On Monday, December 19, 2016, Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) and James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) participated in an official press conference to kick off the announcement of their February 25 showdown at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
Dubbed as “The Return”, the bout is a 12-round junior middleweight contest. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets are priced from $29 to $304 and go on sale Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. local time and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations and the AT&T Stadium box office.
Below is what the fighters, promoters and other dais guests had to say at the press conference:
“It’s good to be back. I’ve missed boxing and all I can say right now is that I’m going to bring my best, every day, at every training session. I’ll bring my best here on February 25 to face James Kirkland and hopefully take another victory for Puerto Rico. Thank you to everyone who made this fight happen.”
James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland
“First and foremost, I want to give thanks to God for this opportunity and to my team and the people out there watching and those who will be attending the show. I definitely want to put on a great performance. I didn’t give it my all when I fought Canelo Alvarez. I didn’t prepare the way I needed to but I’m not going to bring any excuses to the table. This fight is to show my team, my fans and everyone who has followed and supported me, that James Kirkland is still in the race. Kirkland is still here to make a stand. Keep my name alive, please attend and watch it come February 25. It’s going to be a war.”
Michael Yormark – Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy
“One of Roc Nation’s core philosophies has always been to do things differently. When we began planning this event we took those words seriously, and partnered with the Dallas Cowboys organization to host the first professional sporting event at this facility, Ford Center at the Star. And what an epic event it will be, because returning to the ring for the first time in 15 months, will be Puerto Rican legend and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto. On February 25, Miguel will face off against the extremely dangerous James Kirkland, in what is sure to be an all-action fight that will thrill mainstream fans as well as boxing purists alike.
“This matchup will be one that sports fans simply cannot afford to miss. With Miguel’s return for his tenth Pay-Per-View fight, he is looking to cement his legacy as one of the greatest fighters in boxing history, a man that will fight anyone, anytime, no matter what. Meanwhile, Kirkland has the power and ability to end Cotto’s return with one punch as he continues to electrify the sport with his captivating, action-packed style, and enters this fight in search of a signature win to boost him to true contender status.
“I want to applaud Jerry Jones and the Cowboys’ vision in bringing a world class boxing event to Ford Center. This magnificent facility was built to host epic global events, and I am confident that on February 25 this venue will provide a unique and iconic setting for an action-packed bout.
“At Roc Nation, we are honored to be a part of this event, and are confident that February 25 will be a night that captivates the sporting world and alters the boxing landscape. For both men, much is at stake, and Roc Nation is thrilled to be the promoter that will deliver this event to a global audience.”
Jerry Jones – Owner, President & General Manager, Dallas Cowboys
“I’m really proud to be standing here today. When we thought about The Star, the Ford Center – this event center that we have here – the dream was to have a partner like we have with the city of Frisco and the education department of this area, and to join them in doing everything that we could to enhance the amateur sports experience for young people. We want Frisco to be an example so the visibility of what we do here is a big deal.
“This is very propitious to be here right now because we are, at this junction, having a great year. We have a lot of attention, right now. We have the nation interested in sports and interested in football, and they’ve got their eyes on us. Our dream when we built AT&T Stadium was for it to become a familiarity when it comes to sports, to be something like Madison Square Garden. To play and compete at Madison Square Garden is something. I feel the same way about The Star. Consequently, that’s a long winded way of saying, for us to have Miguel Cotto open our initial professional effort here at The Star is really a dream come true. I know him to be a competitor, I saw his fight with Canelo Alvarez and I know what a gamer he is.
“I must again mention that the capability of this building was meant to be versatile for all types of sports and entertainment events. I want to thank our partners the city of Frisco and the independent school district partnership. It’s energetic how exciting amateur athletics and the high school experience can be, and to interject that and join it at the hip with Miguel Cotto and have him and his accomplishments walk out there.
“We’re honored to partner with Roc Nation Sports. We’re proud to be JAY Z’s partner and we are proud of the group of athletes that he has put together. They mean business and they want their athletes to be as professional as the very sport that they represent so this is a ground breaking announcement from that stand point.
“We have 510,000 square feet in this building and we expect there to be over 10,000 people here to watch this fight. We’re look forward to a big fight. I admire these athletes–they are out there with no one else with them in that ring and they are giving everything that they have. We are honored that they are opening up the first professional event at The Star.”
Hector Soto – Vice President, Miguel Cotto Promotions
“I’m happy to be here at this field. Thank you to our partner Roc Nation Sports, Mr. Jerry Jones, Corona Extra and HBO Pay-Per-View for putting this event together. Thank you to James Kirkland’s team for accepting this challenge. Miguel Cotto is back in the ring for his return on February 25. I invite all of the Latinos and all of the boxing fans in Dallas to come out and support this fight. It will be a great show.”
Ann Wolfe – Trainer of James Kirkland
“I know everyone knows that I’m not one for all of the talking, even the sh*t talking or whatever. Every time that Miguel Cotto has entered the ring, I rooted for him to win. Every time that James Kirkland has entered the ring, even when I wasn’t there, I rooted for him to win. This is going to be the first time that that I won’t be rooting for Miguel to win. Now, a lot of people are saying this shouldn’t be Pay-Per-View. Bullsh*t, this should be Pay-Per-View because you know that if I’m with James, he is going to fight. Regardless of who Cotto is with, he is going to fight. So I’m telling you that it’s going to be a good fight. Somebody is going to get knocked out. So, come and see who it’s going to be.”
Cotto vs. Kirkland is a 12-round junior middleweight fight presented by Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions and Ford Center at The Star, and is sponsored by Corona Extra.