Former world champion and future hall of famer Bernard Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KO’s) of Philadelphia and Joe Smith Jr. (22-1, 18 KO’s) of Long Island, New York held separate media workouts Tuesday afternoon at the City of Angels Boxing Gym in Los Angeles. Hopkins vs. Smith square off this Saturday at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, California live on HBO World Championship Boxing.
"I want the book to be written good. The last thing you remember about a good book is not the beginning, it's the ending. I look at this as the final icing on the cake or that exclamation point. This is it. You know this is history.
"I achieved my first goal of success in the first part of my life. That was rougher than boxing. If you know anything about Bernard Hopkins' history, if you go into details about the inner city Philadelphia guy, who was in the penitentiary from age 17 to 25, and survived, you'd realize I became champion a long time ago."
"We as humans put limitations on ourselves. When all is said and done, I don't want to regret what I didn't do."
JOE SMITH, JR.,
"It's a privilege to be on this card. To take on a legend like Bernard is an opportunity I would have never expected. That said, come fight night, that won't matter because it'll just be me and him in the ring. My team and I have been training to take on any of the styles Bernard may bring. I'm excited for the night to come, and I'm ready to put on a great show.
The under card fighters also worked out Tuesday as South El Monte’s undefeated featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr. (22-0, 13 KO’s) takes on Horatio “Violento” Garcia (30-1-1, 21 KO’s) of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Opening up the HBO telecast WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, (10-0, 9 KOs) of Kiev, Ukraine will make his highly anticipated United States debut in his first title defense against Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu, (17-2, 11 KOs) of South Africa
Joseph Diaz Jr.
"Garcia, my opponent on December 17, is very dangerous. He's big for his weight. I feel like he is going to have a lot more power at 126 than he has in the past. This is his big shot to get an upset. I didn't take him lightly at all. This is probably one of the hardest training camps I've had.
"This is my home turf so I want to give the LA fans a great fight. I'm going to do anything and everything it takes to get the win. I want to put on a great show. Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions could have chosen someone else to be the co-main event for Bernard Hopkins' final fight but they chose me and that's a big thing. This is a dream come true. I'm going to give everyone a fight to remember."
HORACIO GARCIA, Featherweight Contender:
"We wouldn't have taken the fight if we didn't think it was possible to win. I have a strong corner on my side with Eddy Reynoso. Our training camp has been great, and I'll be looking for opportunities to break in. Diaz, Jr. had taken on a lot of tough opponents, but that doesn't scare me. I am ready."
OLESKSANDR USYK, WBO Cruiserweight Champion:
"I'm not fighting at heavyweight now because we should go step-by-step. I want to become a star in the United States because I want to show everyone quality boxing."
THABISO MCHUNU, Cruiserweight Contender:
"It feels really to cool to be on this card. It doesn't get much better than this."
Undefeated Los Angeles based Ukrainian light heavyweight Vyacheslav Shabransky () and Sullivan Barrera () of Cuba will headline the night before at Fantasy Springs in Indio, California on Boxeo Estelar on Estrella TV. The two fighters also took part in Tuesday’s media day.
VYACHESLAV "LIONHEART-CHINGONSKYY" SHABRANSKYY, USNBC Light Heavyweight Champion:
"We never say we are going for the knock out. That's not my style. We train to go the distance, especially knowing he has been under the care of a new trainer so we don't know what kind of Barrera we are going to get. Sullivan is one of the toughest opponents I have faced yet. He's faced fighters like Andre Ward and has gone the distance and has demonstrated his skill. Knowing that he needs this fight will make him even more hungry in the ring, and we are expecting him to come forward.
"With this fight, I get the opportunity to face opponents like Andre Ward. But first things first, I have to finish Barrera."
SULLIVAN BARRERA, Light Heavyweight Contender:
"I believe this fight is the most important fight of my career. This fight will demonstrate that I am among some of the top fighters out there. My fight with Andre Ward has built me, and has given me the maturity to step back and think clearly. I needed that loss to win this fight.
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