LAS VEGAS – World champions Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd began fight week with a media workout in Las Vegas Wednesday before their 154-pound world title unification that headlines action this Saturday, April 7 live on SHOWTIME from Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Also in attendance Wednesday was super middleweight world champion Caleb Truax, who rematches former champion James DeGale in the co-featured attraction. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT with a 154-pound title eliminator between Julian Williams and Nathaniel Gallimore, who were also at the Mayweather Boxing Club Wednesday for the media workout.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, are on sale now and available by visiting AXS.com or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Box Office.
Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday:
“Everything in training went how it was supposed to. We did our job and now it’s time to fight. I did everything in the gym that I needed to prepare for anything that Hurd can bring.
“All of my opponents are taller than me. His size means nothing to me. I have the experience and I’m the best boxer in the division. He’s never seen anything like me.
“He has to beat me to get the top spot in this division. I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“I’ve earned everything in this sport the hard way. I’ve fought the tough fights for no money. I think everyone knows how talented I am and that I belong up there with the best in the sport.
“I don’t watch film in training camp. A fighter can look one way on video, but totally different in the ring. He has to prepare for what I’m doing. I’m not worried about what he brings. I saw a little bit of his fight against Trout while I was warming up to fight Terrell Gausha, but that’s about it.”
“There was something in me that always wanted this fight. Once I defended my title against Austin Trout, I was quick to get on top of this opportunity.
“This is going to be a difficult fight. Lara is the type of fighter who has a lot of experience. It won’t be easy so I have to be well prepared and on top of my game come Saturday night.
“We’ve been in the gym working a lot on our hand movement and footwork. I took too many punches against Trout and I knew what it was going to take to make those improvements.
“Every fight is the most important fight of my career because I’m protecting this undefeated record. This is going to be a tough fight but I promise I’m going to give it my all and bring it to Lara all night long.
“Being back in Vegas and back at Hard Rock where I beat Frank Galarza to really get this whole journey started means a lot to me. I’m planning to give everyone a great show just like I always do.
“No matter what kind of fight he brings; I’m going to stick to my game plan. He has to fight at my pace. No matter what he comes with, I’m going to be in charge in the ring.
“It’s always going to be fireworks when I’m in the ring. I have a fan-friendly style. At the end of the day, you don’t have to worry about Lara running away, because I’m going to be in his face for 12 rounds.”
“I think DeGale has been making excuses. He couldn’t stop talking about how great his shoulder felt heading into our first fight. Then right after the fight he said he felt fine. Now I guess he came back too early. He was in a tough fight not too long ago, so we’ll see how he is on Saturday night.
“I’m prepared for a better James DeGale. I took his belt and I know he’s going to come back hungry. I expect him to give it his all to get it back. He’ll be in top form.
“As far as I know, I’m still an underdog for this fight. A lot of people think I was a fluke the first time around, so it’s up to me to prove them wrong. I’m ready to silence the critics and silence DeGale.
“I felt like I was going to win the whole time, but a lot of people said it was one of the biggest upsets in British boxing history. It still hasn’t really sunk in. Nothing has really changed. I’m a busier man but I still keep it really low key.
“Boxing isn’t a huge sport in Minneapolis because it’s such a great sports scene. Hopefully my win on Saturday and Jamal James on April 13 on PBC on FS1 will get some more kids into the gyms.
“There were plenty of things that I had to improve on after the first fight. I’ve had four months to really dig down and prepare for this fight. I’ve known the rematch was coming and I’ve been able to get ready.”
“I had a really good camp. I really was just focused on getting better and moving forward in my career. I got a lot of great rounds in with some quality fighters and it was a really productive camp.
“I love fighting in Las Vegas. The electricity is always there and the fans are always welcoming. I love putting on a show for these fans.
“I think Gallimore has performed decently against the competition he’s had. He got beat by a journeyman and had a draw with another journeyman. He seems to have gotten hot at the right time, but we’ll see if he brings it on Saturday night.
“He’s backing himself into a corner. He has to back up those words he’s saying. Overall I think he’s a solid fighter, a good test and it should be an entertaining fight.
“He said he’s going to knock me out, but that’s really the only way he could possibly win. One lucky punch. That’s all he’s banking on. I’m going to out class him and out dog him.
“I’ve always known I had guts, I’ve always known I’m a really good fighter with all the tools to become a world champion. I didn’t need to learn anything about myself after the loss, I just had to correct some things and move forward.”
“I feel great right now, I’m ready for the world to see the improved ‘Nate The Great’. I treat every fight like a world championship fight. Julian Williams has nothing for me. He has to worry about what I bring to the table. On Saturday night, it’s going to be judgement day. The truth will come out.
“This fight means a lot to me. This is what I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little kid. This is my chance to become great. I’m going to show the world I’m a different beast in the 154-pound division.
“I’m bringing total domination for this fight. I don’t care what he’s training for. He could be training on Mars. He has to get up to my level. I’m tearing him apart.
“I’m taking this fight so seriously. Julian Williams is quiet now, but he was loud before he fought Jermall Charlo. He has to figure out who he is. I’m going to show the whole world.
“The game plan is to show off my whole arsenal. We’ve covered everything in the gym. I’m a different animal. Everyone in this division better look out for me. They’re going to have to crown me real soon.”
Photos from Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME