At the final press conference yesterday, 10 June, Big Apple’s most popular boxer and WBO welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto came face to face with IBF champion Joshua Clottey for their championship bout on Saturday, 13 June, at the Madison Square Garden.
The press kit collaborated by Top Rank, HBO Sports, Madison Square Garden and distributed by EMC Events at the presscon expounds the impressive credentials of the Puerto Rican Cotto, one of the frontrunners for the Pacquiao “sweepstakes” along with Sugar Shane Mosley and the winner of the Floyd Mayweather Jr-Juan Manuel Marquez bout in 18 July.
Just who is Miguel Cotto?
Born on 29 October 1980 In Caguas, Puerto Rico, Cotto sports a 33-1, 27 KO record with the only loss inflicted by Mexican Antonio Margarito who went on to lose in his next fight to Sugar Shane Mosley amidst the illegal handwrapping controversy.
He is the former WBA welterweight champion, defending it four times. He was also the former WBO Jr Welterweight champion in which he had 6 title defenses, and the former WBC International super lightweight titlist with 5 successful defenses to his credit.
As an amateur, he represented Puerto Rico for the 2000 Sydney Olympics after becoming the Puerto Rican national amateur champion at 132-pound division in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Asked about his personal background and his amateur career, Miguel Cotto said “I was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico. I have two brothers and I’m the youngest. My father was in the military, in the National Guard here in Puerto Rico for 25 years. My mom stayed at home and taught us how to live.”
“When I was 11 years old, my weight was 156 pounds and I tried to lose weight with boxing. My brothers were already boxing and I tried to do the same. I started at the Gym Bairoa in Caguas. I lost weight, but I started to feel something for boxing. In the beginning, it was just for game, but then I started to feel like a love for boxing,” Miguel continued.
“I had 125 amateur fights with 23 losses. I fought Panchito Bojado, Ricardo Williams. I fought Kelson Pinto, Muhammad Abdulaev. I was the Puerto Rican national amateur champion from 1997 to 2000, all at 132 pounds, but the last year at 140.”
“I fought with Ivan Calderon when I was amateur, 100 pounds. (Note: Calderon is the WBO Jr flyweight world champion). He beat me three to two. After that, we made the team of Puerto Rico to represent the country in international competition. We were both in the Olympics in 2000, He’s still at 105 pounds. He’s, if not the best, one of my best friends,” he added.
In August 2001, while driving to a 5:30 A.M. workout, he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a concrete wall. He said “Sometimes I feel the shoulder pain, the shoulder tired. But any other problems about that, no. It was a very serious accident. I broke my arm and shoulder in four different places. I think being in shape really helped.”
Such car accident created a scar on his right shoulder and a six-inch titanium rod has been put in place in his right arm. But he has no problems as regards his own boxing.
“I’m left-handed. I do everything with my left hand. The only thing I can do with my right hand is fight. I feel more comfortable fighting right-handed when I’m beginning.”
Cotto stresses a point
One of his most memorable fights transpired in November 2007 when he met the exciting fighter in Sugar Shane Mosley whom he defeated in a 12-round unanimous decision at the Madison Square Garden (MSG) which drew a crowd of 17,135.
His recent fight was against Michael Jennings in February 2009 when he won the WBO welterweight championship belt with a 5th round TKO win, dousing speculations that he was on his way down after the Margarito loss.
If Cotto ends up winning in convincing style this Saturday, he will be a shoo-in as Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s next opponent. The Pacman himself will be at ringside this Saturday night to watch Cotto’s fighting style alongside his chief trainer Freddie Roach.
Both Pacquiao and Cotto have aggressive styles, good ring skills coupled with accurate combination punching.
If the Puerto Rican indeed gets the opportunity, boxing fans and the like will expect slam-bang action when he goes toe-to-toe with the Filipino champion.
All Miguel Cotto has to do is secure a convincing win over the durable Clottey of Ghana.
All he has to do is prove he is worthy enough for a real mega-fight with, of course, boxing's # 1 pound-for-pound best.