Fighters on the undercard of Canelo vs. Golovkin hosted a press conference today at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino ahead of their bouts on Saturday, Sept. 16. In the co-main event, Joseph "JoJo" Diaz, Jr. (24-0, 13 KOs) and Rafael "Big Bang" Rivera (25-0-2, 16 KOs) will face off in a 12-round WBC Featherweight title eliminator. Randy "El Matador" Caballero (24-0, 14 KOs) and Diego De La Hoya (19-0, 9 KOs) will face off in a 10-round super bantamweight battle for the Caballero’s NABF Super Bantamweight title and the vacant NABO Super Bantamweight title. Ryan "Blue Chip" Martin (19-0, 11 KOs) and Francisco Rojo (20 2, 13 KOs) will battle it out for Ryan’s WBC Continental Americas and the vacant WBA Intercontinental lightweight titles in the opening bout of the HBO Pay-Per-View® telecast, which will begin at the special time of 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. Below is what the fighters and their teams had to say at today’s final press conference:
JOSEPH ‘JOJO’ DIAZ, Featherweight Contender: "I had a great ten-week training camp. We were supposed to fight Jorge Lara, who was a tough opponent. But unfortunately he ended up pulling out. We’ve got another tough opponent, Rafael Rivera ahead of me. He’s a young undefeated fighter, and I know that he’s going to come out guns blazing and wanting to pull an upset because he’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. I know that with his fighting as the co-main event and getting the exposure, he’s going to come out guns blazing. We’re very prepared for him and I know that it’s still going to be an action-packed fight."
RANDY "EL MATADOR" CABALLERO, NABF Super Bantamweight Champion: "Camp went amazing. I felt good. I felt strong and I’m ready to go. Just to be a part of this card is a dream come true for a fighter. I’ve worked very hard. I’ve traveled the world to win a world title abroad. I’m tough toughest fighters he’s [De La Hoya] ever faced. And come Sept.16, I’ll put on a great show. You’re not going to want to miss it, and see you guys there."
DIEGO DE LA HOYA, WBC Youth World Super Bantamweight Champion: "This fight is a big step for me that will catapult me towards to a world title. I have prepared me 7 weeks in one of the best camps of my life. And I will give one of my best fights this Saturday. Because I know that Randy [Caballero] prepared himself really well, and he knows that we’re going to steal the show. I am ready, and we are ready, Randy. I’m going to win this Saturday yelling "Viva Mexico!"
RYAN "BLUE CHIP" MARTIN, WBC Continental Americas Champion: "Going back to March, the the Golovkin-Lemieux card was a big event. But clearly Vegas blows it out of the water. The atmosphere has been amazing. All of the fighters here are going to be amazing. I want to thank my coach, my staff, my manager and my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee which has given me support since an amateur of 7 or 8 years old. I’ve dreamed of moments like this. Saturday night I’m going to have fun and do my thing. All the hard work is done."
FRANCISCO ROJO, Lightweight Contender "I’m grateful to Golden Boy promotions for this opportunity. It’s not an opportunity. It’s a dream. Who doesn’t want to be on a card like Canelo-Golovkin? I’m grateful to be making my US debut on a card like this. We know Ryan Martin is a tremendous talent who is undefeated, and he wants to continue being undefeated. Believe me when is say this, Martin is undefeated but he’s never fought a known opponent, a Mexican opponent like me. I respect him a lot, but it’s my dream to fulfill, and regardless of who he’s fought, they don’t compare to me."
MARLEN ESPARZA, 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist and Flyweight Prospect: "I just want to say that I’m extremely honored to be here on such an amazing card. I want to thank Golden Boy and everybody who’s believed in me and supported me. I want to thank my who’s put in a lot of work. This is my third fight now, and I’m only getting better and better. I’m hoping to put on an amazing show. This time I’ll be fighting in six three-minute rounds. II’ve trained really hard for it. I’m hoping it put on a great show. It’s going to be amazing."
NICOLA ADAMS, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist: "I want to thank Frank Warren and Golden Boy Promotions Golden Boy Promotions for giving me this great opportunity to make my professional debut in the United States on such an amazing card . The Golovkin-Canelo fight will be one of the best fights in this year. To think I can have my American debut on this card is a really good opportunity. I’m hoping put on a really good performance."
ERIC GOMEZ, President of Golden Boy Promotions: "These kids work hard and they dream about being in this position and being in these big show. They are going to have to perform well to be able to win but that’s what they’re ready for. It’s going to be an incredible event. Rising contenders and future contenders will be a part of it. We are going to have a free-view for the show as usual. The free-view will begin at 6:00 p.m. PT/ 3:00 ET on RingTV.com and on the HBO pay-per-view channel. There will be an early start time of 8:00 p.m ET/5:00 p.m. PT. The main event will go on approximately at 11:00 p.m. ET/ 8:00 pm PT. The T-Mobile event is sold out, but there are still Closed Circuit tickets available for 1-800-745-3000 or TicketMaster.com. They are going really quickly."
BERNARD HOPKINS, Golden Boy Promotions Business Partner: "When the smoke clears and we have to recognize what we said-to make the best fights-would actually accord. That’s why we are here. The young guys. This is the opportunity to steal some of the spotlight before the main event on Saturday. This is an invitation We don’t just pay attention to the elite fights, but also to the fighters below who are thirsty to be there."
TOM LOEFFLER, Promoter of Gennady "GGG" Golovkin: "We couldn’t be more excited to be here today. We had the grand arrivals on Tuesday. You could already feel the buzz from the beginning of the week from both the media and the fans. Now it’s reaching its fever pitch and we don’t even have the weigh-ins yet. The undercard is very exciting. Both Triple G and Canelo were both in this same position. This type of platform can really launch or give exposure to the fighters on the undercard. We know they’re going to do their best. The pressure is all on them because they know that when they’re on a show like this they have to perform."