This Saturday night on Showtime, the Super Six World Boxing Classic returns for the first semifinal bout, as Andre Ward faces Arthur Abraham in California. On June 4, Carl Froch meets Glen Johnson in the other semifinal. Last week in Las Vegas, the fighters took part in a press conference during the Pacquiao vs Mosley fight week festivities.
"I think Carl showed us a good blueprint (against Abraham) but I'm going to do it my own way.
"I'm very desperate, too. I don't think people understand that. I try to train with a sense of urgency. Whether Abraham had beat Carl Froch in convincing fashion or if he was in the situation he is now with two losses, I would still train the same. I train until it hurts.
"I want to thank SHOWTIME just for the opportunity. Outside of this tournament, I can guarantee I wouldn't have been able to fight the best back-to-back-to-back. It's also a great burden because you have to fight the best.
"A lot of people use the term ‘favorite' very loosely. But I don't consider myself the favorite because I haven't gotten my just dues yet. I train with a chip on my shoulder because there is more to prove. There is still plenty of work to be done.
"When I prepare for Arthur Abraham, I train for the best Arthur Abraham. I take being the WBA champion very seriously. I respect every fighter in the sport and I train for every fight accordingly."
"I really have to thank SHOWTIME for what they did with this tournament. The people want to see the best in the weight division fighting each other and we have four of them in the Semifinals.
"The four best super middleweights in the world are left in the Semifinals and I'm here to win. I'm not the favorite but I'll fight to the end. We'll celebrate our win on Saturday."
After the link: Quotes from Carl Froch, Glen Johnson, Lou DiBella, Dan Goossen and Ken Hershman.
DAN GOOSSEN (Ward's promoter)
"We've been trying to get our way through this Super Six. I think it's one of the greatest innovations in our sport. When you have so much talent in this division, it was certainly the right place at the right time.
"The great thing about this tournament is it started out with six great fighters so we forgave losses. In the Super Six, that is the opportunity. The best fighters face the best so a loss doesn't ruin your career.
"Most Olympic Gold Medalists have become the future stars of our sport. Andre is dedicated. He works too hard to disappoint anyone."
"I must say that this is the best tourney ever created in world boxing. The Super Six matches the best fighters in the 168-pound division from start to finish. I expect to see two of the original six in the final. While it's not the be all to end all, at least in my opinion, to reach the final, I still know that I will be in the final.
"There is no reason to bad-mouth at this stage in the game. We are all proven champions. Glen Johnson may be 42 but top level fighters nowadays are not spring chickens. We go on and on.
"I think it's fantastic what SHOWTIME is doing for the sport. Without them, fans would be robbed of not only the Super Six matches but all fights that are being put on in the sport.
"I'm on my way and training well. I'm sharp, eating well, feeling well and feeling strong. I'll be there boxing in the final. To win would be without a doubt, minus the birth of my son, the proudest moment of my life to lift that trophy.''
"When SHOWTIME first put together the Super Six, I wished I was a super middleweight. I had to wait a year and when the opportunity came to enter the tournament, I jumped all over it.
"It's going to be a great fight. I have a lot of respect for Carl. I saw him fight a few times previously and I know this is going to be a great fight."
LOU DIBELLA (Johnson's Promoter)
"This is going to be a terrific fight. It could be anyone's contest. The favorite changes consistently. Three or four times the favorite has already changed. The rise of SHOWTIME Sports and the relationship it has with CBS creates great competition and that is good for the sport of boxing.
"Johnson has had a tremendous career. To be able, after 10 years fighting at 175 pounds, to fight now at 168 pounds is a testament to him. I know this is going to be a great fight no matter who wins, even though Carl's the favorite.''
KEN HERSHMAN (Executive Vice President/General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports)
"The Super Six has been a long and winding road and it's had its bumps in the road but that was the idea, to see which fighter would persevere through a series of major fights against the best competitors. The Super Six was designed to pit the best super middleweights in the world against one another and come out with one winner.
"The Super Six has been a topic of conversation the last couple years and that's what boxing needs: longevity. These fighters' names have been in the headlines from fight to fight because each bout has so many implications, so much relevance. When Andre fights Arthur, it's not just about those fighters. It's about how that fight affects Carl, how it affects Glen. The tournament also gets rid of the myth that a loss on a fighter's record is a big deal. When the best fight the best, someone is going to lose.
"Arthur Abraham is the epitome of what this tournament stands for. He was the heavy favorite after a dramatic knockout over Jermain Taylor. But after two setbacks, he never gave up and I expect we will see a tremendous performance from Arthur on May 14.
"They call Glen Johnson the road warrior. And he is a warrior but more importantly, a tremendous person. After a decade at light heavyweight, he dropped the weight, looked good, looked young and won his first Super Six fight with a big knockout against Allan Green, whom no one had ever knocked out before.
"Carl Froch is a tremendous champion. Look at his road in the Super Six. He had a dramatic win in a close fight against Andre Dirrell, then he lost to Mikkel Kessler, and there's no shame in that; Kessler is a tremendous fighter. But then he came back with the fight of his life against Abraham.
"At the beginning of the tournament, people thought Andre Ward was untested and young. But look how we have we seen him rise to become the tournament favorite.
"Putting five promoters in a room is my worst nightmare. But it launched FIGHT CAMP 360°, which has produced some great television. Thanks (to all the boxers for) their commitment."