Unbeaten WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder and unbeaten contender Luis Ortiz exchanged words and went face to face at the final press conference in Manhattan Thursday ahead of their main event showdown this Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Also participating in Thursday’s press conference and opening the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast were super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui, who meet in a rematch of their May 2017 matchup on SHOWTIME as they fight for the IBF interim 168-pound world title in the co-feature.
Here is what the participants had to say…
“The reason I wanted this fight is not only do I think Ortiz is one of the best technical fighters in the division, but he’s the boogeyman that everyone is running from. Champions have avoided him and I’ve always said I was the best and this is my chance to prove it.
“This result isn’t up to anyone but myself. Every time I get under the bright lights, I give the fans what they want to see. This is the best versus the best and that’s what boxing deserves.
“I had all the excuses in the world to run away from this fight after he failed the test. There are a lot of good, up-and-coming heavyweights out there, but I wasn’t interested in them. This fight is how I prove that I’m the baddest man on the planet.
“On March 3, with all the personal things put aside, it’s going to be an honor to fight Luis Ortiz, man to man and father to father. I know that family is his motivation, just like it is for me, and that’s why I blessed him with this opportunity.
“The exciting thing about Saturday night is for everyone to see what I’m capable of doing. Luis Ortiz is determined to get my WBC belt. This is my seventh defense of my title and I’ve enjoyed every one. It’s a lot of responsibility and I take it seriously. You’ll all see on Saturday night why I’ve said the things I’ve said.
“Everyone knows what I’m expecting Saturday night. I can’t say it enough. I have knocked every opponent out for a reason. I plan on continuing my knockout streak. That’s what I do and that’s what I’m best at.
“This is the best fight right here in boxing that can be made. It doesn’t get any better than this on Saturday night. You have to be here in person, because you won’t want to miss anything. You never know what you’ll see, but Saturday night will be bombs away.”
“I never say anything bad about fighters because inside the ring, anything can happen. I respect everyone who steps into the ring. This is my opportunity. This is my time. Deontay is a great champion but this is my chance.
“Like I always say, this is my time and it’s going to be a great triumph. This is big for all of Cuban boxing and I will make my country proud.
“This is going to be like two trains on the same track about to collide. I’m going to win and I’m going to take his belt.
“This is not a video game. This is not using controllers. You have to actually step into the ring with me on Saturday night.
“Deontay is scared. He’s talking a lot of nonsense. He’s worried about what I’m going to do. This is my time. I’m going to show everyone.
“I’m 100 percent ready to go. Sparring has been amazing and I’m totally prepared for Deontay Wilder. Deontay’s biggest mistake is that he talks too much.
“I looked into his eyes and I knew that I’m not going to lose this opportunity. I’m going to be the first Cuban and the first Latino born outside the country to win a title. Saturday night will be historic.
“The public gave me this opportunity to fight for the title and beat you for your belt. I’m going to make the most of my chance and knock Deontay Wilder out.”
“It was a rocky start for me in our first fight. He caught me with a good shot in the early rounds, but I was able to fight through it. I started to dominate the second half of the fight but he had definitely thrown my game off. I still weathered the storm and made good things happen. This fight is very deserving of a rematch and I’m looking forward to it.
“This fight right here is one of the beautiful moments we have in boxing. There were two wrongs that night in the last fight. I’m really happy with everyone who has made this rematch and gave the sport what it deserves.
“Now Jose Uzcategui and myself both have chances to prove ourselves again. This is going to be the worst opportunity of Uzcategui’s life. But it will be the best opportunity for me.
“This is my opportunity to prove all of the critics wrong this time. I’m not the favorite, and it’s a beautiful thing. I’m going to change every single mind on Saturday night. I’m stepping up to the plate, and I’m preparing to hit a home run.
“Virgil Hunter has definitely helped me with my mental game. We’ve worked on a masterful game plan. Virgil is tough to work with but we did all of the necessary things we had to in order to accomplish what we have to on Saturday.
“The next two years or more will be the best years of my career. I’ve been blessed with an illustrious career. This is a new look for me and I feel good. I have a very tough, hungry fighter in front of me and I can’t wait to prove myself.”
“We’re not doing anything differently heading into this fight. I’ve put the time in at the gym every day to make sure that the fight ends conclusively this time.
“Before I even got to the ring in the first fight I felt some animosity from the referee towards me and it kind of led to what happened in the fight.
“Saturday night you’re not just going to see that I’m a boxer-puncher, but you’ll see my full power on display.
“I’m happy to be in this rematch. I hope that Dirrell brings action like he’s talking about on Saturday. I don’t want to chase him around the ring all night.
“I’m ready to accomplish my dreams, and that involves beating Andre Dirrell more decisively than last night and leaving no doubt at all who the better fighter is.”
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Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, start at $50 and are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit Ticketmaster.com, BarclaysCenter.com, or call 800-745-3000. Tickets for the event can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center.