Two days before their primetime fights, televised fighters on Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN conducted a final press conference before their Saturday, July 11 bouts at USF Sun Dome in Tampa.
While main event participants Keith “One Time” Thurman (25-0, 21 KOs) and Luis Collazo (36-6, 19 KOs) were calm and focused discussing their world title bout, Tony Harrison (21-0, 18 KOs) and Willie Nelson (23-2-1, 13 KOs) launched verbal jabs at each other during the formal portion of the press conference and through their face-offs.
Televised coverage begins on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Here is what the press conference participants had to say:
“I’m so blessed to be here. Some of you reporters remember me since I was a little boy, when Ben Getty went around and told everybody that I was going to be a champion and we are champion. Fighting right back here in my hometown.
“Tampa used to have a rich boxing history and I’m looking forward to bringing that back.
“Collazo is a solid fighter, with a great resume and he has something to prove. He’s trying to take my title home and I believe him. A hungry man is a dangerous man.
“I’m thankful for everyone who has come to support me and I can’t wait to see everybody on Saturday night.
“This is going to be an exciting night of boxing. We have a lot of talent from Tampa on top of even more world class talent on the card. If you’re off the clock, get there at 6:30.
“July 4th there were some nice fireworks, on July 11 there will be better ones.”
“Keith Thurman is a champion, I can’t take anything away from him. He’s a champion in boxing but he still has more to learn. There’s not a day I go to the gym and don’t learn something new.
“I’ve had a great camp and I’m sure Keith has too. This is a fight you have to be ready for, not only physically but mentally as well.
“I’m not here for a handout. I’m coming here for win and to bring that belt back to Brooklyn.
“I’m a problem to a lot of fighters because of my style.
“I’m fighting to inspire all the kids who were counted out before they were even given a chance. I always want to help those who have been counted out.
“I’ve had a lot of experience coming into my opponent’s hometown and it can be tough having people against you. But at the end of the fight they could be with you.”
“There’s nothing like the background I come from. There is no place like Detroit. Everybody knows what I bring into the ring.
“I have what it takes to knock Willie Nelson out. Everyone knows he has a glass chin. I’m going out there to exploit it.
“I’ve had a great training camp and I thank my team for that. This fight is a challenge for me and that’s why I took it. Anybody that tall at this weight is a challenge for everybody.
“I’m looking forward to fight and I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s not enough to just beat Willie Nelson, I have to knock him out. The challenge is to look good and steal the show from this great main event.”
“I’m the youngest of eight kids. I was raised by my sister. The dirt had more value than my life at times. I have four kids, I’m not letting this guy beat me and take food off their plate.
“How many times do I have to prove everybody wrong? I’m going to do it, once again, on Saturday night.
“I wanted to get Tony pumped up today and get him off of his game plan so we can capitalize on fight night. It worked, I even had his team fired up. So I’m extremely confident, it’s on to the fight.”
“PBC on ESPN – THURMAN vs. COLLAZO,” a 12-round fight for Thurman’s Welterweight World Championship, takes place Saturday, July 11, at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida. The event is promoted by Warrior’s Boxing. In the co-main event, Tony Harrison will face Willie Nelson in a 10-round middleweight bout. It will air live on ESPN (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).