Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares 2 & Jermell Charlo vs. Austin Trout International Media Conference Call Transcript & Audio Recording

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Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares 2 & Jermell Charlo vs. Austin Trout
International Media Conference Call Transcript & Audio Recording
 
Click HERE for Audio Recording
 
Richard Schaefer
Thank you so much for being on today’s call. Very excited to have all the fighters here. We only have ten days to go until the big Saturday, June 9 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING World Championship double header which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions. Tickets are still available. They begin at $50 here at STAPLES Center. We had a tremendous demand already. The gross gate already exceeds what those two guys did the first time around, so I do expect a sell out at the STAPLES Center.
 
I want to introduce to you first, Chris DeBlasio, the Senior Vice President of Sports Communications from SHOWTIME. I think Chris wants to make a few opening comments. And of course, I like to always thank my good friend, Stephen Espinoza, for his commitment to the sport as well. Chris, do you want to say a few words?
 
Chris DeBlasio   
Thanks, Richard and thank you to the fighters for your patience. We’re really excited for this particular fight card. First off, we’re excited to be back in Los Angeles. The fight crowd in Southern California is knowledgeable, excitable, usually star-studded as well. It always makes for a great experience in the arena and that translates onto television and that’s what we’re about, putting on exciting fight cards on our network.
 
STAPLES Center is a world-class venue. We’re thrilled to be back there. It’s been more than five years since we’ve had an event there. The bottom line is that SHOWTIME continues to lead the boxing industry. We’re delivering the largest slate of live events week after week and month after month. These are the most pivotal match-ups, the most competitive match-ups in boxing’s deepest divisions. It’s just a fact for literally SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event after event.
 
On Saturday June 9, we have two world title fights with four men ranked in the top 10 of their respective divisions. The main event features two guys that are top five ranked champions. The four fighters on this card have a few things in common. First off, they’ve been amongst the most prolific fighters on our network in the recent era. Between Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares, Jermell Charlo, and Austin Trout, they fought a combined 41 times on SHOWTIME. That includes a few SHOWTIME pay-per-view events. That’s a pretty remarkable number.
 
Our audience is familiar with their exciting style and their aggressiveness. Secondly — and I think it’s as important or more important really — these guys have consistently sought the top opposition fight after fight. That’s all four of them. Over the past three years, our network has delivered many 154-pound world title fights, many featuring Austin Trout and Jermell Charlo and Saturday will be our 10th.
 
We continue to see the best fighters fight the best opposition fight after fight and we’re seeing a move closer and closer towards identifying one, true champion, the one man to beat, at super welterweight. And that’s a really exciting prospect in a deep division like that. Likewise, for the main event on Saturday, SHOWTIME has had four high-stakes featherweight bouts on our network in just the past two months. That’s another division that’s long on talent and the stars of the sport are continuing to battle for the top spot fight after fight.
 
So again, I thank you for your patience and letting me drop that in there. I think it’s important. We’re thrilled at SHOWTIME to be able to put on fights like this with incredible athletes like the four men we have on Saturday. So, Richard, back to you.
 
R. Schaefer
Thank you Chris. Our main event is the rematch of one of 2015’s most exciting battles, the Featherweight World Championship between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares. And finally, we are here again where those two all-action warriors will meet, not only for the bragging rights here in Los Angeles, but really, who is gonna be the king of the 126 pound weight class, one of the deepest weight classes in the sport.
 
The co-main event pits the WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Jermell Charlo against the former world champion, Austin Trout. It’s a 12-round co-main event and with Charlo, we have certainly one of the most exciting fighters in the world today, not only with how he performs inside the ring, but his charisma and the way he carries himself outside of the ring as well. So, it’s really a special treat to have Jermell here in Los Angeles defending his WBC Super Welterweight World Championship.
 
He’s going to be facing Austin Trout, a fighter who certainly is one of the craftiest in the sport, has a record of 31 wins with only 4 loses. He is trained now by one of the best trainers in the sport, Barry Hunter. He has been a world champion, former WBA Super Welterweight World Champion. I know he wants to take this opportunity and become a world champion again.
 
We all remember how he turned back Miguel Cotto at the Madison Square Garden back in 2012 and he was also the last fighter to go the distance with Jermall Charlo, losing to him in May 2015. It’s a pleasure now to turn it over to Austin Trout to make a few opening comments and then open it up for questions. Austin?
 
Austin Trout      
Yes, I’m happy to be here. I’m ready to get this going. Woken up from a nap and I’ve got training to go to. Let’s go.
 
R. Schaefer
Let me introduce to you the man, as I mentioned to you before, one of the toughest fighters in the sport, Jermell Charlo. He’s undefeated. He’s the WBC Super Welterweight World Champion. He has a tremendous personality and he’s just knocking out people. He is from Houston, Texas and trained by Derrick James in Dallas. He is now in Santa Monica this month to finish up camp. As a matter of fact, for those of you that are in around Los Angeles, make sure you stop by tomorrow for the open that media workout.
 
He won his world title with sensational knock-out of John Jackson in 2015. And of course, him and his twin brother, we all know them, became the first twins to hold world titles simultaneously in the same division in boxing which is boxing history in 2015. And it seems like every time he enters the ring, he outdoes his highlight reel knock-out over and over. And it’s a pleasure, it’s a treat, for all fight fans here and around Los Angeles and, those watching live on SHOWTIME to welcome Jermell Charlo to the STAPLES Center on June the 9th. Please, Jermell.
 
Jermell Charlo
Only thing I got to say is that Austin Trout is a phenomenal fighter. I’m pleased to be able to face off and square up with a former world champion and someone that has a heart, some one that comes with a dog mentality. We’re all looking to put on a 12-round fight for you guys and we both train our asses off in training camp. I’m ready to deliver whatever I have to deliver at the moment.
 
Q
Austin, what made you change trainers to Barry Hunter and can you tell us how it’s been going in training camp so far?
 
A. Trout
Yes, I was with Barry like two years. And then when I stayed home for the next few fights against Jarrett Hurd and then Juan DeAngel, the results were not what I needed or wasn’t what I liked. So I went back to what was working and the only reason why I stopped going to Barry was for the Hurd fight because Hurd trained in the same area and that’s where I actually met Hurd was in Barry’s gym, so, I tried to stay home for that.
 
Which was a big mistake in my opinion. But things are going good, we’re training good. We’re back and we picked up where we left off and I have to be at my best for a fighter like Jermell, so I had to go get to a place where I was able to get to my best.
 
 
In the Hurd fight I felt like, I don’t wanna say issues, but I gassed out. It was really dehydration. But at the same time, I think we would have prepared for the heat that Hurd was going to bring, because Barry does know him. The mistake was that he makes you give your best and accept nothing less than your best. I was able not necessarily able to do what I wanted. So we came back to what was working.
 
Q
Can you compare Hurd and Jermell maybe what they do differently and how they compare as fighters?
 
A. Trout
Jermell has a boatload more skills. In my opinion, Hurd’s not very skilled, he’s just a big, tough dude. And Jermell, he’s tough and he’s bigger than most junior middleweights, but he’s also skilled. So we gotta worry about definitely his skillset as opposed to just him taking punishment and making you wind out from beating him up, because that’s what happened with Hurd. I just beat him up until I ran out, till I couldn’t beat him up anymore.
 
I was just worn down. I had to go to the hospital for dehydration which I’ve never experienced. We were throwing some heat for those first six, seven rounds. And we bugged him a couple times and I felt like with just a little bit more and a little bit more each round until I had nothing left. And that’s when he came on.
 
Q
Jermell, just wondering if you could tell us what you thought of Austin’s performance against Jarrett Hurd?
 
J. Charlo
Every fight is different. I never like to worry about what they do and what they did different. Fighter’s styles make fights. Like Trout emphasized on earlier, he got worn out and dehydration does that. With Barry, someone who trains you the way you would fight and the way which you would go through the ring, I just believe that, Hurd was a much bigger guy and I’ve never been in there with Trout before, so there’s nothing I can say about his fighting style and what he actually brings to the table.
 
Q
Do you hope to beat Trout in a more convincing fashion or a more spectacular fashion than Jarrett Hurd did or do you not even think about that?
 
J. Charlo
I’m not in competition with those guys. Those guys are competition for me. Unfortunately, they just got the fight first before me. I don’t know what Trout going to bring out. So if he brings out the best in me, then who knows what the end result could be. I’m looking to go 12. I’m looking to fight all the way to the end. I’m in dog shape. I’ve been training for a long time and I do a pre-training. I do a pre-camp before I even get into camp and that’s while my brother was getting ready for his fight with Centeno.
 
I like myself the first day of camp in particular shape. So it’s all about sharpening my skills and doing what I got to do at my best. I’m growing. I’m turning 28 and I got to look at things a little bit differently. And I know Trout is a veteran himself and he knows what’s right and what fits him and what fits his body.
 
So it’s just almost like, nah, the only thing that’s on my mind is just getting there to see what this body does and what this mindset that I got now does and who knows the results of it. If it looks good, it’s better than Hurd or any other guys, as long as you all watching and you all kicking it with the Charlos and kicking it with Jermell Charlo, we on.
 
Q
Jermell, your last two fights were contenders for KO of the Year. Can we expect anything of the same in this one?
 
J. Charlo             
I’m going to do what I got to do like I just answered earlier. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Anything can happen. We both two men putting our life on the line. I don’t know how he views this, but I view it a little bit different. I take this as deep to me. I don’t care about the last fights or what I’ve done before, just like I didn’t know what was going to happen in the Lubin fight. I didn’t know what was going to happen in the Hatley fight.
 
We in there to go 12. We were in there to fight, be smart, and be cautious and take care of ourselves. So at the end of the day, I don’t care. I don’t know. I’m not with the ruthless. I’m not trying to go in there try to destroy and kill, because I know that’s a mistake that a lot of boxers make.
 
I grew up watching boxing all my life, and I know for a fact that if you go in there looking for the knockout, it doesn’t come. So therefore, I’m going in there to box, be slick and smart, and be strong at the same time and make it 12 rounds, 36 minutes.
 
Q
Both Jarrett Hurd and Jaime Munguia, they seem to be heading for England. Where does that leave you as far as title unification goes?
 
J. Charlo
We could fight in South Africa, I don’t care. As long as they get their fight on and they do what they do, they make the money, they feed they family, we good. They know who the champ is, the know who really the champ is. They know who the guy to come to. They really want some competition and they want to fight, we study this boxing thing, we do this boxing thing. I’m up there, I be there almost every fight this year, if I could make it, I was there. If I was sitting ring side, I was there, you know what I’m saying? And I haven’t fought there so I’m anxious to be in there and I’m ready.
 
I don’t care about none of them other champions, they got the belts and what they got going on. A lot of these fights that they won was close. This new kid that came out that beat Sadam Ali. He’s nothing like the champions that are reigning now. Austin Trout will beat him and take his title.
 
However, I’m the best fighter at this weight division and I want to continue to be a champion. I got to continue to feed my family this way and I’m going to do it.
 
Q
Do you want to outdo your brother against Trout?
 
J. Charlo             
It’s always been something like that growing up, knowing I wanted to be the best. And my brother considers himself the best, I consider myself the best. He fought Trout and I never fought anyone my brother has ever fought since we’ve become elite fighters. I can’t go by what my brother thinks, he might think Trout is strong, I might think he’s not strong.
 
I don’t feel that my brother feels that the ring. The only thing I do is I feel the emotion that he has and that’s it. So what my brother done to Trout is back in the day. We’ve grown now in 2018. A lot of things are changing, even technology in the gloves is changing. So there’s no way I could say why my brother didn’t get him out of there or why Trout didn’t do the same or vice versa. I look at Trout like a world champion himself and I’m coming to take his title.
 
Q
You’ve been sparring with Errol Spence for the last couple of years., Is it a coincidence that both your last opponent and Trout are southpaws as well?
 
J. Charlo             
I sparred all kind of different south paws growing up and I believe that has a lot to do with why I’m able to handle it well. My poise in the ring and being comfortable and just being comfortable with what I do. We have 12 rounds to get this fight – to get this W. And I got to – whatever round I got to make adjustments, I will.
 
It’s just the name of the game and the thing that I got to go through in order to get to where I want. These guys are all diverse and if I ever have to face adversity, I’m ready for whatever it takes and I’m ready for whatever I got to do to continue the Charlo Show.
 
Q
Austin do you see similarities between the Charlos fighting styles given that they’ve grown up working with each other through the years?
 
A. Trout              
I mean, there’s some similarities, but nah, they two different people. Jermall, he’s a middleweight, but they have – they both have good jabs and a strong right hand. I think Mell has the better skillset he’s been a bit faster. The thing about Mell is I see he takes different approaches to different fights whereas Mall, he kind of comes about each fight the same way.
 
I watch the fight of me and Mall all week to see what I can do better. Not necessarily to compare in any way. That’s what we watch tape on Mell for.
 
Dan Rafael:           So having watched the videos and preparing to fight Jermell and having gone 12 round with Jermall, do you have an opinion of who you think is better?
 
A. Trout
I can’t tell you, man. They both undefeated. I’ll tell you June 9 after I have to fight both of them I can tell you who’s the better fighter. I’m looking more so as to be a better Austin. So, be the best Austin Trout I can be in order to take on the best Jermell Charlo. We not fighting Jermall Charlo/ He’s got his own things that he’s dealing with/
 
That’s not something that I’m concerning myself with. I just got to be the best me in order to deal with the best Mell.
 
Q
Do you feel like your career is a little bit on the line here?
 
A. Trout              
Honestly, I felt that way when I was undefeated. Every fight my career was at stake. If I took a loss, I have to go back to the bottom. I feel like every fights my most important fight.
 
But I’m feeling good now. I’m looking forward to June 9. I have a feeling that we can steal the show. It’s going to be a great fight. I got this lion in his prime and I’m going in to tame the lion and become world champion again.
 
Q
You’ve had one round in now what will be, like, 14 months. Any sense of rust?
 
J. Charlo
I’m rusty as shit, yes. I think I’m rusty as shit, hell yes. Man, I put my life on the line every time I spar. That’s why we spar with world champions. So if the world thinking, like, yes, this kid, he just got one spectacular knock-out, yes, yes, yes, yes. Man, I’ll shut that shit out the way I was supposed to, and I barely touched the kid on the chin and he went to sleep so that mean I must be doing something right in training.
 
I’m a clean fighter. I eat clean, I train clean. They test me, I’m clean. Everything is right. I’m not a mistake and everybody got a different favorite. I’m promised for something that a lot of different people aren’t promised. My work ethic and abilities are different, and I watch everything that’s going on in the weight division. So with that being said, I have a big fight in front of me.
 
Austin Trout was talking about coming to steal the show like he just said. He wants to win another world title. That’s enough for me to get on my bike and know that I got to grind this shit out all the way until June 10. So I’m not focused on anything that I did before. I got 12 rounds, 36 minutes to be am animal every time I step in that ring and I’m going to do what I got to do.
 
We can go to the 10th round and I promise you I will be the same way I am from the first round. If he beat me, that means he’s better than me and I’ve always known that.
 
Q
How much longer do you think you can hold 154?
 
J. Charlo             
I ain’t moving up. I’ll tell you all now. I’m making weight. I’m hydrated. Yes, I’m all the way good. Like, I’m right now, I’m waiting on the WBC to – I’m actually for me seven day weigh in and I’m going to surprise them with that. They actually for my 30-day weigh in and they were completely surprised from then. So I’m excited, I love this weight division, especially because I’m separated from my brother. I don’t want to be in the same weight division where it’s almost looking like who the better fighter? Who the better twin?
 
When it comes down to our careers and stuff, man, different oppositions make different fighters and I’ve always been in there with some of the best in the weight division. I’ve been in there with, to me, some top-tier guys, and so has Trout. You can’t take that away from him at all. He’s fought all of the top guys, everybody. This ain’t a rookie that I’m getting in the ring with. And so, my life is on the line just like his. So may the best win – may the best man win.
 
Q
Have you had a chance to just kind of reflect on what it says about the career that you’ve had that despite the layoffs and the losses to the top guys in recent fights, that you continue to get big fights and big opportunities like this?
 
A. Trout              
In a sense, yes, but for real? Nah, not really, because I got to look forward. The past is the past and I’m trying to rewrite my story with the career defining win. Beating Jermell Charlo will be career defining. It will be bigger to me than beating Cotto in the Garden, straight up. People will make excuses for that, but looking back, it’s cool and all, but I ain’t looking towards the past. I’m always looking to the future. And the future, it really is going through Jermell.
 
Q
Are there pieces from other fighters that you’ve been in with that you can compare to him and what he does well?
 
A. Trout              
All I can do is just learn the lessons that I need to learn from my past experiences and I’ve learned lessons from fighting Jermall. I’ve learned lessons fighting Hurd. And that’s just building to making a better me. Not necessarily then comparing to Jermell, because, again, he’s a separate man. He’s his own man and all I can focus on really is just being the best I can be.
 
Q
Is Louie Burke still involved in this camp and can you talk about his role?
 
A. Trout
Yes, he’s involved. He came out to help be another set of eyes and he knows me. He’s been with me my whole career and even though I am with Barry Hunter, he’s the head coach, I still have him around to keep me grounded and humble. And he was out here for two weeks of this camp and when I was home we’re in the gym working.
 
We were on the phone and helps with the game plan and then him and Barry are on the same page with the game plan. Everybody’s on the same page and there’s a lot of unity in this camp. So it’s all good.
 
R. Schaefer         
Yes. All right, now it’s a pleasure for me to introduce to you Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz. These are two guys which I’m very familiar with. I was fortunate to have promoted most of their fights since very early on in their career. In the case of Abner Mares, from his first fight when he came out of the Mexican Olympics. A lot of people leading up to this fight have asked me why did the rematch take that long? The first fight was in 2015. It was a Fight of the Year candidate, it was a toe to toe battle.
 
It’s sort of like the way those two guys fight. I don’t think Abner Mares or Leo Santa Cruz are capable even if they try and they try really hard to be in a boring fight. They’re there to entertain. They love to fight. And I think if somebody would ask me what is the perfect timing for the rematch, I would have to say it’s June 9, 2018.
 
Now why do I say that? Well, I think after the first fight, Abner Mares took some time off, he regrouped, he hired a new trainer with Robert Garcia, one of the best trainers in the world and I think Robert has instilled a lot of confidence in him. They mesh extremely well. (Robert) has come up with perfect game plans for Abner in his last two fights and the chemistry is just something which I really have seen very rarely in the sport.
 
I know as a fact, because I’ve been there with Abner Mares — that he is maybe the best Abner Mares we have seen. Maybe the best Abner Mares ever going back to the time when he was fighting in the super bantamweight tournament on SHOWTIME as well.
 
With Leo Santa Cruz, last week was the open media day here in Los Angeles, and what I came away with is I was very impressed. I was of course impressed with Leo Santa Cruz. He looked spectacular. He looked fast. He looked strong. But what I was made even more so impressed with his father.
 
As we all know, his father suffered cancer; wasn’t really much of a factor in Leo’s last few camps and that clearly weighed on Leo’s shoulders. And now to see Leo’s father in full strength, making comments, “I defeated, I KO’d cancer.” You can just see how that weight has been lifted off Leo’s shoulders.
 
So I have no doubt that we will see the best Leo Santa Cruz we have seen in many years, and we will see the absolute best Abner Mares. I think the timing is perfect for June the 9th for those two guys meeting each other again at the famous STAPLES Center which always brings out the best in the fighters.
 
It’s a pleasure now for me to introduce to you first Abner Mares; doesn’t need much of an introduction. We all know a 2004 Mexican Olympian, pound-for-pound, one of the best and most exciting fighters in the world, born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and now fighting out of Los Angeles with a record of 32 wins, two losses. He is a multi-division world champion; always fighting the best, from 118 to 126 pounds. It’s a pleasure for me to turn it over now to Abner Mares to make some opening comments.
 
Abner Mares      
Thank you, Richard, for the introduction. Thank you to the media. Thank you to all you guys.
 
I am on my way home from a hard work day and I am ready for June 9. I cannot wait. It’s only less than two weeks, almost a week. And I’m just looking forward to another spectacular night where it would be the best, maybe another one for the books. Thank you.
 
R. Schaefer
The other man is the world champion, Leo Santa Cruz with the record of 34 wins and one loss and one draw. As I mentioned before, he’s the one who throws punches in bunches. He is in spectacular shape. He is a multi-division world champion as well; 118, 122 and 126 pounds. In a stellar victory over Carl Frampton where he regained the featherweight world title.
 
I think, given the fact that his father feels so much better, I think, I can see a different Leo Santa Cruz. And it’s a pleasure for me now to introduce to you as well, my friend, Leo Santa Cruz.
 
Leo Santa Cruz  
Thank you, Richard, for the introduction. And thank you for the media and thank you for everyone who’s in here.
 
I’m ready for June 9. I know Mares is going to come with his best but he looks really good. He’s a great guy, great person. And he was the best, one of the best fighters out there. The best fights the best. It’s a guaranteed great fight on June 9. We’ll give a great fight for our fans and we’re ready to just go out there and entertain the fans.
 
Q
Does your experience with that Frampton rematch give you confidence going into this rematch with Abner Mares?
 
L. Santa Cruz
I’m confident in every fight. I’m not going to go in there with the mindset that, “Oh no I’m going to lose”. I live by my confidence and my training. I train really hard. I give 100% in my training. And now with my dad in my corner, he’s been a lot better, I’ve been able to focus more in my training and everything.
 
I know Abner is a great fighter. He’s been training really hard. He’s at his best. He’s got a new trainer. So he’s going to come by his best, I know that so far. I like that when they give their best, it makes me work even harder and bring out my best too.
 
I’m confident in my training, what I’m doing, doing everything good. And June 9 we’ll see how it goes and hopefully my fight is still great and everything we worked in the gym and give a great fight.
 
Q
Have you seen any weakness in Leo that gives you more confidence going into this rematch?
 
A. Mares             
I don’t look at tapes, to be honest. I let my coach do that. Obviously I do remember that fight because I did watch it. I was there live. And I mean all I could say from that fight is that you go in looking for certain things and I’ve seen what I need to execute and we’re going to put them to work come June 9.
 
It’s going to be a great fight, close fight. We’re both in our prime, in our moment like we were in the first fight. And I’m just ready to execute the perfect plan that we have.
 
Q
Leo what did you feel in your spirit, in your body, in your mind, was there anything missing that night you lost to Frampton as compared to your victory over Frampton in January of last year?
 
L. Santa Cruz
Yes, you know, I think it was more I wanted to see my dad. In the first fight against Carl Frampton, my dad wasn’t really with me, he was mostly in the clinic or in the hospital. He had surgery. He has that experience to tell me what type of fight to fight in. So I think that was the missing key right there.
 
Then for the rematch my dad was mostly there in the gym. He told me what kind of fight to fight in. What punches to throw and stuff like that. And so I think it was my dad. My dad was the difference in that fight.
 
Q
I wonder because you’re fighting him in a rematch and you did get that victory in that fight, is there any part of you that says to yourself, “You know what, I beat this guy.” And it’s a little bit harder maybe to motivate yourself?
 
L. Santa Cruz
I’m more motivated. Like I said, I don’t want to underestimate Abner Mares. I know Mares is at his best. He’s in his prime. He looked a lot better now. And I am a lot better than the first fight so it makes me train even harder/ I have learned a lot too.
 
So I think you’re going to see a better fight because Mares is going to give his best. He looked the best he had looked. And I’m more motivated. I don’t want to underestimate him.
 
It’s going to be a hard fight but we have done everything in the gym to get the victory. We have to work hard and we have worked on things that we have seen that worked on him and that’s what we’re going to do. But I know it’s going to be a hard fight and it’s going to tough, but we’re going to go out there and do our best.
 
Q
What is it that makes you say that you believe that Abner is better now than he was when you fought him three years ago?
 
L Santa Cruz      
He looks good. He fights differently. He has Robert Garcia as his trainer. Robert Garcia is a great trainer; very smart and driven. He knows how to send a fighter to fight. I have seen him and you could see in his training that he is working really hard and everything. But we like that. We like that because he’s going to come in his best and we’re going to give a better fight.
 
Q
Do you view Robert as that big of a difference and one of the reasons you believe that he is better today than he was three years ago?
 
L. Santa Cruz
Yes. I know Robert. Robert is a great trainer and I know he might make a difference. But I also have learned a lot. I got a lot of experience over these few years. And whatever he has learned, I have learned too. And I think it’s going to come down to who wants it the most and I think it’s going to be a great fight/
 
Q
Do you think about a unification fight after this fight, if you’re successful or do you think about maybe moving up in weight?
 
L Santa Cruz
I want a unification. Hopefully because of the win, I would like to unify with any other champion. There’s Josh Warrington, Gary Russell, Oscar Valdez and even a third fight against Carl Frampton.
 
So if the fight is going to make it, I’ll be right there. But for any reason or anything that we can’t make those unifications or any other fights, yes, I would like to move up to 130 and look for another title for 130. But mostly I want to make a fight against another one of the champions.
 
Q
Does the Gary Russell Jr fight interest you more than any other at featherweight after this fight is successful?
 
L. Santa Cruz
Yes, it is. I fought Gary in an amateur. We both went to the finals. He beat me but I’m a lot better now. Hopefully it does happen and I can say that I could beat him.
 
Q
Do you go in there trying to pick up where you left off and thinking like round 13 against Santa Cruz?
 
A. Mares
I’m not going to focus on the first fight. It happened already. That’s in the past. It was a great fight and now we’re moving forward. I think Leo brought up a good point, a really awesome point I think that we’re both better fighters now. I’ve grown as a fighter. I’ve learned so much with Robert and with the two Frampton fights he has too. I think he’s grown as an athlete.
 
So I think now you’re going to get in to some better fights because we just learned so much and then grown in boxing that we’re just going to give it to this fight. But at the end of the day I think where we’re both improved as fighters. We just like to please the crowd.
 
Q
Are we going to see fight number three after you win this one?
 
A. Mares             
If the fight is that good, again, there’s no other way than to give them the rematch as he gave me a rematch. We like to fight the best and if it wasn’t clear enough, we would do it again and if not, we’ll move forward and take whatever champion is out there.
 
I think that everybody is a champion. Everybody is good. And just looking forward to June 9 to prove me once again that I am an elite fighter.
 
Q
Can you tell us where your dad is at in his recovery?
 
L. Santa Cruz
Thank you very much for asking for my dad. Right now my dad, he is in complete remission. His cancer is zero right now. So anything that he has is like he has back pain, like he’s always like feeling nauseous, he’s feeling sick, he’s throwing up. But even though, it doesn’t stop him to keep going to the gym every day. He’s right there observing me, telling me what to do in the gym and everything. He’s been there every day.
 
I’m glad to have him in there. And every time I do good in the gym and I do what he wants, it makes him happy and he forgets about all the pain and everything he’s feeling. So again thank you for that and, yes, my dad is, he’s in complete remission and he’s feeling a lot better than before.
 
Q
How much of a weight was that lifted off of you just to know that your dad was going to be okay moving forward?
 
L. Santa Cruz     
I think my dad is the most important thing right now. And knowing that he has cancer and everything and before I really couldn’t concentrate in my training because I was thinking about if he’s going to be with me in the camp or if he’s going to be with me in the fight or if he’s going to wake up today or tomorrow.
 
But right now I’ve been dedicated to my gym. I’ve been focused in the gym. Now I can focus and I could relax and I don’t have to worry about dad. I haven’t really been thinking about that. I’m just been thinking about training and then going out there and giving a great fight.
 
My last fight he was there. He missed a couple of days but he was mostly almost every day in the camp.
 
Q
Abner what do you think that was like for Leo to go through as a son?
 
A. Mares             
I know he’s going through a hard time and I respect him as an individual, as a person, a father, it’s just tough what they’re going through. And I’m always wishing them the best. And God be with them.
 
Will it be harder to stay disciplined when you’re facing each other because you guys are both Mexican and want to go at it?
 
A. Mares             
I think it is going to be difficult because the atmosphere, the first was intense. It’s going to be double that. And it’s going to be super hard. So again that’s why we keep addressing that the fight is going to turn out to be a fan-fest type of fight because I just know we both compete like that.
 
L. Santa Cruz     
Yes, I know, it’s tough because we’re going to be fighting on our home town. We’re both from here. Abner Mares is a great guy but I have to beat him. We have to fight for our family and we have to live for our future.
 
At the end of the day, whoever wins, I thank God and I hope that we both come out clean. We just want to go out there and give a great fight.
 
Q
What kind of improvements have you seen from Mares?
 
L. Santa Cruz     
Mares has more speed. He has thrown more punches. He has better defense and everything. He has improved. He improved a lot since our first fight. But also I have improved. I have learned. I have experienced a lot. And I had a lot of life experiences.
 
So I think we’re both going to be on our best. We will both going to go out there and give everything in the ring. And we were going to go out there and give a great fight for the fans and that’s I think what the fans love and we’re just happy to entertain the fans and give them a great show.
 
Q
Can you tell us what your game plan is against Abner Mares?
 
L. Santa Cruz
Well my game plan for this is to be smart. I’m going to be a smart fighter. When the first bell rings, I’m going to go out there and see what type of fight Mares brings and it depends on the fight he brings, we’re going to adjust.
 
My dad he could tell me to box, he could tell me to brawl. We think we’re going to fight different fight. It depends on Mares how he comes to fight, that’s how we’re going to fight. But we’re going to be smart, bigger shots, intelligent and on June 9 when the first bell rings, that’s when we’re going to know how to fight him.
 
Q
What kind of adjustments are you – have you been making for this rematch? And is it a question of a balance between boxing and brawling?
 
A. Mares             
I’m making every single adjustment I can that is in my power and that I can do physically. As an athlete, we started from the training methods, to everything. We just have to change it all. People ask me, Abner, are you going to fight differently this fight? “Yes, if I don’t fight this one, then I’m going to get a defeat.” So I think that’s the best way to answer them.
 
Abner, looking back on that first fight, how do you evaluate that strategy that you had and what did you learn from that experience for this fight?
 
A. Mares
I learned a lot in that fight. Going in that very first round, I got ahead of myself. I got just anxious. I honestly and I’ve been saying it pretty loud, I’ve been open about it. I just wanted to win this fight so bad all I thought about was tearing his head off.
 
It just got a little confusing there in the corner with directions. But nevertheless, it was a great fight. I think I fought a lot more with heart and desire than technique in that fight.
 
Q
In that first fight there was enormous amount of punches thrown. Are we going to expect to see something like that?
 
L. Santa Cruz
Well I think we could expect maybe not as much punches but almost the same punches, because we have learned, right there I throw a lot of punches and I miss a lot. But this time we’re going to try to throw more selective punches that more punches that land.
 
So whatever I throw, we want to make sure that they land. We don’t want to throw just to throw. So I think we’re going to be smarter and select our punches and just make them count. Make our punches count and we’re still going to throw a lot of punches, be active and Mares is at his best, I’ll be at my best. It’s going to be a great fight and we’ll both going to go and throw a lot of punches. You guys are going to see back and forth fireworks.
 
Q
Would you like to make a prediction, Leo, for the fight?
 
L. Santa Cruz
I’m most confident. You never know what’s going to happen. Mares is a great fighter and we’ll see what happens on June 9. We’re going to go out there and look for the victory.
 
We’ve been training for 12 rounds. If we go 12 rounds, we’re ready for the 12 rounds. If the opportunity comes, we’re going to go for a knockout. But I’ll be happy to come out with a victory.
 
Q
Abner, would you like to make a prediction also?
 
Abner Mares
My prediction is June 9, hell of a fight. Thank you so much.
 
R. Schaefer         
Well I can echo that from Abner and from Leo, it’s going to be an amazing night here at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. It’s going to be a loaded card as well. One of the most talked about blue chip Olympians from the Rio Olympics, Karlos Balderas from Santa Maria is going to be on the card as well.
 
So make sure fight fans come early to STPLES Center on June the 9th. As little as $50 you’re going to see these two world championship fights. I have no doubt that both of those fights are going to deliver and over deliver.
 
These guys are in their best shape I have ever seen them. Both want it and it’s going to come down to may the better man win on June the 9th.

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