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  Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Melvin Lopez
Final Press Conference

Former world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez and streaking contender Melvin Lopez went face to face at Thursdays final press conference before they meet for the vacant IBF Bantamweight World Championship this Saturday, August 12 headlining live on SHOWTIME from The Theater at MGM National Harbor in Maryland in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

The press conference also featured fighters competing on the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast that will see undefeated rising star and Capitol Heights, Maryland-native Gary Antuanne Russell taking on fellow unbeaten Kent Cruz in the 10-round super lightweight co-main event, plus sensational top prospect and Landover, Maryland-native Travon Marshall dueling unbeaten two-time Olympian Gabriel Maestre in the 10-round welterweight telecast opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday from MGM National Harbor:


Im more mature and experienced now than I was when I first won the title. I will be the fifth world champion from Puerto Rico right now and that would be a privilege. Thats the goal in this fight.

I guarantee you Im gonna come out with the win on Saturday, because Im the toughest opponent hes ever faced.

Im gonna prove Im the best fighter in the division. This is gonna send a message to all the other champions that Im here to stay.

Ive had so much love and support from Puerto Rico already. The island is eager to see me fight and I want to give back all that love with a win on Saturday night.

Starting in the fourth round, I should be able to figure out what hes got in store for me. Then I feel like I can stop him between the fourth and seventh rounds.

Ive trained in Mexico and its been like a second home. Theyve really supported me. I owe it to all of them to give it my all.

The fans are gonna see an amazing show and the best version of Emmanuel Rodriguez. I guarantee that.


Winning would bring me happiness and pride for my country, and it would prove to me that all my hard work ever since I was little, paid off.

He can say whatever he wants, talk is cheap. Saturday night is where its all shown. Hes gonna have to back it up.

Im not gonna guarantee a knockout. Im an animal that hunts for his prey. Im gonna try to get him where I want and whatever happens, happens.

He says hes the best in the division, and hes gonna try to show it. But Im gonna do the same thing. Im gonna try to show that Im the best on Saturday night.

Im gonna give it my all for the world title. We both want it badly. For everyone watching on Saturday night, Im gonna do everything I can to bring the title home.


People are gonna see a Grade-A performance from me on Saturday. It feels really good to be back. Cruz is gonna bring his physical best and Im gonna bring everything I need to put the fire out.

My knockout streak is a good thing, but the object of this sport is to continue to win. A knockout would be a notch on my belt and I plan to get it, but its not a weight on my shoulders.

Its up to me to just perform at my highest peak. We have to execute everything at the highest level. Thats what will leave me victorious.

He can expect pain. Its the hurt business. Someones 0 has got to go. At the end of the day, Im gonna take my hat off to him and be respectful, but Im gonna show everyone that I do it for the art. I love this sport.

Im back in my hometown and representing my area. If I get good grades, I make the family look good right? Thats the objective. People are gonna be saying that Im a beast.

Pressure busts pipes and makes diamonds. If anything, Im at ease fighting at home.


Beating Russell will mean everything for my career. This is the fight that weve been waiting on. This is gonna bring the best out of me and its gonna make me up my level and up my ability.

People are gonna be surprised. We had a terrific camp and brought out the old Kent Cruz. Im gonna shock the world come Saturday night. For sure.

This is my third southpaw in a row, so weve been training for southpaws for a long time. Its been easier for me because we just maintained what we were doing. I love fighting southpaws because it makes it easier for me to set up what I want to do.

I feel like he has more pressure on him than me, because hes fighting in his hometown. I just have to do my part and come out victorious Saturday night. Were gonna do whatever it takes.

Im gonna shock the world. People are looking past me, but Im gonna wake them up for sure.


The 147-pound division is about to be wide open and there are a lot of good prospects coming up. Its time to get a gauge on whos gonna be next to take over.

A victory over Maestre will give me standing in the division. With me being this young and going up against a two-time Olympian, thats an amazing thing.

Me and my team are prepared for anything. Make sure you tune in on time Saturday night, because Im gonna snipe him out of there.

Hes never faced anyone like me as a pro. Its a whole different caliber over here. People are gonna say that this young guy is the one after this fight.

Youre gonna see a dominant performance by a young up-and-coming prospect that came out of nowhere. Theyre gonna know my name after Saturday night.


Hes gonna have to be ready each and every round, because Im coming to win. I know that hes young and hungry and that hes fighting at home, but Ive prepared myself for all of that.

The fans are going to be the true winners, because this is gonna be a true spectacle and a memorable fight for everyone watching.

Im beyond motivated for this fight. The American fans like to see a brawl and Im gonna go punch for punch with Travon. Its gonna be fun.

I respect what Marshall says, but the real talking is done inside of the ring. He hasnt fought anyone like me and he has no idea what hes in store for.


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