A star-studded press conference took place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday, as Floyd Mayweather, along with several New York boxing “ambassadors,” signified the return of boxing to New York by announcing the super middleweight world championship unification fight featuring Badou Jack against James DeGale that will take place Saturday, January 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and live on SHOWTIME®.
Also announced on Wednesday and featured on the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast is undefeated junior lightweight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza taking on unbeaten rising contender Gervonta “The One” Davis.
(Photo credit: Tom Casino/Mayweather Promotions)
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, start at $25. Tickets are available starting this Friday, Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.barclayscenter.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
The press conference signified the return of boxing to New York for the first time since a controversial insurance measure instituted by the New York State Government. Participants were on hand to discuss the exciting doubleheader on January 14 and celebrating the long awaited return of boxing to The Big Apple.
Here is what the participants had to say Wednesday:
“I think this will be an exciting fight. I’m going to give it my all and he’s going to give it his all. This is a bigger fight than anything we’ve been a part of. He’s going to turn it up and so will I.
“Now it’s me and DeGale. All the other fights are in the past. We’ve had different results against the same fighters. But none of that matters, it’s time to fight.
“A real champion can take a loss and bounce back. It shows what kind of person you are. I’ve proven I’m mentally tough.
“Boxing is not dead. It’s here to stay. There are some very good fights coming up. Probably even more next year.
“I came from Sweden, a country that has no boxing. Now I’m here headlining in New York for a unification fight. The sky is the limit. I always stay humble and never forget where I came from.
“It’s not going to matter what people think on fight night. DeGale is definitely one of the top guys in the division. He’s a road warrior. He comes over here and fights guys in their backyards. He deserves a lot of credit. That’s why this fight is so big. We both want to be great.
“I like being the underdog. If I’m the underdog in this fight, then that’s perfect for me. There won’t be any excuses when I beat him.
“I just try to stay humble win after win and keep looking forward to bigger and better things. After this fight come talk to me about who is the best in the division.
“I don’t want to compare myself to anyone else but I’ve had a couple of good years. Now we’re working to have two even better years.
“I made a mistake and got caught in my loss. I was able to bounce back and it made me a way better fighter. It was definitely a blessing in disguise. People are still overlooking me because of it. I look at it as a good thing.
“Everything happens for a reason. I’m very blessed to be here in Brooklyn. This is my second home in America. I trained at Gleason’s Gym in 2009 and now I’m headlining at Barclays Center. It’s amazing.”
“It’s here. The big one. The best fighting the best. Number one against number two. Badou Jack is a very good fighter. He doesn’t do anything spectacular, but he’s a compete fighter.
“I have that X-factor. I’ve lost before and I’m not going to lose again. I’ve come too far in my life to lose this opportunity.
“On January 14, Brooklyn is in for a treat. You will not want to miss this one. Make sure you get your tickets.
“My people in London can’t wait for me to fight at home. It’s coming. But first I want to take over in America.
“New York is one of my favorite cities. It’s a boxing city. I watched Santa Cruz vs. Frampton and it was a wicked atmosphere. I can’t wait to be in there.
“I’m very confident in my abilities. I believe I’m the best in the division and one of the best in the world. I’ve been waiting for this fight for a long time and I’m ready to get in there.
“I think in the last three fights I’ve shown everything. I haven’t been getting the respect that I deserve. I’ve beaten everyone put in front of me. This is what I love to do.
“I’m a natural super middleweight. I want to be in fights where people think I’m going to lose. I’ll challenge anybody.
“Me and Badou Jack are two different fighters. I think I’m going to beat him wide on the scorecards or stop him.”
“I’m thankful to everyone here and my people from New York who I know will be supporting me on fight night.
“I expect this to be a very exciting fight. I’m going to be ready for anything that Davis will bring into the ring. I’m going to take care of business.
“I’m very privileged to help with this cause and to help push boxing in New York. I’m going to represent my people on January 14 and I’m very proud of the opportunity.
“If Davis says he has to be killed to be beaten, then he’s going to have to go down.
“I’m undefeated and I will remain undefeated after January 14. I know Davis is a strong kid, but he isn’t on my level. I am looking to dominate this fight.
“Fighting at Barclays Center is really a dream come true. I know that I will have a lot of support from the Puerto Rican boxing fans and I’m going to train hard to perform for them.
“I’m sorry for Davis to be signed for Mayweather, because when I take away his undefeated record, I’m going to feel like I beat Mayweather.”
“It feels great to fight in Brooklyn for the first time. I’ve never fought in New York and it’s tremendous. I’ll have a lot of hometown fans driving up to here for the fight.
“Pedraza is a tough opponent. We’re going to work hard in camp and be ready to fight on January 14.
“My hometown has been backing me for all of these years. On January 14, I get my shot. It’s amazing. I know Pedraza is a great fighter. People will say he has more experience. But I had 206 wins in the amateurs and a lot of titles.
“There’s nothing Pedraza can bring to the ring that I haven’t seen before. I’ve been battle-tested inside the ring and outside the ring.
“He’s going to have to kill me to retain his title. I’m coming home a champion. There’s no doubt about it.
“On paper this is definitely my hardest task. We’re both great fighters. I hope he trains hard because I’m training for the fight of my life.
“I’m going to steal the show on January 14. I’m going to get Pedraza out of there and then work to unify the division against the other champs.”
FLOYD MAYWEATHER, President of Mayweather Promotions
“We’re back. What other better city to be in, than New York City? It was always one of my dreams to fight in New York City. I’m glad I’m in a position to put fighters out there to give the fans what they want to see. New York City is the best place for boxing.
“For years and years these fighters have worked so hard and dedicated their lives to get to this point. I’m thankful for everyone who is supporting us and supporting our movement.
“The only thing we’re going to do is continue to build these fighters and help these fighters get to the highest heights. So many people have helped me get to this point, where I can give back to these young fighters.
“Lou DiBella is a guy I love to work with. The boxing business is about working together. Leonard works hard day in and day out to put these fighters in the best position, and I do the same. It’s all about working to get these fighters to the next level.
“We’re here in New York and we want to bring boxing to New York City. This is one of the meccas of boxing. The whole state has embraced me throughout my career.
“I’m very proud of Badou Jack. He’s a guy who carries himself like a gentleman. That’s what a true champion does. He’s very respectful, humble and appreciative.
“Badou Jack is such a hard worker and he’s very appreciative. I remember the position he was in. He’s still very thankful and humble now that he’s in a great position in his life and career.
“I’m just happy that I’m able to put fighters in a good position. They then have to take advantage of the position I put them in.
“We want to continue to do fights in this arena and bring championship boxing to New York City. We want to give you great shows again and again.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“This is a tremendous platform. Coming to New York is something that Floyd has been advocating for. He’s wanted to bring a big event here and come January 14 that’s what the fans are going to get. We have a great night of fights from top to bottom.
“This is everything for Badou. This is why you lace them up when you’re a kid. This is an opportunity to be the best. He’s the best 168-pounder in the world and on January 14 he’ll have that platform to do it.
“When it comes to unification, you don’t see too many unified champions. The best fighting the best is what it’s all about. DeGale is an Olympic gold medalist and a world champion. He’s fought some very good fighters. Badou will be making his third title defense and there is no better opponent than DeGale.
“When two guys come together and they want to determine who’s the best, with everything on the line, that’s what it’s all about.
“The fans can expect to see Mayweather Promotions go back to Las Vegas with two world champions. One will be a unified champion and one will be the new super featherweight world champion.
“This is a great step-up for Gervonta. That’s what life is about, stepping up and taking risks. That’s why you get into the sport. He’ll have his full arsenal on display on fight night.”
LOU DIBELLA, President of DiBella Entertainment
“Fans should go out and buy their tickets once they go on sale. There is going to be a show here on January 14. We have lawyers and insurance people on it and we will pay what needs to be paid.
“This announcement not only represents a fight announcement, but a call to action to all boxing fans. Boxing needs your help in New York. We need to change or repeal this law that has really shut us down. Even if we can get really expensive insurance for January 14, the small promoters and small fights and grassroots boxing have come to a standstill.
“Come out to this incredible fight card on January 14. Jack vs. DeGale is as good as it gets. Jose Pedraza is Puerto Rico’s only champion and he’s defending against Gervonta Davis. That is a great fight. The undercard is also going to be terrific.
“It also represents boxing trying to take its rightful place back. We’re not sitting back in 2017 and letting our industry be brought to a halt. We’re going ahead and announcing January 14. But we need everyone’s help with respect to making the necessary changes to allow our sport to thrive in this space again.
“I promoted Badou early in his career and he is a terrific fighter. He does everything well. He’s active in the ring and he makes good fights, and so does DeGale. He comes forward and fights. These two guys are going to throw down. This is a fan friendly main event. With huge significance.
“The opening bout features Puerto Rico’s only champion, fighting in front of New York’s huge Puerto Rican community. Gervonta Davis comes right up from Baltimore and it’s a can’t-miss fight.”
BRETT YORMARK, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
“We want to reinforce our commitment to boxing. Not just from a Barclays Center perspective, but from a state perspective. Boxing is very important to the history here in New York and we want that to continue. We want to take a lead position as the sport continues to grow and thrive in the marketplace.
“We have become one of the premier venues in the country for boxing. We look forward to a very successful 2017. This fight in particular is very important to us. We haven’t had a championship event here since July. Floyd being involved brings a whole different dynamic as well and we’re excited for a tremendous undercard full of Brooklynites.
“Floyd has been here to the Barclays Center several times and we’re thrilled that he’s back. It’s a pleasure to welcomes Badou Jack and James DeGale to Brooklyn and I’m confident that you will like the Brooklyn crowd.
“There has not been a major boxing event at Barclays Center since the July 30 Santa Cruz vs. Frampton card and we’re proud to take the lead on bringing boxing back to New York. We’re excited that January 14 will be the first major boxing card in New York in 2017. We are more committed than ever before to bringing boxing to Barclays Center.
“It’s a very exciting time for the building, for the sport and it should be an electric evening for the sport.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive VP & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports
“This card is unique, high quality and special. You don’t see cards like this every day. These four fighters have made a combined 14 appearances on SHOWTIME. We’re very proud of these four fighters.
“To create and deliver special events, it takes commitment. When you’re committed to a cause, special things happen. We’ve done special things with Mayweather Promotions and now we have this great card coming to us.
“The four young men on the stage today are some of the most talented and accomplished athletes in the sport. This is the best this sport has to offer. They’re committed to taking on other accomplished athletes. We have four of those fighters here on the televised portion and we have to salute them.
“New York City has a tremendous history in boxing. It’s hosted the biggest fights in the history of the sport. Barclays Center has emerged as the biggest and most aggressive supporter of boxing on the east coast. We’re optimistic that there won’t be any holdup getting to January 14.
“No network is as committed or as passionate about boxing as SHOWTIME is. The biggest and the best fights are on SHOWTIME. No other network is televising fights like these. Top five versus top five and champion versus champion. There is no better way to kick-off boxing in 2017 than with this great card at Barclays Center.”
ERIC ADAMS, Brooklyn Borough President
“Now is the call for action. We have witnessed what happens when the call for action is not personified and mobilized. Too many people pass legislation and are focused on the paper it’s written on, instead of the people who are impacted by it. It is clear that New York state is the Empire State where we build empires instead of destroying them and we are destroying the empire of boxing in New York.
“If we don’t do something about this piece of legislation, then these fighters will no longer have the aspiration to fight in the state that they love. That cannot happen. New Yorkers don’t follow the agenda, we lead the agenda. We must do that to make sure this is done correctly.
“We are going to mobilize and move in the right direction while protecting the fighters. We don’t want to knock out boxing in the state of New York. That cannot happen.
“This is going to be a great opportunity for these fighters and for Brooklyn and we are thankful to the team at Barclays for putting these fighters on this great stage.”