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.
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 cruiserweight main event.
In the co-main event—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 stakes 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.’’
“This is like an unofficial mini tournament, but for me I just take it one fight at a time. I’m here, now, this is the moment and I am concentrating on only this. My career has gone all sorts of directions, but as long as it’s going up is all that matters.”
“This is a step up for me as far as competition compared to the past, with him being an undefeated cruiserweight. He’s a good, long-ranging southpaw who likes to take his time.”
“We are actually around the same age; we were in the amateurs at the same time, but never fought each other. Friday, I aim to win impressively. I don’t want to say I’m going for the knockout; if it happens it happens, but hopefully we can get it.”
“I like to press the action. If he comes to fight, then it will be a fight. Usually when I press it they can’t keep up with me. We’ll see. We’re here to fight and win, and only win. He likes to be on the ropes but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna find him on the ropes.”
“I’m blessed for getting such a great opportunity like this on ShoBox. It is my time where I can showcase my art and show who I am. This is a tough assignment. I can’t wait.”
“This is wonderful, I’m fulfilling a dream to finally get on ShoBox. We’re all hungry, we all want to take the next step and the best thing is that it’s on television.”
“There are a lot of us in the division looking to make our mark. Not just myself. This is our chance to show that America has good fighters in the cruiserweight division. It’s the perfect showcase and opportunity for all of us up-and-coming American cruiserweight fighters. These are like eliminators fights. The winners move up to the next level.”
“No way I’m looking over Hunter. He’s a tough opponent. I don’t know a lot about him but he has a lot of confidence. I’ve fought tougher but I’m not sure that is an advantage at this point.”
“I’m looking to control the pace. I’ve been putting in the work, feel I’ve gotten more serious in my career and becoming more consistent in the ring.”
“I’m excited to be fighting on ShoBox again. I thought I won my first ShoBox fight; I felt I did enough to win and it bothers me still to lose to a guy should beat. But I learned a lot. I know I have to stay busy and throw a lot of punches. The key for me in this fight is the jab.”
“He’s a good fighter, does a good job. I get a lot of daily competition at the Mayweather gym. I’m looking forward to having this big opportunity again. Many people don’t know who I am so fighting on SHOWTIME will start giving me the exposure and recognition I need.”
“I’m looking forward to what this will bring not only for my future but for all of ours.”
“This is a great opportunity for me and I’ll be giving it my all. My key is to stay on the inside and keep working the body. That is essential to me winning because he’s going to try and stay on the outside.”
“It’s going to be a great fight, the most important fight for me and my career. I have experience and fought more but I have to be smart in the ring against a bigger fighter. I’m ready for the challenge. I want to show the world what I have.”
“For me, it’s better fighting a Mayweather fighter.’’
“I’m on weight now and looking forward to fighting. Mike Tyson is my idol and I fight like him: all aggression. But I’m working on my defense and countering more. But staying short and aggressive is definitely what I’m all about.”
“My trainer Dewey Cooper has done a great job with me, adding technique to my natural aggressive style.”
“I turned pro late, at 25, but feel it’s an advantage. I’m more mature, so a lot of the potential vices of living in Vegas don’t apply to me.”
“I feel ready to fight someone in the top 10. But I know I’m a year away from that so I have to stay patient.”
“Olvera is a strong opponent with a lot of heart. I’m definitely expecting a strong hard fight. I’ve watched Olvera enough to feel I know him. He’s a taller, Mexican guy. I’m looking forward to fighting him. In this fight I want to win and look good and then come right back.’’
“I’ve been working so hard and will do my best to win. I’m fighting another smaller guy. Being taller that means I need to keep busy and not let him set up. I need to change my punches around and set a good pace with a constant jab in his face being the key.”
“My opponent likes to bang and keep on the inside. If he comes in, I’ll fight his way. I can bang on the inside, too. But the deal is to keep him on the end of all my long punches.”
“I’m really strong now. It’s been a process but I feel that I am getting there as a complete boxer. I’m fighting a Mayweather fighter in his backyard so I know I have to put in the work, the punches have to come around and I can’t let him fight his style.’’
“Training camp has been great; I want to thank to all and Mayweather Promotions for this opportunity.’’
Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and former world champion Raúl Márquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
For more information visit www.sports.sho.com and www.mayweatherpromotions.com, follow on Twitter: @FloydMayweather, @MayweatherPromo @SHOSports, @andrewtabiti89, @machine_gun_tapia_, follow on Instagram at: @floydmayweather, @Mayweatherpromotions, @shosports, become a fan on Facebook at:www.facebook.com/