Six of the fighters who fight on the Showtime televised card on Saturday worked out for the media Tuesday at a jam-packed Fabela Chavez Boxing Center in Carson, California.
In Saturday’s main event undefeated three-time and three-division World Champion Abner Mares (26-0-1, 14 KO’s), of Downey, Calif., by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, will defend his WBC Featherweight title against former Two-Division World Champion Jhonny Gonzalez (54-8, 46 KO’s), of Mexico City.
Unbeaten former IBF Bantamweight World Champion Leo "Terremoto" Santa Cruz (24-0-1, 14 KO’s), of Los Angeles, by way of Huetamo, Michoacan, Mexico, will challenge WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion Victor "Vikingo" Terrazas (37-2-1, 21 KO’s), of Guadalajara, in the opener of a world championship doubleheader.
Scheduled for the undercard: Antonio Orozco (17-0, 13 KO’s), San Diego, Calif., vs. Ivan Hernandez (23-9, 22 KO’s), Miami, Fla., 10 rounds, junior welterweights; Joseph "Jo Jo’’ Diaz Jr. (6-0, 4 KO’s), South El Monte, Calif., vs. Noel Mendoza (6-2-1, 1 KO), Phoenix, Ariz., 6 rounds, featherweights; and Dominic Breazeale (5-0, 5 KO’s), Los Angeles, vs. Lenroy Thomas (16-2, 8 KO’s), St. Catherine, Jamaica, 8 rounds, heavyweights.
Below is what the boxers said Tuesday:
ABNER MARES, WBC Featherweight World Champion
"My preparation is done and I’m ready to perform and put on a great show. I’ve got a hard fight ahead of me. Jhonny Gonzalez is a tremendous fighter, tough, and very skilled. But I’m here to fight.
"Jhonny may well be thinking that this is his last shot in a big fight, so I know he’ll be bringing his ’A’ game, which is why I know I need to bring my ’A-plus’ game on Saturday. I always train like a contender anyway. When I’m getting ready for a fight, I don’t think of myself as a champion. I don’t want to lose my edge, my hunger. There’s no way I will ever become complacent.
"You can’t really compare Jhonny to my last opponent (Daniel ’Ponce’ de Leon). Jhonny is more of a thinker than Ponce, who just came to brawl. I know I have to fight him in a very smart way.
"I’m very happy and proud to be fighting the main event. This card features a bunch of us Los Angeles guys, and is really an old-school card, like ones they used to put on at the Forum. The undercard is filled with a lot of up-and-comers. Any of those fights could serve as the televised co-main event.
"I know they’re talking about me fighting Santa Cruz. It would be a spectacular fight between two Southern California fighters. If you know me you know I’ll fight anybody. But I have a tough fight in front of me.
"I’m feeling really strong at this weight class, but who knows? Maybe someday I’ll make a decision to move up a weight class to 130 pounds and win a fourth world title in my fourth weight class. But that’s down the road. For now, all my focus is on Jhonny Gonzalez and putting on a great fight for the fans.
"Saturday is going to be a very exciting night of fights. You won’t want to miss it.’’
JHONNY GONZALEZ, Former Two-Division World Champion
"I have fought at StubHub before so I am very comfortable being at that venue. A lot of fight fans will recognize me from the past fights that I have fought there.
"On Saturday night my fight with Mares is going to be a war. Mares built his career with hard-earned fights and he wants to defend his title. I am motivated to claim the title. At this point in my career I feel that this could be one of my last opportunities to take that title.
"I invite all fight fans to witness what will be a battle for the ages. Abner Mares is youthful and strong but I have experience and will come well prepared with my own arsenal of weapons.’’
LEO SANTA CRUZ, Former IBF Bantamweight World Champion
"’I’m very excited and happy for the opportunity to be fighting for a world title for a second time, and now I have to take advantage of it. I’ve been training 100 percent in the gym and I’m really motivated. This card has so many great fighters on it, and they are all going to do their best to put on a great show. I just want to do my part.
"I feel great. I think when I took that break it did my body a lot of good. I know I felt more rested. But working as hard as I do doesn’t give you much time to rest. A week after my last fight I was right back in the gym. My Dad told me I had to be ready for whenever they called again.
"I think Terrazas is going to be toughest fighter I’ve fought in my career. He’s a great champion. He likes to come forward and throw a lot of punches. He’s a true Mexican warrior, very brave, but those are the kinds of fighters I like to fight.
"Some guys are like wildfires, they get crazy and throw a lot of wild punches. He’s not like that. Terrazas also has great technique. But he doesn’t run, and those types of guys are easier for me. I know he’s going to give it his best and leave it all in the ring. I expect a very hard fight. Both of us have trained really hard to give a great fight, and the better fighter is going to win.
"It’s an honor for me to be fighting on SHOWTIME as often as I have. It’s been a great experience for me. I still can’t believe I’ve accomplished this much in so short of time, and it’s still like a dream for me.
"But thanks to my Dad, who’s always pushing me in the gym, Al Haymon, Golden Boy Promotions and SHOWTIME, I’m where I’m at right now.’’