Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder and Welterweight World Champions Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr. met with the media on Saturday at Barclays Center to discuss their upcoming bouts and expected 2018 campaigns.
Wilder will defend his WBC belt on Nov. 4 against mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in a Premier Boxing Champions event. Thurman announced he expects to return in early 2018 in his first bout since unifying the division and subsequent surgery.
In news on Saturday, IBF Welterweight Champion Spence announced that he will make the first defense of his belt against former world champion Lamont Peterson in January 2018 on SHOWTIME on a date and site to be determined.
Below are flash quotes from the three fighters:
“What other heavyweight is doing what I do? What other heavyweight has power like me? I don’t have to put you out in punches in bunches. I don’t have to do that. One punch. Goodnight.
“I’m happy that I’ve had time to calm down and think about things. I’m happy that I’m fighting Stiverne because he’s my mandatory. I can finally get him out the way so I’ll be a free man.
“This is the story of my life. Every situation that I’m put in, I try to be optimistic about. It’s easy to appreciate the good. But when the bad comes, some people don’t know how to manage that.
“I’m the most frustrated guy around. I don’t understand. The best are supposed to fight the best, right? I’ve always done that. I called (Wladimir) Klitschko out years ago.
“People make so many excuses for my career. The one who is actually trying to make a legacy out of their career, he’s the only one that’s not complaining. The people who don’t have to get in the ring and endure this suffering are the ones that complaining.”
“I’m in the bounce-back stage. It won’t be long before I get back into the ring and hopefully my arm will be better than ever. We’re estimating I’ll be ready for a fight the first quarter of next year.
“I look forward to continuing my legacy and dominating the welterweight division.
“Everything happens for a reason. I’m 28-years-old and it doesn’t feel good to not be an active fighter while you’re in your prime.
“I don’t think that I will take that level of a fight [against Shawn Porter] coming off my injury. I think we’re going to just get a welcome back fight. Throw the arm around, test it out, have an injury-free camp, take the momentum from that and we can possibly get in the ring with Shawn after that.
“I look forward to that [potential] fight against Errol. I look forward to great competition and Errol is that. This is a fight that you guys have been talking about, you won’t stop talking about, and you should keep talking about it because when it goes down it will be one of the best fights of this generation.
“Everybody knows there’s no Floyd Mayweather. There’s no Manny Pacquiao. Everybody thinks they know who the real champion is. But real talk is that the king of the welterweight division will manifest within one to two years.
“[Terence] Crawford has whacked up a lot of people, but he hasn’t whacked up a welterweight yet. He still needs to make himself relevant in this division. He’s a 140 undisputed champion. He can come up to this weight division and fight anybody in the top 10 and he deserves that. But we are so flooded with talent he is going to have to make himself relevant at 147 before he gets his hands on us.”
Errol Spence Jr.
“I’m happy to be here, it’s been awhile. It’s finally time to defend my title, capture more titles and become the undisputed welterweight champion of the world. That’s what I’m ready to do next year.
“[Peterson] is somebody that I looked up to as an amateur. I sparred with him as an amateur and learned a lot from him. He’s one of my favorite fighters and is a guy that will fight anybody. I’ve never known him to duck a fight.
“Lamont is a tricky fighter. He’s been around the block. He does a lot of cagey, veteran things. I’m looking to get experience in this fight. I’m still a young fighter.
“Since I was 5-0, I’ve said I’d fight Keith Thurman or anybody in the top 5. He’s got to go through rehab, but I’m ready when he is. I’m always ready to fight the best.”