Four of the participants of the Canelo v Smith undercard took to a conference call this week to discuss their roles on the upcoming September 17 bill.
Diego De La Hoya fights Luis Del Valle, whilst Joseph Diaz Jr. takes on Andrew Cancio at the Cowboys Stadium in Texas.
Here’s what all the fighters had to say:
LUIS ORLANDO “ORLANDITO” DEL VALLE, Super Bantamweight Contender:
Thank you, thank you. It’s my pleasure to be here, and my resumÃ© speaks for itself.September 17 will be another chapter between Mexico and Puerto Rico rivalry and without a doubt Orlandito Del Valle will emerge victorious.
ERIC GOMEZ: Thank you, thank you very much, Michael. Thank you Orlando. Now it’s my pleasure to introduce the WBC Youth Super Bantamweight champion, Diego De La Hoya. He’s one of Golden Boys’ Undefeated Rising Stars. He’s looking to make, obviously like I said a little earlier, his debut on pay-per-view. We look for big things from Diego, and very soon if he gets past this very tough fight, he’s going to be fighting for a world title in the near future.
So I want to introduce first his manager, Joel De La Hoya, and then we’ll bring it over to Diego to make some comments. Go ahead. Okay, so, Diego, a few words and comments and then we’ll open it up for questions.
DIEGO De La HOYA, WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Champion: I feel very happy and I’m very excited for this event. This is a great opportunity for me, and I’m looking forward to September 17th.
ERIC GOMEZ: Thank you.
Q. Diego, with this being your first pay-per-view and with the extra media obligations, how are you managing your time with training and all the extra media obligations connected to this pay-per-view fight?
DIEGO De La HOYA: I’ve been training very intensely for this fight. I feel no pressure, and I’m very committed to deliver a great fight with this great opportunity.
Q. Diego, it seems this last fight you fought an Undefeated fighter in Rocco Santomauro and you passed the test, and now you’re fighting an extreme fighter like Orlando Del Valle. Is that your plan to keep increasing your opponent as you continue your progression?
DIEGO De La HOYA: My promotional company Golden Boy and my manager Joel De La Hoya has a lot of confidence in me, and have given me difficult fights because I feel like I can prove that I have great qualities to go far in boxing and in my career. And they expect the best of me, and that’s what I expect to give people back.
Q. Has Oscar told him anything about being on this type of card with the type of crowd you expect there and the atmosphere? Has he given you any advice?
DIEGO De La HOYA: The last time I spoke with Oscar I was very excited about the event because there was potential of me being on pay-per-view, and it was something that he promised me, and he definitely came through. He did say, you know, you’ve just got to give it your all. It’s very difficult to go out there with the last name, but if you give it your all and you’re dedicated enough, I can definitely help you get where you want to be in your career.
Q. Diego, I was wondering when you think you might be ready for a title shot at super bantamweight?
DIEGO De La HOYA: It just depends on when my promoter and manager agree and feel that I’m ready to take on a big responsibility like that. When that moment comes, I will be ready and extremely motivated and committed to give everyone the fight they want to see.
Q. All right. I’ll ask that question of his manager if they want to chime in, when they think Diego might be ready for the title shot?
ERIC GOMEZ: Look, I mean, this is a big step up for Diego. It’s a tough fight. Orlando Del Valle is a very tough fighter. I know him very well. I’ve scouted him in the past when I was doing match making for Golden Boy. It’s a very tough fight. So depending how he looks in this fight, and we’ll sit down as a team and we’ll go over it.
He’s progressing very nicely. He had a very good fight in that fight against Rocco. He was an undefeated fighter and he came and he excelled. So it’s a team decision. We get together, we sit down. Joel is very important in making a lot of his decisions. He gets together with Oscar and we talk about it. But it just depends on this performance.
If he gets past Orlandito with flying colors, then it’s something to talk about him possibly challenging for a world title. But I doubt that’s going to happen. This is going to be a very tough fight.
JOEL De La HOYA, Manager of Diego De La Hoya: Let me chime in as well. Eric touched on all points. But, yeah, it’s a litmus test, if you will, for Diego. With Orlandito, he is a tough guy, but like Eric said, if he passes with flying colors, then we move on. We sit down, we talk and we’ll see what the next step would be.
But, yeah, this is definitely a litmus test, and Diego is more than ready though to take that. That’s one of the reasons we chose this opponent because he needs fights like this in order for him to progress and to find out where he’s at at this level of his career.
Q. Just a follow-up, if Diego himself and Del Valle looks really good and he gets the win, then after that you’d consider and think that maybe at that point he might be ready for a title shot?
JOEL De La HOYA: Well, he’s been very busy this year. So maybe a tune-up of sorts at the end of the year, that would be nice. That’s something. Unless there was a great opportunity that presented itself, then we’d have to talk about it.
But, yeah, you know, he’s been busy. He’s got some really good fights under his belt, and I think getting by Orlandito, is no easy task, first of all. But getting by him, hopefully we’ll sit down and get one more by the end of the year and we’ll see what 2017 looks like. But that might possibly be the time to step him up.
Q. Orlando, coming from Puerto Rico and fighting on Mexican Independence day weekend, do you feel like you are fighting to provide for all your Puerto Rican fans given the Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry?
LUIS ORLANDO DEL VALLE: Definitely. Puerto Rico already owned that date, almost back in 1999 Felix Trinidad fought with De La Hoya on the same weekend, and he came up with the win. So we’re going to pick up where we left it at. September 17 is going to be another great, great victory for Orlando Del Valle and a step closer to a world title fight.
Q. Is there anything different we can expect for you to bring in the ring, given that you are fighting on this holiday and sort of taking it back for all of your Puerto Rican fans?
LUIS ORLANDO DEL VALLE: I’m a veteran in the boxing business already, and I can tell that the pressure is not on my side. I knew how the pressure felt, and coming into this fight as the underdog, coming into a fight where nobody expects me to win, it leaves me relaxed because I knew that’s what everybody was expecting. But I’m coming to give it my all. We are training at full force and we are going to derail every plan that they have for Diego. They’re going to have to send him back to the drawing board and make some plans with him, because this is my shot for me to get all the pay off for the hard work I’ve been doing for almost 20 years now.
Q. What do you feel will be some of your biggest weaknesses and advantages coming into this fight with Diego De La Hoya?
LUIS ORLANDO DEL VALLE: I mean, we know how boxing works. I’m not fighting only Diego. I’m fighting his last name; I’m fighting the judges; I’m fighting the crowd; I’m fighting HBO commentators; when he throws a punch and misses, they’re going to be yelling out there that he lands a shot. But at the end of the day I’m coming in with all my will to win and that’s unbreakable. So expect nothing but fireworks on September 17th.
Q. Orlando, you pretty much answered what I was going to ask, but let me say it anyway. You’re facing an undefeated opponent, a relative of the promoter. You’re basically hand-picked to make him look good. Do you feel the odds are stacked against you in this fight? Do you think you need a KO to win?
LUIS ORLANDO DEL VALLE: I mean, the odds are against me because of the name, because of the promotion and everything that they’ve been doing a great, great job with Diego. And he also has made some come true. He’s beat up his opponents and looked the way he’s supposed to. But at the end of the day, it’s going to be me and him in the ring, and it’s going to be a matter of time where me and him are going to get in the middle and just fight it out.
Our plan and what we’re working on is just to leave no doubt. Even if it goes by decision or ends earlier, that’s the plan, leave no doubt. So basically that’s it.
Q. Diego, what is your relationship with Oscar? Do you see him often? Do you talk to him often? Are you really close?
DIEGO De La HOYA: I don’t see him very often. I usually see him around the fight or during negotiations for the fight. I do see my manager Joel De La Hoya, but they’re both my Cousins.
THE MODERATOR: Luis Orlando, do you have any closing comments for the press on the line?
LUIS ORLANDO DEL VALLE: Definitely. I really appreciate the press for coming out with all the questions and to the fans, boxing fans, make sure you tune in early. We’ll open the telecast, and you know that when you put a chapter of Puerto Rico and Mexico together, it’s nothing but fireworks. So expect nothing but a great, great fight. And like I said in the beginning, make sure you tune in earlier because from the git-go of the pay-per-view, you are going to get fireworks.
MICHAEL YORMARK: No closing comments from my end.
Q. Diego, any closing comments?
DIEGO De La HOYA: I hope everyone remembers me on September 17th. That I’m ready for the fight, and I hope to deliver a fight to remember.
ERIC GOMEZ: Thank you. Thank you to both fighters for doing that. Now I’d like to introduce the next fight. Andrew “El Chango” Cancio is one of the toughest featherweight fighters out there. He’s been on a nonstop knockout streak since last year and he’s going to be fighting for the NABF title against JOSEPH DIAZ, JR.. So Andrew, can you tell us a little bit about training camp and about the fight?
ANDREW “EL CHANGO” CANCIO, Featherweight Contender:
Yes, my training camp has been going very well. I’m training hard like I always do. I know what I’m up against, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I respect Jojo Diaz, so I’m training really hard and everything’s going as planned so far.
ERIC GOMEZ: What can I say about Joseph Jojo Diaz. Jojo has recently been featured on the L.A. Times list of top 10 boxers in California. He’s certainly one of the most exciting featherweights to watch in boxing right now. It’s my pleasure to introduce Joseph Jojo Diaz. He’ll be defending his NABF title for the second time on pay-per-view, September 17th.
Jojo, can you please say a few words?
JOSEPH “JOJO” DIAZ, JR., NABF Featherweight Champion:
Yes, I want to thank the media and press for coming out. I know I’m going to have a very tough fight. I know Andrew has been putting on great performances and he’s a very tough, rugged fighter. So I know what I’m going up against, and I’m training very hard. I’ve been training harder than ever. Me and my father have been focusing on a lot of spinning down on my shots and being a little stronger on the inside and making sure I can keep off Cancio and be able to brawl with him on the inside like how he wants to fight.
I expect you guys to tune into an exciting fight. We can expect fireworks. I know Andrew Cancio is going to be 110% ready, and I’m going to be 110% ready also. So we’re ready to give the fight fans a really good fight.
ERIC GOMEZ: Beautiful. Sounds exciting already.
Q. Jojo, I just was curious with your Olympic background budding and we’re coming out of the Rio games here, did you get a chance to watch the games? If so, I’m just curious the idea how Olympic boxing is now and how that’s converted from you in the London games since your career here. How can you put all that in perspective?
JOSEPH DIAZ, JR.: Yeah, fighting in the Olympics was a great opportunity for me. I was able to fight nothing but elite fighters and was able to gain all that experience. So, man, I really appreciate being given the opportunity to be competing in the Olympics.
I did tune in for the Olympic fighters. I was rooting for Team USA. And I’m very glad we brought home two medals. We had Shakur Stevenson bringing back the silver medal, and Nico bringing back the bronze. And also we’ve got Claressa as well bringing back the gold medal. So I was very excited that Team USA is progressing, and now it’s fighting without head gear, so it’s more to our advantage.
I feel like the Olympic experience helped me a lot as a progressional fighter because I was able to fight with nothing but the best, and the best brought out the best in me. And it made me train very hard because knowing I’m fighting nothing but the best, that they’re going to come out and try to defeat me. So I feel like it made me have a mentality like no other, like a road champion mentality to just train like never before and to never give up.
Q. When you consider where you’re at in your career, 12 KO’s, unbeaten so far in your career. What’s it say to your career and where you’re at to be fighting not only in a venue like Cowboy Stadium, but to be fighting on a mega card like this?
JOSEPH DIAZ, JR.: Oh, man, it’s a dream come true. My goal when I was an amateur was to be fighting in the Olympics and representing my country, USA, and to bring back a gold medal. I accomplished that dream. Unfortunately I didn’t bring back a medal, but it was still a great opportunity for me. I mean, I got Golden Boy’s eyes. They started watching me and they loved the way I fought, and that gave me great opportunities. They gave me a good contract and they pushed me and they kept me busy. I’m already 20-0 and I’ve only been a professional fighter for four years. So they’ve been moving me very well and it’s just a great opportunity. Now they’re wanting me to fight on a big stage and I’m going to take full advantage of this big stage. I know it’s my dream to be fighting on big stages like this. So I’m going to be more than ready come the 17th.
Q. Just since you said it, I wanted to ask you quickly, are you even old enough to have seen Oscar fight or have you been able to go back and look at some film on how he’s fought?
JOSEPH DIAZ, JR.: No, I’ve seen Andrew Cancio fight. I actually saw him fight when we fought on the same card and he fought Rene Alvarado. He’s a tough, rugged fighter. He likes to cut off the ring. He throws wicked uppercuts. He’s very strong and powerful. So me and my father were coming up with a good game plan, and we’ll try to execute that game plan as much as possible and try to come out victorious come September 17th. We’re ready to make a statement.
Q. Joseph, just curious, after the fight in September that will be your third fight this year. Are you open to fighting again before the year is up or after this fight would you then take the rest of the year off? Just what are your plans? What have you been told in terms of after this fight?
JOSEPH DIAZ, JR.: My main focus right now is Andrew Cancio. I know he’s no joke, man. He’s going to come and we’re going to put on a great show. I know that he’s going to be training very hard and I’m training very hard as well. So it’s going to be a very tough fight. Hopefully I don’t get bruised up and don’t get injured. If I don’t and everything turns out well, then of course I’m looking to fight one more time to close out the year with a bang. Hopefully fight for a title or something and get a title shot by early next year. That’s the game plan, but right now my main focus is Andrew Cancio, I can’t look forward. I have to look at him and make sure I’m taking him 110% because I know that he’s going to be 100% ready September 17th.
Q. Before you were talking about possibly facing Josh Warrington on this date in a title eliminator just to fight Russell. That fight honestly didn’t come through. You’re now facing Andrew. Was there any letdown at all not being in that situation and now being in this one?
JOSEPH DIAZ, JR.: Actually, it was very unfortunate we couldn’t get that fight to happen, but I’m still blessed with this opportunity. I’m still on the Canelo card and I’m still on the pay-per-view portion, so I’m still happy, man. I’ve got a great opponent ahead of me that’s going to bring out the best in me.
But it’s still going to be a really great night of boxing for me. I’m willing to go out there and give the fight fans what they want to see, regardless who the opponent is, I’m still going to fight the exact same and be the
JOSEPH DIAZ, JR. that everybody wants to see. I’m willing to make a statementSeptember 17th, no matter who the opponent is.
Q. Andrew, this time what have you seen from Joseph when you’ve seen him in his previous fight and what stands out about you? (Indiscernible) any flaws in your fight?
ANDREW CANCIO: Yeah, I mean, every fighter has room for improvement, and I think that the quality that I have, I can certainly use against Jojo. He’s a real crafty, hard-puncher. He’s well-skilled. He’s got a lot of talent. And like I said, I respect him a lot and that’s why I’m preparing very, very well. I always prepare very well. He knows the style I’m going to bring into the fight, and like you said, it’s going to be a good fight for the fans.
We’re working really hard and I’m excited for the 17th. You know, this is a dream of mine as well. So I’m glad to be here and I want to take full advantage of it as well.
Q. You’ve fought some tough guys in your career, Rios in 2014, and do you think Joseph is the toughest opponent you’ll face in your career so far?
ANDREW CANCIO: Yeah, I would have to say so, with all the hype and all the space that we’re going to be on, it’s going to play a big toll in the way we fight. The crowd’s going to be cheering and all that and getting us pumped. I always in all my fights I like to bring excitement. With this fight being on the Canelo undercard, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be even more exciting.
Q. Andrew, coming into this fight with a southpaw opponent, how are you planning to train differently?
ANDREW CANCIO: Well, we have to make adjustments against sparring partners that are southpaws. Fighting a southpaw is a little bit different. I fought one before. I fought in amateurs and I spar them. There are things you have to do a little bit differently, but we’re trying to stick to our game plan and execute what we want to execute. It’s pretty much I’m training hard just like all the other fights.
Q. Since you’ve been on a knockout streak since last year, are you looking to go into this fight and take the knockout?
ANDREW CANCIO: No, I’m not looking for knockouts. If the knockout comes if it presents itself and of course I’m going to go after it. But I’m not going to go in there looking for a knockout because I’m not trying to just land one punch. I’m trying to land combinations and get on the inside and do what I do best. So I’m not going to go in there looking for knockouts.
But I’m just going to go in there and fight my game plan. If, you know my shot lands and it hurts them, then of course, that’s when I’ll take full advantage of it or try to take full advantage of it in the fight.
Q. With Jojo being the Olympian and getting more attention, do you let it all hang loose like no pressure like it’s all on him?
ANDREW CANCIO: No, no, because there’s pressure on me that I put on myself and what this fight can do for me as well. So there’s plenty of pressure for me as well. So, no, I don’t go in there. I don’t go into any fight at ease. I’m always nervous and excited and ready to handle business. The thing about the sport is you don’t know what the outcome’s going to be, and you don’t know until after the fight’s done. So you’re always nervous, at least I am. So there’s a lot of things that I’m looking forward to after this fight, hopefully, if everything goes well. So I know what this fight can do for me as well in my career.
Q. Joseph, you mentioned that you’re expecting a rough, brawling type fight where you’re going to have to fight on the inside. How have you addressed that in your sparring sessions? Have you changed it up a lot?
JOSEPH DIAZ, JR.: Oh, we’ve been practicing everything, man. We’ve been fighting with guys on the inside. Guys that want to outbox me and people that are going to be putting a lot of pressure. So we’re getting all of these. I can’t really go into all the details, but you can’t really expect Andrew Cancio coming in with the same game plan because I know that he’s watched footage of me and we’ve watched footage of him, so he might come with something different and might try something different.
I can’t really expect the Andrew Cancio that I’ve seen in other videos because he might come with a different game plan. So we’ve been sparring with tremendous fighters, undefeated fighters as well. And we’re going to go to work, man. The guys are going to be pushing me to the limits. Guys are going to be getting me ready for this upcoming fight.
Q. Andrew, if you do get inside in your kind of fight, how would you rate his skills as an inside fighter from what you’ve seen so far?
ANDREW CANCIO: I mean, he’s a well-crafted fighter all the way around. The inside game, I would have to say he’s really good at the inside as well. He knows what he’s doing and he’s slick. So I’ve seen what I have to do differently when I do get on the inside. So I would rate his inside game pretty high up there.
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