Sunday, March 26, 2023  |



Miguel Cotto and Daniel Geale face off in NYC

Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Two gents took turns at the mic on Thursday afternoon at the swanky 40/40 club, owned by mega-impresario Jay Z. Miguel Cotto, a building block of Jay’s Roc Nation Sports boxing arm, was his typical chill self, understated, low volume in Manhattan.

The man he will fight on June 6 in Brooklyn, Aussie Daniel Geale, was similarly understated, eschewing any hint of trash-talking as the face-off was introduced to fight fans.

That tangle will run on HBO, and is supposed to be a prelude to a fall extravaganza, which Roc boxing COO David Itskowitch labeled boxing’s second-biggest superfight, after the one set to unfold on May 2, featuring You Know Who.

Cotto, should he get past Geale, will quite likely step to the line against Canelo Alvarez, the 25-in-July-year-old Mexican hitter who breaks hearts in a romantic fashion, ones belonging to adoring admirers, and cracks chins in the squared circle. He’ll need to get past bombs-away banger James Kirkland on May 9, and then if Cotto – who turns 35 in October – takes care of business, the runway is clear. Though this being boxing, until liftoff is achieved, it’s unwise to brag about what will certainly be …

“I am happy and excited to be back in New York and fighting at Barclays Center,” said Cotto. “This is another chapter in my career and I’m committed to train as hard as always and bring a big victory. I’m looking forward to seeing all the Puerto Rican fans on June 6 and to being part of another exciting boxing night in Brooklyn.” Yes, he’s no Hall of Famer in the orator department.

It’s been quite a shift for Cotto, as he’s jumped ship from Top Rank to Roc, and now will be moving from the tested site of his liking, Madison Square Garden, and will hitch his wagon to the Brooklyn buzz. “We are delighted that Miguel Cotto has chosen Barclays Center and Brooklyn to continue his storied career in New York City,” said Brett Yormark, Barclays Center CEO. “Cotto’s Puerto Rican heritage combined with Australia’s own Daniel Geale is going to create a tremendous global audience for this June 6 fight. This announcement further cements Barclays Center as the leading boxing venue in this country.” He told me he’s unafraid to pronounce Barclays as “the new boxing mecca,” and cited a May 29 card, this event and one coming later in the summer as proof.

“We have a better situation in Brooklyn, and we work there,” Cotto told me when I asked for some deets on his venue shift.

The 34-year-old Geale told me he he thinks he is “lucky” to get the gig, and that he’s “happy and excited.” The Aussie lauded Cotto for being a “great fighter,” and “we know what we’re up against.” I noted that some fans deride this choice, because Geale was stopped by Gennady Golovkin in Round 3 last year. “This opportunity will be much, much different,” he said. Geale is fine with the catchweight of 157 pounds, basically, and said “it’s part of the contract.” No tantrums on that issue, he said.

His promoter, Gary Shaw, talked up his chances. “Daniel Geale is a true warrior and will leave everything in the ring against Miguel Cotto like he always does,” said Shaw. “He’s never in a dull fight and the fans will get their money’s worth, as both fighters like to let their hands go. This will be a tough fight for Geale, however I’m convinced that he will beat Cotto and I’m hopeful that Miguel didn’t make any other plans for September other than a rematch with Daniel.”

Cotto advisor Gaby Penagaricano told me indeed, no one is looking past Geale, but a Canelo tangle is desired. And he wants all to recall that Cotto has not been a ducker, advises patience, and tells us that every outing can’t be a mega-fight. Cotto will not duck a fight with Gennady Golovkin, he told me.

As for the catchweight, he told me that he’s there to best rep his guy, and if getting the bout to be contested at a weight advantageous to him is possible, he will make no apologies. I told him I’m something of a purist, but comprehend his thinking on the issue.

He said other names were in the mix to face Cotto, and it came down to Geale and Jorge Heiland, a lefty. The tiebreaking was left to Cotto trainer Freddie Roach, who tapped the Aussie.