Featherweight world champion Jesus Cuellar and former three-division world champion Abner Mares participated in a media workout in Los Angeles Tuesday in advance of their long awaited showdown taking place Saturday, December 10 from Galen Center in USC in Los Angeles.
Also in attendance Tuesday at City of Angels Boxing was former title challenger and local fan favorite Josesito Lopez, who competes in a welterweight bout on the undercard. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features junior middleweight world champion Jermall Charlo taking on top-rated challenger Julian Williams in a battle of undefeated rising stars in their prime.
Here is what the participants had to say Tuesday:
“The fight is here and I’m ready to step in the ring. I have defended my title six times already and I want to be the best in the division. He’s one of the best and I’m willing to challenge him.
“This is an important fight that I’ve wanted for a long time. It’s an important fight for my career and to prove to everyone how good I am.
“Abner Mares is a high level fighter. I have to beat him to reach the next level of this sport. That’s what I’m preparing to do.
“You’re going to see everything I’ve learned on December 10. I love to train hard and I’ve improved greatly as a fighter. I’m going to put it all together in the ring.
“There’s no pressure for me coming into this fight. I know that I’m in his backyard but I have the people of Argentina behind me. This is going to be a really good fight.
“I’m ready to go to war. I know Abner is ready and he has a goal in his mind. I’m ready to do what I have to do in the ring.
“It’s been almost a year. We came here in January to fight Mares and now the time is almost here to accomplish our goal.
“I have to go out there and do my job. I’m going to show Abner a lot of different things. I have a lot more skills than people give me credit for. It will all be on display in the ring.
“I know that I’m going to be at 100 percent. I’m more confident now than I’ve ever been that I’m prepared for this fight and I’m going to win.
“Freddie Roach is getting the best out of me. He knows what I like to do and he knows how to correct my mistakes. He’s doing a really good job in training camp.
“I’m working to go 12 rounds and end the night with a victory for Argentina. I came here to achieve a great victory for my country.”
“I’m so happy and excited to be fighting in Los Angeles and in my backyard again. SHOWTIME is the reason I’m famous.
“On paper I thought that Cuellar is probably going to be toughest, strongest fighter I’ve been in with. I can’t say for sure because we haven’t fought yet. But I know that he is a strong, powerful champion who is coming in to keep his title.
“There’s always a reason behind something bad that happens. In this case, me not being able to fight twice (due to postponements), it just gave me the opportunity to get to know Robert even better. I’ve had a whole year leading up to this fight. You will see a difference in me. I’m very eager and excited to fight.
“It’s going to be a tremendous fight. I think Cuellar only has one style, and that’s to rely on his power punches. He’s a come forward type of fighter that seems to always be looking for the knockout. But I’ve been known to give a fight too and make for great fights.
“My plan is to make the fight as easy for myself as possible. I feel I have the tools to give him different looks that maybe he hasn’t seen before against a fighter of my talents. For me to win another world title would mean the world to me. It would be an early Christmas present for me, my family and my friends.
“Coach Robert Garcia brings the discipline and the demanding voice of a trainer. We have to do things his way and I like that. It’s bringing the best out of me. I’m really excited for this fight.
“Fighting in my hometown of LA, I feel like I have the home field advantage. I don’t feel any pressure at all. I feel like I’m in as good of shape as I can be and there will be no ring rust. I’ve actually had three training camps for this fight, after postponements in March and June.
“If you look at Cuellar he looks much naturally bigger. But we’re both going to weigh just about the same at the weigh-in. He has to make the same weight as I do. I felt a little bit of pressure before the Leo Santa Cruz fight, but none this time.
“Bringing in Robert Garcia has been a great thing for me. He’s brought a lot of experience and he’s one of the best coaches out there. I can’t wait to show the fans what I’ve learned from Robert.”
“I’ve been anxious to get in there but I’m ready now and excited to get back to doing what I love. I healed up from some injuries that I suffered. Now that I’m fully healed I have felt the power returning and it’s time to go.
“The most important thing is that I’m 100 percent ready mentally and physically. I’ll be right there in the ring on December 10.
“This is my first quiz in going back to school and working my way toward a world title. I’m back in the gym and putting everything together so that I can use it in the ring.
“I am going to be smart and work hard in the ring. I know I have to make the key adjustments during a fight that will make the difference when I meet the elite fighters.
“Just a few months ago when I sparred for the first time in a while, I realized I missed getting hit. Why? Because I love the chance to hit back. Even just having the Vaseline back on my face was something I missed. I’ve probably watched more boxing than I had in my entire life since I’ve been gone.
“This absence has brought back the fire in me. There are several titles that are accessible to many guys in my division. I know I’m right there and I just need to take the right steps to get to that point.
“I have undivided attention in training camp with Robert Garcia and I’ve worked very hard to get myself ready. I feel like I’m still improving and getting better.
“I’m really excited to get back in the ring. I can hardly wait. There’s nothing I love more than performing for my fans. I’m going to do what I always do, which is make sure the fans see a great fight when I’m in the ring.”
MARVIN SOMODIO, Cuellar’s Assistant Trainer
“Cuellar is in great shape. We’ve been training Jesus at Wild Card since June. I think that this time is going to the perfect time for us. I’ve always thought that you need some time to improve the fighters and now we’ve gotten that.
“I think the postponement helped us more than Mares. I feel like I know Cuellar 100 percent and we’ve studied up on Mares and his strengths and weaknesses.
“I expect the early rounds the fighters will be smarter, but as the rounds go on, these fighters are warriors, and I expect them to fight inside.
“Jesus loves to fight. Especially in the early rounds, he loves to throw hard punches. We tried to change everything so that he’s setting his opponent up.
“Mares is going to try to box. But in the middle of the fight Mares will do what he does. He’s going to come forward and exchange. We’re ready for anything and we expect everything from Mares.
“I don’t think Cuellar’s layoff will be a factor. We’ve almost had no time off. He’s been in the gym and sparring with world champions. He’s a great guy to train. You will never hear him complain. He loves to work hard and train. If anything we have to make sure we don’t over train him. Freddie and Jesus get along very well.”
ROBERT GARCIA, Mares’ Trainer
“I think basically what Abner needed was just a new voice. He had been working hard and training in a nice gym that he liked. But he was calling his own shots. I think he was getting a little too comfortable. I just think he needed a new voice.
“He’s never questioned one thing I’ve asked of him. He’s done everything I’ve asked. I said that he can stay in Riverside or he could make the drive. Eventually he decided to stay in Riverside.
“Abner is hungry now. When he introduced himself to me, he might have lost some of that. He wasn’t listening to trainers’ instructions. But the moment he came to me, he’s been doing everything he’s supposed to. He’s old enough to know that he’s not a kid anymore.
“Cuellar is a very strong fighter both physically and mentally. He’s the hardest hitter in the featherweight division. He’s dangerous and dedicated.
“I know that Freddie Roach is a great trainer. One day I want to say that I’ve accomplished as much as he has. He is very good when it comes to strategy and adjustments during the fight. This is a more challenging fight with Freddie but I love challenges.
“Training has been great and everything we got out of it was positive. He transitioned to me easily and I can’t wait for December 10.”