LOS ANGELES – Two-time super featherweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis and three-division world champion Abner Mares went face-to-face for the first time Thursday at a press conference in Los Angeles as Davis defends his WBA title against Mares on Saturday, February 9 live on SHOWTIME® in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event promises fireworks and high-stakes action as both men bring their fan-friendly styles to the ring. Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from the Conga Room at L.A. Live:
“I believe that Abner Mares is a future Hall of Famer because he’s fought so many top-level guys. This is big for me because this is my first time being a main event in the U.S. and I just feel blessed to be here.
“In 2019, I want to make a big statement not only in the ring but by letting the boxing world know that I’m the next star. I’m aiming to headline a pay-per-view by 2020 if everything goes right. I have great fights lined up for next year, without looking past Abner.
“As soon as I got off the plane, I went straight to the gym and got some work in with some guys there. We’re not taking Abner lightly. I’m excited and blessed to be in this position. February 9, I’m confident it will be sold out and I’m confident that I will be that next boxing star.
“I’ve always known that you can’t underestimate anyone in the ring. You have to look at your opponent like they’re equal to you. I understand exactly what I have in front of me.
“I don’t know what Abner sees, but he was sure he wanted to take this fight so obviously he sees something. I have power, speed, movement and really a blend of everything. I believe that I’m a better fighter than him.
“It’s all about being focused in that ring and doing my job. I’m coming to get Abner Mares out of there.
“I wanted to fight Abner Mares out here in Southern California. Floyd Mayweather fought Arturo Gatti in his hometown and that’s basically what I’m doing here.”
“One day I just thought to myself that this fight against Gervonta Davis would be a great matchup and that I can win it. There are other big fights at featherweight that I could have gotten. I’m taking this fight because of the challenge that it brings. I’m all about that.
“I’m coming off of a great close fight against Leo Santa Cruz. I’m a winner every time I fight. I come to prove people wrong and perform. Not too many people do that these days.
“We’ll already have 50 percent of the fight won just by having a good corner, a good team and a great plan. The other 50 percent is up to the fighter to perform. One thing is having the game plan in your mind but it’s another thing to go out there and perform that game plan.
“We’re not just going into this fight blind. I’m not stupid. I’m taking this fight because I see something in this guy. It’s a tough fight, no doubt. All fights are tough. He’s in for a good fight. At the end of the day, you guys have to stop worrying about my weight and if I’m too small. You guys are going to get a great fight and that’s all that matters. Sit back, look pretty and enjoy the fight.
“You can’t compare Jesus Cuellar to Gervonta Davis. I know some people wanted to compare how I did against Cuellar and how Davis did against Cuellar, but he fought him two years after I did. It makes no sense. Gervonta Davis has a different style than Cuellar and it’s going to be a good fight. He’s an exciting fighter and he’s a boxer. He’s a boxer that trades punches so it makes for an exciting fight.
“People are going to recognize me as someone who took on everyone. People say this will be a new style for me, but I’ve seen them all. This is team ‘no fear’ and we’re going to make this happen.”
CALVIN FORD, Davis’ Trainer
“This is a great chance for us to go up against the great team that Abner Mares and Robert Garcia make. We’ve been watching them for a long time and we’re looking forward to it.
“We’ve been doing this for many years. We know that when it’s time to lock in, we’ll be locked in. Sparring has been going well. We’re just taking our time and doing what we have to do to get ready. We have a great team and everybody is doing their part. It’s our time to show what we’re capable of.
“On February 9, that’s when Gervonta Davis is going to step up and show the world what he truly is. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
ROBERT GARCIA, Mares’ Trainer
“Abner is very motivated. We have very strong sparring partners and he’s doing a great job in the gym already. Come February 9, everyone is in for a surprise. I respect Gervonta Davis and his team, but I think Abner is hungrier and looking to make history.
“This is going to be a great fight. We’re excited to see a great crowd of fans out there to enjoy a fight that’s going to be full of action.
“We know that this is a tough challenge. I think of this like the Adrien Broner vs. Marcos Maidana fight. Just like Davis, they said Broner is flashy, dangerous and this and that. But you all know what happened. Same thing is going to happen this time around.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“This is a fight the fans wanted. These two guys have gone back and forth on social media and I’m excited that they’re going to finally get in the ring on February 9.
“Davis vs. Mares is a thrilling matchup between two very skilled warriors. You can’t expect anything but great fireworks from this fight.
“You can’t say enough about Gervonta Davis. He’s young, exciting and when he comes into the ring, he doesn’t play games. That style is going to make this an electrifying matchup.
“You don’t see fighters like Gervonta Davis very often. He has all the ingredients it takes to be a huge star. He knows that he has room to improve and he truly wants to get better. He has a tremendous skill set and you’ve only gotten a glimpse of what Gervonta Davis brings to the table so far.
“Abner Mares really wanted this fight. Any time a boxer goes out of his way to say ‘I want that guy’, the biggest and baddest guy in the division, that speaks volumes to the confidence that Abner Mares has. He’s exhibited this in all of his fights and he always performs at the highest level.”
RICHARD SCHAEFER, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports
“This is a fascinating matchup taking place at the perfect venue. This is a great fight to get 2019 going. It’s youth, strength and size against experience, will and desire. May the best man win.
“I want to thank both fighters for coming together to make this fight happen. This is one that had been brewing for a while. Gervonta Davis is the best fighter in his division and he’s one of the guys who can talk the talk and walk the walk.
“Abner Mares has always sought out the most difficult challenges in front of him. He is a legend in this sport and one of the best fighters to ever come out of Mexico. These are the kinds of challenges that make Abner what he is in this sport.
“Gervonta Davis is one of the rising stars of the sport and Mares is one of its legendary champions. When you put those two together, the ones who are going to win are the fight fans.
“People are excited about this fight. Fans know that you never want to count out a great champion like Abner Mares. This is of course a dangerous fight for Mares, that’s how good Gervonta Davis is, but he obviously sees how he can win this fight.”