Featherweight world champions Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares met face to face at a press conference in downtown Los Angeles and discussed their world championship rematch taking place Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Santa Cruz and Mares first battled in August 2015 at STAPLES Center with Santa Cruz earning the majority decision and a vacant featherweight title. Now, Santa Cruz will put his WBA Super World Featherweight Title on the line against the WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Mares.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now To purchase tickets visit AXS.com
Here is what the participants had to say at the open to the public press conference from STAPLES Center in Star Plaza in Los Angeles:
LEO SANTA CRUZ
"It was a really close fight the first time. Before the fight, I told him I would give him the rematch, just like I would have wanted if I lost. Now is the time and I think this fight is going to be even better than the first fight. Mares will be better with Robert Garcia. He has many champions and I've seen the improvement. That's great motivation for me.
"I know he's going to seek revenge, but I'm not going to let that happen. My dad is a smart man too and he always knows how to send me to the ring with the right style.
"When two Mexicans get in there, you know it's going to be a war. I hope everyone comes out June 9 because it's going to be a fight to remember.
"Every time I step into the ring, I do it for the fans. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be here. I always want the fans to go home happy. I want to give the fans a great show on June 9 just like in the first fight.
"This is going to be another great one. Leo Santa Cruz is a great person and a humble guy. You have to be the bad guy against Leo. I could talk about what I'm going to do in the ring, but my fists and my brain will do the work for me.
"Once we get in the ring, you already know what it's going to be. It was war from the first bell last time. Nothing could stop either of us. We pleased the fans and gave them a great night. This is going to be the same thing. We're two young fighters, fighting for pride.
"The fight is here now and it's official. I'm eager to get this win and get redemption. There were things I could have done that would have made the fight easier for myself. Once you get in there, I know we all have a plan, but once you hear the crowd, it can go out the window. I'm a warrior and that type of fighter who's looking to get the win no matter what.
RICHARD SCHAEFER, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports
"This is one of the most anticipated fights of the sport. It's a rematch we've all been waiting for between great warriors in Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares.
"STAPLES Center has a rich tradition of bringing the best and biggest fights in Los Angeles here to this fantastic venue. STAPLES Center always seems to bring out the best in fighters as they fight under the brightest lights.
"Week after week we are witnessing great battles and great matchups on SHOWTIME. Every week is another 'Fight of the Year'. They are pushing the best to fight the best and that is what we are going to see with these two great fighters on June 9 in Los Angles.
"We all witnessed the great first fight. Over 2,000 punches were thrown between these two fighters. It's impossible when you have Leo and Abner in the ring to see a boring fight. We are going to have the pleasure of seeing these two guys going again. Once again, it's a 50-50 fight. We don't know who's going to win, but we do know it will be all action here at STAPLES Center.
"Abner is a tremendous fighter inside of the ring and one of the most decorated fighters in recent history to come out of Mexico, but he's equally impressive outside of the ring. He has a fantastic family and is truly one of the good guys in the sport of boxing.
"I've known Leo and his family for a long time and have been involved in many of his fights. He is truly, just like Abner, a family man who just so happens to be one of the best fighters in the world. He's certainly one of the most exciting fighters in the world and it's my pleasure to be able to watch him fight again on June 9."
TOM BROWN, President of TGB Promotions
"This is going to be an incredible night. Los Angeles has always been a great fight town going back more than a hundred years. Any time you put two Mexican warriors together like this, you can't help but get another great fight night in Los Angeles.
"In the first fight, Santa Cruz won an incredibly hard fought decision over Mares. From the opening bell they blasted away at each other, the crowd went wild and there was an all-out brawl underway for 12 grueling rounds.
"The last fight with this kind of significance in Los Angeles was when Bobby Chacon stopped Danny 'Little Red' Lopez in a now legendary featherweight fight in 1974. They fought for the mythical city championship on that night. While there are world titles on the line in this fight, I also know that these fighters have a lot of pride in Los Angeles and they'll be fighting for the championship of this city on June 9."