Photos: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
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In a must-see world title unification fight between two of the most talented and exciting 140-pounders in the world, Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley and Kendall “Rated R’’ Holt will risk their WBC and WBO belts, respectively, in the main event Saturday on SHOWTIME live at a special time 10:45 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) to accommodate fans watching the conclusion of the 2009 NCAA® Men’s Final Four®. The undefeated Bradley, of Palm Springs, Calif., is 23-0 with 11 knockouts. Holt, of Paterson, N.J., is 25-2 with 13 knockouts. In the co-feature on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, Ukraine’s Vitali Tsypko (22-2, 12 KOs) will take on Librado Andrade (27-2, 21 KOs), of La Habra, Calif., in an IBF super middleweight eliminator. The fighters participated in a final press conference Thursday in Montreal. Rather than a coin, Eric Lucas, President of Interbox, flipped a Montreal Canadiens’ 100th anniversary hockey puck to determine which world champion would decide who would walk first into the ring and be introduced last. Holt won the toss. He elected to walk second and be introduced first.
Here’s what the fighters had to say:
“I consider us the best fighters in the division. I want to fight the best in boxing and that is exactly what Kendall and I are doing here. We are at the top of the division. The winner will face the stars. (Manny) Pacquiao is moving to 140 and he is pound-for-pound the best fighter. (Ricky) Hatton is a star at 140 as well but we are the champions and these stars are going to have to face us.
“I respect every fighter I fight. But going into this fight it is plain and simple. I just think that I am better.
“I’m going home with both belts. I’m hungry for this victory. I think this might be fight of the year. I’m not going to lay down and I know Kendall isn’t going to lay down either. I’m ready to go. I’ve been on weight for three weeks.’’
“This fight will be a great fight for as long as it lasts. Tim said he is hungry. Well Saturday night I’m going to give him a lot of leather to eat. I hope he doesn’t eat Saturday and is really hungry because I’ll have plenty of leather for him. I can promise fireworks.
“We are the champions. We are the best. There are others in this division who are good, but we are the champions. After I win, if Hatton wins, then I’d like to fight him. Pacquiao is pound-for-pound the best but he hasn’t fought at 140 yet so we’ll see what he can do.’’
“He is going to expect me to come out quickly and pressure him. So, I am going to test the waters for the first few minutes. I think he’s going to try to out box me. If he tries to come at me, aggressively, well, that’s my fight.
“He circles the center of the ring. That’s where he is comfortable fighting. But to me, it doesn’t matter. He is going to realize, even in his comfort zone, that nothing he does will be effective. Once he realizes that, it’s all over for him.
(Re: comments he made earlier about not attacking his last opponent — Lucian Bute — early enough)
“Everybody is different. Bute is capable of adapting and changing throughout the fight. For Tsypko, he is not as dynamic so he will do what he does and I’ll work off that.’’
ROBERT DIAZ (Andrade’s Manager)
“Everybody in Montreal knows who Librado Andrade is. They know he brings heart, determination and a will to win into the ring that, and with all due respect to Team Tsypko, will go unmatched on Saturday.’’
“I have one game plan to face Andrade, for sure. But I can change at any moment. We’ll see what the fight dictates.
(Re: importance of this elimination fight at this stage of his career)
“This moment is extremely important. This is an eliminator fight. Nothing could be more important at this point in my career. I have to get through this and get a shot at this title.
“I know Andrade is a very tough fighter. I am prepared to go the distance.’’