Photos: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
All six fighters participating on Saturday night’s Showtime card appeared at a New York City press conference on Wednesday before heading to Atlantic City for their respective bouts at Boardwalk Hall.
Bernard Hopkins, IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion: “I’m coming to show you all that not only am I different and I don’t get tired of doing what I do. I love winning opportunities and situations to win.
“Saying ‘I’m getting old,’ is getting old.
“[Gabriel] Rosado and “Kid Chocolate” [Quillin] have the opportunity to steal the show. The undercard is so great. The co-main event is the middleweight belt and it is in good hands.
“I’m only doing what some of the greats have done before me in any sport. Hit and not get hit. Doesn’t mean to run.
“I am different. I am not you. So what do you do if you’re a smart man with your bought degrees? You sit, you listen, you learn and you change your own ignorant ways.
“I’m in an almost 10-year [knockout] drought, maybe that’s due to my age. I haven’t had a knockout since I fought De La Hoya.
“I was loyal in the streets and was loyal in the corporate world. When they come to me for that fountain of knowledge, I have an opportunity and an obligation, to give them the pure water because I’m not polluted.
“[To Peter Quillin, Gabriel Rosado, Deontay Wilder and Zachary Ochoa] You are the future. You hold the power. I’m here making historic fights when they can happen. The bigger the name, the bigger the event, obligations are obligations and I if want to stay in the race at this age, the belt seems to be the carrot that the young guys want to have.
“If you take a page out of every champion’s book, something that can help you in your career, is to learn how to be multi-talented in many things.
“If you could learn the game of chess early, so you don’t go through suffering, you’ll be advanced in your careers because your opponents only have chess boards.
“If you learn to play chess instead of checkers, and wait that 10-15 years, you’ll be mega superstars. You’ll be advanced beyond your peers, because they just have a checkerboard.”
“I am a business man, don’t get misconstrued by anything. Because I have belts lined up in the trophy case.
“I’m an alien, I don’t get old if they’re waiting for that.
“If it was a dollar to fight him, you’d see me up here promoting like I was getting 20 million. Why? Because I have a better plan.
“I’m coming to defend my title and look for bigger things next.
“Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray would be considered boring, because they’re not TV friendly. Because they’re smooth and they don’t get hit.”
Karo Murat: “It’s the first time for me to ever be in the United States. It was my dream of mine to come and actually fight one day here, particularly against someone like Bernard Hopkins.
“There’s only a few days left, and I’m well prepared. I am ready to go. I am excited. This really motivates me to be here.
“I want to thank my promoter, Wilfred Sauerland. I know I should have had that fight in July, but I had some problems with the visa. But here I am. I know that this will be an exciting fight. I have been waiting for this opportunity to fight in America and I will not let it go.
“Make sure you are all going to be there and you are going to witness a young boy from Germany who’s going to come here to Bernard’s home turf, and he’s going to take the title from him and take it home.”
Peter Quillin, WBO Middleweight World Champion: “This is a tremendous fight, you got Bernard Hopkins, the legendary guy that can inspire a lot of people that at any age you can do whatever.
“We have an American heavyweight telling you that he is the next champion. That’s the American dream right there.
“We got Rosado, who is going to come try to take my belt that I worked so hard for.
“In this training camp I learned so much about myself and who I am as a fighter.
“Nobody’s struggle is grander than the next person’s struggle, everybody’s challenge in life is to find who you are and be comfortable with that.
“Me believing in myself has gotten me where I am right now, through all of the hard times. I’m not the most talented fighter but I fight with a lot of effort. I’ve never fought in Atlantic City, but I can guarantee you if Gabe had fought me in Atlantic City he would not be undefeated.
“My bumps in the road only got me better as a man and as a fighter. Every time I step out there I fight with that pride.
“Wherever I go, I touch people in a special way.
“I’m not saying I’m going knock him out, but I’m going do me.
“No one can explain what I’m doing, I just hope you guys can support me, support Bernard.”
Gabriel Rosado: “Never did I think I’d have the opportunity to fight on the same card as Bernard. I thought by the time I had the opportunity he’d be gone, but he’s still here kicking ass. Its crazy how that played out and I’m just blessed to have been around Bernard in so many training camps and to learn old school boxing, which is a lost art now.
“I had a shot at the world title already and I fell short. I didn’t put my head down when I lost that fight. I knew I belonged. I made the best of this opportunity. Mentally this is the most prepared I’ve ever been for a fight.
“This fight is in Atlantic City. I’m undefeated in Atlantic City. This is like a hometown fight for me. I’m willing to go through whatever it takes to be victorious. I’m ready to go through hell.”
Deontay Wilder: “I’ll tell you right now, when my name is being announced in the future, everybody is in that building will stand and applause, because they will be applauding the heavyweight championship of the world.
“Everyone wants to be a heavyweight champion, and I’m going to bring it back to America.
“I’m excited to be on the East Coast, in New York, I’m super pumped I’m super excited. I’ve said many times I love my job, it’s a dangerous sport we sign up for. But I love this job, I don’t see me doing anything else but knocking people out.
“Guys don’t want to see me in the ring, but this guy Firtha took the opportunity. I heard what you said, ‘That Wilder is good he hits hard, but he has never been hit and I intend to hit him.’ I respect that, he says he’s coming to fight not lay down.
“I want to say it’s a big pleasure to be fighting on the legend Bernard Hopkins card, the things this guy has done, the thing that gets me is with the age he is to go the distance with the younger guys. That motivates me to get in the gym.”
Nicolai Firtha, Heavyweight Contender: “Wow New York City, this is where everything happens. It seems like just yesterday I was watching pay-per-view fights with Oscar De La Hoya, and now I get to fight on one of his fight cards. Not only am I having a big fight but it’s just a blockbuster card and it adds to the luster of the fight.
“I didn’t come to the sport until I was 20-years-old and here we are, it’s a dream come true.
“My guy is 29-0 with 29 knockouts none getting past the third round, from a fighter’s perspective it doesn’t get any better than that. I love it, I invite the opportunity. I’m just tickled.”
Zachary Ochoa, Brooklyn Light Welterweight Rising Star: “Its an honor to be fighting on Bernard Hopkins undercard. I’ve always looked up to him. Bernard is a very clean person in and out of the ring and that’s the reason he lasts so long in the sport.”
“He doesn’t just rely on his talent, he relies on the basics. I go to the gym everyday work on my basics, work on my talent, you got to keep everything sharp all the time. We train hard for everybody no matter who it is, we don’t sleep on anybody.”
Naazim Richardson, Bernard Hopkins’ Trainer: “I’ve watched a lot of these young guys, ‘Bronze Bomber’, ‘Kid Chocolate’ and Rosado, that sounds like a dish, you know they’re going to mix it up.
“I can’t call a trainer to ask him, ‘What did you do with your 50-year-old fighter to get him ready for a world championship? What did you do when you were getting a 50-year-old ready for a title? This is unchartered territory. Even the great living trainers, Buddy McGirt, Freddie Roach, I can’t call any of them and say what did you do with your 50-year-old?
“You’ve never seen a Hopkins fight, win or lose, where you couldn’t find someone in the room thought Hopkins won that fight. He’s been competitive at every point.
“We are starting to lose an understanding of what boxing is. I’m watching certain people get on networks and down talk kids who are trying to box smart. Why would you ever downgrade someone for something intelligent?
“There’s a time for things, come Saturday it might be time push the envelope. I take nothing away from Karo Murat except for the victory. Tough young man, you can’t underestimate a man like this, you don’t know a lot about him. He comes out of a sport where he gets kicked in the face, so you know a punch in the face isn’t going do anything to him.
“You swim without getting wet, you want to box without getting hit.
“Appreciate the art form that still exists. With this particular athlete I want you to watch and study and see that this is boxing, not fighting.”
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions: “When you look at the fighters on the card including, the non-televised fights and opening bouts, you see that boxing is about opportunities.
“To see Wilder, Quillin, Hopkins on same card and then you look at who they fight. Karo Murat, Gabriel Rosado, and Nicolai Firtha you see fighters who know that this is their opportunity, the opportunities that fighters are waiting for.
“You might not be familiar with these three guys [pointing at Murat, Rosado and Firtha], but they all have the same in common. They know that a win on Saturday night will be a life changing moment for them, and that in itself makes them that much more dangerous.
“Hopkins knows that, and so do Quillin and Wilder. That’s why I expect great action at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday.
“For the price of a movie ticket you are going to be able to see this great card.
“Watching Bernard Hopkins continue making history… history doesn’t come that cheap.
“Bernard Hopkins is one of the greatest ever to lace up the gloves.”