The main protagonists participating on Saturday night’s Las Vegas undercard met with the media this week to discuss their respective bouts.
Middleweight Curtis Stevens squares off against James De La Rosa, whilst Isaac Chilemba faces unknown quantity Oleksandr Gvozdyk at light-heavyweight.
Here’s what the fighters had to say:
“Training camp was excellent. I did the first half in Boca [Raton], Florida and the second half we did up in Oxnard. It was great. I brought in Cicilio Flores for strength and conditioning. Everything was great.”
“I need to go in there and let my hands go like I did in the Teixeira fight. I don’t look at this fight as another step towards the big fight. A fight is a fight. He is coming to win and so am I.”
“This is the road back to GGG. I am the only one that wants a rematch because I gave him his toughest challenge so far. I know I can beat him. I just gotta let my hands go.”
“I am glad that de la Rosa took the fight because before him no one else would take a fight with me. This is the biggest fight of the year so this is the stage. The world is gonna be watching.”
James De La Rosa
“We worked on it in training camp. You know this is a big fight for me, we asked for this fight coming off the two losses but I talked to my manager I wanted a big fight.
“I told my manager, what would be a better opportunity to be on the undercard of this (Kovalev-Ward) and whoever they have I will fight.”
“I have nothing bad to say coming in as a fighter you know I don’t bash nobody I don’t talk down on nobody unless they come at me like that. I have nothing but respect for every fighter that gets in the ring. It takes a lot to get in there.”
“I think what hurts boxing is that everyone waits so long to fight each other why wait a year, why wait two years, why wait? You know for me when I was always coming up I started boxing at 8 years old that’s all I wanted to do is fight and as I turned pro that was the same thing. I want fights, I’ll go to peoples’ back yards, it didn’t matter to me. I believe like my 8th or 9th pro fight I fought someone in their back yard and knocked them out. You know that’s all I wanted to do, I always wanted to go in and be the underdog, nothing to lose, everything to gain”
“I’m very excited and I had good preparation and I understand that the opponent is very hard and we will see what happens on Saturday night. He is the best opponent in fights so far.”
“It’s normal every fighter is supposed to be nervous before a fight and if you’re or maybe you’re crazy or maybe your blind you know of course but not so much it’s just regular for me.”
“I like Oxnard. I like our gym you know now we have big boxing gym Egis like brought all the fighters, now it’s like a lot of people in the gym its funny. It’s not boring.”
“I know him (Lomanchecko) for a while maybe since 2009 I knew him before but I know him personally like 2009 we was from the same Olympic national team. We were at the world championships together. He is my very good and close friend.”
“You know I just going to do my same job just try to keep him and not get hit with punches.”
“If you are asking about power, you are asking the wrong person. Power doesn’t bother me. When I go into the fight I don’t think about how much power my opponent has. I might get hit but I don’t take a minute to think about how strong my opponent is.”
“I will do whatever it takes to win. Roy Jones Jr. and me make a great team. Roy is a champion and I want to become champion. I watched Roy fight when I was younger. When I started boxing I tried to fight like Roy. I have really enjoyed working with him and I am really looking forward to the fight.”
“This is every fighter’s dream to fight in Las Vegas because this is where big fights are happening. I am really glad I am here. I am happy.”
“Camp was great. I had a really good time training with Roy. We worked on a lot of new things. I am stronger now.”
“Darleys Perez is a good fighter. He’s a world champion and it takes a lot of hard work to get there. To me, he is a boxer, but I’m tall and long, and I will keep him to the outside and outbox him. He has someone who punches really hard like me. Perez is 32. He’s going to do what he has done to get himself here so far. Why change that now? If he does, I’m going to make him pay for it.”
“I’m so ready! My last two fights came as first round knockouts and this will be my third fight this year so why not go for another first round knockout? My first fight, this year, they said was a step up… I knocked him out. The last fight, they said was a step up… I knocked him out. Now, this fight is another step up, a real test… I’m going to knock him out.”
“I’m ready to show the world who I am. I’m Maurice Hooker… Mighty Mo Power! I’m excited to be on this card, it’s a big card… it’s a big fight, and I can’t wait to watch the main event between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward as well on Saturday night!”
Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound For Pound”, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight title at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Corona Extra, Monster Products, JetLux, Zappos, Jordan Brand and Shoe Palace. The championship event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets are available on axs.com and the T-Mobile Arena box office.