Welterweight prospects Erik Vega Ortiz and Alberto Palmetta are both ready to capitalize on their big opportunity when they meet in the 10-round main event of ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, November 15 live on SHOWTIME.
Undefeated Vega Ortiz (16-0, 9 KOs), of Tijuana, Mexico, and 2016 Olympian and decorated amateur Alberto Palmetta (12-1, 8 KOs), of Argentina will headline a ShoBox tripleheader (10:30 p.m. ET/PT) that also features hard-hitting Marcos Escudero (10-0, 9 KOs), also of Argentina, taking on Houston’s Joseph George (9-0, 6 KOs) in the 10-round light heavyweight co-feature. In the opening bout, Uruguayan knockout artist Amilcar Vidal (9-0, 8 KOs) will take on Zach Prieto (9-0, 7 KOs), of El Paso, Texas, in an eight-round middleweight bout.
The event is promoted by Sampson Boxing in association with Paco Presents. Tickets, starting at $10, are on sale now and available at www.WinnaVegas.com.
23-year-old Vega Ortiz is aware of what’s potentially at stake in this intriguing match-up. “I have fought tough opponents in the past, but Palmetta is the biggest challenge of my career. That’s why I’m working so hard to prepare. This is a tremendous opportunity for me and I know that I have to give my best because I have a great opponent in front of me. This will define my career so I’m taking this fight very seriously.”
Vega Ortiz has been training at his home base, the Gimnasio CREA gym in Tijuana, with his long-time and respected trainer Romulo Quirarte, who he says is like a second father.
“Romulo has a very long career as a trainer and has had many great fighters, but what I like best about him is he demands respect and discipline with all of us in the gym. He has become family to me. I trust him completely and whatever he says to do in a fight, that’s what I do.”
Vega Ortiz started boxing at age seven as a hyperactive kid and patterns his style off Mexican legend Ricardo "El Finito" Lopez. “I’m a technical fighter most of the time, but I can get very aggressive. I like to use my distance, but if it comes down to it, I will throw combinations and put on the pressure.”
A victory over Palmetta, says Vega Ortiz, would open the doors to where he’d like to be in boxing.
“I’m going to show what I can do November 15. It’s time for me to shine. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity all my life and that really motivates me. It is an honor to represent Mexico and I’m going to show everyone who I am. A victory would mean everything to me. Even though I’ve already been a professional for years, this fight will be the beginning of my career. This is the fight that puts me on the map.”
Vega Ortiz’s promoter, Paco Damian from Paco Presents Boxing, says a lot of questions about his young fighter will be answered next Friday.
“He’s a technician with a beautiful style and he can punch and is very dedicated,” Damian said. “But what he will do under this kind of pressure is always a question. Is he ready or will he be anxious and nervous in the lights on TV? We will all find out.”
Palmetta, who came out of the amateur ranks billed as one of the top prospects in Argentina’s boxing history, has been training under the tutelage of 1976 Olympic Bantamweight Silver Medalist Charles Mooney in Palm Beach, Florida.
“My training was perfect,” said Palmetta. “I have been in camp for two months. My last fight was in August and after the fight, I took four or five days to rest and then went right back into training. I like to train hard every day. I feel so good about this. I think it’s a great opportunity for me. I am very thankful to SHOWTIME and to my promoter, Sampson Boxing and my manager, Gardner Payne, for taking this fight. It’s a big opportunity to show the American people, and people around the world, my skills.”
Palmetta, who started boxing at age 14 and won numerous national and international distinctions in his 112 amateur fights, says he’s not anticipating anything new from Vega Ortiz.
“In my amateur career, I saw a lot of different styles and have a lot of experience. I watched a couple fights of his and he’s a good fighter, but I don’t see anything special. I see a normal boxer. He has basic skills and throws the 1-2 and sometimes he tries to be aggressive, but I see nothing special. I like to say every opponent has something special. Ortiz doesn’t have as much experience in the amateurs as I do, but I know he wants to win. I know he will be well-prepared, but I don’t think he’s prepared for me.”
The 29-year-old Palmetta also says he’s keenly aware of the opportunities afforded a fighter victorious on ShoBox.
“I don’t know if it’s my toughest fight, but it’s my biggest fight. A victory would be a stepping stone to my goal of fighting the best in the world and becoming champion of the world. As an amateur, I was a top-10 boxer in the world. I want to be the same as a professional. This fight is the doorway to that.”
“Alberto Palmetta is the future of the division,” said his promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz. “This fight will be his introduction to the boxing world in North America and his first important victory on the way to the title. Don’t miss his electrifying performance on November 15.”