Photos/quotes: Jermall Charlo – Juan Macias Montiel – final press conference

Unbeaten WBC Middleweight World Champion Jermall Charlo went face-to-face with the hard-hitting Juan Macias Montiel Thursday during the final press conference before they meet live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, June 19 from Toyota Center in Houston headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.

(Photo credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME)

Thursday’s press conference also featured rising lightweight contender Isaac Cruz and former world champion Francisco Vargas, who meet in the 10-round co-main event, plus former super bantamweight world champion Angelo Leo and Mexican contender Aaron Alameda, who battle in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Saturday’s event is promoted by Lions Only Promotions and TGB Promotions. Tickets for the live event are on sale now and can be purchased at toyotacenter.com.

Charlo has established himself as a force in two divisions and will seek to thrill his hometown crowd against Mexico’s Montiel, in a first-of-its-kind Juneteenth Day boxing celebration. Charlo and his twin brother Jermell Charlo were given a proclamation from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday, declaring this Juneteenth Day “Jermall and Jermell Charlo Day” in their hometown.

Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday:

JERMALL CHARLO

“I’m blessed to be in this position to showcase my talent. Camp was awesome. I’ve had great sparring throughout and I’m ready.

“On Saturday you can expect a hard fight. If he comes at me the same way everyone comes at me, you’re going to see the same Jermall Charlo. I can deliver explosive knockouts, go 12 rounds or beat you down from start to finish.

Aaron Alameda, Angelo Leo, Francisco Vargas, Isaac Cruz, Jermall Charlo, Juan Macías Montiel - Press Room

“If he’s strong like they say he is, I’ll show you my movement and attack the body. I have all the skills and abilities of every other great middleweight throughout history.

“He’s strong, but I fight strong fighters. I spar heavy fighters all the time. I’m strong too, right? I’m not worried about his power. This is my hometown, and I’m going to stay champion. The talk about his power is just going to make me fight harder.

“This is a real fight. This isn’t James Kirkland or Hugo Centeno Jr. You’re only as good as your last fight. There are levels to this and I’m going to show what level I’m on Saturday. If he’s that good and if his team has a game plan that no one else has used before, then I’ll accept it. But I’ve trained hard for this fight and I’m going to show it.

“I’m honored to be fighting on Juneteenth with the opportunity to represent my people. I get to fight for all my ancestors who fought before me. I love it and I’m focused.

“Every fighter wants the belt. I remember being in that position, but I’m even hungrier now. I’m not sleeping on anybody. I’m still young in my career. I can’t make any mistakes right now. I know he’s coming to fight.

“I am not overlooking Montiel. Saturday is a holiday and that’s great. But I put my life on the line every time I get into the ring. I can’t overlook this guy. He says he trained hard, but I trained way harder.

“June 19 is going to be a party. Everyone get ready for a show. I’m coming for a fight. I’m putting it all on the line. This is going to be one of the fights where I do what I say I’m going to do.”

JUAN MACIAS MONTIEL

“I had an unbelievable training camp. It was the best camp of my entire career. It was very tough physically, but I feel great right now. We’ve worked hard to bring another world champion to Mexico.

Aaron Alameda, Angelo Leo, Francisco Vargas, Isaac Cruz, Jermall Charlo, Juan Macías Montiel - Press Room

“I plan to show everything we’ve worked on in training camp on Saturday night. We’ve worked on a variety of techniques and styles to use in this fight. I’m excited to show them in the ring.

“I was the underdog in the James Kirkland fight and everyone saw what happened. I wasn’t training the way I do now when I fought Hugo Centeno Jr. to a draw. I know that I have the best middleweight in front of me, so I knew that I had to train harder than ever for this fight.

“I believe that if he wants to trade punches with me, he’s going to be sorry that he chose that strategy.

“I’m very thankful for this opportunity. On Saturday night I’m going to fulfill my dream of becoming a world champion. No matter what it takes.”

ISAAC CRUZ

“I had a great two and a half months of training and I’m ready for Saturday night. Vargas has a similar style to mine. We both like to stand in front of our opponent, so it’s going to be a great fight.

“I’m planning to put Mexico on top once again. ‘Pitbull’ Cruz is going to show up like I always do. This is going to be a war.

“I plan to deliver a wonderful gift for all of the fans in Houston. Just like I delivered in San Antonio two fights ago, I’m going to show everyone that same power.

“I’m coming to win and I’m ready to have my hand raised. I’m not looking past Vargas, but I’ll be ready for whoever is next after I win.”

FRANCISCO VARGAS

“I’m very motivated and I can’t wait for Saturday night. I had a great training camp and I know that this is going to be an action-packed fight for the fans.

“We both want to win for our country. Everyone knows what kind of fight this is going to be. Cruz is a strong fighter who comes forward, so I’d say our styles are definitely similar.

“There’s not much that needs to be said. People might think I don’t have anything left, but I’m going to prove on Saturday night that there’s plenty in the tank. Everyone is going to see on June 19.

“This is going to be a very entertaining fight. It definitely could steal the night. It’s shaping up to be that type of fight.

“When you’ve got two Mexican warriors, you can expect another Fight of the Year. Don’t miss it on Saturday.”

ANGELO LEO

“It’s a pleasure to be fighting in Houston, Texas. I came up short in my last fight, but this camp we’ve improved my strength and conditioning. I’m a lot stronger and a lot wiser from the experience I had against Stephen Fulton.

“Training camp with my dad has been great. We’re ready to go and put on a show for Houston on Saturday.

“I had COVID-19 about six weeks before the Fulton fight. As a fighter, I wanted to put on a show for the fans no matter what. In that fight, I didn’t have the same stamina that I had in the previous fight. I feel fully healed now and we’re going to deliver a good performance.

“I have a lot of motivation knowing that I’ve been champion once and that I can reach that height again. I just want to prove to everyone that I’m still at the top level of this division and a serious threat to anybody.”

AARON ALAMEDA

“We trained very hard for this fight. I got a lot of good experience from the Luis Nery fight and on Saturday I’m going to show everything that I’ve learned.

“It was a great opportunity against Luis Nery. I’m going to let my hands go, leave it all in the ring and be victorious on Saturday night.

“I’m very motivated by my previous experience against Nery. Everyone will see that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win in this fight.”