Canelo hyped, Cotto cool-headed going into Nov. 21 showdown
If the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view “mega-dud” on May 2 left a sour taste in your mouth, most boxing fans believe the Nov. 21 Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez showdown is the perfect antidote to wash it out.
Apart from a few jaded Mayweather Twitter fans (miffed that two fighters who lost to their hero could generate so much excitement on social media after Cotto-Alvarez was announced on Thursday), boxing aficionados around the world echoed the words of Roc Nation President Michael Yormark, who opened the media conference call for the anticipated showdown:
“Cotto-Canelo is a fans’ fight, guaranteed action, worthy of the great Puerto Rico versus Mexico rivalry. It’s the best fight that can be made in boxing.”
Cotto-Alvarez will take place at Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas and air live on HBO Pay-Per-View in the United States. The fight, which is co-promoted by Cotto’s Roc Nation and Canelo’s Golden Boy Promotions, will take place at a 155-pound catchweight with THE RING magazine and WBC middleweight titles on the line.
Details on the undercard (which could include Andre Ward), the suggested pay-per-view price and when tickets go on sale will be announced in the next week to 10 days, according to Yormark. A multi-city press tour will be announced at the beginning of next week.
For now, fans are finally free to salivate over a dream matchup they had hoped would take place in May (before Mayweather-Pacquiao was made) and had to wait a couple months to be finalized after the combatants first bouts of 2015 – Alvarez’s third-round KO of James Kirkland in May and Cotto’s fourth-round stoppage of Daniel Geale in June.
During Thursday’s media conference call, Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 knockouts), who is only 25, says the finalization of the Cotto bout is the realization of goal he’s had for some time.
“I began thinking about fighting Cotto about three years ago,” Alvarez said through Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Robert Diaz. “My group, my team, we’ve all been thinking about this fight for a few years, and moving closer to it with every fight. And then fans started clamoring for it, so it’s been in our minds. Even three years ago, I knew I could win. I knew I was ready.”
Although confident of victory, the native of Guadalajara, Mexico, made it point to express his respect for Cotto, a 15-year veteran, the first Puerto Rican boxer to win titles in four weight classes and a future first-ballot hall of famer.
“I’m very excited for this fight,” Alvarez said. “I’m happy and honored to be fighting a great fighter like Cotto. I always watched him fight growing up and I’ve always liked his style and his boxing ability.”
“These are the type of fights I’ve always wanted. Fights against fighters who have had illustrious careers, like Cotto. This is a guaranteed fight. It won’t disappoint like Mayweather-Pacquiao.”
Alvarez said the storied rivalry between Mexican and Puerto Rican fighters adds fuel to their matchup.
“It’s why I’ve been craving this fight,” he said. “It’s a fight with a lot of responsibility because I know it can go down in history as one of the great fights between Mexico and Puerto Rico.”
Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico, was a bit more subdued, which is his m.o., during his turn on the conference call. While Cotto acknowledged that the showdown with Canelo is a major event, the 34-year-old boxer-puncher who has faced Mayweather, Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Sergio Martinez, Antonio Margarito and Zab Judah in big pay-per-view fights over the years, was also quick to point out that it’s nothing new to him.
“This fight is just another big fight,” Cotto said in English. “I’m going to go to L.A. (for training camp) and do my best as always to be ready for Vegas and to beat Canelo on Nov. 21.
“The fights with Mayweather, Martinez, Pacquiao, everybody I faced in my era, were all big fights. Canelo is just another big name. That’s how I see it.”
Cotto didn’t have a lot to say about Alvarez’s ability.
“I’m not a real big fan of boxing (so I haven’t seen much of him). But I know Canelo is a great fighter, not so much a boxer, but a strong puncher. I’m just going to be ready for him.”
He gave the young Mexican star a little bit of props when Margarito’s name was brought up as part of Puerto Rican-Mexican rivalry.
“Every fight is different,” Cotto said. “Canelo is a better boxer than Margarito was. I know it’s going to be a great fight, a huge fight for all the fans and I’m going to do my best. Everybody knows what a fight between a Mexican and a Puerto Rican means to fans, and people can expect the same from us.”
The stoic star was unapologetic about insisting that the bout (for the linear 160-pound championship) take place at a 155-pound catchweight.
“My fight with Geale was set at 157, I came in at 153¾ pounds,” Cotto said. “My fight with Martinez was set at 159, I came in at 155 pounds. I don’t look at myself as more than a super welterweight.”
The weight stipulation shouldn’t be a factor in this particular matchup. Alvarez, who held titles at junior middleweight, has weighed in at 155 or a little lighter since making a 152-pound catchweight against Mayweather in September 2013.
Cotto’s trainer, hall of famer Freddie Roach, was even-handed in his assessment of Alvarez but still expects a fan friendly encounter.
“He’s a good young fighter, he’s got some skill and a good punch, and he’s been in there with a lot of guys, but this is a big step up for him,” Roach said. “Miguel will be too smart for him. We’re gonna be at our best for this one because this is a big, big fight for us.
“I don’t think he’s stronger than us. I think we’re stronger than him and I think Miguel is a better puncher, but we’ll find out on fight night. Miguel’s a very hard worker, he’s very dedicated, we work well together, and I think this will be one of the greatest fights of all time.”
Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions, stopped short of that level of hyperbole, but still guaranteed that fans who pay for this mega-fight will get what they want.
“It will have everything that fans want to see in boxing and that is action and intensity,” De La Hoya said. “Mark my words, this will be fight of the year. Boxing is alive and well in 2015.”