Here is what the participants had to say Wednesday from the Wyndham El Paso Hotel:
“We’re warriors up here. Devon is not going to like me much come February 17 and I know I won’t like him much. This is business, because I’m here for the victory.
“I’ve been counted out many times in this sport. I’m not going to take any shortcuts in training, I’m just going to keep listening to what my coach wants me to do so I can be at my best.
“Being on this stage is very significant for me. Thankfully I have people who don’t stop believing in me. I’ve seen both sides and been in the middle. At this point, the only place I’m focused on going is up. It’s all in front of me.
“We have mutual respect for each other. He’s a tremendous fighter just like me. Everyone knows it will be two warriors stepping into the ring on February 17. We’re going to go all out. I’m going for a victory just like him.
“I’m going to keep coming forward until my hand is raised in victory. One day I will be the champion again and it starts February 17 in El Paso.”
“Both of us are very good, skillful boxers and that should make for a great matchup. Everyone knows we both come to fight and have been world champions so it’s going to be exciting on fight night.
“This is going to be an excellent fight. I’ve known Victor for a long time, but this is going to be business on February 17. I think I’m the best fighter in the world, and I have to go prove that.
“Boxing is what I love to do. This is what I was born to do. I’m so thankful to my coach, Kevin Cunningham, for sticking by me these last few years and helping get me back to this point.
“I’m excited about this fight and I know Victor is too. The fans in Texas are always fantastic and they should expect an action packed night. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to showcase my talent. This is what I’ve been working hard for.
“I’m an all-around good fighter and I think my speed and quickness will be the difference. No one can hit me when I’m at the top of my game.
“I don’t see this one going the distance. We’re both very hungry. We know that a loss puts us at the back of the line and neither of us can afford that.
“I’m really thankful to El Paso for hosting this fight. It’s going to be a great night and I’m happy to be the main event. Everyone should come out for a great show. It’s going to be lots of fire and fury. Victor and I are really coming to fight.”
“I’m looking forward to fighting close to home. Many of you know I was born here in El Paso and grew up right across the road in Las Cruces, New Mexico. To be here again is surreal and it’s even more special being on a great card like this.
“This is where it all started for me. I’m going back to the roots of where I won a championship. It feels good to bring everything full circle. I’m blessed to be a part of this event.
“I’m really proud to be part of this card and this great night of boxing. I can’t wait to fight next to “The El Paso Sweetheart” Jennifer Han. I’ll be the “Las Cruces Tough Guy” on fight night and give everyone a great show.”
“I’m so excited to be part of this card. There is so much talent and it’s going to be an amazing show. We’re going to make El Paso extremely proud on February 17.
“I’ve been training very hard to fight my mandatory. She’s coming from Argentina to take my title so I need everyone to come out and support me on fight night.
“I’m a professional fighter and I love what I do. This is what I was born to do. I’m so excited to do this in front of my friends and my family and peers. Without the support of the El Paso community, I wouldn’t be here.
“Women’s boxing is growing and growing and I’m proud to be a part of it. Come out and support us and we won’t let you down. It’s going to be a great show.”
JOSEPH JANIK, Ortiz’s Trainer
“I know that there is a great boxing community here in El Paso. Boxing is a part of the culture here and we’re glad to be a part of it.
“One of these fighters is about to take a big step forward in their career, but it doesn’t happen without a win on February 17. We’ve been in camp training hard and Victor will be ready.
“Victor is never in a bad fight and I expect this will be another great one. We have some new things coming and Victor is going to show you something you’ve never seen before. We plan on being victorious on February 17.”
KEVIN CUNNINGHAM, Alexander’s Trainer
“This is definitely a crossroads fight for both guys. We’ve known Victor since he was like nine-years-old, fighting in the same region as him. This is business, because this is a crossroads fight for both guys in their careers and their lives.
“The winner of this fight will go on to bigger and better things and the loser has to get back at the end of the line. That’s not the plan for Devon, and Victor is in the way right now. Devon is going to be well prepared and I expect it will be an action packed fight.”
TOM BROWN, President of TGB Promotions
“It’s great to be back in El Paso with a big fight like this. It is truly a great fight town. I’m really looking forward to this card and I think the fans here are going to love it.
“Our main event is a true crossroads fight. Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander are battle-tested in one of the toughest and deepest divisions in boxing. The winner of this fight will be back on the path to a world title.
“Victor Ortiz brings an exciting, aggressive style and he always comes to fight. That’s why he’s one of the most entertaining fighters in the sport today. Devon Alexander has overcome some health issues and is back in the ring with one thing on his mind, to regain a world title.”
“Vicious” Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander “The Great” headline a show topped by two USA vs. Mexico battles as the former welterweight champions meet in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, Feb. 17 from Don Haskins Center on the UTEP campus in El Paso, Texas with televised coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
In the co-main event unbeaten contender Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant will battle Rogelio “Porky” Medina in a 12-round 168-pound world title eliminator.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $100, $60, $40, $25 and will go on sale Friday. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
Also on the card, Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) takes on Jorge Cota (27-2, 24 KOs) in a super welterweight showdown and Karlos Balderas, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, will appear in a lightweight special attraction.
“This is a classic crossroads match in the truest sense. Both Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz are battle-tested in one of the toughest, deepest divisions in boxing,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Alexander has overcome some serious health issues and is looking to regain the welterweight championship. Ortiz, also a former champion, has always come to fight and doesn’t back down from anyone. It promises to be an entertaining match for the fans in attendance at Don Haskins Center and those who tune in on FOX and FOX Deportes.”
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs), a former 147-pound champion, has split time between boxing and acting throughout his recent career and brings a certain flare every time he steps into the ring. The 30-year-old native of Garden City, Kansas who now lives in Ventura, California, has faced some of the top names in the 147-pound division during his career. Ortiz won the welterweight title with unanimous decision victory over Andre Berto on April 16, 2011. Five months later he lost the title to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. by knockout. Ortiz, 30, suffered a knockout loss to Andre Berto in 2016 on FOX and bounced back with a knockout victory over Saul Corral in his last fight on July 30 on FS1.
“I’m ready to give all I have to defeat Devon Alexander and get my crown back,” said Ortiz. “My priority is to make a strong comeback and putting myself in a position to have my straps once again. I demonstrated what I was made of and did what I said I was going to do in my last fight. I’m facing a great fighter in Devon Alexander and someone I’ve known since we were kids. I don’t hate him, but I will not be his friend on fight night and he won’t be mine. I’m ready to prove everyone wrong starting on Feb. 17.”
Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) emerged on the scene with a unanimous decision victory over Randall Bailey for the welterweight title in 2012. He defended the title once before losing it to Shawn Porter in 2013. Since then, the 30-year-old Alexander of St. Louis, Missouri has been on a mission to regain the title. After losing to Amir Khan and Aaron Martinez, Alexander suffered another setback when he sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers. Fully healthy for the first time in three years, Alexander returned to the ring with a unanimous decision victory over Walter Castillo on FS1 on Nov. 21.
“I’m excited to get back in there against a fighter like Victor Ortiz,” said Alexander. “We’ve known each other a long time but never fought in the amateurs, so this should be interesting. My speed, quickness and smarts will win me this fight. Victor checks out sometimes when he can’t hit you, so my skills will be the difference. I’m ready for any challenge that’s brought my way. When I’m 100 percent, nobody can beat me.”
Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) won eight of his first nine fights by knockout, demonstrating power in both hands to go along with his boxing abilities. The 25-year-old climbed into the top ten of the 168-pound rankings with his last victory – a unanimous decision over Andrew Hernandez in Las Vegas on Sept. 8. Medina represents a major step up for Plant and will give him an indication of just where the Ashland, Tennessee native stands in the division as he looks to become a mandatory challenger for the IBF title.
The 29-year-old Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) has squared off against some of the toughest boxers in the division, including current champion David Benavidez and former champions James DeGale and Badou Jack. Fighting out of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico lost by knockout to Benavidez on May 20, and bounced back with a knockout victory over Daniel Eduardo Yocupicio on Sept. 1.
The FOX prime time broadcast will kick off a full night of boxing, leading into a doubleheader on SHOWTIME that features two-division world champion Danny Garcia versus Brandon Rios and 168-pound champion David Benavidez defending his title in a rematch against Ronald Gavril from Las Vegas.