Malik Hawkins isn’t impressed by the fact that Subriel Matias knocked out the first 15 opponents he faced as a professional.
Hawkins took notice of Matias’ most recent fight, a 10-round, unanimous-decision loss against Armenian underdog Petros Ananyan. Matias was heavily favored to beat Ananyan on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder undercard February 22 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, but Ananyan dropped him in the seventh round and won on all three scorecards (96-93, 95-94 and 95-94).
Matias failed to take advantage of that high-profile opportunity, but the 28-year-old Puerto Rican will try to bounce back from that disappointing defeat against the unbeaten Hawkins. Showtime will televise the 10-round junior welterweight bout between Baltimore’s Hawkins (18-0, 11 KOs) and Matias (15-1, 15 KOs) as the opener of a tripleheader Saturday night from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut (9 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. PT).
“We definitely watched his last fight,” Hawkins said Thursday during a virtual press conference. “And what I seen, you know, is that everyone looks at, you know, his record. … Prior to that fight he was 15-0, with 15 knockouts, this, that and the third. Well, what I seen was that when you actually fight him back, you know, he’s just a B-class or C-class fighter, for real.
“I really think that’s the type of fighter he really is. Like, if you know you going into a fight, how I train, it don’t matter. The person I could be fighting could be 0-20, I’m still gonna treat it like he 20-0.”
The 24-year-old Hawkins prepared for this bout by sparring against WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford, highly touted welterweight contender Jaron Ennis, WBO junior lightweight champ Jamel Herring and former WBO junior welterweight champ Maurice Hooker. After that type of preparation, Hawkins isn’t overly concerned with what Matias might throw at him.
“One thing I do know is he gonna try to come in there and try to bully me and things of that nature, but that’s what I grew up doing,” Hawkins said. “I’m not gonna sit there and let him, you know, beat me at my own game.”
Other than an opponent who made his pro debut against Matias, he knocked out only one undefeated fighter on his way to 15-0. He stopped then-unbeaten Maxim Dadashev, who died from brain trauma suffered during that defeat four days after their July 2019 fight at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
“I really don’t pay attention to someone’s knockout ratio and things of that nature,” Hawkins said. “Yeah, so what? He got 15 knockouts in 15 fights, and this, that and the third. Them knockouts didn’t come against no one that fights like me.”
Following Hawkins-Matias, Showtime will air a 12-round, 130-pound WBA elimination match in which Sacramento’s Xavier Martinez (15-0, 11 KOs) will battle Dominican veteran Claudio Marrero (24-4, 17 KOs). In the 12-round main event, Kazakhstan’s Sergey Lipinets (16-1, 12 KOs) and Canada’s Custio Clayton (18-0, 12 KOs) will fight for the vacant IBF interim welterweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.