Cuadras, Gonzalez confident before their showdown
SANTA MONICA, California – WBC 115-pound titleholder Carlos Cuadras and challenger Roman Gonzalez engaged in small workout at the Wild Card West Gym three days before their fight headlines an HBO-televised card at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
All parties involved spoke with RingTV.com.
“It was a hard, tough camp,” said Cuadras when asked to reflect on his preparation for what will be his toughest fight. “I worked really hard, and I’m ready to fight 12 tough rounds.”
Cuadras (35-0-1, 27 knockouts) looks to successfully defend his title for the seventh time since winning it from Wiksaksil Wangek in 2014 – a fight he referred to when asked what his toughest fight has been to date leading into this one.
“A Thailand guy I beat to win the title was a real tough guy and tough fight. Luis Concepcion, that was another tough fight. I’ve had some challenges in my career.”
With the fight taking place in Southern California, Cuadras expects Mexican fans to overshadow any Nicaraguan contingent that roots for his foe at The Forum. “You always feed off that crowd when they’re cheering for you, but inside the ring, it’s just the two of us. It always helps to have people behind you.”
As for what those in attendance, and those tuning in on HBO (7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET), might expect in their fight, Cuadras agreed with it possibly being a war in the ring. “I do. I know he’s coming with everything. He wants to take the title away from me, and I don’t want to give it up, so I think it will be a great fight.”
So with those expectations in mind, what inspires Cuadras in the heat of the moment of a firefight?
“Winning – that’s all I care about,” Cuadras firmly stated. “No matter how tough it is, all I think about is how I’m gonna win this fight, what I need to do to win this fight. Winning is my motivation.”
Should the 28 year old from Mexico City pull off the upset, he doesn’t expect his emotions to take over him – even though he’d topple the consul number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world. “I always feel like a great champion in there,” said Cuadras. “Once I win, I know I’ll still be the champion, and I’ll think about what is coming up next – bigger, better fights.”
And how will his emotions be if he lost? “I don’t think about that,” responded Cuadras.
Rudy Hernandez, trainer of Cuadras, looks forward to the challenge of preparing someone for the likes of Gonzalez’s caliber.
“Of course. We’re a 5-1 or 6-1 underdog, and we’re not supposed to win, but as I’ve said before, me and Carlos are too dumb to understand those predictions and the way those things work,” said Hernandez, who trained his brother, the late Genaro Hernandez, to two 130-pound titles in the 1980s and ‘90s.
“We’ve had a great camp and he’s realized we’re not under pressure – at least not yet. Speaking to you, I think I’m more under pressure now just thinking about it, but come Saturday it will be a whole different story.”
As for what kind of game plan he has devised for “Chocolatito,” Hernandez was straight forward: “Ain’t no freaking secret to it. Bottom line – you have a boxer against a fighter – a guy that comes in and gives you 90-100 punches per round, and then you got a guy who boxes. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that boxing is the key for us to win.
“He has no doubt in his mind that he is going to win,” Hernandez continued about his fighter – who has exuded confidence throughout the fight’s entire promotion. When asked for his prediction, Hernandez kept it genuine by saying, ‘50-50.’
The super flyweight or junior bantamweight class is in an exciting time at the moment. Not only because “Chocolatito” is entering the class, but come Saturday night, all four recognized world titles will have been fought for within the span of 11 days. On Aug. 31, Luis Concepcion decisioned Kohei Kono in Tokyo to become the new WBA titleholder. On Sept. 3, Jerwin Ancajas did the same to McJoe Arroyo in order to take the IBF title, and this past Sunday in Japan, Naoya Inoue successfully defended his WBO belt after knocking out Karoon Jarupianlerd.
Carlos Blandon, manager of “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, is well aware of the current state of the division, and when asked who may be the toughest fight for his fighter outside of Cuadras, he responded, “Inoue has always been on our radar. Unfortunately, they said that his fist and his back got hurt from the fight. Concepcion has called Roman out a couple of times also. To be honest, Roman is ready to fight whoever. He’s ready to go, he has the help of God. He fears no one, only God.”
Blandon, who also serves as Gonzalez’s main interpreter, shed light on how this training camp has been for Gonzalez through his experience.
“I believe that this has been the best preparation in his life, so we’re gonna see him in the best condition ever. I don’t believe that Roman has given poor performances in the ring, but I do believe that there is always space to learn, improve, and try and perfect any type of strategy you have. Big Bear was able to give us the altitude for conditioning, and just the motivation of training with ‘GGG’ and with coach Abel. We consider him the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, so it means the world to us. It gave that confidence into Roman. It’s been the longest training camp he’s done, which is eight weeks. We normally do five. We’ve seen positive feedback. You can hear the snap, the sparring sessions, the mitts, the velocity – I think the power is there. We’re just ready to go on Saturday.”
Gonzalez (45-0, 38 KOs) will look to make history on Saturday night by becoming the first Nicaraguan to ever win world titles in four different weight classes – something is idol/mentor, Alexis Arguello, fell short of accomplishing in his hall of fame career.
“Yes, I’m definitely going to be emotional,” said Gonzalez on how his mental state would be should he beat Cuadras on Saturday. He continued, “It’s something that Arguello hasn’t had. I’m going to keep in mind if I do win, and it will be something I’d remember ever.”
Even though he’s playing the role of challenger, Gonzalez, 29, is still labeled as the A-side of this main event, as he’s spearheaded a mini-revolution in the United States when it comes to giving the smaller weight classes recognition.
“It’s a great motivation for me,” Gonzalez said about this scenario. “It plows a path for future boxers in my weight to be recognized and they’re a force to be reckoned with.
“Right now, I feel the strongest I’ve ever been in my life,” Gonzalez continued. “I believe this will be a great fight. I know I will come in the best condition ever – just like him. The public is going to enjoy a fight they’ve never seen before.”