Now just ten days out, WBA junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto is making final preparations for his HBO Pay Per View-televised defense against WBC welterweight beltholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Mayweather (42-0, 26 knockouts) is after his eighth major belt over five weight classes against Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs), a three-division champion who has scored consecutive stoppage victories over ex-titleholders Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga and Antonio Margarito since his WBO welterweight crown was taken by Manny Pacquiao via 12th-round knockout in November of 2009.
Perhaps Cotto’s greatest victory was a unanimous decision over Shane Mosley in November of 2007. But in the three fights since that, Cotto’s face and psyche suffered severe punishment during knockout losses to Margarito and Pacquiao, as well as a difficult split-decision win over Joshua Clottey in June of 2009.
But Cotto seems to be revitalized after getting his revenge in December’s 10th-round stoppage of Margarito, his first fight under trainer Pedro Diaz. A man with a PhD in Pedagogical Sciences and an ex-university professor in sports science, Diaz appears to have helped Cotto, mentally.
The following was taken from a press release distributed by Golden Boy Promotions, the lead promoter of the card whose main event features WBC junior middleweight titlewinner Saul “Canelo” Alvarez opposite Mosley.
Wednesday, April 25
Question for Cotto: Many agree that this will be one of the toughest matches of your career. Does it discourage you when you hear some doubt your prospects of a win? How do you respond to those individuals?
“I think that’s the nature of any competitive sport. You will always have people pulling for the other guy. To me, those that say all that stuff don’t affect me as a fighter. I am not concerned that some commentator somewhere thinks Mayweather will KO me in four rounds, or some blogger thinks this is a waste of a fight, and that Mayweather should be fighting someone else.
“That’s not important and that KO will not happen. At this point in my career, I know what to focus on and what to let go of. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded be a lot of love and support, and those are the people that motivate me. My priority is going out there, fighting the best fight I can and winning.
“If as a boxer, you’re paying attention to odds and bets and all that nonsense, then you’re not in the right sport. None of that is important when you and the other guy step into the ring. The only thing that discourages me is when people got hung up on that stuff. I know what I am capable of, and that’s a win.
“Then people wonder how a loss would affect my career. Look, when I lost to Margarito, I came back and avenged that loss. I come back, I’m a fighter. With this bout though, I’m in the best place I’ve ever been. Training has never been better, so there’s no doubt I will emerge the winner. You can count on it.”
Photos by Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org