Fighters featured on the March 5 HBO Boxing After Dark telecast shared their final thoughts ahead of Saturday’s fights at the final press conference today in Washington, D.C. WBA Interim Heavyweight Champion Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs) was joined by Tony “The Tiger” Thompson (40-6, 27 KOs) ahead of their clash in the main event on the HBO Boxing After Dark telecast on Saturday.
Also appearing on stage were number one contender for the WBO Welterweight World Title Sadam “World Kid” Ali (22-0, 13 KOs) and former WBA Super Lightweight World Champion Jessie Vargas (26-1, 9 KOs) who will battle for the vacant WBO Welterweight World Championship in a can’t-miss 12-round co-main event.
Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos (23-11, 13 KOs) of and former WBA Interim Super Bantamweight World Champion Oscar Escandon (24-2, 16 KOs) of Ibague, Colombia, who will face of in a 12-round fight for the WBC Interim Featherweight World Championship.
Rounding out the dais were a host of up-and-coming east coast prospects including Lamont Roach Jr. (9-0, 3 KOs) of Washington, D.C., D’Mitrius “Big Meech” Ballard (11-0,7 KOs) from Temple Hills, Md., Kevin “K-Smoove” Rivers Jr. (12-1, 9 KOs), Zachary “Zungry” Ochoa (13-0, 6 KOs) of Brooklyn, N.Y. and Philadelphia natives Damon Allen (8-0, 3 KOs) and Todd Unthank-May (8-0, 3 KOs).
Below is what the fighters and their teams had to say at the final press conference:
LUIS “THE REAL KING KONG” Ortiz, WBA Interim Heavyweight World Champion:
“Unlike Mr. Thompson who uses humor and good words and is very well spoken, I instill fear through my hard work. In the ring is where I’m most comfortable and that’s where I’ll continue to prove why I am the most feared heavyweight on the planet.
“Tony said that he is Godzilla. I didn’t see the movie, but on Saturday night, King Kong is going to beat Godzilla.”
TONY “THE TIGER” THOMPSON, Former Heavyweight World Title Contender:
“I didn’t take this fight in my hometown to get embarrassed. I don’t believe in the boogeyman. D.C. raised a man. I’m all man. I don’t care who the opponent is. I’ll meet you in the middle of the ring, and let’s see what happens. He’s the kind of fighter who is going to bring out the best in me.”
ROBERT DIAZ, Head Matchmaker at Golden Boy Promotions:
“This is a card you don’t want to miss. We stacked it up from top to bottom. These are the kind of fights Golden Boy and HBO put on every time, and every time the fans are the winners.”
BERNARD HOPKINS, Golden Boy Promotions Partner and Future Boxing Hall of Famer:
“Not only to the fighters on TV but to all the fighters, this is the time to make a statement in your career. When you have two heavyweights that want to fight, you are going to have a fight. In the heavyweight division you have to be careful, because of the power that they bring.”
HERMAN CAICEDO, Trainer for Luis Ortiz:
“We put in a lot of hard work at the gym. At the end of the day there’s no one who can help you when you’re in the middle of the ring. Whether it’s in the first or the 12th round, it’s coming – there’s a knockout pending.”
TROY FOX, Trainer for Tony Thompson:
“We got two stellar athletes. It should be a remarkable, action-packed card.”
MIKE BORAO, Manager for Tony Thompson:
“People are calling Luis Ortiz the boogeyman because no one wants to fight him, but Tony is the original boogeyman who no one wants to fight. Everyone knows the original is always better than the sequel.”
SADAM “WORLD KID” ALI, Number One Contender for the WBO Welterweight World Title:
“This is for a world title. This is what we all wait for. This is what we work for. This is my dream. Just know that you are going to see an exciting fight.”
JESSIE VARGAS, Former WBA Welterweight Champion:
“We’ve had a great preparation. I am very happy to be fighting for the WBO World Title once again, and I look forward to becoming a world champion. I will do whatever I have to do to come out victorious.”
ANDRE ROZIER, Trainer for Sadam “World Kid” Ali:
“Sadam is a hard worker and diligent student. He’s my youngest fighter to reach this level. We’re going to show you Saturday night what we’re ready for.”
DEWEY COOPER, Trainer for Jessie Vargas:
“If improvement if possible, perfection is not good enough. That is the way we trained. We improved in every way. You will all see that on display Saturday night. On Saturday night there will be one victor, and that will be Jessie Vargas.”
LEE SAMUELS, Director of Public Relations at Top Rank:
“Jessie reminds me of Alexis Arguello – he’s a gentleman outside the ring and a warrior inside the ring. Jesse wants to make a statement. He re-did his team. Jesse feels a lot stronger and he’s ready to fight.”
PETER NELSON, Executive Vice President of HBO Sports:
“This is a spectacular event, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. All of these fighters are committed to fight anyone, anyplace, any time – those are the kind of guys that fans want to see.”
ROBINSON “ROBIN HOOD” CASTELLANOS, Former WBC Silver Featherweight Champion and Mandatory Contender to the WBC Featherweight World Championship:
“I am very well-prepared. We’ve done everything we had to. I want to make history in boxing, and the only way to do that is to win on Saturday night, and that’s what I’m planning to do.”
OSCAR ESCANDON, WBC Interim Featherweight Title Contender:
“I want to dedicate this fight to God and my daughter who was born last week, and I haven’t met and to all of you the fans. I hope you really appreciate this great fight we are going to put on.”
RUBEN GUERRERO, Trainer for Oscar Escandon
“Oscar’s been training for eight months, and we’re ready for the fight. He’s going to be ready for this fight. He’s going to be a different fighter than before. Both hands are strong. He’s ready to go. There’s going to be a knockout in this fight.”
LAMONT ROACH, JR., Lightweight Prospect:
“I just want to tell you if you haven’t seen me fight, I think you’ll enjoy the excitement I bring to the ring. The fans will be excited. I appreciate HBO for bringing boxing back to Washington, D.C.”
D’MITRIUS BALLARD, Super Middleweight Prospect:
“Right now, I’m considered to be a prospect. Soon I’ll be a contender and then soon I’ll be a world champion. The fans should come out on Saturday and see all my hard work and training.”
ZACHARY OCHOA, Super Lightweight Prospect:
“I’ve been training hard for this fight. I’m ready to take the steps so I can fight for a world title in the future.”
DAMON ALLEN, Super Lightweight Prospect:
“I’m grateful to be on a card like this. I bring fireworks. If you haven’t seen me fight, be prepared.”
TODD UNTHANK-MAY, Light Heavyweight Prospect:
“I’m a Philly fighter. I’ll fight anyone, anywhere. I’m going to put on a show on Saturday.”
PETE KIRSCHNER, Director of Communications and Marketing Events DC, Sports & Entertainment:
“Boxing and the DC Armory have been synonymous over the last four decades and we are thankful for HBO for continuing that tradition.”
Tickets priced at $25, $50, $75, and $100, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges, are on sale today and available online at www.ticketmaster.com and all Ticketmaster locations by calling (800) 745-3000.The DC Armory Box Office will be open on fight night only from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET.
Luis Ortiz vs. Tony Thompson is a 12-round heavyweight fight presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with King Kong Boxing and Warriors Boxing and Promotions. Sadam Ali vs. Jessie Vargas is a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO Welterweight World Championship presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Top Rank, the HBO Boxing After Dark ® telecast begins live at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Robinson Castellanos vs. Oscar Escandon is a 12-round fight for the WBC InterimFeatherweight Championship and the Ring TV live stream begins at 9:00 pm. ET. The event is sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, BORN BOLD and Carmelita Chorizo. Doors open at the DC Armory at 4:30 p.m. ET.