On November 10, 2007, Madison Square Garden once again shows why it is the Mecca of boxing. The old ring may have been retired but that has not stopped the venue from having the most exciting cards in all of boxing.
This coming November that tradition continues when WBA Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto, 30-0 (25), puts his title on the line against "Sugar" Shane Mosley, 44-4 (37), in a bout that many are already predicting will be one of 2007’s fights of the year before it has even taken place, although the main event of the evening is only one of several top bouts to take place on the card.
Aside from Cotto vs. Mosley we will see the return of former WBO Welterweight Champion Antonio "Tony" Margarito, 34-5 (24), in his first bout since losing the title to Paul "The Punisher" Williams earlier this year.
Margarito will face veteran contender and current NABF Welterweight Champion Golden Johnson, 25-7-3 (18), for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Welterweight title. Margarito is in search of another world title and promises to make a statement on November 10 in hopes of a shot at the winner of the Cotto/Mosley bout.
Also on the undercard that night, we will see the return of Joel "El Cepillo" Casamayor, 34-3 (21), in his first fight since beating the late Diego Corrales over a year ago. Casamayor will not only be debuting under the banner of his new promotion company, Golden Boy Productions, it will also be his first fight back with Joe Goossen as his trainer since his first fight with Diego Corrales.
Casamayor, looking to make a statement of his own, will lay his Ring Magazine lightweight title on the line against Jose Armando Santa Cruz, 25-2 (14), the tough Mexican-American warrior who is perhaps best known for his performance against David Diaz in 2006.
Santa Cruz was leading on all three judges' scorecards when he got caught with a thunderous shot in the tenth round that caused the referee to stop the bout and he should prove to be a formidable opponent for Casamayor and his return to the ring.
Today I was lucky enough to sit in on the press conference with both Margarito and Casamayor to hear what both men had to say about their return to the ring, predictions for their upcoming bouts and what future plans will follow if successful on November 10. Plus, I even got in a few questions of my own. Read it here first exclusively at SaddoBoxing
Golden Boy Productions: We would like to thank everyone for joining us today, We are looking forward to having Joel Casamayor make his debut as a Golden Boy Productions fighter on November 10 in Madison Square Garden and would now like to introduce the Ring Magazine Lightweight Champion Joel Casamayor.
Joel Casamayor: I just want to thank the media and say I am pleased to be fighting for Golden Boy. This should be a great fight coming up.
Boxing Press: Joel, for this fight you have reunited with your old trainer Joe Goossen. How do you feel about that?
JC: Joe is a great trainer, we have history together. We have won world titles together and after the first Diego Corrales fight, when I had to enter training camp again, it was in Florida. Joe could not come down for training camp because of family reasons. Then, I had some manager problems shortly after. Joe and I did not have a break with any sort of hard feelings involved. We are back working together now and more than likely I will retire with Joe as my trainer.
BP: Do you take it as a sign of disrespect that many guys will not fight you since you do not hold one of the sanctioning body titles, even though most people consider you the true lightweight champion since you hold the Ring title?
JC: I really can’t blame some guys, since I do not hold an official world title but in my opinion I have shown throughout my career I am a dangerous opponent. Look at the men I have fought; Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Acelino Freitas, when he was Freitas. So it is a risky fight with little reward. I don’t hold hard feelings.
BP: What are your thoughts on Jose Santa Cruz? What have you done to prepare?
JC: Santa Cruz is a good fighter. I sparred with him for the first and third Corrales fights. He was beating David Diaz before he got caught. He is a good fighter, maybe even better then any of the three Diaz’s. We know each other well, but when you fight Joel Casamayor, you have to prepare for me, I don’t have to prepare for you.
BP: Joel, both Julio and Juan Diaz claim you turned down offers to fight them; can you give us a reason why?
JC: (laughs) Where were those contracts at? I turn down no fight. Sign the contract and we will fight. They never offered to fight me. I am not afraid of any fighter out there and if the offer was made the fight would have happened.
BP: What was it that made you sign with Golden Boy Promotions? And now that you have signed with them, do you think it will be easier to get the big fights?
JC: Well, it seems everyone else that has signed with them are getting the big fights, so it seemed like a good decision. Now I have to prove myself to Golden Boy and they have to prove themselves to me.
SaddoBoxing: Joel, you will be winding down in a year or two and heading toward retirement. One thing that you have always complained about is the big fights not happening for you. Do you think you may have to move up in weight to get those bigger fights before you retire?
JC: There are still some good fights at lightweight. Any of the Diaz fighters would be good for me; Manny Pacquiao is a name I have been throwing out a lot lately, even Barrera. If I have to move up to 140 or even a catch weight of 145 to get the big names though, I will, all I want are big fights from here on out.
SaddoBoxing: Since you mention Pacquiao, I know a fight with him is one you have wanted for a while now. When I interviewed you over a year ago right before the third Corrales fight, you brought up his name. Is there anything that happened between you two that has created bad blood? Why is Pacquiao a fight you want so badly?
JC: No, there is no bad blood between us. It is just that everyone is saying he is the pound for pound best out there near my weight class. I want everyone to know Joel Casamayor is the best pound for pound and he is the one I can prove it against, Pacquiao. He hits hard, fast and seems to be beating everyone but he hasn’t fought me. There are class A fighters and class B fighters. I am class A.
BP: Santa Cruz has fought twice this year and you have not fought in over a year. Do you think there will be any ring rust that will affect your performance?
JC: No, not at all, I will be Ok, I have trained hard and come fight night you will see I am the best in the world.
BP: How do you feel about not getting the respect you deserve? You have never been soundly beaten; all your losses except the one to Freitas have been by split decision and could have gone either way. Does it bother you?
JC: Yes it hurts a bit. I beat the late great Diego Corrales and have yet to be rewarded for it, but what are you going to do? You can’t sit and cry about it, you just have to go on.
BP: One last question Joel, what are your reactions to Juan Diaz beating Freitas and then Julio Diaz, two of the best in the division; do you think that makes him the man to beat at 135?
JC: No way! I am the man to beat at 135. Look at his resume compared to mine. If he beats me in the ring, then he will be the man to beat but until then, I am the man to beat. So your answer is, no he is not the man to beat at 135.
ANTONIO MARGARITO CONFERENCE NOW BEGINS:
Bob Arum: I would like to thank everyone for joining us today, but before getting started I would just like to say Antonio Margarito wants the world to know one thing "I’m Back" and on November 10, he plans on proving that.
Now I would like to welcome former WBO Welterweight Champion Antonio Margarito.
Boxing Press: Antonio, how have things been since the loss to Paul Williams? How have your fans reacted and how have they been treating you?
Antonio Margarito: My fans have been great, they have very supportive and have all wished me well in my return.
BP: Antonio, what do you expect of Golden Johnson?
AM: I expect a guy who likes to stand in front of you and fight, I think it is going to be a good bout for my return and I fully expect to come out a winner.
BP: Antonio, do you think the reason for your loss in the Paul Williams fight was because you started to slow and gave away too many of the early rounds?
AM: Without a doubt, I regret not throwing more punches. After the fight, I looked at the tape and could see the punch output difference. Williams threw a lot more early on, though they did not effect me, it was just the volume that I think swayed the judges. like I said, they were not effective but in really doesn’t matter if they effected you or not, they scored points.
BP: Do you acknowledge that you lost to Williams and he was the better man that night?
AM: At the time of the fight I thought I was doing well. I did not realize I was behind but again, when looking back I can see how he impressed the judges. I have no problem with the outcome. Next time, I will just start throwing from the opening bell, not worrying where my punches land, just make sure they land.
BP: Is the idea of fighting the winner of the Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley bout more of a motivation for you or distraction?
AM: I am very motivated knowing what is out there next for me if I win.
BP:Do you want a rematch with Williams to get revenge for the loss?
AM: It is something possible in the future, but right now there are other things. If Bob Arum decides that I should fight Williams again, I will be more than ready.
BP: Why did you choose to fight Paul Williams over Miguel Cotto for that bout?
AM: The main factor in my decision was the title. I worked very hard to become champion. Williams was the mandatory and I was not going to lose my title that way, by choosing to fight someone else, so I signed to fight Williams.
BP: What have you learned from the loss in the Williams fight?
AM: Like I said before, just throw punches right from the start.
BP: Who do you prefer to fight, Shane Mosley or Miguel Cotto?
AM: It doesn’t matter to me who I fight out of the two, I just hope the winner of their fight gives me the opportunity to face them.
BP: What do you expect out of Golden Johnson?
AM: I have seen tapes of him and he seems to be a come forward guy; he has a style, I think, that suits mine.
BP: Do you see Golden Johnson as a tune up fight?
AM: I never underestimate any fighter or look at them in that way it is disrespectful, every man in that ring wants to win and anything can happen. I just need to go in win the fight and look good while doing it.
BP: The last time we saw you on the East Coast it was against Joshua Clottey and you had some hand injuries. How do you feel now?
AM: I feel good. In the Williams fight, I was hesitant because of my wrist, but now I feel great and have no problems.
BP: In the past you have had problems in getting anyone to fight you. Do you think the loss to Williams has helped you?
AM: Yes I think so. Maybe there is a silver lining in the loss somewhere? It makes me look more beatable. So maybe it has helped me in the long run.
BP: This question is for Bob Arum; what do you think of Floyd Mayweather and him getting into the mix of the welterweights? Maybe fighting Margarito, Mosley or Cotto; do you think this may change things in the division around a bit?
Bob Arum: Floyd Mayweather the dancing star is not looking to fight anyone he can not beat or at least thinks he can not beat. Floyd will not step in the ring with Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley or Antonio Margarito. Floyd is happy fighting guys he already knows he will win against. He can hang out in the clubs throwing out his $100 bills to impress people if that’s what he wants to do, but that’s doesn’t impress me. Floyd Mayweather is in no way a factor here.
BP: Antonio, one last question; who do you want to win on November 10 between Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley and why?
AM: It doesn’t matter to me either way. I am ready to fight either one and hope that I get the opportunity to fight the winner of their match. I do think that a fight between Puerto Rico's best and Mexico’s best will be a great fight and draw a lot of interest. We will see.