BROOKLYN – Unbeaten welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. and former champion Lamont Peterson went face-to-face for the first time Wednesday at a press conference in Brooklyn to discuss their world title showdown headlining action on Saturday, January 20 live on SHOWTIME. The event is presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING®.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING coverage begins live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature undercard attractions that will be announced in the near future.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, are priced starting at $50, and are on sale now. Tickets 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. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP).
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Wednesday:
ERROL SPENCE JR.
“You’re going to see the same Errol Spence that you’re used to. I can’t look ahead because I know how dangerous Lamont Peterson is. I’ve been in training camps with him and I know what he can do.
“I’ve seen too many fighters look down the road and get beat before they get to the big fight. I have to be 100 percent focused and hungry. I’m fully dedicated to this fight.
“Lamont can push me to even greater levels. I feel like he is a better fighter than Kell Brook and has even more heart than Kell Brook and he can bring out the best in me.
“I think it’s going to start out as a boxing match, but as we go on, it’s going to be a dog fight. We both have big hearts. I’ve never known Lamont to turn down any fight. Not a lot of people wanted to fight me. The big names shied away from me but Lamont stood up and said he’d fight me. This is going to be a hard fight.
“I used to watch Lamont and his brother Anthony Peterson before I ever met them. I like their styles, the way they throw body punches and the fundamentals that they learned from Barry Hunter.
“I think I can be known as the best pound-for-pound in the sport, but I have to take it one fight at a time. I want to be the undisputed welterweight champion. That should be everyone’s ultimate goal – to be the best fighter in the sport. But first I have a big test ahead of me January 20.
“This is the business of the sport. I was a young guy when Lamont was giving me advice. Now we’ve gotten to this point. It really shows his longevity in the sport and how I’ve reached the ranks of being a top pro fighter.
“Sparring with Lamont Peterson was really great work. It was a learning experience. I was an amateur so I was going at a fast pace and Lamont was being patient, blocking and countering and picking his shots. He was fighting at a pro pace and I didn’t really understand it until I got farther into my career.
“You’ve seen me and Lamont fight. We’re not in boring fights. We have fan-friendly styles and you’re going to get a really good fight. We have the mentality to really go after it and give it our all to get this win.
“I want the best in this division to all fight each other. It’s time for everyone else to stand up and proclaim that they want to be great. That’s how we get this division to the peak. I don’t feel like waiting to fight the best. I want to prove myself.”
“This is a world title fight and I’m thankful for that. I try not to make too much out of each fight. I just want to take it one fight at a time. I’ve done this for 13 years as a professional. All fights are the same. I’m going to go in there and take care of business.
“As a top fighter, you’re obligated to take what comes on the table. Regardless of who it is. It’s boxing. It’s a sport and we’re competitors. We want to go in there and compete to see who’s the best. We’re going to treat it like business like we always do.
“You already know when I fight, it’s a feeling out process to start, but in my head, I’m ready to go. It’s going to get rough in the trenches and we’ll see who wants it more.
“I knew six years ago when Errol was in my camp that we’d get to this point. I knew he would be a champion. For the most part, I’ve seen him improve and progress throughout the pro ranks and I believe he’s going to keep getting better.
“I don’t pay any attention to the outside noise. I respect everyone’s opinion. I just go out and train to do what I love to do. I do this because I love to box. I’m not here to get on a list. I truly love this sport.
“I can’t worry about people thinking that Errol is the next star in this sport. I believe that, but I can’t worry about it. It is up to me and my team to come up with the right type of strategy and execute it.
“I’m not too worried about figuring out his southpaw stance. I’ve been around long enough and encountered enough southpaws. I’m confident I’ll be able to handle it.
“The size may seem like an advantage for Errol, but it’s up to me and my team to figure out the best way to negate it. I know who I am. I’m a competitive person. Regardless of everything, I’m going to come to win.”
DERRICK JAMES, Spence’s Trainer
“We have a game plan in place. We’ll try to perfect everything leading up to this one. We’re working on making Errol a more complete fighter every time out. He’ll be better than he was when you saw him against Brook.
“We’re looking for the perfect fight. It takes a great fighter to bring out the greatness in another great fighter. These guys are high caliber fighters and it’s about as good a matchup as you can have in the division.
“These are two guys with the mentality to go after it. But they also have technical skill. This is going to be an old school fight between guys with real skills.
“It’s one thing to do it, but it’s another to teach. I’ve really understood this sport since I became a trainer. Fighters are developed, not born. I’m going to keep working with these guys on the fundamentals so we can bring up the whole sport.”
BARRY HUNTER, Peterson’s Trainer
“When I look at Errol Spence, I instantly fell in love with him because he reminded me of Lamont so much. They both have that dog mentality. I’ve always known he was a special fighter.
“Lamont told me when he worked with Errol that he really liked the kid. He knew he would be a world champion. I had to remind myself that this is business. We have to fight our friends.
“These are the two guys who are ready to fight anybody. The fight on January 20 is going to be one to remember. It’s a fan-friendly fight.
“Errol Spence is the best fighter in the welterweight division. You have athletes that can fight and athletes who are fighters. Errol and Lamont are both. They have the skills and they have the ability to fight.
“To be the best in the world, you have to fight the best in the world. All the greats have done it. In order to get back to the glory days, we need to put the best against the best. I have confidence in Lamont Peterson against anybody.”
LOU DIBELLA, President of DiBella Entertainment
“There are very few fights you could make that are better in the welterweight division than this fight. It’s going to take place at the home of big-time boxing, here at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and live on SHOWTIME.
“Errol Spence is one of the most talked about fighters in the sport. Some think he could be the best fighter in the world. He’s consistently said he only wants to fight the best and on January 20 he will be fighting another champion and another great welterweight. Lamont Peterson never backs down from a challenge and we know he’ll be ready for this fight on January 20.
“This is a great event that continues the run of significant meaningful matchups on SHOWTIME. It’s been great quality programming. The fight cards have all been incredibly easy to promote because the fights have been so strong. You have to make fights with great fighters battling other great fighters. That’s what we need to energize our fans and our sport.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive VP & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports
“As we come to the end of 2017 we look back on what has been a really strong year. 25 nights of live boxing, 80 live boxing matches and 27 world title fights. Not just title fights, but world title fights featuring top ranked challengers against top ranked champions.
“We’ve brought you the most watched fight of the year in Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia right here at Barclays Center on CBS. It was also the most watched primetime boxing match in nearly 20 years. But we will not be resting on our laurels.
“We’ll kick off next year with an incredibly strong card. Errol Spence has grown up on SHOWTIME and we’re proud of that. He made his debut on ShoBox and won his world title on SHOWTIME. He has knocked out nine straight opponents and in his last five fights his opponents have an impressive record of 141-7-3.
“Not a lot of fighters are rushing to fight Errol Spence. Lamont Peterson not only stepped up to the challenge, but he relinquished his welterweight title to take this fight. That’s the kind of fighter he is. He has one of the strongest resumes in the division and he’s fought the best guys in the sport.
“We’re thrilled to kick off the year with this matchup. It’s another great fight in the welterweight division, a division we’ve been paying a lot of attention to for years. We’ll see you on January 20.”
BRETT YORMARK, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
“We’re coming off of an incredible 2017 for BROOKLYN BOXING. It far exceeded my expectations. We’re very committed to boxing, not just now, but in the future. This fight kicks off what I think will be a great 2018 for BROOKLYN BOXING.
“Lamont was on the first ever PBC card at Barclays Center in 2015 and Brooklyn is happy to have you back. Errol was here in the spring of 2016 and we’ve had him as a fan several times, but we far prefer having you here in the ring.
“Barclays Center is known for hosting 50-50 fights and this is no different. We’re thrilled to be holding this event here in Brooklyn. We look forward to seeing you on January 20.”
Photos Courtesy of Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME