"After I lose, I will smoke as many cigarettes and drink as much beer as I want!" (Hogan)Remember the cereal commercial where the brothers would push their new Life cereal bowl to their younger brother Mikey because they didn't like the looks of the new cereal?. And then after Mikey went for his second spoonful, his brothers would yell, "he likes it, he likes it." So basically Mikey was the test dummy for anything his brothers didn't want to sample. Well, that's who former welterweight title holder Ricardo Mayorga has become. Mayorga is Mikey, and you only fight him when you need a win with a little window dressing. Because you know he'll go for it.
Nine years have passed since the "Managua Maniac" Ricardo Mayorga 29-7-1 (23) burst onto the scene stopping Andrew "Six Heads" Lewis to capture the WBA welterweight title. Shortly after that Mayorga entertained the press and fans by smoking cigarettes in the ring and at the press conference for his next bout against WBC welterweight title holder Vernon Forrest.
Mayorga went on to stop and decision Forest in two fights. And since his victory over Forrest in the rematch, Mayorga has been a terrific rodeo clown and a 4-4 fighter. And yet because he has the connection (Don King is his promoter) he's getting the opportunity to fight WBA junior middleweight title holder Miguel Cotto 35-2 (28) on March 12th. It should be a solid win for Cotto since Mayorga is perceived to be a threat and is well known to boxing fans.
Cotto and Mayorga couldn't be more different. Cotto is the complete pro and comports himself with class before and after his bouts, win or lose. No doubt Mayorga isn't the loose cannon he tries to portray himself as being, but there's no way he takes boxing that seriously. If Mayorga beats Cotto he'll earn another payday. And if he loses, he'll wait for the phone to ring hoping some promoter needs a name and a little free publicity for his fighter on the way up or a name fighter who needs a win coming off a recent defeat.
Mayorga has become the perfect opponent to use for any fighter who's trying to stabilize their career or needs a name fighter to come back against after a layoff. Cotto is the first fighter to use him as a stepping stone to keep his title while he waits for a potential mega fight down the road. Amazingly Mayorga is a live dog against Cotto because of the style clash between the two. What a shame it would be for Miguel Cotto if Mayorga landed one of the lottery punches he'll be launching and knocked him out.
At the press conference to announce the fight Mayorga didn't disappoint. "My pants are up higher than Cotto's. I'm going to be the man, and Cotto will be the woman," said Mayorga, 37. "On March 12, Puerto Rico is going to be dressed in black for your funeral. I can see fear in your eyes."
That was exactly what the promotion needed. Cotto has a large following and they'll be sure to buy the fight on Showtime PPV hoping to see Miguel administer Mayorga the beating they feel he has coming his way. And it wasn't lost on Cotto's behalf that Mayorga has lost and been knocked out by almost every upper-tier fighter he's faced since he beat Forrest in their rematch, and that was a very controversial decision victory for Mayorga. Actually, Mayorga's only notable win since he fought Forrest came against Fernando Vargas in what turned out to be Fernando's last fight. Prior to that, Mayorga was stopped by Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley, something Cotto reminded him of.
"When you spoke earlier, I kept my mouth shut, now you remain quiet. I am a professional and with these tiny pants and these tiny hands I beat Shane Mosley. Do you remember Shane Mosley? You are a joker and a clown. All your career you have run off at the mouth and in all the big fights you've failed. Just so you know who I am, I am a three-time world champion."
It's hard to imagine anyone pulling for Mayorga to beat Cotto. Since he turned professional, Miguel has been the ultimate pro. As a fighter, he's a class above Mayorga every day of the week. However, Miguel is hittable and can be hurt by fighters who can punch. And Mayorga can punch and has nothing to lose and will be looking to win by knockout with every punch he throws. Most likely Cotto's trainer Emmanuel Steward will have Cotto boxing and picking his spots early in the fight while Mayorga's emptying his tank. Once and if Mayorga slows down, Miguel will start unloading the heavy artillery and look for the mid to late round stoppage.
That said, if you're a Cotto fan, you'll be watching the fight holding your breath because even though Mikey is 4-4 in his last eight fights, he has a legitimate puncher's chance to pull off the upset and beat Cotto. That or he'll take a one-sided shellacking before he lights up his next cigarette and waits for the phone to ring again.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com