Undefeated IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and two-division world champion Lamont Peterson faced off Thursday at the final press conference before they enter the ring Saturday, January 20 in the main event from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn,New York.
Competing the Showtime live televised broadcast on Saturday will be unbeaten light heavyweightMarcus Browne and once-beaten Francy Ntetu, who meet in a 10-round bout, plus undefeated heavyweightAdam Kownacki and once-beaten Iago Kiladze, who step into the ring for a 10-round affair.
below is what the participants had to say Thursday from the Dream Hotel Downtown:
ERROL SPENCE JR.
“This fight means everything to me. I still have a chip on my shoulder. I want to be the last man standing. I want to beat the top fighters in my division. Lamont is the one standing in front of me, so it’s fight time.
“I think it’s going to turn into a war. A lot of people have thought this would be an easy fight for me. But if you follow Lamont Peterson, you know this will be tough. He’s always in great shape and has a lot of skills. IT might be a dog fight and that’s what I wanted. He’s the guy who wanted to fight and I said of course. It’s going to be a rugged fight. Later on in the fights, he always gets rough and stands toe-to-toe.
“There might not be a lot of talking and bad blood between us, but you know that the two of us always give a great fight for the fans.
“I had to wait for my title defense and then I had a lot of guys not answer the call for this fight. I have a belt and I still have to call these other guys out. Lamont Peterson answered the call like a real fighter.
“In a perfect world I’d be unifying with Keith Thurman this year. I’m going to fight three times this year though. You don’t get time back. I’m ready to strike now.
“I’m just excited to fight. I like to fight. I can’t wait to be in front of those bright lights in front of the fans. Brooklyn is a great place to fight and my family from the area can come see me live. I can’t wait to display my skills.
“A true champion can’t fight everybody who calls them out, it’s still a business. But a true champion fights other champions, especially when they’re available. You can’t avoid questions and try to delay a fight. You fight the next champion that’s available, that’s what a true champion does.”
“When I got into boxing, I had goals. First I wanted to be a National Champion, then a world champion as a professional, but the ultimate goal is to be in the Hall of Fame. With that being my goal, I wouldn’t put myself in that conversation yet. With wins over a guy like Errol Spence and the other top welterweights, I think I’m right there in it. That’s my goal and I’ll give it my all to get there.
“If you left it to me I’d fight every month. That’s how much I love the sport. I know a victory would help me get in the ring even more often. Sometimes if you lose at the top level, other top guys don’t want to take a chance against you. I can fix all of that this weekend
“I don’t worry about any negativity. My resume is written in the history books. All I can do is respect the opinion of others and work hard to get this win.
“I’m excited and looking forward to the skill level that’s going to be displayed this weekend. It’s going to be a rough fight for sure. But I look forward to the technique and skill level. Defense, offense and transitioning between the two. That’s the part of boxing that I love.
“Errol even taking the Kell Brook fight was impressive to me. Most guys in his position take their time leading up to the first title shot, but he ended up fighting someone in his prime in his country. To will himself to that win was very impressive.
“When you get to the big stages and those big fights, you have to win more than you lose. I think if I can win some big fights these next few years my career will be in a good place.”
“I have no concerns fighting a southpaw. I made my last fight hard, but this time I’m going to use my reach, my feet and my speed to dominate.
“I’m looking for a great performance. This is going to be the best Robert Easter the fans have ever seen. We prepared to dominate this fight.
“Javier Fortuna is an accomplished fighter but I don’t know too much about him. I know what I came to do. I’m a world champion and everyone knows what I bring to the fight game. I won’t leave without my strap.
“I’m ready to fight the best in this sport. I want to become the man at this weight and I know I have to beat the other champions to do that.
“Boxing is all about showing you’re the best and fighting the best. I just want to fight these other champions in my weight class. I’m looking to stay healthy in 2018 and remain on top.”
“I have no excuses on January 20. I hope he doesn’t either. I will be taking that title to the Dominican Republic for my fans. I’ve been dreaming about it and I will take it.
“I have the style and the skills to beat Robert Easter. I know how to make sure his height does not affect me at all. Everyone will see it on fight night.
“I’ve prepared myself very well. I have a plan to win every round. If he’s able to stand there, I’m going to break him down round by round.
“I am fighting for more than just myself and that is why I’ll be successful. I am going to prove that I’m truly one of the top fighters in the sport.
“Robert Easter is a fighter I respect, but I believe I can defeat anyone in front of me. If he takes me lightly, it will go even worse for him. I’ve been training hard to make sure I’m at my absolute best on fight night.
“A win would be great for my country, my fans and my family. Winning this title is everything for me. That’s why I’m here and I will not be stopped.”
DERRICK JAMES, Spence’s Trainer
“I started training Errol about nine years ago but I never really knew just how special he was until about a year or so into our training. I thought Olympics were definitely possible, because I didn’t want to look too far ahead. Now that we’re here, I think he can beat any of the top guys. I want him to be undisputed welterweight champion just like he wants to be.
“I never worry about comparing Errol to other guys in the sport. He’s a hard puncher who breaks ribs and breaks faces. The longer the fight goes, the more pain he inflicts. I’ve never seen anybody who punches that hard.
“I think Lamont knew when he moved up to welterweight that this fight would be a possibility. It’s time for us to go to work because I know Lamont and Barry Hunter are working on a game plan. They have a great team and I know Lamont will be ready for what we bring.”
BARRY HUNTER, Peterson’s Trainer
“We stay in the gym all the time. We didn’t have to deal with the weight monster this camp. Weight issue can really derail a camp leading up to a fight of this magnitude. We didn’t have to deal with any of that.
“There are several different things in Errol’s arsenal that I think we can exploit. Errol will make adjustments though, so I think strategy will be a key in this fight.
“Lamont has always been a coach’s dream. He’s the type of athlete that you would love to coach. He does everything a coach asks of him. He will train until he passes out. All he wants is to work hard and compete.”