Mares vs. Gonzalez, Final Words
All Photos by: Art Gallegos Jr./Standnfight.com
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions hosted the final press conference Thursday for the outstanding fight card, Mares vs. Gonzalez that will take place this Saturday, Aug. 24, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, immediately following the series premiere of ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. Canelo) and SHOWTIME EXTREME (8 p.m. ET/PT) from StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
In Saturday’s main event of an explosive world championship doubleheader on SHOWTIME, 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 World Championship 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 opening bout of the telecast.
Scheduled for SHOWTIME EXTREME: 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.
This will be the eighth consecutive appearance on SHOWTIME for Mares (including last May 4 when he dethroned Daniel Ponce De Leon via a ninth-round TKO to capture the WBC 126-pound crown on SHOWTIME PPV) dating back to his SHOWTIME debut on May 22, 2010. Five of Santa Cruz’s six fights since June 2, 2012, have been on SHOWTIME. The other came on The CBS Television Network.
Tickets for an event with a distinct Southern California flavor are priced at $150, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges, and are available now at AXS.com, by phone at 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849) and at StubHub Center Box Office (Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. PT to 6 p.m. PT). VIP Suites are available by calling 877-604-8777. For more information on group discounts or VIP packages, please call 877-234-8425. Doors open at 2 p.m. PT and the first live fight is at 2:20 p.m.
What De La Hoya and the boxers said Thursday from StubHub Center (all the SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME EXTREME fighters except Mendoza were in attendance):
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, President Golden Boy Promotions
“Jhonny Gonzalez brings a lot to the table and is fighting one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world in Abner Mares. I believe they have Abner at No. 5, but I have to disagree with that. I put him up there at No. 3, if not No. 2. Jhonny knows he’s in for a tough fight. Abner knows he’s in for a tough fight. It’s going to be fireworks on Saturday night.
”For the boxing fans in L.A., this is what boxing is all about and this is what they deserve. Abner Mares is a special talent that we are witnessing in our era. He’s a talent that doesn’t come around very often. He’s fought nothing but the best. We all know Gonzalez. He’s a machine who is a tough puncher and a very calculated puncher. Jhonny knows this is his opportunity. Everybody knows that.
“When I first saw Abner fighting in the Olympics for Mexico in 2004 I just knew instinctively that he had that something that all champions have. There is no quit in his game and he has a long career ahead of him. And I wasn’t wrong about him. He’s already great and he keeps on proving it by wanting to only fight the best. And that’s what it takes to become great.”
ABNER MARES, WBC Featherweight World Champion
“I want to thank the entire Golden Boy staff for making this possible. I know them all, from the guy who cleans the office to the head honchos like Oscar and Richard (Schaefer). And I want to thank SHOWTIME. I’ve been a headliner like eight times and it’s just a huge blessing. I won’t disappoint. I promise you a great fight like I always do.
“This is another tough fight, but I want to fight nothing but the best. Champion, ex-world champion, whoever you bring, whoever the fans want me to fight, you know I’ll fight. I like and admire Jhonny Gonzalez. I like his style of fighting and know his camp because (Ignacio) ‘Nacho’ Beristain was my trainer for three years. I know the style and it’s nothing but finesse and nothing but pureness.
“I’ve seen my share of fights from StubHub in the stands, but now I’m ready to experience coming out and putting on a real show for the fans.’’
JHONNY GONZALEZ, Former Two-Division World Champion
“I want to thank Golden Boy and everyone involved for making this fight happen. I am very prepared. A fighter always wants to fight the best and I am fighting the best in Abner Mares.
“The question I’ve been asked the most is if I am looking at this as my last chance at the bigtime. Well, I am not. One way to stop getting this question from the media is to win on Saturday.
“Every fighter wants to get a shot at the world title, and then to win it, but my body feels good and I still feel I have a lot of fight left in me. I’m not looking ahead, but I can see a possible move to super featherweight in the future.
“I may have more knockouts than he has fights (actually, almost twice as many), but he had such a great amateur career than I think we are tied when it comes to experience.
“I am sure the biggest winners will be the fans and the sport of boxing because this fight is going to be a total war.’’
LEO SANTA CRUZ, Former IBF Bantamweight World Champion
“I’d like to thank Golden Boy, SHOWTIME, my manager, Al Haymon and everyone else. I’m 100 percent ready. I’m ready for war. I know that Terrazas is very tough and this will be the hardest fight of my career. I know that he’s been through as much as I have to get to this point. The good thing is that the belt will stay with a Mexican no matter who wins. May the best man win.
“We’ve trained really hard for this and we’re ready. My career depends on this so I have to just leave it all in the ring.’’
VICTOR TERRAZAS, WBC Super Bantamweight Champion
“I think it is great to have so many Mexican fans behind me even though this fight is in his backyard. The support I am getting really makes me feel good.
“We’re going to give the fans what they come out to see: a real fight with toe-to-toe, non-stop action.
“As world champion, you have to defend against any and all comers. Every fight I’ve had, or he’s had, has been a war, and this will not be an exception. This is a great matchup, a fans’ fight. If I was a fan, I know for sure that I’d be watching.
“I’ve studied a lot of tape on Santa Cruz. We’ll see on Saturday how it plays out. Fighters can change from fight to fight, but I know I am prepared and ready for anything. I think one of my best advantages is that I am shorter than he is and because of that I will be able to get inside.’’
ANTONIO OROZCO, Unbeaten Junior Welterweight
“This is my second time on SHOWTIME EXTREME and I am really thankful to SHOWTIME for bringing me back. I am ready to do what I do.
“I don’t know much about Hernandez except that he probably packs a punch, so I know I have to be cautious and not just go out winging shots. But I had a great camp and the work is done
“I don’t just go out looking to be impressive; that’s not in my mindset. Winning is the important thing. I always want to put on a great performance and entertain the fans, but I know I have to stay focused.’’
IVAN HERNANDEZ, Hard-Hitting Junior Welterweight
“I’m looking forward to Saturday. This will be a great fight. Orozco is undefeated, but I don’t think he’s ever faced a fighter like me.’’
JOSEPH “JO JO’’ DIAZ JR., 2012 U.S. Olympian and Undefeated Featherweight
“I just fought last month so I’m right back at it. I had a taste of the StubHub Center before and just knowing it’s my backyard and that the two headliners are in my weight class is just a huge blessing to me.
“I’m expecting my opponent to come out and try to pull off the upset. I’m going to give my all and give everybody a great show. I’m going to be aggressive and I’m going to be alert, and just very powerful.
“I’m working on sitting down my punches more often. And landing more shots. In the amateurs you’re just landing punches and just trying to rack up points. But in the pros I’m trying to be more relaxed and pick the better shots.’’
DOMINIC BREAZEALE, 2012 U.S. Olympian and Unbeaten Heavyweight
“It’s an honor to be on TV and fighting in front of the entire nation. I’m a hometown kid and I’ll have all my friends and family out.
“This is a stepping-stone fight and I have to come out and prove myself and show what I’ve got. I have to impose my will.
“I started my amateur career just down the road at ‘The Rock’ so to be a Southern California kid I couldn’t ask for more to make my television debut. I’m here to gain some fans and I hope to get more and more.”
LENROY THOMAS, Heavyweight
“I know I am coming an as the ‘opponent’ and as basically a stepping stone for him, but if you step on a stepping stone you are going to slide. I haven’t fought in a long time because of personal problems and having to take care of things with my family, but I am looking forward to coming back and proving myself.
“To return to the ring in this kind of fight is a great opportunity for me. I had a great camp. We’ll see who’s best on Saturday.’’
ABOUT “MARES VS. GONZALEZ”:
Mares vs. Gonzalez, a 12-round fight for Mares’ WBC Featherweight World Championship, will take place on Saturday, August 24 at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The event is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, sponsored by Corona and AT&T and will be televised live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® immediately following the series premiere of ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. Canelo at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Also featured will be a 12-round world championship showdown between WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion Victor Terrazas and former IBF Bantamweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz. SHOWTIMECHAMPIONSHIP BOXING is available in Spanish using secondary audio programming (SAP). Mares vs. Gonzalez is presented in association with Promociones Del Pueblo. Preliminary fights will air on SHOWTIME EXTREME® (8 p.m. ET/PT).