LAS VEGAS – Undefeated WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz, WBO Featherweight World Champion Vasyl Lomachenko, their opponents and non-televised fighters participated Thursday in the undercard final press conference before their respective fights taking place this Saturday, May 2, live on pay-per-view at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
In pay-per-view fights before Floyd “Money” Mayweather meets Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao in their epic welterweight championship unificiation showdown, the Mexican star Santa Cruz(29-0-1, 17 KOs) will take on fellow Mexican countryman Jose Cayetano (17-3, 8 KOs) in a 10-round featherweight contest and Ukraine’s Lomachenko(3-1, 1 KO) will defend against Puerto Rico’s Gamalier Rodriguez (25-2-3, 17 KOs).
The pay-per-view telecast will be co-produced and co-distributed by SHOWTIME PPV® and HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.
Also appearing at the press conference were boxers fighting on the non-televised portion of the card: Promising unbeaten Chris “Young King” Pearson (11-0, 9 KOs), who meets Said El Harrak (12-2, 7 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight bout; hard-hitting Jesse Hart (16-0, 13 KOs), who’ll face fellow unbeaten Mike Jimenez (17-0, 11 KOs) in a 10-rounder for the NABO, USBA and NABF Super Middleweight titles, power-punching Andrew “The Beast” Tabiti (9-0, 9 KOs), who will be opposed by Anthony Caputo Smith (15-4, 10 KOs) in a cruiserweight eight-rounder and undefeated super middleweight Brad Solomon (24-0, 9 KOs), who meets Adrian Rene Granados (13-3, 9 KOs) in a 10-round scrap.
Here is what the fighters and executives said Thursday at the Copperfield Theater at the MGM Grand:
LEO SANTA CRUZ
“I’m more than excited to be on this undercard. This is the biggest card I could have been on. I want to show the whole world who I am.
“I prepared very hard for this fight, like I always do. It’s going to be a historic night and I’m happy to be a part of that history.
“I know that everybody is here for Mayweather and Pacquiao but there will still be millions seeing me fight and I want to show them who Leo Santa Cruz is so that I can get a lot more fans.
“”I’m still young and there are many more fights to come. The fights the fans want, we’re going to give it to them. I know those fights are going to happen.
“I want to look spectacular and I want to get Cayetano out of there really fast. Sometimes these kind of fighters are the ones who give you the hardest fights because they come hungrier and have nothing to lose.
“Seeing my family here and having them in the arena on fight night is a huge motivation for me. I feel happier and more relaxed and I’m ready.
“I never underestimate a fighter. Any fighter in the ring is dangerous. I hope that Cayetano is ready so that we can give the fans a great show.”
“I know that Leo Santa Cruz is a strong, difficult fighter but he also has weaknesses and that is what we prepared for, to give him a surprise.
“I’m a man that takes challenges and I’ve been preparing very hard, I’m always prepared for these types of fights. I’m very prepared and I feel very strongly that I will win.
“I came here for the opportunity to beat Leo Santa Cruz and for the opportunity to participate in such a grand event that is Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.
“I’m very happy and very grateful and very excited to get into the ring. It’s a huge commitment, the entire world will be watching me but that is why I accepted the fight, I know that if I beat him, bigger and better opportunities will come my way.
“I’m not nervous because it’s not the first time that I’ve faced a tough opponent. I’ve never faced a world champion but I’ve faced opponents that throw hard punches, so I’m not nervous, I’m excited.”
“This is an opportunity to show everyone what I’m capable of doing and for millions of viewers to see that I can do it.
“The best fighters get the best opportunities in the ring, there are a lot of great fighters getting those opportunities including myself.
“It’s always a good feeling when people are saying good things about you.
“I’m very excited to be involved in a bout such as this one, May 2 will be a big show shown around the world. I’m very happy to be in the opening bout for this huge fight.”
“I’m looking forward to this big fight on Saturday. It’s a blessing to participate in this type of press conference and come Saturday, I will win! I’m sure of it. I will be champion.
“All of the attention toward Vasyl Lomachenko gives me motivation. I’ve been a fighter and a boxer since I was young and it’s added motivation to come out on top this weekend.
“I know that Lomachenko is a good and technical fighter but it doesn’t compare to my hunger and drive to be world champion.
“I wanted to take the opportunity during my speech at the press conference to let everyone know that I can here to fight. It’s going to be a hard fought battle and I’m very confident that I’ll win and become the champion this Saturday.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“I am so excited to be here today to discuss the great undercard which will be the lead-in to our long awaited, history making event taking place this Saturday night.
“The lead-in fight for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao will be a very exciting fight featuring Leo Santa Cruz and Jose Cayetano.
“Leo Santa Cruz is one of the classiest gentleman in the sport. He’s a very fan-friendly fighter and a Mexican warrior. He represents Mexico very well.”
BOB ARUM, Hall of Fame Promoter, Top Rank
“I know that every fighter deems it a tremendous honor to be part of this great event. We hope and believe that we will be presenting to the public through Mayweather Promotions and Top Rank, the best of boxing and the best fighters.
“Vasyl Lomachenko is considered to be the greatest amateur fighter of all time. Now, he looks for the same type of success he had as an amateur in the professional ranks. But this will be a very competitive fight, because Gamalier Rodriguez is a Puerto Rican who comes to fight and believes that he can upset Vasyl.
“A lot of the young men up here believe they are the next big thing in boxing, and many will be. But I know that Vasyl Lomachenko will be a big superstar in the sport of boxing.”