Three of the fighters who’ll be fighting on CBS Television Network’s portion of an unprecedented boxing marathon on CBS and SHOWTIME® this Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena participated in a media workout Monday at the Ponce De Leon Boxing Gym in Montebello, Calif. Take a look at photos and quotes from the training session right here.
The three – undefeated IBF Bantamweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz (22-0-1, 13 KO’s), of Los Angeles, his challenger, unbeaten Alberto Guevara (16-0, 6 KO’s) of San Diego, Calif. and 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph “Jo-Jo” Diaz, of South El Monte, Calif. – each worked out for approximately 30 minutes.
LEO SANTA CRUZ
“Considering that six months ago I was just a guy fighting on undercards to now being picked to headline and defend my title on free network television is hard to believe, but I’m so happy. It is a tremendous honor and something I am not taking lightly. I really want to thank my promoter, Golden Boy, my advisor, Al Haymon, CBS, SHOWTIME and everyone involved for making this happen.
“Winning the world title and making two defenses on SHOWTIME also had a lot to do with this happening for me, but this is also is validation for all the hard work I’ve put in my whole life. I wasn’t one of the guys in high school that once school was out went out and played. I went directly to the gym.
“I don’t drink or do any of that other stuff. I don’t go to clubs at night. I just train and fight; that’s basically been my life since I decided to dedicate 100 percent of myself to boxing. You can never learn enough in the gym and I continue to learn all the time.
“This is such an unbelievable opportunity. To fight on CBS is the greatest exposure you can get. I’ve always considered myself a hard worker, but I have worked even harder for this. I’m always a little nervous but I’m already a little more nervous than usual. Fighting in the main event on CBS is just so unbelievably great.
“I think I was about nine-years-old the last time there was a live fight on CBS (January 20, 1997, Bernard Hopkins KO 11 over Glen Johnson). I don’t remember watching it, but I’m sure my Dad did.
“Fans can look forward to seeing an exciting fight on Saturday. I know Guevara fought on one of my undercards once in Mazatlan, Mexico (July 30, 2011). I remember seeing him in the dressing room beforehand, but I didn’t see his fight. I know he’s a good boxer who will be looking at this as his opportunity of a lifetime. I felt the same way before my first title fight in June.
“I’ve fought boxers before. The way to beat them is to work the body, break them down, slow their movement and make them bang with me.
“This will not be an easy fight, but I’m ready and confident. I’m looking forward to winning on Saturday and then taking off for Christmas vacation, being able to kick back and relax for a while and eating some homemade tamales.”
“I really can’t describe how happy I am to be fighting for a world title on such a great network like CBS. This is definitely as good as it gets. I’m very proud to be part of this event, but what’s important to me is to be able to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I understand that there are not a lot of people who know about me, but I’ve always felt that if I continued to do my job in the ring, the attention would come little by little. With this opportunity I can get a lot of recognition right away.
“I know what kind of fighter Santa Cruz is. I fought on one of his undercards in Mexico. He is a fighting machine. I’m more of a boxer who relies on his smarts and skills. I definitely don’t run, but I’m in there to use my boxing skills. When an opportunity comes for a knockout, I take it. In this fight, I know I need to dictate the pace.
“I come from a fighting family. My grandfather boxed. My oldest brother fought as an amateur. I have a brother, Pedro, who is 23, one year older than me and he fought for the IBF light flyweight title in August and lost a split decision to John Riel Casimero, so I’ve always received good advice.
“One of the important things for me in this fight is to always stay very conscious of what I am doing in the ring at all times. I have to fight smart to win because he is the champion.
“I think my greatest advantage is my brain. When I’m not fighting, I’m studying to be a lawyer. I’m in my fifth year of college at the big university in Sinaloa. I’m following in Pedro’s footsteps. He’s already a lawyer. I’m single and I split my time between studying and training.
“Although this will be my first fight in the United States, I have fought on big cards before. I have fought in front of 13,000 fans on undercards of Eric Morales’ fights in Mexico.
“When they called with this opportunity, we took the fight without hesitation. I said, ‘yes, absolutely, I want the fight.’ I never thought when we both fought on the same card that I would be fighting him for a world title so soon, but I always knew it was a possibility.
“I look forward to being able to showing fans what I can do. I have big plans to defeat Santa Cruz. I’m looking at Saturday as an early Christmas for me.”
JOSEPH “JO-JO” DIAZ JR.
“I think the timing is perfect for me to turn pro. I waited a little looking for the best fit, and Golden Boy fit the bill perfectly, so I’m very happy and ready to go. This is a dream come true, a blessing. Since I was 11 and started training at the South El Monte Teamsters Youth Boxing Club, I always wanted to be a pro fighter. I’m very excited about finally being able to showcase my skills.
“The Olympics was a disappointment, but a great learning experience. I’ve learned to live with it. You can’t change the past, so now I’m totally focused on fighting pro.
“All things considered I’m pretty calm. I’ll probably get a case of nerves in the dressing room on fight night, but once I get in the ring I’ll be ready to rumble. I work very hard and have a great team. They made the transition for me from amateur to the pro style pretty easy.
“I’m really thankful for all who have helped me get to this point, and can’t wait to fight on Saturday on CBS. Fighting on CBS is an incredible honor.”
The exciting, non-stop action fighter Santa Cruz will defend against Guevara in a battle of unbeatens while Diaz will make his pro debut in the opening bout of the live 90-minute CBS broadcast that will begin at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT. Admission is free to the afternoon event that will also include three of Diaz’s U.S. Olympic teammates, Errol Spence of Brentwood, N.Y., Marcus Browne of Staten Island, N.Y., and Dominic Breazeale of Alhambra, Calif., who made their professional debuts on SHOWTIME’S ShoBox: The New Generation on Nov. 9.
In Saturday’s main event on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (10:30 p.m. ET, delayed on the West Coast), former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion and British superstar Amir “King” Khan (26-3, 18 KO’s), of Bolton, England, makes his ring return against undefeated Carlos Molina (17-0-1, 7 KO’s), of Los Angeles in a fight for the vacant WBC Silver Super Lightweight Championship. The co-featured attractions on SHOWTIME will feature two 10-round bouts: knockout artist and 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (25-0, 25 KO’s), of Tuscaloosa, Ala., faces Kelvin Price (13-0, 6 KO’s), of Pensacola, Fla., in a clash of undefeated heavyweights for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight Championship and Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (21-2, 18 KO’s), of Los Angeles, faces Jorge Silva (18-2-2, 14 KO’s), of Chula Vista, Calif., in a junior middleweight match.
The event will also be televised live by Sky Sports 1HD in the United Kingdom at 2:00 a.m. GMT on Sunday, December 16.
Sandwiched between the CBS and SHOWTIME telecasts will be a 10-round fight on SHOWTIME EXTREME (9:00 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) between unbeaten welterweight Shawn “Showtime” Porter (20-0, 14 KO’s), of Cleveland, Ohio, and former World Champion Julio Diaz (40-7, 29 KO’s), of Indio, Calif.
Saturday’s event will feature Golden Boy’s Holiday Fanfest on the grounds of the Sports Arena that will include music, autograph sessions with boxing’s biggest stars, games, boxing memorabilia, a visit by Santa Claus at an Oscar De La Hoya Foundation-sponsored toy give-away (10:00 a.m.), and much more.