LAS VEGAS – A fight nearly broke out between undefeated cruiserweights Andrew “The Beast”Tabiti and Keith “Machine Gun” Tapia at Thursday’s weigh-in for the ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader tomorrow, May 13, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Sam’s Town Live. Photos by Stephanie Trapp.
As the boxers approached each other for the traditional face-off photo after weighing in, words were exchanged, Tapia antagonized Tabiti, prompting him to shove Tapia. It was chaos on the Ponderosa Room stage at Sam’s Town for a couple of minutes afterward until order was restored.
Talented Mayweather Promotions star Tabiti (12-0, 11 KOs), of Las Vegas, and power-puncher Tapia (17-0, 11 KOs), of Bronx N.Y, will take their frustrations out on each other in the ShoBox main event.
In the semi-main -- also featuring undefeated cruiserweights -- 2012 U.S. Olympian, Michael Hunter (11-0, 8 KOs), of Las Vegas, faces Isiah Thomas (15-0, 6 KOs), of Detroit.
Other televised fights: TMT’s Ronald “The Thrill” Gavril (15-1, 11 KOs), of Las Vegas, will clash with hard-punching Colombian Juan Camilo “La Boa” Novoa (25-6-1, 23 KOs) in a 10-round super middleweight bout and his TMT stablemate, Sanjarbek “War” Rakhmanov (4-0, 3 KOs), of Las Vegas by way of Uzbekistan, will be opposed by Alfonso Olvera (7-2, 3 KOs), of Tucson, Ariz., in a six-round super lightweight match that will open the telecast. All but Gavril will be making their ShoBox debuts.
Tickets for the event promoted by Mayweather Promotions are priced at $25 and $50, not including applicable fees, and are on sale. Tickets can be purchased online at www.samstownlv.com/entertain, by calling (702) 284-7777, or at any Boyd Gaming box office.
The eight fighters made weight on their first attempts.
Tabiti: 193¾ pounds
Tapia: 194¾ pounds
Hunter: 193¾ pounds
Thomas: 200 pounds
Gavril: 166½ pounds
Novoa: 166½ pounds
Rakhmanov: 142¾ pounds
Olvera: 141½ pounds
What the fighters said before Thursday’s weigh-in:
“This is my first time on ShoBox and I’m very excited about it. It’s an amazing opportunity. I’m looking forward to showing how all the hard work I put in pays off.
“I really want this bad. This is the chance for me to prove I can win and take the next step.
“All I want to do is win. All I think about is winning. That’s why I work so very hard in the gym. This is a big fight, the moment of my career I’ve been waiting for. There’s no pressure. I believe in myself that I can win this and prove I am able to take the next step.
“Tapia is a full-fledged cruiserweight, he’s undefeated and fought some experienced guys but I’ll probably be the best he’s fought so far. No, it should not be easy. I think he gets a little reckless, though, and that’s where I can take advantage. I’m smarter than him. I’ll probably be the best he’s fought he’s fought.
“I know what’s at stake here, that’s why I work so hard. People think I am mostly a counter-puncher but I can bang and be the aggressor, as long I as am smart about it. Patience is a key for me in this one.’’
“All four of us cruiserweights have a lot to prove on Friday. I know I’m looking forward to putting the cruiserweight division back on the map. I think I can make a difference, too.
“I’m more of an exciting fighter, had a solid amateur career, I am able to adjust and can go both ways. I switch to lefty just to keep them guessing. I can box or slug. I’m blessed with the ability to do so many things in different categories. I don’t believe the other cruiserweights have as many categories to go by.
“For sure, I’ll definitely be the aggressor and plan to take it to Tabiti. I want to make him fight. I love to fight and love people that come to fight. I’m explosive and will go for it. Tabiti is more relaxed. He has a big right hand we are very aware of, but we’ve worked on it. I know his tendencies, watched a lot of film.
“We’re fighting a guy in his hometown. I know the fans won’t be rooting for me and I’m stepping into the lion’s den. But I love the challenge; everything against me, my back up against the wall. I always know I have to do a little extra. I do not believe in leaving it in the judges’ hands.
“I’m blessed to get this opportunity, one I’ve waiting for a long time. It’s like a dream come true. I’m not gonna wait on him. I will force him to fight, but I have to be smart about it. I’m only 25, not even in my prime.
“There’s a heat wave coming to Vegas’ maybe they’re talking about me because I’m going to be bad weather for Tabiti. He’s not going to know what hit him.’’