Manny Steward is out, and a man unknown to most boxing fans is in as Miguel Cotto's trainer.
Cotto released a letter alerting all to the switch, from Steward, who worked with him in his win against Yuri Foreman last summer and Ricardo Mayorga in March, to Pedro Luis Diaz Benitez, a Cuban teacher. Steward replaced ex nutritionist Joe Santiago, who worked with Cotto in the June 2009 Joshua Clottey fight, and the November 2009 Manny Pacquiao fight, after the Puerto Rican boxer had a nasty fallout with his uncle/trainer Evangelista Cotto before the Clottey clash.
Here is Cotto's statement:
Today I am very happy to announce that my trainer for my December 3rd fight [against Antonio Margarito] in New York will be legendary Cuban boxing trainer and expert Pedro Luis Díaz Benítez. Pedro Luis is a Doctor in Pedagogical Sciences. He holds a Master's degree in sports training and a Major in Physical Culture and Sports. He is also specialized in boxing training's planning and control. He was a professor and investigator for the University of Sports in Cuba. He has also worked with and trained several Olympic Gold Medalists and professional world champions.
I met Pedro Luis as an amateur several years ago and had the opportunity to share time with him in several international competitions. I was instantly amazed as to the vast boxing's technique and conditioning knowledge that he transmitted to his fighters. I feel that together with Phil, Pedro Luis is a perfect fit to bring my best potential for my next fight in December and lead me to victory!
I want to take this opportunity to express my wholehearted gratitude to Emanuel Steward, who I consider a friend and mentor. Because of calendar conflicts and other matters, we were unable to work together for this next fight. He is one of the best trainers I have ever met in boxing, and I will be forever appreciative for the two fights we worked together. We have both kept the doors open to maybe join forces in the future if the circumstances and timing are adequate.
Now I will focus on my training camp! I feel happy and thrilled as ever to commenced preparing for December. I will be ready and will win the fight for all of you.
Cotto had said he was fine with Steward attending to Andy Lee, who fought Brian Vera on Saturday, but then changed his mind, and sought someone who would be available immediately.