VITALI KLITSCHKO LENNOX LEWIS
CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT
Sternburg: Well, it's not every day
we get to announce that a world heavyweight championship fight is being
broadcast live in the U.S., but we're sure happy to be doing it
In fact, this Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time,
Epix will be broadcasting the live telecast of
the WBC heavyweight championship fight between defending champion Vitali
Klitschko and his opponent, undefeated number-one contender
Odlanier Solis of Cuba, a former world amateur champion as well
as a 2004 Olympic gold medalist.
On the call today, we have Vitali Klitschko, as well as Tom Loeffler, the
Managing Director of K2 Promotions.
We also have, from Jamaica , Lennox Lewis, a three-time
world heavyweight champion in his own right, who will be doing commentary and
analysis on the Epix broadcast.
And, without further ado, it's my pleasure to introduce the President and
CEO of Epix, the multi-platform premium entertainment cable channel and service,
Mr. Mark Greenberg.
Thanks, Fred. We're
really thrilled to be able to put this fight on this weekend. For a number of you, who I've talked to
over the years, obviously after a decade of being responsible for boxing at
Showtime, we saw this fight as an incredible opportunity to do a heavyweight
We always believed that heavyweights have been the bellwether for boxing
you know there are always fight fans who love different classes of fights,
categories of fighters, but certainly the heavyweights have always drawn the
casual sports fan. And for Epix,
which is a joint venture of Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lionsgate, that only
launched 15 months ago, this became a really interesting opportunity for us to
go and explore the boxing world.
We know that paid TV has always been a major homestead for the boxing
world. I was fortunate enough to
work on Lennox's fight against Mike Tyson a few years ago at the Pyramid in
Memphis. And that certainly was a
There's probably been no better ambassador to boxing in the last 15 years
than Lennox Lewis. He's always been
a class act. We're delighted that
he's going to join our announce team.
Our announce team is going to include Sam Rosen doing the blow-by-blow
with Tony Paige along with Lennox . We think we have an opportunity to help
breathe some life into the sport, as others have been doing as well, by trying
to attract a younger audience.
Our multi-platform, which is on the channel on demand, and in this case,
EpixHD.com, our Web site, will be streaming the fight live. We think that our web site has been a
unique opportunity to draw younger audiences to the paid TV category, and we're
hoping to do a similar thing for boxing.
We have, today, on our web site, EpixHD.com, about 3,000 movies
originals, concerts and comedy events.
In fact, last night we premiered one of our originals, a "Lindsey Vonn In
the Moment" documentary, which we were very excited about.
So we believe there's a lot of opportunity for us to participate in this
sport, and we're hoping to continue to do that. We're going to see how this fight does
for us. It's been a great
promotional device for us to get the Epix brand name out.
We were also happy to announce this morning that we will be putting the
Klitschko-Solis fight live in Times Square on the jumbotron, located on Broadway
at 44th Street, which is the first time this has ever been done, so
we think that'll be a lot of fun.
It's a promotional way to gain more awareness for the sport of boxing and
So we're thrilled to be part of this event, and we look forward to a
really exciting fight on Saturday night.
Sternburg: Lennox, what do you think
Solis and Klitschko need to do to win this fight? What do you think the keys to success
will be for each man?
Lewis: Let's start with
Klitschko. I believe that he has to
really do what he usually does, and that's keep that jab out there and keep his
man off balance. He does that
I noticed that he hasn't been moving too much on his feet. He still has to keep that foot movement
and give his opponent some different angles.
And as far as Solis, I think he needs to really go to the body and just
really come inside on Klitschko and really not get hit while he's coming inside
and also use his feet, because I noticed that he's stationary on his feet a
little more feet action. He's got a
tremendous history. It kind of
reminds me of my own being a world junior champion and having all the different
I think if he puts a lot of that into motion, use a lot of different
amateur moves, such as you know combination punches and some quickness and
definitely, like I said, on the body, and throw some good left hooks to the head
as well if he reaches Klitschko's.
Because, like I said, Klitschko's long and he moves back all the
time. So he's a little bit awkward.
We're really excited about this fight, and the boxing fans in Germany are
also really excited about the fight.
It does have a capacity of 19,000 at the Lanxess Arena, and we just have
a few tickets left.
We had an open workout today with Vitali and Solis both at the main
Mercedes-Benz dealership here in Cologne .
We had over 1,000 people show up for the open workout. So it was a lot of anticipation over
here in Germany .
But, as Mark said, and we're really happy with the cooperation with Epix
for this fight, but and we think they're doing a great job of really promoting
it in the U.S. , but you know this is really a
worldwide event. And when you see
the production that goes on over here, you know for this type of fight, it's
going to be a real treat for all the fans in the U.S. you know the European
ring walks, and just the way the fans react when there's a Klitschko fight here,
and especially against an opponent like Solis.
This is probably the toughest opponent that Vitali's fought since he
regained the title back in 2008, and, as Lennox was alluding to, there's a lot
of similarities. Vitali is a WBC
emeritus champion, and Lennox is a
champion. They're both great
ambassadors of the sport. And it's
a great event over here.
Sternburg: Vitali, how is training
going? What are your thoughts about
your opponent going into Saturday's fight?
Klitschko: Good morning, good
afternoon, good evening, everybody.
Very nice to talk to everybody.
I am very excited and very happy to go inside the ring on Saturday night
to fight against Solis.
I want to say it's a very important fight for me. I never fought against the guy who has
so many titles as amateur. He's
Olympic gold medalist, three times a world amateur champion, and undefeated
as professional young, hungry and very good boxer,
I know it will be a very interesting fight. It will be a big battle. I am ready for that. And I ve known him a pretty long
time. I ve followed his
career. And that's why I know it
will be not easy, but I'm ready to show my skills and show why I world
champion and give my best to still world champion after
Lennox, which of the Klitschko brothers do you consider the better one
Lewis: Well, obviously
the older one is always the better one, I say. Plus, he's the most awkward in my
books. He's very long and lanky,
and you know he uses that long reach and his height very well. He also throws a good combination
punching, and he knows how to keep you off balance, so definitely
Lennox, are you surprised that Vitali is this effective at his age? You know he's pushing 40 and still
Lewis: Yes. He's got a good diet and he's
still got a lot of drive in him to continue, which is great. I've passed my prime in that sense, and
I just want to do other things. My
big show was Mike Tyson.
So he's still really looking for his big show, something to really give
him a true challenge out there.
But, until he gets that glory, I think he's still searching in that sense
with all these different opponents.
Until some guy steps up and says, "You know, I'm the man to really give
him that true challenge that he needs."
Let me follow up on that with you, Vitali. Is that what you're looking
Klitschko: You know what
Lennox is saying, his good words.
I'm very appreciative, and I say many times, I'm very thankful for
thankful for the chance to prove my skills. It was great battle, the fight. Six years ago, Klitschko-Lennox Lewis,
he was the first Olympic gold medalist I met inside the ring, and right now I
have a fight against Solis.
Solis is also an Olympic gold medalist. This will be my second. A fighter's amateur career is very
important for professional boxing, and that's why I know it will be not easy
But anyway I feel right now in this year, I will be 40. Anyway, I don't want to break the record
of George Foreman George Foreman s record [as the oldest heavyweight
champion], but anyway, I (feel me) well.
I live healthy and stay the same weight.
And actually, you know what, it's main point, life is experience, not
just as a sport. And my body (play
with me), and I have a lot of experience, and that's why I show good results,
and in a couple of days, I have a fight against a guy who is almost 10 years
younger than me. And I have to show
what it means, experience.
You just answered my second question. Let me ask really quick, and then I'll
let you go, basically you haven't lost I mean, I can't think of a round, a
single round, that you've lost over the last several years. Do you think you get enough credit for
Klitschko: You know what, it's
very important not overestimate yourself and never underestimate your
opponent. It's my principle. And that's why I work pretty hard and
every fight I do my best. It's like
the last fight in my life.
Never underestimate your opponent.
And I have always have respect for my opponent and prepare for every
fight pretty hard.
Lewis: Could I address
that question? I just wanted to say
that you know when you say that he doesn't get enough credit for winning all his
rounds, you know in boxing, I think you know that definitely he should
definitely get a lot of credit for that, because in amateur boxing you
But in professionals, they're really looking a lot of people are
looking to see knockouts to really give you that type of credit. So in that sense, it's
Klitschko: You know what is
knockout is actually the main point in professional boxing. Nobody has a question about who the
winner is after a clear knockout.
And you know my fight records.
I give my best. If I have a
chance, I knock my opponent out.
I know it's not easy. Solis
has a good eye, good direction. But
if I find the chance, I will use my chance to send him to the floor. I (promise) that.
The first is for Tom, and then Vitali can address it as
Tom, could you kind of go through what the situation is with Wladimir and
David Haye and Vitali down the road maybe having to step in sort of as a pinch
hitter, I guess, for Wladimir, if that fight were not to come off because of his
And also, for Vitali, if you could just address what his future is after
this Solis fight, assuming he wins.
Is he going to keep fighting?
Or is there a time where he may step back and vacate his title and let
Wladimir try to unify the whole division?
Well, to answer the question, the fight is signed against Haye. And I don't really want to take away
from the focus of this fight, because this is really a huge fight in itself, as
Vitali mentioned. It's the
mandatory for WBC title.
But what I can say is that the fight is signed, and one of the brothers
will definitely fight Haye coming up in the next few
And I can put Vitali on for the other question. You wanted to know what his future is
after this fight?
Right, and if he ever you know just kind of piggy-backing on that, he's
40 now, is there a time where he may step away and vacate his title and let
Wladimir try to unify everything?
Klitschko: You know what is
it's very important in life thank you for the question is step by step.
First of all, I have to win this fight.
And I explained so many times, it's very important to have motivation in
boxing. It's our big motivation to
take I like the world title to stay in Klitschko family,the whole heavyweight title. It's a great, great vision, and we try
to make our vision true.
But anyway, without Saturday without a win in this fight against Solis,
I can't think about it, and it is the first point. And the second point, step by step,
after the fight against Solis, I can explain to you about the next
This question is actually for Mark. Mark, will Epix look to become a
major player in the world of boxing?
And are there any other fights or fighters in particular that you're
looking in showcasing after this fight?
Yes, it's been funny. Since
you know we announced this venture two years ago, and we've been on the air for
a little over a year, I would say I've had every boxing promoter with the
exception of one in my office discussing the
I will say to you that our business plan when we created the venture to
be a new entrant into the paid TV category always included ring sports, whether
it was boxing or MMA or wrestling.
Obviously, I've had a lot of experience on the boxing side, so that
becomes a very comfortable place for me to be personally, because I know a lot
of people who are involved. But
more importantly, I think boxing's been a big part of paid
So I can see this you know we'll evaluate what happens this weekend,
but I can foresee this being an important part of our mix. I don't see us as doing as many fights
as others. But I think there are
ways for us to have a meaningful position in the sport.
And look, I think the sport needs more outlets. Let's face it. I think what happens is, for a lot of
the paid networks, and I ran one for a long time, the number of dates seems to
dwindle. My guess is, with our
announcement, we may see a few of those other networks come back with more dates
in the next 12 months, too.
Lennox, I know you fought Vitali I guess about six or seven years
ago. And I'm wondering if I know
you've probably followed his career.
I think you pay close attention to what's going on.
How would you assess what he has done from the time of his defeat against
you to when you retired and then claiming the title going through a bunch of
defenses since he's you know having a long layoff, coming back winning several
Where does his legacy stack up, in your opinion, in heavyweights, whether
it's compared to yourself, compared to his brother?
Lewis: Yes, I think it
stacks up very high. To comeback
from a layoff like he did, and to have just a tremendous fight winning the
championship back again is a tremendous accomplishment. And even to continue winning at this
at the age he's at and still have the drive that he does is
So I think he does stack up, and you know in history, these things are
going to be definitely noted.
Yes, you'll be calling the fight.
And it's been a little while since you've called a fight. Are you looking forward to being back in
the broadcast booth in a not only calling a fight, but being on a heavyweight
championship fight against a guy that you're very familiar with, you know
Lewis: Yes, absolutely,
I'm excited about it. I'm looking
forward to it. It's not like I
don't know Vitali, so it's going to be exciting speaking about
Lennox, how do you see David Haye and his chances of beating Wladimir or
Vitali. We don't know who will be
in the ring, but so probably Wladimir.
How do you see his chances?
Lewis: I think we should
talk about that when that fight happens, but right now you should ask me about
Would you consider this, right now, the era of the Klitschkos? And do you would you induct them into
the Hall of Fame, you being in there?
Lewis: It is definitely
the era of the Klitschkos. The fact
is that both of them hold titles and they're really the kings of the heavyweight
division right now.
And as far as the Hall of Fame, that's an automatic question. You know whenever have we had two
heavyweight brothers ever holding titles at the same time? I mean, that's an award in itself. So, yes, I would definitely induct them
on just that premise alone.
I think I speak for most boxing fans when I say that boxing hasn't seen a
competitive, truly memorable heavyweight championship fight, like the fight
between the two of you.
That said, Vitali, was Lennox Lewis your toughest opponent to
And basically same question to Lennox .
Lennox , was Vitali your toughest
Klitschko: In all my career,
I've never taken so many punches. I
never met such a strong opponent as Lennox Lewis. I never looked so horrible after a
fight like in that fight. And
definitely it was one of the hardest fights in my career.
And I'm very appreciative as Lennox gave me a chance to prove my skills
against the strongest boxer all time.
And I have a lot of experience as amateur, as a professional, and I can
definitely say Lennox was hardest fight in my career.
Lewis: When you say
"hardest fight in my career," he was definitely the when I say "hard fight,"
he was a guy that I had to figure out.
And when I say "figure out," the man wasn't easy to hit. Plus, he was way taller than me and had
longer arms than me.
So and my last major opponent before that was Mike Tyson, so to adapt
to his different qualities, such as the height and the reach, was a challenge to
me. So he was he was a big
challenge and one of the toughest fights.
Mark, with most pay TV boxing cards, usually there is one play-by-play
person. You're doing two. I know
Sam Rosen worked very well, Tony Paige also, not only from boxing but also the
sports talk radio show he does, and he's one of the best on the air. Why'd you decide to go with two
play-by-play people rather then one?
Well, I think you know we feel very comfortable with the team we put
forward. I think we added Lennox to
that mix, because we thought that added you know a really interesting dimension
that, since Lennox has fought Vitali.
I think Sam is going to do the blow-by-blow, and I think he'll do a
phenomenal job, along with Tony, on the team, and with Lennox .
I think it's a great combination.
We're excited about what we've put together. I think it'll work
well. The ability to add these
three guys to the same announce team will make this an interesting I think you
know when you come to the heavyweights being the power and the speed that
these guys have, Lennox is understanding the sport, who's been an incredible
success in the last two decades and a great ambassador of the sport three-time
world champion. It's just really
great for us to have him part of our team.
Vitali, how (inaudible) you at this point in your career to gain the
appreciation of American boxing fans who haven't seen to quite embrace you in
the way that European fans have?
Klitschko: I would be very
happy to fight in the United States. And I know I have fans around the United
States. I fought many times in
Madison Square Garden
and Staples Center , in Las Vegas and other
I have a lot of fans around the United States, but (I say this) right
now, we fought together (inaudible) more in Europe, because in the United
States, there isn't a good opponent. But
we would be very happy to fight in the United States and against American
opponents or against any opponent.
The question of interest, yes, of course, if American television supports
the fight and we have good arena and good proposal, we would be very happy to
fight in the United States.
Lennox , first of all, what do you see
are the best weapons of Odlanier Solis?
And if you had to choose, who do you think is going to win the
Lewis: Oh, I think
Solis' best weapons are his left hook right hand, and just the combination
punching in close.
And who do I say is going to win?
Obviously the best boxer of the night. I think Klitschko has a tremendous
advantage, just because you know the experience aspect, the height, the reach
and the fact that he doesn't get hit too often. And he knows how to really use his
So I think the man with the most advantages is obviously Vitali
Klitschko. So you know I'm edging
him to win.
Klitschko: I want to say thank
you very much for your attention.
I'm very happy that this fight will be broadcast in the United States and
more than 110 countries around the world.
And it will be very in my personal opinion -- it will be the hardest
fight of my career, because Solis is very good opponent. And he's mandatory
But I will give my best to show everybody I'm very proud to have the same
title what many have Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, and I want to
show I am very proud to have the title, and I will give my best to defend the
title and stay world champion.
Don't miss the fight. The
fight will be dramatic. The fight
will be very interesting. And I
promise I will give my best to show my skills and to show everybody I am the
strongest heavyweight (in the world) right now.
And one more one more we want to support Japan during its
tragedy. I know one of the judges
will be from Japan, and coming from Ukraine, and I was, in 1986, close to
Chernobyl. My father was
there. And I know how big this
tragedy is. And I understand right
now the attention of the whole world is on Japan, and everybody is looking how
the situation will develop.
I want to support Japan 's people. I want to support the people who are
fighting right now against this tragedy.
And we definitely will make a donation from this fight to support
Japan. Because I know how hard is
it. I know how dangerous it is
because it's touched my family -- the tragedy in Chernobyl, I know how difficult
it is right now in Japan.
We just saw the news from Japan and see the news every day. I know all
the fans and all the media are watching the nuclear tragedy in Japan. Sport connects people sport can change
the world. And I'm more than sure
we have a lot of power to help the Japanese people who have problems first
from the earthquake and from the tsunami and now their nuclear
That is it what I wanted to say. And please enjoy the fight Saturday
Lewis: I look forward to
giving you some of Lennox Lewis' insights into the fight, and I'm excited about
watching the fight, seeing the fight and for the public hearing from
We're just really excited to be having this event on our network. It's fun when you do something for the
very first time a network that's as young as we are in our second year to do
your first fight, to be a heavyweight championship fight of the world, you know
we're delighted that we can participate.
And it's been a pleasure working with our partners on this overseas in
They've been great. And
we're looking forward to Saturday night.
EPIX, the multiplatform premium entertainment
service, will exclusively televise the Vitali Klitschko vs. Odlanier Solis WBC
heavyweight championship This
Saturday! March 19, live in the U.S.,
beginning at 5 p.m. ET, with select
undercard bouts, followed by the main event World
Heavyweight Championship at 6 p.m.
will stream the fights live, also beginning at 5 p.m. ET, as part of a free
two-week trial offer. To sign-up for the free two-week trial go
in a boxing first, EPIX
will also be presenting the closed captioned simulcast of the
Klitschko vs. Solis heavyweight title tilt on a jumbotron
screen in Times Square (Broadway at 44th St.),
beginning at 6 p.m.
Klitschko (41-2, 38 KOs), of Ukraine, a three-time heavyweight champion,
his sixth title defense of his current reign against 2004 Cuban Olympic gold
medalist Solis (17-0, 12 KOs), who is the number one contender and mandatory
challenger. The fight will take
place in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,000 at the Lanxess Arena
in Colgne, Germany.
joint venture between Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), its Paramount Pictures
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