In a terrific fight in the second-half of an excellent world championship doubleheader, IBF/WBO/WBA lightweight champion Nate Campbell, 32-5-1 (25), of Jacksonville, Fla., will make his first defense against undefeated two-division world champion Joan Guzman, 28-0 (17), of Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008, live on Showtime Championship Boxing at 9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast.
Unbeaten WBC super lightweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley, 22-0 (11), of Palm Springs , Calif. , will make his initial defense against Edner “Cherry Bomb” Cherry, 24-5-2 (12), of Wauchula , Fla. , in the co-feature.
The event will be promoted by Don King Productions in association with Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi , Miss. The Campbell-Guzman main event will be presented in association with One Punch Productions and Sycuan Ringside Promotions. The Bradley-Cherry fight is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions and Thompson Boxing Promotions.
George Corchis: On behalf of Beau Rivage Resort and Casino and our nearly 3600 employees in the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast we welcome this event to Biloxi . We welcome showcasing our facilities and world championship boxing to the world.
Beau Rivage is part of the MGM Mirage Resort family, and we're pleased to bring such a big card to the Gulf Coast and to be partnered with Don King and SHOWTIME, names synonymous with championship boxing.
As you've seen, Hurricane Gustav blew through this area this week, and it didn't carry as much of an impact as Hurricane Katrina did three years ago. But we did close the resort as a safety precaution because we had an evacuation. I'm pleased to say not only is the Beau Rivage opened, but the whole Gulf Coast region of the country is reopened. We’re making preparations for this big event happening later on next week.
We're extremely excited about it. We're obviously closely monitoring all the other storms, as we do each year. We feel confident that the event will take place as planned. And we are extremely excited for a week from this Saturday to put on a world class fight here in Mississippi .
That being said, I'll pass it on to Gary Shaw.
Promoter Gary Shaw: I want to thank Showtime and Don King for allowing us to put on this Tim Bradley/Edner Cherry championship fight.
On behalf of me and Tim Bradley, I just want to say our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the entire Gulf Coast region, and we pray for them and pray that there's not further devastation there.
It's going to be a great fight. Nobody thought that Timothy Bradley can go to England and beat Junior Witter. He did and he proved what a great champion he is.
I know Edner Cherry. He's fought on my cards. He's a very, very tough opponent. It will be a wonderful, wonderful fight under the Guzman/ Campbell fight, which is going to be a fantastic fight. It's going to be a great night for Showtime, a great doubleheader, and on behalf of Team Bradley I know Timothy is ready.
He's on weight and we're expecting to walk back with his first defense belt on us. On behalf of Team Bradley, I thank you.
Promoter Don King: First of all, I want to thank George Corchis. He's a dynamite guy and the President of Beau Rivage. I want to thank Governor Haley Barber, who I talked to a couple of days ago. And I echo Gary , the whole Gulf area is in our prayers. Governor Barber told me we missed it. It was a blessing he said that they weren't hit as hard as they were with Katrina. My heart goes out for all of them and we pray for the recovery of those who have been dislocated. Governor Barber said there was no deaths, so that's a blessing in itself.
I want to thank Kelly Hiser, noted sponsor on this program, who also works out of Mississippi . We are all praying for them them and we've got a great, great fight coming up. Haley Barber is really the governor who directed and guided them in Katrina and post‑Katrina. He did a great job of helping the people down there working while everyone else was hollering about who was in control. So God bless Haley Barber, the governor of Mississippi . We are thankful that we can be there on September 13 to put on a show. Hopefully those other hurricanes won't come in and get us with Ike and Josephine because it's a terrific place to be at the Beau Rivage.
As you know, it's a fantastic fight. We've got a fight that's going to reach the heights of what we have to deal with, and that is Nate Campbell, three‑time champion, with Joan Guzman. It's going to be a super extravaganza.
We're looking forward with great anticipation to have everyone come down and see it. The site is going to be terrific. Showtime will truly have the best show that evening. It's going to be a great, great show for all the boxing fans around the world. I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation.
George Corchis: Campbell , Bradley, Guzman and Cherry, we're excited you're coming down here to spend some time with us.
Campbell: First, I want to thank Showtime for having me. I want to thank Don King and Gary Shaw for putting this together and making things go pretty smoothly on the card. I want to say my prayers for the people on the Gulf Coast . It's been a rough time for you guys for the last few years.
I hope everything is okay for you guys and my prayers go out to you. For me, nothing has really changed except people call me champ now. Everything is the same in my life. I still train hard. John Davidson gives me no breaks in the gym and he busts my chops every chance he gets. I do my job every day.
For me this is another hard fight. I want to fight this fight like I'm not the champion. You can expect me to be the same Nate Campbell but more intent on winning this fight.
Guzman: First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who is on this call and who made this possible. I'm very glad that Nate gave me the opportunity to fight him and to challenge him in a world championship fight where three titles are on the line.
We prepared well. We prepared hard, and we we’re just really excited to get in the ring September 13.
Bradley: Everything's great. I'm right on weight. Preparation has been going well. I’m just focused and ready to take care of business. That’s pretty much it with me. I'm all business.
Cherry: I just want to thank Showtime for giving me the shot and the chance to be on. Timothy Bradley, he's a good guy and a tough fighter. I want to thank Timothy for being there September 13, for fighting for the world title and for training. I’ve been training hard and getting prepared the best way I could for this fight. I’m going to give it my all on September 13.
Question: How long did it take you to realize after winning the title what you just did? That you’re a three division champion?
Cherry: I'm still having a hard time taking it in. I’m not respected by a lot of people. Before I fought Diaz, he was a god. Now that I've fought him he's overrated.
With me it's about my respect. Period. I'm going to do damage to whoever they put in front of me because I want my title.
Question: Nate, what in particular do you see in Guzman that you feel will make it an easy night for you?
Campbell: Just the fact that he fights the way he fights. Guzman does what he does. You can't take away what he's done. His record speaks for itself, but for me, I look at guys and I break them down on almost on a cellular level as far as boxing is concerned.
I don't see him being any easier than anyone else, but, for me, I just think the style works. I think his style works for me. I think my style works for him. At the end of the day, we both know how to put our best stuff in the ring and we'll see what happens.
Question: Does it get to you at all that you don’t get respect? Does it make you hungrier to go in there as a guy that no one has given a lot of respect to?
Campbell: Well, I came up the hard way. I'm one of the only fighters that you can truly say came up the hard way. All these other guys came up with easy opposition, they became champions the easy way. I had to come up the old‑fashioned way. I came up with losses and heartbreak and heartache, and I had to deal with it. You don't have to give me my respect. I'll take it the hard way. I'm not upset with anybody. I'm not angry with anybody. I just want what I believe I deserve.
Question: Timothy, I believe this is going to be your second fight out of this state now. Can you tell us a little bit how things have changed for you specifically out here in California , since you beat Junior Witter?
Bradley: Life is just easier. I’ve got more money now to be able to take care of my bills and not worry about it. Things are a lot simpler for me.
I’ve just been training hard. I’m staying focused on retaining the title. That's pretty much it.
Question: Do you feel any extra pressure when you step in the ring now to represent California ?
Bradley: Not at all. My job is to fight. I'm the new world champion and I'm going to fight like I'm the world champ.
Question: Edner, what do you think might be the keys for you in this fight?
Cherry: You know, Timothy is a great, strong fighter. You have to use your head against him. I'll just go in there and do my thing. I'll be Edner Cherry. I'm not going in there to be somebody else, you know what I'm saying?
I’m going to do what got me here. I’m going to do the hard work, do my thing and just listen to my corner. If I fight like that, we’ll be fine on September 13.
Question: What about Tim as a fighter impresses you?
Cherry: He's in shape and he comes ready to fight. That's what's good about him. He's coming to put on a good show.
Question: Nate, why are you deciding to take on a guy like Joan Guzman?
Campbell: First of all, he was my mandatory opponent. They made him my mandatory. It wasn't like I had a choice in the matter, because I want to keep my belts together.
No offense, but Joan is as good as anybody to make a good first defense. I don't like him as a fighter. A lot of people think that I do, but I don't. It's a fight and I'm a fighter. You realize that I'll fight anybody they put in front of me.
I feel I can beat anybody they put in the ring with me. I can fight anybody else.
Question: How do you want to approach him?
Campbell: I'm going to do what I do. I'm not thinking about what he does. First of all, people have to realize, I'm the puncher in this fight. I'm the bigger man in this fight. I'm physically stronger.
I'm going to do what I do. He has to do what he does and we'll see how it turns out.
Question: Joan, why did you decide at this point that you wanted to go against Nate Campbell who holds three titles in the lightweight division?
Guzman: I moved up to 135 pounds because my previous fight I was supposed to have in May against Alex Arthur fell through at 130 pounds. The WBO gave me the option to vacate the 130‑pound belt and become the No. 1 contender at 135 at WBO. That was a chance I couldn't really pass up, despite the three world championships and be the number one rated WBO at 135. It made sense for me and my team to move up in weight and fight Nate Campbell.
Question: Joan, can you tell us what your advantages are over Nate in this fight?
Guzman: I'm working hard for this fight. I've been working hard since it was announced. Even before that, I was working hard in the gym. Nate is going to be a tough customer. He's going to be a challenge because I'm stepping up in weight. He's the bigger of the two so we've been working extremely hard.
We have the quickness on our side. We also have our great defense on our side as well. We're going to give him a hell of a fight on September 13. I know it sounds redundant that I say we're working hard and training camp has been great, but that’s really is how it is every training camp for me. It's no different than it was when I was fighting at 125 pounds than it is now. We're just really excited and ready for this fight on the September 13.
Question: Joan, Sean Gibbons, the matchmaker for Sycuan Ringside Promotions, once advised me that you were like Floyd Merriweather, in that you have the innate ability that enables you to smell punches, something that can’t be taught. Is that true?
Guzman: It's tough to learn the defense that Floyd, Jr. and I employ. My defense looks similar to Floyd and vice versa. But my dad actually started teaching me at a very young age how to defend myself.
I guess part of it is natural talent and part of it is learning at a very young age. I started boxing when I was eight years old. From then on out, my dad taught me the principles of defense. And from there on out, I just worked hard at it and I keep working at it.
I guess it's a combination of both. It's a God‑given ability to be able to roll your shoulders and sense when punches are coming. But it’s also important to put in the work and hours in the gym for it to translate into success.
Question: Joan, the thing that fascinates many people about you is your first name. Is that a family name?
Guzman: When I was born my mom gave me the name of a very popular Spanish singer from Spain named Joan Juan Manuel. And I took out the middle name Manuel and kept Joan Guzman. It wasn't a family name. I was named after a very popular famous singer from Spain . That's how it came about.
Question: So, Joan, that's a common name from someone from Dominican or Spain ; it's a common name, right?
Guzman: It's a name that is used a lot in the Dominican. My son is named Joan, Jr.
Question: How old is Joan, Jr.?
Guzman: He's two years old.
Question: How many fights did you actually have scheduled that were postponed, and how frustrating was it for you to go through the postponement? How happy are you now to finally not only getting a fight but fighting for a world title on SHOWTIME against a quality great opponent, champion?
Guzman: I became very accustomed to fighters dropping out for whatever reason. When the hurricane was going through the Gulf Coast this past week, I was worried that the fight might get cancelled, not for anything that the fighters did, but for something that was out of our control. It's something I always think about when a fight gets assigned. Is this fighter going to fall through, is there going to be something that's going to happen? I've had so many fights drop out in the last two or three years.
I'm just very thrilled that Campbell had no intention of dropping from this fight for whatever reason. I knew from the start that he wanted this fight and that he was going to come and show up on September 13.
I had good feelings about this fight from the start. I'm absolutely thrilled that this fight is going to happen, and for three championships. There’s no way now that it's going to get cancelled.
I really let out a sigh of relief because I’ve had so many fights drop out in my career. This one, which is certainly one of the biggest of my career, is going to happen on September 13. We're just really thrilled to have that feeling.
Question: Don, who do you look at for the winner of this fight to go up against? Are you thinking down the line?
Promoter Don King: Right now this is going to be a superb fight that's going to take place on the September 13 at the Beau Rivage. I can't go past that. I think with all the different things that have happened, the inclement weather, the displacement of so many people down in the Delta, that this fight now becomes more than just a fight. You know what I mean?
Are prayers are so strong because this area has the blessings of God and has avoided getting hard like it did during Katrina. It’s important that this fight goes on, but it’s more important that the Gulf is safe.
I think these two guys are going to be great fighters. Everyone underestimates Nate Campbell. Nate Campbell is a phenomenon. What he did with Juan Diaz no one could ever believe.
I know Joan Guzman is a great, great fighter, and I look forward to a great show of both of these guys. You have two phenomenal guys here. But the one that really snatches the lightning out of the jug is Nate Campbell beating Juan Diaz like he did, handedly, without any question. My hat goes off to him in a congratulatory manner.
I'm hopeful and prayerful that he will continue to work in the same dedicated effort and manner in which he has been with his distinguished manager, Terry Trekas, who has really done a great job for him.
We've got a great show for the Beau Rivage. This is really the fight of the evening, as you know.
Hopefully, everybody will be reestablished and reset again in their homes. I want to thank the governor, Haley Barber, who I think is a tremendous American. He has really worked while others have talked. Haley Barber has been like a hallmark in that Delta area, working from Katrina and post‑Katrina. He and his great wife, Marcia, have done a tremendous job for America and the State of Mississippi . It is just exemplary.
I want to congratulate the people of Mississippi for standing tall and helping each other out. I want to thank Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans . He's been a tremendous advocate of safety and security in working with the tragedies that have come.
We've got everything that's the embodiment of America taking place in Mississippi on September the 13. At the Beau Rivage, under the leadership of George Corchis, it's just going to be a tremendous affair. I'm looking forward to it with great excitement. You've got everything that you can ever ask for in the fist-a-cuffs, but it also brings in people that will collectively come together for the betterment of everyone in Mississippi . That's what we're there for.
Question: Gary, can you comment on after this fight, who the winner might face?
Promoter Gary Shaw: No, I never look past the fight that's in front of my fighter. I know Timmy Bradley, and I know Ken Thompson and Alex and our whole team. We never look past a fight that's in front of Timmy.
Edner Cherry is a very tough opponent. In order to get to the next level, Timmy has to beat Edner Cherry Saturday, September 13.
Question: Nate when we last spoke you said you were happy that you had your losses that they made you a better fighter. Could you talk about that in regards to going against an unbeaten fighter, how is that going to help you on September 13th?
Campbell: I had to make up for all my lack of amateur experience because I only had 36 fights. I had to learn a lot since my amateur experience, and it has made me a better fighter. Nothing is broke. If nothing is broke, you don't have to fix it. So for me I had to fix the things that were broke.
Question: Joan, when we spoke, you mentioned that you were using a speed and power coach, David Burr; how has that worked out?
Guzman: I see the difference in the new strength and conditioning program that David Burr has instituted with me during this training camp. I see the difference in my body because the weight has just fallen off. I’m healthier in a way that's going to make me stronger and quicker for September 13.
A few of the things we concentrated on were power training and plyometric training where we used a lot of resistance and a lot of mountain running. We used weights in ways I've never experienced before.
We’ve done a lot of new techniques that I hadn't really used but I was aware of. It definitely makes me a lot stronger and a lot quicker. I can tell from this program, as opposed to my last one, that the weight is coming off a lot easier and it's going to show in the gym. It's going to show on September 13 when I get in the ring. And it's going to be a new Joan Guzman.
Question: Nate, has anything been said to you other than when I commented about the testing for the steroids?
Campbell: No, nobody said anything else.
Question: Is that expected?
Campbell: Listen to me. These guys are used to me ‑‑ when they make statements like that, they're showing their color. They're showing their fear. I don't drink. I don't even drink when I'm not training. I don't take any drugs. I've never taken drugs. When guys make statements like that, I know it is their fear speaking.
Joan is working with David Burr. He knows me. He knows what training I've put in for that fight. If I have to ask anybody to be a witness and watch me train my heart out, then so be it. I can use his strength and conditioning guy. When people are talking about steroids it just shows their fear.
Question: What was your motivation to receive this fight, to give the undefeated world champion Joan Guzman a shot at your title? What was your motivation to do that?
Campbell: He's my mandatory challenger. But it could have been anybody. One thing about me, I've never turned a fight down. To me, Joan Guzman is a solid, good fighter. But I don't shy away from that. Everybody asks if this is something that's outside of my scope. I've always done this. There's nothing different about me fighting this fighter or any other fighter. I've always fought the guys out there.
Question: I understand. How is your training going and how is it working with your trainer?
Campbell: We don't do mountains. We do it in Florida . If you can do it in Florida , you can make it anywhere. You can come down to Fort Lauderdale on a fall day and its 90 degrees, so imagine how hot it is in my gym we don't use the AC for the most part.
Question: Tim, this is your first defense of the title. And even though you're just a year younger than Edner Cherry, he's had a lot more fights than you have. How are you going to make up for that experience difference in this fight.
Bradley: I don't know. We're going to have to see. We're definitely going to have to see. I just have to use my head. I have to be smart in the ring.
I have to box smart because I know he has a lot experience. I've seen his videos and I know he does a lot of tricks in there. I'm just going to prepare mentally and physically for the fight, and spiritually.
We'll have to see how it goes. I have all the experience in the world. I have over 140 amateur fights, so I've seen pretty much every style.
Question: Do you think you're a unsung heroes in boxing?
Bradley: Not yet. I'm still a work in progress and I'm the new champion now. I thank SHOWTIME for putting me, Don King, my promoters, and Gary Shaw Productions just for giving me a chance to fight on SHOWTIME. I am grateful for the chance to air my skills and to show the world who Tim Bradley is. Like you said, a lot of people don't know who I am and I don't have the notoriety that most champions do. But that's definitely what we're trying to get. We're trying to get notoriety and get recognized.
Question: Edner, how do you want to face Tim?
Cherry: September 13, only that night can tell. I'm going to go in there and do my best. I just have to go in there and put my stuff out there. I fight a lot of good fighters and a lot of different kind of fighters.
Anything that Timothy Bradley comes with nothing new. We just have been ready for this fight. Timothy Bradley is a great fighter. His record is 22‑0. On September 13, we just have to get it going on.
Question: Edner, do you think there's any one area that you have an advantage over Tim in this fight?
Cherry: You know what, September 13 will tell it. That's all. I'll just go in there and just see. We’ll just go in and try and use whatever works.
I'm not going to take anything from Timothy Bradley. He's tough and he's a great guy. We're just going to go in there and have fun. I’m out there to fight. We'll be buddies, you know what I'm saying?
Question: Tim, what advantages do you see in this fight over Edner?
Bradley: My boxing ability and my speed. Mostly my speed and movement.
Question: He said he's going to go in there have fun, be buddies with you. Is that how you see this fight?
Bradley: No. Edner Cherry is trying to play mind games right now, I think. He's coming for me. I've seen him fight. I've been following his career since the beginning of my career. I know who he is. I know what he's capable of doing. He's going to be a tough opponent. He's very tough and he's hungry and ambitious. He wants it.
You're going to see the best Edner Cherry, but you’re also going to see the best Tim Bradley that night.
Question: Are you going to see a knockout in this fight?
Bradley: I never make any predictions. If it comes it comes, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. It doesn’t really matter to me. I'm ready to go a full 12 rounds.
Question: Edner, did the fights you had with Junior Ferguson help your career.
Cherry: It didn’t help me a whole lot. There were a lot of people around the world watching and saying ‘who is Edner Cherry.’ The exposure was great. On September 13 a lot of people will know who I am. People will definitely tune in especially with Timothy Bradley, because he's a WBC champ.
Question: Edner, were you impressed with Timothy's last fight?
Cherry: Definitely. He went to England , in Junior Witter's backyard. He showed everything in the ring. He fought with heart and showed that he was hungry. It’s especially impressive to go in somebody's backyard and knocking them down in six rounds. That was a great fight.
There's nothing you could take away from Timothy Bradley that night. He went in there and did his thing.
Question: Nate, you said that you're the bigger, stronger fighter. And he said that he's got good defense and he's quick. Do you think that he's a lot quicker than you? Because you're bigger and stronger, are you going to stop this guy?
Campbell: First, I don't see where he's that much quicker than me. The first thing you all miss is that I'm not slow by any stretch. I'm not a slow guy. I don't slide. I don't just walk to guys. I'm a technician in my own right.
For some reason you all turn me out to be the underdog in this fight. But I'll let y'all have that. I'm going for a knockout in every fight. If a guy stands there and takes it, I might not get the knockout that fight, but somewhere along the line some other guy gets it. I've been beating and debilitating opponents. I've been proving it through my career at 135 pounds.
Question: Are you going to break him down like you did Juan Diaz?
Campbell: I break everybody down. When was the last time you've seen me not break someone down at 135?
Question: Have you prepared for this fight any differently for a different style, and if anything, what is your preparation going like and what kind of strategy do you employ against a guy like Joan Guzman?
Campbell: I trained differently for this fight. We knew about his style, so we had to incorporate that in my sparring. But at the end of the day you've got to fight me for 12 rounds. You have to come willing to stand. Every fight Joan was in, he's got to fight at some point.
Question: Nate, Galaxxy Warrior, how did you get that nickname?
Campbell: It was my gym name. It was the first gym, Galaxy Boxing was the gym. It was the first gym I went to as an adult. I had been to gyms before, but that was the one that stuck, the one that really made the difference.
Question: That turned you into a boxer, and it had two Xs in it, that's why it has two Xs in your name?
Campbell: In the front of the building there was the name Galaxxy Computer. In the back was a gym called Boxing at the Galaxxy. I was not trying to make myself bigger with two Xs. That was just the name of the gym.
Question: What would you like to put in effect in this fight against your contender that you learned from your trainer?
Bradley: I just basically want to be smart. I want to box smart in there. I just follow the game plan, listen to my corner and follow the plan we came up with.
Campbell: I'm looking for a great fight. I want people to come out and watch the fight and watch it on SHOWTIME. I want fans to be prepared for an early night or a long, hard night. Whichever way it comes, that's the way I take it.
Guzman: I would like to thank my entire team. My trainer Floyd Merriweather, Sr., and my promoters, Sycuan Promotions, and SHOWTIME for having me back on the network. We're ready to fight on September 13. You’re going to see the first three division Dominican‑born champion on September 13.
Bradley: I'd like to thank God for this opportunity. I want to thank SHOWTIME for giving me a chance to fight. I want to thank my promotional companies, Gary Shaw Productions and Thompson Boxing Promotions and Don King for making this all possible. I'd like to thank Edner Cherry for stepping up. Thank you so much. May the best man win that night. Good luck. God bless everybody.
Cherry: I just want to thank God for opening this door for me. I just want to say good luck to everybody. I'd like to thank Timothy Bradley and his people for giving me the chance of fighting for this title. I want to thank my team. I want to thank everyone. This is a blessing for me. I just want to thank everyone. Nate, what's up? Take it home. Good luck to everyone. And I'll see you on the 13th.