LAS VEGAS — Three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto believes that not having to focus on weight-loss will serve as an advantage heading into his middleweight debut versus RING and WBC champion Sergio Martinez on June 7 at New York's Madison Square Garden on HBO Pay Per View.
"In these two weeks of camp, we worked on the strength without any thoughts about the weight," said Cotto, 33. "Making and creating muscle mass. I know that I am fighting with strength and that's going to make a difference."
Cotto made his comments at Wolfgang Puck's at the MGM, sharing some his thoughts with reporters alongside trainer Freddie Roach on April 11, the day before Manny Pacquiao's unanimous decision victory over Tim Bradley regained the WBO welterweight title he had lost by disputed decision in June 2012.
Cotto (38-4, 31 knockouts) is attempting to become the first Puerto Rican fighter to win four titles in as many divisions against Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs), a veteran southpaw who turned 39 in February and who has not fought since April 2013 when he unanimously decisioned Martin Murray in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
"I am very focused on this fight," said Cotto. "I step into the gym every day thinking about the fight without any thoughts about my weight, you know? Without any thoughts on my mind about the weight. It's about the fight."
Roach was in the opposite corner of Cotto in November of 2009 as the trainer for Pacquiao during the latter's 12th-round knockout victory that dethroned Cotto as WBO welterweight beltholder. Cotto began working with Roach nearly a year ago prior to his third-round technical knockout of Delvin Rodriguez in October and Pacquiao's unanimous decision over Brandon Rios in November.
Cotto had been trained by Pedro Diaz for his previous three bouts — losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Austin Trout in May and December of 2012, respectively, and a ninth-round knockout over Antonio Margarito in December 2011.
Martinez has risen from the canvas during each of his past three fights comprised of an 11th-round stoppage of Matthew Macklin and unanimous decision victories over Murray and Chavez.
Martinez is 7-0, with four knockouts since falling by majority decision to Paul Williams in December 2009, having avenged that loss by stopping Williams in the second round in November 2010.
The win over Williams was in defense of the WBC belt Martinez won by unanimous decision from Kelly Pavlik in April 2010. Martinez has also knocked out former titleholders Sergei Dzinziruk and Darren Barker in the eighth and 11th rounds.
After the Chavez fight, Martinez received eight stitches to repair a cut over his left eye, two staples in his head, and suffered from both a broken left hand and torn ligaments in his right knee, the latter of which required surgery to repair.
Martinez required a second surgery after having damaged the knee injury, later determined to be a torn right meniscus, after his triumph over Murray.
MIGUEL COTTO’S FIGHTS IN NEW YORK:
Waklimi Young, UD 4, Hammerstein Ballroom, April 28, 2001
Muhammad Abdulaev, TKO 9, Madison Square Garden, June 11, 2005
Paulie Malignaggi, UD 12, Madison Square Garden, June 10, 2006
Zab Judah, TKO 11, Madison Square Garden, June 9, 2007
Shane Mosley, UD 12, Madison Square Garden, Nov. 10, 2007
Michael Jennings, TKO 5, Madison Square Garden, February 21, 2009
Joshua Clottey, SD 12, Madison Square Garden, June 13, 2009
Yuri Foreman, TKO 9, Yankee Stadium, June 5, 2010
Antonio Margarito, TKO 10, Madison Square Garden, Dec. 3, 2011
Austin Trout UD 12 Miguel Cotto, Madison Square Garden, Dec. 12, 2012
DUSTY HERNANDEZ-HARRISON ON BRYANT JENNINGS-MIKE PEREZ CARD
Welterweight prospect Dusty Hernandez-Harrison, of Washington, D.C., will face an opponent to be determined on a May 24 undercard at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The featured bout is between unbeaten heavyweights Bryant Jennings and Mike Perez to be supported by a middleweight bout between ex-beltholder Daniel Geale and former title challenger Matthew Macklin on HBO, Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions and promoter Gary Shaw announced last week.
The news about the 19-year-old Hernandez-Harrison (21-0, 11 knockouts) was first reported by BoxingScene.com, and confirmed by his trainer and father, Buddy Harrison. Last month, Hernandez-Harrison unanimously decisioned Michael Balasi to follow up a unanimous decision in January over Philadelphia's Tim Witherspoon Jr., the son of the former heavyweight champion.
Jennings (18-0, 10 KOs) and Perez (20-0-1, 12 KOs) is a second-mandatory ordered by the WBC in a crowded chase for the belt, whose organization has mandated that Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola fight for the title vacated by the retirement of Vitali Klitschko. A unanimous decision winner over Arreola in April 2013, Stiverne faces him again on May 10.
The winner of Stiverne-Arreola has been mandated to defend against Deontay Wilder, who is coming off last month's 96-second stoppage win over Malik Scott. The winner of Jennings-Perez is to be matched against that between Wilder and the victor of the Stiverne-Arreola fight.
Jennings, 29, will be after his fifth straight win against Perez and is coming off a 10th-round knockout of Artur Szpilka in January. Perez, 28, was last in the ring for a draw with Carlos Takam in January following November's brutal unanimous decision victory over Magomed Abdusalamov, who was left brain damaged and in rehabilitation. Perez fought in honor of Abdusalamov against Takam.
A 33-year-old from New South Wales, Australia, Geale (30-2, 16 KOs) dethroned Sebastian Sylvester by split decision for the IBF's belt in 2011, and defended it four times before losing it to Darren Barker by split decision last August.
Geale's victories in defense of his title included those by split decision over then-ex-beltholder Felix Sturm in September 2012 and a unanimous decision foru months later over Anthony Mundine to avenge a split decision setback from May 2009.
Barker retired after being dethroned in December 2013 following by second-round stoppage against Sturm, who will defend his belt against Sam Solomon on May 31.
A 31-year-old promoted by Lou DiBella, Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs) has lost three of his past five fights, including a disputed split decision to then-WBA beltholder Sturm in June 2011. Macklin also lost his ensuing bout by 11th-round stoppage to RING and WBC champion Sergio Martinez, whom he floored in the seventh round in March 2012.
In succession, Macklin then stopped Joachim Alcine in the first round in September 2012, lost by third-round knockout to WBA titleholder Gennady Golovkin last June and unanimously decisioned previously unbeaten Lamar Russ in December.
STEVE BUJAJ-JUNIOR WRIGHT IN CLASH OF UNBEATENS
New York cruiserweight Steve Bujaj (12-0, 9 KOs) will face Junior Wright (10-0, 9 KOs), of Evanston, Ill., on May 15 at the Millenium Theater in Bright Beach, Brooklyn, Dmitry Salita's Star of David Promotions announced on Wednesday.
"This is an incredible main event. Much respect to both fighters, who are willing to step up and fight a fight is risky for both fighters," ," said Salita. "This fight, by far, is biggest test for both. This fight will be for the WBC international cruiserweight title, and will get the winner close to a shot at a world title."