All four fighters on this Saturday’s SHOWTIME world championship doubleheader appeared at the site of their upcoming showdowns, the Agua Caliente Casino • Resort • Spa, for a final press conference on Wednesday to discuss this weekend’s fights. In an excellent battle of un-beatens, Timothy Bradley (24-0-1 NC, 11 KOs), of Palm Springs, Calif., will defend his World Boxing Association (WBO) junior welterweight title against interim champ Lamont Peterson (27-0, 13 KOs), of Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Dec. 12 LIVE on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast). The telecast will open with WBC/WBA super flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan (32-2-1, 26 KOs), of Sydney, Australia, defending his belts against WBC interim titlist Tomas Rojas (32-10, 22 KOs) of Mexico.
Photos: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
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Combined, the four fighters have a phenomenal record of (115-13-2, 72 KOs) – a winning percentage of 88% and a victory by knockout ratio exceeding 66%.
Bradley, who is coming off a no contest against former unified lightweight world champion Nate Campbell on Aug. 1 on SHOWTIME, is on a hot streak in the stacked 140-pound division. Bradley originally won the fight via highly controversial third-round TKO, but the decision was later changed to a NC due to an accidental head butt that opened a cut over Campbell’s left eye.
Peterson, who is one of the hottest prospects in boxing, is coming off a seventh-round TKO over previously unbeaten Willy Blain on April 25, 2009 for the interim WBO junior welterweight title. Now he has his first shot at a world title against a man that no one in the division has been able to beat.
The 12-rounders are promoted by Gary Shaw Productions and Thompson Boxing Promotions, in association with Top Rank and Agua Caliente Casino • Resort • Spa.
What the fighters had to say on Wednesday:
“I want to thank Peterson for taking this fight. I know Lamont Peterson very well and he knows me, and I know that Barry Hunter is underrated. I love his trainer Barry Hunter. He is a great guy.
“Don’t let Peterson’s record fool you. Saturday night is a candidate for fight of the year. Probably will be fight of the year.”
“I know they are prepared, but I’m just letting everybody know that I’m willing to die Saturday; I’m willing to die for that title. I’ve got to have it. I know I’ll have it. I know I’m going to hell and back to get it because Lamont Peterson is a great fighter. It’s my time and I’m willing to die Saturday night for that title.
“Mom, I know this may upset you, but I’ve got passion and with that I’m ready to die in the ring. I’ve trained extremely hard for this fight. I’m ready, I know he is ready and we are going to get it on Saturday night.
“It’s going to be a hell of a fight. It’s going to be fight of the year, guaranteed. I’m not going to lie down and I know Lamont isn’t going to lie down. It’s on.”
“I’m just so amped for the fight. Don’t miss the fight. Like everybody says, it should be a really good fight. It will be a really, really good fight, so don’t miss it.
“Timothy has to do what he has to do, but if he says that he’s willing to die then he should give me life. If he says I got to kill him in order to win – then that is what I gotta do.
“If Bradley were engaging another opponent I would support him. But since he is fighting against me, there is no such thing as a friendship.
“I went through Timothy Bradley’s last six fights and looked for what he constantly did during all of those six fights. I studied those tapes over and over again so I could familiarize myself with the moves that he does over and over again.
“I am not concerned at all about the fact that I am fighting in Timothy’s backyard. I am not fighting the crowd, so it makes no difference. It’s Bradley that I will be battling in the ring.
“I won’t have a loss. It CANNOT happen. I have to come out as the winner. A loss is not ever on my mind. That’s my train of thought now and always will be when I enter into the ring.”
Gary Shaw (Bradley & Darchinyan Co-Promoter):
“It’s good to be back here at Agua Caliente. Thanks to SHOWTIME, who have obviously backed Timothy Bradley and Vic Darchinyan. It is a special quality that when Darchinyan lost they still brought him back to TV, which is more then I can saw for other networks. It is going to be a great card. We will be sold out on Friday, for sure. 100 percent.
“Vic is fearless. If there is ever a fight in a bar I hope I’m standing next to Vic Darchinyan. Vic is special. He is the current WBC and WBA World Champion, a two-belt champion and the most exciting fighter in all of boxing. It’s going to be a great opening fight, a great action fight for both TV and the fans here.
“Now for the main event, this is a class act (Lamont Peterson and Barry Hunter). This is one of those times that I’m going to hold the trash talk and just introduce team Bradley. This fight will speak for itself.”
Ken Thompson (Bradley Co-Promoter):
“We will light up the Show (Venue), we will light up the Agua Caliente casino, we will light up the California desert and thanks to SHOWTIME, we will light up the world. This will be fight of the year. We know how good Lamont is, we know he is undefeated and he is coming to win, but Tim is better, stronger and will have his hand raised at the end of the night.”
Carl Moretti, Top Rank:
“It’s the end of the year and I beg people to watch this fight Saturday night because you will truly see a candidate for fight of the year. You won’t see a bad fight ever between these two guys.
“Bradley, as a boxer, we have so much respect for. He does everything that he is asked to do. He is truly the best 140-pounder in the world. That’s why this fight means so much and that’s why we believe in Lamont Peterson.
“When you have someone like Lamont Peterson and his team, the offer came up and there was no backing down. That’s where we wanted to go and we find ourselves here today. At the end of the day, we believe we will have the new champion.
Barry Hunter (Peterson’s Trainer):
“I’ve known Timmy since he was a junior in the amateurs. He has always been one of class. He has been a hard worker. I have nothing but respect for the whole Bradley team.
“The happy side of this is I’m sitting next to a kid (Peterson) that I’ve had in the gym since he was 10 years old. Not too many people get a chance to dream and then live the dream. He, too, is a hard worker. He is a very exciting fighter, a very intelligent fighter. I’m very happy and I’m very proud of him.
“He’s very well prepared for this fight. He came in under weight today. We had a great camp.
“Come Saturday, I know you’ll see a great fight and it could very well be a candidate for fight of the year. You have two skilled athletes with the will to win. Timmy has proved himself and now it is our turn. Come Saturday, we’ll do all we can to walk out of here with that belt.”
“Team Rojas can believe what they want to believe. They say they are going to take me out and take my belt? How does he figure that he is going to beat me when I have beaten all of his opponents that he has fought?
“He acts brave, but when he sees me here he begins to shake.
“I am a fully loaded gun and I am going to shoot him down with my boxing skills in the ring.”
“I’m ready and geared up for Saturday’s fight. It’s a two-for-one on Saturday because I will take two belts from Vic Darchinyan on Saturday night. He’s (Vic) a good fighter, but I am ready for him.
“This is an important fight for me. Vic Darchinyan is strong but not indestructible.
“I’m ready to take the belt. I’m going to throw a lot of punches. I’ll throw more punches and harder ones.
Darchinyan has faced a lot of great fighters, but he has never seen or fought someone like me.
“It’s a pleasure being back in the U.S., but I am dedicating this fight to Veracruz, Mexico.”