No wasted words at Wasted Space
A quiet scene at “Title Night’s” final presser promises a storm come Saturday
Story & photos by Chris Cozzone
There were no macho boasts, no shoves, not even a single mean staredown.
While it’s true, not every press conference sets a stage for dramatics, when you mix a pair of Dominicans, an Argentinean and a South African on one dais, chances are, someone’s temper or machismo is bound to surface.
Not so today at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Wasted Space, where the final press conference was held for Saturday night’s “Title Night” doubleheader on HBO.
“I don’t speak too much,” said a subdued Marcos Maidana. “I let my fists do the talking in the ring.”
Headlining the Golden Boy-promoted show at The Joint, Maidana, 27-1, 26 KOs, of Santa Fe, Argentina, says his kayo fists will speak volumes when he defends the interim WBA light welterweight belt against undefeated Dominican Victor Manuel Cayo, 24-0, 16 KOs.
Trainer Miguel Diaz, who is training his first countryman in ten years, gave fair warning to Cayo, telling him, he’d most likely be leaving in an ambulance if his charge lands but one clean punch.
Before Maidana and Diaz took to podium, Cayo’s team, namely manager Sampson Lewkowicz, had predicted, in this fight of boxer vs. puncher, that the sweet science would prevail over slugging.
“He will take him to school,” said Lewkowicz.
Cayo had little to add, giving the usual spiel about being prepared, training hard and never underestimating your opponent.
“But on Saturday night, you will see me go out as victor,” said Cayo.
In the co-main event, a rematch from a controversial draw in Canada last November, the unusually long, tall Ali Funeka, 30-2-3, 25 KOs, of South Africa, will take on the unusually quiet (at least, today) Joan Guzman, 29-0-1, 17 KOs, of the Dominican Republic.
“I’m not interested in talking about Canada,” said Funeka. “I’m here to show Guzman what South Africa is made of.
“I am here to defend the title,” said Guzman about the belt that so narrowly escaped him in Canada. “Guzman will go home empty-handed and I will go home with the title.”
After narrowly escaping what would’ve been his first loss, to Funeka, Guzman said a rematch was the fight he wanted immediately.
“I was with my son one day, when he asked me if I was going to fight that ‘big, tall guy,’” Guzman told the press. “I asked him if he wanted me to fight him and he said, ‘Yes.’ So, here I am.
“Changes have been made and this time, I am ready. I am sure Funeka is ready, too.”
Six bouts will precede the telecast, which goes live at 7:30 PT on HBO’s Boxing After Dark:
Undefeated Brooklyn super middleweight Daniel Jacobs (18-0, 15 KOs) takes on Colombian Jose Rodriguez (12-4-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
Houston lightweight Jermell Charlo (10-0, 5 KOs) fights Utah’s Gerardo Prieto (6-8-1) in an eight-round tune-up.
Junior welter Omar Figueroa (8-0, 8 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas, and Adrien Broner (14-0, 11 KOs), of Cincinnati, Ohio, take on late-subs-to-be-named.
In a sixer at welter, Keith Thurman (12-0, 11 KOs), of Clearwater, Fla., fights once-lost Jamar Patterson (8-1, 4 KOs), of Utica, N.Y.
In the six-round opener, at welter, Diego Chavez (13-0, 12 KOs), of Argintenea, fights journeyman Edvan Dos Santos (10-8-1, 7 KOs), of Boca Raton, Fla.
The undercard begins at approximately 3:45 p.m. with doors opening at The Joint at 3 p.m.