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Russell vs Diaz: Final press conference quotes

Gary Russell Jr and Joseph Diaz Jr are ready for Saturday.

Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.


“We’re 120 percent ready for fight night. We’re hungry. As long as I have this strap, nobody is walking in here and taking it. I know Diaz is going to bring his best to the table, but we’re ready. The strap is staying at home.

“Me and my little brothers Gary Antuanne and Gary Antonio are on the undercard and they’re going to show the work they’ve been doing. Our dad’s birthday is the day after the fight so you know we have to make it special for him.

“It’s cool that both me and ‘JoJo’ are trained by our fathers. Because at the end of the day, when you look at your coach, that’s your last line of defense. When everything else goes wrong, you have to go the corner. You have to have a level of trust and belief in your corner, so who better to have than a parent there?

“It’s difficult for me to know if ‘JoJo’ is my toughest opponent since Vasyl Lomachenko because I never train with a lot of worry about my opponents. I think that the biggest thing is preparing myself to the best of my ability and being the best that I can possibly be.

“I believe in my ability to make the necessary adjustments, no matter what my opponent brings to the ring. If he wants to come in and box, we are equally as comfortable boxing long ranged as we are making the fight rugged. In order to be great at anything, you have to have a level of versatility. That’s something I bring to the table that a lot of fighters don’t bring.

“Diaz worked his way up the ranks to get this fight. He did everything you have to do to get in position to fight for a world title. He’s already mentioned that I’m the best fighter in the division and he knows that all the other champions in the division are afraid to step up and compete against me.

“Any fighter who has two months or more to prepare for one opponent is definitely dangerous. We never overlook anyone. I believe in my hand speed, my punching power, my ring generalship and in my ability to make adjustments.

“If we can get through this bout, I would love to get in the ring and unify with any of the other featherweight champions. The timing is perfect right now for any of these unification fights. If they still don’t want it, I’m willing to move up in weight to meet any of the guys who have a name. It’s time to make it happen.

“I take my hat off to him and to his team for having the guts to step into the ring. There are only certain people who can be made for this sport and it speaks volumes about him as an individual. I don’t expect anything less than a worthy opponent.

“It’s a pleasure being here for this fight right near my hometown. We had a very long training camp and everything is feeling good heading into the fight.”


“It’s right here and around the corner. I’m very excited for the moment to be here. I’ve been waiting for this my whole entire life and I’m not going to take anything for granted. I trained extremely hard for this fight.

“I absolutely think Gary is overlooking me. I think he underestimated me. I’ve trained for this my whole entire life. This opportunity has been presented to me by my hard work and it’s really the opportunity of a lifetime. I can’t wait to show everybody my skills and what I’m truly about.

“It’s all about timing. Gary has the fastest hands in boxing but we’ve watched a lot of tape and we see a lot of flaws. Every fighter has flaws. We’re just going to capitalize on what we see and take full advantage on Saturday night.

“I don’t think Gary having not fought since last year will be any kind of advantage. I want Gary Russell Jr. to be at his best come fight night. I know that I’m at my best and the best man should win on fight night. There shouldn’t be any excuses after this fight and after I win the title.

“I believe after I win this title on Saturday night that I’ll be on top of the throne in the featherweight division. Hopefully I can get some big fights soon after that.

“I’m prepared for everything he’s going to offer. He’s going to come out and box a little bit and look to use his jab, create angles and use his speed to keep me out of range. It’s going to come to the point where he’s not going to want to move as much and he’ll starting fighting on the inside. That’s where I want to be. We’re going to deliver some great blows and may the best man win.

“I know what Gary Russell Jr. brings to the table. I know he’s the toughest fighter in the division but I’m ready to go out there and bring back the WBC title. I’m ready to fight the best and unify all the titles.

“It’s going to be fireworks on Saturday night. I’ve had a perfect training camp and I’m on weight. Everything feels great and I can’t wait to step into the ring.

“I’m ready for anything. If it stops early or goes the distance, I’m going to keep pushing each round more than the last.

“It would mean everything to win this world title. Not just for myself, but for my whole family. All the hard work and struggles that we’ve been through, it’s finally here. I’m going to do everything I can to come out victorious. Our lives are going to change and I’m going to inspire the youth and the people around me. I want people to know that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible.”

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