Former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., super bantamweight contender Alejandro “Cobrita” Gonzalez Jr. and heavyweight contender Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola participated in a media workout on Wednesday at Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Riverside, Calif., prior to their upcoming fights on Premier Boxing Champions on CBS and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®.
The fights will take place as part of an afternoon-night doubleheader on Saturday, July 18, at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas, live on CBS Sports (4 p.m. ET/ 1 p.m. PT) and SHOWTIME(10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
PBC on CBS will kick-off the action with a doubleheader featuring the U.S. debut of undefeated Irish champion Carl Frampton (20-0, 14 KOs), who will defend his IBF Junior Featherweight World Championship against Mexican contender Gonzalez Jr. (25-1-2, 15 KOs) in the 12-round main event. In the 8/10-round co-feature, heavyweight star Arreola (36-4, 31 KOs), of Los Angeles takes on Cameroonian heavyweight Frederic Kassi (18-3, 10 KOs).
In the main event of the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader later that evening, Mexican superstar Chavez, Jr. (48-2-1, 32 KOs) meets fellow Mexican brawler Marcos Reyes (33-2, 24 KOs) in a 10-round super middleweight bout.
The 12-round co-main event will feature a pair of top bantamweights, as Puerto Rican Olympian McJoe Arroyo (16-0, 8 KOs) and Arthur Villanueva (27-0, 14 KOs), of the Philippines put their undefeated records on the line for the IBF Bantamweight World Championship.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is the first fighter to train at Robert Garcia’s new boxing academy in Riverside, which opened June 8. Garcia formerly trained all of his boxers at his well-known gym in Oxnard, Calif.
Julio Cesar Chavez, arguably the greatest Mexican fighter of all time, made an appearance during his son’s workout to show his support and offer words of encouragement.
Here’s what Chavez Jr., Gonzalez Jr., Arreola, Julio Cesar Chavez and Robert Garcia (Chavez Jr.’s trainer) had to say Wednesday at the Riverside gym:
JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ JR., Former World Champion
“I think Robert Garcia was the best option for me after my last fight. He speaks Spanish and knows the Mexican style. He has trained a lot of champions and I have a good connection with him.
“I missed the basics of boxing training for the last fight. Since I had such a long layoff, I needed to get back to the basics and I never did.
“I feel like I am in a good place right now. I am confident in my boxing ability because I know I am in the right condition. I sparred 10 rounds yesterday, this never happened in my last fight.
“I must win this fight and then everyone will see that I am capable of fighting the big names like [Gennady] Golovkin and [Carl] Froch.
“I must stay prepared and focus on my current opponent. He’s only 27 and has the ability.
“I learned a lot in my fight against [Andrzej] Fonfara. I really felt his punches, I became very tired. He taught me that I needed to spend more time in the gym and on my strategy. But I don’t think it was the wrong decision to fight him.
“I am currently training not just for my fight with [Marcos] Reyes, but also for a potential rematch with Fonfara.
“I feel like I need to have a dominant performance to show my fans what I am capable of. I must work my jab and use my defense.
“For this fight I will be at 168, but I am not sure what I will weigh for my fights in the future. I’m ready for less than 168 to face opponents like Canelo [Alvarez].”
ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ JR., Super Bantamweight Contender
“I have a big chance, a great opportunity. I am going to take advantage of it.
“For this fight we worked differently in training camp than all my other camps. I worked more on my defense, my attack and counter punches. Everything about this camp is different and focused solely on Frampton.
“It’s Frampton’s first time coming to the United States and he wants to be a superstar. But, in order to become a superstar he must first get by me.
“I know that he’s a great fighter with a lot of experience and a hard-hitting punch, but nothing that I can’t handle.
“I’m not going to be afraid of anyone. Even though this will be the biggest fight of my career. I won’t be nervous.
“Ever since my lone loss to [Juan Alberto] Rosas last year, I gained a lot of experience. I think I am ready for this test.
“He’s looking at me as the fighter who lost to Rosas, but I’m a different fighter now.”
CHRIS ARREOLA, Heavyweight Contender
“I expect to step in the ring in the high 240s. That’s about where I need to be. Just staying in shape and making sure I don’t balloon up like I have. My last fight when I weighed 263 I could easily cut weight to 255, but what for? I’m a big heavyweight. I messed up by overeating and it’s my fault. No one else to blame but me. I’m not going to cut any vanity weight. Why would I? I’m a heavyweight.
“I will never quit in a fight. Broken nose, broken ribs, broken whatever. You would have to kill me in the ring before I ever quit.
“I watched Kassi’s last fight. He’s a good mover and switches a lot. The main thing I’m going to have to do is catch him when he’s flinching, because he’s flinching out of nowhere.
“I’ve got to make a statement and I have to give myself a shot for a world title fight. Title shots don’t come around every day so when they do you got to take them.”
JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ
“Julio is more relaxed and confident in his training. It’s never too late to start over. I hope on Saturday that we will see a new Julio.
“The loss to Fonfara didn’t take him down, it woke him up. Now he must take a new path and win in a dominant fashion.
“I didn’t want him to take the fight with Fonfara because he wasn’t at the same weight and he was coming off a year of inactivity.
“I think that this is the right weight for Julio. He is taking on a challenger who trains well and is young. Julio has the essential qualities to step ahead and forge a new path.”
ROBERT GARCIA, Chavez Jr.s’ Trainer
“I think everything has come together so much easier than I expected. Julio is training every day, he’s sparring. He’s doing everything he has to do. It’s been easier than I ever expected.
“We start at 7:30 p.m. and we train till 11 p.m. sometimes. He’s training so much. He loves to train. Sometimes he goes in my swimming pool and swims for 15 or 20 minutes.
“Junior has his own style, and I’m not going to change that. I’m just correcting little things; making sure he doesn’t have his head in front of his opponent and letting them hit him like they did his last couple of fights. I want him to use the jab a little more and move side to side.
“I love it out here in Riverside. I own the whole property so my fighters all stay here. We have horses and it’s quiet. It’s just so different than Oxnard where 40 or 50 fighters could walk in at any time.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Chavez Promotions, in association with TGB Promotions and Warriors Boxing, are priced at $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25 dollars and are on sale now. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or the University Ticket Center at (915) 747-5234. Tickets are also available at www.ticketmaster.com.