Kicking off fight week, Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) hosted a workout at the Texan Resort and Convention Center ahead of his debut in the United States when he takes on Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) this Saturday on HBO pay-per-view.
Fighters featured on the pay-per-view undercard of Canelo vs. Smith were also part of the workout in front of local fight fans: Philly’s “King” Gabriel Rosado (23-9, 13 KOs, 1 NC), Willie “El Mongoose” Monroe, Jr. (20-2, 6 KOs) of Rochester, N.Y., 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph “Jojo” Diaz, Jr. (21-0, 12 KOs), and Andrew “El Chango” Cancio (17-3-2, 13 KOs), Diego De La Hoya (15-0, 9 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico, and Bayamon, Puerto Rico’s Luis “Orlandito” Orlando Del Valle (22-2, 16 KOs).
LIAM SMITH, WBO World Junior Middleweight World Champion:
“I know Canelo is a very accurate puncher and has a great deal of variety in the ring. This training session we did an open sparring session, and I got to work with Kell Brook to prepare. Canelo isn’t a full light middleweight like I am, and that’s to my advantage. It feels very good to be on this big stage, and it’s one that I have asked to be on.
“I am going to show everyone that I can fight at a high magnitude and hopefully I’ll gain some more fans once I beat Canelo. Looking back at his last fight, I think Canelo’s attitude was thinking that he was going to grab the knock out sooner or later, and he wasn’t willing to box. I won’t let that be the case this fight because I’ve got the ability to out box him, and put him in his place. Just because the writers and the boxing critics label me as the underdog isn’t my motivation – my family and their support is the only one I need. With this opportunity, I’m hoping for bigger and better fights to come my way.”
“Despite my gym being owned by Amir Khan, I haven’t talked to him about the fight because what he can do well, I can do well, and what Amir failed to do in the ring, I will not fail to do. I have my own skill set that I can excel in. I’m comfortable going toe to toe with Canelo, and let that be a warning to him come Saturday.”
JOE GALLAGHER, 2015 Ring Magazine Trainer of the Year and Trainer for Liam Smith:
“Training camp has been great, we have been sparring with world champion partners, specifically Kell Brook and others. It was an easy decision to say yes to Canelo – the name was already in the books before the Khan fight, and this was the fight that we wanted.
“We are full heartily confident in what we have come to show the crowd. Smith is a serious threat. Liam Smith can box from the outside, he’s a great counter puncher, can fight from the inside, has great shots from the inside, and has a great temperament. These are some of my favorite characteristics of Liam Smith. I think he might shock a lot of people in just how great he is come Saturday night.”
“KING” GABRIEL ROSADO, Former Middleweight World Title Challenger:
“I am excited to be in Dallas – what fighter can say that they have fought in the Cowboy’sStadium – and I am excited to be on the Canelo versus Smith card. Training camp has been good and I am feeling powerful knowing that I am going to put on a great show for everybody.
“I feel like Monroe disrespected me, and he will see what I think about that in the ring. I am going for the knock out once I step on the mat. This fight has the potential to leave a huge mark on my career, and once that final bell rings, there will be even more opportunities and fights waiting for me. This one is for all the Puerto Rican and Mexican fight fans who have shown me a great amount of love and respect.
WILLIE MONROE JR., Former Middleweight World Title Challenger:
“It’s going to be a fun night this September 17. I am ready to get in and brawl. It’s a privilege to be under one of the biggest HBO cards of the year. Going up against Rosado will be interesting, and I am ready to see what he brings into the ring.”
“The fans can expect an exciting night of boxing, will go out and show them the best Willie Monroe, Jr.”
JOSEPH “JOJO” DIAZ, JR., NABF Featherweight Champion:
“I am at 110 percent right now, and my confidence levels are through the roof. I feel like no one can beat me. I feel like I’m at my best, and come Saturday night, I’m going to show the fans that I’ve got what it takes to be at the very top. If fight fans want to see a fighter who has the speed, who has the power, the guy who has the ability to fight at the right angle, they need to tune in on Saturday night.
“I am fighting someone who wants to pull an upset, and I won’t let him have it. This is the fight of a lifetime for me, and hopefully come Saturday, I’ll take it all. I’m ready for this opportunity, and I am ready for this chance – I’ve been ready since I was a little kid when I used to dream about this – and I can’t wait to showcase what I’ve got. Being under a big card run under a Promotions company like Golden Boy hasn’t unfocused me – it’s just another fight. I know what it’s like to have millions watching when I fought in the Olympics and I’ve fought on an HBO Canelo card before and I know what mentality you need to have to be in the ring in those situations. Once I go into the ring, the only person I will be focused on will be Andrew Cancio.”
ANDREW “EL CHANGO” CANCIO, Featherweight Contender:
“I am ready for this fight in every sense of the word. We’ve been putting in hard work. Jojo is a very sharp in the ring, and a very slick fighter, but we have been training to prevent any surprises in the ring. If we have to go the distance, we will. I am trained to make it all ten rounds.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to be fighting on the Canelo vs. Smith undercard at AT&T Stadium. The way the fight got put together was a complete blessing. Come Saturday night, we’re going to go in there looking for a war.”
DIEGO DE LA HOYA, WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Champion:
“It’s a very important fight this Saturday, and I have to take advantage of it. This fight hasthe potential to open so many doors, and we are going to show how hard we have trained for this. This is my biggest stage, and we are going to leave it all on the mat. We know that Del Valle is a fighter with a lot of experience, but we are expecting a knock out come Saturday night. We have worked extremely hard, and we are hoping to represent the Mexican community and show off our pride in the ring.”
LUIS “ORLANDITO” ORLANDO DEL VALLE, WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Champion:
“I love the Mexican community – they are the most humble and welcoming people. I remember when I visited Mexico for the first time, and I felt at home. While the Mexico Versus Puerto Rico matches are always heated, I have a deep respect for the Mexican Public.
“I am going to leave the ring with a victory under my belt on September 17 without a doubt. Not being the favorite doesn’t affect me at all. I have had many experiences in which things have not gone the way we anticipated, however those setbacks have brought me to this stage I stand on now, and the opportunity to further my career. This is my destiny, and I’ll prove that this Saturday.”