Quotes & Photos from Final Press Conference for Adrien Broner vs. Jessie Vargas, Jermall Charlo vs. Hugo Centeno Jr. & Gervonta Davis vs. Jesus Cuellar

Adrien Broner vs. Jessie Vargas Plus Jermall Charlo vs. Hugo Centeno Jr. & Gervonta Davis vs. Jesus Cuellar
Final Press Conference Quotes & Photos
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Tripleheader This Saturday, April 21 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn & Presented by Premier Boxing Champions
Click HERE for Photos from Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Click HERE for Photos from Janer Bigio/
Mayweather Promotions
Click HERE for Photos from Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment
BROOKLYN (April 19, 2018) – Fighters competing on Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader, headlined by four-division champion Adrien Broner battling two-division champion Jessie Vargas, went face-to-face Thursday at a press conference in Brooklyn before they enter the ring this Saturday, April 21 at Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Live coverage on SHOWTIME begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and also features undefeated former world champion Jermall Charlo clashing with once-beaten Hugo Centeno, Jr. for the interim 160-pound world title and former champions Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Jesus Cuellar as they square off for the vacant WBA 130-pound Super World Championship.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, start at $50 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
Also in attendance Thursday was popular local fighter and unbeaten contender Heather “The Heat” Hardy, who takes on Paola Torres in undercard action Saturday night.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from Barclays Center in Brooklyn:
“I’m just ready to fight. I’m not worried about Jessie. This is a very important fight for my career. I know that Jessie trained hard to beat me. This is a win that could take either of us to the next level. I’m ready to fight right now and get after it.
“When he stepped up and fought Tim Bradley and Manny Pacquiao, he lost. I’m a four-time world champion so I don’t want to hear anything about my losses. Jessie Vargas is not as good as those guys I lost to.
“I hope I get credit when I beat Jessie Vargas. I hope I get the credit I deserve. People want me to lose and go away, but guess what? I worked harder than ever for this fight. I’m not losing to Jessie Vargas. I’m a four-time world champion and soon to be five-time world champion this year.
“I’m still one of the best fighters of this era. When I’m done with my career, I will be one of the best to ever lace up a pair of boxing gloves. I just can’t wait to give everyone something to remember on Saturday.
“Being with Kevin Cunningham in camp changed a lot. It took a while to get used to it. This is the first camp I’ve done since I was kid with a new coach. There were no distractions down at camp. It was all work, no play.
“I’m on a different level than him. I’m going to prove it on Saturday. I don’t worry about any of the negativity that surrounds my name. I’m just ready to go put on a show.
“I’m taking over this year. It all starts with Jessie Vargas on Saturday night. I’m going to be myself, and put on a great show.”
“Everything in training camp has gone fantastically. I can’t wait for this fight. This isn’t a game. I’m here to win and I plan to do that. This is going to be action.
“I’ve seen the mistakes Broner has made in the past. I have to come out and worry about my performance though. I’m versatile and I’ll do what I have to do. We’re both former world champions but at the end of the day there will only be one winner, and It’s going to be me.
“I think I have an advantage being the taller and stronger fighter. I’m a full grown welterweight. I’m ready for victory.
“We both bring experience and we’re both talented guys. We are definitely going to give the fans entertainment on Saturday night. I’m in a great part of my career because I haven’t received that much punishment. I’m a two-division world champion for a reason.
“My weight has been on point this camp. My nutritionist has done a great job and I’m going to be perfect on the scale tomorrow. My whole team has been perfect and it’s going to lead to the best Jessie Vargas you’ve ever seen on Saturday.
“Saturday night is going to be a great show. It’s a great card and then main event will be all fireworks. Come out and enjoy a great night of boxing and see me get the win.”
“I’m looking to make a statement on Saturday night. I’ve been training hard since my last fight. I promised my fans something they’ll remember from this fight. You’ll have to wait and see.
“Once you step in front of me, it’s a fight. I put my life on the line each time. I’m just looking forward to even bigger things that are in front of me. I’m giving the fans something special to take home from my performance.
“I feel really good right now. It was another one of those camps that I was able to start early and get in the gym early. I can do whatever you need to do in the ring. I’m ready to make this fight all fireworks.
“I do a lot of good things in camp to make myself feel stronger. It was a little tough with the delay, but nothing that I couldn’t work through. I’m on weight right now this far out. I have a great team that’s helped me get there.
“I’m focused on what I have going on. Hugo thinks I’m overlooking him but that’s not happening at all. I want to take him out and make a statement that I’m ready for the big names in the division.
“We’re going to turn Brooklyn up. I want to really make a statement. No matter how I’m feeling throughout the fight, we’re going to make it rock.”
“I feel like I’m being overlooked. I haven’t been able to make myself a household name by being on these platforms. Come April 21, I’m going to make my name known.
“The rib injury was tough to take at first. We were very close to the end, but once I resumed training, I was already in phenomenal condition. It took me to another level and now I’m in the best condition of my life.
“I feel perfect right now heading into this fight. We had great sparring in camp and I’m ready to step into the ring.
“Even just being in this position shows people that I’ve earned my way here. No one has handed me anything. This is one of the hardest divisions in the world and I’m here for a reason. This fight means the world to me. It’s been 20 years of hard work coming together Saturday.
“I know Charlo is coming to fight, and I’m definitely coming to fight. No matter what the strategy or style is, I’m going to be ready for whatever comes my way.
“I expect him to come out strong. We know he’s looking for a knockout. But I think if he doesn’t have the opportunity, it will come down to who is the smarter fighter.”
“Saturday night you can expect an action packed fight. I know Cuellar is going to come to fight. I’m definitely coming to fight. I’m ready to pick up where I left off, as a champion again.
“I had a lot of distractions last camp that led to me missing weight. From that day forward I was focused on getting back to a world title shot. I let people down when I lost the title on the scale, but now I’m more focused.
“It was great being in camp in Florida instead of back home in Baltimore. This way it’s only boxing that I’m worried about each day. I’m eating right and really just 100 percent focused on boxing. It was a great move and it’ll show on Saturday.
“I have the skills and the charisma to be at the top of the sport. I just need the right opponents, but I’m not going to rush it. I have to make smart decisions in this sport to get where I want. I want to continue to put on great performances.
“I believe this fight is going to put me back on the map as one of the youngest rising stars in boxing. I believe I have the skills to do that.
“I’ve been training so hard with Adrien in camp. We’ve been pushing each other and I just want to be able to look back at this fight and be able to say this was one of my best performances. I want to show that I have the skills and ability to take over the sport of boxing.”
“I understand that Davis is a great opponent, but inside the ring, it will just be the two of us, going toe-to-toe. I know that it’s going to be a great fight.
“This is going to be all action. Expect to see a war with me raising my hand at the end of the night. I’m going to do whatever it takes.
“The plan is to go out there and win that belt. We’ve had great training and sparring to get us in this position. My coaches worked really hard to get me ready.
“This fight is very important for me. I want to become a two-division world champion and I have the chance I’ve waited for on Saturday night.
“I think I made the right decision to take some time away from boxing. Now I’m back stronger than ever. I feel great and everyone will see that on Saturday night.
“We have a game plan and we’re going to execute that. I’m going to be aggressive like I always am, but also show some new things that I’ve worked on.
“I’m ready to go 12 rounds if necessary, but If I have the opportunity early for a knockout, I’m going to take it. I’m here to give it my all and win this fight, that’s it.”
“There’s really nothing like fighting at home. As exciting as it was to be in the cage, this is like being in my backyard.
“This is always a dream to box at Barclays Center and there’s nothing like being here in front of my people. I hope that my opponent trained hard because I’m ready to brawl.
“I’m really excited to be back working on my boxing skills. I can’t wait to give my fans a great show. They know I always give it my all and leave it in the ring. I’m going to give my fans their money’s worth.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“On Saturday night we have the biggest and baddest boxing card in the entire sport. It will be a great event right here in front of the passionate Brooklyn boxing fans.
“The main event has the four-division champion Broner taking on the two-division champion Vargas, in a fight that means a great deal to both fighters.
“Plus Jermall Charlo facing Hugo Centeno in a great middleweight fight to look to establish themselves as contenders in the star-studded middleweight class.
“The opener of our telecast will have a rising superstar in boxing in Gervonta Davis, battling former world champion Jesus Cuellar in an entertaining world title fight. This is what boxing is all about. It’s big time boxing here in Brooklyn.”
LOU DIBELLA, President of DiBella Entertainment
“This is a great fight card. That’s why tickets are selling. There are a lot of up-and-coming stars on this dais. It was put together to be great televised boxing, and that’s why we’ll have a full room on Saturday.
“Barclays Center truly is the home of big-time boxing. This is the venue with the most dedication to a regular boxing program and you see that with the great fights coming here month after month.
“This card is stacked from top to bottom. The off-television undercard is sensational and features a load of undefeated talent. Heather Hardy will make her return after two consecutive matches in the cage to step back into the ring on this show. We’re here to offer fans the best we can all night long.
“The first televised bout of the night has Gervonta Davis, one of the rising young stars of the sport, going for his second world title. He’s fighting a former world champion in Jesus Cuellar, who’s an accomplished guy in his own right. Gervonta has his hands full, but he’s going to have a lot of fans up from Maryland supporting him Saturday.
“There’s a lot of action and controversy in the middleweight division. Jermall Charlo might be the hardest puncher in that division. Him and his brother might be the most accomplished twins in the history of boxing already. He’s got a tough matchup because Hugo Centeno Jr. is also a terrific young fighter with power and great boxing ability. He has star potential if he can overcome this obstacle against Charlo.
“Adrien Broner is a terrifically skilled boxer, who has star power and brings a lot of attention. You don’t have to be loved by everybody, you have to have people want to see you. A lot of people want to see Adrien Broner. They’re going to see him in a tough fight on Saturday night. Jessie Vargas is already a two-time world champion, who’s had a terrific career and will arguably be the bigger and stronger guy on Saturday. Adrien knows that everything is on the line on Saturday night.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President Sports & Events Programming, Showtime Sports Inc.
“SHOWTIME Boxing is in the midst of an unprecedented run. It has been meaningful fight after meaningful fight.
“Back in January we made an unprecedented announcement of 11 events this first part of the year. I’m not sure any network has done that many events this year.
“Barclays Center, like SHOWTIME, has become home to the most meaningful fights in the sport. This isn’t happening by accident. This is an intentional strategy. It’s a plan to promote and elevate the sport and its’ fighters to heights we haven’t seen before. We’ve put real effort into elevating this sport.
“Saturday’s stacked card has three must-see matchups. These are star fighters versus star battles. There are no ‘no-names’ in this. All six fighters here have headlined fights. These fights are as good as any card that I can remember.”
BRETT YORMARK, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
“I’m excited about Saturday night’s fights. It’s packed from top to bottom and should be a great night of BROOKLYN BOXING. It’s a great tripleheader and in many respects this defines Brooklyn boxing. Evenly matched fights, the biggest stars in the sport, some established and some on the rise. You have a bit of everything this weekend
“We are so thrilled to have Heather Hardy back at Barclays Center on Saturday after a few fights in MMA. She’s a boxer and we can’t wait to have her here this weekend.
“A big thank you for everyone who has helped establish BROOKLYN BOXING and been partners with us here in Brooklyn. Everyone involved continues to elevate the sport and we’re looking forward to seeing you on Saturday night. Tickets are moving and this could be one of the biggest fights we’ve ever had at Barclays Center.”

Million Dollar Ladies- The Resurgence Of Women’s Boxing

“Unless women get more recognition, we will be fighting just as a novelty for the rest of our lives. There will be no future.”

The words of former lightweight fighter Marian “Lady Tiger” Trimiar, back in 1987, while enduring a month-long hunger strike aimed at bringing better conditions, pay and recognition to women’s boxing.

Over the years, the glass ceiling in boxing has been cracked a few times, but sadly, has always been repaired. That said, we are in a time that may see the damn thing shattered. To know where we are going, we need to take a brief look back at where we’ve been.

Although women’s boxing was introduced and on display in the Olympics all the way back in 1904, it didn’t make the cut. It wasn’t until 2012 that women first stepped into the ring for the right to earn a medal. Let me say that year again…2012! That was just five years ago. It was the last “male only” sport in the Games to find gender equality. Ceiling cracks…..

There are traces of women’s boxing dating back to the 17 and 1800’s; however, it wasn’t until the 1950’s until there was significant movement. Barbara Buttrick, considered by most as the pioneer of women’s boxing, fought the first nationally televised female fight in 1954. As the legend goes, “The Mighty Atom of The Ring” also won the first women’s world championship.  It wasn’t all roses for the woman from Yorkshire, England. Through her career, she had to ignore critics who said her involvement in the sport was “degrading” and an “insult to womanhood”. Many would have crumbled under the pressure she endured but not the 4’11 Buttrick, a true pioneer with a warrior’s heart. A champion cut from every bit the same cloth of any male counterpart.

By the 1970’s and through the struggle of it all in this decade, there were positive signs of progress. Bans on women’s boxing were being removed with licences being issued and bouts being sanctioned. Names like Cathy “Cat” Davis, the first female boxer to be featured on the cover of The Ring magazine, the aforementioned Trimiar, and “The Female Ali” Jackie Tonawanda were all instrumental in fighting for a women’s right to be licensed to fight. Ceiling is cracking…..

One could argue that women’s boxing had its biggest rise in popularity or its golden age thus far in the mid 90’s. It was a “Coalminer’s Daughter” from West Virgina donning the cover of Sports Illustrated with the title “The Lady Is A Champ- Boxing’s New Sensation” that disrupted the status quo of the male dominated profession for what seems like now for only a brief moment.

Martin fought on the undercard of the baddest man on the planet, which by default put women’s boxing in millions of homes world-wide. Martin fought arguably the most memorable women’s fight ever against Deirdre Gogarty on the undercard of Mike Tyson v. Frank Bruno in 1996. The bloody affair against Gogarty is widely considered the beginning of modern-day women’s boxing.

In the years during that period of awakening, many quality fighters emerged. Pugilists such as Lucia Rijker, the first women inducted in the World Boxing Hall of Fame who retired undefeated without ever having a career defining fight. If you had a discussion on all-time greats in women’s boxing thus far they would have come from this time period, “The Dutch Destroyer” would no doubt start the conversation along with Ann Wolfe, Holly Holm, Laila Ali, Mia St. John, Mary Jo Sanders and Regina Halmich who was instrumental in the rise of women’s boxing in Europe.

Laila with the appropriate (sur)nickname of “She Bee Stingin” garnered huge attention as the daughter of “The Greatest” when she began to began to pursue the sweet science. The spotlight brightened even more when she entered the ring against Jackie Frazier-Lyde, yes the daughter of “Smokin Joe”, June 2001, Ali v. Frazier, IV as you will.  The first ever pay-per-view card headlined by women.

These fighters were boxers and brawlers and had skill-sets that rivaled their male counterparts. It is a shame that these highly skilled fighters were not showcased more than they were and matched up for some epic bouts. No takers for serious promotions or regular airtime. Additionally, it was suggested that they were more about themselves and less about the game. Crack repaired….

The spark was lit, women’s boxing should have taken off with the strongest group of fighters ever but there were still those skeptics that saw it as a side-show, the chauvinist views that women should be wearing makeup for beauty, not to cover the battle scars of last night’s fight.

Maybe back then, as Ms. Trimiar stated, it was a novelty; however, 2017 looks to be the year when recognition paves the road to the future. There is a current surge of female fighters with extraordinary skills and the timing appears to be right this go round. With the power of social media, something not available in past times, champions and contenders can be publicized to stimulate public interest and build a following. In addition, we have already seen progress through marketing and the showcasing of fighters through mainstream media.

We’ll take a look here at a few fighters that can sustain the sport going forward. Some were outstanding amateurs, some already champions, but both will impact the future. The list is most definitely not complete. No disrespect to the fighters not listed, while most of the below have Olympic pedigrees, this is not to suggest that these women are saving the day. There are many, many fighters never fortunate enough to have competed in the games or had an amateur background; however, their blood, sweat, and tears fighting in bars, halls, and the smallest venues around has not gone unnoticed. They are the ones that kept the dream alive for women fighters of today and tomorrow. 

No better place to start than with the lady considered the top P4P fighter in the game, undefeated and unified welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus (30-0 8 KO). “The First Lady” has made eighteen consecutive title defenses since capturing her first title in 2009. Braekhus longs for a defining fight in the US, as most of her fights have been in Germany. Kind of Mayweather like in her approach, she uses her jab extremely well to set up straight rights and her movement is some of the best I’ve seen.

The fighting pride of Ireland, Katie Taylor, utilizes fast hands, works the body, has a great left hook, and a solid right. A skill set so good that even Claressa Shields sings her praise saying Taylor is the only fighter that comes close to her in skill set. Quite an endorsement. Taylor is set to fight on the undercard of the Wladimir Klitschko v. Anthony Joshua bout and according to promoter Eddie Hearn, a world title fight in Dublin in November is a possibility.

Featherweight Heather Hardy (19-0 4 KO), holder of two titles in different weight classes has an outstanding skill set. While reviewing her fights, I see the strong jab, the movement, the timely uppercuts, the left hook, the overhand rights. Great stuff, a skillset as strong as anyone mentioned. Hardy, with a background in kickboxing and Muay Thai, has dabbled in a brief cross over into MMA motivated by the financial opportunities that come within the cage. No faulting her there, a fighter has to eat. That said, please don’t leave Heather, the sport needs you!

Claressa Shields put a crack in the ceiling this month headlining the first women’s card on a premium network. The two-time Olympic Gold medalist, Shields is a throw-back fighter. Great jab, straight right, left hook and very strong. She grew up in an old boxing gym, nothing fancy just serious training. Arguably, she is the current face of women’s boxing out of the group. While the others may be more popular in their specific country or area, Shields is most likely more well-known across the board.

Nicola Adams– Another two-time gold medalist and the first women to win an Olympic Gold Medal. This flyweight fighter, who just turned pro, signed with Frank Warren and will have her professional debut in April. What movement. Adams is adept at moving in and out with effortless motion while scoring. Her style looks well suited for the pro game.

Shelly Vincent, a highly talented featherweight out of Rhode Island, her only loss out of twenty bouts a MD to Hardy televised on the PBC network. A fight she campaigned for by showing up unannounced and calling Hardy out. A brawling type compact fighter who will be a handful for any opponent.

With a nickname like one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, you’d better be able to bring it.  Amanda “The Real Deal”  Serrano (31-1 23 KO) a southpaw junior featherweight titlist who does just that. An excellent boxer who is disciplined and can get you out of there with power. There is beauty in her brutality. Serrano is very accurate and hits with thudding power. Serrano last fought on the undercard of the Badou Jack-James DeGale bout in January. While the main and co-main aired on Showtime, Serrano’s bout aired on Showtime Extreme. Progress nonetheless. Serrano earned $17,500 for her trouble. A paltry sum for a world champion fighting on a premium network.

This new generation of fighters appears to be working towards a common goal of bringing the women’s game to the forefront and that is the stuff of champions that will make it a success this time around.

Matchups will be the key, as well as promotional companies willing to step up and take a chance. Credit to Showtime for bringing women’s boxing out of the dark ages and begin to regularly showcase these amazing athletes. The UFC has shown that there is a market and big purses for women in combat sports, they just need a chance in the sweet science. But boxing beware, if you lose these pugilists this time around, they may navigate to MMA for good. There needs to be an extreme marketing campaign to get this going in the right direction. The talent is there, it just needs the backing.

As I wrote this article, it became more and more difficult to keep referring to “women’s boxing”. These women are boxers first and foremost, gender be damned. I just love great boxing and boxing skills and these athletes provide just that.

It’s ok ladies, no more hunger strikes are needed, we see your dream…smash the damn ceiling, it is your time.

“It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you”

-Million Dollar Baby

The Women Boxing Archive Network WBAN  http://www.womenboxing.com/historic.htm provided great insight and perspective into the subject matter.