Lem’s latest: Soto Karass ‘ready to die in ring’ vs. Berto
Jesus Soto Karass is an always exciting volume puncher who brings his best, but doesn’t always wind up on the winning end of his major fights.
A Mexican-born, 30-year-old Los Angeles resident, Soto Karass (27-8-3, 17 knockouts) is coming off January’s upset majority decision over Turkey’s Selcuk Aydin heading into his Showtime-televised July 27 welterweight clash with two-time 147-pound titleholder Andre Berto (28-2, 22 KOs) at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
While Berto, 29, of Winter Haven, Fla., has been decisioned by Robert Guerrero and Victor Ortiz and scored an eighth-round stoppage over Carlos Quintana, Soto Karass has suffered memorable losses to Mike Jones (twice), as well as Yuri Foreman, Gabriel Rosado, Alfonso Gomez and Freddy Hernandez, the latter of whom was stopped in the first round by Berto.
Soto Karass’ win over Aydin helped him to bounce back from last September’s eighth-round stoppage loss to Marcos Maidana.
“I want to win. The bottom line is that I want to win. Yes, I’m going to give a great performance, like I always do. I’m ready to die in the ring like every Mexican, but, the important thing for me is to win,” said Soto Karass, whose face was a bloody mask during his second bout with Jones.
“I have the mentality that I have to win. I have to win. It’s for the future of my family, it’s for the future of my trainers. It’s a lot of hard work. The bottom line is that I want to win. It’s okay to have great fights, and this and that, but my objective is to win.”
Soto Karass believes that a breakthrough performance against Berto is a way of finally reaching championship-caliber status.
“I’m expecting a well-prepared Berto. He’s coming to win, and that’s what I’m prepared for. I’m getting myself ready for the best possible Berto. In fact, I haven’t even studied his past couple of fights,” said Soto Karass.
“I know that Berto wants to be a world champion again, I want to be a champion, and that’s what I’ve been waiting for for my whole career and for my whole life, and a victory here is possibly going to get the winner into position for a world title, so I’m not thinking of the Berto from the last couple of fights.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA PRAISES OMAR FIGUEROA
The Berto-Soto Karass card will include a welterweight bout between Keith “One Time” Thurman (20-0, 18 KOs) and slugger Diego Chaves (22-0, 18 KOs), 27, who is in pursuit of his sixth consecutive knockout victory. It will also feature lightweight prospect Omar Figueroa Jr. (21-0-1, 17 KOs), who is coming off April’s first-round stoppage of previously undefeated Abner Cotto, against Japan’s Nihito Arakawa (24-2-1, 16 KOs).
Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya is very high on Figueroa, a 23-year-old from Weslaco, Texas, who has stopped eight of his past nine opponents, the last two in the first round.
“Omar Figueroa is a guy who, every fight, every opponent we put him in against, he’s getting better and better, and he’s passing the tests with flying colors. Now, it’s time to step it up, and to step it up big time. July 27 is not going to be an easy fight for him, but these are the types of fights that he wants, and these are the types of fights that we’re comfortable putting him in with. These are difficult fights,” said De La Hoya.
“Because we feel comfortable that he will continue to pass these tests with flying colors. I don’t think that there is a limit to where he can go. Omar Figueroa, he’s established an amazing fan base. Ever since we signed Omar Figueroa, he keeps on…proving that he can be moved at a faster pace, so every fight that he has, he always tells me, ‘Look, when am I going to get that world title?’ He’s started asking me that after 10 fights. This is a kid that we feel will go very, very far.”
MICKEY BEY RESTORES CALM AFTER STORM, FACES JOHN MOLINA
When lightweight Mickey Bey (18-0-1, 9 KOs) enters the ring opposite John Molina (25-3, 20 KOs) on Friday night, it will be the first time since the 30-year-old was involved in a drug-testing controversy.
Bey will meet Molina at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Showtime’s ShoBox: The New Generation, his first outing since his a third-round knockout of Robert Rodriguez in February in Las Vegas that was turned into a no-contest by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after Bey tested positive for high levels of testosterone.
“When things weren’t going great for me I stayed focused and just kept getting better,” said Bey, who was suspended for three months and fined $1,000 of his $8,000 purse. “It’s been a long time coming, and all the hard work is going to pay off. But first, I have to win on Friday.”
Bey is promoted by Mayweather Promotions’ namesake Floyd Mayweather Jr., whose father, Floyd Sr., serves as his trainer.
Molina, 30, is coming off a majority decision loss to Russia’s Andrey Klimov that had followed January’s fourth-round stoppage of Dannie Williams.
“Perception-wise, this is a very important fight for me, and it’s certainly in my best interests to get a victory. I know what’s ahead of me with a win. A win puts me right back in the thick of things,” said Molina, who was stopped in the first round by Antonio DeMarco in September of 2012 prior to facing Williams.
“Mickey Bey is a hell of a fighter and a hell of a boxer. Our styles will make for an explosive fight. I was really looking for this kind of opportunity. Actually, I was chomping at the bit for this kind of fight to come along, and I really want to thank all the promoters and everyone involved for making this fight happen.
“I think for them to put in a guy against me who’s had just one fight in a year and a half shows a lot of guts on their part,” said Molina. “I applaud them for that, but I’m not sure they are getting who they think they’re getting. They see a guy who’s lost a couple of times, but there is more to me than that.”
CARLOS MOLINA STILL TRAINING, HOPES FOR BOUT WITH ISHE SMITH
Junior middleweight contender Carlos Molina (21–5, 6 KOs ) still is in training with the idea of facing IBF beltholder Ishe Smith (25-5, 11 KOs), even as his name had been floated as a possible rival to three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto, who will, instead, likely return to the ring on Oct. 5 against Delvin Rodriguez.
Smith-Molina had been scheduled for July 19 before having to be postponed due to a cut being suffered in training over Smith’s right eye.
“I think that people were just putting it out there that we were among the future fighters to get Cotto. But we were never contacted about any fight with Cotto, so our main concern right now is still Ishe Smith for the IBF title. I think that the IBF has said that we have to reschedule our fight before Sept. 28, which is all that I know. So we’re just waiting, and, hopefully, we’ll get a new date soon,” said Molina, of Chicago, who is coming off a unanimous decision over ex-titleholder Cory Spinks in February.
“Maybe Cotto will fight the winner in order to try to get the IBF strap. Without the belt, though, I don’t think that I’m a good risk for them, I guess. But, you know what? Mentally, it’s all the same. Really, I work really hard for every fight, and I’m mentally prepared for every fight. I always put it into my head that if I don’t win this fight, then I don’t get the next big fight, so I can’t imagine being more focused than I am already. So there is no losing. I put everything on the line for every fight. Even it it’s Cotto, that’s not going to motivated than I already am.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photos by Tom Casino, Showtime
Photo by Javier Quiroz
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]