Puerto Rico vs Mexico, Philadelphia vs Chicago on FOX
Saturday’s PBC on FOX fighters speak at the final press conference.
Danny Garcia and Adrian Grandos are set for Saturday night’s PBC main event (FOX, 8 pm ET) from just outside of Los Angeles in Carson, Calif., and both welterweights are expecting a good fight.
For Garcia (34-2, 20 KO), it’s well-worn territory.
“This is nothing new to me,” he said at Thursday’s final press conference. “I’ve been here plenty of times. It’s just another day at work for me. I can’t wait.”
Garcia, a former two-division titleholder and still a top name and contender at 147, is the clear favorite in this fight, but the scrappy Granados (20-6-2, 14 KO) is known for giving opponents tough fights, even top-tier names.
Granados doesn’t know if Garcia is possibly overlooking him or not, but he’s not worried about it either way.
“I’m not sure how he sees me, but I know what I’m focused on,” Granados said. “I want a dominating and exciting victory this Saturday. I’m here to show that I’m a serious player in this welterweight division, as well.”
For his part, Garcia doesn’t sound like he is looking past Granados.
“This is a big fight for me,” Garcia said. “I have to go in there and show the world that I’m one of the best fighters in the world. I gotta go in there and look good.”
Garcia was asked if he feels at all overlooked in the welterweight division right now, particularly on the PBC side, featuring titleholders Errol Spence Jr, Keith Thurman, and Shawn Porter, the latter two holding wins over Garcia.
“I’ve been popular before they even popped off,” he said. “I’ve been a world champion when they were still contenders. I’ve been shining for a long time. In my eyes, they’re still catching up to me.”
Porter, who has faced and beaten both Garcia and Granados, said this week that Granados was the tougher fight for him. The quote has gotten some attention, but Garcia shrugs that off.
“Shawn Porter is a hater. He’s a hater,” he said. “We all know he don’t like me. It is what it is. I’m not paying attention to what he said. Styles make fights, we’re gonna see Saturday night who’s the better fighter.”
For Granados, it’s the chance to establish himself as a real contender at 147, after a career largely spent as “the opponent.”
“I don’t take nothing away from him,” Granados said of Garcia. “He’s accomplished a lot in the sport and taken advantage of all the opportunities they’ve given him. Winning this fight will be a huge win, probably the biggest win of my career.”
Granados also loves the chance to be in a Puerto Rico vs Mexico fight, and also a Philadelphia vs Chicago fight.
“We’re both kids from tough neighborhoods, him from Philly, me from Chicago,” he said. “He’s got that Puerto Rican blood and I’ve got that Mexican blood. I’m proud of who I am and where I’m from, and I know he is, too. I know we’re both gonna represent who we are and where we’re from.”
The FOX undercard will feature two fights, one at heavyweight and one at super bantamweight.
The heavyweight bout will see veteran Andy Ruiz Jr (31-1, 20 KO) make his PBC debut after spending his career with Top Rank, as he matches up against Russia’s Alexander Dimitrenko (41-4, 26 KO).
The 29-year-old Ruiz, always seen as a somewhat undersized, frankly portly lad, said that he’s taking his conditioning and career more seriously.
“I’m more hungry, more motivated. All the other training camps, I wouldn’t take it serious,” Ruiz said. “Now that I’m with Manny Robles, I’m more dedicated, more focused on accomplishing my dream, and that’s becoming the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world. I’m destined to make history, I’m going to make history hopefully this year or next year.”
The 36-year-old Dimitrenko, who turned pro in 2001, is fighting in the U.S. for just the third time, and for the first time in California.
“I’m looking forward to fighting in Los Angeles,” Dimitrenko said. “I’m ready. It was the best training camp that I’ve had. I’m fit, I’m ready to fight, I’m ready to win. I will give my best to win this fight.”
Ruiz has generally had a speed advantage in his fights, as he has quick hands for a heavyweight. Asked about that challenge, Dimitrenko simply replied, “I’m not slow, too,” which drew a positive response from those assembled.
Ruiz replied, “We’re gonna see who’s faster. He’s got the longer reach and all that, but I think I’ve got the faster movements and faster hands. He’s trying to take Cheerios away from my kids, and I can’t let that happen.”
Texan Brandon Figueroa (18-0, 13 KO) is the 22-year-old younger brother of Omar Figueroa Jr, the former lighweight titleholder and current welterweight contender who fights sporadically, but when he does, is known for his all-action style.
The younger Figueroa brother will be looking to pick up an interim WBA title at 122 pounds, facing Yonfrez Parejo (22-3-1, 11 KO), in from Venezuela.
Figueroa sounded like his brother on the mic, at least in terms of laying out his game plan.
“The pressure, the inside game, the body shots that I bring to the ring, I don’t feel like he’s going to be able to handle that,” he said of Parejo.
Parejo, a 32-year-old former title challenger at bantamweight, spoke through his translator, saying simply, “Brandon is not going to get in the way of me having my dream, which is to be world champion.”