MIGUEL COTTO COULD BE NEXT SPOILER AS PUERTO RICAN
“GAME CHANGERS” NOT UNUSUAL IN SPORT’S HISTORY
Although boxing and betting experts are bestowing their beliefs and bank accounts on a Manny Pacquiao victory over Miguel Cotto on Saturday November 14, Miguel Cotto believes differently and boxing history books tell a different story as there have been many a Puerto Rican fighter—from an island rich in producing infamous boxing champions—who have come in the underdog and walked away with the upset victory. Cotto looks to keep the tradition of these former Puerto Rican fighters alive by doing the same to Pacquiao when they meet in one of the most exciting boxing battles of the year.
March 30, 1965: Jose Torres KO 9 Willie Pastrano, MSG, NYC (Wins world light heavyweight title): Pastrano, a veteran of 82 fights, is dropped by Cus D'Amato protege and 1956 Olympic silver medalist Torres, 34-1-1, in the sixth round, and the fight is stopped between the ninth and 10th. Torres, 28, becomes an instant hero in NYC. Pastrano, 29, never fights again.
November 13, 1965: Carlos Ortiz W 15 Ismael Laguna, San Juan (Regains WBC lightweight title): Seven months earlier, Panamanian speed demon Laguna, 40-2-1, had taken the title from the 28-year-old Ortiz in Panama City. In the rematch, Ortiz, 45-5, stuns the world by negating Laguna's speed and reclaiming the title by unanimous decision. They would fight a rubber match in 1967, with Ortiz winning by unanimous decision in New York City.
March 6, 1976: Wilfred Benitez W 15 (split) Antonio Cervantes, San Juan (Wins WBA junior welterweight title): Puerto Rico's Benitez, 17, becomes the youngest world titlist in history (record still stands) by brilliantly outpointing consummate pro Cervantes, 30, who was making his 11th defense and engaging in his 86th fight. It can be argued that defensive genius Benitez, 26-0, never matched this performance despite going on to win world titles at two additional weights.
November 17, 1972: Esteban DeJesus W 10 Roberto Duran, MSG, NYC (non-title bout): In the first of what would be three epic battles, the 21-year-old DeJesus, 33-1, floors lightweight champion Duran, 31-0, with a left hook in round one and goes on to win a unanimous decision to the delight of the predominantly Puerto Rican crowd at the Garden. Duran would win the second and third bouts, both title fights, by kayo, and DeJesus would go on to win the WBC 135-pound title.
October 28, 1978: Wilfredo Gomez KO 5 Carlos Zarate, Hato Rey, PR (Retains WBC super bantamweight title): The 21-year-old super bantamweight champion Gomez, 21-0-1, shocks the boxing world by crushing Mexico's Zarate, the reigning bantamweight champion who is ranked in the top three on virtually all pound-for-pound lists. It is Gomez's sixth title defense. Zarate was favored because he entered the ring with a barely believable record of 52-0 with 51 kayos. Both fighters struggle to make weight, but Zarate needs four trips to the scale to reduce to 122, and is clearly weakened by the effort.
September 26, 1986: Edwin Rosario KO 2 Livingstone Bramble, Miami Beach (Wins WBA lightweight title): After losing to Hector Camacho in June, Rosario, 28-2, is a significant underdog against the 26-year-old Bramble, 24-1-1, and in his prime after scoring wins over Ray Mancini (twice) and Tyrone Crawley. Rosario, 23, flaunts his crushing kayo power against a fighter with a defense that had been thought to be impenetrable. It is the start of Rosario's second reign as a 135-pound titlist.
September 18, 1999: Felix Trinidad W 12 Oscar De La Hoya, Las Vegas (Retains IBF welterweight title; Wins WBC welterweight title): In a hotly anticipated battle of unbeaten champions and icons, Trinidad and De La Hoya add a significant chapter to the history of Puerto Rico-Mexico (or Mexican-American) battles. The 26-year-old Trinidad, 35-0, rallies in the late rounds, forces De la Hoya to retreat and wins a controversial majority decision.
ABOUT PACQUIAO vs. COTTO
Promoted by Top Rank in association with MP Promotions, Miguel Cotto Promotions, MGM Grand and Tecate, FIRE POWER: PACQUIAO vs. COTTO will take place Saturday, November 14 at the sold out MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines, has won six world titles in as many different weight divisions ranging from 112 to 140 pounds. His performance in 2008 was described as “Henry Armstrongesque,” winning world titles at 130 and 135 pounds with victories over Juan Manuel Marquez and David Diaz, respectively, and knocking out and retiring Oscar De La Hoya at 147 pounds to complete the trifecta. This year, he picked up where he left off last year – winning another world title in a new weight division – by dealing defending junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton a one-punch second-round knockout on May 2.
Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs), from Caguas, Puerto Rico has sold more tickets to Madison Square Garden in this millennium than any other fighter. He has held a world title every year since 2004. Puerto Rico’s most exciting fighter, Cotto held the WBO junior welterweight crown from 2004-2006, successfully defending it six times before vacating it to capture the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title at the end of 2006, a title he held for nearly as long. He won his second welterweight title in February, knocking out Michael Jennings in the fifth round at Madison Square Garden to become the WBO welterweight champion. Notable scalps on Cotto’s belt include Sugar Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Joshua Clottey, Paulie Malignaggi and Demarcus Corley.
The Pacquiao vs. Cotto pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, has a suggested retail price of $54.95, will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View® and will be available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View®, a division of Home Box Office, Inc., is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For Pacquiao vs. Cotto fight week updates, log on to www.hbo.com or www.toprank.com.
HBO's® fast-moving reality series “24/7 Pacquiao/Cotto” returns with an all new episode on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. The four-episode series chronicles the preparations and back stories of both fighters as they train for their November 14 pay-per-view showdown. Episodes one and two are available on HBO ON DEMAND®.