Broner claimed he has so much will that “my last name could be Smith,” while Thurman said that once his will emerges in his next fight, “it’s over for” his opponent.
Broner (27-0, 22 knockouts) and Thurman (21-0, 19 KOs) made their proclamations during Thursday’s press conference in San Antonio, site of their respective Showtime-televised bouts against Marcos Maidana (34-3, 31 KOs) and Jesus Soto-Karass (28-8-3, 18 KOs) on Dec. 14.
“It’s going to be a hell of a fight,” said Broner. “I can promise you this: It’s going to get ugly. I am talking Sam Cassell, Tyrone Hill ugly. It’s going to get ugly. I don’t know if he’s faking that he doesn’t speak English. But after Dec. 14, he’ll speak English.
“I am going for the knockout. Strap up…You can train different. You can lift weights with your teeth. You can push cars for two months straight. That doesn’t matter. I got the skills to pay the bills, and I got enough will, my last name could be Smith.”
Entitled, “Danger Zone,” the card will also feature WBC junior featherweight beltholder Leo Santa Cruz in a defense against Cesar Seda, WBA light heavyweight beltholder Beibut Shumenov against unbeaten Tamas Kovacs, and former welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz against an opponent to be determined after Alfonzo Gomez suffered a hand injury.
“On Dec. 14, we have a celebration,” said Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. “A celebration of boxing at the highest level with the best fighters fighting the best opposition. This is what Golden Boy is all about. But it also is a celebration of San Antonio. New York at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Los Angeles at the Staples Center, Las Vegas at the MGM Grand and San Antonio at the Alamodome.
“That’s right. San Antonio is now one of the top four premiere destinations for boxing in the United States. And our company, in partnership with local promoters Jesse James Leija and Mike Battah, are committed to bringing big-time boxing to this market on a regular basis. Showtime is going to continue the tradition of the best fighting the best, and Saturday, Dec. 14, Santa Claus is coming to town.”
In San Antonio, Thurman and Soto Karass return to the site of their last fights in July. Thurman scored a 10th-round knockout of Argentina’s hammer-fisted Diego Chaves. On the same card, Soto Karass rose from an 11th-round knockdown to drop and stop former two-time welterweight beltholder Andre Berto in the 12th.
“I come to bring the hurt,” said Thurman. “Fighters think they know what they’re getting into when they step into the ring. But no one can prepare for this. I am a beast. Dec. 14 is what I live for. That action. Getting hit, taking hits, giving hits. Seeing if they can take my hits, which they can’t do for long… I come with a passion, drive, desire and will. Not just ordinary will, but the will to be champion.
“You’ve seen that will in my last fight, and Soto Karass is the type of fighter that can bring that out in me again. Once that comes out, it’s over for him … Other than [Floyd] Mayweather, you are looking at the best welterweights in the world [on this card.] Adrien Broner is the world champ. I am interim champ. Marcos Maidana is ranked No. 1 by the WBA. This division is packed. I just happen to be one of the most talented.”
As for Broner, Maidana offered a simple retort.
“The key is to throw a lot of punches,” said Maidana. “Pressure him. Kick his ass, and that’s what I am going to do.”
Meanwhile, Ortiz (29-4, 22 KOs) will end an 18-month ring absence, having been cast for a role in the third installment of Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables and participated in Dancing With The Stars.
“I shot a movie. I did ‘Dancing With Stars.’ But through all that, in the back of my mind, I kept telling myself that I will be world champion again,” said Ortiz. “And that’s why I am here. Enjoy these fights. We have some of the greatest fighters of this era up here, so you are in for a treat. I will be world champion again, like it or not. Step aside. I am here.”
Photo by Soobum Im/Hogan Photos-Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org