INDIO, Calif.† Ė Undefeated middleweight prospect Hugo Centeno, Jr. weighed in at 160.4 pounds and fellow unbeaten Gerardo Ibarra tipped the scales at 162 pounds during Thursdayís official weigh-in for their 10-round main event showdown tomorrow/Friday, June 6 on ShoBox: The New Generation, live on SHOWTIMEģ at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Undefeated welterweight prospect Eddie Gomez measured 149 pounds and streaking Francisco Santana weighed-in at 148.2 pounds for their 10-round ShoBox co-feature bout from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif.
The 23-year-old Centeno Jr. (20-0, 11 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., is returning to ShoBox for the first time since a dominating 10-round unanimous decision victory over KeAndre Leatherwood in March of 2013.† Now under the tutelage of Eric Brown, trainer of WBO Middleweight World Champion Peter Quillin and former world champion and SHOWTIME analyst Paulie Malignaggi, Centeno Jr. is aiming to take the leap from prospect to contender.††
Ibarra (14-0, 8 KOs), of Houston, was announced last Friday as a late replacement for the injured Domonique Dolton.† The undefeated yet untested 23-year-old was a solid amateur Ė he won the 2005 National Junior Olympic tournament and owns an amateur victory over undefeated pro Gary Russell Jr.
At just 21 years old, Gomez (16-0, 10 KOs), of the Bronx, N.Y., is taking a step-up in opposition against veteran prospect Santana (19-3-1, 7 KOs), of Santa Barbara, Calif., who has won seven in a row since his last loss to undefeated contender Jermell Charlo.
Hereís what the fighters had to say prior to Thursdayís weigh-in at Fantasy Springs:
HUGO CENTENO, JR.
ďThis guy is definitely dangerous -- late replacements always are.† Iíve underestimated guys before because you might think they havenít had enough time to get ready for the fight, or you might not be ready for the type of style that they bring.
ďBut, for this training camp, I feel like we were training for every type of fighter.† I had a lot of different sparring partners, such as Ruslan Provodnikov, Sergio Mora, Frankie Gomez and Glen Tapia.† They are all different types of fighters and great caliber fighters.† It was just great work.
ďI know heís an aggressive boxer.† He tries to be a little slick; he tries to bring the action and press forward.† I feel like Iím prepared for what he has to bring to the table.
ďItís been a year since I had a chance to fight on ShoBox and the last time the guy was talking a big game.† I was hoping for a war to give the fans what they wanted, but, unfortunately, he wanted to turn it into a hug-fest.† But I think it should be different this time.† I think it should be a good fight and Iím looking to make a statement.
ďIím not calling a knockout because I donít go in there looking for it, but Iím not sure it will go the distance.
ďEverything has been going great with Eric (Brown).† The type of style that he brings to the table is awesome.† The chemistry is there and everything came together perfectly.
ďWorking with world-class fighters like Peter (Quillin) and Paulie (Malignaggi) just ups your level and shows you where youíre at.† Being able to hang in there with guys like that is an amazing feeling because you know youíre at that world-class level.
ďTraining with Ruslan (Provodnikov) has been great.† The type of pressure that he brings is like no other.† Heís just straight forward Ė heíll take all your shots and heís relentless.† After becoming accustomed to that type of pressure, I feel like anything this guy brings Iíll be ready for.
ďMy dad had three heart surgeries and I told him itís just time to hang it up.† Training me was really tough on his body and extremely stressful.† We both chose Eric Brown together because we both thought he would go well with my style.† He knows how to teach his fighter that killer instinct and he knows how to teach fighters to think for themselves. Thatís what we really liked about him and itís working really well.Ē
ďI was ready and training when we got the call for this fight.† We moved from Houston to Los Angeles almost two months ago to get ready for an opportunity like this.† Iíve been steadily training waiting for this chance.
ďI came over to Los Angeles for an opportunity like this.† Iím just ready to get in there and show what I can do.
ďI wouldnít say heís my toughest test, but this is definitely my biggest opportunity.† Weíll find out in the ring if heís the biggest test yet.
ďIím here to surprise people. Iím here to dethrone him.† From whatever cloud they have him on, Iím here to bring him down from that.
ďIíve been in the ring with a lot of different guys.† I was in the ring with the Charlo (Jermell and Jermall) brothers and Brian Vera to help him get ready for the Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fight.† I feel ready; there is nothing I canít handle.Ē
ďI havenít seen anyone that heís faced that has impressed me or has the potential to actually be in the ring with me.
ďWhen I saw his record and the guys that he faced, I only saw two fighters that are like me, that are hungry and looking to be world champs: Jermell Charlo and Karim Mayfield.† And those are two young guys that he lost to.† It just shows you that the guy is used to losing.† Off the two losses to Karim and one to Charlo, it shows you that when he had to face a guy who was undefeated and young and hungry, he didnít know what to do.
ďHis seven-fight win streak doesnít impress me at all.† He fought two guys, Freddy Hernandez, who is on his way out, heís done, and Joachim Alcine, who also is done.† Theyíre not in their prime anymore and they arenít hungry for the sport the way that I am.† He beat them, yes, but they arenít impressive fighters to me.
ďI donít feel like heís my toughest test.† The toughest test for me is when Iím in the gym, when Iím putting in the work and Iím in there training.† Even on days when I donít feel like going to the gym, I give it that extra push.† Those are my toughest opponents.† I wouldnít be here at 16-0 if I had opponents who were tougher than me and I didnít take care of them in the ring.
ďI have a lot of fans back in New York that will be able to watch me on SHOWTIME.† My hard work is paying off little by little because now Iím climbing the ladder; now Iím on SHOWTIME.
ďIím young, but Iíve been moving along the correct way.† Iím moving along at the right pace.† I have a lot to learn still, but, before you know it, Iíll be ready to fight the champions at the top in maybe four or five months.† Iím ready.† No more class B fighters, we want those class A fighters, we want that title.
ďIf it goes 10 rounds weíll be more than ready. Weíre here, we came to do our job and get our 17th victory and go back home happy.Ē
ďIíve been in there with the tougher guys.† My three losses were against some of the top guys in their division.† Karim Mayfield wasnít undefeated, but he was one of the top contenders.† Jermell Charlo, I donít take anything away from him, heís right there close to winning a world title.† I can say that Iíve been matched tough, Iíve been tested and I know what to expect and how to overcome that.
ďHe doesnít have anything I havenít seen before.† Weíre both two fighters with two hands and all it takes is one punch to win the fight.
ďIím just excited to do what Iíve been put here to do, and thatís to win a world title.† This is my journey, it hasnít always been easy, but a win on Friday will put me one step closer.
ďWhether he is tested or untested, right now my will and my determination to keep climbing to the top is above and beyond.† I think Iím in a good spot.† Obviously heís a pretty young kid and Iím sure heís thinking heís just going to out-power me, but Iím going to prove him wrong tomorrow night.
ďOn paper I donít have more power, but I know I can pack a punch.† Iíve faced the bigger guys, junior middleweights and middleweights, so I know that I can end the fight with one punch.Ē
Tags: photos , Eddie Gomez , Hugo Centeno , Francisco Santana