By Karl Freitag
Photos: Mikey Williams / Top Rank –
WBO junior lightweight world champion Rocky Martinez (29-2-2, 17 KOs) faced off with WBO featherweight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko (5-1, 3 KOs) in advance of their HBO-televised world title showdown on Saturday night in The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, New York City. In the HBO co-feature, WBO #2 rated lightweight champ Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo (21-0, 14 KOs) faces WBC #11 Juan Jose “Piquet” Martinez (25-2, 17 KOs) for the WBO Latino championship. Also, two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming (7-1, 2 KOs) meets Jozsef Ajtai (15-2, 10 KOs) for the WBO international flyweight chmpionship.
Rocky Martinez: “If you want to beat me, than you have to kill me, but to kill me you have to prepared to be killed in the ring too.”
Vasyl Lomachenko: “I’m ready to put up $300,000 of my purse as long as Rocky Martinez will put up $300,000 if I win.”
Felix Verdejo: “In Muhammad Ali’s honor, I will give a great fight.”
JJ Martinez: “We will take that title to Mexico.”
Bob Arum: “We will probably have a bigger audience in China than all of the HBO fights for the last three years combined. We expect an audience of perhaps as many as 50 million homes will be watching the Chinese star Zou Shiming.”