Showtime Boxing is back with a three-fight broadcast this Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The broadcast begins with a light heavyweight rematch between Houston’s Joe George (10-0) and Argentina’s Marcos Escudero (12-2 including the World Series of Boxing). George won the first fight by split decision last November. Here is what the fighters had to say on a conference call:
“I’m in better shape for this fight compared to our first fight. We’re working on fighting off of the ropes better and fighting in the center of the ring more effectively.
“A knockout is always good, but I like to take it one round at a time. If the knockout comes, it comes, and we’re going to take advantage. I’ve been dropping fighters in camp, so the chance of a knockout is pretty high.
“He was an okay opponent. He had a chin and was in shape. His punches weren’t effective though. I made sure my punches landed and I hurt him a few times, I just couldn’t really finish him.
“This fight will be different because I’m going to work off the ropes more instead of letting him gain momentum with his punches. Last fight was just him being really active and having a good chin -that’s all that stopped him from getting knocked out. If I was in better shape, I could have finished him. If I get the opportunity this fight, I’ll finish it.
“I expect to see a slight difference in Escudero. If you change trainers, then you should have made some changes. I had a good hard camp and whatever he brings, I’ll be ready for it.
“Some people think that Escudero won, and that’s their opinion. But I knew what I was doing. He wasn’t effective. I think just by me being on the ropes it made some people think that I was losing. But for me, I’m very comfortable fighting on the ropes.
“I didn’t really spar with people my weight in camp, it was either with heavyweights or guys who are lighter. The lighter guys helped with my speed and the heavyweights helped with my power. It worked out perfectly and I got the best of both worlds.
“My manager Trent Williams is a young athlete so he knows how this goes. He knows the things to do and what to say. You never see him angry or frustrated, the only time he’s aggressive is when he’s training or on the field. His work ethic is incredible and that’s motivation in itself. He’s a great role model and I learn a lot from watching him.”
“Everyone saw what happened in the first fight. I believe I did enough to get the win, but it is what it is. I’ve changed my team and am working with Kevin Cunningham now and that is going to make the biggest difference heading into this rematch. Everyone is going to see a different fighter than the first fight on Saturday night.
“With Coach Kevin we’ve watched the tape of the first fight over and over again. We knew we needed to take care of little details, be more effective and that we couldn’t leave it up to the judges. I have to be more intelligent in my game plan and change my angles. I think those were the most important things we worked on.
“Obviously we plan to bring the fight to George and make it entertaining. I know that I have enough power to make sure it doesn’t go to the cards. That’s what we’re looking for.
“I’ve known Kevin for a while. He’s worked with a lot of world champions and I’ve seen how different it is to have a strong team on my side. To be a great fighter you need to have a great team supporting you.
“I’m much more confident heading into this fight than the last one. He knows that he lost the fight. I know that I did enough work to get the victory. Now in the rematch, I’m going to show my confidence in the ring. My only goal is to beat Joe George. I am working toward becoming a world champion, so I had to get this rematch settled before anything else. After Saturday night, we’ll keep moving forward.”