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CBS Hosting Primetime Boxing For First Time Since Ali-Spinks

shawn porter

Saturday night’s Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter title fight on CBS marks the first primetime boxing match on the network since 1978.

That fight featured Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks.

A press conference was held recently, and you can view highlights from it below:

Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before their eagerly anticipated welterweight world title showdown this Saturday, June 25 in primetime as SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® on CBS, presented by Premier Boxing Champions, comes to Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Live televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features undefeated super welterweights Jarrett Hurd and Oscar Molina in a 10-round rumble of rising contenders.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, start at $49 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.barclayscenter.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.

The press conference took place at the Dream Hotel PHD Rooftop in downtown Manhattan. Here is what the participants had to say Thursday:

KEITH THURMAN

“It’s an honor to be on this platform. I’m excited to be back at Barclays Center. My last fight at Barclays Center was the first time I felt the fans give me love and I felt like I made it.

“I’m excited to feel the energy in the arena. We’re recovered and we’re ready. We did what we needed to so that we’re ready for Saturday night.

“As I think about this fight, these are dreams coming true for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m living a dream. I think about how I was raised by Ben Getty to this moment. Ben used to say that my moment was ‘right around the corner,’ and now it’s here. He was a wise man and he knew what he was talking about.

“This is a great fight. This is what the boxing fans want to see. I truly believe you are looking at two of the best welterweights in the world.

“I’m here as an entertainer. I’m here for the love of the sport. The fans want to see these kinds of fights. It’s obvious in the welterweight division that we are the two most exciting and devastating fighters in the division.

“Everybody kept talking about the sparring video, so I just decided to put it out. Sparring is sparring and fighting is fighting. This fight will be judged and this time I’ll have eight-ounce gloves on.

“It’s always been my dream to be the undisputed champion of the world.
“I’m looking forward to a great performance. I’m excited to a great challenge from Shawn Porter. There is a burning desire within myself to have a knockout victory. It’s hard to make world-class fighters quit. The fans ultimately want to see that knockout victory.

“There are real stakes are on the line this Saturday night. Our careers are on the line. My title is on the line. My undefeated record is on the line. It’s a great fight and a great matchup.

“I do believe that with each and every fight, you step up, you step up and you step up. So, thus the stakes are always higher and there are those times where you get a decent fight. But like I said, this is a great fight at a great moment of both athletes’ careers. We are both in our prime. I’m 27-years-old, Shawn is 28-years-old, we’ve both accomplished many great things and a victory on Saturday night is just going to be another thing to add to the resume.

“This really is the best fight of the best. We’re trying to satisfy the fans and we’re trying to challenge ourselves, push ourselves, and see where we fit in and how great we really are. I’m going to show you Saturday night how great Keith “One Time” Thurman really is.

“Just like Ali said, Saturday night, I’m going to show you how great I am.”

SHAWN PORTER

“It’s here. It’s been long anticipated and it’s here. I have never been more excited to fight in my life. It’s a blessing. Along this journey I’ve been able to learn the basics and excel in the basics and I found myself in a position where I’ve been able to be very successful.

“My hometown Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA title is definitely a motivation. It motivates me to be a winner. I want to bring this belt back to Ohio.

“I’m looking forward to this kind of moment to shine. That’s how you gain notoriety and become bigger. There’s no pressure, just excitement.

“I’m just looking forward to getting in there and getting that energetic feeling. I want to feel the excitement of getting into the ring and all the adrenaline that rushes through.

“This is the fight I wanted. I wanted to have fun training for a fight like this. Keith has made it possible. He’s so good it pushes me to be better.

“This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time that two friends fight. I’m done talking about us being friends because it’s time for us to start punching each other. My plan is to have great defense, avoid getting hit and win the fight.

“I didn’t take much time off after the postponement. We tried to train and stay ready through the cancellation. You never know when the phone is going to ring. We just wanted to stay in shape, get better and be ready for anything.

“I feel like if Floyd Mayweather comes back, he should fight the winner of this matchup. I believe that will be me.

“I’m not going to go in there looking for a knockout and throw my hands wildly. I’m going to keep up the pace that I normally keep up. I’m a great boxer. People consider me a boxer, but I may surprise you.”

JARRETT HURD

“I’m thankful for this opportunity. This is a great shot for me right now. In my last fight I had an opportunity similar to this. I was a fill-in for television and I did what I was supposed to do.

“Success is accomplished when preparation meets opportunity. I know things like this can happen. It doesn’t change anything. We’re going to go out and do what we trained for.

“You always get butterflies before getting in the ring but that’s normal. Molina is very experienced and has good hand speed but I know what I can do. We’re ready for this.

“I’m happy to be on this stage. This could be the biggest fight of the year and I’m extremely blessed to open it up.

“I’m going to go out there and put on another terrific performance. Molina, he’s an Olympian and he has a lot of experience. He’s a crafty fighter and we’re going to do what we have to do to get the victory.

“We’re ready to do what we’re going to do. It’s going to be a great fight on Saturday night.”

OSCAR MOLINA

“I’m ready for this. I’m more than ready for this. These type of fights are what gets me up to train.

“This guy I’m fighting is young, undefeated and a prospect like myself. I know he’s going to be ready and it’s going to be a tough fight but I’m ready for him.

“This is a huge deal for me. I was already excited to be on this huge undercard. When they told me that I was moving up to CBS I knew how big of an opportunity it is for me and my career.

“Hurd is a tall and lanky fighter. I saw his last fight and I see that he does well with guys who are flat footed. My boxing skills and my footwork are something he’s never seen before. Frank Galarza was tailor-made for Hurd and I think I’m going to be able to give him different looks.

“I’m a boxer-puncher and I can adapt to different styles. I also have power for big knockouts but my boxing skills are most important.

“Fighting in the Olympics taught me to adapt to different styles. I have a fan-friendly style and I’m excited to put on a show.”

DAN BIRMINGHAM, Thurman’s Trainer

“We’re ready for this fight. Keith trains hard every day and we know Shawn and Kenny well. I’ve brought them to my gym and these two guys have gone a lot of rounds together.

“I think Keith Thurman is the most gifted guy in boxing. He does everything right. Saturday night we’re looking for a great fight and I know in my heart that we will be victorious.”

KEN PORTER, Porter’s Father & Trainer

“It’s great to be here. It’s great to be on this stage with Shawn. This isn’t something we just started getting ready for, this is something he’s been getting ready for since birth. I always had a mindset to put Shawn in a position to excel in life. He has not disappointed.

“I know these guys are going to give it everything they have. It will be 100 percent for as long as it lasts. We’re prepared to take the championship. These are great guys here to the right, but on Saturday we’re bringing everything to the table.

“We’re coming to deliver a great show. Enjoy yourselves on Saturday night.”

LOU DIBELLA, President of DiBella Entertainment

“This is what it’s all about. This Saturday night, the best is fighting the best. It’s right here in Brooklyn on CBS. It’s the first fight on CBS in primetime since Muhammad Ali fought over 30 years ago.

“This is a terrific card from top to bottom. There is a tremendous undercard, a great co-feature and a main event that boxing fans have been waiting for a long time.

“This is an undercard chock full of talent. You will want to get there early as there are evenly matched bouts all night.

“SHOWTIME has highlighted the 154-pound division in recent shows, so it makes sense that there will be another significant matchup in that division on CBS Saturday night with Jarrett Hurd and Oscar Molina.

“We’re not going to talk about friendship and respect anymore with these two guys, that’s in the past and the future. These guys know their future is dependent on beating up the other guy and a fight of this magnitude makes the stakes even higher.

“The best want to fight the best and it starts Saturday night. The winner of this fight wants to be the best in the world. Both men want to be an undisputed welterweight champion.”

STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive Vice President & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports

“June 25 is a very special day and night for us at CBS. It begins with the heavyweight world title being contested between Anthony Joshua and Dominic Breazeale and then the return of boxing to primetime CBS for the first time in almost 40 years.

“This was an easy fight to make. Shawn and Keith, neither one hesitated for a second in taking this fight. All credit goes to them for taking this fight. It’s a difficult fight for both on a big stage.

“Boxing takes criticism for not making the right fights at the right time. One of the bad habits we have is that we spend time thinking about fights that might get made. But now we have the right fight, at the right time and at the right venue. It’s a disservice to not recognize that what is going on Saturday is very special and very exciting.”

BRETT YORMARK, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment

“It’s an exciting week at Barclays Center. Tonight we host the NBA Draft, the weigh-in tomorrow and our big event Saturday night. The momentum is building for this fight and we are on pace for the biggest crowd for a boxing event since we opened.

“We are excited about bringing a great night of fights to Brooklyn. We welcome Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter back to Brooklyn as they have both fought there once before.

“It’s become tradition to have both of you fight in our ring and we know how popular you are with our fans and we love to have you back.

“This will be the first primetime fight on CBS since the first Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks fight in 1978 and it’s a big moment for the boxing community for sure. We look forward to hosting everyone on Saturday night.”