From Left to Right) IBF Bantamweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz, former World Champion Marcos Maidana, former World Champion Daniel Ponce De Leon, WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez, President of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De la Hoya, President of Thompson Boxing Ken Thompson, breakout super welterweight star Josesito Lopez, WBC Featherweight World Champ. WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (Left) and breakout super welterweight star Josesito Lopez (Right) pose on September 13, 2012 at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada at the final press conference for their September 15, 2012 world title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena which will be televised live on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
The principals spoke on Thursday at the final presser ahead of the “Knockout KIngs” clash at the MGM, topped by Canelo Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez.
CANELO ALVAREZ, WBC Super Welterweight World Champion
“I feel so much love, so much support. I want to thank my fans. This is a special moment for me.
“I remember seeing great fighters fight here and fight on this stage such as Mayweather for example. I grew up dreaming about what it would be like to fight on a stage like this and now I am here. I want to take advantage of this fight, this opportunity and stay here for a long time.
“We had plenty of time to get prepared for this fight. I am not underestimating Josesito Lopez one bit.
“We are going to do our job, win convincingly and make sure the fans leave happy.
“I always get enthusiastic about my opponents, and I am enthusiastic about this matchup against Josesito.
“Josesito has a lot of will. In this fight, he is going to have to show more will. I have to go in and showcase my skills.”
JOSESITO LOPEZ, Breakout Super Welterweight Star
“There's nothing I can say that I haven't said already about Saturday night.
“I know I have a big, big fight, a tough fight, the hardest fight of my life on Saturday night. I understand that I have to fight the best fight of my life to come out with a victory, and for that reason I prepared really well. I prepared to the best of my ability.
“This is the most important fight of my life. I'm thankful for this opportunity. Fighters with a few losses on their record don't get opportunities like this very often.
“It's going to be important to get Canelo's attention early and be smart in the early rounds. Size means nothing to me – I was always the smaller kid fighting the bigger guys.
“I want to thank everyone that made this fight possible. Saturday night is going to be a great night of boxing and the better man will win. Long live Mexico.”
JHONNY GONZALEZ, WBC Featherweight World Champion
“I'd like to thank everyone responsible, including Golden Boy Promotions and all the sponsors. I'm totally prepared for this and ready to defend my title.
“Ponce De Leon is a tough guy, but I know a win Saturday can open up more doors for me and lead me to bigger and better things.”
DANIEL PONCE DE LEON, Former World Champion
“I'd like thank Golden Boy Promotions, Frank Espinoza, my manager, and all the sponsors. My opponent is very good, very strong, but I've trained nine hard weeks for this and I am ready to go.
“I'm in the best shape possible. The knockout bonus is very motivating to me. I have the power to knock out Jhonny Gonzalez and win the world title and the $100,000 bonus.”
MARCOS MAIDANA, Former World Champion
“I'd like to thank everyone for being here and for the opportunity to fight a great opponent like Jesus Soto Karass.
“I'd like to thank my team for a great camp and for all the hard work. I'm prepared and ready to put it all on the line on Saturday night. I wish luck to all the fighters.”
JESUS SOTO KARASS, Welterweight Contender
“This is definitely a great opportunity for both of us and I am really looking forward to it.
“Maidana is a great fighter. The knockout bonus is nice, but for me, I need to stay focused and stick to my game plan.
“If the knockout comes, it comes. I trained very hard in Big Bear, so I am ready to win this fight and then, hopefully, fight for the world title.
“I'm going to give 100 percent. I hope to give all the fans something to celebrate on Mexican Independence Day.”
LEO SANTA CRUZ, IBF Bantamweight World Champion
“I'm excited and totally prepared. I've trained very hard. I know Eric Morel is a great champion. I promise to do my best and may the best man win on Saturday night.”
ERIC MOREL, Former Two-Division World Champion
“I'm extremely thrilled to get another great opportunity to win a world title. This time around is going to be different for me.
“I'm aware of Santa Cruz and know he's a great young champion, but I'm looking forward to become the new IBF champion of the world.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, President of Golden Boy Promotions
“We are extremely proud to present you with a terrific card. Saturday is a special night for millions and especially for the fighters who are going to be participating this Saturday.
“September 16 is Mexican Independence Day, but September 15 all of the fighters will be fighting in the spirit of the holiday inside of that squared circle with a lot of heart and passion.
“We are expecting a sell out. Tickets are going extremely fast. We are expecting a sell out by tomorrow. Hurry up and get tickets.
“None of these fighters are talking trash. All of the trash talking, they will do with their fists. These fighters are professionals. They know they need to fight hard on Saturday night.
“Canelo Alvarez has accomplished a great deal in his career. All he wants to do is work hard and give the fans a great fight.”
RICHARD STURM, President of Entertainment, MGM Resorts International
“We are anticipating a stellar evening here. We are confident that the fans watching worldwide and in the arena will witness a tremendous battle between two of the sport's young champions.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Josesito Lopez back to the MGM Grand, and having Canelo Alvarez here in the main event.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports
“At SHOWTIME we are constantly striving to bring boxing fans the best and the biggest of the sport and to bring our subscribers more and more value.
“Earlier this year, we brought our subscribers a quadruple-header – it was the first quadruple-header on SHOWTIME in a long, long time. On Sept. 15, we're bringing boxing fans another quadruple-header. This one is even more stacked from top to bottom. And because this event is so big, we entered into an unprecedented collaboration with Golden Boy, the MGM Grand, with our network and with the Univision Network as well.
“The ALL ACCESS show is continuing to run on SHOWTIME. Also, it will be airing in Spanish through our partnership with Univision. Telefutura will be airing ALL ACCESS in Spanish, premiering tomorrow night 11:30 p.m. ET/PT and it will also be re-airing multiple times on Saturday.
“This is an incredible collection of talent. As such, we are going to simulcast this amazing event, for the first time in SHOWTIME history, on a free TV network. The undercard for this event, all three compelling fights before the main event, will be simulcast in Spanish on Telefutura, live with no delay. We wanted to give boxing fans a taste of what you get on SHOWTIME with SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. And we felt that this event was the right one to share with the largest possible audience.”
EDDY REYNOSO, Canelo Promotions
“We had a 10-week training camp for this fight. It is going to be a great fight.
“We feel that we have a special elite fighter in Canelo. We want to stay at this level and this is just the beginning.”
KEN THOMPSON, President of Thompson Boxing Promotions
“We have a great weekend in front of us. These great events don't happen by accident. It happens with great promoters who make this happen along with SHOWTIME. We can be happy that we have people like Oscar De La Hoya in boxing.
“When these two main event fighters enter the ring on Saturday night, they are going to light up this town and with the help of SHOWTIME, they are going to light up the world.
“Are we ready for the fight of the year? Saturday night, we can say Viva Mexico!
“Saturday night, there will be one fighter standing when it is all said and done, and that will be Josesito Lopez.”
OSWALDO KUCHLE, Jhonny Gonzalez's Promoter, Del Pueblo Promotions
“You are going to see a very different Jhonny on Saturday night. He has changed a lot with Nacho Beristain in his corner. He is very different. We had very good sparring partners. You are going to see a very tough Jhonny on Saturday night.”
# # #
“Knockout Kings,” headlined by Canelo Alvarez defending his WBC Super Welterweight World Championship against breakout star Josesito Lopez, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Promotions in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions and sponsored by Corona, DeWalt Tools, AT&T and O'Reilly Auto Parts. In the co-featured attractions, WBC Featherweight World Champion Jhonny Gonzalezdefends his crown against former World Champion Daniel Ponce De Leon in fight presented in association with Promociones Del Pueblo, former World Champion Marcos Maidana faces perennial contender Jesus Soto Karass in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBA Intercontinental Welterweight Title presented in association with Universum Box-Promotion and Leo Santa Cruzdefends his IBF Bantamweight World Championship against former Two-Time World Champion Eric Morel. The Saturday, Sept. 15 quadruple-header, packed with Mexican pride and power, will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be televised live on SHOWTIME Saturday, Sept. 15 at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT with preliminary fights to air live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets priced starting at $25, not including applicable service charges and taxes, are on sale now. Ticket sales are limited to 10 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.