WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion Jaime Munguia (32-0, 26 KOs) and mandatory 154-pound contender Dennis “Hurricane” Hogan (28-1-1, 7 KOs) discuss their upcoming 12-round battle.
The event will take place Saturday, April 13, 2019 at Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico and will be streamed live exclusively onDAZN.
DENNIS HOGAN: Yeah, how you doing? I just want to say thank you very much for the call. I appreciate everyone dialing in, and I want to let everyone know, as he said, my dream of becoming a world champion is very strong, and I’ve been doing everything in training, ticking all the boxes and doing everything right to make that happen. Training has been going extremely well. I’ve got laser focus and I see myself lifting that title on April 13th in México. I appreciate everyone’s support that I’ve had so far, and I’m looking forward to getting even more after this point. Thank you.
ROBERT GASPARRI: Dennis, thank you so much. Now we want to introduce the trainer, who is recognized for having trained some of the best fighters in boxing. He also trained our chairman and CEO at Golden Boy Promotions Oscar de la Hoya. Now he is training Jaime Munguia as he prepares him to make his exciting fight for this young star. Please welcome Robert Alcazar to make some comments. Robert?
ROBERT ALCAZAR: Hi, yes, thank you. How are you, everybody? We’re working hard with Jaime Munguia every day. Jaime Munguia is ready, and Jaime Munguia is going to be ready for the 13th. We’re just basically waiting for the day, and everything is going well for us.
ROBERT GASPARRI: Last but not least, let’s hear a few comments from the WBO World Champion himself. Please welcome rising Mexican star Jaime Munguia to say a few words. Jaime?
JAIME MUNGUIA: Good morning, everyone. I’m very happy and I feel ready. I’m prepared for this next fight, and thank you all for joining on this conference call.
ROBERT GASPARRI: We’re going to now open it up for some questions from the media. Media, can you please address your question, and Gabe will translate for English and Spanish.
Q. Good morning, everybody. My question is to Jaime. Where do you see yourself or where would you rank yourself among the Junior Middleweight belt holders that include Jarrett Hurd and Tony Harrison?
JAIME MUNGUIA: I would consider myself No. 1. The truth is, and with all due respect, and I’m saying it with as much humility as possible, that I feel like I consider myself No. 1.
Q. So if you beat Dennis Hogan on April 13th, what fight would you like next afterwards?
JAIME MUNGUIA: I have no one in mind right now. I’m simply going to keep fighting, keep fighting good opponents like Dennis Hogan, but that’s a question for my promoter Fernando Beltran.
Q. Jaime, last year you nearly got the Gennady Golovkin fight. How do you think that fight would have gone last year as opposed to now?
JAIME MUNGUIA: Look, I don’t know. I can say that I have the mentality of going forward and always feeling that I will get my hand raised in victory, so I feel I would have won, but nobody really knows what would have happened.
Q. How does it feel to fight in México, now returning as a superstar there, and knowing full well that Monterrey is going to be paralyzed that night? It’s going to be at a standstill to expect you as a star.
JAIME MUNGUIA: It’s good to talk to you. The truth is I’m very happy to be coming back to México as a world champion. This is the last place where I fought before I became a world champion and made all of my defenses. So it’s very exciting to be coming back to México, coming back to Monterrey. It’s great. I love — the city has a great love for boxing, and I’ll be coming with all the desire to not disappoint the fans and give a good fight.
Q. Now the same for Robert Alcazar; how does it feel to be taking Munguia back to México?
ROBERT ALCAZAR: I’m excited to have this opportunity to be back in our home country. What better way than with a world champion in this city, Monterrey. It’s a city that’s very nice and has a great love for boxing, and we’re going to make sure that we give the best of us. We’re going to make sure that we give a great show and a great fight, and there’s lots of emotion involved. I’m very happy for the opportunity, and our promoters are giving us to be taking us to this country, to Monterrey, where it is very nice, and I want to say it’s an extra motivation and that we will not disappoint.
Q. Dennis, I’d like to get your thoughts on this great opportunity that you have in hand of becoming the next world champion. What would it mean to you?
DENNIS HOGAN: Obviously it’s a dream of mine my whole life, but the last eight years I’ve just narrowed down and I’ve been doing everything possible to make this a reality. The last couple of years I’ve really gave everything, I’ve given my heart and soul in my training to make this a reality, and I do believe in a couple of weeks I will make that happen.
I’m just — the hunger I have for this World Championship belt is like nothing I’ve ever known before, and when I’ve found narrowed in focused on something I really want, I can achieve anything, so I know I can achieve this and get the win. I have as good a team around me, we’re ticking all the boxes, and I have nothing but supreme confidence. It means the world to me and my family and my team to lift that belt for them and for myself.
Q. When you look at Jaime Munguia and you study his past few fights, for example, against Takeshi Inoue, do you see any weaknesses in his game that you feel like you can exploit on fight night?
DENNIS HOGAN: You know, every single fighter will do little things here and there that you can exploit. I mean, even a fighter that doesn’t make many mistakes, there’s still a game plan you can work out to beat that fighter. So without saying too much about whatever holes Munguia may be making, we certainly have developed a game plan to be able to defeat his style, and whatever it is that anyone brings to the table. I’m always supremely confident in my ability, and the game plan we worked out after Smith has — we’ve been working on that since then, and everything that we’ve seen since correlates with that plan that we’ve made. I’ve been ticking the boxes in training and making sure I can execute that plan, and that’s why right now I’m supremely confident I’ll be world champion April 13th.
Q. My question is for Dennis Hogan. I wanted to know, there’s a lot of attention placed on Munguia everywhere he goes or everywhere both you guys go, but it seems like a lot of attention is on him. A ton of the questions go to him. Even a ton of people on this line are really talking about a matchup with him against GGG. Do you in any way feel disrespected or do you feel like everybody including Munguia is overlooking you?
DENNIS HOGAN: To be honest, no. I’ve been the underdog a lot in my career. I understand where it’s at, and I know that — I understand that all the pressure will be on Munguia going back to México and having to fight there.
You know, whatever way he deals with that, I don’t believe that that’s a major strength in my game plan anyway. My game plan is set, and I’m ready to do whatever it takes.
But you know, that’s boxing; it’s a business as much as a sport, and everyone is looking to see what the biggest fights can be made, so I understand it is what it is. But I am here to make an upset, and with that I have a lot of confidence. So I enjoy people asking who he’d like to fight next because when other names are being mentioned, they’re probably the names I’ll be fighting next.
Q. Dennis, kind of piggy-backing off what I just said, there’s probably going to be a ton of pressure on Munguia to perform, especially with things being in Mexico City. You on the other hand could probably come in, be a little bit more relaxed. You only have one loss on your record. Do you feel that that added pressure on him can probably affect him negatively in the fight, and since you pretty much feel that you probably don’t have any pressure at all, it’ll probably just give you the opportunity to go out there, do what you want to do and just box?
DENNIS HOGAN: Yeah, you know, you’re correct in that. I will just get out there and be relaxed in that sense. But I will start hard and fast, also, but ultimately I will be relaxed.
Look, I was first mentioning, I know what it’s like to have that pressure, and whether or not Munguia can deal with that is all good, but that’s not something that we’re relying on. But you know, it’s a big stadium. There’s a lot of people there, and it will be interesting to see what way that makes Munguia fight or what way it goes, but again, we’ve got all the boxes ticked. So either way, it is what it is.
Q. This is kind of a two-parter. Since you acknowledged that you will be moving up to 160 fairly soon into the future, I think a ton of people would love to know in your next fight, not overlooking Dennis at all, but in your next fight, would you want to face someone like a Jarrett Hurd or a Tony Harrison or even a Jermall Charlo? And my second question would be since you’re going to be performing in front of so many of your fans, you’re a great fighter, you’ve knocked out a lot of people, but is there going to be any little bit of added pressure to try to get that knockout in front of the people that came to see you?
JAIME MUNGUIA: Yes, it’s a big pressure because everyone wants to see me win by knockout. But the truth is I need to stay calm. Sometimes I can’t get the knockout, so I have to maintain my calmness, and to answer the other question, whether it’s at 154 or 160 pounds, yes, I would like to fight a Jarrett Hurd or a Tony Harrison.
Q. Dennis, I see you’re training in Australia, you’re from Ireland, so you’re obviously well-traveled. But going to Monterrey, México, fighting in México, but with so many Mexican boxing fans also in Ireland, are you excited for the opportunity to fight in México?
DENNIS HOGAN: Yeah, I mean, I think the Mexicans are very like the Irish in terms of getting in and giving it everything they’ve got. I believe it’s kind of the same mentality the Irish and the Mexicans have. I know it’s a great passion in Ireland and in México, and I believe an Irish versus a Mexican for the World Championship, I think it doesn’t get bigger than that in terms of heart and passion and the supporters getting behind it, and no doubt I’m very excited.
Q. Jaime, it’s about to be one year since you knocked out Sadam Ali to be a world champion. In the last year how has your life changed away from the ring and in the ring? Is it something you can kind of pinpoint how much your life has changed in the last year?
JAIME MUNGUIA: I think everything has changed for the better, and thank God. We have a better life now. There are more opportunities, and more than anything, it’s a big responsibility because I’m fighting often. I’m staying in the gym, and I’m fighting one fight after another. So it’s been a big change. It’s been an excellent change, and the truth is I’m very happy for this change.
Q. Dennis, I don’t think there will be a whole lot of Irish flags flying down in Monterrey, so knowing that you’re going to have a very aggressive crowd down there, not perhaps in your corner, how do you handle that?
DENNIS HOGAN: As long as there’s one flag that’s flying, I’ll be happy, and that’s all I need. We will have a few, and I believe we’ll have a very vocal crowd there between the Irish and Australians of support. Even if there wasn’t, I’ll give them my laser focus. I’ll just be cool, calm, collected, eyes on the prize and all I need to do, and that’s all that matters. But there will be a few there anyway, so that’s going to be good either way. But again, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll just stay focused.
Q. Robert or anyone with Golden Boy, how are ticket sales doing?
ROBERT GASPARRI: Ticket sales are doing very robustly. We predict a sellout in this fight. Ticket sales are strong. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but from what I hear, it’s really going well. I would think that the arena is going to be totally sold out in Jaime’s hometown.
Q. Jaime, how does that make you feel hearing from Robert that you may have a sellout down there?
JAIME MUNGUIA: It’s very exciting to know that we could have a full house. It’s a big motivation. It’s a great arena. It’s grandiose, it’s huge, down in Monterrey. So to be able to see it full would be very exciting for me, and I’m going to have all the desire and the will to make sure that we have a great fight for everyone there.
Q. Jaime, how many people pestered you to get tickets?
JAIME MUNGUIA: Haha, a lot of people.
Q. Robert, what are the plans for Jaime Munguia? Do you see him continuing to defend his title? Do you have him perhaps making big fights in another division in the future? What are the plans for Jaime Munguia?
ROBERT GASPARRI: The plan — I can speak as the CEO from Golden Boy, but Oscar and Eric and Fernando and Zanfer, we have great plans for Jaime. We’re going to sit together with everybody. We’re going to get him to the biggest fights. We’ll put him on the DAZN platform, which is the No. 1 platform for boxing. We just have — all the way to the top. He’ll fight the best, and we’ll put him in bigger arenas, and we have a lot, a lot of big plans for Jaime. And he has what it takes, so he’s exciting in the ring, and he’s able to — the fans love his style, and we’re proud to be working with him and with Zanfer, and the sky’s the limit.
Q. This question is for Dennis Hogan. How do you prepare yourself mentally, especially when there are a lot of people who perhaps don’t see you winning this fight, they’re already asking questions about Golovkin, Canelo? How do you prepare mentally for a fight when you’re maybe the underdog?
DENNIS HOGAN: Again, I’m just always about the bigger picture. I have a dream, it’s just about following it. All these outside little — what may be a distraction to other people, they don’t even come into my brain, into my head. I don’t care. It’s only just noise. It’s just talk from other people.
My dream is very real, and I can feel it, and it’s with me. That’s all I need to do. It inspires me every day, and I go with that feeling and I give everything I have. I have a belief and a faith of what’s to come. Everything that goes on around me just means nothing. It’s just noise to me.
Q. Robert Alcazar, you’ve worked with quality level fighters such as Oscar de la Hoya and Valerio. Where would you classify Jaime Munguia among the other fighters that you have worked with?
ROBERT ALCAZAR: Without a doubt, Munguia belongs to that group of fighters you just mentioned. He’s different. No doubt he keeps working, and if he keeps working, he will accomplish whatever he wants in this sport, and I have no doubt that he belongs to that elite list. He just has to accommodate himself and we have to give him a little bit of time to be in that list, but he belongs in that list
Q. This question is for Dennis. You’re going into the lion’s den, so to speak, down in México. Do you feel a little bit of pressure or added pressure to maybe having to go for the knockout, considering that you’re going in the backyard of your opponent?
DENNIS HOGAN: To be honest, it doesn’t faze me. For me, first and foremost, it’s about winning every exchange, winning every round, and then after that, whatever happens happens. I don’t feel any pressure at all whatsoever. As I said, I have a faith and belief that my hand will be raised. I will get in there and give it everything I have, as I have in camp, and whatever will be will be. I’ve come this far on this faith and belief and my hard work, and I believe it will deliver on April 13th.
Q. We have some fans from our site that are from Australia, and they’ve mentioned something about DAZN maybe not being offered over there just yet. I don’t know how true that is or not. If so, how are your friends and family going to try to follow the fight if possible or if there is an option out there for them to watch?
DENNIS HOGAN: Well, so GBP has organized Epicenter TV. Epicenter.tv, it’s an online streaming and great quality, so that’s going to be something that everyone in Australia can watch. And I believe there’s one, maybe two stations in Ireland that’s going to show it live on TV. I believe, I’m not sure if it’s locked in 100 percent, but I believe Eir Sport will show it, and I think BoxNation may be interested, also. Just that needs to be confirmed a hundred percent. Go to the GBP Facebook page, and if you’re looking from either end, and the confirmation will be there for sure by the fight.
Q. At this level of being a world champion, how important is it to stay busy?
JAIME MUNGUIA: It is very important. We are in the big leagues now, to stay busy, to be concentrated. When you’re the world champion you have to think more. You have to do things that you didn’t do before, be more intelligent. So it’s important to stay calm and be training, so it’s very important to do that now at this level of fighting.
Q. How important is it to be the kind of world champion who’s always with the people? When I see you, you always do the most possible to be with the people, to treat them nicely, to talk to them. Not many world champions do that. Where does that come from?
JAIME MUNGUIA: It’s very important, very important for any athlete, for any person to give the adequate attention to the people, and I thank everyone. I thank all of them because it’s because of them that I am here. Without the people, we would be nothing. So I try to talk to all of them. I try to dedicate them my fights and treat them nicely because most importantly, it’s always good to be a champion who’s with the people.
ROBERT GASPARRI: Everybody, thank you so much for that. At this point, I want to thank everybody for the conference call. Let’s go over some final comments. Dennis, any final comments?
DENNIS HOGAN: Not really. You know, I just — I’d just like to express again how much I’m really looking forward to this fight, how much excitement I believe it’s going to bring to the fans for boxing and how good it’s going to be. I’m looking forward to hearing the atmosphere in México, passionate country for boxing, same as the Irish, same as the Australians, and bring it all together and we will have one great night. For that I’m really looking forward to it, and thank you to everyone for all of this. It’s much appreciated.
ROBERT GASPARRI: Jaime Munguia, would you like to make any final comments?
JAIME MUNGUIA: I’m very happy to be coming back to México. I have a great opponent in front of me, and it’s an extra motivation. So I just want to dedicate this to all the people, all the people who support me, the media that’s present here, and I want to tell everyone that I’m going to give him a great fight this April 13 at Arena Monterrey.