Photo Credit: Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos
LAS VEGAS – Two days before they enter the ring for “Honor & Glory: Canelo vs. Lara,” Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara and undercard fighters on Saturday’s SHOWTIME PPV® four-fight telecast took part in the final press conference at the Hollywood Theatre at MGM Grand.
In the 12-round main event Saturday night, Canelo Alvarez takes on Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara. The co-main event will pit Abner Mares against Jonathan “Polvo” Oquendo. The co-featured fight will match Juan Manuel “JuanMa” Lopez against Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas. Finally, in the opening SHOWTIME PPVbout, Johan “El Terrible” Perez will be opposed by Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera. This exciting card comes to you live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on SHOWTIME PPV.
Tickets are still available at the $750, $500, $250, $150, $75 and $50 price ranges, not including applicable service charges. Tickets are limited to eighteen (18) per person with a limit of eight (8) at the $75 and $50 price ranges. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Here is what the participants had to say at Thursday’s final press conference:
CANELO ALVAREZ, Former WBA & WBC Super Welterweight World Champion
“This fight is important because Lara are and I are the best two fighters in our weight class.
“He might not have the most recognizable name, but in the boxing world, everybody knows he is the most dangerous opponent. This will be a very important victory.
“How will I beat him? With speed, movement and combinations.
“You can’t predict a knockout; a knockout comes on its own. Sometimes, as much as you want it, it doesn’t come. If it comes, I will take advantage of it. But if it doesn’t, I will be ready for 12 rounds.
“I’m just waiting anxiously for the weigh-in. For many fighters this is the tensest part of training. We’re just waiting to weigh-in and fight.
“Without a doubt this is one of the best opponents that I’ll ever have. But I’m always going to look for tough opponents, tough rivals. I want to fight the best.
“A title doesn’t matter to me for this fight. This fight is for honor, for glory. We’ll go for a world title next year.
“He’s a fighter that moves very well. He has very tight defense, but the thing that doesn’t move well is his feet, his legs.
“I haven’t been watching or studying tapes. We know his style; he has a very difficult style. But we’ve prepared to break down that style. We worked for a difficult style, for a southpaw. Without a doubt we had the right sparring partners. It’s not an easy fight but we’ve prepared for everything.”
ERISLANDY LARA, WBA Junior Middleweight World Champion
“We’re ready I don’t think there’s much more to say. I’m ready for this fight and we’ll see you allJuly 12.
“Every fighter that I’ve fought has been heavier than me and I’ve been able to deal with them, so we’re not worried about Canelo’s size. Everyone goes into the ring how they feel comfortable. I’m not worried about his weight on fight day.
“We’re going to wait for him. We’re going to see what he can show.
“The Cuban style is the best style in boxing. Everybody knows that we win the most medals at the Olympics, at international tournaments. And that’s shown throughout our history.
“I just keep working, working hard. Anybody who comes to this country is dreaming of this opportunity. I need to take advantage of it.”
ABNER MARES, Former Three-Time, Three-Division World Champion
“I’m very excited to be back. It’s been 11 months [away] in a sport I love that’s given me everything.
“I’m very hungry to return, I’m a three-time world champion and I want more.
“I’m only 28 years old and I’m very determined. I want to dedicate this fight to Mexico.
“Oquendo is a young determined fighter, but if he’s been hungry for a week, I’ve been hungry for almost a year.”
JONATHAN OQUENDO, Featherweight Contender
“I won’t say too many things but I’m very well prepared to give everyone a good fight.
“I know the great fighter that Abner Mares can be and I prepared well for him. I know that Puerto Rico vs. Mexico always puts up good fights and this won’t be an exception.
“All I’m doing now is waiting for fight time so you can see the best Jonathan Oquendo possible.
“I’ve trained hard to give my maximum effort and I’m ready.”
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ, Former Two-Division World Champion
“This is the fourth time I’ve come to Las Vegas to fight. The first three I won by knockout and I hope to continue that.
“This is a great opportunity for me to take full advantage of and I’m going to give it my all.
“I’m on a great card with so many great fighters and I’m going to give you a great victory.”
FRANCISCO VARGAS, 2008 Mexican Olympian & Super Featherweight Contender
“I’m very happy to be on this great card with so many great fighters. Being on this card motivates me to put on a great fight and make everyone happy.
“I had a great training camp in Mexico City and I’m prepared to give everyone a great fight.
“I’m going to give it my all and lay it on the line Saturday night.”
JOHAN PEREZ, Interim WBA Junior Welterweight Champion
“I’m well prepared, I’ve trained hard and I’m ready to give the public what they want to see – a great fight.”
MAURICIO HERRERA, Junior Welterweight Contender
“I’m real happy to be fighting on a big card like this under Canelo. I had a big fight with Danny Garcia and that’s what got me here.
“They put me with another tough guy in Johan Perez. I come well prepared and I want to show everyone who Mauricio Herrera is. What better way than on this great card.
“I’m going to give you guys a great show Saturday night.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, President and Founder of Golden Boy Promotions
“On Saturday evening, July 12, eight hungry, determined, motivated and extremely talented fighters will enter the ring focused on honor and in search of glory. They seek the ultimate prize in boxing, which is to win by knockout.
“From experience, every time I said ‘I let the knockout come’, in the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘I want to knock this guy out’ and I have a great feeling that’s what we’re going to getSaturday.
“Canelo-Lara, is a matchup for the ages. It’s a matchup that doesn’t come by every day. You will be watching the best 154-pound fighters in the world today, in the same ring, for the same prize, for honor and glory.
“Who’s going to win? The fight fans. That is what its all about. Delivering the best of the best. “The whole card will be one for the ages. We have the much-anticipated return of a great fighter in Abner Mares, going up against a hard-hitting fighter in Jonathan Oquendo.
“When you match up Mexico vs. Puerto Rico you know you will get passion in that ring. There have been many great wars with this matchup and we will see more of that Saturday night.
“Juan Manuel Lopez is a tremendous fighter with explosive power, but more importantly he has the determination to get back on top of the boxing world.
“Lopez is facing an undefeated Olympian from Mexico who is determined to give it all for the honor and glory of his country, in Francisco Vargas.
“The opening bout I can guarantee will be a great one. Their fighting styles guarantee that. We have seen Johan Perez and Mauricio Herrera give us great heart and determination every time they’re in that ring.
“I have to admit, I took out a page of Dana White’s playbook, with stacking the cards from top to bottom, making sure that the fans are getting their early to watch exciting champions of tomorrowand today in these terrific fights.”
JOSE “CHEPO” REYNOSO, Canelo’s Trainer
“I appreciate everyone being here for this great fight Saturday. I just want to repeat a poem from a great Mexican composer, the time for words is over, “it’s time to fight with our fists in the ring”
“Bell man, ring that bell because Canelo and Lara are ready for Saturday night.”
EDDIE REYNOSO, Canelo’s Co-Trainer
“There’s nothing more to say, we had a great preparation. We have a great fighter, with great qualities that can fight any style. He’s ready to fight on Saturday night and to prove he’s the main guy at 154 pounds.”
LUIS DECUBAS JR., Lara’s Co-Manager
“We’re excited, you guys are going to see a great fight Saturday night. ‘The American Dream,’ Erislandy Lara is going to win this fight Saturday night, no question and prove he is the best 154 pounder.”
BOB SANTOS, Lara’s Co-Manager
“We had a tremendous camp. Canelo is a great fighter, but on Saturday night Erislandy Lara is going to prove he is the best 154-pounder in the world, bar none.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive Vice President & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports
“This is the fourth boxing event at MGM Grand this year, plus two last year and with that lineup there is no doubt that the biggest stars in boxing fight here at MGM Grand. Five out of those six are SHOWTIME events and we are very proud of our relationship with MGM Grand.
“For the last two years, SHOWTIME has been the exclusive home of the biggest events in boxing and Saturday will be just that, one of the biggest boxing events of the year, featuring the brightest young star in boxing.
“Canelo Alvarez has already shown his popularity in the Hispanic community, and we are now seeing his ability to crossover and attract all ethnicities across the country.
“A big part of Canelo’s popularity stems from his desire to face the very best opponents, and Erislandy Lara is just that, the very best challenge in the 154-pound division.
“It’s very rare we get to see consensus No. 1 and No. 2 ranked boxers in the same division face each other, but that’s exactly what we have and that what is drawing so much attention to this event.
“Add to that an undercard filled with intriguing storylines and the potential for explosive action, and you get the guaranteed excitement and entertainment on Saturday night.
“One element we’re very proud of is the fact that this card is filled with boxers built on SHOWTIME’s platforms. This will be Canelo’s fifth appearance on SHOWTIME, Lara’s sixth, Abner Mares has appeared eight times on SHOWTIME, this will be his ninth. ‘JuanMa’ has appeared on SHOWTIME six times, Francisco Vargas four times and Mauricio Herrera twice.
“So get to the MGM Grand early or tune in to SHOWTIME to see all the action.”
BOB BENNETT, Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission
“I would like to thank all the fighters for their efforts this Saturday night and we wish you the very best and your continued success in the sport.”
RICHARD STURM, President of Entertainment, MGM Resorts International
“We are excited to add to the heat of the summer with a fantastic showdown this Saturday. It’s a pleasure to welcome back the Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez, who looks to leave the MGM with another victory.
“Welcome to Erislandy Lara, who returns after fighting at the MGM in 2010. The Cuban champion will no doubt bring a great show to the ring Saturday night.”