Two of boxing’s most respected fighters, Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara, will face off Saturday night in a light middleweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in a rare non-title pay-per-view bout.
Canelo, the Mexican superstar, is 43-1-1 with 31 KOs, and Lara, who defected twice from Cuba, is 19-1-2 with 12 KOs. The fight card will begin on Showtime PPV at 9 p.m. ET.
There are three televised undercard fights prior to the main event: A light welterweight interim title fight between Mauricio Herrera (20-4, 7 KOs) and Johan Perez (19-1-1, 13 KOs); a 10-round featherweight battle featuring former champion Abner Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) and Jonathan Oquendo (24-3, 16 KOs), and former champion and knockout artist Juan Manuel Lopez (34-3, 31 KOs) meets Francisco Vargas (19-0-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round featherweight bout.
Some of the quotes from Thursday’s final press conference at the MGM Grand:
CANELO ALVAREZ, former WBA and WBC super welterweight champion
“This fight is important because Lara are and I are the best two fighters in our weight class.”
“He might not have the most recognizable name, but in the boxing world, everybody knows he is the most dangerous opponent. This will be a very important victory.”
“How will I beat him? With speed, movement and combinations.”
“You can’t predict a knockout; a knockout comes on its own. Sometimes, as much as you want it, it doesn’t come. If it comes, I will take advantage of it. But if it doesn’t, I will be ready for 12 rounds.
“I’m just waiting anxiously for the weigh-in. For many fighters this is the tensest part of training. We’re just waiting to weigh-in and fight.”
“Without a doubt this is one of the best opponents that I’ll ever have. But I’m always going to look for tough opponents, tough rivals. I want to fight the best.”
“A title doesn’t matter to me for this fight. This fight is for honor, for glory. We’ll go for a world title next year.”
ERISLANDY LARA, WBA junior middleweight champion
“We’re ready I don’t think there’s much more to say. I’m ready for this fight and we’ll see you all July 12.”
“Every fighter that I’ve fought has been heavier than me and I’ve been able to deal with them, so we’re not worried about Canelo’s size. Everyone goes into the ring how they feel comfortable. I’m not worried about his weight on fight day.”
“We’re going to wait for him. We’re going to see what he can show. “
“The Cuban style is the best style in boxing. Everybody knows that we win the most medals at the Olympics, at international tournaments. And that’s shown throughout our history.”
“I just keep working, working hard. Anybody who comes to this country is dreaming of this opportunity. I need to take advantage of it.”
ABNER MARES, former three-time, three-division champion
“I’m very excited to be back. It’s been 11 months (away) in a sport I love that’s given me everything.”
“I’m very hungry to return, I’m a three-time world champion and I want more.”
“I’m only 28 years old and I’m very determined. I want to dedicate this fight to Mexico.”
“Oquendo is a young determined fighter, but if he’s been hungry for a week, I’ve been hungry for almost a year.”
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ, former two-division champion
“This is the fourth time I’ve come to Las Vegas to fight. The first three I won by knockout and I hope to continue that.”
“This is a great opportunity for me to take full advantage of and I’m going to give it my all.”
“I’m on a great card with so many great fighters and I’m going to give you a great victory.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, President of Golden Boy Promotions
“From experience, every time I said ‘I let the knockout come’, in the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘I want to knock this guy out’ and I have a great feeling that’s what we’re going to get Saturday.”
“Canelo-Lara, is a matchup for the ages. It’s a matchup that doesn’t come by every day. You will be watching the best 154-pound fighters in the world today, in the same ring, for the same prize, for honor and glory.”
“Who’s going to win? The fight fans. That is what its all about. Delivering the best of the best. “The whole card will be one for the ages. We have the much-anticipated return of a great fighter in Abner Mares, going up against a hard-hitting fighter in Jonathan Oquendo.”
“When you match up Mexico vs. Puerto Rico you know you will get passion in that ring. There have been many great wars with this matchup and we will see more of that Saturday night.”
This article originally appeared on USA Today