Rising unbeaten super welterweight Joey Spencer and Mexican contender Kevin Salgado, plus undefeated super bantamweight contenders Ra’eese Aleem and Mike Plania, previewed their respective showdowns during a virtual press conference Thursday before they step into the ring on Sunday, September 4 during Labor Day Weekend in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
Spencer vs. Salgado highlights PBC action live on FOX and FOX Deportes beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Prior to the FOX broadcast, Aleem takes on Plania in a 10-round attraction live on FS1 and FOX Deportes beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
These two exciting matchups will lead up to a stacked FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, which is headlined by the highly anticipated heavyweight clash between former unified heavyweight world champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. and hard-hitting top contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz meeting in a WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased online at AXS.com.
Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday:
“I’m not going to make any predictions other than the fact that I’m coming out there to win. He’d have to kill me to stop me. I’m going to fight until I’m either dead, or I’ve beaten him. I don’t care if I’ve knocked him out, stopped him, or win by decision. I’m going to beat him. He doesn’t have a game plan for anything that I’m coming with. He hasn’t seen the version of Joey Spencer that’s coming on fight night. So, I can promise him that his game plan is not going to be effective.
“Training is going well. Everything is going as planned, so I’m ready to rock and roll. I think fighting someone like Salgado is the next logical step. I also feel it’s going to bring the best out of me. I’m going to have an opportunity to really show my craft and what I have done since I was eight years old. I think that when you have pedigree, better competition brings the best out of you. I think that as I raise the competition level, I’m going to be able to bring another level of myself in the ring, another level of focus and preparation and I think that’s going to turn me into a better fighter.
“It means so much to have these opportunities. Being with this team and being able to have these opportunities to go out there and showcase our skills—not just me, but all the fighters under this banner have such amazing opportunities and I can’t say enough about that.
“I’m trying to make a statement to the entire division. I’m trying to put the division on notice. I’m trying to separate myself as a contender in this weight class. Salgado just had a tough fight with Bryant Perrella and drew with him. It was very competitive. I think Perrella beat Harrison and I think a lot of people would agree. Salgado came out and drew with him. This is an opportunity for me to show that there are levels. I’m ready to come out there and put on the type of performance that separates me from Salgado and the rest of the division. He said he has respect for me. I have respect for him. But when we get in there on fight night there will be no respect.
“I got done with my last fight and instantly wanted to fight a step up in competition. It was actually already the plan to do that. I was on the Charlo-Castano card, but my fight fell through and got pushed back. We were looking for an opponent like that, but it didn’t work for my schedule because I was about to have a baby. Instead, we just took an opponent, fought an untelevised fight and knew that the next one would be a step-up, 10-rounder in a big event and here we are.
“When I got out of my last fight, I said to myself, I don’t want fights like that anymore. I want fights that are going to really catapult me and push me to be at my sharpest. I feel like I’ve only shown very, very little of what I’m able to do in the ring. I feel like opponents like this will bring it all out of me. I have said it before, I’ve been doing this since I was eight years old. I was extremely accomplished as an amateur. I fought the best of the best as an amateur and was successful and won on an elite level. I’m not used to fighting opposition that doesn’t bring that out of me. I have more experience fighting guys like this.
“I really feel like this is going to bring out a better version of me. I have literally put absolutely everything into camp. No stone has been unturned for this fight. I’m excited for the bright lights. I’m excited for it to get chaotic in there and for it to be a good scrap. I know he’s going to bring it. He comes to fight and I come to fight. So it’s got to be a good fight. There is no room for complacency here.
“I’m just ready to make a statement that I’m ready for the top opponents. There are a couple of different opponents that I really want after this fight. I have those names in mind and I look forward to making some call-outs after I get done with this fight, possibly even during the interview after.
“I’m not looking past Salgado. He’s really the only name inside my mind. Before this fight was made, I thought about the fact that an awesome matchup would be me and Tim Tszyu. He’s been calling for Jermell Charlo, but I don’t think he’s necessarily done enough to deserve that title shot yet and I think Charlo feels the same way. If I come through this fight and make the statement I want to make, I feel that will be a fight the fans want to see and for him and for me, that’s a fight that would make sense. We’d give the fans a good show.”
“Based on my strategy and what I see the fight being like, I’m confident that I will win by knockout around the fifth or sixth round.
“I feel great, I’m ready for this fight and I can’t wait. I am beyond excited and thankful. These kinds of opportunities are few and far between, so when you have them, you better grab them. I can guarantee you that I’m going to come out with a victory on September 4 and give the fans a great show.
“My brother (former super featherweight champion Juan Carlos Salgado) is always by my side. We both agree that this is an opportunity of a lifetime. We have to make the most of it. Joey is a great opponent, all respect to him. What my brother told me was that I need to stick to my strategy. Don’t get distracted, stay focused, follow the game plan and everything else will follow to take advantage of this chance of a lifetime.
“Outside the ring, we both respect each other. But once we step in the ring, he’s the enemy. And one has to annihilate the enemy. The goal is to vanquish the enemy and come out with a win.
“You’re going to see the changes and adjustments I’m going to make inside the ring when the time comes. What I do know is that Joey Spencer is a fast, agile counterpuncher. I can guarantee you that me and my team are crafting exactly the right strategy in order to be able to not let him do what he wants inside the ring.
“We are ready for whatever comes our way. I’m beyond excited to be a part of this card which has a lot of Mexican fighters and I’m proud to be one of them. Joey Spencer is the perfect opponent for me right now. I’d like to say that you face the good, the very good and the excellent opponents. You have to be ready for each and every one of them.
“The super welterweight division is chock-full of great fighters. The depth is incredible. The goal is to get closer to fighting for a world title and I can do that by fighting a Tony Harrison or a Sebastian Fundora. I’m up for any challenge that comes my way.”
“I’m extremely excited for this opportunity to fight on a stacked card and to be fighting a great fighter in Mike Plania. I’m excited to showcase my skills and talent on the big stage.
“I feel like I’ve been aging like wine. I haven’t been in a lot of wars and I have an extremely high boxing IQ. So, depending on what my opponent is trying to do, sometimes might dictate what I do. I feel like I do it to the best of my ability and I’m going to work to ultimately get the stoppage.
“If the knockout comes, great. He’s an extremely tough fighter, he’s never been stopped. I believe I am capable of making that happen. I just have to be the best version of myself and that’s what I plan on doing.
“I’m extremely grateful. This is a huge opportunity for me to show everybody who Ra’eese Aleem is and what I’m about. So many greats have fought at Crypto.com Arena, in Los Angeles, so I’m really excited.
“I have to remind people what I bring to the table. Boxing is a sport where you have to consistently prove yourself. You have to prove you belong, that a win wasn’t a fluke. That’s the hand I was dealt and that’s fine. I’m ready to reintroduce people to who I am.
“I don’t believe there is any pressure with having an undefeated record. It’s just a testament to how hard I’ve worked to remain undefeated. Every fight at this level is going to be extremely competitive and extremely hard. If it’s anything less than that, then I’ll have an easy night.
“I believe I’m ready for a world title shot, nothing short of that. It should have happened two fights ago. If I beat Plania, that’s the plan. The ultimate goal is to win a world title. I just have to make it to where I’m the mandatory so no one can duck, run, hide or make excuses. They either have to fight or vacate. That’s the situation I’m trying to put myself in.
“I’ve done this the right way. I worked hard to get here. I didn’t take easy fights. It’s been a long, hard journey, but at the end of the day, I know I belong. I am undefeated and I have fought top guys. Mike Plania is another top fighter and I plan on beating him also.
“I don’t believe Stephen Fulton is ducking me, or is scared of me, but I do believe that he’s not jumping to fight me. I don’t believe it’s a fight that he wants. My expectation is that my next fight is to be a world title fight. The ultimate goal is to get the win, look good and keep it moving then make the title fight.
“I don’t believe I’ve gotten the respect I deserve yet. Like I said earlier, boxing is a sport where you have to consistently prove yourself. That’s why I have to make a big statement to show everyone who Ra’eese Aleem is. For whatever reason, I’ve been overlooked or overshadowed, so I have something to prove.
“To hear Mike Plania talk about fighting toe-to-toe just makes me want to smile. I’ve never been in the ring with a fighter who was able to stand toe-to-toe with me. I don’t believe that’s his game plan. If it is, then good luck. I am a beast. I am prepared to go the distance but if he wants to go toe-to-toe then it’s going to be on and popping. I am an exciting fighter. I throw punches in bunches. I don’t run. I don’t hold and it’s going to be a real exciting fight on September 4.
“I believe I’m going to come and be the best version of myself and ultimately dominating the fight. As long as I don’t go for the knockout, I think I’ll get the knockout early. I don’t see it going the full 10 rounds, but I’m just trying to be the best version of myself. I do see me being victorious in this fight.”
“I’m very excited for this match. I trained hard for this fight on September 4. It’s going to be good. My training has gone well and I’m 100%. I’ve stayed focused and I got this.
“This could be my coming out party. First of all, I respect Aleem. He’s a good fighter, a real fighter. But I’m here to give the fans the fight they want. I’m ready. So let’s see what happens on September 4.
“This is a big opportunity. I’d like to thank TGB Promotions and my team for helping me throughout this camp. I want to thank my sparring partners and to my trainer, Osmiri “Moro” Fernandez. He did a lot to help me and I feel I’ve had a good training camp. I’m excited to fight at Crypto.com Arena. This is a big fight and I’m ready.
“After this fight, my dream is to fight for a world title. That has been my dream since I was a kid. So I want to make that happen. I want the world title next.
“I expect Aleem, a good fighter, to fight toe-to-toe. I have confidence because I worked very hard in my training. No excuses. I want to fight toe-to-toe with Aleem. I have my game plan and I am ready for this. This fight I want to prove myself and show who is Mike Plania in the ring. September 4, you don’t want to miss this fight. Let’s do it.”