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Feature Story

“La Furia” presser: full report

Chris Farnia/Top Rank

By Christian Schmidt

“We are bringing you the biggest stars in Mexico,” stated event coordinator Lester Bedford at Tuesday’s “La Furia De Mexico” press conference in San Antonio, Texas. The June 26th “La Furia De Mexico” pay-per-view event will feature top Mexican warriors such as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Marco Antonio Barrera, and Jorge Arce.

The main event pits “The Son of the Legend” Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (40-0-1, 30 KOs) against a fighter that many believe will be his toughest test to date, Ireland’s John Duddy (29-1, 18 KOs). The Chavez versus Duddy contest is for WBC middleweight Silver championship title.

Three-time world champion Jorge Arce (54-6-1, 41 KOs) from Los Mochis, Mexico will take on WBO interim bantamweight champion Eric Morel (42-2, 21 KOs) from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Also in action is five-time world champion Marco Antonio Barrera (68-7, 43 KOs) from Mexico City, Mexico who will face hard-hitting Adilton De Jesus (25-4, 21 KOs) from Bahia, Brazil.

It was announced for the first time at the press conference that a battle of native sons Raul Martinez (26-1, 15 KOs) and Gabriel Elizondo (22-3-1, 10 KOs) will be showcased in a ten-round super bantamweight contest.

Arce, Morel, Martinez, and Elizondo were the only fighters present at Tuesday’s press conference.

Arce stated that it is his goal to make history.

“It is very special for me,” said Arce. “I want to be the first Mexican fighter to win four different world titles.”

There have been 7 three-time Mexican world champions. Fellow Mexican warrior Erik Morales came up short of the feat when he lost a decision to David Diaz in August of ’07.

When asked about his opponent, Arce commented: “He is a good fighter, a good boxer, and a good friend.”

Arce explained that he became acquainted with Morel when they fought on the same cards. But friendship aside, Arce guaranteed, “No matter what happens out there, I always bring my all. I let everything out in the ring. I never surrender!”

“I’m back” Morel said with a big smile as he stepped to the dais. “I am back and excited to be here. This fight is very special for me because it is my first title defense.”

Morel acknowledged that he and Arce are indeed good friends, but he knows in the ring “it is a different story.”

Arce concluded his discussion with the press saying “Somos amigos afuera” which means we are friends outside (the ring).

Super bantamweight prospect Elizondo was next to speak. “I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to get this fight. To be on a card with fighters like Barrera, Morel, Arce! I remember watching these guys in my amateur days. I just wanna watch these match ups!”

Elizondo also noted that he is friends with his opponent Martinez. “We’ve been friends for quite a long time (but) when the bell rings, we have to do battle.”

This will be Elizondo’s first fight back with legendary trainer Tony Ayala Sr., who he hasn’t worked with in about seven years. “He (Ayala) had me undefeated. He was the one who taught me how to box. He is getting me back in my boxing stance. I wanna go back to that.”

Martinez then took the podium next. “It has been awhile since San Antonio had a world champion. Martinez then pointed to two-time world champion ‘Jesse’ James Leija, who was in the audience. “I want to be the next!”

Martinez promised: “San Antonio is going to have a good show!”

Martinez did inform FightNews that he and Elizondo had sparred approximately two years ago. “I think I got the best of it. But in a fight it is totally different.”

For San Antonio fight fans, the Elizondo-Martinez clash could easily be the most intriguing. The fighters are near the same age, same weight class, both have fought in San Antonio, both were stars in the amateurs, both boast respectable records, and both have had their named linked with top trainers, managers, and opponents. A lot of Texan fans say it was meant for these two to one day meet in the ring and each fighter was equally excited about the showdown!

Also on the undercard is Mexican featherweight Salvador Sanchez III (19-3-2, 9 KOs) – who is the nephew of the former world champion and Hall of Fame legend Salvador Sanchez – plus the exciting up and coming light welterweight James Cantu (5-0, 3 KOs) of San Antonio.

The June 26th “La Furia De Mexico” is presented by Top Rank and Zanfer Promotions at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The first bell is at 7pm ET and the pay-per-view telecast begins at 9pm ET/6pm PT. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster (including online) or at the Alamodome box office.

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