World Boxing Association (WBA) Super Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto, two-division World Champion Ricardo Mayorga and Cotto’s trainer, Emanuel Steward, participated in a national media conference call to discuss the upcoming, highly-anticipated world championship event on Saturday, March 12th. Check out quotes from the call this afternoon as both sides had plenty to say about one another.
Cotto, the Pride of Puerto Rico, will defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight title against two-division world champion Mayorga in the main event.
Cotto, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, has held a world title every year since 2004 and has won 15 of the 17 world championship bouts he has fought. Mayorga, of Managua, Nicaragua, is known for his reckless abandon and fearlessness inside the ring – a style of fighting that has produced 23 knockouts out of his 29 victories and legions of fans.
The event also marks the first time in five years that Hall of Fame promoters Bob Arum and Don King have joined forces for a promotion. On Thursday at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT both promoters will host their own conference call.
“I don’t care what he (Mayorga) is saying about me. He’s always going to be talking but, as everyone knows, the fight starts when you enter the ring and that’s where I’m going to win the fight; in the ring.”
Mayorga’s been known to be able to take a punch. Where do you plan to take this fight?
“I’m going everywhere. I’m going to the body. I’m going upstairs. I just want to give the fans the best fight possible. I just want to prepare to give the fans the best fight possible.
“I never make any excuses; and the same thing with this fight. I’m coming and I’m going to be prepared for what I need to do to win.
“I feel like I’ve had a great career. It’s been very productive. I know it’s near the end of it, but I feel like it’s the beginning. I feel great and I feel like I have a lot left in me before I go.”
Do you see this being an easy fight if you execute your game plan?
“Every fight is easy, no? We are preparing for whatever type of Mayorga we see this night. I’m going to capitalize on any type of mistake he makes on this night.
“I feel so much better with my movement now in 2011 than I did back in 2008 and 2009. I’m pretty happy with the way I’m training now. My fans know that Miguel Cotto always comes to fight and always puts on a show.
“I’ve prepared the best I can and I’ve done my preparation, so now we will find out in the ring.
“I’m always motivated when I go into the ring. The last 10 years I’ve felt exactly the same way. I know what stage of my career I’m in and I know that it’s important to be at my best at this time.
“It’s 11 days from the fight and I’m ready. I’m just putting the final preparations in my training. It’s going to be a great night for all of boxing on March 12.”
“I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I feel like I’ve had the best camp of my career. I feel so disciplined for this fight that I’d fight tomorrow if I had to.
“If there are any doubters out there who don’t believe that I’m in the best shape of my life, I’m willing to make myself available for a public exhibit to show my weight on Monday in L.A. I’m at weight and I will show anyone.”
Miguel Cotto and Emanuel Steward are both predicting a knockout within four rounds. How do you respond?
“They’re both clowns and they’re both failures and I will prove that they are both failures. That’s how I respond to that.
“This is the fight where I’m going to impose my will so much so that – because I want that fight so bad with (Manny) Pacquiao – that if I don’t beat Cotto by knockout and I happen to beat him by decision then I don’t feel like I’m deserving of a fight with Pacquiao. So that’s how strongly I feel I’m going to win this fight.
“Manny is a human being just like everyone else. He’s not invincible like God. The advantage he has is that when people step into the ring with him they fight with fear and they are very tentative. I would not come in with any fear and would not be tentative.
“When I knock out Manny Pacquiao I will become the most famous fighter of all time. So that’s what I want and am working for.”
Why did you have such a long layoff of almost two years after your fight with Mosley?
“Before my fight with Trinidad I was in a real bad car accident and not a lot of people knew that in the press here in the United States. Not only did I fight that Trinidad fight but also the Mosley fight with that spinal injury. And I took those two years off to heal and get better.
“I plan to step on the scales on March 11 at the weigh-in with a plate of Puerto Rican food to show Miguel that I’m in the best shape of my life.
“I really can’t care at all what other people think and that if I’m deserving of a title shot. All I care about is taking full advantage of it and crowning myself world champion for the fourth time.
“I don’t think Cotto will be the toughest puncher I’ve ever faced. Every time he gets into trouble or his mettle gets tested, he goes backwards. That’s been very consistent in the fights he has lost. And he has not been hit harder than I will hit him. Not even against Margarito. I’ll hit him harder than that.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Emanuel Steward is a failure in this boxing business. He’s had some sort of fame and been very lucky in his career because he helped a very famous name back in the day. That’s how he grabbed some sort of attention and fame. But how sad for Cotto to change his style and try to change his boxing game at this late stage of his career. It’s only going to mess him up and play into my favor.
“I know I’m going to have to run all over the ring. I know he’s going to have skates on with some turbos and he’s going to be running all night long and I’m going to have to chase him down.
“My immediate goals are to knock out Cotto and then to fight and knock out Pacquiao. I’m 37 years old and also thinking about retirement. I will move on and let the younger guys have a shot just like the older guys did for me when I was coming up.
“A final message to Miguel Cotto: After I retire him from boxing I have spoken to Ricky Martin’s camp and they say they have an opening for him and that he can work for Ricky Martin.”
EMANUEL STEWARD, Cotto’s trainer:
“Miguel is a lot faster and has more power this time; more so than the last fight. Particularly his speed this time has impressed me a lot more.”
What is the secret to beating Mayorga?
“Mayorga is very physically and mentally strong and a very unorganized fighter which makes it very difficult to lay out a game plan and strategy the way it was fighting Yuri Foreman, which was to cut down the ring and take the space away from Yuri. With Mayorga, you have to have two or three plans. Whenever you fight a kamikaze fighter like him it’s always dangerous. He’s always going for the home run, so you never know when you’ll be fortunate enough to land a punch. So you have to respect that and have to be prepared to out-box him and not let him start bullying you. You may have to change up. I think the key to victory though will be short punches whether it be jabs, or left hooks or right hands. But Mayorga has to have swinging room. But it’s fortunate that Miguel is one of the best short-distance punchers I have ever worked with and who we’ve ever had in this sport. So I think the key is the short, accurate punches. The final round of his fights with both Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley was basically where he was knocked out with short punches and not with long punches.
“Miguel is in great shape if the fight has to go one round or 12 rounds. I just don’t see it being a boring fight. That’s the one thing I know for sure. We expect a very crazy fight as long as it lasts.
“No one’s ever had an easy time with Mayorga. That’s been with all the greats he’s been in there with like Trinidad, Mosley and De La Hoya. Miguel has been punching with both hands really well, especially now that his right shoulder is fully healed. I personally don’t see this fight going more than four rounds. I know (Mayorga’s) predicting he will win within four rounds but I just don’t see Mayorga lasting that long with the accuracy of his punches which only means it’s going to be a very exciting and explosive fight.
“I’ve been surprised by the progress. I’m really trying to get Miguel to go back and be the fighter he used to be. As an amateur fighter he was a brilliant boxer-puncher. Just a couple weeks ago, I saw something on YouTube and he looked like a miniature Sugar Ray Leonard. He said to me, ‘Steward, you don’t have to say too much. It’s just that I got so strong I kind of got away from my boxing skills.’ He’s very intelligent, like so many of boxing’s superstars.”