Photos: Chris Farina/Top Rank
When it comes to the sport of boxing, WBO junior welterweight champion Miguel Cotto (26-0, 22 KOs) is all business. Once again the unbeaten king of the 140-pounders, currently the only champion recognized by any of the sanctioning bodies in the division, is training in South Florida. His next challenger, Paulie Malignaggi (21-0) has been talking a good game leading up to their June 10 fight showdown in Madison Square Garden. Now Miguel Cotto responds.
Have you ever faced an opponent that showed you such disrespect?
We'll find it out on June 10th. We'll see the respect. I've never seen a fight be won by someone who talks a lot so we'll see how he does in the ring.
You're all business in your preparations, almost like you're detached emotionally from your fights. Are you feeling emotions this time from all the things Malignaggi's saying about you in this fight?
You know what, it's very normal. Whatever he says or whatever comments he says we don't take it with any seriousness. We're here to do work and he's trying to make us mad with comments and that's the type of guy he is.
Are you looking to deal out a little extra punishment in the ring?
We're going to take things as we always do, very normal, very serious round by round and if the opportunity presents itself to get a good punch in, then we'll do it.
Do you feel his style's going to give you any problem?
We've been preparing for that for years, we've been training for this type of style and in the fight we'll see how that goes. We don't have any anticipation for any problems of that kind.
Right now you're the only fighter who has a championship at junior welterweight and all the other champions have given up their titles and left the division. Does that make you want to move up fight those guys or are you going to stay at 140?
Those are the things we're going to have to talk about and sit down with my team, but right now we're focused on this fight and this fight alone and after this fight we'll sit down and we'll talk about whether we'll stay or whether we'll move on.
There's already talk about you fighting Castillo in your next fight if he defeats Corrales on June 3. Is that fight pretty firm in your mind?
Those are things that I really don't concern myself with. I fight with whomever they put in front of me, but if it does happen, I know it will be a great fight, he's a good fighter, but like I said, it's something that my team and my promoter have to discuss and we'll see what happens.
How would you assess the performance of Ricky Hatton in his last fight?
They both did a good job. I mean Hatton did a good job, and Collazo did a good job. They both had their moments in the ring. Collazo had his moments and Hatton had his, but at the end, the judges saw that Hatton won.
How do you feel your style would match up with Hatton?
Every opponent is difficult and every opponent is different and if we were to fight him, we would train in a way that would be able to be successful against him.
What does it mean for you to be fighting in Madison Square Garden the week of Puerto Rican Day in New York City?
It's an honor to fight before the Puerto Rican Day parade, the Puerto Rican Festival in front of my people, and also in Madison Square Garden. It's place is legendary and all the big names have fought there and it's an honor to be mentioned among their names. That's how we're going to look at it that night, being mentioned with the legends, fighting in Madison Square Garden.
This is two years in a row that you'll be fighting there, is this something that we'll be seeing every year?
Again that's something that has to be discussed with my promoters. They're the ones who make the decisions on who I fight and where I fight. But if we do this every year, I would love to do this, fight in Madison Square Garden, and not only me but all the Puerto Rican champions and maybe some Puerto Rican prospects to celebrate our heritage.
This is two fights in a row that you've prepared in Florida, is this going to be a regular thing also?
It seems that way, I think we're going to make this the place to train at. We finally found a place we can work hard and get our work done and it seems that South Florida is the place.
How difficult was it to watch the fight of your brother against Juan Diaz?
Unfortunately he wasn't able to acheive the goal that he wanted, that we wanted, to be a world champion, but we're very proud of his performance. We're very pleased on how he showed himself in the ring and there will be other days. There will be other fights and there will be chances of opportunities for a world chamionship and hopefully he'll be able to acheive that.
Is Diaz now someone who is now on your hit list?
Like I said, I don't pick the opponents. That's not my job. My job is to fight and if my promoters and my managers feel that he's the guy that I'm going to fight, than I'll fight him.
What's your prediction on the fight with Malignaggi?
I'm not here to make predictions or say how the fight is going to go. Miguel Cotto is going to go up to the ring as a champion and after the fight he's going to walk down from the ring as a champion.
Are you going to stop him?
We're going to do round by round and see what happens.
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Cotto sparred twelve rounds on Wednesday and four rounds on Thursday against quick, fleet-footed opponents emulating the style of Malignaggi, and looked very sharp. As for the taunts of Malignaggi, Cotto's cutman Miguel Diaz told Fightnews that the champion is not happy about it and will show Malignaggi no mercy in the ring. "I just hope their corner has the sense to stop the bout before Malignaggi gets seriously hurt," said Diaz.