CAGUAS, Puerto Rico(May 23, 2005) - The three major 140-pound world champions will be defending their titles this summer, beginning June 4, when IBF champion Kostya Tszyu takes on Ricky Hatton.
The following week, Saturday, June 11, undefeated WBO junior welterweight champion Miguel Cotto (23-0 19 KOs) from Caguas, Puerto Rico, makes his Madison Square Garden debut, defending his title in a rematch against his nemesis and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Muhammad Abdullaev (15-1 12 KOs), a native of Uzbekistan now living in Germany, and the last man to defeat Cotto - at the 2000 Olympics. Promoted by Top Rank, Cotto vs. Abdullaev will be televised live nationally on HBO's "Boxing After Dark," beginning at 10 P.M. ET / 10 P.M. PT (Delayed on the West Coast.)
This marks the first time in its nine year history that "Boxing After Dark" has ever played the big arena at Madison Square Garden, a true testament to the popularity and drawing power of Cotto. The telecast will open with a WBA lightweight title elimination bout between former world champion and 1992 Olympic gold medalist Joel Casamayor, 31-3 (19 KOs), originally from Cuba but now residing in Miramar, Florida, against 2000 Olympian, undefeated "Kid Diamond" (aka Almazbek Raiymkulov), 20-0 (12 KOs), a native of Kyrgystan and a resident of Las Vegas.
Cotto took a few minutes from his training camp, in Caguas, Puerto Rico and offered the following analysis on Tszyu-Hatton
ABOUT THE FIGHT...
"It is a one-sided fight. Tszyu should win easily before the seventh round. Tszyu is too strong and has too much experience for Hatton. Tszyu has also fought a higher caliber of opposition. "
TSZYU WINS IF...
"Tszyu needs to pressure Hatton and look to land his big right-hand. His power should be the decisive factor in this fight. "
HATTON WINS IF...
"Hatton needs to prove that he can take Tszyu's punch. He has to have the power to keep Tszyu away from him so he can land some shots of his own."
HOW WOULD YOU FIGHT TSZYU?
"I would box him and counter his right hand, but I would also be aggressive at strategic times to keep him off and not give him too much time to think."
HOW WOULD YOU FIGHT HATTON?
"I would be patient and look for my shots. To keep him off balance, I would mix it up by staying back some and then being aggressive at other times."