|Miguel Cotto; “It’s My Moment Now”
Compiled By Gabriel Montoya (Sept 13, 2007) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
On Monday at the House of Blues in Hollywood, Ca. it was mine and the boxing media’s distinct pleasure to meet with Welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto as he prepares for his showdown with Sugar Shane Mosley. The following is the result of a round table discussion with Mr. Cotto as he completed the final leg of their promotional tour.
It is easy with his short, direct answers to misunderstand Cotto as a simple man. Reading his answers or seeing him on ESPN, you don’t get the full effect and complexity of him as you do when staring into his eyes face to face. My
impression was that this was a man who works much harder and much more often than he plays. Both the way he referred to his “work” and his unwillingness to judge his career past, present or future except to say he is happy with how he got to this moment made me feel that I was speaking not just to a fighter but also to an artist. One who believes that through his hard work he can be prepared for whatever the moment of truth brings to him. That through that preparation he can find a fluidity with which to adapt to his opponents every move or adjustment. Just as I find new dimensions in the fighter with every fight I see, I found a new dimension in the man through seeing him in person. These are his thoughts
Question: Miguel, I was speaking to your Personal Velocity trainer, and he was saying that when you were [fighting at 140 lbs. you were basically cannibalizing your own muscles to make that weight. That said, how much better do you feel at 147 lbs?
Miguel Cotto: I feel complete at 147 lbs. I pass through too much pain to make 140 lbs. I find I could not focus on anything but making the 140 lb. limit. Now at 147, I train with my mind on the fight.
Question: Do you think Shane is possibly the fastest fighter you have faced? I know you just faced the
speedy Judah but do you feel Shane is that level higher?
MC: I cannot answer this question because I haven’t faced him yet. When I face him then I can answer this question.
Q: Do you see any weaknesses in Shane? I am sure you review tapes.
MC: My uncle is in charge of reviewing the tapes. He comes to gym and gives comments and tips and we try and implement them.
Q: If you beat Mosley, are you the clear choice for fighter of the year?
MC: I never think of that you know? I just go to the gym and do my work the best I can. I’m just a boxer, you know? I’m not a boxing writer or a person who thinks about fighter of the year. I just try and do the best that I can inside the ring.
Q: Which title means more to you; the Pound for Pound title or the welterweight title?
MC: The most important thing is being undefeated. Being one of the great boxers in this moment. The rest comes if you do these things.
Q: You just sold out the Garden. What’s it like having that kind of support?
MC: It’s great because when the fans support you. In the moment when you need them, they help you.
Q: Is it hard keeping your head on straight with that kind of attention?
MC: (smiles) Yeah.
Q: Miguel I was just talking to Eric Gomez (matchmaker for Golden Boy Promotions) and he says the reason that Shane is going to win this fight is because you have a suspect chin. What do you say to someone who says you have a weak chin?
MC: I’m a boxer, you know. I’m here. I’m supposed to [take] a punch in my every moment of my career. The question is if Shane Mosley can [take] a good punch of Miguel Cotto. If he has the capacity to stand up and stay in the fight.
Q: Jack Mosley has said not just today but on a couple occasions that they want to fight Mayweather. Do you think that they are looking past you?
MC: No. I didn’t think in every comment about what he thinks more about Mayweather than me. I don’t worry about that. I’m just here to stay focused on my fight and what I have to do. He has to stay 100% focused on this fight.
Q: Do you think you can stop Shane?
MC: Whether the fight goes the distance or not, I will retain my title. It’s my moment now.
Q: How would describe Shane’s style?
MC: I don’t know. I’m not here to describe my opponent’s style. I’m here to stay focused on my things and myself. Nobody else.
Q: Do you see this as a fight of the year candidate?
MC: I told you. I don’t know. I don’t worry about those things.
Q: Do you watch a lot of fights?
Q: Do you watch Shane’s fights?
MC: I saw his fight with Estrada and Vargas. He was a great fighter but it’s my time.
Q: Can you talk about the age advantage? It’s almost ten years difference. How much of that will play into the fight?
MC: I’m not thinking of that. I am just going to climb into the ring. Do my work. Capitalize on every chance. Every mistake. You have the example with Bernard Hopkins. He is 42 and he beats every one they put in front of him. I prefer to think about other things. I am just thinking of making myself better and not thinking about age.
Q: Do you think though that will play into the fight in the later rounds that you will be the fresher fighter, the stronger fighter?
MC: I am going to climb in the ring the stronger fighter, the hungrier fighter. I am the guy who will try to put pressure on every fighter I’ve fought.
Q: Do you think this is your toughest test?
MC: Yes. Because he has fought many great fighters. Forest, Vargas, De La Hoya. After this fight, the people will see what Miguel is made of.
Q: Just how weak did making the 140 lb limit make you? Did you feel real weak going into those fights?
MC: Yes of course. Because I put so much effort into making the weight. Not on the fight but just on the weight issue.
Q: So those 7 lbs. made a huge difference?
MC: For me, it made a huge difference.
Q: Are you training here or somewhere else?
MC: Puerto Rico.
Q: How important is it for you to get to Mosley’s body for the later rounds?
MC: I try to work every boxer in the body because when you work the body your opponent gets tired quickly. I’ll try to do the same in this fight.
Q: How happy are you with the progression your career? There was criticism early on about your opposition but it seems that now the competition has gotten tougher and tougher. Are you satisfied with the way your career has gone so far?
MC: Every moment of my career from before to now I am satisfied. I just be the boxer, you know? Be professional, train and fight. I let my promoter do his job. He does a good job.
Q: Are you happy with the way the people of Puerto Rico embrace you now as their fighter?
MC: I am very happy with that. The people recognize me better than they did 3-31/2 years ago. It makes me happy.
Q: You mentioned the other in one of the other press conferences that you’re going to be more popular than Tito Trinidad. That you’re going to be around a long time. What exactly did you mean by that?
MC: I think what I tried to say with this thing was that I try to write my own history, you know. I don’t want to be anybody. I just want to be Miguel Cotto.
Q: Can you walk around the streets of Puerto Rico anymore?
MC: Oh yes. The people treat you how you treat them.
Q: People come up to you a lot?
MC: Yes. It makes me feel like people understand me. My work.
Q: You said you will walk out of that ring victorious. Given that scenario, is a fighter like Mayweather in your radar?
MC: I told you before; I let this kind of work, choosing an opponent to my company. They do a great job. When the company thinks and they put Mayweather in my way, it will be the correct time.
Q: Is it hard to get up for a nice guy like Shane? There doesn’t seem to be any animosity.
MC: (Smiles) We have eight weeks to go til the fight (Laughs). When the days go past, I am going to feel more anxious for this fight.
Q: Your training will be the same for this fight?
MC: I will train as I always do. I train 100% every day and I will do that for this fight.
Q: Do you feel as if you have to do anything different for an opponent of Mosley’s caliber?
MC: I am not the most skilled boxer in the world but with hard work I always reach my goals and I will do the same for this fight.
Q: Do you come into the ring with a specific game plan or do you have several fall back plans? Or do you try and see what the opponent brings?
MC: I never see climb into the ring with a specific plan. I just one or two rounds and after that I try to create a plan.
Q: Would you consider Mosley the most complete fighter you have ever faced in terms of skills and intelligence?
MC: I’ll have to wait to tell you that.
Q: You just make yourself the best Miguel Cotto you can be and that’s it?
MC: That’s it.
Q: How high a weight class do think you can go? Do you think you can fight at 154?
MC: I didn’t think this now at this moment of my career. I needed to go from junior welter to 147 because my body needed the extra pounds. If my body needs the extra pounds and we find better business at 154 then we’ll go.
GM: Thank you, Miguel.
MC: Thank you.
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