Obviously it’s going to be at AT&T Stadium, home of America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys. Canelo’s going to be returning for the first time to Texas where he had a great fight against James Kirkland. So we’re very excited about that.
Just like we say, everything’s bigger in Texas. The stadium is doing very well with ticket sales. We’re already over 25,000 in ticket sales. There are still tickets available. You can buy tickets at Ticketmaster. You can go on the website at www.Ticketmaster.com or you can call by phone 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are as low as $40 and $750 for ringside.
So now I want to turn it over to our co-promoter for the fight and good friend, Frank Warren, to introduce the team. Frank?
FRANK WARREN, Chairman of Box Nation and Promoter to Liam Smith:
He begged me for this fight, and we made it happen between all of us, and I can assure you when he gets there on the 17th, there are going to be some serious fireworks. It’s going to be a real celebration for the Brits. It might be Mexican Independence Day, but it’s going to be the Brits are coming and the Brits are going to come away still holding that belt.
He’s so confident and all the time I’ve known him, I’ve never felt or doubted him or his ability. He’s one of those fighters, the bigger the occasion, the more you’ll get out of him.
He’s 28 years of age. He comes from Liverpool. He’s the first Liverpool champ or British world champ to come out of Liverpool in 22 years. He comes from a fighting family. His brothers are all professional boxers, all very successful, and I think he’s the best of the brothers. I’ve always said that and I’m sure that he is.
And I’m quite sure that we’re going to see something special in Dallas on the 17th. Liam’s on the line, and I know you’d like to speak to him. So Liam, over to you.
LIAM SMITH, WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion:
ERIC GOMEZ: Liam, thank you. And Frank, thank you for the kind words.
So a couple of notes before we open up for questions. Obviously, this is going to be brought to you by HBO pay-per-view, so if you can’t be there in person, make sure you get the pay-per-view. And last but not least I’d like to thank our sponsors involved in this fight, Tecate, Born Bold, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Hennesey: Never Stop, Never Settle, Adrianna’s Insurance, AT&T: Mobilizing Your World, and Casa Mexico Tequila. With that, thank you to the sponsors. We couldn’t put together a great show like this without you. So with that, we can open it up to questions.
Q. Hello Frank and Liam.
FRANK WARREN: Joe, I’m sorry. Joe Gallagher is on the line, Ring Trainer of the Year 2015, and he’s done a fantastic job with Liam working with him over the years. I can’t say enough of his ability. I do apologize.
Q. Joe, it’s good to have you on the call also. My first question, Liam, a lot of your British countrymen have talked a lot during their careers about how they wanted to come to the United States and fight. I remember hearing those comments from Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe and people like that that really look forward at some point in their career making a name. They had made their name in Britain, but they wanted to have bigger fights in the United States. You have a big fight here with Canelo Alvarez and it’s going to be your first fight in the United States. But I wonder has one of your goals been what those guys talked about, that you really wanted to come to the states and make a big name for yourself, or was this just sort of the way it worked out for you? What are your feelings about having an opportunity to fight in the United States?
LIAM SMITH: This fight has got nothing to do really with any of those fights that you mentioned. It also doesn’t reflect on any of the fights that have challenged. This isn’t Canelo with Amir Khan. This has to do with me, and it’s a personal thing for me. I’ve always been told I think I’ve got a style that the American fight fans will like. There is no mixing out of my style, there’s no awkwardness. There’s no holds. There’s no negativity around me. What you see is what you get in terms of the fight.
Like I said last time on the phone mark my words, I’m coming to fight Canelo, and you’re going to be in a massive shock. This fight is me making a name for myself the world over and establishing myself to the world of boxing and not just for British fight fans.
Q. Was it a goal to fight in America like some of your past star countrymen? Was that on your bucket list?
LIAM SMITH: I don’t want to emulate nothing. I want to go there and beat Canelo on me own and have people talking about Liam Smith. There will be people talking about Liam Smith and not Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe.
Q. No, no, Liam, I think you’re misunderstanding me. I understand what you’re saying. I’m saying in your mind when you became a professional fighter and making your way up the ranks, was fighting a major fight in the States something that was a big deal for you? Is that something that you aspired to do?
But I look to move there when I finish boxing. I love the States and making a name out there for myself is something I want to do.
Q. A lot of the conversation that’s been directed towards Canelo going into this fight is why he’s not fighting Gennady Golovkin who is coming to the country to fight Kell Brook, and the fight that many of the people in the United States that people hoped to see was Canelo versus Golovkin. So my question for you, how tired of that are you hearing about how people are disappointed that Canelo is not fighting Triple G, but he’s fighting a guy in Liam Smith who most people here have never heard of? Does it make a difference to you? Does it motivate you? What is your point to all the people that say they don’t know who Liam Smith is, and we’d rather see him fighting Triple G?
I don’t mind that. I know they don’t know me. I can’t blame them. I haven’t fought in the States just yet. I could have done some fights as you mentioned before. The way they’ve done it, (Indiscernible) could have fought Castillo and went there and fought (Indiscernible) before the other big fight against Castillo.
Now I was just going to ask you the same thing. Went there for one of the channels. It’s going to be a very, very good fight. But it’s just the fact I’m going there and I’m fighting the biggest name over there and they expect him to fight Triple G, so I’m getting the backlash of that.
The same, you’ve got to know me as a boxer, and personally, we can talk if you want about Triple G and Canelo, but after September 17 there won’t be no talk of Triple G anymore.
Q. Liam, both of your brothers Paul and Stephen have fought only one time in the United States and big step-up fights and neither one was competitive at all. I wanted to know if you feel pressure to end that streak? Have they given you any words of advice from their failures?
And now, saying that they’re going to give me confidence. I’ve been in the States and fought before. When I’m in that changing room, I’ll feel as if I’ve been in that situation before. Obviously I’m going to have to deal on the biggest stage. This is the biggest stage — not the biggest stage in boxing by no means, but the Dallas Cowboys Stadium. But it doesn’t faze me and it’s one I’m looking forward to the finishing.
FRANK WARREN: That question you asked is a fair question you asked. However, Liam’s going there as a world champion. His brothers didn’t go there as a world champion. He’s the world champion. He’s the one that’s won the world title.
Q. I know. But I don’t think that means a whole lot in this day and age of four titles per weight class. Canelo’s the name here State side. Does that really make a big difference?
I’ve been involved with lots of fighters over the years. Lots of fighters out in the States. A lot of fighters I’ve been involved with considered no-hopers against great American fighters or were to be great American fighters at the time, and a lot of my guys have won those fights. And I feel confident in Liam that he can emulate what they’ve done, and we’ll be talking afterwards about when is Liam going to be fighting Golovkin because that’s what they’re going to be talking about after this fight.
Q. Can you give me an example of a fight this reminds of you then? A past fight of a guy who was considered not to have a shot?
Naseem Hamed winning fights over the years against American opponents who we brought over who were champions, won them all. He’s of that ilk. He can win them. We call Liam the scouse Mexican, scouse you might not know is a Liverpool nickname and that’s how he fights.
Q. Liam, can you speak to that point about how you are as a champion and your brothers and how that may change things? Can you maybe speak about how you think your mindset is going to be different than your brothers were because you’re the champion and they were the challengers? How does that help you?
Q. How will your mindset be different going into this fight as an underdog, knowing that you’re the champion, whereas your brothers were the challengers?
So this fight, I know I am the champion, but there doesn’t have to be a belt on the line for me. I took this fight. I’m not in a situation where I have nothing to lose in this fight. I’ve got a title to lose. So I’ve taken this fight because it’s an opportunity to make a name for myself and establish myself as one of the best fighters pound-for-pound in the world.
Q. Do you feel this is the kind of fight you’ve been training for your whole life? The kind of fight that turns you into a name and a star worldwide?
This is, I say to Joe as he’s got me in the gym, this fight is right up my street as they say in the news. Canelo and this fight is right up my street stylewise.
It’s going to be give and take. Canelo’s going to have his moments. I’m not saying he’s not. But I’m going to have my moments. It will come down to they can finish off their moments and finish the fight the best. So it’s one that I’m looking forward to every time I think about the fight it gets me excited. It just gets me excited. So it’s one that I can’t wait for. It’s going to be a great fight.
Q. Liam, the question is do you like your chances better than Brook against Triple G? Do you like your chances better against Canelo?
FRANK WARREN: Liam’s a natural 154-pound fighter. He’s not going up a weight. This is his weight. This is the weight he fights at.
Q. HBO has been publicizing about your sister and autism. How important is this fight for you and this pay-per-view to get the word out around the world about autism and to make everybody aware of autism?
Q. Eric, Oscar has predicted a crowd in the vicinity of 80,000 people. The two other fight cards that have been held at the Cowboy Stadium, AT&T Stadium were involving Manny Pacquiao, one was 40,000, another 50,000. If Oscar’s projection is correct, you’d have to sell 55,000 seats in the next two weeks. How close to that do you think that this fight can realistically approach?
It’s a big, beautiful stadium. We’ll see. You never know. With the walk up, a lot of the Mexican fans, they cross the border and they’ll drive to Dallas for a lot of the Cowboy games. From what they’re telling us, they like to buy tickets from the box Office. So we’re expecting a big walk-up.
Tickets are moving well. We’ll see. We’ll see. We’ll cross our fingers and hopefully we get there. But nevertheless, already with over 25,000 people, it’s going to look great.
Q. Frank, England and Great Britain has always had an important role in the history of professional boxing. But per capita probably the most intense fight fans going now are in Germany and England. I think ring magazine, their list of champions and Top 10 rated fighters, there are actually more now from the UK than from the United States. What explains this huge spike, if it is indeed a huge spike, in popularity in boxing in the U.K.?
In the early days I’ve just felt some of the fights we were making, like making time fights. You see a fighter fighting and you think to yourself, he needs to be stepped up and stepped up, and that’s what we’ve tried to do with him. And I think what has happened, he’s one of those special group of fighters. We’ve got a lot of guys who have held title. But there’s only three or four of them who are really quality, world champions and he’s one of them.
As I say, we’ve been very successful in what we do in boxing, and I think looking at the Olympic Games we’ve had a great, great run there. You look at the heavyweight division over the last four or five Olympic games. We’ve won medals where the U.S. hasn’t won medals at that point. I just think that with our guys we’ve got great followings in their hometowns. We build them in their hometowns. We don’t build four-wall deals. What we do is try to build a following in their home city, and I think that’s what we’re successfully doing. And that translates into interest in the fighters and the fact that the fighters want to box.
There are guys out there in our amateur clubs, there are a huge amount of amateur boxing clubs in the U.K., and they’re very, very well supported and very well funded. And as so, we’ve got a good system that’s working, and you see they’re all translating now into what you see in the amount of British boxers that are in the ratings or are world champions.
But I think for Liam, because obviously that’s what this call is all about today, I think with Liam, you’ve got to see something special. He has got something to lose. You know, people say, what have I got to lose? I’m going to go out there and get a payday and that’s it. But he’s got something to lose. And I know that’s something that’s very special to him, and that’s his pride. He’s going there to defend his title and come back with all the accolades that he’s going to deserve in doing so.
And I’m not coming out there with him to sit there and go home as a loser. I’m coming out there because I’ve got tremendous belief in him and tremendous belief in his preparation and what Joe Gallagher’s doing with him. But he can come away winning this fight. It’s not going to be easy. He’s fighting a very good fighter. But you know what? He’s got the tools to do it.
Q. Liam and Frank, human nature being what it is, since so many people are pointing or looking forward to a mega fight between Triple G and Canelo, would Triple G fighting Kell Brook over in England and this fight here, some people are going to say, well, they’re going to take the safe approach because they want to protect that. Human nature being this, how much of a motivating factor is that like a slap to a guy’s pride that most people think this is just going to be a walk through the park because we’ve got to protect the big fight? How motivating is that for Liam?
I used to promote Kell Brook, I got him up to the number one position. He had 20 fights with me. He’s a capable fighter. I think he’s got a very, very tough fight. He’s coming up two weight divisions to fight one of the best fighters if not the best fighter in the world. And you’ve got Liam going to the guy who is also considered to be one of the best, if not the best, American fighters or Mexican fighters.
However, they are not trying to step up to the plate. You can’t be what people may be assuming and what they’re saying about Canelo and Triple G cannot be said about five other British boxers. They are stepping up. They’re fearless. They’re coming to fight.
My man, Liam, is coming to the other guy’s backyard. He’s coming to the back yard, not to make up the numbers, but to defend his title and come back as a winner and hopefully Liam Smith’s name will be on everybody’s lips. If he wins this fight, and I really do feel he can. It’s not going to be easy, but I do feel he has the capabilities to win it. It will be in my opinion one of the biggest upsets as far as Brits going abroad. It will be the biggest thing of a British boxer in modern times to go out there and do that. That’s how significant this fight will be.
That’s why we’re in there. That’s why we’ve taken this fight because we believe in our man. We believe in Liam Smith.
Q. Frank and Liam, if you guys could explain why you guys withdrew from the drug testing and why that was important for you to do that?
Q. So there is a misconception out there that he withdrew.
Q. Liam, this is your first fight outside of the U.K. I just wanted to know what kind of changes have you guys made in the training camp, if any? And you know there’s been video circulating out there of you sparring with Kell Brook. Have you guys made any changes to this particular training camp or has this been kind of the same that you’ve been doing the last few years?
We always have conditioned well. We’ll be ready for the fight, there is no question about that. So we’ve just made the little adjustments, like I said, to get ready towards Canelo.
Q. Do you guys feel that coming up after this fight, if you guys come out victorious, are you guys looking at possibly unifying the division? Or do you feel like after you beat Canelo a possible step up to middleweight is something you’d be looking at in your future?
Now, obviously, my mind is just set on Canelo. And when I beat Canelo, my next fight will be Canelo again, because I know they will throw everything back. They overlooked me, and I know afterSeptember 17, the excuses are going to come. So I know they’re going to do what they can to get the rematch again. So my mind will be focused on Canelo, and it will be on Canelo again. Because I can see what’s going to happen.
Q. Frank, what’s going on with Billy Joe Saunders? I know there was a possibility that he was going to be on the undercard.
Q. Again, there was talk about possibly in December with Billy Jo fighting Canelo if Canelo’s successful? I know you have to get by Liam Smith, but is that still a possibility?
ERIC GOMEZ: That’s a great answer, Frank (laughing).
LIAM SMITH: It’s the truth.
FRANK WARREN: That’s what we’re here for. We’re not here to lose.
Q. Frank, in the event that some miracle happens and Liam does not win, would that be still in play between Canelo and Saunders?
Q. Frank, do you want to reveal who Saunders is fighting next?
FRANK WARREN: No, we’ll talk about it on Monday. Let’s deal with my champion here, Liam Smith. That’s what we’re at the moment focused on. All will be revealed with Billy Joe on Monday. If the press want to be on the call, speak with Dan in the Office, and we’ll give you a head’s up just before.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much. I think we’re all ready for final comments. Frank, do you have any final comments?
FRANK WARREN: All I would say is I hope that we do sell the stadium out, because the Mexican people are great, great boxing fans and I want them to be there to see what I believe is one of our great British boxers. They’re going to love him. They’re going to love what he does, they’re going to love what they see. Don’t miss this. This is a fight to be there and see. It will be a history-making fight for a British fighter.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Frank. Joe Gallagher, are you still on the line?
JOE GALLAGHER: Yeah, I’m here, yes. Just Liam Smith’s coming over, very well-prepared, ready to defend his title. On Sunday, the 18th, that’s what they’ll be talking about, the three judges, and let’s talk about a good world champion in Liam Smith. That’s my only fear for this fight. These are two honest fighters putting their careers and their lives on the line, and we need three honest men sitting around the ringside to score the fight correctly. What we don’t want is to have a bad decision.
We’ve seen the corruption with the Olympics of late. The bad judging, the bad scoring and this can’t happen on Mexican Independence week. Liam Smith is going out there. He’s putting his title on the line, his life on the line, and we need three honest men to go on that night and go out there thinking I did the right thing. And by doing the right thing, they’ll score Liam Smith the winner.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much. Liam, go ahead and say your final comments.
LIAM SMITH: Yes, just thanks to everyone, obviously for all of the questions. And like Joe and Frank said, we’re coming September 17th. We’re ready. We’ll have no excuses, and I’ll speak to all the same people on September 18th and just say I told you so, and I’m still champion.
I’d also like to say thanks to Eric and Frank and all the Golden Boy staff for making this fight and now the fight’s only two weeks away, so I hope we’ll have a great show.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much. Eric, we’re ready for your final comments.
ERIC GOMEZ: Great, thank you, guys. Thank you once again Frank Warren, Frank’s been a great partner with us and by far the best promoter in the U.K.
You know, Joe Gallagher, obviously, a top trainer. Liam is an undefeated fighter. This is a great fight, a dangerous fight. Styles make fights, and this is going to be an explosive fight. We’re very excited for this fight. Don’t miss it. HBO pay-per-view, or you can go in person and see it at beautiful AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Again, tickets are still available. You can get tickets at Ticketmaster, www.Ticketmaster.com. Again, I want to thank the sponsors, everybody involved, thank you very much. And thank you for being on the call, media.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports