Cotto vs. Kirkland is about entertainment, says promoter
HOLLYWOOD, California – The second and final leg of a coast-to-coast press tour for the Feb. 25 showdown between Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland took place at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel last Friday, where Roc Nation Sports president Michael Yormark made it clear what the fight is all about.
“This fight is going to be all about entertainment,” Yormark said in his opening statements. “We all know that this fight, with these two fighters, these guys are going come, and it’s going to be a brawl. It’s going to be action packed. People want to watch that, people want to see that live.”
Broadcast on HBO Pay-Per-View at the non-HD price of $49.95 – an amount Yormark proudly repeated – his opening remarks also included an example of the anticipation boxing fans have upon the announcement of the fight, which takes place in Frisco, Texas at the new Ford Center at The Star (a 1.5 billion dollar practice facility for the Dallas Cowboys).
“Over 50 percent of the inventory in Dallas has already been sold for this fight with seven weeks left,” stated Yormark. “That’s a real strong indication that people are excited about this match-up. We’ve got a great promoter and partner in Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. They are promoting this fight very aggressively, and again, to have over 50 percent of our inventory sold during the holidays is absolutely tremendous, and quite frankly, it’s exceeded our expectations.”
Set at a catchweight of 153 pounds, the 12-round non-title bout will be the first PPV of 2017, and the 10th of Cotto’s illustrious career. Billed as “The Return,” Cotto (40-5, 33 knockouts), is coming off a 15-month layoff since losing a close decision to Canelo Alvarez, has already started training with Freddie Roach down the road at the Wild Card Boxing Club.
“It’s good to be back,” said Cotto. “It’s good to be sweating. I know that Freddie has everything set for our training camp. I rested a lot. I healed. And now I’m ready to fight.
“This fight is going to be the newest chapter in my career. I’m going to handle it in the best way possible. I’m going to do my best first with Freddie Roach in the gym and then the night of the fight to make my family proud. I can’t control my legacy. I can’t control what people say about me after I retire. All I do in life is for my family and my kids. That is going to be my legacy – what they think about me.”
As for wanting to avenge his loss to Alvarez, the 37-year was certainly open to the idea, but it would have to be within this year. The 37 year old called 2017 his last year as a fighter.
Sitting next to Cotto was Roach, and he spoke more on the matter.
“Obviously, I thought Miguel won his last fight,” said Roach. “A rematch would be great there. Miguel always tells me if I was in his corner when he fought Mayweather, we would have won. What’s next? Who knows? But right now we have a tough fight in front of us. And we’re getting ready for that fight. I did send my guys out a couple of times to work with Miguel in Puerto Rico just to keep him fresh. Miguel in just the past two days has been great. We dusted off the body bag. Body punches are hard. Yes, I peed blood last night. It’s good to be back to work and I am happy to have him back in the gym.”
Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of this match-up is the return of Kirkland’s on-and-off again trainer. Ann Wolfe, a former three-division woman’s world champion, will prepare Kirkland for this fight, and many expect the best Kirkland has to offer on Feb. 25 because of it.
“Definitely,” answered Kirkland when asked by RingTV if Wolfe best prepares him mentally for a fight. “When it comes down to mentally preparing myself and physically preparing myself, Ann definitely knows how to push me to the next limit. It shows.”
Kirkland (32-2-, 28 KOs) hasn’t lost with Wolfe preparing him for a fight, and barking in his corner the night of. She wasn’t there in Kirkland’s last fight in May of 2015, when he too suffered a defeat at the hands of Canelo. Kirkland’s loss, however, was a brutal knockout in the third round of a fire fight. The last time they worked together was Kirkland’s last victory where in December 2013.
“We have a reputation between ourselves,” the 32 year old said about his trainer. “I’m definitely going to give my all, and as far as motivation and pushing me to the next level, she is definitely one of the people that brings the best out of me.
“More than ever I’m anxious to get in the ring, and put on a great performance,” said Kirkland, a native of Austin, Texas. “Since the last fight, looking back and seeing the fight and the mistakes that I made, I’m definitely eager to get back in there and to show my fans that Kirkland is still a rising star, and is still someone that’s going to make a stand in boxing. I want to put on a good show in Texas.”
Details on the HBO PPV undercard will be announced this week, according to Yormark, and before closing the media luncheon, the sports executive felt compelled to give make a final statement that was directed toward those reporting in front of him.
“I think you need to accept these fights for what they are,” he said. “No transparency, when the first story came out about this fight from a reporter back on the east coast, they were very negative. For what reason, I don’t know. There was discussion about if this is a pay-per-view worthy fight. This is arguably going to be the best entertainment of the year in the sport. You’ve got two guys that have a lot to prove. Two guys that when they get into the ring they’re going to battle and throw punches. They’re not going to dance around. They’re not going to hide. And when you think about why people buy pay-per-view, or why they buy any form of entertainment, they want to be entertained. It’s about the value proposition, right? $49.95 to see two great fighters battle for as long as the fight lasts. That’s a great value proposition. To answer your question directly, that’s what the media needs to talk about. They need to talk about great entertainment at a great value. The return of Miguel Cotto – one of the greatest fighters that we’ve seen over the last 10-15 years – that’s what the focus needs to be on. The focus doesn’t need to be on whether it’s pay-per-view worthy. That’s not the question. That’s not the issue here, okay. That’s for another day.”