By Miguel Maravilla
Photos: Carlos Delgado – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
WBA interim welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (22-0, 20 KOs) and former world champion Julio “The Kidd” Diaz (40-9-1, 29 KOs) faced at the final press conference Thursday afternoon at the American Express Stadium Club at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California. Thurman vs. Diaz will take place this Saturday at the Stub Hub Center headlining a Showtime Championship Boxing tripleheader.
“It’s good to be back!” Oscar De la Hoya said in his return as he opened up Thursday’s press conference. “We are going to get a special treat, you will get action on Saturday night.”
“This fight right here for me is a dream come true. It’s where I want to be, the headliner in a Showtime event,” said Keith Thurman. “Julio has been giving some stiff competition. They call him ‘The Kidd’ because he keeps performing despite his age. He is coming to win, to find those holes and show us young fighters what he knows. I look forward to an excellent fight.”
Thurman concluded, “To me the judges have the best seat in the house. I have been looking forward to Saturday for a long time. I’m ready to rumble. One time!”
Diaz stated, “This is a tough opportunity, a dangerous opportunity. I’m facing a dangerous, tough fighter, but he’s not unbeatable. I take my job seriously. It’s going to be a tough fight but I guarantee you it’ll be an exciting fight.”
* * * * *
The co-feature bout will mark the return of former interim world champion Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse (34-3, 32 KOs), as he will take on John Molina Jr. in a twelve round junior welterweight bout. Matthysse and Molina were also on hand as they spoke at Thursday’s final press conference.
Molina commented, “I just want to say I am ready to go and glad to be back. I know what Molina brings to the table. This will be a great fight. Get ready for an explosion, an exciting fight on Saturday. People say he is a feared man. It will be an explosive fight. I am excited for this fight. Ee won’t have to find Matthysse, he is known to be a heavy hitter.
“I’m going to bring my A-Game, he’s going to bring his A-Game. There isn’t going to be a whole lot of running, just setting down in front of each other and exchanging. Matthysse gives a lot when he hits, and he takes a lot when he gets hit. The judges may not be needed. This is going to be a war. Bombs away!”
* * * * *
Opening the Showtime Championship Boxing tripleheader will be an all-Texas lightweight shootout as WBC lightweight champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) takes on long-time rival Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes (19-3, 5 KOs). The two rivals talked it up at the final press conference as they faced each-other multiple times in the amateurs now they look to continue their rivalry on the professional stage.
“We are here now, and we are ready,” Figueroa said. “I don’t care about winning or losing. I’m going to go out there and put on a great show and try to punch my opponent as much as possible, which is the best feeling in the world. It’s going to be a good fight. We’ve seen each other a few times in the amateur tournaments and we say hi. In the ring it’s a different story I fought Jerry in the amateurs before but now we are pros it will be a great fight.”
Belmontes stated, “It’s going to be a terrific fight, a styles fight. He’s the brawler, I’m the boxer. We’re both from Texas, so this is a big fight for our state. We’re good friends. I watched Omar grow up. I hope he doesn’t take it personal when I take the title belt away from him on Saturday.”
Showtime Extreme Card
Unbeaten junior welterweight Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (15-0, 9 KOs) will take on Mexican veteran Martin “El Brochas” Honorio (32-8-1, 16 KOs) in the Showtime Extreme main event. Orozco was on hand as he spoke about his upcoming fight.
“I want to thank Golden Boy, my manager, Frank Espinoza, everybody for this opportunity on Saturday. I’m ready for a great fight. I’m ready to put on a show,” Orozco said.
Junior middleweight Jermall Charlo (17-0, 13 KOs) will also be featured on Showtime Extreme against Hector Munoz (22-12-1, 14 KOs) in a 10-round junior middleweight bout. Charlo and Munoz talked briefly at Thursday final press conference.
“I’m looking forward to going in and putting a lot of pressure on him. Thanks to everybody for getting me this fight,” Munoz said.
“I want to thank my team for helping me bounce back and regaining my focus. My opponent took this fight on short notice, but you have to be in great shape all the time. I know I can fight on short notice because I stay in great shape,” Jermall Charlo said.
Follow me on Twitter @MigMaravilla