Michael Koncz: "Pacquiao is very focused. If we don’t have a convincing win in this fight there's no excuse"
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
On the Ropes Radio -  182 - Michael Koncz
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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.

Jenna 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?

Michael 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.

Jenna: 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.

Jenna: 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.

Jenna: 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 gone, mentally.

Jenna: 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.

Jenna: 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.

Jenna: 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 fights.

Jenna: 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 opponent.

Jenna: 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.

Jenna: 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.

Jenna: What is the most difficult aspect of your job?

Koncz: I guess sometimes I have to be the bad boy, that’s the toughest part.

Jenna: 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.

Jenna: 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 made?

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 Floyd.

Jenna: 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 each.

Jenna: Who's legacy do you think it effect more if this fight does not happen?

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.

Jenna: What is you official prediction for Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV this Saturday night?

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.

Jenna: 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 the ring?

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.

Jenna: 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 much.


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