Former three-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz continued to prepare for his featherweight world title rematch against Carl Frampton and hosted a Los Angeles media workout before he headlines action on Saturday, January 28 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and live on SHOWTIME®.
Also working out for the media at Fortune Gym Tuesday were lightweight world champion Dejan Zlaticanin and former two-division champion Mikey Garcia, who meet in the opening bout on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports in association with Cyclone Promotions and TGB Promotions, are priced at $504, $404, $304, $204, $104 and $54, and are on sale. Tickets are available at www.AXS.com.
Here is what the participants had to say:
LEO SANTA CRUZ
“I’m excited because Las Vegas is like my second hometown. I’ve fought there throughout my career. They give me great support. I know that when I’m tired and hear them scream, it will give me the energy to go the distance.
“My fans have kept me motivated and given me the hunger to go out there and reclaim my title. That’s what I want to do. I hope it’s another Fight of the Year, but this time I will get the victory.
“I feel stronger since the last fight and I’ve been preparing for everything. We’re sparring some bigger guys just to keep me prepared. We have strong, fast and heavy opponents. Carl Frampton won’t have anything we aren’t ready for.”
“I feel great training out here in Los Angeles. It’s totally different from in Europe and this style of working and training has really helped me.
“I change my style for every fighter. Each fighter is totally different and you can’t fight any two guys the same way. You have to adjust.
“A champion needs to fight everyone. That’s what I believe. There are some champions right now who do not want to face me.
“I am very motivated by Garcia talking about future fights. I will show everybody that the talk means nothing. They will see everything in the ring.”
“I’m picking up right where I left off. My second fight back and I get to fight against an undefeated world champion. The quality of Zlaticanin means a lot more to me than picking up a world title. I’m super motivated for this win and to make this a great year.
“I have to prepare for anything. I’m not there to dictate pace or anything, I’m there to make sure I win at all costs. I’m ready to fight any style and beat Dejan on January 28. This is a great way to get back in the position I want to be in.
“I never felt like I left. I was inactive from fighting but I never stopped training. The intensity is fully picked up right now. This is my job and this is what I need to do to win this fight.
“I’m ready to turn up the notch and focus in on having a great training camp. I have a great team and we’ve had quality sparring. It’s been a fantastic camp.
“You have all of the elements here for a great fight. My opponent is hungry, he’s ready and undefeated. I’m more motivated than ever. So you know it’s going to be a great fight.”
RICHARD SCHAEFER, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports
“The first fight between Santa Cruz and Frampton was, in my opinion, the Fight of the Year. We have two other world title fights on this card and top to bottom it’s one of the best cards I can remember. I’m going to make sure I’m in my seat early.
“The main event is as good as it gets. It’s going to pick up in round 13. Leo knows that he has to make adjustments. He knows he wasn’t at his best the first time. He was out of his comfort zone and had distractions. If Leo is properly prepared physically and mentally, then he should come out victorious.
“Leo knew as soon as the results were read that he wanted the rematch. That’s the kind of mindset he has. He knows that he’s a better fighter than he showed in July. He knows what he needs to do.
“By becoming Fighter of the Year, and everything that comes with it, Frampton is flying high. This is a guy who is now a pound-for-pound great fighter. He worked all his life for that spot and he doesn’t want to give it up. For the UK fighters, fighting in Las Vegas is the pinnacle of the sport. I think there will be a lot of Irish people there and I just can’t wait for the first bell to ring.”
ROBERT GARCIA, Garcia’s Brother & Trainer
“Dejan Zlaticanin is a very strong fighter, not only physically, but mentally. We’re training like never before. We’ve been training hard for two months and preparing for a really tough fight. This fight is a big fight and it brings even bigger ones after.