Boxing


Miguel Cotto Conference Call Transcript

31.05.07 - LEE SAMUELS, TOP RANK: The champ is here. He just had a tremendous media day in his home town in Puerto Rico, a tremendous turnout of fight press, print press, cameras, Internet, it was just phenomenal. Ricardo Jimenez is with him in Puerto Rico. Bob Arum, of course, is here in Las Vegas with me. Weíre talking about Miguel Cotto, the two-division world champion against Zab Judah, Saturday, June ninth, Madison Square Garden, live on HBO Pay-Per-View. We have some tremendous, exciting announcements, which will be delivered by my boss the Hall of Fame Promoter, Bob Arum.

BOB ARUM, TOP RANK: Thank you, Lee. This is the third year that weíve brought Miguel Cotto to Madison Square Garden. Madison Square Garden for those who have been around as long as I have is the capital of boxing. The legendary fights that have been fought in that arena, and in the predecessor (ph) of Madison Square Gardens, our embedded in the history of our country and certainly the history of sports.

Miguel Cotto has developed a tremendous following. And the reason is simple, he is a no non sense fighter. He doesnít come to dance. He doesnít come to do business in the sense of Iím coming in, I wonít throw punches, if you donít throw punches. And leave in the same condition or leave his opponent in the same condition as when he came into the ring. He is a fighter, and he comes to fight. And heís demonstrated it, not only in Madison Square Garden in the last two years, but in all of the fights that youíve seen him in. In Zab Judah, he has a very, very worthy opponent, who is in great shape, and who is fighting for pugilistic life. A man who has tremendous boxing skills but also a devastating punch. And Miguel knows that he is being challenged in this fight, in Madison Square Garden.

But Miguel Cotto comes to fight, comes prepared, and thatís why heís loved by fight fans, not only in Puerto Rico, and New York, but all over the world. The tickets as you may have read on the Internet, theyíre Ė we started out with putting the tickets on sales, everything but the mezzanine or balcony, and thatís over 16,500. As of today, we have a lot less than 1,000 tickets remaining. Weíll be sold out by the end of the week. And so in order to Ė not to deprive anybody to this fight, and the great under card matches that weíre presenting, Top Rank and Madison Square Garden, decided to open up the mezzanine. That puts 3000 additional seats on sale. And even though itís a hot, hot ticket, weíre keeping faith with the fans. Tickets in the mezzanine will all be priced at $50, which we were the cheapest seats in the bottom part of the arena, main part of the arena. So we felt that it would be wrong to raise the price for those seats. So there will be 3000 seats, as of today, additional seats available to the fans, at $50 a pop.

The fight is being distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View. Theyíve done their usual tremendous job in distribution. Theyíve prepared a 30 minute countdown show, which airs this coming Saturday at 9:30 p.m. eastern time, and theyíre going to play the countdown show on their various channels about eight or nine additional times. The reports that theyíre getting from the field are very, very bullish. We expect many hundreds of thousands of fans will be buying the Pay-Per-View, the foreign sales are very, very strong. The card is something, I think, special. I mean we took great care in constructing an under card which has all quality fighters, and all in competitive fights.

But I donít want to talk so much anymore about the undercard. I want to introduce now, our pride, a fighter, the welterweight champion of the world, Miguel Cotto.

MIGUEL COTTO: Thank you. Iím very happy to be here with you. I am 100 percent prepared for this fight. I feel very good in the whole camp. And itís going to be a great night for Miguel Cotto, and the Puerto Rican and Latin people there in New York.

DAN RAFAEL, ESPN.COM: Miguel, Zab Judah has lost a couple of fights. He did have a no contest in his most recent fight. But I wondered, do you think because he has lost some fights recently, that makes him an easier opponent, because he hasnít been winning, or is he a more dangerous opponent because heís so desperate to get a victory?

MIGUEL COTTO: (INAUDIBLE) this fight. I know about (INAUDIBLE) I have the best (INAUDIBLE) I ever had in my life. I (INAUDIBLE) my shape, you know, (INAUDIBLE) pretty in shape. And I donít mind if some of you think (INAUDIBLE) to win for he has to put his career on the working (ph) way again. But I feel (INAUDIBLE) is pretty (INAUDIBLE). I feel pretty good. Itís my moment. Itís my time. And Iím going to destroy Zab the next June ninth.

DAN RAFAEL: OK. I watched on Telefutura network, a couple of weeks ago, your brother, in his title bout, and I saw the eruption that took place in the corner between you and your uncle, and your uncle and your brother, and I wondered, could you explain sort of what happened there. And it looked like you and your uncle, who is also your trainer, things got a little heated, everything OK, there?

MIGUEL COTTO: That was between my uncle and my brother. I was just there to try to put some peace between them. And I donít have any comments about that.

DAN RAFAEL: No, you have no comments about it?

MIGUEL COTTO: No. That was between my brother, and my uncle. Iím there just to put some peace between them.

DAN RAFAEL: What Iím getting at Miguel, everything is OK between you and your uncle. That issue on that night, was between your brother and your uncle. But is everything OK between you and your uncle?

MIGUEL COTTO: Yes. That was with my brother, not with me.

FRANKLIN MCNEIL, STAR-LEDGER: I wanted to talk to you about this fight, and how do you perceive it? Do you see this as your toughest fight to date? Potentially your toughest fight to date?

MIGUEL COTTO: I canít tell you because I donít (INAUDIBLE) with (INAUDIBLE). The people can (INAUDIBLE), this is my toughest fight. (INAUDIBLE). I have to fight with him to show you that, because I canít (INAUDIBLE) going to be my toughest fight, but in the middle of the fight, when Iím finished, (INAUDIBLE) result not going to be the toughest fight of my career. I have to wait to fight with him.

FRANKLIN MCNEIL: You know, a lot of what Zab brings is his speed, is that a concern of yours at all? Or do you have a plan to neutralize that?

MIGUEL COTTO: (INAUDIBLE) have to the stamina to stay with the same speed and the same power for 12 rounds.

GARY HERMAN, 15ROUNDS.COM: I just wanted to ask you is there any disappointment that youíre not taking on Antonio Margarito instead of Zab Judah?

MIGUEL COTTO: The people know whatís up with Margarito and he chose another opponent for less money. That was the problem here.

LEE SAMUELS: And I think Bob can address that too about what happened in that situation.

BOB ARUM: Well, you know, it doesnít serve any purpose to revisit whatís in the past. I look to the present and the future. Antonio has agreed that if he beats Paul Williams and if Miguel defeats Zab Judah that he will face Miguel in the fall. So hopefully we now have the benefit of seeing a whole group of welterweight fights. Antonio will fight Paul Williams on July 14 on HBO. And if, as I said, if Miguel and Antonio win their fights, sometime November, maybe early December, they will go at each other.

So, you know, itís just a plus, the way itís turned out for boxing fans.

EDDIE GOLDMAN, SECONDSOUT RADIO: The question I have is about what you expect from Zab Judah? In his last couple of fights, he was pretty consistent. He was favored against Carlos Baldomir, and of course, we know, Baldomir defeated him. He was on his way, it looks like to losing the fight with Mayweather and then he fouled Mayweather, and there was the incident in the ring, and then he had time off. What do you expect with the long layoff that he had? He did have the one no contest that he was winning, but you really canít see much from there. What do you expect from Zab, after this kind of inconsistent last couple of years that heís had in the ring?

MIGUEL COTTO: The only thing I expect from Zab for this fight, is he just fights a good and clean fight. The rest of the work I put on my own hands.

EDDIE GOLDMAN: Do you think youíre going to see the best Zab Judah that weíve seen in the last couple of years, better than when he fought Baldomir? And better than when he fought Mayweather?

MIGUEL COTTO: I donít know, because Iím staying pretty focused on my work. I donít have time to think (INAUDIBLE) prepare pretty well. (INAUDIBLE) work.

EDDIE GOLDMAN: OK. Do you make anything of what happened last week on the conference call, when his father came on the call saying that he was Zab?

MIGUEL COTTO: I donít know. The only thing I can tell is Yoel Judah can talk for him, can do a lot of things for him, but he canít climb up the arena and fight for him.

GERARDO SARGAS, BRONX NEWS: My question is, do you see yourself fighting Mayweather in a couple of years, if the fight with Margarito doesnít go down, where do you see yourself fighting or who?

MIGUEL COTTO: Thatís never going to be my work (ph). Iím just trying to (INAUDIBLE) the fighting who Bob put in front of me, Iím going to fight with them.

GERARDO SARGAS: Zab tends to get frustrated. In your last fight, you were getting frustrated with the guy low blowing you and pushing you. How do you plan on dealing with that?

MIGUEL COTTO: Iím just going to climb up the (INAUDIBLE). I have worked really hard for nine, 10 weeks, here in Puerto Rico and (INAUDIBLE) I know thatís going to be a great fight. And Iím going to New York for that to bring to the people a real fight. And I hope that Zab is coming with the same attitude. But Iím just going to (INAUDIBLE) good, clean and good show for the people.

GERARDO SARGAS: I heard, next Saturday or this Saturday June second, you will be in the South Bronx working out, is that true?

MIGUEL COTTO: I think for the last two years, there was the Saturday before the fight, we always have a public training for the people.

LEE SAMUELS: Yes, Miguel will be there at 152nd Street and Jackson at two oíclock on Saturday. There will be thousands of fight fans there, weíll have posters, and headbands, it will be very festive and for Miguel itís up close and personal, particularly with a lot of the youth who will be there, as you will see on Saturday.

DAVID AVILA, RIVERSIDE PRESS-ENTERPRISE: Miguel, my question is when was the first time that you came to New York and what did you think, you know, your first impression when you came to New York City?

MIGUEL COTTO: I have to stay out of Puerto Rico to see the most Puerto Rican persons, people together, that was my first time in New York, my first appearance in New York. And that was wonderful, you know, for the last three years, my fights in New York, were great. And I hope for this year, theyíre going to be better than the last two years.

DAVID AVILA: How old were you, when you first came to New York?

MIGUEL COTTO: Twenty-three.

DAVID AVILA: OK. And so when you came over it was for boxing?

MIGUEL COTTO: No, I was 21, it was my third fight with Waklimi Young in the Manhattan Center, something like that.

ROBERT MORALES, Long Beach Press-Telegram: The last two years, did you attend the Puerto Rican Day Parade after your fights?

MIGUEL COTTO: Yes.

ROBERT MORALES: What did you do and how did the fans treat you when you were there? What was it like being at the parade?

MIGUEL COTTO: Pretty good. The people always treat me (INAUDIBLE) with respect. Iím waiting for the same this year.

LEE SAMUELS: And Robert, Ricardo Jimenez was with him at this time. Ricardo, can you explain Ė give Robert a picture of what happened?

RICARDO JIMENEZ, TOP RANK: Every time he goes in those parades after the fight, a lot of people have seen him fight. So they come in there, and they just appreciate, you know, after seeing him fight, and they give him a very warm reception, everywhere he goes. Everybody chants his name, they yell his name out. And itís really something to see across, when heís parading on that, down the road, down the street.

RAMONE ARANDA: I was just wondering, what kind of things are you hoping to accomplish in your career before you hang up the gloves? Do you have a game plan? Or are you just kind of taking it as it comes?



MIGUEL COTTO: I donít have any plans for anything. I just prepare for every fight. And Iím going to reach the things God brings to me, and the things I work for that, for those.

BOB ARUM: There will be a full load of fights at Madison Square Garden, from about approximately 5:30 p.m. until approximately nine p.m. This is all New York Eastern Time.



We have four fights on the menu for the Pay-Per-View telecast. Anthony Thompson, a tremendous fighter from Philadelphia, a junior middleweight, record of 23 wins, one loss, will face Yuri Foreman, who came from the Ukraine to Israel Ė and Iím sorry Ė from Russia, Gomel, Belarus, to Israel. Lived in Israel for a number of years, and then came to New York, and he was a top amateur in New York, and his record as a professional 22 wins, no losses. This should be an extremely entertaining competitive match.

In another match, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. whose record is now 30 wins and no losses, fights the last guy to beat his father, Grover Wiley of Omaha, Nebraska, 30 wins, nine losses. This is truly a revenge match. I remember that fight distinctly when Wiley beat Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr. who couldnít continue in the fight. So that should be a very, very interesting match. Julio, if he wins this fight, will fight on a card that weíre doing in Chicago headlined by Eric Morales and David Diaz . And then, if he wins that fight, and Arturo Gatti wins his fight on July 14, then weíve made tentative plans to match Chavez, Jr. and Arturo Gatti in what should be a sensational fight.

Also, Humberto Soto is the top 130-pound fighter in the world from Las Mochis, Mexico faces off against Bobby Pacquiao of General Santos in the Philippines. Bobby is Mannyís brother. Freddie Roach tells us that heís never seen Bobby train as well as heís doing for this fight. And Freddie and Bobbyís camp are predicting a big upset over Soto. That should be a terrific, really interesting fight.

And finally, in the main event, Miguel Cotto defends his WBA welterweight championship against Zab Judah. Now, I understand that Zab wasnít on the conference call. His father took his place instead. But when I was in Memphis, for Kelly Pavlikís fight with Edison Miranda, we had a luncheon for Zab Judah and his camp, attended by many press people and believe me Zab was confident. He was in shape. And he vows to give the performance of his life.

So weíre looking for a great card, a very exciting card, a car thatís going to entertain the fans, lots of music, lots of excitement, we canít wait to come to New York. Miguel arrives on Friday. I get there on Sunday. Zab gets there on Monday. We have public workouts scheduled all week. Press conferences. A weigh in, weíre closing off 33rd Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenue for a public weigh in for the fans.

This is a great event. And what weíre trying to do is to show everybody how appealing boxing is. And the opportunity to watch these great fighters, particularly Miguel Cotto whoís now down it in New York for the third consecutive year. I mean this is what boxing needs, real fighters in real fights, no dancing, no business men fighters. You ask Miguel what his plans are for the future and so forth, and what did he say, anybody we put in front of him. Heís a fighting. Thatís what he lives for to fight. Heís not a business man like some of the guys that youíve seen. And all I can tell you is on June ninth, youíre going to see a real show. Boxing need not take a backseat to anyone, not any mixed marshal arts event or anyone. Thereís nothing more exciting than boxing when the fighters fight. And believe me, on this card, theyíre all going to fight.

So thank you very, very much for attending this conference call.

MIGUEL COTTO: Iím just compelled (INAUDIBLE), Iím more than 100 percent in shape for this fight. I feel really good. I hope Zab does the same thing on his camp, to win to the people the things that Bob said before a real show, with real fighters, a real fight. Thatís the only thing that the fans can see, a real fight, a real fight. And thatís the thing that Miguel Cotto is going to bring to all of the fans of the world. Thank you for staying here with us and see you next week in New York.

Article posted on 01.06.2007



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