Miguel Cotto doesn’t have a scintillating public persona. The Puerto Rican steamroller is more comfortable letting his ring work speak for him, rather than engaging in Hopkins style trash-talking or staged press conference brawling. But in his own low-key way, in halting but ever improving English, Cotto does give a fightwriter something to work with in our neverending quest to fill space in an informative, entertaining way.
On a conference call to hype his Nov. 10 showdown with Shane Mosley at Madison Square Garden, Cotto (30-0, 25 KOs) put forth a confident aura, as he asserted that Mosley will feel his power in NY, and that he will do anything necessary to insure victory.
The call came a day after Shane’s father and trainer, Jack Mosley, spewed some provocative fodder at Cotto. He called Cotto a dirty fighter, a boxer who always aims for the groin when he gets in trouble. He also insinuated that Cotto or his promoter, Top Rank, had something to do with the release of specifics on Mosley’s use of performance enhancing drugs prior to his 2003 bout with Oscar De La Hoya. Not done there, the elder Mosley said he’s seen fear in Cotto’s eyes, and alleged that the boxer, nine-plus years younger than SSM, is running scared.
Cotto didn’t seem scared on the call, and his promoter, Arum, said that he was giddy when he heard Papa Jack talkin’ smack.
“The comments were music to my ears,” Arum said. “I heard the same music a month ago with Kelly Pavlik before his fight with Jermain Taylor. That’s music to my ears in the case of Emanuel Steward and Jermain Taylor and Jack and Shane. They’re afraid, they knew the kind of fighter Pavlik is. They say those things to demean fighters, to get their fighter more confident. They’re worried…Jack is worried about Shane’s confidence. Shane’s fought a whole host of easy opposition, and I’ve never heard Jack demean an opponent, never before heard Emanuel demean an opponent.”
Cotto answered the dirty fighter charge.
“I’m a fighter,” he said. “I have to do what I have to do to win. I have to do things like in the Judah fight that wasn’t on purpose.” Was or wasn’t, I asked? “It was not on purpose,” he reiterated.
The steroid tipoff scandal is no scandal, Arum then said.
“That’s preposterous,” he said. “That took place a year prior, it was grand jury testimony from a year ago. The idea that we had anything to do with it is absurd.”
Arum said he thinks Shane is a clean fighter, and that he considers the steroid angle a non-issue.
But Cotto, if I didn’t know better, tossed in a sly reference to Shane’s admitted usage of steroids, which he’s said were given to him unknowingly before the second bout with ODLH.
Asked about what his advantages were against Mosley, Cotto said, “I always train pretty good. I go into the fight with my own energy, that’s an advantage I have over Mosley.”
Cotto scored a verbal body blow when he brought up the age thing. Mosley is 36 (he turned on Sept. 7), while Cotto just turned 27 on Monday.
“I was more worried about Zab Judah (than Mosley),” he said. “I don’t think at the age of 36 he can handle Miguel Cotto. Zab was more dangerous than Shane.”
One writer put forth the theory that Mosley is bigger than Cotto, and Cotto put the kibosh on that reasoning.
“Mosley is coming from 135 pounds, I’m coming from 140 pounds, who is bigger here?” he asked rhetorically.
Cotto very nearly admitted that he will target the privates if need be, at one point.
“Whatever it takes to get a win, I will do it,” he said. “This is professional fighting, you do what it takes to win.”
SPEEDBAG Cotto’s list of sparring mates is pretty strong. Henry Crawford, Randall Bailey, Henry Bruseles and Hicklet Lau have been eating left hooks to the body in camp.
–I love Arum’s saltiness. A writer asked three questions on the call in rapid fire, and Arum told his PR man, Lee Samuels, to nix that practice. That’s a pet peeve of mine. One question, sure, two, alright, but anything beyond that is veering toward piggishness. Same goes for getting in queue twice on a call, when you darn well know other writers are waiting to ask a question. Doesn’t matter if someone is from a small paper, or a smaller website…no one writer should think his piece is so much more important than everyone else’s that they monopolize a call. Let’s play nice, people, and give everyone a chance.
–Arum cut off another writer who tried to debate Cotto on the size matter. Cotto said Mosley is coming from 135, not down from 154. The writer didn’t agree and started to speak up, when Arum took out the machete and ended the debate. Salty!