Kathy Duva, Main Events' CEO
This is our 21st show in the series which will end with its 22nd show on NBCSN on November 8. It has been the greatest privilege of my life putting on a series like this. We got to build stars. We started building stars from the very beginning. It is fitting that it is going to end on the same day that Sergey Kovalev is fighting in the biggest fight of the year.
Steve was already a world champion but we got the opportunity to introduce him to the United States because he fought mainly overseas. Now, he is on the front page of Grantland this morning.
This is the last show I am going to be at for this series. I am not going to be able to attend the last fight of the series because I will be at the Kovalev fight. It feels like high school graduation. It is bitter sweet and sad, but I am also excited about what is going to come ahead. I am also very proud of everyone who has worked on this series.
This fight is no doubt going to live up to expectations. In his last fight, Steve put on the best fight of the series. It was about as perfect as you can get.
J Russell Peltz, Hall of Fame Matchmaker
We began the NBCSN series here in this building. We developed Bryant Jennings, who took the fight on short notice, and (Gabriel) Rosado, who is now ranked among the best in his weight class. This will be our last fight of the series in Philly.
If it weren't for bad luck, Edner Cherry wouldn't have any luck at all. He hasn't lost a fight in years, he has been undefeated in eight fights and yet he can't get on television. He is ranked number 15. Just as he was set to fight Belmontes, last week Jerry gets hurt with a wrist injury. He was training for a ranked opponent and now he is fighting an unknown opponent.
Natu is undefeated in ten fights with eight knockouts. He has everything to gain and nothing lose. He is probably going to outweigh Steve by about 60 pounds.
Nobody was out of it more than Steve Cunningham was in April against Mansour. Then he got up and dropped the other guy and came back to win. It doesn't get any better than that. If you weren't there, you wouldn't have believed that he got up and managed to win that fight.
Thank you to Main Events, Russell Peltz, MHP, Everlast and Philly Boxing History. I want to thank everyone for their support for Kennedy's fund. I want to thank Natu's camp for donating to her fund. This sport is not as savage as people think. We are fathers and husbands. I want to thank Concrete Jungle and Brother Naazim. I think I have the best team in the sport. Naazim takes me to levels and pushes me where I didn't know I could go. Getting through training camp with him is a victory in itself.
I am the smallest heavyweight in boxing right now. I wish my weight matched my heart! I am Philly to my core. I am born and raised here. This is not new to me. I am here to do a job and Natu and I can go get a beer after the fight. My career has been about relationships. After I am done, I will be back in boxing somehow. I was in the Navy -- you get orders and you have to carry them out. I got orders and I have to carry out this mission and defeat Natu on Saturday. My faith is what carries me.
He's a big power puncher. He's big. I am a fighter. This is the third undefeated fighter I am fighting as a heavyweight. I am ready to fight. I am a fighter. I have been going through this with Kennedy for nine years. I want to stay active. I want to get back in there. I wanted another shot before the year was out and thank you to Main Events for making it happen.
Brother Naazim Richardson, Cunningham's Trainer
I would like to thank Russell and Kathy for making this fight and Natu for his kind words. We appreciate it. Kennedy is what Steve wants to be when he grows up. Steve Cunningham is always in the danger zone. Steve is the lightest heavyweight in the division. That shows his courage. In the Mansour fight, I looked at my team and I was very confident. His corner has worked with championship fighters all over the world. Everything I have seen is a big strong hungry guy and that is a problem. This man can fight. He is a danger. Steve is always willing to face those kind of things. This is all he knows. This is what he's teaching. His son just won an amateur fight the other day. He's on his crusade. We thank you for the support and for giving us this opportunity. NBC has been a great series. I have seen [Edner] Cherry fight. He is a monster. We got a good card. Come out and see the essence of Philadelphia fighting.
I am honored and privileged to be here today. Thanks to Russell Peltz and Main Events. Steve is a world champion. I have nothing negative to say about him. I admire him. He is where I want to be. He's been eating from a good menu for a long time and I am hungry. Some guys need 30 fights before they would face a Steve Cunningham. A fight like this comes along and I jump at it. I have had a pretty rough career. It is a big risk for him to take this fight and I respect him for that. I am going to give Philly what they are coming to see. His fight with Mansour was my favorite fight of the year. I am looking to go to war.
Sal Musumeci, Final Forum Promotions
I would like to thank Kathy Duva and Main Events. I would like to thank Russell Peltz. We are all children of God. The Cunningham family is in the toughest fight right now. I read about their fund. It shows the humanity and the spirit of this sport. I want to present Mr. Cunningham with this check. This is the most important thing - to help his family. They are going through a battle that is much bigger than two men in the ring. My father is sick in the hospital now; I understand what they are going through.
Freedom is not free. This is for the men and women who put their life on the line for our country. Thank a veteran, Veterans' Day is coming up. Show your support for his family. I say that from my heart.
Putting all that aside, Steve USS Cunningham is a great world champion and family man. I have a lot of respect for him. He is an honorable man. USS Cunningham has a lot of strength behind it. He is taking on a young rising heavyweight. He isn't coming in just to be on television. He is coming to win and coming to fight. It is going to be a tremendous fight for the fans. Cunningham is a true Philadelphian. He doesn't hide. They are going to mix it up. This is what fighting is about. This is a war and I am proud to be a part of it. Let's give Philadelphia a great show.
I want to thank you all for being here. I want to thank Main Events and Peltz for giving me this opportunity. Saturday night will be a great show. My hands will do all the talking. I am just prepared for this fight. I'm ready. We are just ready to rock and roll. Don't miss it. There will be action. It might be a quick night. We will be ready.
I am happy they called me for this fight. I am ready. I am from Africa and I am ready to show America that I am the best. Everything I need to do I will do in the ring. I am a good boxer. I am going to prove I am the best. Thank you everybody.
The Oct. 18 edition of NBCSN Fight Nightwill take place at the 2300 Arena at 2300 Swanson Street in South Philadelphia. It features a 10-round fight between Steve "USS" Cunningham, of Philadelphia, and Natu "The Truth" Visinia, of Clinton, IL. A 10-round junior lightweight contest between Edner "Cherry Bomb" Cherry, of Wauchula, FL, and Osumanu Akaba, of Accra, Ghana, is the co-feature. Five additional fights open the show at 6PM. Tickets are $50 and $75 and will be available at the door (cash only) . The card is presented by Main Events and Peltz Boxing in association with Final Forum Promotions and BAM Boxing. The NBCSN Fight Night telecast will begin at 9 PM ET. Doors open at 5 PM and the first fight will start at 6. The event is sponsored by Rocco's Collision, Coors Light and Steve's Prince of Steaks.