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SHOWTIME SPORTS MEDIA CONFERENCE
April 2, 2008
Former undisputed light heavyweight kingpin and current IBO champion Antonio Tarver will face IBF champion Clinton Woods and WBC 175-pound titleholder Chad Dawson will defend against former world champion Glen Johnson Saturday, April 12, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (live at 9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).
The doubleheader, promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and AT Entertainment in association with Fight Academy, will emanate from the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
GARY SHAW: Thank you everybody for being on the call. Special thank you to Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson, and I believe Henry Foster's on with Glen. So on behalf of everyone that's on the call, I want to thank everyone for the interest in this fight.
To me, we're putting on a great doubleheader, two world champions, as John said. I believe the four best light heavyweights in the world. These fighters that claim to be or magazines rate other fighters as the light heavyweight world champion, then they need to fight at light heavyweight, and not all these catch weights.
So these two fighters are stepping up. Chad Dawson is young. He is the future of the division. Everybody knows about Glen Johnson. Glen's been in with Tarver, he's been in with Clinton Woods. He's been in with the best. This is Chad's first really major test since becoming Light Heavyweight Champion of the world. He needs to get past Glen Johnson to get the recognition that he's now lacking. So, Glen knows what he has to do to get back in the picture. Chad is the stepping stone for him.
So that sets the pace for the fight. We'll talk about Tarver and Clinton Woods on the second half of this call. But I'm very proud, and proud to be associated with Showtime, and putting together this tremendous doubleheader. This might be the single best doubleheader of the year. I'm really leaning towards getting a unified light heavyweight champion of the world.
So once again, I thank everybody very, very much. A special thank you for Showtime for stepping up and paying for what it took to put this fight on.
CHAD DAWSON: First of all, I want to thank everybody. Gary Shaw and Showtime for having me on the card. It's a big card, you know. I'm definitely looking forward to be challenged. Everybody knows Glen Johnson is a tough fighter. But you know, I'm here, and I'm going to be on my "A" game.
And training has been going great. It's been seven weeks, and I've been ready for the past two weeks. So, I'm definitely looking forward to taking on Glen Johnson in the fight.
GLEN JOHNSON: I'm going to take a time out to say thanks for everyone involved: Showtime, Gary Shaw and Warrior Boxing. It's a tremendous card. I'm definitely looking forward to April 12 to being the WBC light heavyweight champion. Chad is a great fighter. I have a lot of respect for him. But, you know, I have to worry about my future, so I'm bringing it all to the table.
Q. Chad when you train for a guy like Glen Johnson, is there anyone stylewise that you can compare to Glen?
CHAD DAWSON: Not really, you know. He's got some real aggressive. It's basically all about me being in tip-top shape, that's what it is. I have the skill, I have the talent. I'm in shape, I've got my "A" game. I'm not worried about nothing. I just let my hands do the talking.
Q. If you look at the Ring Magazine Top 10, the average age of a light heavyweight is something like 37 years old. Obviously, you don't fit in that category. So, tell me what you think about the situation of light heavyweight and your being the obvious future of the division? Can you comment on that for me, please?
CHAD DAWSON: I'm just fortunate enough to be a young guy, you know, and being in the Top 10 with these guys. Antonio Tarver's had a great career, Glen Johnson's had a great career. Roy Jones Jr. Had a great career. I'm just honored to be mentioned among those names, you know.
Come April 12, I'm going to show everybody I'm not just the future of the division, I am the division, and I am the best light heavyweight in the world.
Q. Glen, a couple of years ago you were the Boxing Rounds Associations fighter of the year. You've been around a long time. You've had some ups, you've had some downs. Can you just sort of like reflect on that, on your career, and the fact that at times it's been a little bit of a roller coaster ride?
GLEN JOHNSON: You know, it's the way boxing is. For me it's been a bit of struggle sometimes. I guess-- I don't know why. I see other guys they lose a fight and they come right back into a major fight.
For me, when there's a loss, it takes me a year or so before I got another chance or another shot at it. So it's been an up-and-down road in that sense. But, you know, looking back on my whole career, I have my share of disappointments, but I'm pretty pleased. Because, you know, it really makes me who I am as a person, and as a fighter.
So, you know, I'm still blessed with the skills that I have. I owe all of that based on just my career, and places that I have to go and fight and the challenges that I had to step up and face and overcome in the long run. Just rise above it all, because the plate wasn't set for me. The table wasn't set for me. I just had to go and kind of set my own table and make it what it is today.
Q. Chad, you're obviously going into this fight, I think you're favored. But you know Glen Johnson is a guy that's been a champion, nicknamed the Road Warrior, fought under adverse conditions. He's also, coming off this last three fights, he's won by knockout or TKO. Where do you see him as a fighter? What do you think your advantages are over Glen Johnson for this fight?
CHAD DAWSON: My advantages are, I mean, I'm younger, faster. Everybody thinks Glen Johnson's going to be stronger. I don't know about that. But I'm just fully focused for this fight, you know. I'm in the best shape I've ever been in.
I'm looking for April 12. Glen Johnson's definitely a tough opponent. I have respect for him. The last three, four years of the game, you know, he's been very successful, you know. I'm just looking forward to the challenge.
Q. Glen, you've been around a while, are you very confident going in?
GLEN JOHNSON: I'm very confident. You know, it's going to be a tremendous fight. You know, I believe Chad's going to bring his best game, and I'm going to bring my best game. I honestly think this fight's going to be the best fight of the night. It's going to be a great fight. You know, the people, there's no losing in this fight, and the people are really going to enjoy their money's worth.
Q. Many fighters today are doing very well at a later age. What do you attribute this to? You know, there's Hopkins, even Roy Jones is now and so on. What do you attribute all this late-stage success that we didn't have 20 years ago?
GLEN JOHNSON: I can't really speak for other fighters and athletes. Because I don't really know how they do it. But for me, it's just taking good care of myself. I don't have really any bad habits as far as drinking or smoking or anything like that.
You know, I stay in shape, and I guess I keep praying and everything. You know, I'm at the stage now in my career where I really feel like I'm on top of my game. It's just a blessing in my eyes.
Q. What are you expecting tactically from Dawson?
GLEN JOHNSON: You know what, I really don't have any tactics because I really don't like to have too much of a tactic situation. You know, I love to let it develop. I'm just going out there and see what is it I need to do, and that's how it's going to go, I think.
Q. Chad, what are you expecting to see from Johnson?
CHAD DAWSON: I definitely expect him to be aggressive like he's been the past previous fights. You know, I'm going out there and executing. I'm pretty sure Glen Johnson's going to be on his "A" game, I'm going to be on my "A" game, and I'm pretty sure that's going to be the fight of the night. So just look for it. It's going to be a battle. It's going to be a war.
Q. Is there any particular weakness that you can see in him that you can exploit?
CHAD DAWSON: Not really a weakness. But like I said, you have to be in great condition and great shape. That's what I'm in. I'm in great condition and great shape. It's been the most intense, and most, the best shape I've had.
I've got a tough opponent in front of me, you know. Now I've got to be on my "A" game.
Q. Going back to your comment about being the future of the division, how well do you no Tavares Thiago, and what is the possibility of getting a chance to fight him?
CHAD DAWSON: Excuse me?
Q. How well do you know Tavares?
CHAD DAWSON: I don't know who that is.
Q. He's a light heavyweight.
GARY SHAW: Yeah, but this fight is about Glen Johnson's fight.
CHAD DAWSON: It's not relevant to this conversation.
Q. Well, the question is you're talking about being the future of the division. Obviously, he's a young, top ranked light heavyweight.
CHAD DAWSON: He'll get his chance when he gets recognized. But this is about me and Glen Johnson.
Q. Glen, I was just wondering, obviously, you have a tough fight in front of you and Chad. I was curious to any other fight, who would you prefer seeing being the winner of the fights and fight each other. You know, have a history with both guys. You have a lot of history, I was wondering who you thought was going to win, and who you want to win?
GLEN JOHNSON: It doesn't really matter to me which guy wins being an opponent for me. The guy that I think might win, I'll give a small edge to Clinton Woods because it seems like he's been doing better in his fights lately. And Tarver in his last couple of fights, I wasn't impressed at all. So I would give him an edge, based on that. But again, Tarver is able to come out and fight so we'll see what happens on the 12th.
Q. Chad, I was curious what your thoughts are on that fight as well?
CHAD DAWSON: I would go with Clinton Woods.
Q. Can you elaborate on why?
CHAD DAWSON: Tarver's last two fights, he hasn't shown nothing. He's like a dead fighter to me. I mean, Clint woods is not going to back up, he's not going to back down. Like I said, Tarver looks like a dead man to me.
Q. You've had two extremely impressive wins over the last two years against Tomasz Adamek and Eric Harding, and you won those fighting convincingly, do you feel you've gotten the proper recognition for those wins? Or do you think you need to beat a guy like Johnson for that to happen? What are your thoughts on that?
CHAD DAWSON: It's not about recognition. I'd definitely have to beat a guy like Glen Johnson to get the recognition. Like I say, three or four years in the game, he's been very successful. And to get recognized, I would say, yes.
Q. Gary, what are your thoughts on that? Do you think Chad's been recognized properly for what he's accomplished so far?
GARY SHAW: No, not at all. He's a world champion. And there's a reason for that. There's a reason Glen Johnson is in this fight, because Glen Johnson is a true champion himself that's willing to step up and fight one of the, if not the top guy, number one and number two guy in the world at 175 pounds.
That's why Roy Jones is calling out other people. That's why Hopkins is fighting 168 pounds or catch weight fights. And for whatever reason the press is enamored with names. So they keep talking about Roy, and they talk about Hopkins and guys. You don't hear Hopkins say, give me Glen Johnson, give me Chad Johnson, give me Woods. He's not calling out any of those names.
So I think time, time will help Chad Dawson. I think this fight is a turning stone in the Chad Dawson career, because if he can get by Glen Johnson, then, to me, he's gotten by one of the best fighters in the world bar no one. His years of experience, his wins, fighter of the year speaks volumes about who Glen Johnson is.
So for Chad Dawson, April 12 is his night to prove who Chad Dawson is.
Q. Glen, Gary just mentioned one of those named guys is Hopkins. At 43 years old, you've got to figure that the sand's going to run out of the hourglass for him and any guy who is getting on in his career. In that fight, you fought him a number of years ago. Tarver fought him more recently. What are your thoughts on that fight?
GLEN JOHNSON: You know, it's a difficult fight. I really think Bernard is a defensive whiz, and Joey is a guy that threw a lot of punches from every different angle. I think Joe might win the fight. But I don't think he's going to be able to land a lot of punches. He'll probably just win off just the fact that he's just throwing punches.
Because Bernard is a guy that is very skillful defensively. His offense is-- he don't have as much offense as he used to have in his prime. But he still has his defensive skills.
GARY SHAW: I'd like to throw a shot at that question. There's a reason I think that. And I love Bernard Hopkins on a personal level. I think he's great, and I'm a huge fan of Bernard's. But in the fight game, I have all the respect in the world for Joe Calzaghe. I watched them at ringside destroy Jeff Lacey. Go through Miguel Kessler. I think in the underrated department, that Joe Calzaghe should be rated number one.
Q. Glen, interesting to hear you feel that woods has got a slight edge over Tarver. You obviously know woods very well. What makes him such a difficult opponent in your own eyes?
GLEN JOHNSON: Well, Woods is a good fighter. I mean, he's very good. But my opinion simply just based on what I see in recent years between the two fighters. You know, when I fought Woods, I fought woods in his hometown back in England.
It's a different setting. Where he's able to sit back and just try to rally at the end of the run to get the crowd involved and also get the judges to vote basically and get in the crowd involved. Even a different setting now, this is the fact that's going to show if he's going to be able to step up or not. Because now he's going to have the crowd trying to support Antonio Tarver.
So you can't sit back. You've got to go out and fight. And fight for 30 minutes. That's what's going to make the difference in the fight. If he can do that, I definitely think he'll beat Tarver based on what I've seen the two men done recently.
Q. Glen, you're being brought into this fight because of your stature, your name recognition and all that, and Chad is the one that is expected to go on, the younger fighter to get the championship belt and all that. Can you comment on that role? You've been in that role so many times before and done well. Can you tell us what you think of your career and what you expect to come out of this fight?
GLEN JOHNSON: I expect to come out victorious, no doubt. But this is a situation that is constantly thrown my way. You know, for whatever reasons, you know. I don't think I got my props are or however you want to word it. I got it based on the person I'm fighting, you know. Many based on them beating me and moving on. That's how I get my opportunities.
So, this is just another one of those situations. You know, I guess it's the only way I'm going to get chances to fight and not be on at the major level. So I'll work on the challenge, and I'm looking forward to it.
Q. I'm wondering, can you tell us about your training? How is it you've been able to maintain such a high level of quality in your fights? Not only that, but your high punch output, and you've been able to maintain a pretty good level of stamina as well.
GLEN JOHNSON: You know, I just think that I'm blessed with good genes. I work hard, and, you know, I'm determined. I'm trying to create situations for myself. I've got three kids that I've got to support. You know, mama don't play, so I've got to go make it.
Q. Would you at any point hoping to fight Antonio Tarver a third time? Has that ever crossed your mind to get another match with him?
GLEN JOHNSON: I definitely would like to fight Antonio Tarver again. I beat Clinton Woods, though I beat Clinton Woods three times. Though the way it is on paper, I think he deserves another fight because there's a win on both sides and that's deserving of another fight.
I definitely would like to fight Tarver again. No matter who wins or loses the fight I still want to fight both guys. Because, you know, there's a win and lose with Tarver that's deserving another fight.
I'm not like the rest of the group of guys who grab a win and take off running, and if you want to remain champion of your division, you want to leave no doubt. That's what I'm about. I want leave no doubt in no fan's mind or no media's mind or anything. I want to clean up in every sense of the word, cleaning up.
Q. You've been putting together some exquisite cards as of late, including, obviously, the last couple of fights between Vasquez and Marquez. Again, this is going to be another great card. Is this something we can expect from you in the next couple of years?
GARY SHAW: Chad can even answer that. When you sign and you fight for my company, then you agree to fight. We're a fan-friendly company. I love boxing. I want to see boxing here long after I'm gone. The only way boxing is going to continue is if the great fights happen constantly.
There is this crazy thing in boxing that came about that after a fighter fights a real fight, he's supposed to get an easy fight back or two easy fights. I don't get it. Because the only person that gets robbed is the fan. It's not even good for the fighter.
History shows that many fighters lose on the easy fights or look terrible or devalue themselves.
So all respect to the Glen Johnson's of the world that have stepped up and fought the best fights, and to Chad Dawson who will fight everybody. Has yet to tell me don't make a fight, you know. That's why the great fights are happening.
Thank God this year you've seen some real good fights. Not only from my company, but from De la Hoya and Arum, I give credit to those guys that put on great fights, because it's only going to help the fighter.
Everybody's afraid of MMA. They're afraid of MMA because a loss at MMA, and Glen said it early on in this conversation, is not detrimental to the fighter's career. They come back and they fight right back, and the fans love it.
So thank you for your question. I appreciate the compliment. It's really about my fighters who step up and fight the great fights. Whether we're going to continue doing it over and over and over again.
Q. Do you have any plans on coming back to Sacramento. You had a good fight with Dawson not that long ago?
GARY SHAW: Sure, as a promoter, wherever we can do a gate and people will come and watch and cheer for our fighters, that's where we'll go.
Q. Chad, when you're training for a fight with a guy like Glen Johnson, do you say to yourself this is going to be as much of a mental fight as a physical fight? How do you look at it differently?
CHAD DAWSON: It's going to be both. It's going to be a physical fight and a mental fight. Glen Johnson's a tough guy. He's aggressive, and that is the physical part, you know. Definitely in the later rounds I plan on making it a mental fight. So, I get past the aggressive part, and the mental part will come into play.
Q. Glen, if you take away your age, where do you see yourself in terms of your career. What, are you looking at it like I'll take it fight by fight. Or do you have a game plan for that phase of your career? How are you looking at it right now?
GLEN JOHNSON: I have a game plan. To go out and unify the division. Cleaning up like I said a little bit earlier and retire. I want to leave no doubt, and that's my peace of mind.
Because that's the way I feel about it, and that's it.
At my age, it is what it is. But I feel I never feel better. I feel great. I believe that I have what it takes and the know how, so I'm going to get it done.
GARY SHAW: Glen Johnson doesn't have the age problem. His manager has the age problem, believe me.
CHAD DAWSON: I'd like to thank Showtime, Gary Shaw Glen Johnson for taking this fight. I'm just looking forward to a great night on April 12th. A fan-pleasing fight.
And Glen Johnson is a tough opponent. I have nothing but respect for Glen Johnson. I'm looking for a tough fight. Like Glen Johnson said, definitely going to be the fight of the night.
GLEN JOHNSON: I want to thank everyone involved for putting this show together. Not just our fight, but the whole card. It's a great card, a great night of boxing. The fans are going to be thrilled, and I'm looking forward to the challenge.
Stepping up and taking on the challenge of Chad. I thank him for giving me the opportunity, and Gary Shaw for letting this happen. And Showtime and Warriors Boxing for believing in their athletes.
GARY SHAW: Again, it's the top of the card. Tarver-Clinton Woods is the real fight. That everybody's been saying that Tarver's not fighting real fights. You heard Glen Johnson and Dawson talk about both fighters and what they thought about Clinton Woods and how tough Clinton is.
And credit to Clinton Woods for being one of the few British fighters who will come across the pond and fight. He said he'd come across and fight Tarver, and he did.
You know, to me, Antonio Tarver is probably the best light heavyweight in the world. It seems that only three people want to believe that right now. That's Al Haymon, Tarver and myself.
I think on April 12th, you'll see that Tarver's here, and he's the old Tarver, and that, you know, they still have that crazy perception of fights that he shouldn't have taken. He took too quick, and he came back from the movie.
But on April 12th, everybody will see Antonio Tarver really is, when he steps up, he fights Clinton Woods, and a great doubleheader on April 12 on Showtime.
ANTONIO TARVER: Yeah, I'm eager. I'm excited. I can't remember a better camp. Great working in my camp. I'm focused, you know,
I'm looking forward to April 12 more than anyone.
I'm not really taken back or surprised that I'm underrated once again. I mean, all I've ever done is be successful and win. It's never enough.
You know, can't nobody say they whooped me. You know, Glen Johnson can say what he want. Everybody's rooting for my opponent. Because they don't want to see me, you understand? Roy Jones go on record, I want to fight Clinton Woods when he beats Tarver. But he wouldn't be able to beat me. You understand me?
So the bottom line is I'm a headache for anybody. When I'm ready to fight, focus, mentally and physically, great shape. I'm undefeated. That's my record. You know what I mean?
When given the opportunity to fight again, I've come back and avenged my loss. Whether by political loss or whether I just didn't show up that night for whatever reason. But, you know, I learned from all my mistakes.
The bottom line is I know I'm the best and I'm going to prove that. My first thing is I came back. I told the world I wanted to become undisputed champion. This is one step toward that goal. When I become undisputed champion, I'm looking to go out on top, and hang my head on the fact that I was one of the best of all time, bottom line.
CLINTON WOODS: It's going to be in America. This is me second big fight in America. My clinic has been fantastic. I feel strong. I feel physically ready for this fight. It's probably the biggest fight of my career.
I've been champion for three years now. I've fought some good fighters. I just feel as though I'm in tip-top condition.
I think the Americans are going to love me style of fighting. I'm just ready for this fight. It's been a long time coming for me. I just want to go out there and showcase my talent. I'm just sure that I'm going to be the one who comes out on top.
Q. Antonio, everybody's been pointing to a fight with a lot of people, especially Chad Dawson, if you're both victorious on Saturday, April 12 on Showtime. Is there anyway to pass Glen Johnson?
ANTONIO TARVER: I don't know what Chad does. He's his own man. I'm sure he's not going to be naive enough to look past Glen Johnson, a proven champion, proven veteran. The guy's resume speaks for itself. I don't think Chad has come this far to look past anyone.
But I'm not going to speak on that fight. You just asked him all the questions. You know, this is Clinton Woods and my time now. And I would appreciate it if we can stay focused on our fight right now.
Q. Is there anyway you look past Clinton?
ANTONIO TARVER: I don't look past nobody. I didn't get this far looking past no one. So, no, I'm coming to do what I do, and that's win. I'm in great shape. I can't stress that enough. I'm ready, I'm eager, there's been no problem. I mean, so I don't look past Clinton. No, I'm ready for Clinton Woods. I'm not looking past him, not at all.
Q. What's it going to be like fighting in Tampa, which is your hometown?
ANTONIO TARVER: It will be just like it was when I fought Roy here. It's going to be electrifying. People come, pay their money they expect great things out of me. So, you know, there's a little added pressure, but I step up to the pressure.
I mean, I love the pressure. That's when I'm at my best. When all the Chips are down. So, you know, that's how we're approaching this fight. There is nothing past Clinton Woods if I'm not victorious.
So my whole thing is why would I be silly enough to look past anybody at this stage of my career? You know what I mean? There's so much more to prove. So much more to gain. You know, so much more to accomplish.
So I feel like right now I'm at the pinnacle of my career. So, no, I'm not going to look past anyone. I'm going to go out with a bang. I'm going to lay it out on the line.
If Clinton Woods comes to fight like he said, I suspect that this fight, the action in this fight, you know, can be right up there with the fight of the year. If everybody comes and does what they say they're going to do. I mean, there's enough at stake, that, you know, there's no more tomorrow.
So those are the top fights that the boxing fans can really, truly get excited about. Look forward to. I'm glad I'm a part of this fight. As a promoter, as well as the main interests in the fight, the headliner, so to speak. With four great light heavyweights involved, the cream of the crop. So we're going to see who's going to rise to the top.
Q. Gary mentioned the fact that you did take the movie. How have you gotten up for that movie? How much weight did you have to take off in what period of time, and how much did it drain you when you went in the ring against Hopkins?
ANTONIO TARVER: Obviously, you know, the effects of training camp, making the weight. You know, I can say that I left it on the road, because we were doing a tremendous amount of running. In the gym, wherever, it didn't show up in Atlantic City. It was really physically I felt ready. I felt like camp went well. But maybe we rushed into it, you know.
I think late September we signed on the fight, and I think it was-- no, no, I'm sorry. Yeah, I think February we signed on the fight, and we had to lose a significant amount of weight.
But I've never made any excuses, man. I'm not going to sit here and tell you I made an excuse for that fight. Hopkins came, did what he had to do. Everybody that witnessed the fight knew I was not even a shell of myself.
So when you do the comparisons, when you go back and look at the tapes of my fights, you know when I'm feeling good, when I'm energetic and all that, you know what type of fighter to expect. Even walking out to the fight, people knew that even saw me that looked in my eyes knew that something was missing, something was wrong.
I contemplated a whole lot of things happening, I just never thought that the training camp could take such a toll on me. But, hey, I had to lose a significant amount of weight.
But that's the business. You understand me? When I sign on to fight 175, it is my responsibility as a professional, as a champion to get the weight down by any means necessary. I did what I had to do. I showed up, I felt fine. Obviously, I fell flat.
Bernard Hopkins won the fight. I know that anybody that was against me, that was in the shape and condition that I was in, I would have knocked him out. It would have been an early exit. Wouldn't have gone no 12-rounds. But on my worst night I was able to stay in there.
It wasn't as competitive as I would have liked. But I was in there, and due to my skill and my ability. My defense, I was able to stay on my feet make it through the fight and didn't get hurt. You understand me?
If somebody shows up like that against me, he's going to have serious problems. He may never fight again. I have ruined a lot of fighters through my record. Check my record. I've ruined a lot of fighters and a lot of fighters can say Antonio Tarver was their last fight.
So looking past me is dumfounding to me. It's totally asinine, it's incredible that somebody can say they're looking past me, coming up into a big fight like this. Making plans to fight this guy, that guy, you know. It may not be no more tomorrow after April 12.
Q. This is a big fight, it's a big night, a big doubleheader for light heavyweight boxing. But Hopkins is fighting the following week, 43 years old. At some point the sand's got to run out of the hourglass. He's going against a younger guy in Calzaghe. Just your thoughts on that? Does Hopkins have anything left, do you think?
ANTONIO TARVER: Yeah, Hopkins got something left. He's going to always be a cagey, cagey fighter. You understand me? He's going to always know how to make a good fighter look less than stellar. By the little tricks that he does. And he's always going to be in the best of shape.
I mean, Hopkins definitely still has a fighting chance. But like you said, one day it may all be gone. But, you know, I don't think that's the case. I think Hopkins will definitely be in the fight.
When you look at styles, styles make fights. Calzaghe is a very energetic fighter, you know? He throws a lot of punches. But again, he takes a lot of chances. You know, a great kind of puncher can catch him. But it takes a great kind of puncher. It takes someone with a lot of tricks. You've got to have some speed of your own. You've got to have some power to really get his respect.
So, you know, I don't know if that's Hopkins or not, but we'll see, you know? May the best man win.
Q. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the match-up between Chad and Glen Johnson? You've been in the ring with Glen three times, wonder what your thoughts are on the fight and who you think will win?
CLINTON WOODS: I've been in the ring three times with Glen. In three really hard fights with him. There's a time when a fighter maybe got that one fight, and that fight's going to call for the young tiger in that fighter. Chad's a good, slippery fighter with good moves, fast speed. He's got youth.
But Johnson just keeps having a good night. It's a hard one to call. But if I had to put my money down, I would put it on the young fighter in Chad.
Q. Antonio assessed the Calzaghe-Hopkins fight. Can you tell us who you think will win that fight?
ANTONIO TARVER: I can't really say who is going to win the fight. It depends on who has their way. I think Calzaghe has definitely the style with the amount of punches, the activity that he has in the ring to really take advantage of Hopkins.
But Hopkins, like I said, he has a really slick way of making good fighters look less than stellar. If he does that and slows the fight down a lot, you know, he has a chance to win the fight.
Like I said, I think Calzaghe does a lot of times throw caution to the wind trying to get that big knockout. Sometimes he can leave himself open for a serious counter-punch or so. Like I said, I don't know if that's Hopkins. We'll see. May the best man win. Whoever wins is going to be in great position to do some big things in the game in the next year or so.
Q. Clinton, can you assess that as well?
CLINTON WOODS: For me, I think Calzaghe's the fresher factor. He's he the bigger guy, really. He's fought at super middleweight role, and in the last 12 month's he's only fought one light middleweight in Tarver.
So I think Joe's the bigger fighter. He's going to have the bigger pull this year. I'm 90% sure that it will be Hopkins at the end of the night.
Q. How would you assess Antonio's last few performances? Where do you think Antonio may be at in his career right now in terms of what you've seen recently?
CLINTON WOODS: I just watched his last two fights. I didn't watch the Hopkins fight. Everybody's telling me about the Hopkins fight. I haven't seen or watched the fight.
He's lost two fights. He did look fresh. At the end of 12-rounds, he looked back to himself. He did a good 12-rounder in a hard fight. I think people keep saying, oh, he's afraid of Tarver. I don't think so. I think he's back to his best. That's what I think. I think Tarver's back to his best, thinking he looked good. He's lost two fights. He's fighting a 12-rounder as well, it was a good fight.
Q. Clinton, have you done anything different since you've been out there? Any difference in your build up at all? Or has it all been smooth as a baby's back side? Anything different you can tell us about in the last few days?
CLINTON WOODS: Not really. I've just been working on quite a lot of speed work on the pads. Actually, I've got a few sparring partners lined up. Got some good sparring in. More speed on the pads and, obviously, the southpaw sparring.
It's going good. The training has gone absolutely fantastic. I'm in fantastic shape. One more week of hard training, and I'll be ready for it.
Q. A bit nervous, Clinton? It's been a few years since you fought over in America. Are there a little bit of nerves there?
CLINTON WOODS: Yeah, there's obviously, there's nerves there. There's a fear. A fear I'm fighting a great puncher, a great fighter in Antonio Tarver, obviously, there's fear. But that's what I relish. I relish fighting with fear. I think that fear's going to reward me at the end of the night.
When I fight, I've got fear in me, I feel I fight better, so. Yeah, definitely.
Q. Would this be the biggest win of your career, do you think, if you manage to overcome Antonio? Especially if you do it on his home soil? Would you rank that as the best success in the ring if you win on Saturday?
CLINTON WOODS: This is the biggest fight of my career. When I fought Jones, I didn't come with a title. This time I'm defending my own title. I keep telling people, I'm in the best shape of my career.
You know, it's the biggest fight. It's a massive win. On Saturday it will go down as my greatest victory. The greatest British fighter light heavyweight, so it's a massive event for me.
Q. Clinton, are you in Florida now?
CLINTON WOODS: Yeah, I'm in Florida at the moment, yeah.
Q. How long have you been in the states?
CLINTON WOODS: I've been here since Sunday. Three or four days.
Q. There's not going to be a problem with acclamation?
CLINTON WOODS: No, no problem. We're here two weeks before the fight, so no problem.
Q. I wondered if you could talk about how you have changed as a fighter since the Jones fight in Portland? How have you improved in the time in between?
CLINTON WOODS: When I fought Jones, I was not doing the proper training. I wasn't eating the proper food. I never had the weights. I just trained for that fight.
But now I've got people around me. I've got a nutritionist which I never had. They're guarding me food, they're guarding me weight. And I think that's just made me into a stronger, fitter fighter. Before, when I fought Jones, I actually, I was the number one for a long time, but I was still fighting at that time. Right now I've got a proper team around me. I've got proper people to look after me
Q. Is your second training camp for U.S. fight, Clinton, have you taken any lessons on board from the first one that you're employing this time around? Are there any changes you've made from how you approach things for?
CLINTON WOODS: Yeah, in Portland, it got like a holiday towards the end. So this time there's two weeks. Two weeks in Miami with the kids, that's enough for me. So I think it's going to be perfect.
Q. Antonio, before you fought Santiago, you were on a conference call, and you sounded very angry. You were very, very upset, and very angry. You sound a lot calmer now. But are you still maintaining that anger, and resulting in a four-round knockout, are you maintaining that kind of anger inside of you at this time?
ANTONIO TARVER: Well, you know, I have a lot to look back at and say, hey, that I don't always get a fair shake at things. But that's motivation. I always use it as motivation.
Right now I'm just, right now it's just, you know, it's quiet before the storm, basically. I'm just like I said, looking forward to getting in on the 12th. Feeling good about everything. You know, letting my punches do the speaking for me.
I think everybody knows who I feel. You know, basically I just need Clinton to show up, and the rest is going to fall into place. I mean, it's I'm focused on the fight. It's a big night for me. I'm excited about it, and I can't wait, man. I can't wait.
Q. Is Woods the right opponent for you right now?
ANTONIO TARVER: Yeah, like I said. I've got one mission in mind and that is to become undisputed light heavyweight champion. He has one of the belts. So, yeah, it's very important. Once I take care of business on the 12th, I'm one step closer, couple steps closer to unifying this division. Going out on top. And basically being remembered as one of the best that ever did it. That's what I'm hell bent on achieving right now. That's my goal.
Q. You're both tall light heavyweights. Does that have any significance to you?
ANTONIO TARVER: No, not at all. Height, weight, reach, it really don't matter to me. As long as you weight 175 it don't matter. I've fought tall guys before, I've fought taller guys before. I've been successful with all types of guys.
That's one thing about boxing. You want to master your craft. I'm not a one dimensional fighter. I can change on the drop of a dime. I can adjust to whatever is going on in front of me.
So I feel confident that if I have to, you know, take it to another level or just do something different in order to secure a victory, I'll be able to do that. I'm in the shape in order to allow my talents to do everything that we can do. You know what I mean?
So I'm going in there just with the spirit, man, feel with it, and I'm going to have a good time. Dissecting Woods anyway I can. You know, getting him out of there, and making sure I secure the victory.
Q. You're 39 years old and you're still doing well, what do you attribute that to? Not only for yourself, but to boxing in general, it seems to be all over boxing now. Fighters fighting successfully at a later age?
ANTONIO TARVER: I can just say that I've truly taken care of myself. You know what I mean? I just think it's in my genes. I don't see a lot of people my age walking around with the type of energy that I have. That life that I have.
It's just happiness, man. Feeling really good about yourself. And where you're at in your life. And I just really haven't had anything to get down about. I've been as successful as anyone in this game. I've accomplished every goal I set out to accomplish.
You know, living good and being happy and having people that truly love you around you, it adds years to your life. With this boxing game, I started late. I didn't turn pro until I was 27. So I'm still young.
I don't even have over 30 fights. Everybody that I fight, 40, 50 fights. So I just took the right fights. I didn't have no 25 fights just to get my record built up. I went out there. When I was fighting 11, and I was 11-0, I was fighting main event type fights, you know? So that's what it was. I was fighting tough fights. Every fight was meaningful.
I just really haven't abused myself. I've taken the fights that were there, and haven't done it yet. I think that's the tell tale. Just taking any punishment and sparring out in a fight, you know. I attribute that to my defense.
Q. I have one of my writers come and see you for your workout in Tampa the other day. He described you as being very enthusiastic, confident, and happy to be there. Which was something we didn't see the night that you fought Bernard. What would you attribute that to?
ANTONIO TARVER: Just being back, man. Just being back with a whole lot to prove, you know what I mean? That's what I'm at my best. When I have my back against the wall, I have these naysayers saying what they say. Like I said, if they want to watch that Hopkins fight and judge me, then it's not easy to do such a thing.
You know, I'm back. My body feels great. I got the best sparring in here. You know, I'm going to let my work speak for me, man. That's where it's at, you know. I'm going to let my work speak for me.
Q. You guys spoke briefly, he quoted you as saying your goal was three fights, three belts and the undisputed champion so you won't have any more doubters. Should you manage to accomplish that, would you be satisfied with your career? Would you see yourself continuing after that?
ANTONIO TARVER: I'm satisfied with my career right now. You know what I mean? But you always want to set goals for yourself, you know what I mean? As long as you have more to achieve, more to accomplish, then the show must go on.
Like I said, when it's obvious that I'm no longer the best, I have to rethink my career. But right now I just have to prove that I'm still very much the gatekeeper to the light heavyweight division.
Q. I know part of the movie and gaining all that weight obviously had some effects in that previous fight. But talking about the movie in general, how fun was that for you to be a part of "Rocky Balboa"?
ANTONIO TARVER: It was definitely a life-changing experience, you know. Just to go over and do such a thing. Something that I'm never going to think I'm going to be a part of. As a kid growing up being a fan of the Rocky franchise. Come on, man.
It was one of those opportunities like I said that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And I'm just glad that he chose me, and I have no regrets. Like I said, it will be a memory for people to watch that movie and say it was one of the best Rocky movies. Better than the first one, that says a lot.
I think he should have shown me a whole lot more, you know what I mean? You know? He's a great writer, producer. I just had fun, man.
Q. Antonio Tarver is the southpaw who is possibly one of the more gifted boxers in boxing. Who did you spar with anybody that we would not recognize in the stakes? And how did your sparring go? And how did it prepare you for Antonio?
CLINTON WOODS: I sparred with some guys in England. Some guys that you don't really know. They were young guys, very fit guys.
They were quite flashy the way they were boxing they were quite flashy. They were boxing for the Olympic sport. So like I say, they were young, quite flashy factors, and similar to the style of Tarver.
I had a couple of Americans come, one I forgot his name. One called Lou, who I trained with for a few days in Orlando where I'm training now. So, the sparring has gone well. I haven't fought many southpaws. All of them in the last two or three months has been fighting in the ring with southpaws.
Like I say, I'll overcome that, and I'm not going to get a sparring partner who is exactly like Tarver. Tarver's a bit unique. Like I said, I'm a champion, and I'm so hungry to win it. It's just something that I'll get through.
Q. One could argue that Clinton's been getting better over last few years. Have you watched any of his recent fights do you study fighters? And do you think he's improved in it the ring over the last few fights?
ANTONIO TARVER: Any time you become champion, you improve. Because you know, there's so much at stake. I've been several times, I'm here now. So I would feel that just his experience has helped him a lot. You know what I mean? He understands how to get in there and get out 12-rounds if he's behind. He ought to dig deep. You know what I mean?
I'm not expecting Clinton Woods to come here and lay down. By no means. I know I have my work cut out for me. That's what champions are all about. That's why we step up to the plate. Because, you know, the adrenaline, the magnitude of the event, you know what I'm saying? And everything you have to accomplish.
Everything that you have after the fact allows you to go places and do things that you didn't even think you were capable of doing. That's why you prepare so hard. Because the unknown is out there. We can't predict it.
I feel really good about my preparation. I'm sure he feels good about his preparation. But then we have to go to the big dance, and at the big dance, anything can happen. You know what I mean?
We can be prepared for a grueling, 12-round, toe to toe war. But one punch, one clip and it's over in a flash. You know what I mean? That is the beauty of boxing. You know what I mean? The ebb and flow.
That's why I feel like when I always reach in and say, hey, yeah, it's a great sport. It's a great sport. But you don't see those guys getting up off the canvas. You don't see those guys getting knocked down twice, getting up, and then coming back and stealing victory out of defeat.
So that's the type of thing that keeps boxing fans so in tune with it. When you look at a fighter as proud as Clinton is, and as proud as I am, man, we're on a head-on collision. We're on a head-on collision.
I know one thing, I've never been stopped. I don't plan on being stopped. When I have to bite down on my mouth piece, I'm going to get it out. You know what I mean? I'm going to lay it on the line, everything I accomplished in boxing, I'm ready to lay it on the line on the 12th.
I'm passionate about this fight. I'm excited. It's in my hometown. This man coming all the way from England to come take something that is rightfully mine.
So you know, we've got the drama, built up, set-up in this fight. Everything you can expect. So it's going to go down in Tampa, Florida, on the 12th. If you miss this, you're gonna miss everything.
Because I know Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson are fighting for the opportunity to dance with the man. But Clinton Woods has a chance right now today to shut it all down and move on to be a super, superstar in England. You know what I mean?
Get the kudos they're hiding in the Calzaghe house, but he got to beat me first. So that's a lot. That's a lot for a person to say I can get up for this. I understand what I signed up for, you understand me? I'm ready.
Let the fireworks begin on the 12th, baby. I'm ready to put this whole light heavyweight division on a whole different perspective.
We've got a lot of names, lot of champions, but there can only be one. There can only be one champion. I'm ready to show these people they can never underestimate the "Magic Man", baby.
I've been underestimated my whole career coming from the Olympics. They said it couldn't be done. I told people, prophesied to people years ago where I would be. Here I am again trying to make sense of this madness, and telling people, that, you know what, I'm the best. I'm the best, you understand me. And they still want to doubt me. So you know what, that's perfectly fine. The chips are going to be a little clearer come April 12th, so don't miss it.
Q. Antonio, I want to ask you where you think you are in your career at this point? Tell us where you think you're at now where you think you're ready to resume fighting A-level guys and unify the title?
ANTONIO TARVER: Those are necessary steps I have to take to do what I have to do. Like I said, there are very few fighters that have control of their career. They can say, okay, I want to do this, do that. This is how it's going down.
Like I said, I was on a real natural high coming off of the movie, being the undisputed light heavyweight champion. Everything was a beautiful, beautiful time for me, you know what I mean?
But they caught me at the right time. I felt the champion I was. You know, we always in our hearts of all hearts, we think that we can do anything, you understand me? So when I signed on on to fight the Hopkins fight, I didn't sit down and think about it. I knew I could beat the guy, and that was it.
I didn't think, you know what, okay, maybe I need a tune-up fight. Maybe I need to get back in there and test to see if my reflexes and skills and everything else, my God-given talent is right where it's supposed to be. I didn't do that. In hindsight, I would have.
I would have come back and taken a tune-up fight. At least one. And at least get back into training camp shape, and going through a grueling training camp. You know, then came back and maintained it a little bit, rather than getting so out of shape and condition.
I wouldn't say I was out of shape. But it was necessary for me to bulk up for the movie. It's not like what Roy Jones did. Roy Jones went from 200 pounds to 175. We're not talking about 25 pounds, we're not talking about 30 pounds, we're not talking about 40 pounds. I weighed in at 233. You understand me?
So if I left it in the gym or if I was burned out making weight, so be it. I'll live with that. I'll live with that. Hopkins got one win over me. It's bigger than any bill he ever had, obviously.
He's gone on to land some big fights. Now he has one of the biggest fights in his career. He's going to be paid very, very well for that. My whole thing is sometimes name recognitions are bigger than world championships.
My whole thing is this: I want them belts. That's what I'm thriving on right now is the guys that's holding the armor. That I want all three, all four of those belts around my waist. At the end of the day, if Hopkins goes on and beats Calzaghe, whatever it is, the opportunity for us to fight again will be there, great.
If not, I'm not chasing Hopkins. I'm not chasing Calzaghe. I ain't chasing nobody. I'm picking my fights as I see. If it makes sense, it makes sense. This thing we're doing in Tampa is it's bigger than dollars, bigger than money. It's prestige.
Anybody that wants to do business in the light heavyweight division, they've got to come and see me. That's the position and the power I want. I need to get those belts in order to be king of the light heavyweight division.
Q. Clinton, you fought most of your fights in the UK, that's where you built up your reputation. Do you have any concern if this goes the distance and it's a relatively close fight. If it's in Tampa or in the United States, that that could create a problem in the decision?
CLINTON WOODS: No, not really. I'm just going to go in there with no doubts in mind. I'm going to go in there and I want to win the fight. You'll make up your own mind.
I just feel as though there will be no way that you can't give it to Antonio. So I'm not worried about it. People keep talking about why I've always fought in England. The reason I fought in England is because the purses.
The purses have been won by Americans and fighting in America this is the biggest fight of my career. I'm looking forward to it. I'm not worried about not just putting something to Tarver. Not worried at all.
Q. You guys want to make predictions of Antonio and Clinton?
ANTONIO TARVER: If anybody's worried about it, it should be me. I went on record a lot of times and bashed them for the incompetence of their judging. It's not all the judges. We have quality, experienced judges. And I hope and pray. I don't know who the judges are, but I hope and pray that they have selected the best from the pool. Because the fight is that big.
I wouldn't want to win that way. I never wanted to win that way. And I've never won a fight where it was close and they gave it to me, never. I'm not lucky enough to have those type of decisions.
So, you know what I mean, you don't need to worry about the
judges. I don't need to worry about the judges. Because, you know what I mean, we're going to let our hands do the talking. We just hope if it comes down to a decision, the judges have seen the fight fair and square, and may the best man win.
If I fight my fight, and I unfortunately come up short, I can live with that, you know what I mean? But I don't want nobody taking nothing from me. I'm sure Clinton Woods don't want nobody taking nothing from him. So that's where we draw the line.
Q. Any predictions for the fight?
CLINTON WOODS: I'm just confident I'll win the fight. I predict I'll win it. I'll find a way, I always do. May the best man win. And I'm looking forward to fighting a great fighter in Antonio Tarver. That's a what he is, he's a great fighter. He's achieved a lot more in boxing than me. And I'm fighting the best, and may the best man win. I'm just looking forward to that fight.
ANTONIO TARVER: Beautiful. My achievements and accomplishments sometimes fall on deaf ears. They still can't see me. And they still can't hear me. So you know what I mean? I'm going to have to put mine on display April 12.
I'm not predicting nothing, but I'm coming to fight the fight of my life. I'm going to let it all hang out. All I need Clinton Woods to do is bring his ass, that's it, and that's all.
GARY SHAW: I want to, obviously, thank both fighters for taking the fight. Antonio said it well; it is going to be a great night with two great fights and four great fighters. This hasn't been done in the light heavyweight division before.
It's all going to take place in Tarver's hometown of Tampa. Everybody just needs to show up. They'll get the fight of their lives because everything's on the line for this fight. Tarver said it well. Everything's on the line in both these fights.
There are two guys going to come out victorious, and we'll see what happens after that. But for right now, the light heavyweight division, everything is on the line April 12th in Tampa.
End of FastScripts