FRED STERNBURG: Welcome everyone. We have got two very hot fighters from a very hot division getting ready to take each other on in world championship fight on Saturday, June 15, at the American Airlines Center® in Dallas. It will be televised live on HBO® at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT. The HBO Boxing After Dark telecast will open with a ten-round bout between Top-10 contenders Terence Crawford and Alejandro Sanabria Jr. for the vacant NABO lightweight title. If it is two things Mikey Garcia and Juanma Lopez know, it is how to win and how to win by knockout.
BOB ARUM: We are delighted to bring to Dallas a card as outstanding as this card. A great featherweight championship fight between two very popular fighters – the undefeated defending champion Mikey Garcia from Oxnard, California, and the “Pride of Puerto Rico” and former two-division world champion Juanma Lopez. This should be outstanding fight. The lead-in fight between Crawford and Sanabria should be very interesting. To tell you what HBO thinks about this show, the fights will be preceded on HBO by the Batman film “The Dark Knight," where they expect a huge audience so we expect a great audience for this Boxing After Dark show. We are very pleased to be in Dallas. Mark Cuban is a great boxing fan and he has welcomed us to the American Airlines Center. The tickets are going extremely well. We have in addition to the two televised fights we have Vanes Martirosyan; Matt Korobov, the Russian Middleweight, fights Ossie Duran; Mikael Zewski from Québec, Canada is on the card; and a special attraction, in a six-round bout, Óscar Valdez, the former Mexican Olympian, fights Gil Garcia from Houston. It’s a terrific card for a great night of boxing in Dallas and we are very pleased to promote this outstanding match-up between Mikey Garcia and Juan Manuel Lopez.
Mikey is in his training camp in Oxnard California and joining him on the call is manager Cameron Dunking and trainer and brother Robert Garcia. Juan Manuel Lopez in his training camp in Puerto Rico and he is on with Peter Rivera, and his trainer Alex Caraballo.
MIKEY GARCIA: We have definitely had a very good camp. We worked very hard, with Robert and my dad [Eduardo] and Darryl Hudson for strength and speed. I think we are doing an excellent job and we are in the last week here and I am very excited to get back in the ring again and show another side of Mikey Garcia.
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: We had a great training camp. We are working real hard on the conditioning. We know we are going to have to be at the top of our game conditioning-wise because we know Mikey Garcia is a real good boxer.
Do you feel after your last two fights, even though not very competitive, have rid you of rust?
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: I think those two fights I had were very important because after the long layoff I was able to get in the gym, get on my diet, get a rhythm of training and fighting. It helped me tremendously and I am ready to take on this fight.
Did the time off do you good?
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: Without a doubt, ever since I started boxing professionally, I have had one fight after another with a lot of tough fights mixed in there and I never took any time off. So it was good, even though I didn’t want it that way, but there is a silver lining in everything. It was good for my body. Now I have come back and I feel good.
You were stopped twice by Salido and Garcia beat Salido – how do you think that matches you and Garcia?
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ: It is a matter of styles, Salido and I love to go at it, have a war. Mikey is more of a counter-puncher. Either way, it’s a great fight and I congratulate him for that win. Different fighters and different styles – anything can happen and anyone can win. There is no way to tell from one fight to the next who will win. I feel good about it. I think Salido was pretty beat up when he faced Garcia and I think Salido was fresher when I got him.
How do you feel about the Salido match-up between the two of you?
MIKEY GARCIA: I also agree with Juanma that the styles are different and I fight different than Salido does. I am preparing myself differently for this fight because I am fighting Juanma. It is going to be a different fight. You can’t jump to conclusions. We’ll just have to see what the fight dictates and how it unfolds. I don’t have thoughts that the way I beat Salido I’d be able to walk through Salido. It doesn't work that way. It is a different fight, a different opponent and I have to prepare differently.
Did you watch the two fights?
MIKEY GARCIA: I saw it when I was there live and I watched a few rounds here and there but there is only so much I can pick up from them. I have seen a few clips and that’s about it.