BAYAMON, PUERTO RICO - Danny Garcia, his father/trainer, Angel, and other participants for the big fight card this Saturday, March 15, on SHOWTIME and SHO EXTREME participated in the final press conference Wednesday at Braulio Castillo Theater, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Photos by Joel Colon and Tom Casino.
In Saturday's main event on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), undefeated Unified Super Lightweight World ChampionGarcia (27-0, 16 KOs), of Philadelphia, will defend against Herrera(20-3, 7 KOs)of Riverside, Calif., from the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. In the co-feature, heavyweight knockout specialist Deontay Wilder (30-0, 30 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Ala., meets Malik Scott (36-1-1, 13 KOs), of Philadelphia.
Former world champions Juan Manuel "JuanMa" Lopez (33-3, 30 KOs), 30, of Caguas, P.R., and Mexico's Daniel "Ponce" de Leon (45-5, 35 KOs), 33, of Los Angeles, meet in a grudge rematch for the WBO International Junior Lightweight Title in the 10-round main event live on SHO EXTREME (7 p.m. ET/PT). In the opening bout on SHO EXTREME, promising Danny Jacobs (26-1, 23 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y., faces hard-hitting Milton Nunez (26-9-1, 24 KOs), of Barranquilla, Col., in a 10-round middleweight match.
What the fighters and executives said Wednesday:
DANNY "SWIFT" GARCIA, UNIFIED SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION
"I had a tremendous camp. This Saturday I'm going to win for my people in Puerto Rico and take my belt home with me.
"I love it here in Puerto Rico. I love the weather and the beautiful people. Everything about the culture is like where I grew up in Philadelphia. It's just like Puerto Rico but it's just the city life. But it's the same thing. We eat the same food. We listen to the same music. Everything is the same but it's just a little part of North Philadelphia. Everything is the same except for the snow.
"I trained in Philadelphia. I had a good training camp in Philadelphia. I did everything I was supposed to do. I didn't take shortcuts. I came to Puerto Rico a week before the fight for my training. I'm 110 percent. I'm in the best shape. I am ready. I did what I always do and I'm ready."
MAURICIO "EL MAESTRO" HERRERA, SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT CONTENDER
"I started boxing with my two brothers when I was 13 with no gear, bare hands. My father used to watch and get a good laugh out of it. My older brother got me my first punching bag but my mother was the first one that took me to the gym, to a gym at a church. I truly have the support of my family.
"I trained well, very well. I don't take this fight lightly; fighting Danny is not something to take lightly. But I've fought guys tougher than him for peanuts.
"My biggest purse before this fight was $30,000. I've worked in construction and other handy jobs. This is my opportunity. This is my chance and I'm not about to let it pass me by."
ANGEL GARCIA, DANNY GARCIA'S FATHER AND TRAINER
"March 15, [Danny] will still be the undefeated Champ of the world. Herrera, you've got to give him hope. Hope that he doesn't get knocked out. You've got to give the man hope. His family is here. I respect that. They love him. There is nothing wrong with that. But come March 15 [Danny] is still the undefeated Champ of the world. This isn't something that just happened. This was a dream, a dream that I had when Danny was a child. Danny is meant to be. Dreams aren't meant to be broken not this one anyway.
"He [Herrera] has fought guys, opponents. You're fighting in Puerto Rico now. Danny is 100 percent Puerto Rican. I don't care what they say. He is my blood. I am Puerto Rican. He's Puerto Rican. On March 15, he will still be the undefeated Champ of the world. And I will promise you that.
"I won't put my head involved in this one because my daughters got nervous. They told me, 'Dad, please don't say that.' People thought that it was a joke. I really meant that. Would Herrera's coach do that? No, because that is the difference between his team and our team. My soul is in the ring with Danny. I would die for Danny and he would die for me."
WILLIE SILVA, MAURICIO HERRERA'S TRAINER
"I'm pleased to be back in Puerto Rico. I want to thank Golden Boy for giving us this opportunity, an opportunity that we have been waiting for some time now and we are grateful for that.
"We are here to win this fight. We are not here to see if we can win, we are here because we know we CAN win.
"Danny Garcia's parents claim he is Puerto Rican, but he is NOT a Puerto Rican, he's from Philadelphia. He doesn't even speak Spanish.
"We came to Puerto Rico, ready to fight. Mauricio is ready and watch, come Saturday night Mauricio is going to shock more than one. We are leaving Puerto Rico with Danny's belts."
DEONTAY WILDER, WBC CONTINENTAL AMERICAS HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION
[About fighting in Puerto Rico]"I feel great! Like Tony the Tiger! I have lots of fans out here, a lot more than I thought I did. They showed me love right when I arrived. When I found out I was fighting in Puerto Rico I was super excited! Puerto Rico is a beautiful island with beautiful people and beautiful weather!
[About Malik Scott's style] "I haven't seen Malik Scott personally fight but he's been in my camp before. He was one of my sparring partners in my past camps. He was a lot of help and very competitive. He knows my style and what I bring to the table. We know each other's style. Whoever gets first to the punch will win. The smarter and better looking person will win and that's going to be me."
MALIK SCOTT, TOP HEAVYWEIGHT CONTENDER
"I am extremely proud of Danny Garcia. This is my first time meeting him. Congratulations comrade. The thing that prides me the most about fighting on his undercard is that any good coach can take a fighter and smooth out his jagged edges, but Angel Garcia he took his son from scratch. That is the definition of a true and great trainer so I am proud of him for that.
"In my opinion, Deontay Wilder and I are the biggest fight in the heavyweight division right now. I am extremely excited and I am taking on a dangerous fighter with the magnitude of Deontay's punching power and the aura that has been built around him. It will take that type of fighter for me to rise to the great level that I believe I am going to be at come Saturday night. I believe out of everyone that has fought Deontay I have the highest skill caliber. I am not coming to test him; I am coming to beat him. I am from Philly. I live in California. I'm happy for this opportunity and come Saturday night I am going to take full advantage of it. "
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ, WBO INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION
"I'm very grateful to God for having presented me with this opportunity. I'm grateful for the people from Puerto Rico for their continuous support.
"This is going to be a great fight. He's going to try to get a knockout, I'm going to do my job as well and definitely the one that is better prepared will come out victorious, and that will be me.
"I came here to show Puerto Rico and the rest of the world that Juanma Lopez has still some game to show.
"It was not mere coincidence that I won the first fight against Ponce De Leon, I won because I'm a better fighter. On Saturday, March 15, Ponce better be ready, because I'm ready and I'm not about losing."
DANIEL PONCE DE LEON, FORMER WBC FEATHERWEIGHT WOLRD CHAMPION
"I've been training hard and I'm ready. There's not much left to do to prepare other than make weight on Thursday and give my best on Saturday.
"This is going to be a great fight. I feel very good because I prepared well. I'm ready. This is the comeback of my career. I'm ready.
"Juanma has a heavy punch. Most of his wins have been by way of knockout and that is something to watch out for, but I can also pack a punch and he better watch out because I might knock him out. "
IVAN PADILLA, BAYAMON SPORTS DIRECTOR
"Bayamon is proud of hosting Danny Garcia vs. Mauricio Herrera. We welcome boxing because we love boxing. We are always ready to be boxing hosts.
"We are able to host events of this magnitude because we have great people that help us put them together.
"We cordially welcome Danny and his father. We know his mom is from here, from Bayamon and we are very proud."
ERIC GOMEZ, VICE PRESIDENT OF GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS
"It's always a great pleasure to be back in Puerto Rico. But this time is different because we are bringing a big card to the island with the help of one of the best, PR Best Boxing. They have a great team in Puerto Rico and this is the beginning of something big.
"We are presenting a main event with the fighter of the moment, one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, Danny Garcia, and this is particularly special for me, because I saw him grow
"I met Angel and Danny in the Olympic Trials and I saw something special in him. He was a champion in the making.
"I knew he was special the first time I saw him fight as an amateur at the Olympic Trials. His style was unique; he packed a combination of Tito Trinidad, Wilfredo Gomez, Miguel Cotto and Juanma [Juan Manuel Lopez]'s styles, truly impressive. So, to see him here today, being the great champion than he is, is truly special for me. "