Leo Santa Cruz, Mikey Garcia media day
Two of the most popular Los Angeles-based fighters, featherweight world champion Leo Santa Cruz and former two-division champion Mikey Garcia, took part in a media workout on Tuesday at City of Angels Boxing Club in Los Angeles, Calif. as they prepare to make a cross-country trip to Brooklyn for their respective Saturday, July 30 showdowns at Barclays Center and live on SHOWTIME®.
Santa Cruz will defend his title against Irish superstar Carl Frampton in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
The undefeated Garcia will return to the ring after a two-and-a-half-year layoff to fight former world champion Elio Rojas in a 10-round bout while 154-pound contenders Tony Harrison and Sergey Rabchenko meet in a 12 round IBF Jr. Middleweight eliminator in the televised opener. The telecast will be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP).
Also in attendance at the workout was promising lightweight contender Ivan Redkach, who takes on Tevin Farmer in the opening bout of SHOWTIME EXTREME (7 p.m. ET/PT). Additional action on July 30 will feature an all-Brooklyn welterweight battle between two-time world champion Paulie Malignaggi and Gabriel Bracero in the main event of a SHOWTIME EXTREME doubleheader.
Here is what the participants had to say Tuesday:
LEO SANTA CRUZ
“My dream is to be the next big thing in boxing. We’re going to work hard every day in the gym, learn from our mistakes and improve so I can be the best fighter out there. With the help of the fans and the media I think I can accomplish that.
“He has great skills, great punches and he moves very well. It’s going to be a tough fight for me but I’m going to work hard to defend my belt.
“I see Frampton as someone trying to come and take away everything I worked hard for. I can’t let that happen. I’m going to do what I have to do to get the win.
“He’s a very skilled fighter. He has great power and I think it’s going to be an exciting fight. These are the kind of guys I want to fight. It gives me even more motivation to get in the gym and train hard.
“I’ve known Mikey Garcia from the amateur days and our families have sparred with each other. I’ve even trained with Robert Garcia before. To see another great Mexican fighter go over to New York is very exciting. I’m very happy for him. He’s a great guy and a great fighter.
“I think Frampton will keep his power up the weight classes. He couldn’t make 122-pounds anymore and he’s said that he will be even stronger this time. That’s good. That’s what I want. I want him to feel good so it’ll be a tough and entertaining fight.
“I can’t let him come over to the U.S. and get this win. We’re going to go out there and see if he can bring the best out of me. I’m going to be one-hundred percent ready.
“I’m comfortable at 126-pounds. I want to get this win against Carl Frampton and then unify against Gary Russell Jr., Lee Selby or any of the champions. When my body is ready we’ll move up in weight to seek another world title.
“When I first started boxing all I ever thought about was being a world champion one time. Then after I got there I started pushing my goals. If I continue to keep learning and improve as a fighter, I could go all the way up to 140-pounds.
“I’m thrilled to be fighting in New York. It’s going to be my first time out there. I’m excited to meet new fans. The people who have wished I would fight in New York will get to see me. There are people that don’t know me and this my opportunity to be impressive and put on a show for them.”
“I’m a well-rounded fighter. I can adjust to just about any style. I get a lot of diverse sparring so that I can adjust to anything Rojas might bring. Training camp has been going very well and I think it’s going to be a good night for me.
“I’ve seen Rojas before. I saw him when he was champion. He’s a good fighter with a lot of experience. He can definitely box and has a good right hand. He lost his title to a great champion. He’s very skilled and experience.
“Both of us are boxers and we tend to try to work from a distance. This time I may have to look for the fight a bit more and apply some pressure. If he tries to box around, I’ll find him. I think my power will eventually be the difference and I’ll break him down.
“I don’t believe there will be ring rust because I was never really outside of the ring. I’ve been in the gym the whole time, sparring and training. I would spar 10 or 12 rounds, just to do it. Not because I had a fight, but just to keep me active. I know it seems like a long time, but I don’t really see it. I feel like I was gone six months.
“I want to fight at 135 and fight for a title there. I’m going to see how my body feels after this fight, but that’s the plan as of now. We’re not looking past Elio. I definitely want to get back in the ring soon if everything goes right.
“I have no regrets. I’ve got to enjoy myself more than I had in the last 10 years. When you’re in boxing, it’s a year round sport. You don’t have time to yourself, for your family or friends. You miss out on a lot. I learned a lot in my time away about boxing and more.
“This will end up being about a seven-week training camp, but even prior to that I’ve been staying in the gym. I don’t feel any different. I feel one-hundred percent. My body is well-rested which makes me hungrier and more motivated.
“I’ve fought in New York before and it’s always been a great and very supportive crowd. I was at Barclays Center for the first time on June 25 for Thurman-Porter and it was a great arena. It had great energy and I can’t wait to fight there. I can’t wait to fight at Barclays.
“It’s great to be in the gym with all these different types of fighters that my brother trains. I have a lot of very intense sparring. I’ve gotten a chance to really learn from the different styles and it definitely helps me.”
“This is an excellent fight for me. I’m closing in to a title shot and I’m going to be ready on July 30.
“I have a plan for this fight. You’ll see it in the ring. I’m going to make this an exciting fight.
“A title fight is my motivation but my focus in fully on July 30. Everything I’ve done is to lead up to a world title fight.
“I know that my opponent is slick and very fast. He’s a good boxer but we’ll see what he brings to the ring.
“This is my first camp with Leo Santa Cruz and his team and it’s been going very well. I feel very prepared to fight.”
ANTONIO SANTA CRUZ, Leo’s Brother & Trainer
“This camp feels very close to the same as usual. My father (Jose) is usually the one who tells us what to do. I’m in the ring with Leo but he’s still there. He is sick but he is still going to the gym. He wants to be there for Leo.
“Frampton is a good fighter. He’s going to give my brother a good fight. Short guys are tougher for Leo so we’re making sure we have sparring with fighters of all heights. Frampton won’t be hard to get inside but his height could pose a problem.
“It’s a little bit more pressure on me. I’m trying to show my father that I can learn and help Leo be at his best. I think he’s going to have a great night.”
JOSE SANTA CRUZ, Leo’s Father & Trainer
“I feel good. Right now I’m going to the gym every day. Leo looks good in the ring and is training very well.
“Little by little Antonio is learning and even I’m still learning. We’re both getting better as trainers and that is our goal, to be great. I feel the love from my sons and I love them a lot too. I’m proud of them and I’m proud that they are my sons.
“Leo is very calm. I don’t think Leo is going to be affected by traveling to New York. Even if he doesn’t have the majority of the fans, I don’t think it will affect him.
“You never know how it’s going to go on fight night. You can prepare in the gym, but sometimes, once you’re up in the ring, a fight can get complicated.
“Even if I can’t make it to New York, I’m going to watch the fight. Even if it’s with one eye open, I’m going to watch.”
ROBERT GARCIA, Mikey’s Brother & Trainer
“Mikey definitely wants to win a title at 135-pounds. There are some good champions out there but not necessarily a huge name. Eventually Mikey would want to go up to 140-pounds where I believe there are a lot of exciting fights that could be made.
“Elio is a fighter that has been off for a while and he’s a former world champion. He’s also trying to come back and make a statement. We have to be prepared for the opponent to be at the top of his game.
Now that he’s got a date and with the training and sparring, Mikey has been looking really good. It’s been a while. We might see a little bit of rust, a little bit of adjustment to timing. But the way he’s been in the gym, against top quality fighters, he’s been looking so good that I wouldn’t be surprised if he put on one of his best performances.”