Former two-division world champion and Future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (55-7 2, 32 KOs) today hosted a Los Angeles media workout at City of Angels Boxing Gym ahead of his final career fight against Joe Smith, Jr. (22-1, 18 KOs) for the WBC International Light Heavyweight Championship on Saturday, December 17.
The bout will be televised live from Inglewood, Calif.’s “Fabulous” Forum on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
In addition to Hopkins and Smith, Jr., fighters on the undercard of the December 17event were also in attendance along with Vyacheslav “Lionheart-Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy (17-0, 14 KOs) others who fight on the Friday, December 16 HBO Latino® tripleheader card at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif.
Below is what the fighters had to say at the media workout:
BERNARD “THE EXECUTIONER” HOPKINS, Former Two-Division World Champion and Future Hall of Famer:
“I want the book to be written good. The last thing you remember about a good book is not the beginning, it’s the ending. I look at this as the final icing on the cake or that exclamation point. This is it. You know this is history.
“I achieved my first goal of success in the first part of my life. That was rougher than boxing. If you know anything about Bernard Hopkins’ history, if you go into details about the inner city Philadelphia guy, who was in the penitentiary from age 17 to 25, and survived, you’d realize I became champion a long time ago.”
“We as humans put limitations on ourselves. When all is said and done, I don’t want to regret what I didn’t do.”
JOE SMITH, JR., Light Heavyweight Contender:
“It’s a privilege to be on this card. To take on a legend like Bernard is an opportunity I would have never expected. That said, come fight night, that won’t matter because it’ll just be me and him in the ring. My team and I have been training to take on any of the styles Bernard may bring. I’m excited for the night to come, and I’m ready to put on a great show.”
JOSEPH “JOJO” DIAZ, JR., NABF Featherweight Champion:
“Garcia, my opponent on December 17, is very dangerous. He’s big for his weight. I feel like he is going to have a lot more power at 126 than he has in the past. This is his big shot to get an upset. I didn’t take him lightly at all. This is probably one of the hardest training camps I’ve had.
“This is my home turf so I want to give the LA fans a great fight. I’m going to do anything and everything it takes to get the win. I want to put on a great show. Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions could have chosen someone else to be the co-main event for Bernard Hopkins’ final fight but they chose me and that’s a big thing. This is a dream come true. I’m going to give everyone a fight to remember.”
HORACIO GARCIA, Featherweight Contender:
“We wouldn’t have taken the fight if we didn’t think it was possible to win. I have a strong corner on my side with Eddy Reynoso. Our training camp has been great, and I’ll be looking for opportunities to break in. Diaz, Jr. had taken on a lot of tough opponents, but that doesn’t scare me. I am ready.”
OLESKSANDR USYK, WBO Cruiserweight Champion:
“I’m not fighting at heavyweight now because we should go step-by-step. I want to become a star in the United States because I want to show everyone quality boxing.”
THABISO MCHUNU, Cruiserweight Contender:
“It feels really to cool to be on this card. It doesn’t get much better than this.”
VYACHESLAV “LIONHEART-CHINGONSKYY” SHABRANSKYY, USNBC Light Heavyweight Champion:
“We never say we are going for the knock out. That’s not my style. We train to go the distance, especially knowing he has been under the care of a new trainer so we don’t know what kind of Barrera we are going to get. Sullivan is one of the toughest opponents I have faced yet. He’s faced fighters like Andre Ward and has gone the distance and has demonstrated his skill. Knowing that he needs this fight will make him even more hungry in the ring, and we are expecting him to come forward.
“With this fight, I get the opportunity to face opponents like Andre Ward. But first things first, I have to finish Barrera.”
SULLIVAN BARRERA, Light Heavyweight Contender:
“I believe this fight is the most important fight of my career. This fight will demonstrate that I am among some of the top fighters out there. My fight with Andre Ward has built me, and has given me the maturity to step back and think clearly. I needed that loss to win this fight.”
JASON “EL ANIMAL” QUIGLEY, Middleweight Contender:
“I’m ready for action on Saturday night. I’m 110 percent right now. I was lucky [my injury] was just a sprain in the wrist. It was frustrating more than anything because it wasn’t a terrible injury but I just had to rest it. I had to be patient and that is hard. It was a good experience for the future in case that happens again.”
RYAN “KINGRY” GARCIA, Lightweight Prospect:
“I feel good. Training camp went well. I feel so happy that I get to start my career with Golden Boy Promotions on this legendary card with Bernard Hopkins’ final fight.
“I accomplished everything I wanted to in the amateurs. I expect a busy year in 2017. I will keep fighting and keep going.
“I’m a smart power puncher. I place my punches well so I’m pretty accurate. I know my opponent has some power to him. I’m going to get in the ring, execute my game plan and get the victory on December 17.”
CARLOS “THE SOLUTION” MORALES, NABA Super Featherweight Champion:
“I feel good. We train for moments like this. I’m expecting a ruthless Charles Huerta in the ring, and we have been perfecting my ability to box him out. He wants my NABA title, and I expect for there to be a war in the ring come fight night. It’s a privilege to fight under this Bernard Hopkins card, and I hope I get to have a career like his.”
ROY “PITBULL” TAPIA, Featherweight Prospect:
“I believe in myself and I know what I can do. The good thing about this camp is that it was intense, but I didn’t kill myself with weight. I’ve been walking around the past couple of weeks at 127, 128. Not one day have I struggled to make the weight.”
CHRISTIAN “CHIMPA” GONZALEZ, Lightweight Prospect:
“I always train 110 percent. I’m ready for Saturday.
This is very motivational for me. I grew up watching Bernard fight so now that I’m on the undercard it feels like ‘wow!’ This is my first time fighting at such a big and historic venue on December 17.”
IVAN “STRIKER” DELGADO, Lightweight Prospect:
“It feels great to fighting in my hometown of Los Angeles. To have the city behind you and motivating you feels great. My opponent is a strong fighter. He’s going to want to come out and win. On fight night, I’m going to come out strong and get the win.”
Hopkins vs. Smith, Jr. is a 12-round WBC International Light Heavyweight Championship presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Star Boxing. Diaz, Jr. vs. Garcia is a 10-round NABF featherweight title match presented by Golden Boy Promotions. Usyk vs. Mchunu is a 12-round WBO Cruiserweight World Title battle presented by K2 Promotions in association with Main Events. The event is sponsored by “Cerveza Tecate, BORN BOLD” and Casa Mexico Tequila. The event will be televised live on Saturday, December 17, 2016 from Inglewood, California’s “Fabulous” Forum on HBO’s flagship series beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets for Hopkins vs. Smith, Jr. are on sale and are priced at $25, $50, $75, $105 and $205, not including applicable service charges and taxes, with a total ticket limit of 12 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or the Forum Box Office (Monday through Friday 11:00 a.m. PST to 7:00 p.m. PST) at (310) 330-7300. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.fabulousforum.com or www.ticketmaster.com.