With the holiday season upon us, fighters preparing to participate in the stacked Dec. 13 event taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®, take a break from training to discuss their progress in camp and what they are most grateful for during this festive season.
The following answers offer some insight into the fighters’ training camp regiments.
Q: Training camp is nearly over. How has camp been going so far?
AMIR KHAN (AK), WBA International and WBC Silver Welterweight Champion (Training in the Bay Area, Calif.):Camp has been great. We’re working hard and feeling in the best shape ever. I can’t wait for the fight.
DEVON ALEXANDER (DA), Former Two-Division World Champion (Training in St. Louis, Mo.): Camp is going tremendously well. I’m getting more and more anxious as the fight approaches.
KEITH THURMAN (KT), Interim WBA Welterweight Champion (Training in St. Petersburg, Fla.): Training camp is great, I have great sparing partners and we train three times a week and add some cardio to the mix. It’s good, this is my job, my office, we stay in the gym and work at the gym to make the fight look easy.
ABNER MARES (AM), Former Three-Time, Three-Division World Champion (Training in Los Angeles, Calif.): Camp has been great! I’m back with my old team and coach that took me to three world titles and it’s been going really well.
JERMALL AND JERMELL CHARLO – CHARLO TWINS (CT), Undefeated Junior Middleweight Contenders (Training in Houston, Texas): We’re feeling good. This is the best camp we’ve ever shared together.
ERROLL SPENCE JR. (ES), Undefeated Junior Middleweight Prospect (Training in Dallas, Texas): Training camp has been great. I’m on weight and I’ll be ready to fight on Dec. 13.
VICTOR ORTIZ (VO), Former welterweight champion (Training in Indio, Calif.): I’ve been working hard and learning from coach Joel Diaz; it’s definitely been a solid camp.
Q: Fight night is a little less than two weeks away. How are you feeling physically?
AK: I’m feeling strong and sharp. This is one of my best camps, a lot of hard work has been put in and it will pay off on fight night. I’m excited to fight. It’s been a long time.
DA: Physically I feel good. I’m in tremendous shape. And with two weeks to go I’ll be right on schedule.
KT: I feel strong, I am dropping weight on schedule and am looking forward to getting back in the ring after this minor layoff.
AM:Physically I can honestly say that I’m always ready and I’m ready to fight, but the mental part to me is the most important thing and mentally I’m ready to win one fight at a time until I become world champion once again.
CT: Knowing that we’re both fighting step-up fights we pushed each other to the maximum.
ES: I’m feeling really good. I’ve been sparring 10-12 rounds with 30-second breaks without any problem.
VO: I’m feeling great just making sure I pay attention to my coaches and work hard every day.Q: What have you been doing to pass the time when you are not in the gym or training?
AK: I’m relaxing and resting. I spend time studying Devon’s style. My brother and dad are in town so I have company. We go out to the mall or for walks. I’m a very chill guy.
DA:Well when I’m getting ready for a fight I’m completely zoned in on that fight, so I don’t do much. I train and then I’m back home. Maybe I’ll see a movie every now and then.
KT: Lately I have been playing musical instruments on my down time, it’s entertaining.
AM: Spending time with my family. I’ve been spending the most time ever with my kids and wife and it’s really important to me and it’s what I love to do when I’m not working.
CT: We spend time with our families. Jermell just bought a new house. Things are getting better in life for both of us. We’re also traveling and experiencing different boxing styles.
ES: I like to go to the movies and watch TV. I’ve also been spending time hanging out with family and friends.
VO: I spend my time in gyms or doing something outdoorsy.
Q: What is your biggest motivation during training camp?
AK: My father and coach. They motivate me and get the best out of me. Especially when I’m tired and down and missing my family and my little girl Lamaisah. Also Lamaisah is a huge motivation, I’m doing this for her.
DA: My biggest motivation during training is knowing that I’m closer than ever to being one of the best in boxing and becoming a household name.
KT: That it’s not over. My future is bright, and it motivates me to work harder every day.
AM:Now and always has been my family.
ES: The biggest motivation during training camp is knowing that I’ll be boxing on TV and I have the opportunity to showcase my skills in front of everyone.
VO: To be that best that I can be to myself.
Below are some of the “ROYAL BATTLE: KHAN VS. ALEXANDER” fighters’ favorite holiday traditions and an account of what makes them feel most appreciative.
Q: What is your fondest memory of the holidays?
AK: Spending time with family and having a break, just not thinking of anything else but family time. Also helping families in need and charities through Amir Khan Foundation.
DA: My fondest memory of the holidays are me and the family getting together and being with each other and seeing each other. We are a close family.
KT: Eating plenty of food with family and friends.
AM: I have many fond memories of making “buñuelos,” which are Mexican fried sweet dough sprinkled with cinnamon, for Christmas with my mom.
CT: Flag football is always the best part of the holidays.
ES: Spending time with my family is what’s most important to me.
VO: No memories really I’m always in camp holiday time.
Q: What is your favorite holiday tradition to participate in?
AK: Eid, which is a Muslim celebration where the family spends time together and we have dinner and give presents and money to the kids.
DA: One of my favorite holiday traditions is to be at my mom’s house and see everyone eating all that food and laughing and joking.
KT: Pretty much eating – dessert is my favorite. I’m going to tear up the desert tray at Christmas.
AM: Thanksgiving is always great because my family always take turns to say what we are thankful for and it’s great to hear everyone’s blessings.
ES: My favorite is cutting the turkey at Thanksgiving.
VO: I would have to say Halloween just to see the scary people and costumes.
Q: If you could invite one historical figure to a holiday dinner or celebration this season who would it be, and why?
AK: Muhammad Ali, he is my boxing hero and Mike Tyson who is now a friend. It would just be good to talk about boxing and they can tell me about their careers.
DA: If I had to pick a historic figure to come celebrate with it would be President Barack Obama. He is one of the most influential people of my day.
KT: Jesus, because he is the King of Kings and his spirit lives on.
AM: It would be Cesar Chavez to thank him for fighting for my people and our rights as immigrants.
VO: That’s a fun question. There’s so many people around that I wouldn’t really know who…
Q: What’s the one holiday food item or fixing that you must have this season?
AK: Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, sweet potatoes and big bowl of salad.
DA: My favorite holiday dish that I’m waiting on is the collard greens or I could say the baked macaroni.
KT: I must have a nice apple pie. I haven’t had one in a long time.
AM: The ones that I can’t wait for are Mexican tamales and buñuelos.
ES: My mom’s sweet potato pie!
VO: Some pumpkin pie.
Q: What have you been most thankful for so far in 2014?
AK: My baby daughter Lamaisah, who was born in May. It’s a great feeling being a father and it’s further motivation in my career.
DA: What I’m most thankful for is being able to still be here getting blessed with tremendous opportunities. There’s so much that I’m thankful for.
KT: Thankful that I’m here, this life, this blessing and for the experience of growth. And I am thankful for the many more years in the sport and life in general.
AM: My health and being able to help others in some way.
CT: We’re most thankful for having a very close family. We’re very grateful of for all that Ronnie Shields and Al Haymon have made possible. Al gave us the chance and now we’re thankful for our position in the sport of boxing. We’re getting closer and closer to world titles.
ES: My health and the support that I get from my family and friends.
VO: To a great team that I have from Coach Joel, Coach Hoss, Coach Antonio, Coach Jose and Al Haymon, the Watson family and Scott Karp and Sam Spira. I have lots of good people in my corner in and out of boxing.