Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Melvin Lopez
Final Press Conference
Former world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez and streaking
contender Melvin Lopez went face to face at Thursday’s 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
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
“I’m 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. That’s
the goal in this fight.
“I guarantee you I’m gonna come out with the win on
Saturday, because I’m the toughest opponent he’s ever faced.
“I’m gonna prove I’m the best fighter in the division. This
is gonna send a message to all the other champions that I’m
here to stay.
“I’ve 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 he’s got in store for me. Then I feel like I can
stop him between the fourth and seventh rounds.
“I’ve trained in Mexico and it’s been like a second home.
They’ve 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 it’s all shown. He’s gonna have to back it up.
“I’m not gonna guarantee a knockout. I’m an animal that
hunts for his prey. I’m gonna try to get him where I want
and whatever happens, happens.
“He says he’s the best in the division, and he’s gonna try
to show it. But I’m gonna do the same thing. I’m gonna try
to show that I’m the best on Saturday night.
“I’m gonna give it my all for the world title. We both want
it badly. For everyone watching on Saturday night, I’m gonna
do everything I can to bring the title home.”
GARY ANTUANNE RUSSELL
“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 I’m 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 it’s not a weight on my
“It’s up to me to just perform at my highest peak. We have
to execute everything at the highest level. That’s what will
leave me victorious.
“He can expect pain. It’s the hurt business. Someone’s ‘0’
has got to go. At the end of the day, I’m gonna take my hat
off to him and be respectful, but I’m gonna show everyone
that I do it for the art. I love this sport.
“I’m back in my hometown and representing my area. If I get
good grades, I make the family look good right? That’s the
objective. People are gonna be saying that I’m a beast.
“Pressure busts pipes and makes diamonds. If anything, I’m
at ease fighting at home.”
“Beating Russell will mean everything for my career. This is
the fight that we’ve been waiting on. This is gonna bring
the best out of me and it’s gonna make me up my level and up
“People are gonna be surprised. We had a terrific camp and
brought out the old Kent Cruz. I’m gonna shock the world
come Saturday night. For sure.
“This is my third southpaw in a row, so we’ve been training
for southpaws for a long time. It’s 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
he’s fighting in his hometown. I just have to do my part and
come out victorious Saturday night. We’re gonna do whatever
“I’m gonna shock the world. People are looking past me, but
I’m 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. It’s time to get a
gauge on who’s 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, that’s an amazing thing.
“Me and my team are prepared for anything. Make sure you
tune in on time Saturday night, because I’m gonna snipe him
out of there.
“He’s never faced anyone like me as a pro. It’s a whole
different caliber over here. People are gonna say that this
young guy is the one after this fight.
“You’re gonna see a dominant performance by a young
up-and-coming prospect that came out of nowhere. They’re
gonna know my name after Saturday night.”
“He’s gonna have to be ready each and every round, because
I’m coming to win. I know that he’s young and hungry and
that he’s fighting at home, but I’ve prepared myself for all
“The fans are going to be the true winners, because this is
gonna be a true spectacle and a memorable fight for everyone
“I’m beyond motivated for this fight. The American fans like
to see a brawl and I’m gonna go punch for punch with Travon.
It’s gonna be fun.
“I respect what Marshall says, but the real talking is done
inside of the ring. He hasn’t fought anyone like me and he
has no idea what he’s in store for.”