WBA Super Welterweight Champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara and undefeated contender Terrell Gausha met with the New York media during a fight week open workout on Wednesday at Gleason’s Gym just days before they from the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, New York.
The night of 154-pound action on Showtime Championship Boxing begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT with “Swift” Jarrett Hurd risking his IBF Junior Middleweight belt against former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout in the televised opener. In the co-feature, WBC Super Welterweight Champion Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo will defend against fellow unbeaten No. 1 contender Erickson “Hammer” Lubin.
Also on-hand Wednesday at Gleason’s were several of the top local undercard fighters who will be competing on the card.
Brooklyn’s Cindy Serrano will be making her Barclays Center debut in an eight-round special attraction bout. Brooklyn native 2016 Haitian Olympian Richardson Hitchins will fight in a four-round welterweight bout. Brooklyn’s Julian Sosa will enter the ring for a six-round welterweight attraction and George Arias of the Bronx will be fighting an eight-round heavyweight bout.
Here’s what the fighters had to say on Wednesday:
“I know that Gausha is a young undefeated Olympian who’s coming to take my title. But I don’t need to worry about him. I’ve got to worry about what I’m bringing into this fight.
“I don’t choose my fights, but I’m going to clean out the whole 154-pound division. There are a lot of young fighters now, but I’m going to just clean it out and show that I’m the best here. The Canelo rematch is there. The Golovkin fight is out there. I have unfinished business that has to be settled. Canelo knows who the true winner of our fight was, and he doesn’t want to do that fight again.
“There’s been a lot of catastrophes in the world lately in Houston, Puerto Rico and Florida. I’m fortunate that it only affected my training for three days so I was able to stay focused. I stayed at my house and I kept training.
“I would love to move up to 160 and Canelo and Golovkin are the top guys. But 154 is much deeper. Those are the two guys we want, but if we can’t get them then we have to stay at 154 and clean it out, like I said. There are just better fights at 154.
“If you look at Canelo’s record there are three marks. There’s Mayweather, me and Golovkin. Great fighters fix the wrongs on their record, and Canelo and his team will have to do that sooner or later.
“I don’t know what [Gausha] does well. I know on Saturday he’s going to have to show me something or he’ll be in trouble. After six rounds, I will be totally dominating. Just like I’ve done in all my fights.”
“I’m real confident that I walk away with the world title. I’m blessed as well as happy that [this fight] is happening. It’s been a long time coming. Hard work pays off.
“I have an interesting fighting style, I really can’t put my finger on it. I can make adjustments and I have that will to win, that hunger.
“[Being a top amateur] gives me a lot of confidence because there are a lot of styles that I’ve dealt with. There’s nothing that I haven’t really seen before. Having that experience, going to the Olympics, having all those people watching me, the pressure – I’m made for the bright lights.
“[Lara] has a lot of experience. He’s crafty. I haven’t been in camp with the type of fighters he’s been in there with. That pressure – I use it to my advantage. When I win, it’s going to be a big notch for me to show that I’m at the top of my division.
“He’s the champion so I know that he knows what he’s up against. I feel like he’s trained real well. I’m looking for the best Erislandy Lara come fight night because I trained hard and I’m ready.
“[Moving up to 160] is definitely a possibility because I’m not a little 154-pounder. It’s taken a lot of sacrifices to make this weight but I did it right this time. I’m not struggling with the weight. First, I’m going to take care of 154.
“Being two-time National Champ, going to the Olympics, fighting overseas, the pressure that came with making the Olympic team just built me for this moment.
“This is not the first time that I’ve been the underdog. I know how to handle those situations. It’s not about what they think. It’s about what I know I can do. Of course they’re going to think that [he’s the favorite] because he’s been in there with guys like Paul Williams and Canelo [Alvarez]. I just haven’t had my chance to display my skills at that level yet, but I’m here now.
“I’ve had a lot of fights, I can’t even count how many. I’ve been doing this since the age of 10. I look forward to these big fights. A lot of guys you fight don’t have the name, but Erislandy Lara has the name and the credentials. I’m looking forward to beating him come Saturday night.”
“It’s always great to fight at Barclays Center, but it’s just another arena and stepping stone for me.
“This fight is going to do a lot for boxing, and this fight does a lot for this 154-pound division. There’s just so many positive things coming from this fight card, and hopefully everyone will come out and support it.
“I’m the champion of the world and I’m trying to get the fights that I want. I’ve been avoided and a lot of fighters have been ducking me. There’s nothing we can do about that. This is a living for me, but it’s also a hobby and something that I love.
“I own a home in Houston and California. My area wasn’t too jacked up [by the flooding]. And now you’ve got the wildfires in California. My prayers go out to all those affected. But it has brought Houston together, and we’re getting support from the NFL and NBA guys. And boxing has come together to help too.
“None of the flooding affected my training camp because I train out of town. We had some trees knocked down, but that’s the least of my worries right now.
“I think my fight is the one the people want to see [on the card]. My opponent is a young stud and he comes to win a world title. Is Lubin the best fighter I’ve faced? I’m 29-0 and I’ve fought a lot of great fighters. You can’t talk about what’s on paper and what’s not.
“My style is unique in the ring and so is his. He has a high volume of punches, but that’s what we trained for. He’s expecting fireworks, I’m expecting explosions. So just don’t be surprised.”
“In these types of situations, I feel like I’ve got to keep my composure. There are a lot of cameras, a lot of lights, but I was born to do this. I’m keeping my composure but I’m going to let it all out Saturday night.
“We’re both going to go in there fully prepared. It’s all about who wants it more. I feel like there’s nobody in this division who wants it more than me. Just because he’s been sparring Errol Spence, that doesn’t mean a thing.
“All my previous fights against the veterans and experienced fighters have prepared me for this one. I know how to adjust. I always come ready to fight. I always come with fireworks. I’m definitely going to get my respect early.
“My ability to adjust in the ring is definitely going to give [Charlo] problems. He probably thinks that I’m going to go in there and just box or maybe just bang. I can definitely mix it up and that’s going to give him a problem on Saturday night.
“[Charlo] moves pretty well but I don’t feel like that’s going to harm me. I trained for everything this camp. I’m ready to box. I’m ready to bang. I’m ready for any situation that he brings to me. I’m just ready to become the WBC Champion.”
“I think this fight is more of a mind game than about physical strength.
“This is a display of the top 154-pounders in the world. I asked for this fight because in order to be the best you have to beat the best. I feel like Austin Trout, even with three losses, is the top competition. A win would mean everything. I want to show that I’m much better than the others he’s fought.
“This is my second time fighting in New York and everyone always shows me the love here, so it’s an honor.
“I’ve always rooted for Austin in his fights, but this is business now. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that he’s in the way right now.
“I’m the taller fighter, I’m the longer fighter, and I’m the strongest fighter. I’m also the younger fighter, so those advantages will definitely be the keys Saturday night.
“He uses his jab well and he throws a great left to the body. He uses the ring well and he’s a veteran and he knows how to survive. He’s a crafty fighter, and knows how to win the rounds. But I don’t think that will be a factor because we are expecting it.
“I’m coming to open the show and all the fans should expect fireworks.”
“I’m smarter than [Hurd], and I’m better than him. What else can he do? He’s no smarter or better than me. I have better footwork, better speed, better placement of shots. The only thing he has is his size, and he overpowers the smaller guys. But I’m not small. I’m just as strong, if not stronger than Hurd.
“The fans can expect fireworks until my man goes down. I don’t think he can take my pressure for 10 or 12 rounds. I expect my arm to be raised in great fashion.
“People have been overlooking me my whole career. Before I was just fighting to get noticed, then I got noticed. Now I’m fighting for respect. But I’m not worried about that.
“I’ve done more after winning the belt than he’s done just getting the belt. No doubt I’m the best. There’s just no doubt the cream will rise to the top Saturday night. Once I clean up at 154 pounds, there’s nowhere to go but north.
“There’s been no talk about what’s next and if the winners [on Saturday] will fight the winners, but I don’t see why not. My goal is to get a belt Saturday night, and then get the rest of them.”
“This is my first time fighting at Barclays and I’m honored to be fighting on such a prestigious stage.
“I’ve been fighting for 15 years and when I started there were no females fighting. But I’m impressed with some of the women fighters out here now. There are some young ones that I hope stay around for a while because there is incentive and the pay will be there. So I’ll just keep on going after it until my time is up.”
“I’ve seen a few of his fights online. He’s a traditional Mexican fighter, so he brings a lot of pressure and a lot of angled shots to the head, to the body and uses his uppercut. I haven’t seen a lot of straight punches from him. That’s more my style. I’m more of a counter-puncher, boxer-puncher. When I’m in the ring with him I’ll see what he has, as far as his speed and his power.
“My father was a former boxer and he’s been training me since day one. He’s always been by my side and he’s my role model and just so glad we get to share this moment together.
“It’s surreal that this is my fourth time fighting at Barclays Center. It’s still shocking and humbling knowing that I can fight in big venues like this.”
“I know I’m young, but I think once I move up to six rounds my competition will step up. It’s a great card and I think Lara will win, and Lubin all the way. I see the Trout-Hurd fight as 50-50, but I would lean toward Hurd.
“I don’t know anything about my opponent. In the amateurs all you know is the city. You’re fighting a guy from Philadelphia. Or a guy from Vegas. And how you fight is all based on where he’s from. Like if you fight a guy from [California] then he’s going to put on pressure. So I’ll be quick to adapt, and it doesn’t really matter who the guy is or what he brings.
“I’m ready to start building my legacy.”
“I’ve put in the work and I’m hoping the results are the same from my last few fights. I’ll be ready to exchange and do what I need to do to get the win.
“I know my opponent has a good jab and he has a lot of experience and he’s strong. They could throw me in there with someone 0-70 and I’d give the same intensity as someone undefeated. Every fighter I face is a world champion in my eyes.
“I predict a second round knockout. I’m always looking for the knockout, at least early on.”