- Photos by Photos Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV & JOHN MOLINA JR. FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
The six fighters, including main eventers Ruslan "The Siberian Rocky" Provodnikov and John "The Gladiator" Molina, who will compete on this Saturday's SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader live on SHOWTIME®(9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), participated in the final press conference Thursday at Turning Stone Resort Casino here. Russia's Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs) and Molina (28-6, 23 KOs) of Covina, Calif., clash in an eagerly awaited matchup in the main event. Provodnikov, a former WBO Junior Welterweight World Champion, was involved in the Fight of the Year in 2013 with Tim Bradley; former world title challenger Molina was in the 2014 Fight of The Year with Lucas Matthysse. A can't-miss co-feature at Turning Stone Casino will match unbeaten former 154-pound world champion and 2008 U.S. Olympian Demetrius Andrade (22-0, 15 KOs), of Providence, R.I., against Willie Nelson (25-2-1, 15 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio, in a 12-round WBC Super Welterweight Title Elimination bout. The telecast will begin with a 12-rounder for the vacant WBC lightweight world championship between undefeated No. 1 ranked Dejan Zlaticanin(17-0, 10 KOs), of the Southeastern European country of Montenegro, and Franklin Mamani(21-2-1, 12 KOs) of Bolivia. Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Banner Promotions, Inc., are priced at $85, $60, $45 and $35 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Turning Stone Box Office, by calling 877.833.SHOW, or online at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com). Also this Saturday, from Turning Stone, former world title challengers Willie Monroe Jr. (19-2, 6 KOs, of Rochester, N.Y. and John Thompson (17-2, 6 KOs), of Newark, N.J., clash in a 10-round middleweight bout in the main event on SHOWTIME EXTREME (7 p.m. ET/PT). In the SHO EXTREME opener, heavyweight Andrey Fedosov (28-3, 23 KOs), of Hollywood, Calif., meets Mexico's Mario Heredia (11-1, 9 KOs, 1-2 in WSB) in a 10-round heavyweight bout. Below is what the fighters said Thursday: RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV (On training camp) ... "This camp went very well. Everything went great. Now I'm just waiting for Saturday." (His thoughts on Molina) ... "I have a lot of respect for Molina and his team. He's a great fighter. These are the types of opponents I like. Most of the fights I've had are fights like this, opponents like this. This actually motivates me. I don't have a problem with getting into a fight like this. This is what I'm looking for. This is the type of fight I expect.'' (On his determination and will to win) ... "Words are not so much associated with explaining this because anybody can talk and anybody can say words. I think the fans or the people have to see how my fights have been and the way that I've fought those fights. For me to say right now that I'm going to 'die in the ring', they're words right now. The fight will show, then the fans will have an understanding in their mind of was I just saying that or is that really the way it is. The actions show, not the words." (On how he sees the fight playing out) ... "It's very hard to predict and I usually don't make predictions. I never make predictions for my fights. Let's just wait on June 11 and see. (Final thoughts) ... "I want to take this moment to thank everybody that has to do with this fight. All the people that made this happen.'' JOHN MOLINA JR. (Thoughts and reflections on Muhammad Ali) ... "The world lost a great human being, not only inside the ring but outside the ring. A champion is the best way to describe him. The greatest of all time. An innovator. Somebody that changes the world in and out. My heart goes out to his family." (On whether he's the underdog or this is a 50-50 fight?) ... "In the grand scheme of things, the boxer - experts if you will - I don't know how many times they've been in the ring but for what they do in boxing, they seem to have him as the favorite but rightfully so. In a sense because of the personality and persona that he's portrayed in past times. I don't think too much about the hype. We've prepped for war on Saturday night. We would be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn't prepare right for someone like Ruslan. He's a hell of a fighter, a hell of a competitor and we were both in a Fight of the Year. What people don't realize is we were both in Fight of the Year on the losing side and now we're going to be in a Fight of the Year, but both of us going for the winning side. I think the fans are going to be pleasantly surprised. I'm ready. The stage is set to showcase my capabilities Saturday night.'' (On how you prepare for a fighter like Provodnikov) ... "Just like you prepare for a fighter like everybody I've faced. Whether it be someone like Matthysse. Whether it be other fighters, I don't want to go into names because right now my undivided attention is on Ruslan Provodnikov but the preparation is like that of any other man. I hate comparing the guy's style to other people because again, the whole disservice you'd be doing is to yourself. You can study their style and get used to their mannerisms and what they portray in the ring and you can prepare yourself. With that being said, June 11 will be the first time I ever face Ruslan Provodnikov so what I do to prepare myself is work on my strong points and make sure those are up to par and make sure my energy is set and ready to fire on all cylinders Saturday night and I can tell you that they are set right.'' (On what fans should expect) ... "Fireworks. Like I said, every word that we use in the thesaurus is an understatement. Boxing is a 'what have you done for me lately' sport and Saturday night is no different. I believe in my heart of hearts the fans are going to get a treat with Ruslan Provodnikov coming forward, not wanting to take a backward step with myself coming forward not wanting to take a backward step. We're both going to try and go in there and pose our will on each other and you're not going to see a boring fight. It won't be Dancing With The Stars, it's going to be a fight." DEMETRIUS ANDRADE (On his opponent and his quality of opposition) ... "Tony Harrison is definitely not Demetrius Andrade. Yes, he's probably a prospect and doing good things but everybody sounds good, everybody's a prospect until you get in there with somebody that knows how to fight. They can try to bring the will out of you and that's what Willie did is bring the will out of himself to beat somebody like Tony Harrison, but Tony Harrison's definitely not me. "Willie Nelson, yeah he's tall, they say he's strong but I'm all that too. My IQ is greater, smarter and this is my time. This is it. This is something that either makes or breaks me. It's a good challenge so the people get to see that, due to the layoff and everything. I came back to fight a guy like this and I came back to win the 154 division. "I came here, chewing bubble gum and kicking ass. I ran out of bubble gum so come June 11, I will be kicking some ass. I am happy that SHOWTIME gave me this opportunity and put me back on the network, put me back on prime TV. "There's definitely going to be violence to open up the main event show with Provodnikov and John Molina, which is going to be a tremendous fight. Thanks for everybody coming out ... and I am the greatest alive." (On the division and possible future opponents) ... "I think that I'm going to make history by beating two twins that hold title belts and it's going to be a legendary thing for me. So, I'm tuned in, I'm ready and I'm focused. This is my division, it's my war." (On what he sees playing out on fight night) ... "I'm just going in and do my thing, you know, I'm the type of person with character. I've been in the ring for many years through the amateur program and fought 300-400 times, against everybody in the whole world. So, there's not nothing I haven't seen or fought. A tall guy like Willie Nelson with no legs or upper body, I'm going to push him to the limit. That's pretty much the plan. I'm going in and its knockout season for me." WILLIE NELSON (On fans not expecting him to win) ... "It's what happens all the time. I'm always the underdog. It's OK and I try not to worry about it much. "I'm not one to predict the fights; about what can and can't happen, but it's going to be an interesting fight. We know each other's background and we have sparred before at the U.S. Training Camp." (On Muhammad Ali)... "It hasn't really affected my mindset in terms of this fight. With the passing of Muhammad Ali it's very sad for boxing, and for the world. Because he wasn't only a great fighter but also a great icon, a great man and a great leader." DEJAN ZLATICANIN (On what fighting for a world title means to him) ... "I've prepared for this hard fight for a long time because they changed opponents and it's hard to be prepared for that. But I have waited for this opportunity for a long time. This is the most important fight of my life, and I am going to win this fight." (His prediction) ... "I don't like to talk too much. I will talk in the ring and I promise I will knock out Franklin Mamani." FRANKLIN MAMANI (On this opportunity)... "This is the chance of a lifetime, I feel like I have the winning lotto ticket and I just need to cash it in Saturday night. I come for a boxing family of 9 brothers, I have been in boxing since I was 12 years old and I always dreamed of fighting for a world title in the United States. My country (Bolivia) and my family will be watching and I will not disappoint them." (On his opponent)... Zlaticanin is an aggressive, strong and talented fighter. It will be an honor to trade leather with him inside the ring and be able to win the WBC lightweight championship of the world against the number one contender in my division."