Two time world welterweight champion Andre Berto faces tough Mexican Jesus Soto Karass in a 12 round bout at the AT&T Center in San Antonio,Texas on July 27. The event, which is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, also features Weslaco, Texas’ undefeated Omar Figueroa Jr. against Tokyo’s Nihito Arakawa for the vacant WBC Interim Lightweight Championship and unbeaten knockout artist Keith Thurman and Diego Gabriel Chaves battle for Chaves’ WBA Interim Welterweight title.
Below is what Berto, Karass and co had to say on Thursday
ANDRE BERTO, Former Two-Time Welterweight World Champion
"I’m looking forward to this challenge on July 27. As you can see, it’s an exciting undercard with my man Keith Thurman and my man Omar Figueroa.
"I’ve been through some ups and downs. I feel that I have made some of the right changes that I needed to get focused.
"I have a new team and I’m dedicated to win another world title.
"I let the big show get away from me twice, once against Victor Ortiz and once against Robert Guerrero. I’m coming to San Antonio focused.
"It’s going to be a hell of a show. Make sure you buy your tickets or tune in on SHOWTIME because there’s nothing stopping me. I’m ready.
"You can have all the power in the world, but if you don’t know technique or don’t have a strategy, then you’ve got nothing. I’ve made changes in my game plan and I’m going to fight smarter.
"Soto Karass is a good fighter. I’ve seen his fights. There’s nothing too spectacular about him, but he does have that tough Mexican fighting style."
JESUS SOTO KARASS, Veteran Welterweight Contender
"I have a great test ahead of me. I have followed Andre Berto’s career very closely. When he was a world champion, I was hoping I was going to get to fight him someday.
"I wasn’t ready for him then, but now that I got offered the fight, I know I’m ready.
"This is a very important fight for me and I know I’m ready. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got to prove all of the doubters wrong.
"I decided that this year is the year I’m going to become a world champion.
"San Antonio is one of the best places for boxing. With these ticket prices, I’m hoping the arena is going to be full of Mexicans and Mexican Americans.
"The name of this fight is ’Knockout Kings II’ for a reason and I’m going to try to make sure it lives up to its name."
OMAR FIGUEROA JR., Undefeated Texas Rising Star
"This fight is called ’Knockout Kings II’ for a reason. I always go out there looking for the knockout. This is a great fight card for the fans. This is what boxing needs.
"It especially means a lot for my home state of Texas. This is perfect for me. All of my friends, family and fans can come up and see me fight.
"I’m at a loss for words when I think about fighting for my first world title here in Texas. I pictured myself being in this position because as a fighter, you have to see it in order to achieve it. This is what we’ve wanted and what we’ve been working so hard for.
"July 27, you’ll see fireworks in the ring.
"San Antonio is the perfect place for a card like this. I can’t describe what it was like being at the Canelo vs. Trout fight. Hearing 40,000 people cheer was incredible. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and proud to be a part of this fight card."
KEITH THURMAN, Undefeated Top Rated Welterweight Contender
"The last time I was in Texas was when I was competing as an amateur in the 2008 Olympic Trials.
"I don’t know if there is another fighter out there that’s hungrier than me. They’ve been feeding me, but I’m still starving I have a long time left in this game and I don’t know when I’m going to get enough of it.
"I’m looking forward to this fight. My opponent is a young hungry fighter with a record of 22 and 0 with 18 knockouts and I am 20 and 0 with 18 knockouts. You know this is going to be a fight.
"If you’re a boxing fan and you’re from around here, then you have to be here unless you’ve got a family emergency.
"Come support the undercard that has a lot of local fighters and local talent.
"I don’t expect this fight to go more than two rounds. If the fight goes more than two rounds, find me and I will give you a refund."
ERIC GOMEZ, Vice President and Matchmaker of Golden Boy Promotions
"We’ve been around for a little over a decade and we’ve done great events and I don’t think we’ve had a partner like Leija and Battah Promotions. They’re committed to boxing and committed to Texas and they’re doing an amazing job.
"Don’t blink when Keith Thurman fights, because you might miss something big.
"Everyone has been looking for the next great fighter in Texas, the next great champion from the state and I think we’ve found him in Omar Figueroa.
"In boxing, there are great events and then there are great fights. Last month at the Alamodome, there was a great event. This main event is a great fight. Styles make fights and both of these guys really come to fight. They’re going to come to fight hard because that’s what they know how to do.
"This is little bit of a crossroads fight for both Berto and Soto Karass. The winner is going to go on to bigger and better things and whoever loses is going to have to take a hard look at their career."
JESSE JAMES LEIJA, Former Two-Time World Champion & Texas Boxing Legend
"We have a strong undercard with great local talent from San Antonio. We see great things happening for these guys in the future.
"We’re excited to have Omar Figueroa back again, but maybe he will give us two rounds this time.
"I’m a huge fan of Andre Berto and of Jesus Soto Karass. I’m also a huge fan of the sport of boxing and Mike [Battah] and I have worked really hard with Golden Boy Promotions to bring the best events to San Antonio.
"We want to fill the AT&T Center with 18,000 people and I think that’s doable.
"We’re bringing great fights, big names and we hope everyone comes out and supports boxing in San Antonio."
MIKE BATTAH, President of Leija and Battah Promotions
"We are growing this fight business and it’s growing in a fast way. San Antonio is going to be the hub of boxing and we’re really excited about that."
May 31, 2013