LEO SANTA CRUZ
“The first fight was a really good one, but I think this one will be even better. Mares is a great fighter with a great trainer in Robert Garcia, and that’s the kind of challenge I want. We both want to give the fans great fights.
“I’ve learned a lot from my last few fights. I’m not coming in here worried about losing, I just worry about giving the fans a great show. If Mares is better than me that night, then he will win. But I’ve worked too hard and I’m going to be at my peak on Saturday night.
“I think that Mares has gotten a lot better. Robert Garcia is a trainer who has brought him up to a different level. He’s made a lot of improvements. I learned from the Frampton fights and my dad is a good trainer too. It’s even all the way around and it’s going to be a great fight.
“I think the winner of this fight will be number one in this division. Gary Russell Jr. is a great fighter and I definitely want a rematch of our amateur fight. But me and Abner put a lot of pressure on our opponents and I don’t think Gary would like the pressure from either of us.
“My team motivates me every day in the gym. They’re right next to me running every day towards the same goal. That’s what I love about training camp because it makes me work even harder.”
“I could stand up here and tell you what I’m going to do Saturday, but you’ve seen the first fight. You know how exciting the first fight was. I have even more to prove and I’m going to leave it all on the line this time.
“This is going to be an exciting fight. I know Leo has matured as an athlete and fighter by fighting Frampton twice. But if you look at my last couple of performances, they speak for themselves. I think both of us are seasoned and better fighters right now.
“There’s no doubt that the winner of this fight is number one in this division. There’s some great fighters at featherweight, but we’re fighting for the top spot in this division.
“Our focus isn’t on looking for a stoppage. That was my mistake the first fight. I tried to destroy him. I’m going to follow instructions and show I’m the better fighter in there.
“If I win Saturday night, and the fight is just as exciting as the first one, I’m ready for a trilogy. Let’s make it happen.
“I’m going to fight my heart out and win this fight this time. May the best man win. We’re going to give the fans what they want to see. I’m calling this ‘Fight of the Year’ guaranteed.”