Four-time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis and WBA Super Lightweight Champion Mario “El Azteca” Barrios went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before they meet in the SHOWTIME PPV main event this Saturday, June 26, from the award-winning State Farm Arena in Atlanta in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
(Photo credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME)
Thursday’s press conference also featured top 154-pound contender Erickson “Hammer” Lubin and former unified champion Jeison Rosario, who meet in a WBC Super Welterweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event, super welterweight contender Carlos Adames and Mexico’s Alexis Salazar, who battle in a 10-round showdown on the PPV, and hard-hitting Olympian Batyr Akhmedov and former world champion Argenis Mendez, who square off in the opening bout of the PPV telecast beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT
Tickets for the live event at State Farm Arena, promoted by Mayweather Promotions, GTD Promotions, and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and purchased at ticketmaster.com. The Akhmedov vs. Mendez fight is promoted in association with the World of Boxing.
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Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center:
“Camp has been great. We always have great camps and we are ready for Barrios and whatever he plans to bring. I am ready and hopefully we have an action-packed fight.
“I think he is making a mistake. It’s not just the height. He thinks he’s stronger than me, so we are just going to have to wait and see. If he believes that I’ve never seen anyone like him, then so be it. But they always learn on fight night. That’s when the real me comes out.
“I’ve been working each and every day in the gym to become a better fighter for Saturday night. I can’t wait to see the performance I put on. Moving up to 140 is definitely a great opportunity. I’m looking forward to it and I’m ready to give the fans what they want to see, which is a great fight.
“You know I’m coming. I’m excited to be in this position, I’m soaking it all in. Saturday night is going to be a great night of boxing. It’s going to be an exciting fight on my end and if I hurt him, we know that I am going to get him out of there. So it’s going to be an explosive night for the sport of boxing.
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“When I fight bigger guys in the gym, I always show up. I hate when people think that I’m small and try to take advantage of me. This is one of the fights where you will see the best of Gervonta Davis.
“It’s going to surprise him when I connect. It’s not only that I hit hard, but its where I place my punches and he will see that Saturday night. Once again, it’s going to be a great night, not just my fight but the whole card. I actually plan on coming to the arena early because I want to see the undercard. Saturday is going to be a great night for boxing.”
“I have all of the tools and I have the size to present a lot of difficulties to Tank, and that’s what I plan on doing.
“Both of us throw with bad intentions. We’re in there to hurt and take out our opponent. May the best man win. whether it is round 1 round 12.
“Tank Davis is going to learn what it’s like to be in there with the type of fighter that I aSo buyBuy your tickets and order the pay-per-view. I know he’s ready and we had a great camp in the Bay Area. We’re both coming with it on Saturday.
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“We’re going to find out a lot about each of us on Saturday. I expect him to come with his best, and I’m coming with nothing less. It’s going to be bombs away.
“My coach is an Oakland OG and he has his way of talking in the gym and hyping everything. At the end of the day, I’m always responsible for everything I say. I’m always true to my word and come Saturday it’s going to be a very exciting fight.
“I’m just so focused on Saturday night and getting into the ring and using everything we worked on in training camp. Virgil has me prepared and we’ll be ready to make any adjustments we need.
“Like Leonard Ellerbe said, they have big plans for him. I fully intend on f***ing up those plans come Saturday.”
“I feel really confident, I feel strong, and I’ve had my best camp since I’ve been a pro. I’m ready to fight, and Saturday is just going to be another amazing performance by me.
“I chose this fight because I don’t want any tune-up fights. I don’t like guys with lopsided records, and I don’t want the easy fights. I want the top guys in the division, so when I get my title shot or become the champion, they can say I beat everyone.”
“I didn’t come this far just to come this far. I want to take this all the way to the top. I want to be the best in boxing. Not just the best in the weight class, but the best in boxing.”
“He will come out like he always does, aggressively. If he does try to box me, that will be a mistake. He can’t outbox me; my skills are second to none. When he does come out aggressive, I’m going to tame him.”
“I’m excited about the pay-per-view, I’m excited about fans being back in the building and I’m just ready. I’ve been prepared for weeks now, and I plan to give the fans what they came to see, which is my best performance possible.”
“I’m absolutely ready to do whatever it takes to win. I possess the power in my hands to end the fight, both in the first round and the 12th round. I’m ready both physically and mentally to endure the 12 rounds if needed to come out victorious in the end.
“I could care less what we say right now. This Saturday night, we are going to see who is faster, stronger, and who has the will to win. That’s the bottom line. The rest is pure talk.
“People can expect a war. I’m a warrior and I love to be fighting that war inside the ring. I want people to be happy and to enjoy this fight. It’s going to be a great show.”
“My opponent is a very talented fighter, but I have more experience, which will play a factor in this fight. I also have every one of the fundamentals needed to bring him into the way I want to fight, and then I am going to come out with my hand raised in the end.
“I’m in a great position in my career to get another world title shot. That climb back begins on Saturday. I have everything I need to become world champion.
“With me, there is no room for experimenting. If he is coming to fight, he is really going to have to come to fight. Expect a great fight on Saturday night, I’m going to be more than ready.”
“Regardless of what my opponent might say, it’s not all about strength, it’s about strategy as well. When you fight smart, you can do a lot of things. I’ll be ready to fight and I look forward to what promises to be a great bout on Saturday night.
“This is going to be a war. We’re both ready, so let’s step in there and do it. I’m ready to leave it all in the ring.
“I respect what Adames can do, but nobody knows just how good I am. This is my chance to announce myself and show everyone what I can do.”
“I’m not looking past Argenis Mendez. He is a former world champion and a very credible fighter. I am only looking forward to this fight and then after that we can talk about my rematch with Mario Barrios.
“My opponent is very experienced. Out of a few options we had, I chose the toughest and strongest guy to face. I believe he is also very exciting and comes forward, so that promises an action-packed fight.
“I think that he is tailor-made for me also. He likes to fight and rumble, which I like. It promises to be a good fight. I’m going to do everything I can and God willing, I am going to win.”
“I am glad to be here. I believe that this fight will be different because my opponent likes to come forward and is an aggressive fighter. That is exactly how I like to fight.
“My opponent is a very strong fighter that will provide us with a very good fight because he will engage with me. I will emerge victorious, but it will be an exciting and interesting fight.
“This is a big opportunity that I plan to take advantage of. I am a warrior and I plan to come out victorious on Saturday and then go after the title that I want.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“It gets no bigger than this Saturday night. Anytime you’re thinking about major fights, you think about Gervonta Davis. He is the most exciting fighter in the entire sport.
“When you think of ‘Tank’ Davis, there is one word to describe him, and that’s exciting. When it comes to pay-per-view, people want nothing but excitement, and that’s what ‘Tank’ Davis delivers.
“’Tank has a tough opponent that he is facing this Saturday night in Mario Barrios. I can’t say enough about the young man, he is a tremendous fighter that does everything well. He’s an excellent puncher with great speed, and he is led by none other than a very good friend of mine, Virgil Hunter, who is a no-nonsense guy. Virgil Hunter guided Andre Ward his entire career, and we know what kind of career Andre Ward has had. Virgil Hunter is going to have Barrios prepared.
“I’m really excited about the co-main event. Erickson Lubin is trained by one of the top trainers in the entire sport in Kevin Cunningham and is on a five-fight winning streak. I can’t say enough about him. I’ve been really impressed about his commitment to excellence when it comes to facing top contenders. He has been very determined and doesn’t take any time off. He is taking on the former unified champion in Jeison Rosario, who has had a tremendous camp and refuses to be denied this coming Saturday night. He is determined to get everything back that he just recently lost.
“Carlos Adames is another exciting Dominican fighter who is a top 154-pound contender, taking on Alexis Salazar, who is on a 15-fight win streak in his own right.
“The card this Saturday night is full of talent from top to bottom. In the first bout, we have Batyr Akhmedov, who has faced the WBA Champion Mario Barrios, and he’ll be going up against Argenis Mendez, who is another guy who is always in exciting fights. That will be a non-stop action fight.
“We have major plans for Tank Davis. Will Barrios f**k up our plans Saturday night? Tune in to SHOWTIME pay-per-view.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.
“SHOWTIME Sports is on an unprecedented run of combat sports events in both boxing and MMA. From ShoBox to SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING to Bellator MMA, and even a really exciting exhibition that nobody saw coming. SHOWTIME continues to deliver the most compelling, exciting, interesting, and biggest events at every level of combat sports. We are in the middle of a run of ten events in the last nine weeks. This upcoming event might be the crown jewel of all of them.
“This will be just the fourth boxing show at State Farm Arena, but the second in the last 18 months. The first one was Tank vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa on December 28, 2019, with a near-capacity crowd of over 14,000 people in the arena.
“Just six years ago, Tank was on the non-televised portion of a ShoBox event, and now here he is headlining his second pay-per-view coming off of the biggest win of his career. He is making his tenth appearance on SHOWTIME, and probably the most challenging of his career, jumping up two weight classes in a quest to become great.
“In his 24 fights, Tank has never faced anyone as tall as Mario Barrios, or with a reach as long as Mario Barrios. Tank brings some weapons of his own. Of fighters ranked by The Ring, there are only two fighters in all of boxing with a higher KO percentage. As his fans know, Tank is finishing his fights with KO’s 96% of the time.
“The WBA Champion at 26-0 with 17 KO’s is the big, strong, and tough Mario Barrios. If you have seen the ALL ACCESS, you know what kind of warrior spirit he brings into this fight. This is a true pick ‘em fight. You have Tank, who seems unstoppable at this point, jumping up two weight classes in the biggest challenge of his career.
“Erickson Lubin at 23-1 and just 25 years of age is making his seventh appearance on SHOWTIME and is the WBC #1 ranked contender. That means he is the mandatory. Most people in his position as the mandatory would be taking an easy fight waiting for their shot at the title, but that’s not Erickson Lubin. Erickson Lubin is taking on the former unified champion Jeison Rosario. This is a fight that certainly could have been the main event on SHOWTIME.
“Jeison Rosario is a former unified champion at 154, the consensus top three or four coming off of a tough loss against the best fighter in the division. That will be a firefight of its own.
“I thank our partners at PBC, Mayweather Promotions, and TGB Promotions. This is an outstanding card and we are proud to be here in Atlanta with it.”