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Mares vs. Santa Cruz quotes

Kelly Swanson
Thank you, operator. Thanks so much everybody for joining us today and for the busy boxing calendar this month and next. We’re very excited about this fight and to talk with the main event Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares. Abner will open up the call.

But to tell you a little bit more about the fight and to make the introductions of the fighters, we have a very special guest joining us, Ray Flores. He is the voice of TGB Promotions and also will be the ring announcer for the fight.

Ray, welcome to the conference call and we look forward to hearing from you.

Ray Flores
Thank you very much, Kelly. We are very excited for the Battle of Los Angeles, Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares on Saturday, August 29th at STAPLES Center. Make sure you use the hashtag when talking about the fight, #PBConESPN, starts at 10 p.m. ET.7 p.m. PT, live on primetime and promoted by TGB Promotions.

Tickets begin at $25. And I will tell you this, to all you listeners and readers, they are going fast. Twenty-five dollars is where they start, AXS.com and also at the Staples Center box office.

This is a fight that’s been talked about for a very long time, 12-round matchup in the Featherweight Division. It is without question one of the most anticipated fights of the year, Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz and Abner Mares.

Also want to let you know that the undercard, which is going to be scintillating, is going to be announced in the coming days, plus the entire fight week festivities will be announced as we get set for a legendary night at the Staples Center. There have been so many amazing fights that have occurred at the Staples Center and also in Los Angeles in 50 years, and this fight without question is certainly going to live up to that billing if not surpass it.

Now just to let you know, coming up next Tuesday, August 18th, Abner Mares is going to open up the doors to the media for a media workout session. That is at Del Mares Gym, 6400 Garfield Avenue in the Bell Garden in California. So, please arrive, if you are in the media, at 10:30 a.m.. Abner will begin his workout promptly at 11:00 a.m.

Also for those that are, because this is a tremendous fight and I know that there’s a lot of publicity and excitement also from the Latin media as well, I will go ahead and do a quick introduction in Spanish.

All right. Right now I’m going to go ahead and introduce the man you’re here to listen to first, with a record of 29-1-1 (15 KOs), he is a former three-division world champion, ladies and gentlemen, here is Abner Mares.

Abner Mares
Yes, sir. I can’t wait to be announced like on August 29th. I just have to say that I’m truly, truly excited, looking forward (to the 29th, give you guys, the) fight fans, the media, everybody in the boxing world. It’s a great fight against a great fighter in Leo Santa Cruz. Do not miss this fight. Do not miss this fight. Please come and support. Staples Center. If not, but not miss it on ESPN. Looking forward to another opportunity at a world title and another fight, another great fight. I’m really excited and looking forward to it.

Q
How much have you looked forward to this fight? How much have you personally looked forward to this particular showdown?

A. Mares
I’ve been looking forward to this fight for many years, many years fans have been excited, I’ve been wanting to fight. I’ve been calling out Leo this whole year, called him out on radio shows, in person. And it’s finally here. I’m really, really excited to fight. A couple of weeks away.

I know you’ve been in the boxing business for I don’t know how many years and fighters say this all the time, “Oh, I can’t wait, I wish it’s tomorrow.” But honest truth, I wish it was tomorrow. I am that ready and I am that focused, I cannot wait.

Q
Why do you think, Abner that the fight came together now instead of earlier? Neither of you are really bigger names than you were a few years ago.

A. Mares
I think at the end of the day our fighting styles that we both have, the fight is pretty much going to answer your question August 29th. If we look at, other fights where the names were big, the promotion was big they announced the fight super-big, and we all know what happened during fight time. We don’t need much of a name, my side or Leo’s, because this will be an exciting one.

So I think August 29th, we are going to make it a Fight of the Year. I have no question in my mind that that will be it. I think that answered your question. I know I suffered one defeat to a great fighter, Leo Santa Cruz is undefeated, he has not lost, he has not tasted defeat and he’s fighting a hungrier Abner Mares, and he’s a hungry fighter too. I don’t think the name is going to be an issue for the fight to be exciting.

Q
I was wondering if you thought maybe it might have happened a little bit sooner?

A. Mares
No. It could have but you know things happen for a reason and fights get made at weird times for business issues, but I think it’s the perfect time for both. Leo has more experience, he’s been fighting great, and myself, after my defeat, I’ve fought three times and my mindset is there. So I think it’s a perfect time for both.

Q
What are your thoughts about being the focus of that community in that building?

A. Mares
Yes. I’m excited. It’s not my first show. I don’t know if you remember it, but I fought Anselmo Moreno, main event. What I’m saying is, that it just is a big emotional event. I remember being the underdog for that fight because of Anselmo’s fighting style. They said it was the perfect fighting style, and Abner Mares was a soft, talented fighter. I proved everybody wrong. I gave everybody a good show and I think people left the arena happy. That’s what’s going to happen August 29th. I am not going to disappoint myself, I’m not going to disappoint my family, and sure enough, I’m not going to disappoint the boxing fans. It’s going to be a tremendous show. I’m ready to headline once again.

Q
Would it be safe to say that you want to entertain as much as win the fight or are you cool with winning the fight even if it’s not as entertaining but as long as you get the W. What’s your focus? It seems you’re ready to put on a show.

A. Mares
Yes. There’s no pressure. If anything, excitement. If anything, it’s just another day at work where it’s a big party. Family from all over Mexico, from all over it’s just a big party where I have to entertain on fight night. So yes, there is that pressure where you want to entertain the folks, but then you have that mindset where you can make it an easy fight and not so much entertaining. But you know what, I try to play both. I try to be more of a fighter in there, try to make it as easy as I can. But guess what, the Mexican heart, warrior comes out, and I make it a hard fight, and at the end of the day I just want the boxing fans to go home happy.

Q
Would you say this is a legacy fight for you, something that you need to win, so whenever you hang them up, you can be like, “Boom, we got that one at Staples Center.”

A. Mares
Honestly, I don’t see it like that. I mean fights get legendary after they’re done. I think that’s our job to make this fight one of the great ones. I think my job is just to go in there and give it a great fight. And the fight fans will be the judges of that. To me it’s just another fight, I’m not thinking of pressure in my head, just the fight.

Q
So, do you think in a way we’re going to see the best Abner Mares at this time in a big fight that we might not have seen a couple of years ago had the fight been made earlier?

A. Mares
No doubt. I was at the peak, I was at a great time in my career where I was a three-time world champion, undefeated and I look great. No doubt in my mind even now, after my defeat, I’ve become even a better fighter, because now I know what defeat is, now I know how to come back up and start all over. So it’s going to be the best Abner Mares. I think it’s the perfect time for me to focus on myself, I don’t care about him, for myself it’s the perfect time, and I can’t wait.

Q
Is this the most motivated you have felt in a long time fighting Leo Santa Cruz, and talk about the emotions and the drive?

A. Mares.
I do feel very motivated. I’m extremely focused. I can’t recollect the time where I felt like this. It would have to date back to when I was going after my first world title.

Q
What do you feel emotionally and mentally heading into the fight, and what do you want to go and demonstrate?

A. Mares
I want to just go and prove that I’m the better fighter coming up on August 29th, and I personally just want to go out and prove that I’m superior.

Q
What’s the feel in your camp, what is the mindset during training camp? And also, how significant is fighting Leo Santa Cruz and getting the victory over him?

A. Mares
Camp is going terrific and my outlook is very positive. There’s an energy that we have in camp. This fight is very significant because it is the Battle of Los Angeles and being able to fight Leo Santa Cruz, I want to come out and I needs to get the W and prove to everybody that I am the best of the area and one of the top featherweights in the world.

Q
Who are you representing here in Los Angeles? Hawaiian Gardens, Downey? Who are you fighting for?

A. Mares
I am representing myself – I’m representing myself, my fans, and everybody that’s behind me.

Q
With Leo being undefeated, do you feel that Leo feels kind of invincible that he’s never went ahead and suffered a defeat before?

A. Mares
Right now Leo is feeling very good about himself. He will commit errors and I will make him pay. I’m going to show Leo Santa Cruz on August 29th that I am the superior fighter at STAPLES Center.

Q
How are you going to respond if the crowd is not truly in his favor?

A. Mares
I can’t worry about that. I have to go ahead and perform at the high level, and whatever I need to do, I’m going to go out there and fight very hard and get the crowd on my side coming up on August 29th.

A. Mares
Okay. My last comment is I’m ready for August 29, I can’t wait. Leo Santa Cruz, I know you’re listening, I’m ready. You guys have a good one.

R. Flores
All right, thank you very much. Right now I’m going to introduce the undefeated two-division world champion with a record of 30-0-1, 17 KOs. Fighting out of Los Angeles, California, please welcome Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz.

Leo Santa Cruz
Thank you for being here on this call. I just want to say that I’m excited; I’m very happy and motivated for this fight. This is the biggest fight in my career and I can’t wait.

Q
Can you explain why this is the biggest fight of your career?

Leo Santa Cruz
It’s the first time I’m the main event, and then also because it’s the first time I’m going to fight a fighter that’s on a big level, like the fans said, they wanted me to fight a fighter that is at the elite level fighter, and I think Mares right now is the hardest opponent I ever faced. So that plus me being the main event is like the same excitement as I’m fighting for a world title.
Q
Are you ready to throw down with him in a fight that could be a fight of the year.

L. Santa Cruz
Yes, of course, In my mind this is a fight of the year because we’re both Mexican street fighters, we come forward, trying to please the fans and I think this is going to be a great fight. I think he’s a great fighter and everything, and I see this fight like almost a 50/50, it could go either way because he’s a good fighter, I’m a good fighter, so I think it’s going to be great.

Q
Who do you think is the favorite in this fight? And why?

L. Santa Cruz
Well, at the beginning I think Mares was the favorite, but now I think as I’ve been hearing that I’m the favorite now. But, like many of the fans, they can’t choose either side because they know this fight is really hard for both of us, that it’s a really even fight. So I think we have to leave it to August 29th to see who’s the better fighter that day.

Q
Have you thought about the possibility that this fight might lead to a rematch or even trilogy?

L. Santa Cruz
Yes, of course. If Mares loses, I know he’s going to want a rematch. If I lose, I’m going to want a rematch. So, none of us are going to be comfortable after the fight.

Q
Abner Mares told us that it’s personal because you laughed in his faced, can you elaborate on this?

L. Santa Cruz
I didn’t laugh in his face and it’s not a personal fight for me, just professional, just a great fight, and it’s a 50/50 fight for me.

Q
Is there any extra motivation heading into this matchup against Abner Mares.

L. Santa Cruz
I’m fighting for going ahead and being a world champion, fighting for Los Angeles. That alone is motivation all to itself and as much as I need for this matchup with Abner Mares.

Q
What does a win over Abner Mares do for Leo Santa Cruz?

L. Santa Cruz
As I go ahead and move up to 126, I want to prove to everyone that I am worthy and am in the upper echelon in the featherweight division. I want to go after world title at 126, and I know I could do so by fighting and doing very well and winning against Abner Mares.

Q
Was it always in your mind that this fight would happen?

L. Santa Cruz
I started my career and I saw Mares in my weight class and he has been really good throughout his career. I think I had like four, five fights at the time and I knew that maybe in the future we’re going to have to face each other and I never doubted that we were going to face each other. So, yes, it was always in my mind that sooner or later we’re going to face each other.

Q
Do you think this is like the perfect opportunity for you to enter the division?

L. Santa Cruz
Yes, of course. I think it’s the best fight because Abner Mares is a natural featherweight right now and he’s a great fighter and can do everything. So, getting a victory against him is going to put me on the big level, it’s going to put me to the next level and show that I’m ready for the rest of the fighters in the division.

Q
Was there any point in your career where you were kind of frustrated, that you wanted more of your career?

L. Santa Cruz
Yes. I wanted to listen to the fans and the criticism, and then I wished I could choose and say I’m going to fight this fighter, and just go on ahead and fight him. But I had to leave it to my team. They’re here to protect me. They know what’s right. So that’s why I listen to them and they know what’s best. But sooner or later, I’m going to fight the fight that the fans want.

Q
Who do you think the fans are going to be for? And do you think they’re going to look for a good fight and end up cheering for either one of you, depending upon how the fight is going, or is there loyalty there depending upon your neighborhood? Tell us a little bit about that.

L. Santa Cruz
I think the fans are going to be like 50/50, half for him, half for me. I think it’s going to be evenly divided. I think the fans are going to be divided between both of us. Half of them are going to be cheering for him, half for me.

But yes whoever I think puts on the better fight the fans are going to root for at the end. It’s really hard to get up in the ring and put on the great fights the fans will love. I want to give the fans that.
Q
After Abner suffered the loss to Johnny Gonzalez, could Leo tell that Abner was more immobile and didn’t want to engage as much?

L. Santa Cruz
After that loss it certainly seemed that way, but I understand that come August 29th, that all that’s going to go out the window and Abner is going to come forward and wants to stand and trade and I will be willing to oblige by that, and then we will go from there, and go toe-to-toe on August 29th.

Q
Abner has stated about you, one of his detriments is the fact that you are undefeated and that you don’t know how to lose but doesn’t fully understand what it’s like to face defeat, what do you think of that?

Q
I’m very calm, relaxed and focused. I don’t think that’s a detriment and I’m going to put all that talk behind me. I do not engage whatsoever in trash talk, so to speak, and I just go out there and do my work, very calm, cool and collected.

Q
You’ve seen Abner fight many times before obviously and you know his style pretty well from that. What do you think is the most important thing that you can do in there to make sure you leave victorious?

L. Santa Cruz
Yes, it’s been like six, seven years since we fought in sparring. He has changed a lot. I have changed a lot too. We’re going to come out in the first round and try to use our game plan. If it’s not working, we’re going to change the plan to what we’re working on in the gym with my dad. But we have the plan to fight and to get the victory. We’re going to go out there, do what we’re doing in the gym. And once we’re up there, we’re going to know how to fight and get the victory.

Q
Are you training to get a stoppage?

L. Santa Cruz
Yes. The sooner the fight ends, the better for one of us. Less punishment, less hits. But if the stoppage didn’t come, we’d just be happy with the victory. We’re going to go out there, beat Mares any way we can get the win, that’s what’s more important.

K. Swanson
Leo, I have one more question. How is your dad holding up? This is such a big fight for you and he’s so emotional. We’ve seen it time and time again; he’s your father and your trainer. How is he holding up?

L. Santa Cruz
No, he’s really excited. He’s just calm. He tells me to not worry about nothing other than this fight. It’s very important, but with all the hard work and everything we’ve been doing in the gym, it’s going to come out good. And if it doesn’t, they’re still going to be there for me no matter what happens in the fight. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win, but we have to be concentrated and focused on what we want and know that we’re going to go out there and put on a great show.

L. Santa Cruz
I want to thank all the fans coming out to the fight, August 29, that we’re both great Mexican warriors and we’re going to go and give the fans a great show, that we’ve been training really hard, and none of us want to lose. So that when that happens, we both give a great show and an explosive war. Don’t miss it.

R. Flores
Just want to let everyone know, we appreciate the media covering Santa Cruz and Mares. Don’t miss it, August 29th. We are about two weeks away. I cannot wait to get to Los Angeles. The entire West Coast is going to be buzzing. The country is going to be buzzing, because you get this fight on free television, PBC Boxing free for all. It is going to be 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Also for the media out there, don’t forget about on Tuesday, August 18th, Abner Mares is going to have his doors open to the media, Del Mares Gym, 6400 Garfield Avenue in the Bell Gardens, California. Media to arrive there at 10:30 a.m. Abner starts his workout at 11 o’clock.

We really appreciate. We cannot wait. Abner Mares-Leo Santa Cruz. It’s going to be a historic night for boxing in Los Angeles. The Staples Center is going to be rocking and I cannot wait. PBC on ESPN, coming up August 29th, 10 o’clock Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.

Make sure to get your tickets now. They’re selling fast. They start at $25, (AXS.com) and the Staples Center box office zone.

Can’t wait for August 29th, and we will see you guys on fight week in Los Angeles.

For more information visit www.premierboxingchampions.com


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