By Byron Spurlock
A packed showing of local and national media attended the Diaz–Malignaggi press conference this week in advance of Saturday night’s HBO card at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. In the main event, former unified lightweight world champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz (34-2, 17 KOs) takes on former IBF junior welterweight world champion Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi (26-2, 5 KOs) in a twelve round junior welterweight bout. The co-main event features a world title showdown from IBF junior Lightweight World Champion Malcolm Klassen (24-4-2, 14 KOs) putting his title on the line against former two-time IBF featherweight champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (24-1-1, 17 KOs) in a 12 round bout. The opening TV bout will showcase exciting middleweight prospect Danny “The Golden Child” Jacobs (17-0, 15KOs) facing off against tough ring veteran Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith (21-3, 9KOs) in a 10 round bout for the NABO middleweight title.
All three fights, which are presented by Golden Boy Promotions, with Diaz vs. Malignaggi being presented in association with DiBella Entertainment and Klassen vs. Guerrero being presented in association with Branco Sports Productions, will air on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 8:45 pm CT (9:45 pm ET/PT). Doors open at 3:15pm and the first bout begins at approximately 3:15pm. Golden Boy promoters Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins and “Sugar” Shane Mosley where on hand to introduce the main event fighters and the young stable of talent that is fighting on the undercard.
Juan Diaz, Former Three-Time World Champion
“In boxing you might get knocked out, you might get cut, you might lose, but what show’s what kind of boxer you are is how you come back…I’m a former World Champion, I’m 25 years old, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain…I’m not going to trash talk or say anything . . . that night I’m only going to see one thing in my way to being a world champion and that’s Paulie Malignaggi. I’ll let what I do in the ring do the talking.”
Paulie Malignaggi, Former Junior Welterweight World Champion
“I’ve been in the gym literally the entire year; I’ve maybe missed three weeks, that was it….believe me, I am ready to fight, I’m sharp, I wanted this fight and I’m ready.”
Malcolm Klassen, IBF Junior Lightweight World Champion
“I didn’t come all the way to Texas to give my title away…I know Robert’s been sparring against Shane Mosley, and Shane is one of my idols, but I’m not Shane, I’m the total package.”
Robert Guerrero, Former Two-Time Featherweight World Champion
“I’m ready to go. I had a great six-week camp. I’ve been sparring with Shane Mosley. Who’s better to spar with than Shane Mosley? So tune in Saturday night because I’m ready to win another world title.”
Danny Jacobs, Middleweight Prospect
“Ishe is a great fighter and I’m looking forward to testing my talent. I’m glad he’s training hard. I’m ready for the challenge.”
Ishe Smith, Veteran Middleweight
“I will not lose this fight, it’s just not happening.”
Also on the undercard: undefeated junior welterweight prospect from Philadelphia, PA, Danny Garcia (13-0) takes on Oscar Leon (28-9) from Miami, Florida in a ten-rounder. Houston lightweight prospect Hylon Williams (10-0) will fight a six-rounder against Baudel Cardenas (18-17) from Los Mochis, MEX. Houston junior middleweight prospect Jermell Charlo (8-0) will fight a six-rounder against Vardan Gasparyan (11-1) from Glendale, CA. Undefeated junior lightweight prospect from Cincinnati, OH Adrien Broner (10-0) takes on Edgar Portillo (5-2) from Midland, TX.