Carlos Cuadras makes a strong case for why he's worthy of a $1-million purse once he can get Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez back in the ring.
Cuadras and Gonzalez produced a fight-of-the-year candidate in September at the Forum when the Nicaraguan (46-0, 38 knockouts) edged Cuadras (35-1-1) by unanimous decision.
Along with his action-packed fighting skill, Cuadras, an ever-smiling former super-flyweight world champion from Mexico, brings the verbal and promotional wizardry to help build anticipation for a second meeting with Gonzalez, who's in the discussion for top pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
On Saturday night's HBO pay-per-view card at Madison Square Garden headlined by the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs middleweight title bout, Gonzalez will meet his World Boxing Council mandatory opponent Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (41-4-1, 38 KOs) in the co-main event. Cuadras will fight David Carmona on the same card.
"I'm waiting for 'Chocolatito,' that's all I'm doing," Cuadras said in comments translated from Spanish. "I want this rematch. And he's scared. He's giving excuses and trying to avoid the rematch. I'm ready for the rematch and I want to knock him out."
Gonzalez, meanwhile, is playing a masterful straight man as he moves in on tying Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s 49-0.
Asked if he's pleased to have an antagonist to boost interest in his bouts, "Chocolatito" on Thursday said: "No. Maybe that's why Cuadras promotes. But that's not the way I believe you should promote it."
The sting of Wednesday's news conference was still fresh, however, when Cuadras handed Gonzalez a boxed-up Barbie doll and told the champion, "Stop playing with dolls and fighting dolls. When you're ready to fight a man, talk to me, I'm the man."
Cuadras laughed heartily Thursday while showing how someone had framed the scene in an Instagram post, headlining it, "Thug Life."
"I knew by doing what I did that everyone would be entertained. I want people to see how I am naturally," Cuadras said.
Said Gonzalez: "I don't pay any attention to that."
Gonzalez, whose seriousness Thursday might've also been connected to the discomfort of remaining at 115 pounds with his Friday morning weigh-in looming, said he believes there'll be more interest in the rematch by extending the wait with another showcase of their talents.
"Rivals have different types of techniques," Gonzalez said. "Whenever we fight, I'll be prepared to give a good fight."
Said Cuadras: "Hopefully, people will see us both win. They've already seen the fight we had, so they know what we can do.
"This will bring more attention to the rematch. We want to make it to the $1-million purse … if Gennady can make millions, can we get $1 million? We give more action and entertainment in the lower weights than the heavier guys."
Fight promoter Tom Loeffler knows no 115-pounders have earned a $1-million purse since Michael Carbajal and Humberto "Chiquito" Gonzalez both did in the early 1990s.
"There'll certainly be a lot more interest in the rematch -- $1 million is still a little bit of a stretch, but if there's a way to make it work, we will try to find it," said Loeffler. "If they both win their tough fights, it will be a lot bigger than going straight into a rematch. That seems like a West Coast fight, a standalone."
Cuadras said he's committed to doing his part.
"I intend to knock out Carmona and make a statement," he said. "I'm not looking past Carmona, but my focus is on 'Chocolatito.' I have to win."
Who: Gennady Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) vs. Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) for Golovkin's WBA, IBF, WBC middleweight belts
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
Television: HBO pay-per-view, $54.95
When: Saturday, pay-per-view portion begins at 6 p.m.
Undercard: Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez (46-0, 38 KOs) vs. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (41-4-1, 38 KOs) for Gonzalez's WBC super-flyweight belt; Carlos Cuadras (35-1-1, 27 KOs) vs. David Carmona (20-3-5, 8 KOs), super-flyweights; Ryan Martin (17-0, 10 KOs) vs.Bryant Cruz (17-1, 8 KOs), lightweights