SIX of the top 154-pound fighters in the world spoke to media in Brooklyn on Wednesday ahead of their respective Saturday, October 14 showdowns featured on a Showtime tripleheader live from Barclays Center.
The Premier Boxing Champions event is headlined by “The American Dream” Erislandy Lara defending against undefeated Terrell Gausha plus hard-hitting unbeaten champion Jermell Charlo taking on top contender Erickson “Hammer” Lubin and “Swift” Jarrett Hurd making his first title defence against tough former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout.
Here is what the boxers had to say:
“I like to do my talking in the ring. On October 14 that’s exactly what I’m going to do. It’s an honor to be headlining on Showtime and we’re looking forward to a great fight.
“I’m excited to be part of this huge card. This is a great event. These are the best guys in the division. It’s a pleasure to be the main event and I look forward to putting on a show.
“Gausha is a good fighter. He’s an Olympian and a guy who wants to win and become world champion. I know what that feels likes, but I also know what it takes. We’ll see how it plays out on October 14.
“I’m excited for this fight. I’ve beat champions, former champions and now I’ll add an Olympian. After I take care of business I look forward to unifying the division.
“My prayers and my thoughts are with everyone down in Houston. I have family and friends who were affected. It’s a sad situation, but Houston has to be strong. That’s why I’m going to have “Houston Strong” on my trunks because we all need to stick together and unite. That’s the way we’ll make it through.”
“I was extremely excited to get the call for this fight. I’ve been working for this my whole career and it’s a great opportunity. Lara is considered to be the best in the division and I want to fight the best. Now is my time.
“I’ll have to make adjustments in there. Obviously with Lara you have to cut the ring off. We have a game plan that I’m going to go in there and execute on October 14.
“I’m fighting a tough competitor. He’s crafty. We all know he has skills. But I’ve prepared for this and I’m going to do what I have to do. I like to do my talking in the ring and I’ll leave it all on the line on fight night.
“I’m a more mature fighter now. I’m a true professional. I’ve been through some things in my career that have helped me leading up to this fight. I’m well-seasoned and ready for the test.
“I’m training with my coach Manny Robles in Norwalk, California and it’s been going really well. We’re adding a few things for this fight but mostly just putting in the same hard work that we always do.
“I’m blessed to be in this position. I feel like all my hard work is paying off now that I’m on a big card like this. I worked hard and I deserve this chance.”
“I’m honored to be in Brooklyn. This is another exciting fight card like the last card I was on here. I did what I had to do in April. I let the opponent run his mouth and then I took care of him. I’m going to let that happen again.
“I have to take advantage of this opportunity. I know that I have a lot of advantages but I just need to go seize the moment. He’s a tough, strong fighter who’s going to be ready to take my title.
“It’s interesting to see a guy as young as he is come for a world title. I’ve been here a long time in the pro game. It’s a big stage for both of us. I’ve fought a lot of tough guys up to this point. This is what I’ve been preparing for.
“I want to fight Jarrett Hurd after this. I’d also like to get an opportunity to unify against Miguel Cotto. I want to show the old guard that the Charlo twins are as good as anyone.
“I got my hands full with Ericskon Lubin and I know he comes to fight. He’s a dog, but I’m an animal as well. I’m going to step up and do what I’ve done each time before.
“I’m doing this for Houston. Houston is going through a lot. My friends and family are all affected. It really doesn’t seem real to me. I’m ready to help however I can.”
“This is the fight I asked for. I said I wanted to go the WBC route and when it was officially announced I was really excited. I’ve been training for this since my last fight. I’m even more motivated now to go get the belt.
“I’ve been sparring with bigger guys. Guys who throw one-two combos like Jermell. I’m getting prepared mentally and physically for this fight.
“Jermell has some power. He moves pretty well, but I’ll be prepared for everything. Whether he pressures or boxes me I’ll be prepared.
“I laugh at people who say this is too soon for me. Mike Tyson was 19 when he dared to be great. This is the perfect time for me to show that I’m not a regular 21-year-old.
“This is a stacked card we have here and I’m ready to showcase my talent. I want to prove I’m the best in this division. I think we’re bringing back the era of all fighters going out there and giving it their all each time they step into the ring. I always steal the show and I’m planning to do that October 14.”
“It means everything to be defending my belt on a card like this. I fought here at Barclays Center on the Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter undercard so to be back here against a veteran in Austin Trout is great. I can’t wait to put on a show.
“We’re going to have two buses of fans coming up here. The ‘Swift’ fans will be in the house. It’s going to be a great atmosphere on fight night.
“In my last bout, Tony Harrison won some early rounds by boxing me, so we’ve known that my next opponent is going to try to outbox me. We expect him to move around and use the ring against me.
“This has been a long training camp. We’ve had this bout set for a long time. We’re more than prepared.
“We’ve been training to catch a ‘Trout.’ We’ll put the bait out there and let him come in. If he doesn’t take the bait, we’ll step right in the water and get him out of there.
“I’m going to keep the pressure on him. I’m planning on attacking the body and making sure I cut off the ring. He’s going to be on the move so I have to be prepared.
“My fans can expect a stoppage on October 14. He’s got three losses against great opponents but none have been able to stop him. I’m going to separate myself by being the first to do it.”
“This is going to put me back to where I belong. Right back on top. This is for my legacy so this is of the utmost importance.
“It’s an honor to be on a card like this. I’m blessed to be a part of this great lineup of fighters. This place is the new hotspot of boxing and I can’t wait to perform.
“Hurd is tall, he’s a big guy who I think is going to come forward. We’re preparing for the best possible Hurd that there could be.
“I’m ready to take my career to a whole new level. I’ve been in big fights, but none like this. There is so much riding on this fight. He wants to make a name for himself off of my name.
“He didn’t have to take this fight and I’m happy he did. But he messed up. I’m leaving the ring with his belt and his ‘0.’ I want to stake my claim as the best in the division.
“I’m coming home as a world champion. I’ll be a two-time world champion who’s going to unify this division. I’m going to have my hand raised at the end of the night.”
LOU DIBELLA, President of DiBella Entertainment
“This is going to be a sensational show. If you’re a boxing fan this is going to be an amazing show. It’s going to bring some clarity to the division with six talented guys matching off. It’s a boxing fan’s fight and it’s priced that way.
“What boxing needs is the best matchups. Boxing needs shows like this. These are the kind of shows thatShowtime has been showing for the last few years. There is no question that they’re the number one network in boxing.
“This card is about finding out who will be the last man standing in the 154-pound division. It starts on October 14 and it’ll all go down onShowtime.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive VP & General Manager,Showtime Sports
“Last week we had the world’s attention for an unprecedented event in Mayweather vs. McGregor. What this sport needs to do to continue to expand is to follow that up with high quality boxing matchups. That’s why this card is so important. It was critical that we had a top to bottom high quality card to capture those people who started paying attention to boxing on Aug. 26.
“Over the last couple of years, Showtime along with Barclays Center and DiBella Entertainment have brought fans the biggest and best fights in boxing. This might be the highest quality card from top to bottom since we started working with Barclays Center.
“This tripleheader will be the 18th, 19th and 20th world title fights this year on Showtime. More than anyone else. More important and meaningful fights than anyone else. This is a talent-rich division we’ve been showcasing for years.
“I’ve never had any doubts about boxing’s future. Boxing is very healthy. All you have to do is look at these six fighters in their prime, taking on top competition. I know that this sport is in very good health.”