Four-division world champion and legendary Mexican boxer Erik Morales, who is the trainer of Tijuana’s Angel Fierro, previewed his fighter’s matchup against Puerto Rico’s Alberto Machado ahead of Thursday night’s Ring City USA main event. On Tuesday afternoon, Morales emphatically told reporters that Fierro will be looking for a knockout when he climbs inside the ropes to write the next chapter of the iconic Puerto Rico vs. Mexico ring rivalry, live from Albergue Olimpico (Olympic Center) in Salinas, P.R., and live on NBC Sports Network (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The full card, which features six matchups and fighters at different levels in their professional careers, will stream live around the world on Twitch at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
In the evening’s co-main event from Puerto Rico, Jose ‘Chiquro’ Martinez, (21-1-2, 14 KOs), of Las Marias, Puerto Rico, clashes with three-time world title challenger Israel ‘Jiga’ Gonzalez (26-4, 11 KOs) of Los Cabos, Mexico, in a ten-round bantamweight bout. A six-round light heavyweight fight will round out the main card on NBC Sports Network featuring Irish’ Joe Ward, (2-1, 2 KOs), of Moate, Ireland, who will look to avenge his pro debut setback against Marco ‘El Muneco’ Delgado, (7-1, 5 KOs), of Turlock, Calif.
Headlining the Twitch undercard broadcast, which begins at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT, three-time world title challenger Maricela ‘La Diva’ Cornejo, (13-4, 5 KOs), of Los Angeles, Calif. faces off against Alma Ibarra (7-1, 4 KOs) of Monterrey, Mexico. In an eight-round flyweight battle, former world champion and knockout artist Angel ‘Tito’ Acosta, (21-2, 21 KOs), of San Juan, Puerto Rico, battles Gilberto Mendoza (17-9-3, 8 KOs) of Modesto, Calif. Also on the Twitch undercard is a six-round junior lightweight battle featuring top undefeated prospect Edwin ‘The Chin’ Valentin (9-0, 8 KOs) fighting in his hometown of Salinas when he faces veteran Hector Marengo (7-14-4, 4 KOs) of Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
Morales was unable to make the trip to Puerto Rico to be in his fighter’s corner, but he spoke with the media on Tuesday just days before the biggest fight of Fierro’s professional career. Below are highlights from his conversation with the media:
His assessment of Fierro: “Fierro is always working, always training. He was training to fight a guy very similar to Alberto Machado. Fierro is a fighter worth watching. He’s clean, young and strong. He’s going to give the fans a great fight on Thursday. He is a fighter who fights very well at a distance. He also throws very hard and when he’s throwing punches in bunches, you will see why we took this fight.”
On not being in Angel’s corner on Thursday: “We have been working together for 3 or 4 fights. Sometimes we rotate fighters in our gym because we can’t train them all. It’s been about a year. Fernando Fernandez has been training with me and other fighters with me since 1998 so he is in good hands.”
On Angel’s development: “He has learned a lot with us. When we got him, he used to jump a lot. But now he is better in his offense. He is a great fighter who is very tough. He is very strong.”
On Angel seizing this opportunity: “There are opportunities that don’t come very often. We lost a fight last time that we weren’t supposed to. But in this fight, he has an opportunity that he has to take advantage of, and he will. You’ll see him make the most of it on Thursday.”
On fighting in Puerto Rico: “We know we are in Puerto Rico so it’s complicated. It’s going to be a tough fight. That’s the tradition because it’s Mexico vs. Puerto Rico. But he is going to come here and beat Machado in his hometown. We trust that the judges will do their job but there’s no doubt about it, we are going for the knockout.”
On Angel’s Mexican style: “We will work based on our ability. Remember that we are Mexican, and we have a different way of boxing. Mexicans fight with more heart and more perseverance.”
On Estrada vs. Chocolatito 2: “It was an interesting fight. Both fighters were active. The 117-111 card was off but the other two were good. It’s been a while since we’ve seen such a great, phenomenal fight.”
On a possible fight between Manny Pacquiao and Mikey Garcia: “Mikey Garcia is a great fighter. Manny Pacquiao is very, very strong though. Pacquiao shows that there are levels to this game. I think that experience will win out and Pacquiao wins.”
On whether he will fight again: “Yes, it’s very possible that you will see me. Maybe Morales vs. Barrera 4.”
Follow Ring City USA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates during fight week in Puerto Rico or visit www.ringcityusa.com for more information.