WBA junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara and IBF titleholder Jarrett Hurd went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference for their 154-pound unification battel this Saturday, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas.
Lara and Hurd will meet for just the sixth unification bout in division history in a fight that will help define the future of the 154-pound class.
Thursday’s press conference also featured super welterweight contenders Julian Williams and Nathaniel Gallimore, who will face off in an IBF 154-pound world title eliminator.
Below is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from Vanity Nightclub at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas:
“Everyone knows I love to fight his style. I’ve fought better and taller fighters than him and you’ve seen me dominate them. It’s going to be nothing different on Saturday night.
“I want him to come forward. That’s what I’m prepared for. I’m going to give him a lesson on Saturday night.
“I have to give Hurd credit for taking the fight. It’s been hard to get fighters in the ring with me. There’s no need to talk because on Saturday we will find out everything we need to know.
“Everyone here talking from Hurd’s team can’t get in the ring with him. It’s different once you’re in the ring with me. You’ve never been in a big fight. We’ll find out what you have Saturday night. Right now, you’re all talk.
“I’m absolutely ready for this fight. This is going to be a great battle for the fans on SHOWTIME. I’m excited to get in the ring and finally unify the decision. I’m preparing to make history.
“I haven’t watched much video on Hurd, but as we saw from the Trout fight, he’s very hittable. Come Saturday night, he better have worked on some defense or it won’t last very long.
“I don’t want to hear anything about Jermell Charlo, because Jarrett Hurd is the one who stepped up. On Sunday, Charlo can sign the contract and we can get ready to rumble.”
“Lara has been the longest reigning champion and he was on top when I first turned pro. We’ve studied him a lot. I didn’t get into this sport to be anything but number one. Lara is the top guy, but after Saturday night, it’s going to be me.
“It’s been a great training camp. We’re well prepared. This is the fight I’ve been asking for. After I beat Tony Harrison, Erislandy Lara had some words on Twitter for me. So I’ve wanted the fight since then. Somebody has to pay for that.
“This fight is coming at the right time for me because my confidence is very high right now. He’s a little older so I’ll be the younger and fresher fighter. I just feel like it’s my time. I’m going to be relentless. I’m not stopping until I get what I want.
“Lara is a veteran with a lot of experience. He knows how to win rounds and he can make you look bad no matter how good you are. I’m going to use my own awkward style and do what I do best.
“With my power and skill set, I can stop any fighter in the division. That definitely includes Erislandy Lara.
“Lara has great discipline in his game plan. No matter if he’s up on the cards or down or anything, he’s not going to switch it up. It’s hard to break a fighter when they’re disciplined like that. We have a plan for everything though and we’re confident that we’ll come up with something that will get us the victory.
“Lara is a guy who can’t take pressure fighters well. I have some of the best pressure in the game. I’m younger, stronger, taller and longer. He’s not going to be able to run for 12 rounds.
“Nobody wanted to fight this guy. I stepped up to the table because I know what I can do. He’s living the ‘American Dream’, but my dream has just begun. Saturday night I’m going to show you why nobody can survive 12 rounds with Jarrett Hurd. There’s a storm coming.”
“We had a really good camp. I didn’t want to get into the trash talk this camp. He’s a solid fighter and I don’t underestimate anyone. But he seems like a bully. You can’t bully me. He’s obsessed with me on social media. I just have to focus on what he can do as a fighter.
“He’s a nobody who wants some attention. I’m going to give him lots of attention on Saturday night. I’m going to shut this guy up.
“He’s going to lose every single round and probably get stopped late. Every time he gets pushed he loses, gets a draw or gets knocked down. I’m drowning him in deep waters.
“I’m calm right now but also anxious to show everyone what I have. I know I’m a world class fighter, I just have to go do it. I’m making sure I stay patient right now.
“He lost to a journeyman, got a draw with a journeyman and got dropped by a journeyman. There’s nothing else to say. I’m taking him out on Saturday.”
“Saturday night is judgement day and it starts with ‘J-Pebbles’. It’s going to be a night to remember for me.
“It’s going to be a spectacular fight. I’m going to demolish him in grand fashion. He’s never faced anyone like me before. When I touch him, it’s over.
“You better worry about what’s going to happen to you on Saturday night. It’s going to be nasty. This fight is going to show everyone who I am in this division.
“I had the best training camp of my entire career. We covered all the bases. Saturday night I’m going to wipe the smile off his face. You think Charlo hits hard? You’re going to see on Saturday night.
“This opportunity is huge. The division is mine for the taking. I study my opponents and I stalk them in the ring. Everyone will see what’s going to happen on Saturday.”