Four of Mayweather Promotions’ top prospects and their opponents all weighed in on Thursday ahead of Friday night’s ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader live on SHOWTIME (10:30 p.m. ET/PT) from Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas.
(Photo credit: Mayweather Promotions/Sean Michael Ham)
Undefeated super featherweight prospect Xavier Martinez (14-0, 10 KOs) returns for his second consecutive test on the developmental series, this time against Filipino Jessie Cris Rosales (22-3-1, 10 KOs) in the 10-round main event, while 2016 Olympian Richardson Hitchins (9-0, 5 KOs) takes on Kevin Johnson (7-4, 4 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight co-featured attraction.
Super middleweight prospect Kevin Newman II (10-1-1, 6 KOs) looks to avenge the only loss of his career against Marcos Hernandez (14-2-1, 3 KOs) in an eight-round rematch, and in the telecast opener, rising prospect and knockout artist Rolando Romero (9-0, 8 KOs) faces Juan Carlos Cordones (14-1, 9 KOs) in a six-round super lightweight bout.
Tickets for the Mayweather Promotions’ Sin City Showdown start at $25 and can be purchased at: mayweatherpromotions.com/events
Barry Tompkins will call the action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
FINAL WEIGHTS, REFEREES AND JUDGES
Super Featherweight 10-Round Bout
Xavier Martinez – 130 ¾ lbs.
Jessie Cris Rosales – 132 ½ lbs.
Referee: Vic Drakulich (Las Vegas); Judges: Tim Cheatham (Las Vegas), Lisa Giampa (Las Vegas), Max De Luca (Calif.)
Welterweight 10-Round Bout
Richardson Hitchins – 144 lbs.
Kevin Johnson – 143 ¼ lbs.
Referee: Jay Nady (Las Vegas); Judges: Adalaide Byrd (Las Vegas), Patricia Morse Jarman (Las Vegas), Dave Moretti (Las Vegas)
Super Middleweight 8-Round Bout
Kevin Newman II – 165 lbs.
Marcos Hernandez – 165 lbs.
Referee: Tony Weeks (Las Vegas); Judges: Kermit Bayless (Las Vegas), Glenn Trowbridge (Las Vegas), Max De Luca (Calif.)
Super Lightweight 6-Round Bout
Rolando Romero – 138 lbs.
Juan Carlos Cordones – 141 ½ lbs.
Referee: Robert Byrd (Las Vegas); Judges: Patricia Morse Jarman (Las Vegas), Dave Moretti (Las Vegas), Ricardo Ocasio (Las Vegas)
“It’s a blessing to be headlining my first show. This is an opportunity I can’t let go. I have to grab this opportunity and make the most of it. I can’t let myself down. I stole the show my first time on ShoBox and now I have to keep it going.
“I like the pace that I’m moving at. In boxing, you have to take it step-by-step. I’m following my team’s plan and I know it won’t be before long that I’m facing top-level opponents.
“My goal is not to play around with my opponent. I would like to get some more rounds in, but I’m not going to force the rounds. If I have an opportunity, I’m going to get him out of there. I think this fighter is a little more aggressive than my last opponent and that will be an advantage for me.
“As long as I listen to my coach and get the win, that’s all that matters. If Rosales comes out strong, the main thing is that I have to use the jab. I have to stay relaxed, stay calm, block shots and look for openings.
“I learned a lot from the Oscar Bravo fight. I was hitting him with everything. Every type of punch. And he just kept coming. I learned right there, that not everybody will just go down. I just kept hitting him, I didn’t get flustered and it eventually paid off. The ref stopped it. I’ve never really been rocked. But I know one day, it will happen. This is boxing. I have a plan for a scenario for the day that it happens. If I get hurt, I can’t panic.
“I’ve grown tremendously as a fighter. I’m mentally stronger. I train better. I watch more film. I’m more disciplined and I’m diligent about honing my craft. I want to get better and I love this sport. It’s my career and I’m treating it that way. I want to be a world champion and I can’t let anything stop me.”
JESSIE CRIS ROSALES
“This is a really special opportunity for me. I know that I need to be aggressive in this fight. I need to put pressure on. I will do my best to hit Xavier as much as possible. I didn’t come all this way to lose.
“I feel that I won my last fight against Tyler McCreary, but I was missing my usual aggressiveness. This time, I can’t leave it to the judges.
“I’ve watched Xavier a lot. He fought a friend of mine, Moralde, in his last fight. We saw the fight, and we know how tough of an opponent he is. I see him as a really good fighter, but I’ve been in tough fights before. I will be ready for him. I am hungry for a win.”
“I want to be great. Of course, the money is important and it motivates me. But I want to fight against the top guys that can push me and get me to the top level. I want to move fast but I have to be patient. I trust the process but certain fighters don’t need to be slowed down. Look at Devin Haney and Jaron Ennis. I feel like my skill set is right up there with them.”
“I feel like I’ve only been tested once in my career. People overlook the Tre’Sean Wiggins fight. He’s a good fighter and he’s had some really good results. I was only five fights into my career, and I beat him easily in a unanimous decision. But I don’t feel like I’ve ever been in jeopardy of losing or really faced much adversity in the ring.
“I don’t know much about my opponent. I hear he’s a great sparring fighter in Vegas. He’s a great gym fighter, but who is he fighting? I spar world champions in training.
“Tank Davis and I have a great relationship. We train together and we watch boxing together and study film. He’ll come to the gym sometimes and just watch me and give me advice. I sparred with him when he was preparing for his last fight against Nunez. He’s a world champion so he’s a great person to learn from.
“The process to get to the Olympics was a great experience and it was great for my career. Every fight was a challenge and I fought so many different styles and so many different guys from around the world. Each and every day, fighting some of the top guys in the world was a challenge but it made me a better fighter. It helped my boxing IQ and in the gym I saw things that not a lot of boxers get to see every day. I picked up so many things that I use now. I’m a student of the game. I have so many tricks up my sleeve and I have so much to my game because of that process.
“Fighting Gary Russell in the Olympics was an incredible experience. There was a lot of anticipation and a lot of eyes on that fight. It’s fights like this that will prepare you for the world title fights that I know will come one day.”
“Hitchins is a good fighter. I like his style, he’s a basic come-forward type of fighter. But I feel that there are some holes in his game that I can exploit. I think it’s a good matchup for me.
“I check out my opponents a little bit, but not too much. I don’t want overthink it, I trust my team to put together a solid game plan.
“My last fight against Larry Gomez was a brawl, but I had a lot of fun. When I watched it back, I didn’t think I fought my best fight. I can brawl if I need to, but I would say that I’m a boxer-counterpuncher. I change my styles by the season, that’s why they call me Thunderstorm.
“I feel great. I feel ready. I can’t wait. I love to fight and I love to train. I’m always in the gym. I took a week off after my last fight but I’ve been in the gym ever since then.
“I started boxing at age 17 and had about 55 amateur fights, but I don’t feel like I’ve been playing catchup. I have more experience than my number of fights shows.”
KEVIN NEWMAN II
“I was nowhere near 100 percent in our first fight. I knew it was a huge stage and a huge card, and I didn’t want to pass up that kind of opportunity. I chose to fight through my illness and I fought to just get through the fight, not to win the fight.
“Hernandez fought the fight that he was supposed to fight. He did what he needed to do. I started off well, and my energy level was good. But I started to fade and my energy wasn’t there as the fight went on.
“I need to be smart. Be relaxed. Be me. I need to go in with a dominating mindset and be the aggressor. I’m an offensive fighter and I need to fight that way.
“This fight is personal. They talked a lot of trash after the fight. Every interview after the fight, I gave him credit and said he won the fight. He chose to take it to the level that makes this rematch personal for me. There’s nothing wrong with trash talk. I’m a trash talker myself, but you just have to back it up. This has been bubbling over for a long time. There was a long list of guys I could have fought, but this was the one I wanted.
“There’s a sense of urgency. There’s a plan for me. We want to be fighting for a world championship before the age of 30. Tomorrow is just another fight, but it’s a step for me to keep building and make my way up the ranks to get to that goal.
“I’m a reserved, relaxed, focused guy. I won’t be too emotional for this fight. I will be under control and the bright light won’t affect me. I will listen to my team and implement the game plan that we practiced in camp.
“I’m a competitor. If a guy beats you, you want a shot to beat him back. This fight is going to be totally different than the first fight. I truly believe that, and that’s the way I trained. I want to dominate and leaving this fight, I want there to be no need for a third fight. I want to beat him that convincingly that there will be no reason for a grudge match.”
“Newman made excuses after the first fight. Whether it’s true or not, it’s not my business. It doesn’t really matter. If anybody should have an excuse, it was me. I was fighting my first fight with my trainer, Henry Ramirez. I went from 154 pounds to fight him at 164 pounds. I wanted to fight an eight-round fight, it ended up being a six-round fight. So we really didn’t get anything that we wanted for the fight but I took it anyways and I beat him. And then he made excuses.
“I don’t need this fight again; I’ve already shown I’m the better fighter. I’m doing it because there weren’t a whole lot of options out there and I’m confident I can beat him again.
“Size is his only advantage. He’s bigger than me but he doesn’t have anything else. I hope he’s more aggressive this time. We’ll see what he brings in the first round. We’ll find out what kind of fight he wants this to be, but either way, I’m ready.
“Newman is just another opponent to me. I understand him being upset. I’m the only person he’s lost to. I want to rematch the guys I’ve lost to. I haven’t gotten that yet. I’ve fought much better competition than he has. I’m the only real test of his career, and he didn’t pass it.
“There’s nothing personal about this fight for me. I just want to put another win on my record. The main objective is to get another win. That’s all I’m focused on. The more wins I have, the better I look as a fighter and the better the opportunities I will get.
“The ‘Second Coming’ is going to come in second again.”
“I’m a very unorthodox fighter. I’m very unpredictable. I don’t really get hit and I punch everybody. There’s always room for improvement, but if I know a shot is going to land, I’m going to throw it 100 percent.
“I don’t know much about my opponent. He’s not that much taller than me. I don’t really care about his size. I’ve sparred with guys twice as tall as me.
“I haven’t really been tested yet in my career. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve lost a round. I don’t think I’ll be challenged until I fight for a world title.
“Every show I’m on, I steal it. There’s no doubt about that.
“Boxing helped me become more confident. I’m a lot more confident now than I was as a kid, and I think that’s because of boxing.
“I was very successful in the sport of judo and I didn’t start boxing until I was 17. Both sports are very difficult but they’re different. Judo helps me a little bit, I’m definitely stronger in clenches. I’m used to combat sports, and having the experience of taking care of my body and staying on weight helps me.
“I’m not playing catchup with the late start in boxing. I’ve already excelled and exceeded the fighters I was supposed to catch up to. I feel like they’re playing catchup to me.
“I think my last fight was knockout of the year. I have power in both hands. I think the power just comes from genetics, and with training and repetition and technique. At the end of the day, you can’t teach people how to punch hard. You can amplify it but you either are born with it or not.”
JUAN CARLOS CORDONES
“I got this fight on two weeks’ notice. I was already training in Puerto Rico, but I wasn’t training for a specific fight. I feel good. I feel ready. Losing the weight wasn’t an issue. I feel comfortable at this weight and I feel strong.
“I’m a tall guy. I have a long reach. I like to box and move. I don’t know much about Rolando because I have only known about the fight for two weeks but I know he is a good fighter.
“My last fight in Puerto Rico was not an indication of my skill level. I had a tough time with the weight and I felt very dehydrated. I was not myself during that fight.”