HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.-A throng of the usual suspects ascended to the second floor of the Wild Card Boxing gym last Wednesday afternoon.
Most saw a white shiny luxury vehicle enter the boxing compound owned by venerable trainer Freddie Roach. Out exited the WBC middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto and his small cadre of support. Members of Roc Nation, the promotion group backing the Puerto Rican fighter, greeted him.
Cotto turned briefly and very visible was a black eye.
In about two weeks Cotto (40-4, 33 Kos) defends his middleweight title against Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 Kos) at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Black eye or no black eye, the fight will go on.
“Black eyes happen,” said Roach while speaking to more than a dozen reporters.
Yes, they do happen. But in my experience a black eye on a fighter usually results in negative results.
I could go down a list of fighters who sported shiners before a big fight and ended up losing for some reason. A black eye usually represents a harbinger of bad things to come. There was Cotto moving around the ring with a darkened left eye.
In two weeks a middleweight clash takes place.
Whenever an elite Puerto Rican fighter meets an elite Mexican fighter, the stakes ramp up tenfold. National pride takes center stage and even people not interested in boxing tune in to find out if their guy emerges victorious.
In the arena, the loudness from fans cheering magnifies to fever pitch. It’s one of boxing’s epic moments.
“There will be fights in the crowd,” predicts Roach. “I’ve seen this before.”
Despite the black eye on Cotto, the trainer remains supremely confident that his fighter will be the victor.
“Canelo is very good early on, then, he seems to fade away,” Roach said.
Cotto rarely speaks with any emotion and remains stoic and steadfast about the outcome.
“Things happen when things are supposed to happen. It’s our time now,” said Cotto about his pending clash with Alvarez. “It’s another chapter and another fight in my career. I’m going to take the responsibility as always. I’ll be victorious on Nov. 21.”
The former junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight champion feels extremely confident, especially with Roach in his corner.
“I came to Freddie two years ago after being defeated two times in a row. He rejuvenated myself,” Cotto said. “Everything I have become is because of him.”
Black eyes happen and if Roach believes he can walk through fire Cotto believes it too.
“I’m going to beat Canelo on Nov. 21,” Cotto says.