The final press conference before Saturday night’s PPV card kicked off around 1pm this afternoon at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. An eager crowd of international press gathered as Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya introduced the fighters. The conference was streamed live on Showtime’s site.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez 43-1-1 (31KO) vs. Erislandy Lara 19-1-2 (12KO), light middleweights Only four months ago Canelo had a dominant performance at the MGM Grand against rugged brawler Alfredo Angulo. Slick boxing southpaw Lara figures to bring a much tougher challenge Saturday night.
The Cuban’s team sounded extremely confident, as if they knew something nobody else did. Lara’s co-manager boldly stated, “On Saturday night Erislandy Lara will prove he is the best 154 pounder in the world, bar none.” Then Lara stepped up to the podium. “We’re ready; I don’t think there’s any more I could say, I’ve said everything I need to say.” He then gave a shout out to the Charlo brothers, whom he sparred with in camp. “I want to thank the Charlos, they’re here, they helped me prepare for this bout.”
Team Alvarez was equally confident, yet came across more relaxed and jovial. Chepo Reynoso, Canelo’s manager, shouted out, “Hey bellman, ring that bell, because Canelo and Lara are ready to fight!” The Mexican superstar, just a week away from his 24th birthday, kept it short and sweet behind the podium. At one point he seemed to hint at the rumors about difficulties making weight. “I’m anxious, I’m very anxious for this fight”, said Alvarez. “We’ve prepared very well, and the only thing my body is asking for right now is to fight.”
Abner Mares 26-1-1 (14KO) vs. Jonathan Oquendo 24-3 (16KO), featherweights
Mares, the former 118, 122 and 126 pound titlist, gets back in the ring for the first time since being flattened in the by Jhonny Gonzalez last August in Carson, California. Puerto Rican Oquendo spoke well of his opponent, and noted the historic rivalry between their countries. “We know that Mexico versus Puerto Rico always puts up great fights, and this won’t be an exception”, he said. After almost a year out of the ring, Mares sounded happy to be back in action. “I’m excited to be back, it’s been eleven months”, said Mares. “I’m hungry to be back. I’m a three time world champion and I want more.”
Juan Manuel Lopez 34-3 (31KO) vs. Francisco Vargas 19-0-1 (13KO), super featherweights
Puerto Rican Lopez has lost 3 of his last 7, all by stoppage. But he’s perfect in Vegas. “This is the fourth time I’ve come to Las Vegas to fight,” said Lopez, “each time I’ve won by knock out, and I hope to keep that going”. The former 122 and 126 pound titlist squares off with undefeated Mexican prospect Vargas, who faces his best opponent to date as a pro. Vargas, of Mexico City, proclaimed, “What can I say, I’m just happy to be on such a great card with so many great fighters; it motivates me to put on a good fight”.
Johan Perez 19-1-1 (13KO) vs. Mauricio Herrera 20-4 (7KO), light welterweights
Best known for his controversial mixed decision loss to 140 pound champ Danny Garcia in Puerto Rico earlier this year, Herrera takes on Venezuela native Perez for an interim title. Both fighters showed gratitude for their opportunity to be part of this event. “I’m real happy to be fighting on a big card like this under Canelo”, said Herrera, of Riverside, California. Perez added, “I trained hard to give the public what they want to see, a great fight”.
These four bouts complete a fine PPV card full of nationalistic rivalries. Several undercard fights, including a bantamweight world title match, will be aired live on “Showtime Extreme” so be sure to check that out before tuning into the Showtime PPV broadcast.
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