Six of the talented boxers who will fight Friday on Showtime participated in an open workout today, for the tripleheader headlined by Erislandy Lara vs. Ishe Smith. Check out all the photos and quotes here.
In the main event from The Illusions Theater at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (19-2-2, 12 KOs), of Houston, Texas, by way of Cuba, goes against former Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith (26-6, 12 KOs),of Las Vegas, Nev., in a 12-round title fight. In a pair of 10-round co-features, once-beaten super middleweight contender Badou Jack “The Ripper” (17-1, 11 KOs), of Las Vegas, Nev., by way of Sweden, takes on upset-minded power-puncher Francisco “Panchito” Sierra (26-7-1, 23 KOs), of Tepic, Mexico, and promising undefeated junior middleweight rising star Chris “Young King” Pearson (11-0, 9 KOs), of Dayton, Ohio, will take on once-beaten Steve “Hitman” Martinez (15-1, 12 KOs), of Bronx, N.Y., in a bout that will open the telecast.
“People make excuses [for not wanting to fight me]. It has a lot to do with my style. I’m a crafty fighter but I can also punch. I look at it as excuses. Look at my record, look at all the styles I have fought. In 23 fights, there is not one guy in the sport who has fought all the guys that I have fought. I have fought [Carlos] Molina, Paul Williams, Alfredo Angulo, Canelo [Alvarez], [Austin] Trout. That’s six top 10 guys in 23 fights. Not even Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao have fought that type of opposition in 23 fights.
“Absolutely, I’m living the American dream. I am living a dream in general. To get good things in life, you have to go through hard times. Just like they say, hard times don’t last, tough people do, so I just keep marching forward.
“I have been working on making it absolutely clear there is no question of who won the fight [against Canelo]. As fights go on, you have to keep getting better and keep improving.
“You take an experience from every fight. I think there is no question I won over seven rounds of the fight [against Canelo]. If you want to give Canelo some of the rounds I wasn’t punching, that’s no problem, but you are not going to tell me I wasn’t punching and that he beat me in seven of the rounds. That’s crazy.
“I just want to fight the best. I want to fight Floyd Mayweather. I want to fight [Miguel] Cotto. If Canelo dares to do it again, I’ll beat him again. I’m not afraid of fighting anyone. I’ll fight the best. Look at my record, it speaks for itself.”
“This is a good opportunity being in San Antonio. This is my first time fighting here, but the fight fans are wonderful. I was here for Canelo vs. Trout and it was great. It’s just good to be here in San Antonio. Fighting in the main event, I’ve done it before and I’ve done it on the road. I won a title fighting Cornelius Bundrage in his hometown so its nothing I haven’t experienced before.
“Every fighter’s dream is to win a world championship. This is just another opportunity where I can cement my legacy in boxing when I’m gone. Obviously I can’t do this forever. I’m 36 now, its getting to that point but I’ve got many years left. I’m just excited to cement my legacy Friday.
“Lara had to do what he had to do in terms of making more money to fight Canelo. The opportunity was greater and he was on a bigger stage, so I understand that. Things happen for a reason and now we’re back here.
“We’ve prepared for the best possible Erislandy Lara on Friday. Whatever he brings to the table we’re ready for. He may shock everyone and want to stay there and fight. I’ve been hearing reports that he wants to be the first to knock me out so that means he has to fight. I’m excited about that. We’re just prepared for anything he may bring.
“Floyd brought me in when he was training for Cotto. He said boxing hadn’t been fair to me and that I deserve a title shot at least. He said, ‘I’m going to get you to the door. It’s up to you what you do when you get there.’ This is just another opportunity. He’s got me back to the door and I’m going to take advantage of it.
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize I’m here. Every day I count my blessings and I don’t take it for granted that I’m still here and one of the few guys that made it out.
“On Friday, I’m going to win and as Al Davis says: ‘just win baby,’ that’s it. That’s the only thing I’m focused on. After I win I’m going to take a long vacation. These camps take a lot out of my body. I’m not 26, I’m more like 46…All I’m focused on is winning. That’s how I was going into the K9 fight. Everything was against me, we were in his backyard. All I told myself was ‘just win.'”
“Camp went well; I had an injury before and its 95 percent good right now in my right hand. I had a good camp; I sparred with Ronald Gavril, Louis Arias, and a couple other guys.
“I won my last fight with one hand basically. I threw a couple of rights, but I couldn’t throw it with any power. I had a torn ligament in my right hand, but it’s healed and I feel good right now.
“I haven’t seen that much about him [Francisco Sierra], but I guess he’s about my height. He seems to have a good right hand.
“I’m confident I’m going to beat him.
“It’s a big opportunity to fight on SHOWTIME. A lot of people dream about this so I am very blessed and happy for that. I want to thank Floyd Mayweather and SHOWTIME for this. If everything goes well this fight, hopefully we get a big fight in May maybe, we’ll see.”
“I spent the first part of training in Tepic, Nayarit and I trained the last two weeks in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Training camp has been very good. I’ve been doing very well. I’ve been training a lot, almost too much.
“I’ve fought on television many times and been to San Antonio a bunch of times. I like fighting in front of a large crowd.
“My biggest strength is my wicked punch. When I was a young kid my trainers got me up to 22 wins, 21 by knockout, and I’m just trying to keep impressing people.
“I know Badou Jack is a strong fighter but what we’ve got in common is that we’ve fought the same man, Marco Antonio Periban. I lost to him and Badou Jack didn’t win. We fought the same guy so we’re in the same category and Badou Jack’s going to have to fight. He’s going to have to give it.
“There’s a lot of Mexican blood up here in San Antonio and the Mexican people like boxing.
“It’s going to be a tough fight but I’m going to win.”
“It’s another opportunity God is giving me to put my skills and confidence on display so I’m thankful. Any time I get an opportunity I’m thankful. We put in a lot of work so we’re ready.
“I’m a boxer-puncher. I have a lot of amateur experience. I’ve been in with some tough guys and I’ve been able to beat some tough guys, so I feel like I’m proven. At this point I’m focused on Steve Martinez and on Friday night. The fans will see everything they need to see.
“Steve Martinez is just a solid guy. Not too much I’m looking out for. I know he comes to fight and I’m coming to fight, so we’ll see what happens.
“I fought in San Antonio in the amateurs. I won in the National Trials here so I’ve been here a few times…San Antonio has a lot of Hispanics here and Hispanics are some of the biggest boxing fans that support the sport. It’s going to be fun to have these guys at the Alamodome. I know the energy is going to be high.
“I’m focused on the fight right now. If I do what I need to do and take care of business and I’m sure 2015 will be a much bigger year, but I’ve got to take care of business Friday first.”
“To tell you the truth, for this training camp, I had tunnel vision. I have been focused on boxing, Chris Pearson, strength and conditioning, training, running and sparing. I have had tunnel vision preparing for this fight. The only thing I needed was a poster of him to wake up to see every morning. Everything else was blocked out.
“I watched his last fight and a couple of fights before that, but I wasn’t checking footage on him every day. A couple of times I checked him out to see what his defects are. I wasn’t doing that much studying, I let my trainer and my people around me do that.
“In his last fight there were times he got lazy, if he was to get lazy in there with me, it would be a different story. He should be on his toes and active 24/7. Every round, he must stay awake and active or else he will be baffled.
“I’m really humble, I know its SHOWTIME. I’m staying level headed. I’m not trying to be Mr. Big Shot and the star, I’m just trying to stay level. If anything bad happened [in this fight], I could rocket down. I’m staying level and staying humble. Coming out of the Bronx there are a lot of teens, kids, family members and neighbors that look up to me from my gym. It is a pleasure and an enjoyment. They know I’m working hard and I’m hungry. Coming out of the Bronx, it’s not a place where a lot of successful people come out of, so I am happy to show people that it is possible.
“My parents, friends, family and trainer know that this is a fight that I’ve been waiting for since I started boxing at 11-years-old. This is the fight I’ve been working more than half my life for to become a world champion. This is the first step to accomplishing my goals and dreams; my dream of becoming a world champion.”