LAS VEGAS (July 19, 2018): Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs), the newly-crowned WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, and former world champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) of Liverpool, England, held a final press conference ahead of their 12-round main event Saturday, July 21 at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. The fight will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Alberto “Explosivo” Machado (19-0, 16 KOs) and Rafael “Sweet Pea” Mensah (31-0, 23 KOs), who will fight for Machado's WBA Super Featherweight World Title in the co-main event, also participated.
Here's what today's participants said at today's press conference:
JAIME MUNGUIA, WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion:
“Liam Smith is a tough fighter. We know what kind of style he has. He's the type of fighter who will come forward and throw a lot of punches. He has an advantage because he's been in big fights before. But I have a lot of experience as well. I've had over a hundred amateur fights and I have fought all over Mexico. We also know what style he will bring. Smith is the kind of fighter who will stand in front of you with a high guard and then suddenly throw a lot of punches. We both come forward and we both throw a lot of punches, so there is a high possibility that this fight will end in a knockout. If we don't get the knockout, I'm prepared to go the 12 rounds. This has been the best camp of life. I am very prepared. My sparring has gone well. I feel great and I will show that on Saturday. Don't miss this big fight!”
LIAM SMITH, Junior Middleweight Contender:
“It's good to be back fighting in the United States. The last time I was here I was treated very well. It was unfortunate to pull out of the Sadam Ali fight. But my loss was Jaime Munguia's gain. He stepped in and he won the title.
I was kept in the mandatory position and now I've got my shot against a good champion. It should be an exciting fight. He's an exciting combatant who comes to fight. He's young and he's hungry. But you know me. I'm not going to come here and lie down. It's not the Jaime Munguia show for me. I'm here to do my job. I'm here to do what I set out to do and get my title back.”
ALBERTO “EXPLOSIVO” MACHADO, WBA Super Featherweight World Champion:
“I want to thank God for this opportunity. I'm excited to be fighting in back-to-back events on HBO, the most important television platform in boxing. It is a dream come true to be working for Miguel Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya. I grew up watching Miguel Cotto fights as a kid in Puerto Rico, so for me it is a dream come true to be here defending my title.”
“Rafael is the Number 1 contender for a reason. I've got great training at the Wild Card Boxing Club where everyone is very strong. I thank Freddie Roach for focusing on me for the past several weeks. I'm going back to Puerto Rico a world champion.”
RAFAEL MENSAH, Super Featherweight Contender:
“I thank Golden Boy Promotions, HBO and Don King Productions. I thank everyone who will see this fight live. This fight was a long time coming, but now I'm happy Alberto Machado will fight me. I'm happy to fight on a Golden Boy card. My uncle Ike Quartey fought with the Golden Boy, and now I will fight on a Golden Boy card. Like my uncle, I will fight with everything on Saturday.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions:
“We have great fights in store for everyone. Jaime Munguia, who just acquired his world title in spectacular fashion, is up against another tough contender in Liam Smith. In the co-main event, we're happy to work with Miguel Cotto Promotions and Don King Promotions to bring this great fight between Alberto Machado and Rafael Mensah. The fights are sure to be a great. They are all prepared and good to go, so don't miss all this action.”