International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver Bantamweight Champion Abner Mares, World Boxing Association (WBA) Bantamweight Super Champion Anselmo Moreno, Two-Division World Champion Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan and Hall of Fame Promoter Don King held a media conference call on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming fight card on Saturday, Dec. 3, live on Showtime from Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
In the main event, unbeaten rising star Mares (22-0-1, 13 KO’s), of Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., will defend his International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver Bantamweight Championship titles against the boxer he dethroned, former Two-Time IBF Bantamweight World Champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko (28-3, 22KO’s), of Accra, Ghana.
In the co-featured world championship bout, Moreno (31-1-1, 11 KO’s), of Panama City, Panama, will defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) Bantamweight Super Championship against Darchinyan (37-3-1, 27 KO’s), of Sydney, Australia, by way of Vanadzor, Armenia.
Here are some highlights of what the principals had to say on Wednesday.
“I still have something to prove – that I’m a complete fighter. I just can’t wait to get into the ring and beat Agbeko and beat him a different way. I know it’s going to be a great fight and he’s a great ex-champion.
“I’m blessed and honored to have had some great fights against great fighters. The guys I’ve beaten have given me great experience and have done so much for me mentally. It means that I can beat the best and have success at this level.
“I’ve grown and I’ve learned from every fight. Each one I learn a little something new. Fight fans want to come see me because they know what Abner is going to bring and they want to come to see what I’m going to do next. I train to become a better fighter because you never quit learning.
“I’m a fighter that always likes to go to the body. Agbeko is the kind of fighter that leans down but you’re not going to see any of that in the next fight. It’s going to be a tremendous fight and I think people will leave very happy.
“I’m a perfectionist and I’m definitely going to go to the body. I’m going to throw a lot of body punches. If I see that the ref is saying my punches are too low then I’m going to stop doing it.
“I think Agbeko is a more complete fighter than the last two fighters I fought (Yonnhy Perez and Darchinyan). The way he kind of pulls down and the way he hides his head is pretty good.”
“What I tell everyone is that if I would have been penalized or had a point taken away in the early rounds (of the first Agbeko fight), I would have definitely stopped going to the body. I thought most of my punches were right at the belt line. It was not my intention to hit him low like that and I didn’t mean to hit him there. I fought my best and he fought his best and the fans were excited about the fight.
“I do see where all the controversy comes from. There were some low punches, but I tried to correct them. There were times when he pulled my head down and the ref told him not to. I thought at one point I was going to get penalized, but I just went to a neutral corner and just saw the ref started counting. It’s not my fault. I can’t tell the ref to stop counting, so you can’t blame me for that. That’s why I have no problem fighting him again and I can’t wait to fight and beat him again.
“All eyes are going to be on me and waiting for me to make the mistakes, but I’m determined to go to the body like I always do. We’re ready. We have plan A and plan B and plan C.
“I can’t wait till Dec. 3, so I can show everyone what Abner Mares is made of.”
“We’ve faced all kinds of fights and styles. Not all fights are the same and not all fighters are the same, so we’re preparing ourselves 100 percent so that on Dec. 3, it’s going to be my night and that everyone will leave pleased with my performance.
“It’s one thing to say something, but it’s another thing to go out and do it. We are prepared and we have watched Vic Darchinyan. We are going to do everything to counter him and make him feel uncomfortable.
“I’ve had eight title defenses, but I needed a name like Vic Darchinyan to put my name out there on the map. I’m very happy to be with Golden Boy Promotions now and my mindset is all about Dec. 3and coming out victorious. I know after I win I will want to challenge the other winner to unify the titles. Why not fight Abner Mares after this fight, or Agbeko? I want to unify all the titles at 118.
“My style fascinates me; when they are right in front of me and I can make them miss. They miss and I counter them. That’s the art of boxing. Hit and not be hit.
“I’m going to go in there and do my job. I’m going to punch him and attack him and make him miss.
“Let the winner be the winner. Whoever wins, let the right guy win.”
“I’m well prepared and I want to show everyone in America and the rest of the world that I’m very fit and ready to go. As soon as I’m done fighting (Moreno), I want to fight Abner Mares and I will destroy him. That’s what I want.
“I think Moreno is an OK fighter. I don’t think he’s a very effective fighter because he just goes round by round. I’m just going to be too strong for him. He’s bigger than me maybe body-wise, but I’m going to be too strong for him.
“I know I have to be patient. I can’t be in a rush like I did against Agbeko. I just wanted to knock him out in the first round and I was very impatient. I had no control in the ring because I wanted to just knock him out. I’m not just going to try and knock (Moreno) out. I’m going to take my time.
“I’ve seen a couple of his fights. He’s always trying to push his opponent’s around. He comes in not so fit and he gets tired after the sixth round. He’s won his recent fights by split decision and he’s just looking to survive. He wants to win the first six or seven rounds, but I’m just going to come and demolish him and be so much stronger than him.
“I think he (Moreno) looks a little like my first world title fight against (Irene) Pacheco, but Pacheco is more aggressive. He’s a southpaw and tall and a good mover, but I think Pacheco is more aggressive than Moreno. They are both good movers and come to fight, so it’s going to be a good fight.
“I know Moreno is a great fighter and wants to take me out, but if I win this fight I want to fight the winner of Agbeko-Mares. I just love to fight. Anyone who comes, I’m just going to destroy him.”
DON KING (Agbeko’s Promoter):
“It wasn’t Mares’ fault that there was a bad referee in the last fight. Everyone in the world condemned the poor performance he put in, which really changed the outcome of the fight. Hopefully this time the fighters will decide on what they will do and how they will do it in the ring.
“SHOWTIME has got a big winner here and I’m looking forward to it with great anticipation.
“I truly don’t count the last fight and the loss (Agbeko) had because of the faults of Mr. (Russell) Mora and his poor officiating. However, now it’s up to Agbeko to stand up and be accounted for and that he can redeem himself. He knows that he’s the one that has to do this.
“I will be there for the fight in California. I think Mares is a great fighter and he’s really articulated well about what happened in the last fight. However, I think the blemish is a big one because of the low blows that were thrown and there was no rectification by the referee or condolence by the man who was supposed to be watching the referee and telling him what to do.”