The fighters faced-off at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza and spoke with media about their upcoming primetime bouts. Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday:
JOE SMITH JR.
“I’m very excited for this fight and opportunity. I’m here to prove myself to all those who think I shouldn’t be here. I’m taking the victory home. I want to prove it to the world.
“I’m amped up to get in the ring with a high quality fighter like Andrzej Fonfara and put on a show.
“Our styles are going to make for an exciting fight. I expect a war, but I’m prepared for anything. All I know is, I’m going to end the night with my hand raised.
“Ever fight I go into the ring with the same mentality. Everything is on the line and I want to prove myself to the world.”
PROMOTER JOE DEGUARDIA
“Smith and Fonfara have truly exciting styles. In boxing, to make it to the top you have to beat the guy you’re not supposed to beat. Joe Smith knows that this is his opportunity to do just that. I am looking forward to a thrilling fight here in Chicago, be sure to catch it nationwide on NBC.”
“I want to thank everyone who brought this show to Chicago. I’m ready. We’ve had a very long camp. I’ve had great sparring after traveling two weeks in Big Bear and three weeks in Houston. The rest of our camp was in Chicago and it was outstanding.
“I’m ready for this opportunity. Joe Smith is a young guy who is here to beat me. I have to show him I’m a better fighter in the ring. What we say now doesn’t matter, we’ll see everything on Saturdaynight.
“I’ve been in a lot of fights, I’ve been the favorite and I’ve been the underdog. I know this is a big fight for Joe Smith and that he’s trained very hard. He is going to be very motivated but I will be too and I will be ready on fight night.
“Each fight is different. I can’t give him a lot of space to punch. I want to wear him down and finish him. I’m taking it round-by-round to get the win.
“I know he has a big punch, because he wins fights by knockout. But who has he knocked out? The guy who was a little bit better, Will Rosinsky, he went the distance. He has heavy, wide punches and we will be ready for him.”