By Barbara Pinnella
Photos by Barbara Pinnella
Today was the final press conference for the defending WBC super bantamweight champion Abner Mares (24-0-1, 13 KOs) vs. Anselmo Moreno (33-1-1, 12 KOs) fight. Also on hand were defending IBF bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz and the man he will face, Victor Zaleta, and Alfredo Angulo and his opponent Raul Casarez, as well as the fighter from Wales, and current and defending WBO light heavyweight champion, Nathan Cleverly.
Golden Boy Promotions’ Oscar De La Hoya welcomed us and reminded us that the event will be televised live on ShowTime, as well as some of the preliminary fights being available on Showtime Extreme. He thanked the Executive Vice President / General Manager of Showtime Sports, Stephen Espinoza, as well as the matchmakers for helping make this card happen.
“Abner Mares is the very first champion that we ever had at Golden Boy Promotions,” De La Hoya said. “We’ve seen his fights against Vic Darchinyan and Joseph Agbeko. Now the fans have the chance to see him fight live here at Staples. He’s a great person outside the ring, and the fans love him for his fan-friendly style. People keep saying that this is a tough fight for him. Well, it’s a tough fight for Anselmo Moreno also. Yeah, it’s a tough fight – it’s a fight! A fight where you have two great champions; the best fighting the best.”
Mares then stepped to the podium and apologized for wearing his sunglasses. “First of all I ask that you’ll excuse me wearing sunglasses, the reason being is that I just got back from my eye doctor appointment and my eyes are dilated. What can I say; I’m ready for Saturday night. I have to thank my entire team and Showtime. Showtime for really, really getting my name out there. I have to thank them. Without them no one would recognize me or know how Abner Mares fights.
“Now they do. They know I come here to fight. They know I leave everything in the ring. They know I do not leave the ring without giving the fans what they want. I want to say that it’s been a long way, and I can honestly say that I’ve made it, being a world champion. I came to this country when I was seven years old, and now seeing myself on a big stage here at Staples Center, it makes me really happy and makes me work even harder. I will not disappoint you on November 10. I will give you the fight of the year.”
Oscar came back up and said, “From top to bottom it will be an exciting night of boxing, headlined by what people are already calling probably the fight of the year – event of the year. Anselmo Moreno has been unbeatable and unstoppable since he had his lone loss in 2002. He comes in with an amazing 27-fight winning streak. He is moving up to face the very best fighter at 122 pounds. That just shows you what Anselmo Moreno’s all about.”
With that Moreno came to the podium. “I’m very happy to be here. I’m in perfect condition for this Saturday, and I’m really very happy to fight Abner Mares, and for the great opportunity. Now we just wait for Friday to go to the weigh-in, and make the weight, and Saturday we will enjoy the fight. Thank you very much.”
De La Hoya sang the praises of Santa Cruz (21-0-1, 12 KOs). “His style is just relentless; he comes forward and keeps throwing punches. And his body punches; unbelievable! He has a tremendous body attack and he’s here to make another statement.”
Leo came out and had these things to say; “I want to thank everybody for being here. I’m very happy; I’m excited. I want to thank Golden Boy, Richard (Schaefer), and my whole team. Come support us on November 10. I dedicate the fight to all my fans and the people of Mexico. I’m excited to fight a fighter like Zaleta. He’s a strong fighter, he comes forward, and the better fighter is gonna win on November 10.”
Oscar pointed out that Zaleta (20-2-1, 10 KOs) will be coming into someone’s backyard when he fights Santa Cruz.
“Thank you all for being here and want to thank the promoters involved that allowed this fight to happen, and I’m happy to be in this beautiful city,” Victor said. “I’m excited and this is my first time here – hopefully it’s not my last time here – and I’m ready to put on a good fight. I’m ready to face a great fighter in Leo Santa Cruz, that’s what he is, a great fighter, and I’ll be ready Saturday night. So thank you.”
The first fight televised on Showtime will be the one between Angulo (20-2, 17 KOs) and Casarez (19-2, 9 KOs).
“Thank you so much for coming,” Alfredo said, “I’m a little nervous, I haven’t seen you, the press, in a long time. But thank you for helping me so much. I’m happy to be fighting in my house, L.A., and I worked very hard for this fight, it’s been a long time. Thank you, Raul Casarez for the opportunity. He’s a good fighter and I want to give a really, really good fight for the fans.”
Then he got a bit emotional for a moment. “I’m really nervous,” he smiled. “I know, I haven’t spoken before in this language, it’s the first time. I’m so sorry. It’s just, thank you so much for everything.”
Raul first thanked Angulo in Spanish for growing his hair for Locks of Love. Then he got down to business, albeit short and sweet.
“What can I say; I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity. I’ve trained really hard with my team to make the best of this night.”
Nathan Cleverly (24-0, 11 KO’s) thanked his promoter as well as De La Hoya for making the fight happen. “This is a great experience and opportunity to come to the States to showcase my talent, and I’m looking to make a statement on Saturday night. It’s an opportunity to take my career to another level. I’ve loved my experience here, the public has been great. I’m looking forward to showing my exciting style.
Mares vs. Moreno, a 12-round battle for Mares’ WBC Super Bantamweight World Championship taking place on November 10 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. In the co-featured attractions, Los Angeles’ own Leo “Terremoto” Santa Cruz puts his IBF Bantamweight World Championship on the line against Victor “Nene” Zaleta and hard-hitting junior middleweight Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo of Los Angeles by way of Mexicali, Mexico makes his highly anticipated return against Raul Casarez in a 12-round bout. The SHOWTIME® CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins live at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). Preliminary fights will air live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Tickets priced at $200, $100, $50 and $25, not including applicable service charges and taxes, are on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at (800) 745-3000 and at the STAPLES Center Box Office.