Fighters competing on the Keith Thurman vs. Mario Barrios undercard previewed their respective matchups during a press conference Thursday before entering the ring this Saturday, February 5, from Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
(Photo credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions)
Meeting face to face were rising unbeaten Jesús “Mono” Ramos and Vladimir Hernández, plus former two-division champion Luis Nery and unbeaten Carlos Castro, as they discussed their matchups taking place on the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View telecast beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
The press conference also featured welterweight contender Abel Ramos and Luke Santamaría, plus exciting super lightweights Ryan “Cowboy” Karl and Omar “El Relámpago” Juárez, who enters the ring in PBC action of FOX and FOX Deportes beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, preceding pay-per-view action.
Tickets for the live event, which TGB Promotions promote, are on sale now and are available at axs.com.
Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday from Michelob ULTRA Arena:
“Being on the pay-per-view now, this is an even more significant opportunity for me, and I’m grateful for that. I have to also thank Hernandez for giving me the fight after his victory over Julian Williams. That makes this a critical battle for me.
“This is a step in the right direction. My team handles their business, and I have to manage my part in the ring. I have a formidable opponent in front of me, and I’m ready for what he brings.
“I love that he’s durable. He has a rough style, and that makes an exciting fight. It’s a challenge, and I like challenges. There’s going to be a lot of action on this card.
“He likes to come forward, so I need to keep him at a distance and control him with my jab. I also believe that I can cause damage to my left. Either way, I’m going to be ready to adapt.
“In my last two fights, I’ve grown a lot. Not all disputes are going to end in knockouts. I know how to adjust and how to box. If I have to do that Saturday night, I’ll be ready.
“It means a lot to be in this position. My family has worked hard for this. None of this was given to us; we’ve had to work. That makes it even sweeter.
“I think beating Hernandez would make a big statement. He just beat one of the best in the division, and I’m ready to show what I’m capable of.”
“I’m going to be on the lookout for anything he brings. I’m ready to provide an exciting fight, but we’ll also be prepared for whatever he gets into the ring. I’m up for this challenge.
“I’ve had tremendous sparring with southpaws in training. This is going to be back and forth, and the fans will enjoy it a lot. I’m going to give as good as I take.
“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to be on this stage and a card like this. I want to thank my whole team and Ramos for giving me the chance to shine.”
“I’m pleased to be here. We are looking forward to having a great fight on Saturday night. We have studied Carlos Castro very closely and have explicitly seen what he likes to do. We are ready for whatever challenges come our way.
“For this fight, I was able to prepare with more time than I had with Brandon Figueroa. It allowed me to zero in on my opponent, and it’s made preparation go very smoothly.
“We shall see on Saturday if he can withstand my power or not. I have studied him closely, and he’s a great fighter. It remains to be seen on Saturday what happens, but styles make fights, and I think his style goes well with my style. I will do whatever I can to have my hand raised on Saturday night.
“I’m here to fight the best. We are here at the top level, and I’m not here to fight anyone below that level. I don’t dodge anybody. They presented Castro to me, and I didn’t dodge, so I accepted. I am ready. He’s the third straight undefeated fighter I’m going up against, and that excites me.”
“I’m feeling great. I want to thank God for this opportunity, along with my whole team and Luis Nery, for this great chance to meet with him in the ring on Saturday night.
“These are the fights that, as a little kid, you always dream of. You dream of being on these stages and against fighters like Luis Nery. He’s a fighter who has been on this level, but I think it’s my time to show that I deserve to be on this stage and prove to myself and everyone else that I deserve to be in these fights.
“I learned a lot about myself against Oscar Escandon. I realized that I have to be patient, and I have to be ready to roll once the bell rings. Escandon is a strong fighter, and that was the first fight with my new team, plus I was coming off a layoff. Now, it’s time for me to shine.
“I think I have a lot to prove and to show that Arizona has a lot of talented fighters. I’ve known the Ramos’ for a while since I was a little kid, and I’ve known Carbajal for a time. It’s a blessing to share the same arena against different opponents on Saturday night.
“Like always, you prepare hard and prepare strong. But I think this is going to be a mental type of fight. Once the bell rings, he comes forward to knock your head off, but we’re mentally prepared for that. On Saturday night, you’re going to see an action-packed fight, and may the best man win.
“Luis Nery has proved to be one of the best, and I still consider him to be one of the best. I expect him to come out stronger than he ever has, so I’m prepared for that. I believe a victory over Luis Nery should put me into a title shot.”
“I’m very excited. I want to thank all the media for being here. I had a great training camp. I’m glad I get to be on this undercard. I was preparing for Josesito Lopez, but it’s our job to fight.
“Josesito was a come-forward pressure fighter. Santamaria has more boxing skills. We’re all boxers, and every time we spar, we always deal with different styles. It’s a bit of a change, but the game plan remains the same.
“I’ve seen my nephew Jesus fight before me. When we both fought on the Andy Ruiz vs. Chris Arreola undercard, I was nervous watching him. I get more nervous when that happens. Fighting first is better because you’re more relaxed and can sit back and enjoy the fight.
“I want to keep the momentum going. I feel I’ve hit my stride in the boxing game. My boxing ability shows my experience and all the fights I’ve had.
“I’ve always had boxing ability and that pressure style. I think mixing it up with both is working for me. It worked against Omar Figueroa, and it’s worked for me in training. My style keeps evolving. The pressure will be good and, as I said, I have boxing ability as well. So I’m looking forward to doing both.”
“I’m feeling blessed. I’m excited to be on this card with so many great fighters. When the date started getting closer, we pushed it a little more. When we got the call, we went even more problematic.
“I have to stay on my toes. If we can stay on the outside, I think we’ll be okay. Ramos is a fighter who pressures and doesn’t get tired of throwing punches. No matter what he brings, I have to keep adjusting.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of ring experience with different opponents. So the experience I’m getting is making me a better fighter. There was a time when I was struggling to get into fights. All of a sudden, I started fighting tougher opponents on bigger stages, so I’m feeling blessed.”
“I feel great. I feel strong. There’s no other word for it. We’ve been working hard, and we’ve had a long camp. It comes down to hard work. Skills pay the bills. We’re going to come out there, and we’re going to do our best. It’s going to be action-packed as usual.
“I’m very excited. It’s an ample opportunity for me. As always, I’m going to take it and not waste it. It will be an amusing card, exciting top to bottom. Please tune in and watch us live on FOX, then continue to the pay-per-view, and you’re going to be thrilled.
“In the amateurs, I boxed. Many people don’t think I can box, but I’ve got feet for days. I can do what I need to do. It’s hard for me at times because I love to fight, I love to be exciting, I love to put on a show. I can do all those things. It’s just the thrill of it all. I think I have returned to my boxing skill, but we’re focused on the ‘W’ more than anything. I guarantee that I’m still going to put on a show.
“You’re going to see a gunfight. That’s what we’ve talked about, and we’ve used that word a lot. We’re going to have ice in our veins, and we’re going to be ready to take care of business.”
“I’m blessed to be here. I’m excited to be here back in Vegas, and I’m ready to display all my hard work and dedication.
“I know my opponent is going to come and try to take everything from me. We’re fighters. But I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally in the best shape of my life. This camp was probably the best camp I’ve had to date.
“I’m not a one-dimensional fighter, I can box, and I can brawl. So whatever it is my opponent brings to the table, I’m going to be ready for it.
“It’s going to be a big Texas showdown. I’m excited. I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I’m going to take full advantage. It’s going to be action-packed and very exciting. Like I said, whatever it is my opponent brings to the table, I’m going to be ready.”