Fighters competing on the Keith Thurman vs. Mario Barrios undercard previewed their respective matchups during a press conference Thursday before they enter the ring this Saturday, February 5 from Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Meeting face to face were rising unbeaten Jesús “Mono” Ramos and Vladimir Hernández, plus former two-division champion Luis Nery and unbeaten Carlos Castro, as they discussed their matchups taking place on the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View telecast beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
The press conference also featured welterweight contender Abel Ramos and Luke Santamaría, plus exciting super lightweights Ryan “Cowboy” Karl and Omar “El Relámpago” Juárez, who enter the ring in PBC action of FOX and FOX Deportes beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, preceding pay-per-view action.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and are available at axs.com.
Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday from Michelob ULTRA Arena:
“Being on the pay-per-view now, this is an even bigger opportunity for me and I’m grateful for that. I have to also thank Hernandez for giving me the fight after his victory over Julian Williams. That makes this a really important fight for me.
“This is a step in the right direction. My team handles their business and I have to handle my part in the ring. I have a tough opponent in front of me and I’m ready for what he brings.
“I love that he’s durable. It’s a challenge and I like challenges. He has a rough style and that makes an exciting fight. There’s going to be a lot of action on this card.
“He likes to come forward, so I need to keep him at a distance and control him with my jab. I also believe that I can cause damage with my left. Either way, I’m going to be ready to adapt.
“In my last two fights I’ve grown a lot. Not all fights are going to end in knockouts. I know how to adjust and how to box. If I have to do that Saturday night, I’ll be ready.
“It means a lot to be in this position. My family has worked hard for this. None of this was given to us, we’ve had to work. That makes it even sweeter.
“I think beating Hernandez would make a big statement. He just beat one of the best in the division and I’m ready to show what I’m capable of.”
“I’m going to be on the lookout for anything he brings. I’m ready to provide an exciting fight, but we’ll also be ready for whatever he brings into the ring. I’m up for this challenge.
“I’ve had great sparring with southpaws in training. I’m going to give as good as I take. This is going to be back and forth and the fans are going to enjoy it a lot.
“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to be on this stage and on a card like this. I want to thank my whole team and Ramos for giving me the chance to shine.”
“I’m very happy to be here. We are looking forward to having a great fight on Saturday night. We have studied Carlos Castro very closely and have seen specifically what he likes to do. We are ready for whatever challenges come our way.
“For this fight, I was able to prepare with more time than I had with Brandon Figueroa. It allowed me to zero in on my opponent and it’s made preparation go very smoothly.
“We shall see on Saturday if he can withstand my power or not. I have studied him closely, he’s a great fighter. It remains to be seen on Saturday what happens, but styles make fights and I think his style goes well with my style. I’m going to do whatever I can to have my hand raised on Saturday night.
“I’m here to fight the best. We are here at the top level and I’m not here to fight anyone below that level. I don’t dodge anybody. They presented Castro to me and I don’t dodge, so I accepted. I am ready. He’s actually the third straight undefeated fighter I’m going up against and that excites me.”
“I’m feeling great. I want to thank God for this opportunity, along with my whole team and Luis Nery for this great chance to meet with him in the ring on Saturday night.
“These are the fights that as a little kid you always dream of. You dream of being on these stages and against fighters like Luis Nery. He’s a fighter who has been on this level, but I think it’s my time to show that I deserve to be on this stage and prove to myself and everyone else that I deserve to be in these fights.
“I learned a lot about myself against Oscar Escandon. I learned that I have to be patient and I have to be ready to roll once the bell rings. Escandon is a strong fighter and that was the first fight with my new team, plus I was coming off a layoff. Now, it’s time for me to shine.
“I think I have a lot to prove and to show that Arizona has a lot of talented fighters. I’ve known the Ramos’ for a while, since I was a little kid and I’ve known Carbajal for a while. It’s a blessing to share the same arena against different opponents on Saturday night.
“Like always, you prepare hard and prepare strong. But I think this is going to be a mental type of fight. Once the bell rings, he comes forward to knock your head off, but we’re mentally prepared for that. On Saturday night, you’re going to see an action-packed fight and may the best man win.
“Luis Nery has proved to be one of the best and I still consider him to be one of the best. I expect him to come out stronger than he ever has, so I’m really prepared for that. I believe a victory over Luis Nery should put me into a title shot.”
“I’m very excited. I want to thank all the media for being here. I had a great training camp. I was preparing for Josesito Lopez but it’s our job to fight. I’m glad I get to be on this undercard.
“Josesito was a come-forward pressure fighter, Santamaria has more boxing skills. At the end of the day, we’re all boxers and every time we spar, we always deal with different styles. It’s a bit of a change but the game plan remains the same.
“I’ve seen my nephew Jesus fight before me. I get more nervous when that happens. Fighting first is better because that way you’re more relaxed, you can sit back and enjoy the fight. When we both fought on the Andy Ruiz vs. Chris Arreola undercard, I was nervous watching him.
“I want to keep the momentum going. I feel I’ve hit my stride in the boxing game. My experience and all the fights I’ve had are showing in my boxing ability.
“I’ve always had boxing ability and that pressure style. I think mixing it up with both is working for me. It worked against Omar Figueroa and in training it’s worked for me. My style keeps evolving. The pressure is going to be good and, like I said, I have boxing ability as well. So I’m looking forward to doing both.”
“I’m feeling blessed. I’m excited to be on this card with so many great fighters. When the date started getting closer, we pushed it a little more. When we got the call, we went even harder.
“I have to stay on my toes. Ramos is a fighter who pressures and doesn’t get tired of throwing punches. If we can stay on the outside, I think we’ll be okay. No matter what he brings, I just have to keep adjusting.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of ring experience with different opponents. So the experience I’m getting is making me a better fighter. There was a time where I was struggling to get fights. All of a sudden, I started fighting tougher opponents on bigger stages, so I’m feeling blessed.”
“I feel great. There’s no other word for it. We’ve been working hard and we’ve had a long camp. I feel strong. It comes down to hard work. Skills play the bills. We’re going to come out there and we’re going to do our best. It’s going to be action-packed as usual.
“I’m very excited. It’s a big opportunity for me. As always, I’m going to take it and not waste it. It’s going to be a very fun card, exciting top to bottom. Tune in and watch us live on FOX then continue to the pay-per-view and you’re going to be thrilled.
“In the amateurs, I boxed. A lot of people don’t think I can box but I’ve got feet for days. I can do what I need to do. It’s hard for me at times because I love to fight, I love to be exciting, I love to put on a show. It’s just the thrill of it all. I can do all those things. I do think I have come back to my boxing skill but we’re focused on the ‘W’ more than anything. I guarantee that I’m still going to put on a show.
“You’re going to see a gunfight. That’s what we’ve talked about and we’ve used that word a lot. We’re going to have ice in our veins and we’re going to be ready to take care of business.”
“I’m absolutely blessed to be here. I’m excited to be here back in Vegas and I’m ready to display all my hard work and dedication.
“I know my opponent is going to come and try to take everything from me. At the end of the day, we’re fighters. But I’m physically, mentally and emotionally in the best shape of my life. This camp was probably the best camp I’ve had to date.
“I’m not a one dimensional fighter, I can box and I can brawl. So whatever it is my opponent brings to the table, I’m going to be ready for it.
“It’s going to be a big Texas showdown. I’m excited. At the end of the day, I’m really blessed to have this opportunity. I’m going to take full advantage. It’s going to be action packed and very exciting. Like I said, whatever it is my opponent brings to the table, I’m going to be ready.”