As 2013 comes to a close, Los Angeles based promotional giants Golden Boy will see fit that the year ends with anything but a whimper. Although their September card which featured Floyd Mayweather and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez broke numerous financial records and carried an almost fever pitch of anticipation, the bout itself was more bang snaps than fireworks. Nevertheless, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the southern California company will showcase two back to back weekend fight cards which could easily rank among the year’s best.
In particular, the evening which has been labeled "Danger Zone" is sure to please not only those in attendance at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, but also the viewers at home who will be able to enjoy the fights on a non pay per view Showtime telecast on December 14 (8PM ET / 5PM PT). The evening’s main event will feature the brash, slick and undefeated Cincinnati fighter Adrien "The Problem" Broner (27-0, 22 KO’s) versus the hard charging slugger from Argentina, Marcos "El Chino" Maidana (34-3, 31 KO’s) in a scheduled twelve round bout for Broner’s WBA welterweight title.
Additionally, the night’s undercard is heavily stacked and sure to please. In the co-main event, Keith "One Time" Thurman (21-0, 19 KO’s, Clearwater, Florida) will place his interim WBA World welterweight title on the line in a twelve round contest with Jesus Soto Karass (28-8-3, 18 KO’s, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, MX). This past July at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Thurman and Soto Karass fought in separate bouts and each scored knockout victories. Thurman knocked out Diego Chavez in ten rounds, while Soto Karass gained a shocking twelfth round knockout win over Andre Berto.
Another match of note is the one scheduled between newly crowned WBC super bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (25-0-1, 15 KO’s, Rosemead, California) and Cesar Seda (25-1, 17 KO’s, Puerto Rico). The aforementioned participants in the night’s undercard took part in an international media conference call this afternoon alongside Richard Schaefer (CEO of Golden Boy Promotions).
Selected highlights are listed below.
Richard Schaefer: "This is the best card we’ve ever put together. It’s not just about Broner and Maidana, which I believe is a pay per view event. The undercard we’ve put together is amazing. It will be live on Showtime and will be available for free. We’ve set the Alamodome up for 30,000 people and 10,000 tickets have already been sold. The least expensive ticket is only ten dollars. Even the non televised portion, which features Rau’Shee Warren, Jamel Herring, Ricardo Alvarez (Canelo’s brother) and Jermain Taylor as well, is just fantastic."
Opening Statements, Jesus Soto Karass: "We’re ready for a war on December 14 and we’ve been preparing for one."
Opening Statements, Keith "One Time" Thurman: "We’re getting in shape and I’m looking forward to December 14."
Thurman on Soto Karass’s upset win over Andre Berto: "I watched the main event. I saw his fire and passion. He had a warrior mentality and he wouldn’t back down. I’m expecting the same fighter when I face him. I didn’t know which way his fight was going to go. As soon as he dropped Berto and the fight was over, then I knew a bout between us could be a possibility."
On Getting a Big Time bout: "This fight right here will be the icing on the cake. After this bout, no one will be able to say that Keith "One Time" Thurman hasn’t been tested. After this, hopefully the door will be open for a big world title fight."
Soto Karass on Thurman’s KO of Diego Chavez: "I didn’t see that much and I don’t like watching videos. He fought on the undercard of my fight with Andre Berto and it wasn’t until it was all over that I was told about the chance to fight Thurman. I’m getting ready like never before, just as always. I know he’s a young, strong fighter. I need to win this fight and take the title back to Los Mochis."
Thurman on his 90% Knockout Ratio: "I can box and I can punch. Sometimes, I’ll have a game plan on whether I’d like to fight on the inside or outside. My name is "One Time" and I’m always looking for that one shot early on. I like going home early. I’m prepared to give my best on the (December) 14th."
Soto Karass on Fighting Toe to Toe: "I’ve been characterized as a fighter that likes to do that. Lately, I’ve been doing more boxing, but of course as always I can go toe to toe if I have to. There’s always some skill and a game plan involved."
Keith on his love for Boxing: "This job brings the best out of me and I’m my own boss. Each day in the gym I am developing as a fighter just as every day I’m developing as a man. It brings success inside and outside the ring."
On the history of the Sport: "I actually was not much of a boxing fan as I grew up. It was not until I did my own research that I fell in love with so many of the old school fighters. All you had to do in those days was to walk up to a fighter and say, "Hey, I’m going to knock you out" and he would say, "Okay. Where do we sign?"
Schaefer on Future Matchups: "Imagine the winner of this fight against the winner of Broner vs. Maidana? These are the types of fights that I as a fight fan just love to see."
Opening Statements, Cesar Seda: "Good afternoon to everyone. Thank you to Oscar de la Hoya and Richard (Schaefer) for this opportunity. Thanks as well to Leo Santa Cruz. I’m ready to show that Puerto Rico is still full of boxing talent."
Opening Statements, WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Leo Santa Cruz: "Thanks to my manager Al Haymon, Richard (Schaefer) and Oscar (De La Hoya). I’m ready for December 14. I want it to come so I can so everyone how motivated I am."
Richard Schaefer on staging fights around the USA: "We started in San Antonio with club shows. It’s been a slow process with Leija-Battah promotions. The goal has been to bring world championship fights there. We’ve done the same thing as of late in Brooklyn, New York. The key is to capture those markets which share the same passion for the sport and those who are willing to invest in the sport as well. It’s just a matter of finding the right promoters and fighters who’d like to work with us."
Cesar Seda on moving up in weight (115 to 122): "I moved up just like Leo did. I’ve kept my eye on him and the truth is that I feel much stronger at 122 pounds. In terms for punches, I’ve never fought anyone who throws as many as Leo. I want to prove that I’m ready."
On Displaying Talent for Puerto Rico: "It motivates me and gives me hunger. Right now in Puerto Rico, there aren’t too many champions, but I will prove how good we are."
Leo Santa Cruz on moving up in weight: "I feel much better at 122 (pounds). The weight is better for me. I feel great in sparring and in the gym."
Cesar Seda on Pressure to fight for Puerto Rico: "No pressure at all. We’ve been working hard on my conditioning and strength in the gym to make sure there’s no pressure."
Santa Cruz on Expectations: "I try to improve everyday in the gym. I give one hundred percent. I dedicate myself every day. I like to give the fans a great show and I never want to disappoint them."
On Facing a Southpaw: "They’re more difficult. The last southpaw I fought was Vusi Malinga (June 2012). I can get used to their style. I’ll be ready and prepared for it."
Richard Schaefer on future dates in San Antonio: "It’s always been a great market for boxing. With Mike (Battah) and James (Leija), we’ve taken this to another level. I’m not listing in order, but there’s the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Staples Center in Los Angeles and then there’s the market in San Antonio. We’re holding a number of dates for next year there. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez felt very welcome there and wants to fight there again. You don’t hear much about Dallas any more since they hosted a Manny Pacquiao fight there a few years ago. You cannot build a market with just a "one off" event. You need to bring a mix of smaller and bigger fights."
On The Hispanic Market: "It’s extremely important to the overall health of boxing. We’ve used a research company to ask about the demographics of boxing fans. The Hispanic as well as African American markets are so important. We are seeing more and more that the market in general is getting behind boxing. The ratings we’ve received so far for our Fox Sports 1 telecasts have been unbelievable. If you can bring events to the stadiums as well as arenas in a particular city, then you can only elevate the sport."
On Local talent: "There is great talent there. These young kids see that boxing is coming on a regular basis to their town and it encourages them to train even harder. It’s encouraging and it helps the sport grow from the roots up. I think it’s a dream for many fighters to become professional and one day fight in their hometown. Mike Battah is just an amazing guy who has a true passion for the sport."
On Lowering Ticket prices: "You always should want to create an environment where a family can go and enjoy the event. I think that pricing is important and we want to make a point here. The larger venues give us more options on ticket prices and inventory."
Seda on winning a decision in San Antonio: "Yes and we’ve prepared for that. I understand that the place will be pro-Santa Cruz, but we can find ways around that."
Leo on Seda’s fighting style: "I know that he’s a very good fighter. He has the quality to be a champion. He can punch and he can box. He can do a lot."
Cesar on Santa Cruz’s style: "I have the tools and the ability to beat a fighter like him."