NEW YORK – John Bauza questioned Richardson Hitchins’ heart, power, professional record and path to the 2016 Summer Olympics during a feisty, lengthy exchange that was part of a press conference Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

If their 10-round junior welterweight fight is nearly as entertaining as their trash talk, the unbeaten boxers might steal the show Saturday night on the Amanda Serrano-Erika Cruz undercard at MSG’s Hulu Theater. Caesars Sportsbook lists Hitchins as a 10-1 favorite, but Bauza predicted that the unbeaten Brooklyn native will run and hold him in the first 10-round fight of Bauza’s career.

Hitchins, 25, and Bauza, 24, have sparred against one another on numerous occasions. Neither fighter has a high knockout ratio, yet both boxers expect to hurt his opponent.

“I got heart,” Bauza told Hitchins. “You got no heart. All you do is run. Stand and fight.”

Brooklyn’s Hitchins (15-0, 7 KOs) reminded Bauza that he stopped another Puerto Rican opponent, Yomar Alamo, after the eighth round of his last fight. Bauza claimed Alamo (20-2-1, 12 KOs) had just three weeks to prepare for that 10-round fight November 12 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.

“I got no power,” an incredulous Hitchins said, “but Alamo never been knocked out, was ranked number five for the world title and I stopped him.”

Bauza believes Hitchins is nervous about their bout because he felt Bauza’s power in sparring, even while wearing headgear and gloves with twice as much padding than they’ll wear Saturday night.

Bauza (17-0, 7 KOs) has knocked out only 41 percent of his opponents in professional fights. He still feels he hits harder than Hitchins, who has won each of his last two bouts by TKO after going the 10-round distance in all of his four prior appearances.

The left-handed Bauza, of North Bergen, New Jersey, will fight for the first time since he out-pointed Canada’s Tony Luis (29-6, 10 KOs) unanimously in their eight-rounder last March 19 at Hulu Theater. Bauza parted ways with promoter Top Rank Inc. after he defeated Luis, but beating Hitchins would make him a more marketable commodity.

He intends to stop the developing Hitchins from moving into position to secure a 140-pound title shot by late this year or early in 2024.

“You’re scared,” Bauza said. “Look at you. That’s why you talk so much, you’re scared. … You’re nobody. You haven’t done sh!t.”

Hitchins, who is promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, dared Bauza to pressure him in one of three fights DAZN will stream before Serrano (43-2-1, 30 KOs) encounters Cruz (15-1, 3 KOs) in a 10-round, 126-pound title unification fight (8 p.m. ET; 5 p.m. PT).

“We’ll see,” Bauza said. “You’re gonna be running, like a bitch. And I’m gonna be right there, like a shark, just f------ going at it.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.