"I predicted before the fight that Marquez would knockout Pacquiao. I said that because I can feel the end of a legend. I said that he would lose to Bradley and I said on Sampsonboxing.com that Marquez would knock him out because I believe that in the case of Manny Pacquiao that boxing is the most jealous sport. If you don't give 100% to the sport, you will pay the price. If you're not dedicated to boxing and you do other things, you will pay the price...the jealousy of the sport will take away the victories. This is what happened with Manny," stated world-renowned promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, who shared his thoughts on a number of subjects, including Javier Fortuna's recent victory, the rehab and future plans of Sergio Martinez, and Manny Pacquiao's KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. Check it out!
MJ: Hello Sampson. It's always great talking to you. I'd like to first congratulate you on the Javier Fortuna win on December 8. How did you feel about his performance?
SL: Like everyone else, I expected him to have a spectacular knockout. That's probably the reason why it didn't happen.
MJ: It may help him more that he didn't get the knockout and had to go the full twelve rounds.
SL: I believe he didn't shine so much in the last fight because everyone wanted to see the spectacular knockout and they forgot about the sweet science of boxing. I'm very happy he went twelve rounds, because now we know he can go the distance. He was very well prepared with a great coach like Pablo Sarmiento.
MJ: I'll tell you what, I was amazed by how similar Fortuna's style is to Sergio Martinez.
SL: Let me say something very personal and very profound, Sergio Martinez is in the top three fighters [pound-for-pound] worldwide. Javier Fortuna will be the clone of Sergio Martinez.
MJ: I believe it.
SL: The reason is that in his youth, as an amateur, he always had his hands down. Now, with Pablo, he gets more educated in the same style. It's not an imitation. I believe that Pablo Sarmiento will draw Sergio Martinez on a young, spectacular, 23-year-old fighter like Javier Fortuna. All the fans will enjoy Fortuna.
MJ: Now that Fortuna is WBA featherweight interim champion, is the regular champion, Nicholas Walters, his next fight or are there other targets?
SL: Well, we have an agreement with the champion to have an interim fight in between, but we have no problem unifying immediately.
MJ: If he takes an interim fight, who is being considered?
SL: At this moment, it's too early to make any comments on that, but he will be a top ten contender, not top fifteen.
MJ: There are some name fights and exciting fights to be made in the featherweight division.
SL: Well, if you ask for the wish list of Fortuna, I can tell you what he wants. He told me what he wants for Christmas is the hope for 2013 to fight Juanma Lopez, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Celestino Caballero, and the winner of Salido-Garcia. At the same time, he says that whomever wants to fight Chris John needs to go through him first.
MJ: Since you promote both Fortuna and John, does it mean that they'll never be matched against each other?
SL: I will never put two of my fighters against each other; it will never happen.
MJ: How long do you see Fortuna staying at 126?
SL: He just won the title and he has no problem making the weight, so we'll have a few more defenses.
MJ: What can you tell us about Fortuna's background that the fans may not already know?
SL: He had over 250 amateur fights and won a medal in Morocco [at the junior world championships].
MJ: What are your thoughts about the recent Pacquiao-Marquez fight?
SL: I predicted before the fight that Marquez would knockout Pacquiao. I said that because I can feel the end of a legend. I said that he would lose to Bradley and I said on Sampsonboxing.com that Marquez would knock him out because I believe that in the case of Manny Pacquiao that boxing is the most jealous sport. If you don't give 100% to the sport, you will pay the price. If you're not dedicated to boxing and you do other things, you will pay the price. I talked to Sergio Martinez with the same advice.
MJ: That certainly makes sense.
SL: You cannot be a congressman, an actor, a singer, and be a boxer. I stopped Martinez from dancing or anything else, and now he's dedicated only to charity events and boxing. That is a reason he will keep winning. One of the reasons I say to Martinez before the Pacquiao fight that the end is close is because he dedicates himself to other things. I told him that if he distracts himself with dancing or other things, the jealousy of the sport will take away the victories. This is what happened with Manny. He needs to be 100% physically and mentally.
MJ: You know Pacquiao very well. Do you think he'll want to avenge this loss or will he want to get out of boxing?
SL: My understanding is that his family requests his retirement. I believe it's time to say goodbye; not a fifth fight.
MJ: I think that fifth fight would make huge money and I feel like he almost has to take the fight to redeem some of his legacy. Marquez will be remembered as the better fighter twenty years from now unless Manny avenges that loss.
SL: I understand and it is really accurate what you say, but I feel it's just that time, even though he was winning the fight. In the past, Manny would never make that mistake. He made it because he started to lose the concentration of what he was doing.
MJ: We almost saw that same thing happen to Yuriorkis Gamboa earlier in the night.
SL: Imagine how Freddie Roach feels; this was the worst year of his career.
MJ: It was great seeing Sampson Boxing teaming up with Top Rank. Will we see more of Sampson Boxing's fighters on Top Rank or HBO cards in the near future?
MJ: How does that work for another promoter teaming up with Top Rank on a card?
SL: I believe that all promoters need to join forces to build the good fights for the fans. Promoters fighting with each other is not what's best for the fans.
MJ: Is it easy getting these co-promotional deals for the big pay-per-view fights?
SL: It's easy when there is good will. Bob Arum demonstrates that he has good will and I like this from Bob.
MJ: You're one of the nice guys in the sport; you have that reputation. You could probably work with any of the promotional companies, including Golden Boy.
SL: That is correct.
MJ: I hear Sergio Martinez is recovering well from his knee surgery. Can you tell us about the plans for his next fight?
SL: He definitely will fight in Argentina on April 27 against Martin Murray. His training camp for this fight will most likely happen in Spain.
MJ: Tell us about his recovery from the surgery.
SL: He is recovering well, but he needs to be close to the doctor, so he wants to do everything in Spain in order to train properly with the doctor in case he feels anything else. He just had the operation done and we need to be sure that everything is fine.
MJ: Why was Murray chosen as the opponent?
SL: Because he's number three in the WBC and he just got the WBA interim title. However, he will not unify. It will only be for the WBC. We also chose him because he's an undefeated English fighter and will attract the locals based on the political problems with England. We will show the education and the good will of the people of Argentina, and we will treat Martin with great respect.
MJ: How important is it to Sergio being able to fight back in Argentina?
SL: After a decade, it was his wish for his Christmas gift and he got it.
MJ: That's great. Does he plan to give Chavez a rematch?
SL: Based off the way Sergio respects the challenger, he will not talk about any other fights before April 27. He is giving Martin the respect the challenger deserves. Anything can happen in a fight.
MJ: Absolutely. We saw that a couple Saturdays ago.
MJ: What was going through your mind during the Martinez-Chavez fight?
SL: I went to the cleaners after the fight because my pants got dirty. That last minute and a half proved the class and heart of the great champion Sergio Martinez. He doesn't need to prove it to me anymore.
MJ: It was amazing that he was able to finish the last round. Now I'm curious, in a fight like that when there is a rematch, who gets the psychological edge, the fighter who dominates rounds one through eleven or the guy who landed the big punch in round twelve?
SL: I believe that the next fight, if it happens, will be totally different, because you have on one side a guy who won the last round, almost by knockout. He will try to do this from round one, but he didn't do it in the last fight. It's very intriguing and it'll be a great pay-per-view for everyone to see.
MJ: Absolutely. Is there anything else going on with Sampson Boxing?
SL: I had my latest show on the Virgin Islands with Victor Cayo. He came back and defeated an undefeated fighter. That'll be it for the year, and besides I'll be going to New York to wait for my first grandchild, so I will not be available.
MJ: Congratulations! That's wonderful. Well it's been great talking to you.
SL: You got it. Thank you.