NEW YORK — Moments before taking Mexican challenger Juan Carlos Burgos through Wednesday’s open media workout at the Kingsway Gym, the fighter’s trainer and manager provided a swift preview of how he expects Burgos to perform against Puerto Rican WBO junior lightweight beltholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez in Saturday night’s HBO-televised clash in The Theatre at Madison Square Garden.
While acknowledging skills in Martinez (26-1-1, 16 knockouts) that have the 29-year-old pursuing his third straight victory, Espinoza expressed confidence that the 25-year-old Burgos (30-1, 20 KOs) will win his sixth straight fight, and his third by knockout during that run.
Martinez-Burgos will take place on a card featuring Philadelphia-based junior middleweight contender Gabriel Rosado (21-5, 13 KOs) in pursuit of his eighth straight triumph and his sixth stoppage win during that run against Kazakhstan-born WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin (24-0, 21 KOs), who will be after his 12th consecutive knockout.
Promoted by Top Rank as well as the K2 Promotions, Martinez-Burgos leads off the televised portion of a card whose main event matches featherweight contender Mikey Garcia (30-0, 26 KOs) and WBO beltholder Orlando Salido.(39-11-2, 27 KOs) in a clash of Mexicans.
During an interview translated by Alex Camponova, Espinoza kept his opinion short and sweet, just like he expects the fight to go — in favor of Burgos.
Gerardo Espinoza: Our training has been really, really good, and we’re extra prepared to beat this guy.
RingTV.com: Can you compare their styles?
GE: Our advantage is movement. Burgos can box. He’s the boxer. But he wants to explode inside of the ring. We want to knock Martinez out. This is the time to do it.
We want this to be Burgos’ showcase night. Nobody has knocked him out, and we want Burgos to be the one to do it. So, it’s important for him to go out and to try to hurt this guy. Early.
RingTV.com: Will he be satisfied with a decision?
GE: Well if things don’t go that way, and we don’t get the knockout, and we have to box, then he’ll box all night.
RingTV.com: How do you believe that the fight will go?
GE: I think that the inside fighting will do it. We’ll eventually have to go toe-to-toe with him to knock him out. We know that Burgos has got great strength and power, so I think we can do very well on the inside.
RingTV.com: No testing or feeling out rounds?
GE: We’re going to go after him from the get-go. We’re not going to go in there to look pretty. We’re going to go in there to fight. Now, if it goes more than five or six rounds, then we’re going to start boxing. But we’re going to go after him early.
RingTV.com: Do you have a prediction for what round it will end in?
GE: You never go and tell a guy to go out and get a knockout in a certain round, but I think that pressure is going to be the key. We’re here to go looking for a fight.
RingTV.com: What does Martinez do well?
GE: The most important thing about Martinez is how much punishment he takes and how much he can take inside the ring. It’s pretty amazing to see he can take so many blows, and he’s still there.
He fights you back. He’s got good stamina in that sense. It might not be an attribute to some athletes, but to him, it is. That’s how he out-lasts some guys.
RingTV.com: Has Burgos faced anyone better than Martinez?
But Martinez is the champion, and you can’t disrespect him for that reason. He’s a champion for a reason, and we’ve got to go after him to get that belt.
Photo by Harry How, Getty Images
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com