By Barbara Pinnella
Photos by Linda Jolicoeur
Tuesday afternoon was the final press conference for the two televised fights that will air on HBO this Saturday, at 10 ET/ 7 PT live from the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA. The promoter is Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. The main event will be Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KOs) going up against Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs). On the line is the WBC interim welterweight world championship. The co-feature will be Keith “One Time” Thurman (18-0, 17 KOs) facing Carlos Quintana (29-3, 23 KOs).
De La Hoya told us that people are excited about the fight and they are expecting big numbers both at the venue and for television. Here are what the fighters themselves had to say about the upcoming fight.
“I’m really excited about the fight. I’ve had a tremendous training camp. I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been in in a long time, and I’m focused. I thank the Guerrero camp for taking the fight. He’s a tough opponent. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and what he went through with his wife; nothing you can do but respect a man like that.
“So he’s a tough opponent and he’s gonna come to fight, but like I said, I’m in shape. I’m looking forward to it, I’m ready to get back in the groove and get back under the lights and have fun like I used to. After all that’s gone on and all the BS I’m ready to go have fun. So be sure you tune in Saturday night. It’s gonna be good, and I’m gonna have some fun!”
“First off I want to thank God, without him nothing’s possible. I want to thank Golden Boy, Oscar, HBO for putting the fight together. I want to thank Team Berto for taking the fight also. Man, there’s nothing to say now. It’s time to fight. I’m ready to go. I’m excited for this fight, and I’m ready to take care of business. We’re ready. Thanks.”
“I want to thank everybody for being here and thanks to Golden Boy and everyone at HBO for making this fight possible. I’m very excited; I love fighting on this type of event on HBO, and especially at this weight, 154 pounds.
“At 147 it was very difficult to make the weight. I’m not even looking back at that division. In this division I’m undefeated, I feel very good, very strong. I’m not looking back, I’m looking forward only.
“I expect a very difficult fight from my opponent. I know he’s very strong, young, he knows how to box, but after the fight on the 24th we will be victorious. At 36 years of age, I’ve found a new motivation. I have the experience and the want. I was once his age, I know he is hungry. But today is my time.
“After my win on Saturday I told Oscar that on May 4th, unless Cotto gets in my way, I want Canelo Alvarez.” (Oscar raised his eyebrows and smiled at this.) “He’s young, he’s strong, he’s a great champion, and that’s the type of fight that I want. I want the best in the division, and he is the best in the division.”
“I just want to thank De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions, and HBO. I feel really good about being here again. I’m living a dream. I’ve been boxing since I was seven years old. This is where I want to be in the world of boxing is right here on HBO.
“This fight is a great fight. We both have the desire to win. We both have the desire to be champions. He’s been champion once and wants to be again. I’m up and coming on the rise, and I believe that I will be one of the next champions in the division. I plan on taking out many people during my career.
“Tune in please, if you’re not coming out to the fights, tune in, don’t miss the action. There’s going to be plenty of action. Yeah, it’s gonna be a tough fight, but I’ve got a lot of confidence coming in to the fight. I feel strong and I had a great camp. I’m ready to do my thing ‘one time’.
“You heard what he had to say about the fight. He’s already looking forward. He’s looking to get me out of the ring. And that’s what I like, I like confidence. I don’t like people with fear in their hearts. I want good fights that the viewers and the fans can enjoy.
“So come out and don’t blink, please don’t blink. I have a lot of knockouts early in my career, first round or second round. I have all the confidence that I have the ability and the skills to make that happen. So pay attention at all times, if you have to go to the bathroom, try to hold it! Come out and show your love for the sport, and thanks for coming out right now.”