LAS VEGAS, Nevada, September 14, 2017 – Do undercards really matter when the main event is a blockbuster matchup? Boxing experts disagree on the importance of the undercard fights.
But the undercard fighters know it can be the career opportunity of a lifetime, one they cannot afford to squander.
The rising stars and young prospects getting this opportunity on the undercard of the middleweight championship fight on Saturday, September 16 between unified middleweight champion Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) and Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) at a sold-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas are in agreement. It’s not enough just to win. It’s a must to win in a big way.
Communities Digital News spoke with several of the fighters about their appearance on this big boxing stage.
Undefeated Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr. of South El Monte, California (24-0, 13 KOs) fights in the co-main event against Rafael Rivera of Tijuana, Mexico (25-0-2, 16 KOs), a late substitution for the injured Jorge Lara.
Another popular Southern California based fighter, Randy “El Matador” Caballero of Coachella (24-0, 14 KOs) takes on Diego De La Hoya of Mexicali, Mexico (19-0, 9 KOs) on the televised card.
Diaz and Caballero told CDN in interviews Thursday they both intend to put on a show for the fans and ensure they’ll be remembered.
Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin from Chattanooga, Tennessee (19-0, 11 KOs) is fighting in Las Vegas for the first time against Francisco Rojo from Mexico City (19-2, 12 KOs). Martin says it’s exciting to be in the fight capital of the United States, having fans stop and ask for photos or a word.
Martin said on a significant undercard with a lot of great talent, standing out would be a major accomplishment and one he intends to go after.
“When people go home that night, they’re gonna say ‘Remember, that kid did this, boy that kid’s amazing, I want to see that kid again.’ That gets back to HBO, to Tom (Loeffler, his manager), that gets me on a bigger stage, bigger fights, keeps it going. Everybody out there wants to win Saturday night.”
Martin believes the key for him in any fight but particularly among the distractions of a major pay per view event in Las Vegas is the ability to focus. He sees it in equal importance to physical talent.
“I think it’s 100 percent actually,” said Martin. “Boxing is a sport where you can’t let up on anything. You can’t have one slip up or you’ll be exposed. One punch can change everything.
“As a kid, I’ve been focused since I was seven, eight years old. I’m mastering all my skills. Still today, I’m still learning new things, I’m still mastering old skills, I’m still developing things I thought I couldn’t do. So – Focus is a big big part of boxing. It’s so demanding, it’s a one on one sport. You can’t take a break, you can’t have a mind slip. Saturday night you will see a very focused Ryan Martin.”
Asked whether focus can be learned, or whether it is innate and something you’re born with, Martin gave it careful thought. “I think focus is something you gotta have. I don’t think somebody can teach you.”
Diaz Jr. vs. Rivera, Caballero vs. De La Hoya, and Martin vs. Rojo will be seen on the televised HBO Pay Per View undercard starting at an early time, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Vergil Ortiz (6-0, 6 KOs) of Dallas versus Cesar Valenzuela (7-1, 2 KOs) of Phoenix, six round super lightweight bout
Marlen Esparza (2-0, 1 KO) of Houston versus Aracely Palacios (8-7, 1 KO) of Durango, Mexico, six rounds, women’s flyweight bout
Nicola Adams (2-0, 1 KO) of Yorkshire, England, versus Alexandra Vlajk (11-6, 2 KOs) of Debrecen, Hungary, four round, women’s super flyweight bout. Adams, the 2015 Olympic gold medalist, makes her American professional debut.
“Canelo vs. Golovkin: Supremacy” airs on Saturday, September 16, on HBO Pay-Per-View starting with undercard bouts at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
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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