Introductions were done by Jimmy Lennon, JR., to kick of the conference.
IBF Bantamweight Champion
28-2, 22 KO’s
WBC Silver Bantamweight Champion
21-0-1, 13 KOs
Hawaiian Gardens, Calif.
By way of Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico
35-3-1, 27 KO’s
By way of Vanadzok, Armenia
20-1-1, 14 KO’s
Santa Fe Springs , Calif.
By way of Cartagena, Colombia
Ken Thompson: dressed like a million bucks!
Quotes: “The future is at stake in this fight!”
“The best fighters in the world today are at 118 pounds!”
Yonnhy Perez Quotes:
“Thank God and everyone that will be able to see this tournament reach its finale!”
“Thank you Showtime for being able to get all the promoters to work together: Thompson Boxing, Gary Show, Oscar De La Hoya and Don King.”
“I wanted to tell everyone, well you saw who is going to the finals, in one side you have Abner Mares and the other, you have Joseph Agbeko. Great fighters both of them! I cannot say which champion will be better. It’s better that we just watch how it plays out because both fighters are very good.”
“I will be fighting for third place against Vic Darchinyan and I think that both of us will do our best to come out victorious. I want to tell everyone to receive God’s blessing, Thank you.”
Gary Shaw Quotes:
“Sorry I didn’t get an opportunity to promote you.” To Oscar De La Hoya
“I said it before and I will say it again. These are some of the best 118 pounders out there and are willing to fight one another!”
“If you have watched the fights, you know how good they are and how close these fights have been.”
“I don’t want to go through the sour grapes of the last fight, whatever, but I do want to make one point. I give credit to Abner Mares for beating Darchinyan. I reviewed the tapes. Several times in slow motion and there were numerous low blows. Probably around 27 which it doesn’t make Abner Mares a dirty fighter…it makes him a smart fighter. If you can do certain things and get away with it during the fight t hen all the credit to you: And I hope that you, Oscar, and Abner will give us another opportunity to Vic Darchinyan down the road as we would do for you, I do give you credit for the win .”
“Joseph Agbeko, you know how much I think of you, what a great fighter! This makes a tough fight because you have two fighters Yonnhy Perez and Vic Darchinyan. I do want to say one thing about Yonnhy Perez: Yonnhy spent a lot time here in the United States…spends time away from his children, his wife and it was very very tough on him. I believe in the last fight against Joseph Agbeko, Yonnhy was there physically but I don’t believe Yonnhy Perez was there mentally in the ring. I think you will see a different Yonnhy Perez in this fight. Unfortunately, it’s against my other fighter Vic Darchinyan. For me, as a promoter, it’s really difficult because I have a lot of respect for both of these fighters because they are not just good fighters but they are great people outside of the ring as is Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko.”
“But I have said this all along, this is what makes boxing: The best willing to fight the best at any cost! And not only do you have the best willing to fight best but you have four really nice kids outside the ring supporting the name of boxing. So, for that I congratulate you all. And you should all be proud of yourselves”
“Vic Darchinyan doesn’t need a big introduction; by the way, I want to point out my good friend Richard Schaefer is out there. And without Richard, without Oscar … without Don King, all these guys willing to put there fighters against anybody these tournaments like this wouldn’t happen. So Richard, I praise you and thank you as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough money to fly Don King here; Alan is going to pretend to be Don. He doesn’t come unless you pay for him to fly. We will try to get through this without Don.”
“Vic Darchinyan needs zero introduction. Everybody knows him…Scored some of the highest ratings on Showtime. He is probably one of the most exciting fighters in all of boxing. He has held numerous titles at 115 pounds…moves up to 118 and people don’t think he can bring his power up… I disagree.
We just got notice this morning that the Yonnhy Perez and the Darchinyan fight will be for the IBO World Title… It’s my pleasure to bring up one the greatest fighters of all time in the smaller weight divisions… The “Raging Bull” himself, Vic Darchinyan, who flew in from Australia last night and is flying back tonight. Which just goes to show you and so did Yonnhy Perez from Colombia, shows you the respect that these guys have not only for boxing but for one another… Vic Darchinyan”
Vic Darchinyan Quotes:
“Thank you I want to give thanks to Showtime and Gary Shaw. If it wasn’t for Showtime I don’t think I would be here. If I fight a cheap fighter after low blows, I will pretend, and show that I was hurt I think he would be disqualified.
I am an experienced fighter, I didn’t show, because I want a clean fight. I want to beat him and I want to beat him by knockout but it didn’t happen. It affect me, I realized I did get tired. Even Oscar De La Hoya, he knows, the many low blows. If you are looking around to win a fight that way you cannot become someone, maybe you will become World Champion for Showtime but you will disappear and no one will remember you.”
“About my fight, I was upset in disgust… you know…. I just get sick thinking about it. Men…MEN…will come and fight by his fist not by a different way…punch in the *expletive* one of those you know? My next fight is with Yonnhy Perez. I am very happy. Yonnhy, if I can beat him by knockout I will show I will come out much stronger. I am looking forward to this fight. I will look great and be in shape. Because I promised Showtime, I will show more skills and this moment, I want to just come and you will see how I am going to be strong.”
Oscar De La Hoya Quotes:
“It’s really a pleasure to see all these promoters here. It goes to show you how boxing can get together and put together these wonderful fights. It’s not only great for the fans, it’s great for the sport and we are thrilled.”
“Obviously without Showtime…without Ken Hershman, who had these brilliant ideas of putting these tournaments together and creating awareness for all these fighters, making sure that there is excitement because you can face one fighter against another and you will have great fights and everyone will walk home happy. Whoever wins this tournament will be the man in the bantamweight division.
And you will have the runner up fighting the third place. That is the beauty of this tournament. The public already knows you are going have this fight. The public already knows that wherever they fight, you will have sellout crowds. The public already knows that whoever wins this tournament becomes the man. Being the man is being the sportsman and this is what this next fighter I am going to be introducing you to is. He is not only a great champion inside the ring but he is a wonderful…wonderful human being outside of the ring. And that’s what boxing is all about. I first saw him when he was participating, representing Mexico in the Olympics and the whole world was watching. He was the fighter to win it all. Obviously, we all know what happened but it didn’t stop him there.
He continued working even harder and he gave us the privilege of promoting him and he is where he is today because he has a wonderful team behind him. And I want to acknowledge Ismael Mares who is his father and co-manager and I want to acknowledge Frank Espinoza who has been doing a wonderful job since he has gone with Abner Mares.
Thank you for all your hard work. He is ranked WBA #8, Ring Magazine #5, IBF #4, WBC #1 and WBO #1. And he has kept a great record. Undefeated record and he had a very tough… tough fight as everybody expected against Yonnhy Perez. Both fighters have all the respect in the world and they work hard, and it obviously showed inside that square circle inside the Staples Center when we had a draw with both fighters, which obviously just goes to show you the talent of both guys.”
Repeats in Spanish. “I am going to introduce to you with ought further ado, he has a record of 21-0 with 13 knockouts he now lives…resides in Hawaiian Gardens by way of Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico and that is Abner Mares.”
Abner Mares Quotes:
“Good afternoon everyone, first of all I want to thank God for having me where I am at right now, and for still letting me fight, as you all know when I had my detached retina, everybody told me that my career was over. But mighty God, he gave me the chance to keep doing what I like to do and now I am at a special place.
I am here fighting with four great fighters. I made it to the finals, thank God. I am really grateful I want to thank my team: Clemente Medina, my Manager Frank Espinoza, my dad Ismael Mares, and my nutritionist Luis Garcia. Without them, I wouldn’t have fought the way I have fought in my last fight. Which is with heart and with great conditioning that I had, I am really excited to be here and I am in the finals and I can’t believe it.”
“It’s something that is really great. I want to thank Showtime for that and all the promotions: Golden Boy, Gary Shaw, Don King and Thompson Boxing for having there fighters in this tournament, and making these great fights. We all know that Joseph Agbeko and myself are in the finals but then again Yonnhy and Darchinyan is another great fight that you can’t really say it’s for the third place it’s just another great fight for the audience! That’s what people are going to be looking at. It’s just great fights for boxing fans and it’s what they deserve. And that is what we are, us fighters we will fight anyone…we fight anytime and just make the people happy. With all due respect to Yonnhy and Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko…I see him more of a complete fighter, a more dangerous fighter. So I know it’s going to be a tough fight for myself come April 23rd. I expect a really hard fight like I always do. I am going prepare really hard for this fight like I always do. I know Joseph is going come with everything. I seen his last fight against Yonnhy and what he did was really smart. He didn’t fight the same… he came in with a different game plan and he beat him just boxing him and looked really good going in. I expect a tough fight from Joseph Agbeko, a great guy outside of the ring, really happy guy always smiling, so outside of the ring he is really nice. I know inside the ring again like he calls himself ‘King Kong,’ he becomes King Kong. So I expect a tough fight. It will be great for everybody. I want to mention that Mexico won yesterday in the Caribbean World Series and I want to give another props to Mexico for winning there championship and like they did, I plan on doing that on April 23rd and I am just really excited to be here. Thank you all for being here. The press: You are getting to know a little bit more about Abner Mares and here I am. I will give you a great show. Thank you everybody!”
Alan Hopper for Don King Productions:
“I am sorry Don couldn’t be here today. It’s always good to listen to Don. Unfortunately his schedule didn’t match up with what we had going in today. I also want to recognize Joseph’s trainer Adama Addy. A big round of applause for Adama Addy who guided him: When I spoke to you all of you at the introductory press conference announcing this Bantamweight tournament I regaled you with stories of Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko and how he become one of the greatest bantamweights in the world.
For his part Joseph told me he is going to set the record straight with a terrific fight and a terrific fighter named Yonnhy Perez who he had some unfinished business with after a clash of heads in the first fight. Now you saw his dominating performance against Perez in Washington in December. Including that sixth round, which was a round of the year nominee, you have all the information you all need on King Kong.
We have a certain bonus in the final of this winner take all tournament that Showtime is giving us. Both Gary Shaw’s fighters are participating in the consolation bout so we don’t have to hear any more about how all the fighters are being head butted all the time. How ironic, after spending a week with Gary in Detroit, excuse me…. I wasn’t going to bring that up. We weren’t going to bring up head butts. A little inside joke there. I guess we get to hear about low blows though. Anyway I digress. And I only want to do that because Gary gets upset when I digress. He thinks I am speaking to long so.”
Gary Show interrupts: “And now King Kong Agbeko”
Agbeko stands up but Alan is still on the mic. So Agbeko patiently wants behind Alan
Alan Hopper continued
“Like nobody has ever had to endure his New Jersey elocution longer than they may have wished, I know he does have a plan to catch he did want me to say Gary that he failed to mention that four evenly matched fighters and great bouts. Moving on to Abner Mares: I want Abner to know that Joseph and I think you fought wonderfully up in Washington but I wouldn’t want to be you right now Abner, You are going in the ring a great African warrior who follows in the footsteps of Ghanaian legends. Like ‘The Professor’ Azumah Nelson and Ike Quartey and he is on a mission to prove that he is the best bantamweight in the world! He looks great and he is the two time IBF bantamweight champion and current IBF bantamweight champion…please welcome Joseph King Kong Agbeko.”
Joseph Agbeko Quotes:
‘First of all I want to thank God all mighty. The first time I was here, I was here as a challenger and today I am here as a champion. I really thank God for that and Showtime the promoters…for making this possible. Without this tournament, I wouldn’t be a champion, but they gave me the opportunity to become a champion.
Boxing is the most beautiful sport in the world! These are four bantamweights sitting here: They are warriors in the ring but best friends outside the ring. I really like that. Coming to the fight on April 23rd I think it’s going to be a very beautiful fight. Abner Mares is a great fighter a young fighter very determined on beating everyone. It’s very difficult for someone who is unbeaten to have a negative mind going into the ring because you haven’t come into the ring as a loser you always come up as a winner. That always builds up the confidence. I am no longer unbeaten my only lose is to Yonnhy Perez, which I respect so much, coming from a big fight with Yonnhy Perez and Vic Darchinyan. There is nothing in this game that I have not seen because I have fought two great fighters and I am able to come out successfully. The only thing that I know that is going to happen on April 23rd I know someone is going to lose in this winner take all. Someone who is unbeaten is going to be 22-1 come April 23rd. Thank You.!”
The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All is promoted by Don King Productions, Gary Shaw Productions, Golden Boy Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions. An exciting undercard will be announced shortly.
Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, go on sale Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 10 a.m. PT and will be available online at Ticketmaster.com, and via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800) 745-3000. Tickets will also be available at Staples Center Box Office