Undefeated three-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz and undefeated former unified 122-pound world champion Carl Frampton went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before their featherweight world title clash this Saturday, July 30 live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn,New York..
The Showtime televised event starts at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features undefeated former world champion Mikey Garcia taking on former world champion Elio Rojas in the co-main event, plus once-beaten contenders Tony Harrison and Sergey Rabchenko in a junior middleweight title eliminator.
Two-time world champion Paulie Malignaggi meets fellow Brooklynite Gabriel Bracero in the SHOWTIME EXTREME main event. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET/PT with a lightweight battle between Ivan Redkach and Tevin Farmer.
The fighters spoke to media Thursday at the Dream Hotel Downtown in Manhattan. Here is what the participants had to say:
LEO SANTA CRUZ
“I’m glad that my whole family is here and I’m thankful to my whole team that got me ready for this opportunity.
“I’m so happy to have my dad here. We thought about not taking this fight when he got the [cancer] diagnosis. He’s always been there with me since the beginning of my career. Since I was very small. When the doctors told me that he would be in my corner, I was even more ready for this fight.
“I know that this is going to be an interesting fight. We’re both undefeated and we’re going to make it a war. Neither of us wants that first loss. We’re going to leave it all in the ring. This won’t be an easy fight. It’s a 50-50 fight. The fighter who wants it the most will win the night.
“I want boxing fans from every background – Latino people from everywhere – Mexicans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans – to come out and support me and come watch a great fight on Saturday night.”
“I’ve worked very hard in the gym and I feel strong at 126 pounds. This new weight suits me and you will see the result in the ring.
“Nothing can compare to this opportunity. People know me in Belfast, but Leo Santa Cruz is a three-weight world champion who gives me the opportunity to become more well known.
“This fight sells itself. I respect all my opponents until I’m disrespected myself. I respect Leo because of his actions and because of the great fighter that he is.
“I’m a different animal now at 126 pounds. I was only performing at 70 or 80 percent of what my capabilities were. I’m feeling strong and I’m a different fighter. This will be my best performance.
“I’m honored to be on a bill with so many great fighters. There are four fights that could probably top a bill in their own right. I’m honored to be here and I’m going to get the victory on Saturday night.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve done this but I’m very excited to be back. I want to thank everyone who helped put this fight together.
“Everybody has said it all. We’re ready. We’re prepared and we’ve had a great training camp. Rojas has the boxing skills to make this complicated.
“I have better skills than any fighter put in front of me. This will be the beginning of the next stage of my career. The most memorable part of my career.”
“I’m very thankful for this opportunity. I’m really happy about being on this show. In this fight. I know I’m being brought in as an opponent, but I’m going to let the fans know that I’m not just an opponent.
“I know who Mikey Garcia is. I have all the abilities to win on July 30. I’ve always been a boxer who was never protected. I always prepare to win the fight and this will be no exception.”
“I’m just excited to be back on a platform like this. I’m ready put in work. I know my opponent doesn’t speak much English, but I bet he speaks hands.
“No disrespect to Ricky Hatton, because what he’s done for his country and for Rabchenko is amazing, but I don’t care about it at all. Seeing Ricky over there fuels me even more to get the win.
“I just had a son, he’s three months old. He’s my new motivation. We’ve pushed it to the max in training camp. I’m ready to swim with the sharks. I’ve transitioned from a sprinter to a marathon runner. I’m ready to go into the later rounds.
“I’m ready to put Detroit back on the map. One thing you know about Detroit, we’re about that action. On Saturday, we’re coming for it.”
“This is a very nice country and a great city for boxing. It’s my first time here and it’s very exciting. I’m going to give the fans a really good fight.
“I know my opponent is a young, strong kid fighter and he will be ready. I want him to be ready so that we can give the fans a great show.”
“I hear young guys like Tony Harrison and Tevin Farmer come up here and talk, it reminds me of my young days. The gym I train in down in Miami is full of young guys hungry to break through. That’s the feeling we all used to have in the gym. It starts to rub off on you when you hang around motivated people.
“I need to have great motivation and that fire to return to the top level. I took a couple steps back after the Garcia fight and gradually stepped up. I think Gabe is another step up. He’s a hungry and motivated guy.
“I know Gabriel Bracero, not only as a fighter, but I know his spirit. We came up together in the same generation of New York fighters.
“It’s all love and respect. But this Brooklyn Belt, it looks pretty nice. This is staying here in Bensonhurst.”