Peter Quillin will defend his WBO middleweight world title on Saturday night in Washington, D.C., opening up a Showtime Championship Boxing triple-header at 9:30 pm EDT, facing Lukas Konecny.
Konecny (50-4, 23 KO) is a veteran fighter and former European champion at 154 pounds, but few see him as a threat to Quillin (30-0, 22 KO), and he's also got little name value in the United States. Quillin jokingly addressed what he knows about his 35-year-old challenger.
"What do I know about my opponent? I know he's bald and that he's from the Czech Republic," Quillin said at Wednesday's media workout. "I also know he has a white hat on today and that he didn't want to say 'hello' to me."
Konecny repeated what he's said in other interviews leading up to the fight, that he believes the 30-year-old Quillin is not a great champion at 160 pounds.
"I expect a first class fight," he said. "He's a good champion but not a great one. I want to take the belt home with me."
Konecny added, "I'm training twice a day, like I've done for over 20 years. I've got a lot of experience. I've been wathcing his fights with my trainer and I think we have a great plan."
On his own training, Quillin said, "I trained superbly for this fight. I know I have a lot riding on me, and that doesn't discourage me. I just know that I have to work hard, and stay focused, hungry, and motivated, and stay inspirational to my fans. That's what it's all about."
Favored by as much as 16-to-1 odds, Quillin is just keeping his eyes on the prize when it comes to this fight, and looking to impress in this one and move on to the next one.
"I've been in there working on my ability and showing what I can do. Nobody can beat me," he said.
"This is a business, and when you get out of the ring, you're going to get your check. There's nothing emotionally involved in that. I just know that I'm coming here to handle business.
Welterweight prospect Sadam Ali (18-0, 11 KO) will be facing veteran Michael Clark (44-9-1, 18 KO) in a bout scheduled for 10 rounds. The 40-year-old Clark was knocked out in 2:27 in his last fight against Edgar Santana, which came in November 2013.
"I know my opponent has a lot of experience. He's a veteran," Ali said. "I know I've learned from him, and he's a good fighter. I'm not underestimating anybody. I'm training hard, and I'm just ready to go out there and do what I do."
The 25-year-old Ali, a Brooklyn native and 2008 Olympian, said he's got no specific plan going into the fight.
"I don't really have a game plan for anybody," he said. "Once I see what kind of style they have, I know what to do right away. I don't have to know who I'm fighting months before. It could be a week before my fight, and I find out who I'm fighting and I know what to do."
Another former Olympian in action is light heavyweight Marcus Browne, who competed for the U.S. at London 2012. Browne (9-0, 7 KO) has been impressive thus far as a pro, and will now face crafty veteran Otis Griffin (24-15-2, 10 KO), a 36-year-old who has settled into a role as a prospect checker, giving young fighters another key test.
Griffin has lost nine of his last ten, though, and Browne will be expected to get through with flying colors. The Staten Island native credits main event fighter Bernard Hopkins as a teacher.
"Bernard is a legend in my weight class, and it's just like going to school," he said. "I have my fight of course and I take care of business, and then I go and take notes and learn what I can learn from the greats."
The 23-year-old Browne says he's also excited to fight for the first time in the nation's capital.
"My professional debut and my second fight were in California. But getting to fight in D.C. is great," he said. "I get to show my talent here and that's a beautiful thing. It's not right around the corner, but it's like being down the block from New York City. This is a boxing town. So I just want to go out there and do what I have to do and look impressive."
Junior welterweight Zachary Ochoa (6-0, 3 KO) will face Hector Marengo (6-7-4, 4 KO) in a bout scheduled for six rounds. A native Puerto Rican, Ochoa, 21, now fights out of Brooklyn, and says he's prepared for his next step.
"Training has been going good. It's an honor for me to be fighting here on Bernard Hopkins' undercard on Saturday," Ochoa said. "It's been great, we work hard like we always do and I can't wait to fight on Saturday. I know I have a tough opponent, but it's my time to show the world what I've got."
He continued, "We've been doing things like we always do. We stick to the game plan. I'm not going to say too much, but we do what we do. We work hard. We make sure we're always in good shape, and we have a game plan that we're going to stick to and do what we've got to do."
A pair of local fighters will also be on the bill. 21-year-old super middleweight prospect D'Mitrius Ballard (4-0, 3 KO) will face Quincy Miner (3-5, 0 KO), and lightweight Lamont Roach will be making his pro debut against Victor Galindo (1-3, 1 KO), both four round bouts.
"I know that my opponent is from Kansas City, but I don't know too much about his style," Ballard said. "I know that he is a southpaw so I'm working on that. I've just been working my way through my punches so they're ready."
"It feels great to make my professional debut. I'm ready," said Roach. "Puerto Ricans are very good fighters, so we'll see what my opponent has to bring to the table."
Middleweight Dominic Wade (14-0, 10 KO) will also fight on Saturday, facing Marcus Upshaw (15-11-2, 7 KO) in an eight-round fight.