Undefeated welterweight world champions Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before they headline this Saturday, March 4 in primetime from Barclays Center.
Also in attendance Thursday and opening the broadcast at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT were undefeated rising star Erickson Lubin and once-beaten knockout artist Jorge Cota, who meet in a super welterweight world title eliminator.
“This fight has been brewing for a long time. Both of us wanted this fight. There’s a reason why this fight is happening. We’re young, we’re hungry and we’re not trying to wait around. It’s time for this to go down.
“I’ve had a great camp. This is nothing new to me. I’m happy to be in this moment with all these people here. I’ve had a dream since I was a little boy to be not just your average champion, but to be a great champion. Before I had that dream, Ben Getty believed in me and it’s because of him that I’m where I’m at today. He predicted this before anyone.
“Danny is a smart fighter. He’s swift. He keeps rising to the top. He knows he has people underestimating him now and that fuels him. For me, I’m fueled by legacy. I want greatness for myself.
“It’s Danny’s reputation against my reputation. We’re both prideful fighters. You’re putting two of the best together. He wants to prove that he can be a unified champion in two divisions and I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to get fights like this. I want to show how and why I’m better than my competition. Saturday night is my platform to show the world how great of a champion I am.
“Danny looks ready. But I stay true when I look at you. His eyes wandered, so I wondered a little what that means. What really matters is how the fight starts. You find out if the fighter carries momentum, or if it shifts. What happens, when we land our first big punches?
“He feels confident and I feel confident. I believe that I have more to offer. I feel that I can box my way to victory. I visualize outcomes. I don’t think Danny wins without a stoppage. If it goes to the scorecards, it’ll favor me.
“There hasn’t been one opponent who’s gotten in the ring with me and said that my power isn’t for real. I think my power and my boxing IQ will be the same. I can change it up. I can do what I need to do, so you are unable to do what you want to do.
“This is going to be a fight that you can’t miss. It’s going to be right in your house. If you can’t make it to the arena, you can make it to the couch. This is elite world class championship boxing in primetime. This is for all sports fans.”
“This deserves all the media attention that it’s getting. I’ve been a champion for five years already and I’ve been a unified champion. Saturday I have an opportunity to unify another division. It’s always been a dream to unify multiple divisions and now I have my chance.
“We put in all the hard work. We did everything we had to do. I feel really good and I feel confident. On Saturday night, I’m going to be a unified champion again.
“I fight to win. I fight to secure my family’s future and that’s what it’s all about. That’s what we train so hard for. I’m going to give the fans something to watch on Saturday.
“Legacy is very important to me. I have more milestones than Thurman. This is his biggest fight. I’ve been in big fights before. Every championship fight is a part of history.
“People say he’s the bigger man because he’s been at this weight longer than me. I’m taller than him, I’m wider than him and I have a bigger back than him. I feel like I’m the fresher welterweight.
“You can’t chase a legacy or money. When you get desperate, you’ll try to take a shortcut. Everything I do is for the love of the sport. I’ve been blessed to be in this position.
“I started boxing because I wanted a trophy. I wanted to show my friends a trophy. I didn’t know the value of a dollar, that came later.
“I’ve been the underdog before. All ‘underdog’ means is that there are a whole bunch of people who don’t know what I can do. I rise to the occasion every time. I win because I’m better. On Saturday night I’m going to prove it again.”
“I made sure that I ate the right things and done everything perfectly during camp. This training camp went great thanks to my team and you’ll see the results on Saturday.
“If you don’t know me now, you will after Saturday night. This fight is in honor of my dear friend and cutman, Todd Harlib. I wish he could have seen this, but I know he’s looking down on me,
“Come Saturday night I’m going to make my mark in the division. I will become the youngest champion this year. Mark my words. We know my opponent is coming to fight. I’ve proven myself in past fights but I’m still young. I will become the mandatory challenger on Saturday night.
These type of fights bring the best out of me. I’m young, fierce and hungry. I’m excited to get in the ring and perform.
“I’m very thankful for this opportunity. I’m coming to fight and I’m coming to win.
“This is a big opportunity for me and I’m going to take full advantage. My dream is to win a world title and I know I have what it takes.
“I know I have a tough opponent Saturday night who people think very highly of. I have to believe in my training and keep throwing punches until I get the victory.
“I’m very happy to be fighting in New York city as part of this great card and I’m going to put on a show.”
LOU DIBELLA, President of DiBella Entertainment
“It really doesn’t get better than this for a boxing fan. This is as significant a fight as you can make in boxing right now and it might be the best fight you can make in boxing.
“The fact that this fight is on broadcast television on CBS is a huge plus for our business and anyone who loves boxing, For a fight of this magnitude available to so many people is a tremendous thing for boxing.
“Were on pace to set all sorts of records in terms of attendance and gate for boxing in the history of the great borough of Brooklyn.
“The main event on Saturday doesn’t need a lot of hype. It’s just the second primetime fight on CBS in 40 years and the most significant fight on network television in a generation.
“Keith and Danny have been on a collision course for their whole careers. These guys wanted to fight each other. This is one they both really wanted to happen now.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive VP & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports
“The sport of boxing is on the rise and SHOWTIME is proud to be a part of it. We are leading the industry with the strongest lineup of fights in boxing. No one is doing for boxing what SHOWTIME is. We’re doing everything possible to spread the word about these great events to fight fans.
“We’re delivering the best fights and bringing it to the widest audience possible. Saturday is no exception. Two undefeated champions in the prime of their careers. It’s elite fighter versus elite fighter and on free television, not PPV.
“When two fighters meet at Barclays, it is always special. In June, Thurman vs. Shawn Porter was a Fight of the year candidate, In July, Santa Cruz vs. Frampton was a Fight of the Year candidate. January of this year, Badou Jack vs. James DeGale was another Fight of the Year candidate. On Saturday night, this will be another special fight.
“When the best fight the best, special things happen. Leonard vs. Hurns, Trinidad vs. De La Hoy, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Big fights and memorable fights. This has always been boxing’s glamor division. On Saturday night you will found out who the top fighter in this division is.
“The co-feature we have one of boxing’s brightest, most talented prospects in Erickson Lubin. If you don’t know him, you should. He’s taking on the toughest opponent of his career. An experienced fighter, a monster puncher and a real tough test. This whole card is worthy of this slot on CBS.”
BRETT YORMARK, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
“This Saturday the nation will see world class championship boxing at its best and on display at Barclays Center in front of millions of primetime viewers on CBS. These are two undefeated superstars in the ring and we are proud to be the host.
“We will have our biggest crowd ever for a boxing event on Saturday, by far. It’s on pace to be one of the biggest non-Nets sporting event, in terms of gross revenue, in Barclays Center history.
“Barclays Center is Danny’s home away from home. Since fighting in our first event in 2012 he has gone on become one of the sport’s biggest names
“Keith has fought twice in Brooklyn and cemented his legacy in the sport and brought himself new fans. We’re thrilled to have him back for this great event.”