|Michael Koncz: "Pacquiao is very focused. If we don’t have a convincing win in this fight there's no excuse"
By Jenna Jay and Michael Harris, OnTheRopes Boxing Radio, Doghouse Boxing (Dec 7, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
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(Please allow 10-15 seconds to buffer.) The super fight between Manny
Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is now only a few days away, and
with all three fights in the series being close, competitive and
controversial, expectations are running high for the fourth match.
This past week on the 182nd edition of "On The Ropes," I had a chance to catch up with the adviser and
business partner of Pacquiao, Michael Koncz to discuss
everything to do with this upcoming event.
During the interview,
Michael discussed the reasons for a fourth fight and why he believes
Pacquiao did not preform at his best in the last encounter. He also
shed some light on the recent negotiations for a fight with Floyd Mayweather
Jr. and why he believes that bout has yet to happen. Additionally,
Michael talked about the possibility of Pacquiao stepping away from
the sport if he somehow loses his upcoming fight with Marquez
convincingly. Here is what Michael had to say.
Jay: The fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel
Marquez is only a few days away, and being that you had a hand in
making this fight, how do you feel now that it's so close?
Koncz: Were very excited about the fight coming up on this
weekend, and I think the fans are going to be winners, because
neither fighter, Manny or Marquez; I don’t believe want to have
another one. So there both going to try to come out and make a
statement and show who is the best, and I strongly believe somebody
is going to knock somebody out in this fight.
A lot of people question why Manny Pacquiao decided to take this
fight, as each time has been a close tough fight. Why do you think he
chose to take it?
Koncz: Well, we really didn’t have a whole bunch of options. We had
nothing to gain by fighting…the first reason, let me back up. The
main reason and the main thing we look at when we select opponents,
Manny and I, as I’ve said many times before Manny’s an
entertainer and he wants to be able to give the fans the best that he
can give them, and with what we had we felt that Marquez was the best
opponent to do that. We had nothing left to prove with Bradley. On
paper we lost the fight, but the fans know who won the fight and we
believe we know who won the fight, and so there was really no gain
and I don’t think the fans would have wanted to see a second fight,
maybe down the road. That was the reason for choosing Marquez, it was
definitely a more difficult fight than Bradley, but it’s the
entertainment value to the fans that we look at.
Michael, while a lot of people believe that Manny Pacquiao should of
got the decision in his last fight against Bradley, a lot of those
same people believe that Pacquiao should not of got the decision in
the last fight with Marquez, how do feel about that perception?
Koncz: Well, you know the fans are entitled to their own perception and
their own opinion, but I hope the fans understand too that you didn’t
hear Manny; you didn’t hear myself complain on the Bradley
decision. Nor did we complain on the Marquez decision, which fans
look at in a different way. That’s why the Nevada commission has
judges or any commission. So, we value their opinions. We don’t cry
about loss like the Bradley case. No we respect the judge’s
decision whether it was accurate or inaccurate. So, again we didn’t
criticize the judge so why should people criticize us.
A lot has been made about how distracted Manny was before the
last Marquez fight, being that you were there during the last camp,
how distracted was he really?
Koncz: Oh, there’s no secret there, he was on planet mars somewhere. Um,
he was physically fit. The training camp went well; but two weeks
before the fight, maybe even three weeks, personal problems started
to take their toll, and by the night of the fight he was totally
It has also been said in the press that Manny had a fight with his
strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza before the last fight, do
you think he took any of that mentally in the ring?
Koncz: No, I don’t think he carried it into the ring, because if he would
have carried it into the ring he would have been angered and maybe
more aggressive. It’s not a secret anymore there were marital
problems. We weren’t sure if Jinkee was coming, that was the night
Jinkee arrived. I think Alex made comments that were inappropriate
and shouldn’t be made by any of us to Manny. We all knew the
situation between him and his wife and there was a little incident in
the room, but that’s not what affected the fight. What affected the
fight were the marital problems between him and his wife.
How focused is Manny for this fight this weekend?
Koncz: I’ve never seen… people may say I’m saying this to try to sell
a fight but it’s not true, I’ve never seen him so focused. He’s
very quiet. We have a lot less people hanging around the apartment
after training, and he’s very focused. There will be no excuse. If
we don’t have a convincing win in this fight there’s no excuse.
In your honest opinion Michael, who do you think have more to gain
and more to lose with this fight?
Koncz: I think… the fight is equally important to both fighters.
Marquez wants to make a statement that he’s the best and that he
may or may not have won the last fights. Well, he’ll say he won’em.
And then we want to make a defining statement, not so much because of
this being the fourth fight, but because our performances in the last
two fights haven’t been the Manny Pacquiao of old. So, I think it
is very important to both fighters, but I believe also that as long
as the fight lasts that it’s going to be a competitive fight
because again; this is the fourth time, both boxers know each other
and I think the fans are going to be the winners, but both boxers
have a lot to gain whoever wins. And I don’t want to say there is
going to be a loser because they’ve already done three entertaining
Michael, on a previous weeks show I was joined by trainer Naazim
Richardson and he suggested that Manny chose to take this fight
because of his beliefs. His theory was that Manny being as
superstitious as he is, felt that with so many people believing he
lost to Marquez, that it was the reason he did not get the decision
in the Bradley fight, so he is taking this to set things right. Did
anything like Naazim suggested play into the making of this fight?
Koncz: No, I’m involved from the moment opponents are presented to us and
that was never a discussion that Manny and I had. Yes, he loves his
fans and he respects his fans and knows without his fans he wouldn’t
be where he is today, but we have to make decisions based on the
safety of Manny and what’s best financially for Manny because he’s
coming to the end of his career and I think he has the right and
deserves to be compensated the best he can. So there’s a lot of
elements that are put into selecting opponents. The last time we
selected Bradley, not so much because of the media, but we wanted to
give the fans something different. It’s been a long time since we
fought a fighter that’s much younger than Manny and we decided to
do that last time, but that wasn’t an important key role in our
decision this time that what comes around goes around, that was not a
concern of ours. Like I said earlier, whether we agree with the
judges or we disagree with the judges; we respect their decisions, so
that didn’t play into the equation of selecting Marquez as an
Michael, how much longer do you see Pacquiao continuing to box?
Koncz: Well, I know what Manny has told me; we’ll go another couple of
years, but it doesn’t matter what he tells me or what he wants to
do. We just have to now at this point in his career; we meaning
Freddie, myself, and perhaps Arum, we just have to monitor it and
watch how he performs. Because ya know sometimes boxers become old
overnight. So, the mind and the spirit may be willing but sometimes
the body gives up and doesn’t want to do it anymore. So, I can’t
say if it’s going to be one fight, two fights, four fights. I think
we’re at a stage in Manny’s career ; he’s been boxing for more
than fifteen years , has a number of fights and we just have to
monitor each fight and watch for any drastic slippage in performance,
because the last thing I want to see happen is Manny get hurt in the
ring. I want him to retire with all his mental faculties working and
be able to enjoy the rest of his life.
Ok, well let me turn things to you for a second, besides being the
adviser of Manny Pacquiao, who else to you represent?
Koncz: Well, Manny and I are partners in MP promotions and we work with
Rodel Mayol, Bernabe Concepcion; Mayol has fought for the world title
7 times in his career, most fighters wish they could fight once.
We’re still working with Rodel Mayol. We just signed up the
sparring partner that’s been sparring with Manny, a Russian fighter
that’s twenty-three years old with 243 amateur fights. We’ve got
Michael Farinas who’s fighting Gamboa on the undercard. We have a
couple other fighters that are the night before: Earnie Sanchez and
Jerry Penalosa’s nephew, the former world champions nephew, “Dodie
Boy” Penalosa. We’re expanding now and were gonna heavily look
for talent in Mexico also.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Koncz: I guess sometimes I have to be the bad boy, that’s the toughest
Alright, well I need a little more detail than that Michael, as I'm
sure sometimes you actually have to tell Manny Pacuquiao “NO” on
certain things for his own good...
Koncz: Well, Manny’s the boss and he makes his own decisions but that’s
part of my responsibility to let him know what I believe to be right.
Sometimes he’ll agree with me and sometimes he won’t. There’s
been times he hasn’t talked to me in three or four days because
what I said wasn’t really what he wanted to hear, but you know I
think over some years that I’ve been with Manny we’ve formed a
relationship. We’ve gone through good times and bad times and I
think I’m in that position , and I’m obligated to tell him, not
necessarily that I’m right, but perhaps that the other way is not
the best way to do something. Because of Manny’s kindness and
generosity, sometimes somebody has to be able to say no to these
other people. So, sometimes I’m the shock absorber but that’s
part of the job.
Ok, well I just have a few more questions before I let you go, and I
have to ask you this. The fight all fans have wanted to see has been
of course Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, but with all the talk, it has
still yet to take place. Has that fight ever been close to being
Koncz: You know, I was very confident that it was going to be made. I was
excited that it was going to be made prior to the Bradley fight when
I was talking personally to Floyd. For whatever reason it didn’t
happen. So now I’m not so sure it’s ever going to happen. We’ve
now told…Manny was on the press tour on ESPN radio and television.
We’re willing to fight Floyd. Drug testing is not an issue. We’ll
even take a smaller split on the percentage 45/ 55. Now it’s up to
Recently I spoke to the uncle and trainer of Floyd Mayweather Jr.,
Roger. He said that there was talks not to long ago for a fight
between Mayweather and Pacquiao, but also said that there would not
be more then a 45-50 million dollar offer to Pac with no PPV. Do you
think this fight can happen with Floyd sticking to his demands?
Koncz: When I was talking to Floyd personally, at that point in time, what
we offered Floyd was 45/55 split with 55 going to the winner of the
fight, and I indicated to him that we were willing to guarantee a
minimum of 50 million against a pay-per view and I could go as high
as 70 million. I think as time goes on I think the fans are going to
lose interest in this fight because their going to say that the
fighters aren’t at their peak anymore. Their coming to the end of
their careers and I don’t think it’s going to have the earning
potential one year from now that it had one year earlier. But again
it’s up to Floyd, were not running were not hiding. We’ve been
open with what we’re willing to and now it’s his decision. But I
think both fighters in this fight, if it happens within the next 6
months or something, stand to make within 60 to 70 million dollars
Who's legacy do you think it effect more if this fight does not
Koncz: At this point in time, I don’t think it’s going to affect Manny.
I think it’s going to affect Floyd more because now the public
really knows the truth. You know, what’s on the table now? What’s
the excuse for not making the fight. And I think the fans now believe
and understand where we were getting criticized last year, (that)
perhaps we were ducking because there was propaganda out there that
we didn’t want drug testing, this and that. But Manny himself has
now come out and said that were not concerned about drug testing.
We’ll do it any day, even the day of the fight. Here’s what we’re
willing to take for the money. So the fans I think now understand the
truth. So I think if this fight never happens, it’s not going to
destroy Floyd’s legacy, but I think it’s going to harm his legacy
more than it’s going to harm ours.
What is you official prediction for Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV this
Koncz: Again, I think somebody is going to knock somebody out within the
first six rounds or it’s going to go the distance to twelve rounds
and again I think the fans are going to win. Styles make fights and
sometimes styles break fights and for some reason, when Manny and
Marquez fight, their styles … I don’t know if you want to say
they contradict each other or they mesh so well but there’s going
to be controversy every time these two guys fight, that’s why I
think their both looking for a knockout and that’s why the fans are
going to win.
Alright, I have one final question for you Michael. If Manny Pacquiao
somehow loses this fight in a definitive way, do you think that would
be a signal for him to maybe start thinking about stepping away from
Koncz: I think that’s part of Freddie’s job, my job, and Arum’s job,
but more particularly Freddie and Myself, because we work for Manny
and sometimes boxers need to be reminded, that as I said earlier the
heart and the mind want to continue to do it but for some reason the
body is not following the commands of those two. Were certainly
watching that because Freddie has been with Manny longer than me and
we both have a genuine care and concern for Manny’s health and
safety. And yes, if he loses this fight convincingly I think it’s
time we sit down, review the fight in private with Manny, and discuss
it with Manny and make a decision at that point. But by no way am I
indicating that’s going to happen but again, now is the time to
start monitoring it because it’s the last thing again that we want
that happens to many boxers, they stay in the ring too long and they
end up getting injured.
Alright, will it has been an absolute pleasure having you on the
show Michael. I thank you for your time and wish you all the best in
your future endeavors
Koncz: I appreciate it. it’s always a pleasure, as I said earlier being
“On The Ropes”, and I hope to do it again and thank you very
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