Michael Rosenthal

Mayorga has big plans to go with big mouth

Ricardo Mayorga took time out from his training for his fight against future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto to call out Manny Pacquiao.

“This is the fight,” he said on a conference call Tuesday, “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.”

Mayorga, who fights Cotto on March 12 in Las Vegas on pay-per-view TV, will always talk a good game. That’s one reason the 37-year-old from Nicaragua remains an attractive opponent even though he’s 4-4 in his last eight fights.

altCotto certainly isn’t fazed.

“I don’t care what he (Mayorga) is saying about me,” said Cotto, who will be defending his 154-pound title. “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.”

Injury? Mayorga was asked on the conference call why he didn’t fight for more than two years after he was stopped my Shane Mosley in 2008.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Mayorga has fought once since returning, knocking out Michael Walker in nine rounds in December.

How do you beat Mayorga? Emanuel Steward, Cotto’s trainer, explained how you approach a fighter with a style as unorthodox as Mayorga’s.

““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,” Steward said. “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. …

 “No one’s ever had an easy time with Mayorga. That’s been with all the greats he’s been in there with like (Felix) 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.”

Steward has been pleased with Cotto’s work in the gym.

“I’ve been surprised by the progress,” he said. “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.”


Photo / Chris Farina-Top Rank

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