Paul Malignaggi, working for Showtime, queries Austin Trout on Wednesday, about the Saturday clash against Miguel Cotto. (Golden Boy photo)
It was a smoothly run press conference at Madison Square Garden today, three days away from the Miguel Cotto-Austin Trout super middleweight showdown in the big room. Neither Cotto nor Trout is a yapper, someone who engages in trash talk to try and get into the other guys' head, or get themselves pumped.
Both men were polite, and promised to win Dec. 1 on the card promoted by Golden Boy in a fight which will be televised by Showtime. "I am going to make history by being the first man to beat Cotto at Madison Square Garden," said Trout, humble and cooperative with all media, seemingly pleased as punch to be invited to the dance.
Cotto received a plaque from MSG's Joel Fisher, signifying and honoring the fact that more than 100,000 tickets have been sold for the eight occasions he has rumbled at the most famous arena. The closest the Puerto Rican pugi-God came to talking trash was when he said, "Trout mentioned he's been all around the world winning but come Saturday night, he's facing Miguel Cotto, not anyone else."
In a sampling of pundits and fightgame people, there are plenty of folks liking Trout's chances to topple Cotto. Don't, obviously, count Cotto's trainer Pedro Diaz Benitez among them. I finally cornered him at the presser, and he chuckled recalling how the presence of the birthday cake at Gleason's yesterday sent him scurrying. I asked Diaz how Cotto could do better if he were to secure another bout with Floyd Mayweather, after losing a UD to Money in May. Diaz Benitez said that for the first time, Cotto trained at high altitude, in Big Bear, CA., and so he expects his stamina to be improved. That could make the difference against Floyd, and he said, will help versus Trout, a slick lefty who won't make it easy for Cotto to get offensive on him.
Cotto rarely if ever goes out on a thin limb before a fight. He has been saying that we will see "the best Cotto ever" but he really doesn't predict KOs or engage in boasting, or tip his hand on strategies. When asked about training at altitude, he said, "The results we're going to see in the fight." In one shift I've noted over the years, whereas he used to state that he'd leave the decision-making on who he'd fight next to then promoter Bob Arum, today he has a firm hand in the process. When asked by Wallace Matthews who he'd choose to fight again, if he was only able to pick one, Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, "Whoever pays the most money," he answered, drawing laughs from the media.
Readers, feel free to fire your prediction on this rumble; could Trout, an unheralded champ at 154, have his breakthrough bout, and force Cotto to taste from the bitter chalice of losing at MSG for the first time?
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