NEW YORK – Only days before an unprecedented weekend of back-to-back, coast-to-coast editions of ShoBox: The New Generation, Saturday’s fighters gathered in front of a media-packed room at The Parlour Restaurant on 30th Street in Manhattan. As their forthcoming bouts will take place on the eve of New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, Boricua prospects Luis Orlando “Orlandito” Del Valle and Jonathan Gonzalez vowed to put on memorable performances for fans in attendance at Roseland Ballroom in New York City and viewers watching from home on SHOWTIME live at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
In the featured attraction, the promising Del Valle (12-0,10 KOs), of Bayamon, P.R., and his toughest foe to date, Dat “Be Dat’’ Nguyen (17-1, 6 KOs) of Vietnam, collide in a 10-round featherweight affair. The card co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Gary Shaw Productions will include a 10-rounder that pits 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian, the power-punching Gonzalez (13-0, 13 KOs), of Rio Piedras, against Colombian Richard Gutierrez (26-6-1, 16 KOs), of Miami, in a junior middleweight match.
Here’s what the participants had to say:
Luis Orlando Del Valle
“I’ll give credit to Dat Nguyen for taking this fight and, no disrespect, but this is my time. Thanks to my promoters and to SHOWTIME for putting my fight on television. I will make the most of this opportunity and excite the fans.
“Dat, no matter what you do, no matter how many punches you throw per round, the result will be the same: ‘Orlandito’ Del Valle will be on top.
“Years ago when I was an amateur, SHOWTIME announcer Al Bernstein said that I would be one of those faces you’d see fighting on TV one day. Now, here I am on SHOWTIME.”
“Thanks to SHOWTIME for giving me this TV opportunity. I've always said to my team that I wanted to fight the best opponents. But sometimes, I couldn’t get the best. I had to fight guys that I needed to push to the edge…fighters that weren’t ready to fight with me. Del Valle won’t be like that. I chose my own route to get to this fight and I’ll make the most of it.
“I'll put on a great fight to entertain the fans. I know they’ll be mostly Puerto Ricans in the crowd but they want to see a great fight and I promise to bring that to them.
“Thanks to Buddy [McGirt] for showing that he believes in me. It means a lot to me that he saw something in me and wanted to train me. It means a lot that he’s here today.”
“I'm thankful for this opportunity…for my first fight in New York. I'm ready to fight ten rounds but it won't last that long.
“I've fought 13 fighters and I've knocked them all out. Gutierrez will be 14. They call me ‘Butter’ and I’ll make him melt in the ring.”
“Thanks to my team for working with me on this fight. Everybody knows me. My nickname is ‘The Bull.’ I'm going to show everyone why they call me ‘The Bull.’ This will be a demonstration of ‘The Bull’ doing his thing against Gonzalez. Don't miss it.
“Gonzalez hasn't fought anyone. When he gets in the ring on Saturday, he'll be in there with a real man.”
Promoter, Gary Shaw
“I want to thank SHOWTIME and [SHOWTIME Sports Executive Vice President & General Manager] Ken Hershman. The network is doing a ShoBox in Santa Ynez on Friday night (11 p.m. ET/PT) and then turning around to get back to New York on Saturday for the Roseland show, which is unprecedented for the series. Ken Hershman saw the value in these fighters. He saw the value to SHOWTIME and its viewers.
“I really believe that all [the Puerto Rican boxers fighting at Roseland this weekend] will be taking a picture together again one day…but they will be holding world title belts.”
The telecast’s blow-by-blow announcer will be Curt Menefee with Steve Farhood handling the expert analysis.