LAS VEGAS – Undefeated welterweight prospect Errol “The Truth” Spence, Jr. weighed in at 146.6 pounds and young veteran Ronald Cruz tipped the scales at the contracted limit of 148 pounds during Thursday’s official weigh-in for their 10-round main event showdown tomorrow/Friday, June 27 on ShoBox: The New Generation, live on SHOWTIME® at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Unbeaten middleweight prospect Dominic “Lights Out” Wade measured 161.6 pounds and once-beaten Nick “The Machine Gun” Brinson weighed in at 160.6 pounds for their 10-round co-feature bout from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Friday’s ShoBox telecast will immediately follow the premiere of ALL ACCESS: Canelo vs. Lara, the SHOWTIME Sports EMMY® Award-winning original documentary series that gives viewers exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the biggest boxing event of the summer.
Spence (12-0, 10 KOs), of Dallas, Texas, was a 2012 U.S. Olympian, but he’ll be facing his toughest opponent to date in Cruz, (20-3, 15 KOs), of Bethlehem, Pa., an experienced veteran who is coming off a hard fought loss to former world champion Kermit Cintron.
Wade (15-0, 11 KOs), of Washington, D.C., is fighting in his first 10-rounder and looking to continue his ascension from prospect to contender status against New York’s Brinson (16-1-2, 6 KOs), a more experienced fighter just one fight removed from a career-best win over Jorge Melendez last June on ShoBox.
Here’s what the fighters had to say during Thursday’s weigh-in at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino:
ERROL SPENCE JR.:
“I think he’s probably the toughest guy I’ve faced. He’s a real tough, durable fighter and he’s going to come to fight. I know he’s a pressure fighter and I think he’ll be my toughest test to date.
“I think everything in this sport is about timing and preparation, and I think I’m taking this fight at the right time in my career. I’m going to show up tomorrow and it’s going to be a great fight.
“I’m going to take whatever comes in the ring. If the knockout comes, then I take the knockout. But, if I have to go 10, I’m ready to go 10. I’ve been sparring 12 rounds in the gym with 30 seconds rest so it’s not a problem.
“From the opponents I’ve watched, I don’t think he’s faced anyone like me before, anybody with my pedigree. He’s fighting someone new, too, and he’s going to see a lot of new things from me. Kermit Cintron is a slower fighter than me. Of course he can punch, but he’s slower and at the end of his road. I wouldn’t have any problems with a guy like that.
“I think by early next year I’ll be ready for a shot at a title. After this fight I’d like to have probably two more fights this year. And then, by early next year, I’ll be a contender and fighting some top quality names like Shawn Porter or somebody like that.
“I’m excited. I want to give SHOWTIME a reason to bring me back so I’m definitely looking to make a statement and put on a great show.”
“They’re obviously taking this fight because they feel like they can beat me. But the experience I have as a professional will cause problems for him and ultimately win the fight for me.
“I’ve definitely fought much tougher competition. He has an impressive amateur record, but fighting as a professional is a whole different ballgame.
“I’m not worried that I haven’t faced a southpaw before. I’ve been sparring with a lot of different southpaw styles and I feel comfortable against them. He won’t bring anything I haven’t seen before.
“I definitely think I need a knockout to win. This can’t be a close fight. I’m not saying I’m going to go out there and look for a knockout – if it comes, it comes – but I’m going to go out there and try to cause a lot of damage.
“I’m definitely here to make a statement. I thought my fight against Kermit Cintron was a bad decision, but I respect the judges’ decision. That fight made me a much better fighter.
“I feel like I’ve never shown the best of me and I feel confident that my best will come out tomorrow. This is my shot and I need to take advantage of it.”
“Training camp been great, I’ve been working hard. My brothers have been here with me, pushing me. Everything has gone according to plan.
“I’ve never gone 10 rounds before, but I don’t plan to go 10 rounds. You always have a different mindset going into each fight, but, when I train, I train to go 12 rounds, so I’m not really worried about it because I spar 10-12 rounds.
“Brinson slings his punches around; besides that, I don’t know too much about him. He has a wild-style, he comes forward basically just like a street fighter, with no skill. I’m going to box him, time him and pop my jabs to exploit him. There will be plenty of openings with a fighter like him, so when I see them I’ll just take him.
“I’ve been training with Adrian Davis since I was a young boy and he has taught me everything that I know. We had a little break, but that was a personal issue, but other than that everything is great and we get along very well.”
“Training camp has been good. They gave me about a month for this fight to prepare so I am in excellent shape. I am a gym rat and everything has been great, everybody is clicking.
“A month is enough time to prepare for a fight like this. In the past when I fought on the big scene I would have about a weeks’ notice, so a month is plenty of time.
“I don’t necessarily need a knockout. Hopefully, the judges will score the fight fairly and see who wins. If it comes down to a knockout, then so be it.
“His team obviously doesn’t believe he took this fight too early and I’m not the matchmaker. He has confidence in himself so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
“My biggest strength against him is that I am the more experienced fighter and I have gone the distance. I’m sure he has questions in his head about this because I don’t think he has ever gone past six rounds.
“The experience alone is going to carry me through the fight. My stamina and mentality is stronger because I’ve seen those rounds. I don’t know what type of condition he is in, but I know I am more prepared mentally.
“Hopefully big things are ahead for me. We are all here to change our lives; that’s why I am in this business.
“I do this all for my daughter, this is everything. I wear her name on my trunks and she’s the reason why I have turned around my career. I’ve taking boxing much more seriously since she was born. I am trying to give her everything; she is my biggest inspiration and motivation to do bigger and better things.”
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Spence vs. Cruz is a 10-round middleweight bout presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona. Doors open at 2 p.m. PT on fight night with the first bell sounding at 2:30 p.m. PT and the first televised bout starting at 6:30 p.m. PT. The ShoBox: The New Generation telecast will air live on SHOWTIME beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast), immediately following the premiere of ALL ACCESS: Canelo vs. Lara.
Tickets priced at $100, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes, fees and service charges, are on sale now at The Joint Box Office, online at AXS.com or by calling 888-9-AXS-TIX