Featherweight world champion Jesus Cuellar and former three-division world champion Abner Mares went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before their world title showdown that headlines action this Saturday, December 10 at Galen Center at USC in Los Angeles.
The press conference also featured super welterweight world champion Jermall Charlo and top rated challenger Julian Williams who meet in a battle of unbeaten rising stars that opens Showtime telecast at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Additional action on Saturday will be shown via SHOWTIME BOXING on Facebook Live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and feature unbeaten contender Sergey Lipinets battling Australia’s Lenny Zappavigna in a junior welterweight world title eliminator and undefeated prospect Erickson Lubintaking on once-beaten Juan Ubaldo Cabrera.
Here is what the participants had to say Thursday from the Galen Center Founders’ Club:
“I’m feeling healthy and on weight. I’m really happy with the work I put in during camp and what I’ve accomplished so far.
“This is definitely the biggest fight of my pro career. This is historic and I definitely think that it will be a memorable fight for fans. Because of who I’m fighting and what we’re fighting for, it makes it crucial that I get the victory.
“I’m a warrior. My style is to be aggressive and fight with my heart. If I have to let the warrior out, I am ready. But if I have to box, I am ready for that too.
“We are finally here and we are ready. I am willing to give it all for this fight. I’m very excited to perform.
“I want to give the fans a great performance. I know that he will have a lot of support here in California, but I’m going to make them Jesus Cuellar fans. I will bring the heart of an Argentine warrior into the ring.
“Mares is a great fighter and has been a great champion. But I don’t think he’s ever faced anyone with my power or ability. It’s not going to be an easy fight for either of us, but I’m very confident that I will win and probably knock him out.
“I want to thank my great team for the amazing training camp. I am sure that I am going to bring my title back to Argentina.”
“People said I could have taken a tune-up fight, but there’s no point to that. Jesus Cuellar is one of the hardest punchers in the weight class. Of course I’m aware of his power, but I’m not scared. This is a contact sport. I can punch back.
“I’m looking forward to this test. Every single fight is a test for me. I’m going to make you guys believe. You will see a tremendous fighter in the ring on Saturday night.
“I’m really excited about this fight. It’s been a long year of waiting. It’s been a process. Having this fight so close to happening makes me really happy.
“I don’t pay attention to the fact that I’m a three-division world champion. That’s in my past and it’s my history. It’s always going to be part of me, but I’m looking for that fourth world title.
“He says he’s going to try to box me. If he wants to do something that’s not really who he is, that’s on him. We’re going to go in there and do what we do. We’re going to stick to a game plan.
“You guys know that I’m always going to give you a good fight. Win or lose, it’s always exciting. I fought last year and lost to Leo Santa Cruz, but I didn’t feel like I lost. It was a close fight and now I’m here. This is going to be an early Christmas present to the fans.”
“I had a great camp. Everyone stood by my side as I prevailed through camp. Everyone is here to support me. I’m fighting for more than a world title. I’m fighting to keep my legacy alive.
“There is no fighter equal to me. I grind different and I shine different. I’m not worried about what Julian does well. I’m focused on my game plan and doing what I can do well.
“This is a very interesting fight. I’ve been under these lights before and I’ve felt the pressure of a big fight. You always have to keep looking forward. I could easily have moved up to middleweight, but this is about legacy. This is about giving the fans what they asked for. That’s what I’m here for.
“As hungry as Julian talks, I expect him to come at me. I expect him to come in crazy, which is what I want to do. I’m going to use my brain and my smarts. I know when it’s time to turn it up. I’m a fighter. There’s nothing you can do when I’m placing my punches in the right places.
“I’m planning to fight fire with fire if I have to. If he comes to box me I plan on doing everything perfectly.
“I was near-sighted but now I can see perfectly. I’ve been fighting without perfect vision all my life so now I feel like it’s going to play a big factor in the fight. Things that used to be fuzzy won’t be fuzzy anymore.
“I’m going to fight. I hope he is too. I see a guy who’s ready to give go in there and give it his all. I also see a guy who’s ready to run into the traps I have planned for him.
“I don’t think for one second that I’m not going to win this fight. There’s not one second of this fight where my foot won’t be on the gas. This guy is coming to take my belt and I have not forgotten about that.
“Saturday night, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or who you are, I know what I came to do, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
“I want to thank Jermall for being a true champion and taking this fight. It’s going to be a tough fight. We had a rough training camp, but it was really good. I’m really excited about this fight.
“I’ve been waiting a long time to prove to people what I can do. I’ve been underrated and overlooked a lot, but Saturday night is my time to shine.
“I don’t plan on losing any rounds on Saturday night either. Let’s give these fans what they want to see.
“The only way it’s not going to be a tremendous fight is if he doesn’t show up. I expect a firefight. I think this will be a shootout.
“I don’t want to say too much about my strategy, but this is going to be an amazing fight from the start till whenever it finishes.
“I feel really good and focused on getting the job done. Training camp has been amazing. We had about seven or eight sparring partners and it’s definitely the most intense training camp we’ve had.
“There’s always a lot of determination in camp but this is definitely the most important fight of my life. Of course all of my fights before were the most important at that point, so it’s just been building on that to lead to this moment.
“Records don’t lie. My record doesn’t lie. I’ve faced all different kinds of opponents. Fighters from everywhere. I’ve faced them all.
“There’s no beef. He might want to create a beef, but this is boxing. This is a business. He has something I want, and I’m coming to get it.
“I’ve been good on weight. I don’t struggle. I’m eating what I want. I ate breakfast this morning.”
“I can’t wait to go out there on Saturday night and show why I’m one of the best 154-pounders out there. I know that Cabrera is going to come ready to fight like I am and I hope people enjoy the show.
“I’m very happy with where I am in my career. I’m here on a great card ready to fight someone who is going to push me higher in the rankings if I get past him. I feel like everything is playing out how I wanted to and I just want to keep pushing it forward.
“I plan on putting on a great performance and then 2017 is going to be a huge year. I’m going to go right back to the gym after this fight. I love staying active and busy. I just always want to get better and stronger in the gym.
“I expect my opponent to come ready to fight. I expect every boxer to do that. He only has one loss and I plan on coming out victorious.
“Next year I’m looking for a world title shot. WBC, IBF, any of them. I’m coming for them.”
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December 9, 2016