Miguel Cotto and the Seven Pound Solution

BY Rick Folstad ON November 28, 2006
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Seven.

Seems to be the magic number here.

Seven stubborn pounds that former WBO junior-welterweight champ Miguel Cotto doesn’t have to lose now that he‘s eating his way up to welterweight.

Seven extra pounds of tasty pasta and grilled fish that Cotto can put away at dinner without losing sleep or feeling like he has to run an extra five miles.

Seven more pounds of wallop Cotto will be packing when he climbs through the ropes as a welterweight on fight night against Carlos Quintana.

Seven more pounds of punch he’s going to feel when Quintana lands a clean left hand.

Yeah. The junior-welterweight division is a thing of the past for Cotto, a fond memory, a dead issue.

Cotto has already said his goodbyes to the division, departed amiably, though you know he was glad to finally walk away from 140 pounds.

I’m pretty sure he didn’t look back over his shoulder as he left, didn’t give the junior-welterweight division one last sentimental wave good-bye. No farewell speech.

“All I can tell you is, I was having problems making 140 pounds,” Cotto (27-0, 22 KOs) said on a recent conference call promoting Saturday night’s fight with Quintana (23-0, 18 KOs) for the vacant WBA welterweight title in Atlantic City (SHOWTIME) “ I feel great at 147 and I never see myself going anywhere but 147.”

Wait a minute, Miguel. You won’t be dropping back down to 140 pounds if things don’t go quite as well as expected on Saturday night?

“No.”

Okay. Gotcha. Welterweight it is.

For now.

“I’m happy I don’t have to lose that last seven pounds that I always had to for 140 pounds,” Cotto said. “I think moving up (to 147) will make me a much better fighter.”

We know it will make him a happier fighter and a heavier fighter.

Quintana, meanwhile, has been at home at welterweight for most of his adult life. He’s comfortable there, spent a lot of time at work and at play as a 147-pounder.

“Being a welterweight all my life has been good for me,“ he said on the same conference call. “When Cotto moves up, it will be good for him, too. But when I beat him, it will probably be because of my quality as a boxer and not necessarily because he came up to the welterweight division.”

We’ll see.

As for Cotto, he didn’t exactly choose Willie Getup for his welterweight debut. Instead of slipping into the division quietly and carefully, maybe with an easy tune-up fight just to get his feet wet, he dove in head first, attacking the division with reckless abandon.

His first fight at 147 pounds is for a world title against an undefeated fighter who is a natural welterweight and just happens to be a southpaw.

Wasn’t there anyone else out there? Anyone check the yellow pages?

And Quintana comes from Puerto Rico, the same country as Cotto. Home field advantage?

None.

“My whole career has been about facing these kinds of challenges,“ Cotto said when quizzed as to why he didn’t bother with a tune-up but went straight to Quintana. “One of my first early fights was against a world champion. A lot of people did not expect me to beat him, but I did. My career is like that. I expect challenges. If I did not think I was capable of winning this fight, I would not be here.”

All 147 pounds of him.

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