando, here he goes again, another fight that most people expect to be that kind of fight. What is it about Orlando Salido that keeps putting him in these unbelievable fights and how excited or concerned is he that this is going to be another one of these kinds of wars?

Ricardo Jimenez: [Speaking Spanish].

Orlando Salido: [Speaking Spanish].

Ricardo Jimenez (Interpreting): He says, no, I’ve never been a protected fighter. I have to take the fights that are offered to me, but it’s very exciting to me. I like those kinds of fights. I love going in there and fighting those kinds of fights. It’s what I like to do. And yeah, I’m very excited about this type of fight because I think it’ll be just like the other ones.

Dan Rafael: Ricardo, I think about this fight on paper, I think about Coralis Costello, I can’t help it. Does he have any opinion about that? Does he think—?

Ricardo Jimenez: [Speaking Spanish].

Orlando Salido: [Speaking Spanish].

Ricardo Jimenez (Interpreting): I think so. I think if you go in there it might be even better. It think our styles are made perfect for each other. I think we’re going to go in there from minute one and just start throwing punches. There’s not going to be any speculation out there. There’s going to be a lot of entertainment for the fans.

Dan Rafael: And just one other question for him, can you ask him if he heard what Francisco Vargas and Ralph were saying as related to the positive clenbuterol test? What is his opinion about that and does he think that his opponent is a dirty fighter or does he believe the situation that they claim that it’s a contaminated meat, that the dosage that was found was extremely low? What’s his perspective on the guy that’s got to get in the ring and fight the guy that had a bad test?

Ricardo Jimenez: [Speaking Spanish].

Orlando Salido: [Speaking Spanish].

Ricardo Jimenez (Interpreting): You know, it’s not really my concern. That’s why we have a Commission. That’s why we test them, what they do, what they need to do. All I know is getting ready for the fight, tell me the fight is on, then I’m getting ready, and I’m going to fight him. You know, it doesn’t matter to me. That’s why we have a Commission that takes care of this.

Dan Rafael: All right. Great. Thank you very much, everybody. I appreciate your time. And I look forward to seeing you guys in a couple of weeks. Thank you.

Operator: The next question is from Lance Pugmire with Los Angeles Times.

Lance Pugmire: Okay, Orlando, just following up on that real quick. I know what you’re saying that there’s Commission in place to deal with this, but you had your own issue in the past and you paid a pretty serious penalty for that. Do you think that justice has truly been served here given that in baseball, in the NFL, in the Olympics, a positive test like this would result in a very lengthy suspension for the athlete?

Ricardo Jimenez: [Speaking Spanish].

Orlando Salido: [Speaking Spanish].

Ricardo Jimenez (Interpreting): You know, the only thing I have to say, or anymore that I have to say about this is if it would’ve been me that it would’ve come up positive, you know, the fight would’ve been cancelled and it would’ve been all over. It would’ve been done. It would’ve been done with. You know? Is that justice, I don’t know. I’m just telling you that that’s all I got to say about that.

Orlando Salido: [Speaking Spanish].

Ricardo Jimenez (Interpreting): They would’ve never have given me an opportunity to prove otherwise.

Lance Pugmire: Right. Francisco, from your standpoint, what do you think sports fans’ view of this is? Obviously in the other sport, it can result in a very lengthy suspension. Do you think the fans look at this like, that’s just boxing or do you think—what exactly is your opinion of how this positive test was treated in this sport?

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