IBF and WBC Silver Bantamweight Champion Abner Mares and former two-time IBF Bantamweight Champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko were the principals at a widely attended press conference Saturday to officially announce their highly anticipated rematch set for Saturday, Dec. 3, at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., which will be televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing.
In the co-featured bout, WBA Bantamweight Super Champion Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno will defend his title against former Two-Division World Champion Vic “The Raging Bull’’ Darchinyan.
Here’s what those involved had to say on Saturday:
I’m really happy and ready to fight on Dec. 3. Right after the first fight I was asked if I had a problem with a rematch – I said ‘no.’
“I want to fight him again because he deserves it. He’s a great champion. If this is what the people want we’ll give it to them.
“I’m going to prove why I’m the champion come Dec. 3. I’m going to go for a knockout. Last time I prepared for 12 rounds, but this time I have something to prove. I want to prove that I am the champion. I want to knock him out. “
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions:
“We are looking forward to setting the record straight on Dec. 3 at the Honda Center to erase any doubts that people may have.
“We thought the right thing to do was a rematch. The pressure was everyone was crying for a rematch and Abner had no problem with it. He’s young, he’s strong, he’s exciting – he’s exactly the kind of fighter fans like.
“Abner didn’t have to do the rematch. Just because the IBF ordered it doesn’t mean he had to do it. He took it because he wants to prove he’s the best in the division.
“I want to thank Showtime for putting their muscle behind this great division.
“Both of these fighters on the co-feature have an impressive resume. Darchinyan is one of the most recognizable names in boxing and Moreno hasn’t lot in 10 years. The idea is the two winners on Dec. 3 will face each other in 2012.”
“I am not looking for the knockout on Dec. 3, I’m looking forward to a war. There will be no more low blows this time because the world is watching. I will prove to the world that I deserved to win the last fight and I will be victorious on Dec. 3.
“Do I still have respect for Abner Mares? Yes. At the end of the day we are both warriors and we do our job.
“I didn’t want to retaliate with low blows. After every round I came back to my corner and they told me to keep going after him and protect myself. They just kept telling me to do what we trained to do and not to change.”
Frank Espinoza, Mares’ Manager:
“It’s time to clear the controversy. This fight means everything to Abner. On Dec. 3, he plans to show the world that he truly deserves to be called the top bantamweight in the world.”
Alan Hopper, VP for Public Relations for Don King Productions:
“Don (King) sends his best from Florida and is looking forward to seeing you all from the Honda Center on Dec. 3. He’s asked me to come and represent his company today. Abner Mares has a problem. He won the two biggest fights of his career with the use of low blows. The entire world and a new referee will be watching you closely on Dec. 3. So keep your punches up and fight fair.”
Chris DeBlasio, Senior Director, Communications, Showtime Sports
“Showtime is once again putting on a fight the fans truly want to see. For 25 years boxing has been the flagship sport of our network. We all remember the controversy that surrounded the first fight between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares for the Showtime Bantamweight Tournament Final.
“But what we may have forgotten is that that fight was as exciting as boxing gets. It had all the drama, intensity and give-and-take action that defines the bantamweight division. We are proud to be part of this important rematch.