World featherweight champion Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters of Jamaica, and Puerto Rican lightweight hopeful Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo and their respective opponents, Miguel “The Scorpion” Marriaga and Ivan “Bam Bam” Najera appeared at a media workout in New York City today. The four undefeated fighters headline this Satuday, June 13th in The Theater at Madison Square Garden, with television coverage on HBO Boxing After Dark, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Walters (25-0, 21 KOs), from Montego Bay, Jamaica, who defeated Nonito Donaire to claim lineal supremacy at 126 pounds, will defend his world title against Marriaga (20-0, 18 KOs), of Arjona, Colombia.
Verdejo (17-0, 13 KOs), of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in his live HBO debut, will go up against Najera (16-0, 8 KOs), of San Antonio, TX.
The four gladiators boast a perfect combined record of 78-0 (60 KOs), which includes a victory by knockout ratio of 77%. Here is what they had to say:
“Marriaga [has] beaten me in the amateurs but I do not remember it. Besides those fights are four rounds. On Saturday we will be fighting 12 rounds. He may be bringing his ‘A Game’ but I am bringing my ‘A-Plus Game.’ I have trained for a knockout victory. I am going to destroy him.
“I am overwhelmed to be fighting at Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of Boxing, because so many of boxing’s great champions have fought here. It is hallowed ground. It is my honor and I want to give my best performance there. To be great…to be known as the best…you have to beat the best and I am ready to take on all champions in my division and beyond.”
“Of course Walters doesn’t remember me beating him for a spot 9in Olympic qualifiers] …BECAUSE HE LOST! He’s not going to remember Saturday, June 13th for the same reason!
“I have the strength and the intelligence to beat him. I will use my strength and intelligence to beat him.
“After I beat Walters again on Saturday I look forward to unifying the titles in my next fight.”
“It is an honor to be fighting on Puerto Rican Day Parade Weekend in boxing’s most historic building, Madison Square Garden. I have dreamed of doing this for so long. And then on Sunday I will be riding on a float in the parade. But first I need to prove myself worthy of these honors. Najera is my toughest test as a professional and I have worked very hard in training camp. I am prepared to go mano a mano on Saturday night. I will be fighting not just for myself but for the pride of Puerto Ricans everywhere!”
“I am ready for my moment – my date with destiny. I know this is supposed to be Verdejo’s big debut on HBO. But I am here to do what I always do – to spoil the party. I have sacrificed so much to be ready for Saturday night but I will be dining out on this victory for years to come. June 13 will be remembered as Iván Najera’s Coming Out Party!”