Earlier today, Wil Esco shared the live video stream for the open media workout in advance of Saturday’s welterweight unification between Errol Spence and Yordenis Ugas.
Bad Left Hook was also live on the scene, ready to do some very serious newsgathering, ask the tough questions, and crack this story wide open. Unfortunately, the evening’s activities were targeted more at the assembled crowd than media availability. Fighters were positioned underneath a bank of giant speakers that made it somewhere between very hard and impossible to hear anything off-stage from more than 5-6 feet away.
But, it was a fun night for the audience, and every effort was made to squeeze lemonade out of any available one-on-one moment with Saturday’s fighters.
Over the course of the night, Bad Left Hook caught up with Eimantas Stanionis, Zachary Ochoa, Brandun Lee, and Cody Crawley to ask a few questions outside of the live streamed action.
Addressing Eimantas Stanionis, who looked more tranquil and zen than a meditating monk throughout the whole event:
Bad Left Hook: You are very calm. Calmer and more serene than any athlete I’ve ever seen before an event as big as this is for you. Where does that come from? How can you be so shockingly— Not laid back, but there don’t seem to be any nerves at all about you?
Eimantas Stanionis: There’s no nerves. Because when you give all of your heart in the training, and you give 110% to everything— I always like to leave no stone unturned, and then I feel very confident and relaxed on fight week.
Zachary Ochoa, answering a question after we’d just heard a local radio guy involved with the live show call him “as relaxed as [he’s] ever seen [Ochoa]”:
Bad Left Hook: Relaxed for you... You seem, I don’t want to say “jolly,” because that feels like a silly-ass word for it—
Zachary Ochoa: [Smiling] Well, what do you think I am right now?
Bad Left Hook: I think you’re confident! I think you’re confident, and you’re happy to be here because you’ve got a big opportunity. Is that how you feel?
Ochoa: Absolutely. I feel blessed, and I thank God for the opportunity. I thank Showtime, Al Haymon, and all the people on my team. This is a great opportunity for me, and I just can’t wait for Saturday.
Bad Left Hook: It seems like you [and Brandun Lee] have a lot of respect for each other. You both had some nice things to say a little earlier.
Bad Left Hook: What are you hoping or expecting that [Lee] might not be ready for from you?
Ochoa: Oh, nothing. I don’t know. [Laughing] Maybe I don’t understand that question. [Laughs] All I know is that whatever he thinks I’m not ready for, I’m ready for, and vice-versa. And Saturday will be a great fight!
Earlier this week on the first episode of Bad Left Hook’s new podcast, “Prophets of Goom,” Scott Christ singled out Brandun Lee for some very high praise:
Bad Left Hook: My boss called you “one of the most exciting young prospects in boxing.”
Brandun Lee: Wow, really?
Bad Left Hook: Yep, he really likes you, and he’s not the only one. Does that identity come with excitement? Pressure? How does it feel when so many people see such a bright future for you?
Lee: No pressure. If anything, it excites me to work harder. It motivates me to go harder in the gym. Because I have a lot of people who want to see me succeed, but I have a lot of people who want to see me fail. So, at the end of the day, it only pushes me to go harder.
A question for Cody Crowley, who went from a long and unblinking staredown with Josesito Lopez to a much more affable and joking disposition with the assembled press afterward:
Bad Left Hook: You’re smiling, you’re joking with people, you’ve got a very happy demeanor about you. Five minutes ago, you were in the ring and we saw something intense— Not tense, because I heard you both talk about how much respect you have for each other, but intense.
So, when it’s fight night, when do you start getting into that mental space instead of the normal personality you seem to have of a happy-go-lucky guy?
Cody Crowley. The second I get in the ring! I have no animosity, no anger, no hate towards this man. Or any man I fight. I respect them all! Without them, I wouldn’t be here.
This man has given me an opportunity to showcase my skills in front of the whole entire world. It takes two to tango, right? Without him, I wouldn’t be here. I thank him. I respect him. I love him. But, when the bell rings, my life is on the line.
And I’ve trained my whole life to flip that switch. Where outside the ring, I can laugh, I can love, I can play around. But when it comes to survival? Life or death? That’s what I’ve trained for my whole entire life. And you see it every time when the bell rings. I come out there running, almost like a caged animal.