ATLANTIC CITY (Dec. 11, 2008) – World Boxing Organization 140-pound champion Kendall Holt (24-2, 13 KOs) meets undefeated junior welterweight challenger Demetrius Hopkins (28-0-1, 11 KOs) in the main event of Saturday’s special edition of ShoBox: The New Generation, live from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, (SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).
Holt was originally scheduled to face former 140-pound champ Ricardo Torres in a rubber-match, but Torres withdrew from the fight on Monday. The undefeated 28-year-old Hopkins, the nephew of former middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, is in peak condition as he was originally scheduled to fight Germaine Sanders on the undercard of Saturday’s bout.
Both fighters spoke on a national media conference call from Atlantic City on Thursday. The following are highlights from the call:
(Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, on the winner of Saturday’s fight facing WBC Champ Timothy Bradley early in 2009, and the winner of that potentially facing pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.)
ARUM: Right now the 140-pound division is the hottest division in boxing and the reason I say that is because after his win on Saturday night Manny Pacquiao made it clear that he is going to campaign for the 140-pound division. That means a lot of money for the guy’s competing in that division.
(On his chance at a world title)
HOPKINS: It’s a good opportunity for me. I’ve been waiting 10 years for this and come Saturday I will be the WBO junior welterweight champion of the world. I’ve been a professional fighter for 10 years. I’m a veteran at this game. I’m going to show Kendall something he hasn’t seen in the 140-pound division. He has power but I do too. So he’s met his match.”
(On Hopkins beating Holt in the 1999 Golden Gloves National quarterfinals the only time they met as amateurs)
HOPKINS: He learned a lot from me. We were boys then but we’re men now.
(On Holt’s recollection of their first meeting in the ring)
HOLT: It was a close fight. He was the better man that night. That was a long time ago. We’re both men now. We’re both professionals. This is going to be no easy walk for him.
HOPKINS: I’m a smart fighter. I hope you got your A game because I’m coming. Trust me, I’m coming.
(On being in the shadow of his uncle Bernard Hopkins)
HOPKINS: I have to stand in my own shoes and build my own legacy like he did and just do my own thing. I always wanted to do my own thing. I just want to walk in my own shoes.
(On having to face a new opponent on less than a week’s notice)
HOLT: It’s more mentally than anything but with the type of style that I have I’m able to adapt. Champions overcome adversity and this is adversity. I’ve overcome adversity before. I’m kind of used to this. This is what champions do: Adapt and overcome.
HOPKINS: It’s not going to be difficult for me. It shows that I’m a good fighter and that I’m a true champion. It’s a challenge. I love challenges. It’s what makes great champions.
(On Hopkins’ controversial win over Steve Forbes)
HOLT: How about you take that victory you got from [Steve] Forbes and give it back to him because we all know you lost that fight. You keep saying you’re a champion. Who have you fought? Why haven’t you fought any ranked opponents?”
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