NEW YORK, October 15, 2015 – Boxing promoters often pay lip service publicly to their undercard fights, while saying privately they don’t matter to the majority of fans.
If there was ever an undercard which could prove this wrong, it is the lineup supporting the Golovkin vs. Lemieux middleweight championship fight at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday, October 17. The main event and three of the undercards will be broadcast on HBO Pay Per View starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. ET.
Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions announced at Thursday’s final news conference the venue is officially a sellout. “To come and sell out the Garden, all these quality matchups is the reason the fans have responded,” said Loeffler.
The co-main event features WBC flyweight champion (112 pounds) Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua (43-0, 37 KOs) and American Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria (36-4, 22 KOs), fighting for Gonzalez’ WBC title belt. Gonzalez is considered the number one pound for pound boxer in the world on multiple lists.
“I’m ready for this fight,” said Gonzalez through a translator. “I will give the best. I don’t like to speak much. I did a good job in training camp with my team. I’m in great condition to win Saturday, I’m ready … I’m going to give everyone what they want on Saturday. I’m ready, I am not scared. I dedicate this to God and my home country, Nicaragua.”
Gonzalez will face a determined Viloria, himself a former champion who says he’s had the best training camp of his life. “I think I’m in the best shape of my life, mentally and physically,” said Viloria. You’re in for a great treat, the ride of your life. In case you don’t know, my name is Brian Viloria,” which drew several laughs.
“The fans come out, they’re not stupid,” said Gary Gittlesohn, Viloria’s manager. “There is a reason some promoters have to give away tickets or hire a company to find audiences. We feel very privileged to be here.”
The third title bout on the card features Cuban heavyweight Luiz Ortiz of Miami (22-0, 19 KOs) versus Matias Ariel Vidondo (20-1-1, 18 KOs) of Argentina. Ortiz, originally from Cuba, said “I’m a man of very few words, I just know how to fight. It’s hard for me to be here and to speak to you guys, but in the ring I’m totally different, not timid like I am at the microphone.” Vidondo understands not many American fans know him, but says they will after Saturday. “I love boxing, that’s what has kept me in the sport … I kept dreaming to be here … I’ve been training in this great city, who would want to wake up from this dream? I know I’m an enigma, but after Saturday you will get to know me,” said Vidondo.
The final televised undercard features two aspiring middleweights who hope to step into the ring with Golovkin or Lemieux someday. Tureano Johnson of Nassau, Bahamas (18-1, 13 KOs) faces Eamonn O’Kane of Ireland (17-1-1, 5 KOs). “I intend to do my country proud and give 110 percent,” said O’Kane. “This fight is not just about Eamonn” said Johnson. Yes, I’ve called out Lemieux and Triple G, but to do that I have to get through this hurdle … Triple G, I want to prove to you I have the real Mexican Style boxing, the iron jaw.
“Be there Saturday,” you’ll see an exciting fight,” said Johnson.
Fans will see several exciting fights if the promoters and managers have done their job. Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions said, “There is a lot at stake. We feel confident they will give it their all.”
The undercard fighters and media present Thursday were treated to an appearance by a surprise guest, the great Panamanian champion and perhaps the best lightweight boxer in history, Roberto “Manos de Piedra” (Hands of Stone) Duran. Now 64, Duran said, “It’s an honor to be in New York … Right here is where I won my first title at 135 pounds … It’s full of history for me. I just love being in New York.
“I always tell the fighters that fight here, you’re going to fight with a legend, and that’s Madison Square Garden. To fight here, it’s one of my most beautiful memories,” said Duran.
Boxing fans may be able to say the same after the final bell has sounded on Saturday.
Communities Digital News is ringside in New York and will bring you all the coverage leading up to Fight Night on Saturday, October 17.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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