By Joel Colon
LAS VEGAS - The fighters and their camps stayed classy and soft-spoken yet confident during Thursday's final press conference for "TOE TO TOE: Canelo vs. Angulo" taking place this Saturday, March 8, live on SHOWTIME PPV® (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from MGM Grand Garden Arena.
In Saturday's 12-round super welterweight main event, popular Mexican boxing superstar and former world champion Canelo Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs) faces game and aggressive, upset-minded countryman Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs).
Exciting, unbeaten two-division world champion and current WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Leo "Terremoto" Santa Cruz (26-0-1, 15 KOs) will defend his 122-pound belt against former three-time world champion Cristian "El Diamante" Mijares (48-7-2, 22 KOs) in the co-main event. In other PPV matches, former two-time world champion Jorge "Niño de Oro" Linares (35-3, 23 KOs) takes on offensive-minded Japanese contender Nihito Arakawa (24-3-1, 16 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight scrap and IBF Junior Middleweight World Champion Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs) is scheduled to defend his 154-pound crown against undefeated Jermall Charlo (17-0, 13 KOs).
Molina is facing some legal obstacles, however, and as of late Thursday, his fight with Charlo was in jeopardy of being cancelled.
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions and the emcee at the final press conference streamed live at sports.sho.com, alluded to the uncertainty of Molina-Charlo and announced that, if necessary, it would be replaced with a 135-pound matchup between Ricardo Alvarez (23-2-3, 13 KOs), an older brother of Canelo, and Sergio "Yeyo" Thompson (28-3, 26 KOs).
"There are some issues which Carlos Molina is facing related to some outstanding warrants,'' Schaefer said. "His legal team and his promoter are currently working on trying to sort these issues out and have him ready, hopefully, for the weigh-in and ultimately for the fight. I know that Molina wants to fight and I know he has a team behind him which is going to do whatever it can to get him here in time."
Tickets for the event promoted by Golden Boy Promotions are on sale and priced at $600, $400, $200 and $100, not including applicable service charges and taxes, with a total ticket limit of 10 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Movie theater tickets are available at participating theater box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com.
Below is what the fighters, their camps and executives said at Thursday's final press conference at The Hollywood Theatre inside the MGM Grand:
"There isn't much more to say - I'm ready to go. Boxing is about style and I think with his [Angulo's] style and my style it will be a war. We are going to give you a war. I always say talk is cheap so we'll see what happens on Saturday night.
"It is a big responsibility to headline on pay-per-view. It shows the end result of everything I've done in the gym.
"I'm going to give it my best. I'm going to get the victory.
"Angulo is a very dangerous opponent. He doesn't mind getting hit as long as he can hit back. It's a fight that can change in one punch on either side.
"I'm calm and tranquil because that's part of the preparation for this fight.
"I know I'm strong, I know what I have to do. I will follow my game plan and come out with the win.
"Angulo keeps coming forward, breaks you down and keeps coming. It'll be challenging to get a knockout against a guy like Angulo, but you can't blame me for trying."
JOSE "CHEPO" REYNOSO, Canelo's Manager:
"At this point, there is not much to say except that all of us in Canelo's camp are ready. Both fighters are ready to fight. Saturday, the world will see a great fight between two Mexican warriors.''
EDDIE REYNOSO, Canelo's Trainer:
"We've had a great 10-week camp. It's always tough to be away from our families, but this is our job. We are well aware that Angulo is a dangerous puncher who can change everything with one punch. That being said, we're ready for him, whether he wants to stand or to box. Canelo also has a punch. On Saturday, Canelo is going to give his fans a great victory.''
"I want to thank everybody - Golden Boy Promotions, SHOWTIME, MGM Grand, all those working on this event, my team - for this opportunity and for their faith in me. I'm ready.
"I've been working very hard for this fight, and I could not be in better condition.
"Between Canelo and me, this is going to be a great fight, a really, really great fight.''
VIRGIL HUNTER, Angulo's Trainer:
"This is going to be a remarkable night. It's going to be a savage affair. I sense a storm coming. There's something about this fight that has me thinking, anticipating that it is going to exceed everything we've been expecting and be something we've never seen before.''