Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto took part on a Thursday conference call to hype his June 7 scrap at Madison Square Garden, against middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, and the 33-year-old said he thinks he will be just fine at this weight class, and feel comfortable at 160.
“I feel at 160 I don't need to lose weight,” and thus, he will be that much stronger, because he doesn't need to cut. Indeed, he said he does feel he has more power at this class, but allowed that he won't know how it will play out till fight night.
HBO, by the way, will produce the PPV show.
Cotto said he's 33, and he won't become a bulky sort overnight, it's now more a matter of keeping muscle on. He said he trained for the full 12, and if Martinez, who promised a KO, didn't, he's in trouble.
Cotto was asked if he'd need to lead, or counter, or what. Whatever needs to be done, will be done, and he will listen to his corner, and follow that advice.
I asked about the catchweight, 159 pounds. On Wednesday, Team Martinez portrayed Cotto as a diva, who made too many requests as the “A side.” They said that Cotto demanded the catchweight, and I wondered if that is indeed the case. “That came from Sampson,” Cotto said. Top Rank exec Todd Duboef hopped in, to clarify, and said that the Martinez people stated that a lower weight could be agreed upon. “They settled at 59,” he said. “It was mutual,” he said. (UPDATED, THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Nathan Lewkowicz, of Team Martinez, and Sampson's son, talked to TSS about the catchweight. He said what Cotto and Duboef is true. The media was talking about a catchweight first, so Sampson, right up front, to Team Cotto, said 157 or less was a no fly zone. Sampson asked for 160 first, and Team Cotto countered with 159, and it was immediately agreed upon, Nathan said. He thinks Cotto will come in 155, 156, while Sergio usually comes in at 159, or 158, and Nathan expects the same for fight night.)
Cotto said he will fight at a comfortable weight, and wouldn't offer a target weight for the weigh-in.
(I get the sense that hardcore fans don't care for catchweights and while I understand a fighters' desire to gain an edge with a catchweight, I really don't much support them. We have so many weight classes, I think we should be able to agree to a cemented weight class.)
I also asked Miguel about Cotto's body punching making him pee blood after workouts. “I'm just doing my work, I didn't think about that, sorry Freddie,” Cotto said, to chuckles.
Roach said his body protector doesn't help him that much anymore, and that Cotto is “the hardest worker” he's worked with, and is also the most disciplined.
Top Rank's Duboef said Cotto's goal is to be the first Puerto Rican boxer to win titles in four divisions. He said the ticket demand has been hot, as well. The exec said that this one, apart from a Mayweather or Pacman PPV, is maybe the biggest PPV in about five years. He predicted the results will be “incredible.” He said he isn't sure if they can do a million buys, and thinks that might be a reach, in fact. The Puerto Rican buy rates will be “huge,” he said. He said ticket sales also indicate demand is immense, as the scraps almost sold out after four hours on sale.
Cotto trainer, Freddie Roach, was also on the call, and Roach said that camp has been stellar. He's brought in awkward lefties to spar and he said he “can't wait for this fight to happen.” He said he thinks Cotto will be the stronger man, and his guy will push Martinez around on the inside.
The trainer said he thinks Martinez is already sort of making excuses, with the talk of his past injuries, but he's training Cotto for a 100% Martinez. Roach said if the knees aren't good, they will catch Sergio earlier, rather than later. He doesn't want to hear after that his knee was bad, he said.
Cotto said he's been having fun in camp with Freddie and the guys in camp. He was asked if he ever thought he'd fight at middleweight. It never crossed his mind, he said.
He said he had differences when he was getting ready to fight Manny Pacquiao, but now his relationship with Roach is “great.” They have the chemistry to make him a better boxer, he said.
He'd love to win that title in that fourth class, he said, but that wouldn't mean he'd automatically be thought of as better as a Wilfredo Gomez or a Tito Trinidad. He played down a question as to whether he's there with those legends, and said that's a matter for the fans to decide.
The last time he fought at MSG, he lost to Austin Trout. He was young and mobile, and Sergio isn't so young, and has hampered mobility, arguably. Thus, he said, it's apples and oranges. “We guarantee you, we're going to win this fight,” he said.
Trainer Roach said Cotto now knows how to control the ring better, and has worked on that a lot. “We're more scientific about our approach to the fight, about how to control the ring better,” he said.
The left-handed Cotto said he started fighting at 11, and started lefty, but right away, switched to righty stance.
He said he is less concerned with what Sergio brings to the table than his prep, and Martinez will need to adapt to him. He didn't offer anything when asked what Martinez does that is potentially worrisome to him. Again, he said that he is concerned with what he will do, not the other guy.
He said he wants to win another crown, but that family, doing well for his kids, is his greatest motivation.
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