TAMPA – International superstar and unbeaten pro boxer Jake “The Problem Child” Paul and former MMA world champion Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley previewed their highly-anticipated rematch during the final press conference Thursday before they square off in the SHOWTIME PPV main event this Saturday, December 18 live from AMALIE Arena in Tampa.
The press conference also featured seven-division world champion Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano and lightweight titleholder Miriam Gutierrez, who meet in the co-main event, three-time NBA All-Star Deron Williams and legendary San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore, who meet in a four-round pro boxing heavyweight bout, and unbeaten 140-pound contenders Liam Paro and Yomar Alamo, who square off in the telecast opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Also in attendance Thursday were Anthony Taylor and Chris Avila, pro boxers and MMA fighters who will clash in an eight-round super middleweight bout as part of the non-televised undercard.
Paul and Woodley will square off once again in a rematch of Paul’s split decision over Woodley in front of a sold-out crowd in Cleveland in August. The former UFC champion was Paul’s toughest opponent to date and the first fighter to take boxing’s newest star the distance. The judges scored the fight 77-75 for Paul, 77-75 for Woodley and 78-74 for Paul.
Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa:
“It’s funny how someone considered a pro boxer like Tommy Fury gets sick and doesn’t want to fight. I’ve fought hurt before. You have to go get the job done.
“This is no problem for me. I’m getting a big bag to beat the guy I already beat. It’s going to be a bank robbery.
“We added the $500,000 knockout bonus to his contract for this fight, but I don’t need anything else, I already have everything.
“My career has become about shutting people up. This is another version of that. We’re here to up the ante.
“Just because I’m paying him to beat me, doesn’t mean he can. If anything, it’s to my advantage, because he’s going to come out recklessly and get caught.
“I hurt him multiple times in that first fight, and I didn’t even hit him with my best shot. It was a bad night and I still beat him. He should be embarrassed by that.
“Everyone better tune in to this fight on SHOWTIME PPV because if you don’t, you’re going to be missing out on one of the best fights out there.
“I’ve been hit harder in sparring than I was by Woodley. Some of those guys I fight can really crack. He won a UFC title with that right hand, but he hit me with it and I took it no problem.”
“When I got the call for this fight, my thought was that things happened for a reason. Everything is aligned. Something wasn’t sitting right for me about Jake fighting Tommy Fury. They didn’t even have to finish their sentence before I said yes to the rematch.
“I’m just excited about the opportunity to redeem myself. We found out a lot about each other that night in the ring. We have mutual respect, but there’s still unfinished business.
“You have to be patient in finishing someone off in this sport. You have to respect their power and I’m not going to pretend like he doesn’t have power. We both do.
“In the second half of the fight I started walking him down and backing him up. I had him hurt, but he wasn’t out of it. I maybe could have been more active, but I have to go off of what I see.
“Every time I hit him, he ran. When I got hit, I came right back into his face.
“August 29 was a Christmas gift. On December 18, it’s going to be a bad night for Jake Paul. I just need to go out there and get it done. This is round nine to me.
“Jake was running in the first fight so I can measure his track speed more than his power. I give him a 10 out of 10 on his backpedaling. He should be a cornerback.
“I’m not going to bash his goals, but Saturday my goal and my mission is clear, and it’s independent of his. I’m coming to smash him.”
“This fight is very important for me. Miriam is a tough and durable fighter. She stepped up to the task of fighting me and I have to get through her. There’s been a lot of upsets lately and I know she wants to do the same thing. I’ve trained super hard to make this a great performance.
“I know Miriam is tough because she went the distance with Katie Taylor. I just have to perform to the best of our abilities to get to the next fight. I’ve trained really hard for Miriam and she’s my focus come Saturday night.
“I have some stoppages already at lightweight. My power is real and I take it wherever I go, no matter the division. Gutierrez is a natural 135-pounder so I’m ready to test my power once again.”
“This is a great experience. To have this experience against a seven-division world champion like Amanda Serrano is just amazing. I’m here to fight the best. I fought against Katie Taylor under different circumstances. Training was different during the pandemic because everything was closed. It was harder. Now I’m just here to enjoy the entirety of the experience, the fans, the atmosphere. I love every single second of it.
“Every fighter is different. I am one way; Amanda Serrano is another way. Katie Taylor is different than both of us. I have prepared to fight against the best.
“Amanda will be a great test for me. I want to see what I’m all about and what this sport is all about. I want the biggest challenges and I’m ready for everything that comes my way.”
“This fight is between two guys who are high-level athletes in their respective sports and who have decided to dedicate themselves to the sport of boxing.
“It’s an interesting fight because neither of us has a fight before. There’s no tape on us. You will have to tune in on December 18 and see what happens.
“There is a stigma about basketball players being a little soft. I am here to show that it’s not the case. I have been training for a while in MMA. Making the switch to boxing has been a process that I have enjoyed. I have taken this camp very seriously. You are going to see that on Saturday.”
“I’m very excited for this opportunity. A lot of people are going to be really surprised by my skillset. I took this training camp very seriously. I’m going to show the world that I have boxing skills come Saturday night.
“This is going to be a good fight. I respect my opponent. I don’t look at Deron as a basketball player. Anyone who goes in the ring has some kind of toughness. He’s trained in MMA and wrestled before, so I know he’s tough.
“I’ve been the underdog all my life and I’m okay with it. I trained hard and I’ve been around this sport a long time. I’m ready and I trained my behind off. The fans are going to see some good stuff from me on Saturday night.”
“I have had a perfect camp. On Saturday night, it’s going to be an absolute mismatch guaranteed. I am going to explode on the international scene in a big way.
“I am world class. I’m coming for the whole 140-pound division. After Saturday night, I’m putting them all on notice. I’m going to do it in devastating fashion.”
“He can say whatever he wants, but he has to respect the fact that I’ve taken out unbeaten fighters before. He has to know that this won’t be easy. I’m coming for him.
“I love it when people underestimate me. In the end, it’s just going to be me and him in the ring and I’m going to show him what I’m all about.
“I’m not going to underestimate anybody. I’m always prepared for anything my opponent can come at me with. The only thing I can promise, is that I am going to come out with the win.”
“Since the Tommy Fury fight, I’ve fought twice and brushed up my skills. I’m a lot sharper, faster and better than ever.
“Now I have the opportunity to shut him up again. If Nate Diaz wants problems, we can settle it. I’m coming into this fight with a whole new skillset.
“Chris Avila doesn’t have anything for me. His whole Diaz Army has nothing for me. I’m coming into this fight to knock him out and make a statement. Come this Saturday night, he’s going down.”
“I’m coming to do my thing and leave the ring with my hand raised. He’s got nothing for me that I can’t handle.
“This is an eight-round fight and that’s going to play to my advantage. He doesn’t have what it takes. He can say what he wants. He didn’t do anything but run in our MMA fight. He’s going to run again.”