Rising lightweight prospect and ShoBox: The New Generation veteran Thomas Mattice and hard-hitting Isaac Cruz both made weight a day before their ShoBox main event on Friday, February 14 live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT) from 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pa.
Cleveland’s Mattice (15-1-1, 11 KOs) will be making his sixth appearance on the prospect developmental series and is coming off his most significant win to date, an eighth-round TKO of previously undefeated Michael Dutchover last September on ShoBox. The 21-year-old Cruz (18-1-1, 14 KOs), currently ranked No. 7 by the IBF, has scored knockouts in 11 of his last 14 fights since suffering the only loss of his career in just his sixth professional fight.
In the co-featured bout, undefeated super bantamweight Ra’eese Aleem (15-0, 9 KOs), of Las Vegas by way of Muskegon, Mich., will take on ShoBox veteran and San Antonio resident Adam Lopez (19-3-2, 9 KOs) in an eight-round 122-pound bout. In a matchup of undefeated super lightweights, Cleveland’s Montana Love (12-0-1, 6 KOs) returns to ShoBox in an eight-round showdown with New Orleans’ Jerrico Walton (16-0, 7 KOs). In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated super welterweights Derrick Colemon Jr. (11-0, 8 KOs), of Detroit, and Joseph Jackson (15-0, 12 KOs), of North Carolina, will square off in an eight-round 154-pound bout.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by GH3 Promotions and King’s Promotions are $100, $75 and $50 and be purchased at www.2300arena.com
The four-fight telecast is the third of four ShoBox presentations over six weeks showcasing some of boxing’s brightest young prospects in their toughest tests to date. Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins will call the action from ringside with fellow Hall of Famer Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Lightweight 10-Round Bout
Thomas Mattice – 133 ½ lbs.
Isaac Cruz – 134 ¾ lbs.
Super Bantamweight 8-Round Bout
Ra’eese Aleem – 122 ¾ lbs.
Adam Lopez – 123 lbs.
Super Lightweight 8-Round Bout
Montana Love – 139 ¾ lbs.
Jerrico Walton – 140 lbs.
Super Welterweight 8-Round Bout
Derrick Colemon Jr. – 154 ¾ lbs.
Joseph Jackson – 153 ¼ lbs.
“I had a great camp. I’m excited to have a big ring in this fight. We’re going to be all over that ring. You’re going to see some beautiful combinations. All night long. I have a great game plan. I hope I can end the fight in spectacular fashion, but I’m not going to rush anything. I will just see how he comes out, and adjust and fight my fight.
“I feel like a whole different person. I feel motivated. I feel great. I’m right on weight and I had no problems making it. We worked on a lot in this camp. I don’t want to say too much, I just want to go out there and show it. But you will definitely see a different Thomas Mattice. My skills are a lot better than what you guys have seen on ShoBox.
“A win in this fight would mean a lot. What it could do for my career, I’m not sure. I hear he’s ranked No. 7 by the IBF, so a win should put me in a really nice position. I think I should be really close to some big money fights. I’m 29 years old, but I’m a young 29. I’m not rushing.
“I really don’t know much about my opponent. I just know that he is a really tough fighter. I know that he likes to come forward. But I am used to that because that’s the type of guys I’ve been fighting a lot. I just will fight my style and I’m confident in the outcome.”
“Fighting in Brooklyn was very different from fighting in Mexico. Everything from the hand wrapping, to the commission to the medicals. But the guy I faced [Miguel Perez] talked a lot, he was dirty. But I’m happy I have that experience of fighting in the U.S., it will help me both physically and emotionally for this fight.
“I don’t know anything about my opponent. I fight the same fight no matter who I’m facing. I really like to attack. I’m a pitbull. I’m used to facing guys that are taller than me. This is nothing new for me. My grandfather was a fighter and my father was a fighter. We all fight the same way, on the inside.
“I come to put on a show. I always come forward and the fans will enjoy my style. I really need to connect on my punches, either on the body or the head. I need to alternate my angles and throw a lot of punches.”
“I’m an aggressive fighter. I’m exciting. I have fast hands. I have good boxing IQ. I’m naturally southpaw, but I box orthodox. Sometimes it’s just instinct, sometimes it’s to give my opponent a different look. I think I’m more fluent orthodox.
“I actually haven’t seen footage of my opponent. I’m just focused on myself. It feels like just another fight for me. I’ve been in this arena before and each time I’m here, I put on a great show. I stopped [Marcus] Bates here and I fought [Ramiro] Robles here and I stopped him in the first round. I think I just have good luck here.
“I moved from Michigan to Vegas, and that really helped turn my career around. I used to travel around a lot to train, and when I came to Vegas to train with Nonito Donaire, I realized that this was what I wanted to do. It was a great decision and has put me on the path I want to be on.
“I was in the karate gym at the age of three. I got my black belt by the age of 13, and started boxing at 14. It’s hard going fight to fight, paycheck to paycheck. But I really think I’m close to better days ahead.
“The ultimate goal is to win a world title and to defend my title. I want to do that and everything that comes along with that. The pay days, the other doors that will open, the sponsorships. I want to be the best I can be. I don’t think I’m too far away. I feel like I’m knocking on the door. I just have to stay consistent and this is a great opportunity for me. I want to win, and I want to look good doing it.”
“I think both physically and mentally, having three wins in a row is a huge help. In the past, I’ve been inconsistent. But I’m feeling really good right now. I feel like I’ve gotten over that hump and I have my confidence back. They offered me this fight and I think it’s a fight that I can definitely win. Aleem is an overall good fighter, but he’s nothing that I haven’t seen before.
“If I’m going to test myself, I need to get in there against a guy that’s good. How am I going to know that I’m back to where I need to be if I don’t test myself? I feel like a different fighter than the last time I was on ShoBox. I had a great camp, sparring against young fighters. There was no slacking off. I made a few subtle changes during this camp and I feel great.
“I have a sense of urgency with this fight. This is my eighth time on ShoBox. There was a sense of urgency the seventh time I was on ShoBox. I just have to go out there and stop this guy. I want to get on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. I want to get on bigger cards with world title fights.
“I think that I’ve been through more than Aleem in the ring. He is a good, fast fighter but I have a little bit more experience than him. He’s fought a lot of journeymen, so I think I’m a big step-up for him.”
“I took some time off after my last fight because I was fighting back-to-back. Then we just had some management issues, but everything worked out and I’m ready to go. I’ve been busy in the gym. I don’t feel right if I don’t go to the gym. I need to be around that atmosphere. It’s my second home. Boxing is my priority and when the time comes, I put my all into it.
“This fight means a lot. I’m facing another undefeated guy. He’s 16-0 so we’re not taking him lightly. This fight is a hump. If I can get over this, it will bring me to a whole different level. I think I have a major advantage with my hand speed. During camp, I prepared for both an inside fight and an outside fight. I’ve always worked on that, since my amateur days. The fight is won in the preparation.
“I’m not happy with my performance my last time on ShoBox against [Kenneth] Sims. I just felt off. I wasn’t myself. I’m usually more elusive in there. It was an off night. I think I over-trained. For this fight, I’m facing a guy with not much of an amateur background. I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’ve put everything into boxing.
“My name is Montana ‘Too Pretty’ Love and I’m fighting on Valentine’s Day, so I will be giving a lot of love out tomorrow night. I’ve got something special planned.”
“I sparred with one of the best southpaws around for this fight, O’Shaquie Foster. He gave me great work and really prepared me well for Montana.
“My best friend was murdered in front of me before the [Dedrick] Bell fight, which is why I think my performance wasn’t great. That wasn’t the real me in the ring that night, but I fought because I think my friend would have wanted me to.
“I never thought I’d be at this point in my life. Through all my trials and tribulations, it’s surreal. I don’t think it’s even hit me yet. Being here, I want people to know my story. I want to have an impact on somebody’s life, just to show them that no matter what, you can change. You can be unique. You can be different. You can be successful. I want to use this fight to tell the world my story and have an impact on somebody’s life.
“We have a good game plan for Montana, and I think we’ll be successful tomorrow night. Before I got with Ronnie Shields, I was just a counter-puncher. Now, my style has changed completely. I think the world will see that on Friday night that I’m much more versatile. I can fight on the inside, I can box and I have much better defense than I had before.
“I didn’t know much about Roberto Duran when I was first given my nickname. When I learned about him, I thought to myself that I need to live up to that name. I need to keep that name alive, ‘Hands of Stone’. There’s a lot to live up to and those are big gloves to fill.”
Derrick Colemon Jr.
“Emanuel Steward was a huge influence for me. He was that guy. I was just a little kid and he put all of this attention into me, so that meant a ton. I was at his house every day after school. He would cook for me. He would give me pointers and invest a lot of time into me. We watched fights together. He was like a grandfather to me. I knew the whole Kronk crew growing up and Gerald McClellan was my favorite fighter growing up in Detroit.
“Kronk is in my blood. We’re animals. I come from the original Kronk gym. I trained in Los Angeles for this fight because of the experience. There’s really good sparring there. I sparred with a lot of Russian Olympians. It was invaluable experience for me.
“I don’t know much about my opponent. I just know that he’s 31 years old. It’s desperation time for him. We watched very little video on him. I just need to be myself, fight my fight, and stay within myself. I can box and I can bang.
“If you haven’t seen me fight before, you’re going to see a nice jab. Good body punches. And once I see how my opponent is reacting, I’ll go from there. Whatever I need to do to adjust, I’ll go from there. I can fight from range or in close. I don’t have any nerves. I feel like I’ve been here before. I want the boxing fans to say that I’m next up after they watch me Friday night.”
“I feel good. I feel like a kid in a candy store. I just like going to show off, show out, and show new eyes what I can do. This is a chance to show America what I can do. I can be a boxer or I can be a brawler. I like to come forward. I have a strong punch and I’m in great condition.
“We’ve seen a little bit of my opponent. But we don’t really go off what our opponent does. We just glanced at him to see what his style is like, and we go off what we can do best. We’ll just adjust as the fight goes on. I just need to be myself and do what I do best.
“I’m always learning. I’m learning on the go because I had such a late start. But I’m doing a good job of learning from the guys I’ve been in camp with. Of course I’m a late bloomer but I’m doing well on the go. There’s definitely a sense of urgency because of my age. This is not just for me, but for my family and my kids. I have the maturity advantage. I think that is what will propel me to victory.
“I had a couple offers for football coming out of high school, but I wanted to go out and work and provide for my daughter. I got a job out of high school at UPS, and then I got into boxing by just trying to stay athletic and stay in shape. Now I’m a fulltime fighter. It makes all the difference. Mentally, it’s all I need to focus on – just boxing and providing for my kids.
“I sparred with Tony Harrison when he was preparing for Jermell Charlo. He was a great guy to be around. It was a great experience and I’m a better fighter because of it. I stay in the gym. What I learned from the Harrison camp, I brought into my camp. We had great sparring. I stayed consistent, stayed on-weight. This is a great opportunity for me. North Carolina doesn’t have the best reputation in boxing, but I’m going to break that curse tomorrow night.”
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