With just days to go until their Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on ESPN showdown, Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz (30-0-1, 17 KOs)and Abner Mares (29-1-1, 15 KOs)faced-off at the final press conference at Club Nokia in Los Angeles Thursday before they enter the ring at STAPLES Center on Saturday, August 29.
Fighters participating on Saturday night’s undercard were also in attendance at Thursday’s press conference including exciting Mexican brawlers Hugo Ruiz (35-2, 31 KOs) and Julio Cesar Ceja (29-1, 26 KOs) who meet in a super bantamweight world title bout that opens the PBC on ESPN telecast at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Joining them was undefeated Southern California prospect Alejandro Luna (18-0, 13 KOs) who also competes in undercard action, which begins in the arena at 2:05 p.m. PT Saturday.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $25, $50, $75, $150 and $300, not including applicable fees and service charges, and are on sale at AXS.com or by phone at 888-929-7849 or at STAPLES Center.
Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday:
LEO SANTA CRUZ
“This is my dream since I was small. I wanted to be the main event and I worked hard for it. I never gave up. I’m so excited to be here in my hometown seeing my hard work paying off.
“I’m well prepared. This is the hardest fight of my career but that’s why I train hard. These are the fights I want because these are the fights the fans want.
“We’re going to go out with the intention of knocking him out. If we can’t, we’re still going to make a great fight for the fans and find a way to get the victory.
“I need this win for my legacy and to get to that next level. I’m here to fight the best.
“Every fighter has a weakness. When we get inside the ring we’re going to find it. We have a great game plan and it’s going to show on Saturday.
“I’m very motivated by keeping my 0 intact. I want to show the world that I deserve to fight the best. If I beat Abner, I can get to that next level. I’m very motivated to go out there and get the win.
“I think the crowd will be 50-50. We’re both from here so it’s going to be crazy. At the end of the fight it’s going to be rowdy. We’re excited that they’re showing love and we’ll give them a great fight.
“I can’t wait for Saturday night to give everybody a great show. You don’t want to miss it.”
“I think I’ve done enough talking. I’ve talked about how I’m going to beat him and I know I’m going to get it done.
“It’s here. I’m ready to put it to work. I’m going to do what I know how to do, which is fight and give it my all.
“I’m blessed to be here. I’m excited to be fighting at STAPLES Center. It shows all the hard work I’ve put in.
“I’m not worried about the crowd and who they’re rooting for. I’m there to make everybody a believer. It’s going to be an amazing atmosphere and I can’t wait.
“I’ve definitely faced tougher opponents than he has. I’ve been in against legitimate champions. I’m taking him to deep waters.
“My loss is completely forgotten. In life you have obstacles, especially in this sport. I’m over it. I’m back. This is where I want to be. When I fight guys the level of Leo Santa Cruz it brings the best out of me.
“It’s time. It’s time to give everybody a “Fight of the Year”. There’s no doubt. I’m going to go in there and have fun.”
“I’ve worked very hard and conditioned myself to be my very best. This is what I’ve dreamed about since my pro debut. I made my debut eight years ago and this has always been on my list of goals and now I have that opportunity.
“My opponent is a great fighter. I’m a great fighter. This is everything that I covet. I want to thank Los Angeles for supporting these fighters.
“It gives me butterflies to think about the big stage on Saturday, but it is really an honor. I’m in spectacular condition to put on a great performance on Saturday.
“What Ceja and I will do on Saturday is put on a spectacular performance. I promise an amazing fight. The ring will be hot and ready for the main event.”
JULIO CESAR CEJA
“I’ve trained very hard and I’m very focused. My conditioning is fantastic. Being on this card means a lot because of two great Mexican warriors that are headlining.
“This is huge for three reasons: because it’s a world title, because I want to be victorious and because I am making my U.S. debut. This is all very important to me.
“The loss I suffered is in my past. I tossed it away and put it in the rear view mirror. My focus is strictly on this opportunity. I’m not going to have any excuses. I think I’m more motivated mentally, physically and spiritually than I was for my last world title challenge.
“I am glad that Hugo Ruiz is prepared because I am ready to put on a great performance Saturday. It will live up to the magnitude of this great event.
“It’s been an extensive training camp in Mexico and I’m focused and dedicated to showcasing my talents on Saturday.
“I can guarantee on Saturday the fans will get a great fight and a night of action.”
“I’m really excited and grateful to be on this undercard. Mares and Santa Cruz are guys that I admire and look up to in this sport.
“It’s a little weird because I grew up in a cowboy family, but something about boxing captivated me as a kid. I went to the gym even though my dad didn’t want me to. I proved everyone wrong.
“I fought over a hundred amateur fights and now I’m here in this great position. My opponent is coming to fight. I’ve prepared myself one hundred percent. We’re here to give fireworks and you should expect fireworks.”