Latimore, Vargas, Forbes, Quintana all expect wins on Saturday
By Mike Sloan in Las Vegas: Saturday’s mega event isn’t just about Mayweather-Cotto and Mosley-Alvarez. There are two other fights scheduled for the HBO Pay Per View-televised card that are as intriguing as they are competitive. Both of the featured undercard bouts feature young contenders squaring off against grizzled veterans, both of which are perfect crossroads-types of battles.
DeAndre Latimore is one of those young contenders, but he’s been near the top before. However, he was defeated and had to go straight back to Square One in an effort to rebuild his confidence and restructure his entire way of handling his business. He’s switched up his trainers, altered his diet, and has rededicated himself and on Saturday night he faces a terrific challenge against former title holder Carlos Quintana.
“I worked hard for six years to get to this point,” Latimore said at the final press conference this afternoon. “I get here and it’s an honor to be on this card with Mosley and Canelo Alvarez. I have all the respect in the world for Carlos because he’s been there and has done great things but I’ve gotten here before and I got cut short. I’m not letting this opportunity pass me by again and I won’t settle for anything less than a victory.”
His opponent was brimming with equal amounts of confidence, but Quintana was a bit disrespectful towards Latimore (in some minds) and professed that he’s essentially using this fight as a springboard to greater things.
“I’m very happy and I’ve worked very hard for this fight,” the Puerto Rican said. “I’ve seen Latimore fight before and he’s a very good boxer, but I’ve worked very hard for this fight. Those of you who know me know I’m going to win this fight. I want to return to being a top fighter and I can achieve that with this victory. I’m not that young anymore so I have to take advantage of every opportunity I get.”
“I would like to fight the winner of Canelo-Mosley.,” Quintana added. “They are very good fighters. I don’t have anything against Latimore but I’ve worked very hard for this fight and I’ll be very interested in watching Mosley and the young guy, Canelo. I would like to fight the winner; they are two big stars. One’s been around forever and the other is a good young guy coming up. I would like to fight the winner. You have to dream big.”
Latimore was clearly resentful toward Quintana’s confidence and remarks, and in what was the only situation of the week where tempers became somewhat heated, Latimore calmly lashed out.
“I worked hard to get here but he’s talking about fighting the winner (of Alvarez-Mosley)?” Latimore incredulously asked the media. “He’s got to get past me first. Don’t be surprised if I get a KO. I’m not worried about fighting anybody else in the future or anything like that. I’m here to get a job done and I won’t settle for anything short of victory.”
But the now-heated (in relative terms) fight between Quintana and Latimore isn’t the only alluring matchup of the main undercard. Young, unbeaten Jesse Vargas is set to face late-replacement Steve Forbes, a fight that is very dangerous for Vargas.
“Guys like Steve Forbes and Carlos Quintana, who have been such great champions, are what we in the sport consider gate keepers,” said HBO Sports senior vice president Kerry Davis. “These guys are the guys who can determine how ready or how great the young guys coming up are and whether fighters like Jesse Vargas and DeAndre Latimore are ready for the big time, whether they can handle the best there is in boxing. Jesse and DeAndre have huge tests waiting for them on Saturday against such great, veteran fighters like Steve and Carlos.”
While the Latimore-Quintana brawl should wind up going down to the wire, most expect Vargas to walk right through old time veteran Forbes, who has been on a horrible losing streak of late. Most feel he’s a shot fighter, easy pickings, but Vargas knows better.
“I have in front of me Stevie Forbes,” Vargas stated. “He’s a fighter with a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge. But I’m hungry and ready to win. I always do and come Saturday it’ll be a great fight and I expect the victory. Steve Forbes is a great fighter with a lot of experience and he’s fought so many great champions, and I know I’ll be in for a tough fight, but I expect to win.”
So do the experts. But what many don’t realize is that Forbes has been battling many a personal issue and unfathomable distractions in his personal life. However, the former champ proclaimed that it’s all behind him now and that people shouldn’t be shocked if he pulls off the upset.
“I had a lot of personal problems, but thank God she packed up and moved out,” Forbes said to a round of laughter and applause from the hundreds in attendance. “The last few years have been hell for me. But now I’m back and I’m focused. You didn’t catch me sleeping. I’ve been in camp with Canelo and I feel great. I’m looking forward to a great night of fights. I’ve been in this position before; I fought the young Demetrious Hopkins and Francisco Bojado and I look forward to this fight. I’m ready, all the distractions are gone, and it’ll be a great fight with Jesse.”
Both underdogs Forbes and Quintana have a great chance of walking away with upset victories but whether that happens remains to be seen. One thing is certain, though; this is the first major card in a long time to have as solid an undercard as what the world will be treated to on Saturday.
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