We greatly appreciate the media for calling in for today’s conference call as we get set for next Saturday, March 9 at Dignity Health Sports Park here in Southern California in Carson.
As we prepare for PBC on FOX, the WBC Welterweight Championship of the World, “Showtime” Shawn Porter making his first defense against the challenger Yordenis Ugas, originally from Cuba.
It is going to be a tremendous night of boxing as we go live at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific Time, local time for the fans in Southern California, all brought to you by TGB Promotions. Tickets are selling fast. They start as low as $50. If you don’t have your tickets, you can purchase them on AXS.com.
Without further ado, it gives me great honor and pleasure to introduce a man who has been promoting for a very long time and been a part of some of the biggest events in the history of boxing. He knows the sport. He loves the sport. He has a passion for the sport and no doubt next Saturday, March 9 PBC on FOX it will be an historic night here in Southern California.
Please welcome the President of TGB Promotions, my dear friend, Mr. Tom Brown.
Well thank you Ray. Good afternoon and welcome everyone. The Dignity Health Sports Park is the premier boxing outdoor boxing venue in the United States. I’ve said this before but it’s worth mentioning, three out of the last six Ring Magazine and Boxing Writers Association Fights of the Year have all been at the Dignity Health Sports Park.
They weren’t all fights of the year going into the show. Something happens at that arena when fighters walk down that tunnel. It’s like gladiators walking into the coliseum.
We have an outstanding card from top to bottom and I’ll turn things back over to Ray to get things going with fighters. Thank you.
Thank you very much Tom. And before you meet the main event fighters, I want to let you know what is a part of our televised broadcast with PBC on FOX brought to you by TGB Promotions.
Again we go live 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific Time. We have Francisco Santana going head to head against Abel Ramos, a matchup in the welterweight division.
Also Efe Ajagba, who’s undefeated, a heavyweight out of Nigeria goes head to head against Amir Mansour so it’s a triple header loaded for PBC on FOX. Now let’s meet the challenger in our main event of the evening.
This guy who’s certainly gone ahead and has been on a roll coming off a win over Cesar Miguel Barrionuevo on September 8 at Barclays Center. Twenty-three victories. Just three defeats. A 42% knockout percentage to his credit. Please welcome Yordenis Ugas.
Hi to everybody here on the call. I want to thank the promotor Tom Brown and I’m just very, very excited to be on FOX.
Thank you very much Yordenis. And now we meet the champion who is making the first offense of his World Championship. You want to talk about exciting fighters in boxing? I look at this man.
The Welterweight Division has always been one of the most loaded divisions and one of the most exciting divisions in all of boxing. And this man brings excitement every single time out.
Aside from that he loves the sport. He owns 29 wins and 17 of those by knockout. Just two defeats and one bout even, having most recently captured the WBC Welterweight Crown by defeating Danny Garcia in a tremendous fight on September 8th.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the champion, “Showtime” Shawn Porter.
Ray, thanks for such a humbling introduction. What’s up everybody? We’re almost there and I’m sure Yordenis is feeling good and excited. I am as well. Let’s do it.
you would like to ask a question at this time, please press star one on your telephone keypad. If you would like to ask a question at this time, please press star one on your telephone keypad. Our first question is coming from (Carlos) from Fight Sports. Please go ahead.
Yordenis did you think that at any point throughout the break from boxing you had, that you would get to this point and challenge for a world title on such a big stage?
Well, absolutely. I always knew in my heart that I could fight at this level and be at the highest level. I needed a little break away from boxing.
I needed a change of scenery, a change of coaches and a better way to stay focused. And those other losses, they were majorities and splits. I did feel I won some of those fights but I still needed a change. And now I’ve got the change and feel perfect.
What about your skills that makes you think that you can defeat Shawn Porter on March 9?
Because I’m a competitor at the highest level whether, it’s the amateurs or the pros now and I just know it. I know I’m prepared mentally. I know I’m prepared physically.
But on March 9 I’m going to have the chance to show the world why I’m one of the best welterweights in the whole world and better than Shawn Porter. You’ll see that on March 9 yourself as well.
Do you consider this the biggest fight of your career? How do you compare this title opportunity to your experience at the Olympics?
100% this is the biggest fight of his career. This is my first chance at a world title fight. Since the age of nine years old I’ve been boxing and this is what I’ve always dreamt of.
So obviously this is the biggest fight of my career and I’m prepared. The Olympics are a huge thing too but that’s for amateurs. That’s in the past. Right now winning this World Title is the main focus for me. And nothing’s bigger than that, not the Olympics or anything else right now.
Shawn, how do you measure the risk of facing Ugas when a loss could derail potentially massive fights against Pacquiao, Spencer or a Thurman rematch?
I’m going to ignore that perception of this fight, even that perception of Yordenis Ugas. Every fight is a dangerous fight. Every fight is a must win fight and for anyone that doesn’t realize that, it starts when you turn professional.
You do the best you can to put yourself in line to win every fight, to climb the ladder and get to the point where I’m at right now. I didn’t do all that and look at all those fights like they were must win fights and then get here now and look at this fight like it’s any different.
This fight is just like my very first fight. It’s just like my second, my third and my last fight. This is a must win fight and it’s definitely a dangerous fight, but they are always going to be dangerous when you get in the ring with the high level caliber fighters that I fight.
I’m simply saying then that every fight is a dangerous fight. Every fight is a must win fight, as far as this being low risk, high reward, I’m going to get paid what I deserve to get paid.
Outside of that, this is another fight that I have to win and do what I have to do. So after the fight I expect my hand to be raised and move on from there.
How satisfying was it for you to surprise the naysayers with that performance against Danny Garcia?
I’m not going to downplay it like it wasn’t satisfying. I think first and foremost it was satisfying to be able to perform like that against Danny Garcia and win a unanimous decision like that but at the same time yes, to be able to prove to other people out there who think that I have just one level to my game.
It was definitely an opportunity to show everyone out there that I have more and if you thought that was it, wait until you see me against Yordenis Ugas.
So this fight is going to be at a venue that used to be known as the StubHub Center. And the last time you fought there you actually lost your IBF Title in a close decision to Kell Brook. So just wondering if it holds a personal significance for you if you’re looking at some type of vindication that way or it’s just another venue to you?
You know what? I love the venue. Actually I’ve maybe been there just maybe once or twice since my fight. I think twice since my fight. And certainly yes, understanding, when I went there to fight Kell Brook, I was very, very excited to have that fight there.
It didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. So this is definitely another opportunity for me to not only shine but have all the feelings that I expected and wanted to have the first time around. So yes, it’s definitely in my mind and definitely something I’m looking forward to.
Do you had an appreciation for Shawn giving you a title shot in his first defense?
I’m just excited. I respect Shawn Porter. I know he’s had a rough road, just like I had a rough comeback. Always on the other side of the ring against the A-side.
I’m just excited. I’m motivated. It’s my first chance to become world champion. I’m prepared to show everyone in the ring and come March 9 I’ll be world champion.
Does he feel like as great as it’s been like no one really has seen the best of him yet?
I really don’t feel you’ve seen the best of Yordenis Ugas. I feel like every day I’m growing as a fighter and as a person. I’m learning more things. I’m getting stronger.
I feel like every day I’m improving. And like I said, I just want to reach my height and on March 9 face a great champion like Shawn Porter. On March 9 I’m looking to climb that old mountaintop and keep going from there.
For Yordenis, what has changed from two losses in a row in 2014 to where he stands now as a legitimate, top welterweight contender?
I just felt like I needed a change of team and just a change of lifestyle, a different view. Moving to Las Vegas and working with Ismael Salas I kind of just went back to being the old Ugas that I always was.
It was just boxing only and let everything else play its role. So I think a lot has to do just with changing the scenery and getting good input in his boxing career.
When you think positive and do positive things, positive outcomes occur and that’s what I’ve been doing lately.
Was part of this run moving up to welterweight? Did he suffer like severe confidence loss? Or did it just give him more motivation to keep going, try again to make sure he got somewhere?
Obviously in boxing weight is fundamental and when you struggle with weight, sometimes you want to be the bigger, stronger guy height wise but you don’t think about how it can affect your body during the fight.
Obviously the 140-pound limit really affected my body. I’m pretty big for 147 let alone 140. But that’s in the past. Now obviously when I step to 147 I’m undefeated. I feel good. I feel strong.
Mentally after those two losses, I just took a step back and just in my mind I just kept telling myself, don’t worry. Your chance is going to come. Your chance is going to come.
With the good change of team and change of atmosphere. I’m at the weight I need to be. I feel ready to go and I’m excited for this opportunity.
Shawn, can you appreciate what this guy’s gone through to get to this point?
Oh definitely. Honestly man, Yordenis and I, we aren’t enemies by any means. We don’t dislike each other. He’s after something that I have and I’m trying to keep something away from him.
At the end of the day, our backgrounds are quite similar. Our struggles in life are a little similar. Our adversities have brought us to the point that we’re at right now.
So 100% I understand Yordenis. I understand where he’s from. And at the same time, this is a sport. What we do is we fight to win. And I understand he’s going to come in here and do that and I’m looking forward to it man. Honestly, I really am.
You’re in a situation where like if you win a lot of people aren’t going to give you a whole lot of credit maybe and if you lose, it’s like, he lost to a guy I never heard of. How do you square that in your mind?
You square it by not losing. You square it by doing what I do which is, going out there, being energetic, throwing a lot of punches, throwing the right punches, making the right moves, a responsible defense and just being me.
That’s how you handle that. Once the fight’s over, in the end, my hand’s raised. Anyone who’s going to complain or not respect what I did that night, that’s their problem. That’s not my problem at all.
We put ourselves and our lives on the line and anyone that’s not willing to respect that just based on who we’re in the ring with, then they don’t have a good understanding of boxing.
So that’s not my job. My job isn’t to convince people that I’m getting in the ring with a tough fighter. My job is not to convince people that this guy can take everything I have. It’s my job to get in there and make sure that he doesn’t do that and hopefully dazzle the crowd along the way.
All the rest of it, and this is just something I don’t focus on and don’t care about.
Have you allowed yourself to think about a possible next step for some big fight or has it just been Ugas on your mind?
Obviously it’s been Ugas for a number of weeks now. But before Ugas, before I knew I would be fighting him, the list was very short. It was Keith Thurman. It was Errol Spence Jr. It was Manny Pacquiao when I heard he was signed to come along with PBC which is pretty awesome and it’s still that way.
We’re not going to look past Yordenis Ugas. We’re going to respect everything the man can bring in the ring. We’re going to send it right back at him, look to win this fight and then after that look to see who else is out there and willing to get in the ring with me.
When you’re approaching this fight, is there a different mindset that you have to go through now that you’re the one with the target on your back versus say you gunning for a title like you did against Danny Garcia for the vacant WBC title your last time out?
No, there’s no different mindset. I think maybe if anything there’s just excitement. It’s like you said, I’ve been here before so I’m excited to make another title defense.
I think that is something that’s special, something that you have to do once you win a title. So I think maybe if anything, I’m just looking forward to being able to put that label on what we’re doing March 9, which is making the title defense. I’m definitely looking forward to making it a successful one.
Does that excitement, does part of it come from the fact that you’re fighting the main event of a boxing card on FOX where audience has a potentially much larger than your previous fights?
It all adds to it. It all becomes one big ball of excitement that you have to kind of hone in on and turn that energy into the right energy that you need for the fight.
That’s the best part about it for me, man. I enjoy opportunities to perform in front of big crowds and I enjoy opportunities to do what so many people hope to do. I hope to fight March 9 in front of thousands and thousands of people and even more than you would normally expect from a network standpoint.
I’m looking forward to being successful and moving on from there but yes, definitely all of it just kind of combines into this one big ball of great energy that I look forward to.
Here’s a fun question. If your Cleveland Cavaliers end up in these top three slots in the draft, for the NBA, who do you want them to take?
My barber said, we’re marching towards Zion (Williamson). That’s what we’re looking at man. That’s the guy Cleveland is looking at.
So I’m just wondering what kind of fed into moving camp from the Porter Hy Performance Center and spending some time in D.C. for this fight?
A lot like Yordenis. Yordenis said he had to get out and change his program. And not that our program was flawed but we just felt like we needed a little bit more than we had been getting here in Vegas.
And my dad said, hey Barry Hunter, what can we do? We want you to come out. And Barry said, “Man, I’ve got everything in house. All the sparring you need, all the training you need, all the recovery you need. It’s all right here, come.”
And that’s exactly what we did. We put in a great couple of weeks out there in D.C. and now we’re back in Vegas finishing it off in the good weather. And God bless, while we were out there it snowed here.
Now that I’m back though, the weather’s great and definitely looking forward to tapering off as the end of this week comes. And Barry will be out here with us in L.A. soon enough and we’ll get ready to rock-n-roll.
This is what we do and we do it as a team. Anybody out there that doesn’t know me, I played football and one of my favorite parts of football was the team and the comradery.
So I make sure that my team is set and we’re locked and loaded and ready for any and every one that they put in front of us. And collectively, myself, my dad and my whole team, we’re ready and we’re counting down and we’re looking forward to it.
Does this seem like a new challenge to you that motivates you in a new way?
Every fight’s a challenge. Every fighter is going to fight differently. I think you hit the nail on the coffin when you aid that we knew how Danny was going to come.
We prepared for that and he came exactly how we thought he would and wanted him to. And it played into our hands. Same goes for Yordenis.
We trained for Yordenis. We’re expecting him to come a certain way at us and we’re prepared to fight the right fight to be successful. So I think that we are very prepared and we’re very ready for Yordenis.
As far as his being a different type of challenge, like I said before, every fight’s a challenge. But he fights a different type of fighting style than most guys that I fight, so I think second to him would be Adrian Granados in terms of being aggressive.
So we have a pretty good idea of how we expect him to come and if he doesn’t come that way, we’ll be ready for some adjustments. We got great sparring and we got a lot of different looks.
Yordenis is at more fight nights than most fighters, is he may be studying how guys move in between fights or camps? Or just picking up on world class boxing, if he’s at a championship fight? Is this something to be taken away from taking all of these fights in person?
I love being at the fights just because this is my world. Boxing is my life. It’s everything for me. It’s always been.
I just love being at the fights personally just to watch the fights and attend them and be part of this world.
I’ve got a picture perfect memory of fights ten years ago that I’ll talk about. Like it’s all I do all day. I study fights on You Tube and basically if I’m not going to fights, I’m studying fights all day.
All right, well we want to thank both Shawn Porter and Yordenis Ugas for their time as they continue final preparations for March 9 with PBC on FOX.
Before we say bye to them we want to go ahead and open up the floor to you, Yordenis Ugas first for closing comments. Yordenis.
I just want to thank obviously everyone involved here at PBC on FOX and just everyone who’s helped put this fight together. On March 9 you’re going to get a great fight, an exciting fight, a war, a great world champion and someone looking to be a world champion.
So I’ve got a destiny that I’ve got to fulfill and March 9 is my opportunity to do that. So make sure everyone tunes into FOX. You’re not going to want to miss this fight. This is going to be a throwback old school type war. Thank you guys.
I want to thank Yordenis Ugas. Now I want to turn the floor over for final comments to the champion, Shawn Porter. Shawn.
I’m just going to mimic what Ugas said. I think that this is a fight that people are expecting to be exciting. It’s definitely going to be all that and more.
I appreciate Yordenis for stepping up and being the next guy in line. I understand what that is. I understand what that feels like. I’m look forward to the challenge and I’m looking forward to defending this belt with honor and keeping it around my neck and around my waist. So we’ll see you guys soon and God bless you guys out there.