The Confidence Man
Miguel Cotto calm, cool, collective - and ready for Manny Pacquiao
Story and photo by Chris Cozzone
Never mind the Time magazine cover, or showing his sensitive side by belting out “Sometimes When We Touch” on TV, Manny Pacquiao, on the road to legendary pound-for-pound greatness, will hit a major road block on November 14.
At least, that’s what a calm, collective and categorically confident Miguel Cotto is saying.
“What everyone is saying about him, doesn’t concern me,” Cotto said yesterday in a teleconference. “I know what I can do to him – he better be focused on who is in front of him: Miguel Cotto.”
In the running for this year’s biggest blockbuster card, Cotto, 34-1, 27 KOs, will defend his WBO welterweight title against Pacquiao, 49-3-2, 37 KOs, on an HBO PPV-televised card promoted by Top Rank at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao is undefeated in the last four-and-a-half-years, on a 10-bout winning streak over the biggest names in boxing and on the verge of becoming a world champion in seven weight divisions in his 50th win.
Miguel Cotto doesn’t care.
“It’s not important to me what the boxing world sees,” says Cotto. “Once I win on Nov. 14, he can do whatever he wants . .. but I am going to win this fight.
“I think if he thinks he can reach seven divisions, he’s picked the wrong moment and the wrong opponent.”
Unlike Pacquiao, Cotto says he is here for one reason:
“I’m a boxer, not an artist, not a singer. I’m just a boxer, focused on the things I’m going to do. That’s the reason I’m here.”
Keep the talk of Pacquiao-Mayweather or Pacquiao-Marquez III to yourself, is Cotto’s creed. You can also have anything Freddie Roach is saying.
“Forget about Freddie Roach,” says Cotto. “He can train Manny the best he can, but in the end, it’s just Manny and Miguel Cotto in the ring.”
Stopping Oscar De La Hoya, destroying Ricky Hatton and blazing through everyone (but Marquez), in addition to bearing speed and knockout power brought up from 108 pounds, has made the Filipino phenom a -250 favorite on the sports books.
But Cotto shrugs at the mention of speed and power.
“Speed is not a factor,” he says. “Everyone thinks it is. But that’s why you prepare. We know he’s fast . . . And Manny comes from lower weight divisions. If he thinks he has the same power against Miguel Cotto, he’s very wrong.”
Cotto dispels the talk that his sole loss – to Antonio Margarito in 2008 – has taken a chunk out of him.
“I’m pretty recovered from the Margarito defeat,” says Cotto. “I showed the world that from my last two victories. I don’t have anything else to say about it.”
Cotto suffered a brutal and bloody 11th round stoppage to Margarito though, in his victor’s next fight, he was, in turn, stopped by Shane Mosley, whom Cotto had defeated the year before. It was also discovered that Margarito’s hand wraps had been tampered, lending speculation that he’d beaten Cotto unfairly. No one will ever know – and it’s a topic that Cotto does not care to converse about.
Since his loss, Cotto dismantled an overmatched Michael Jennings in February, then edged Joshua Clottey in June, winning a split decision.
“I showed I can deal with a huge cut and a strong opponent,” says Cotto about his last outing. “I learned how to deal with huge problems inside a fight.”
Cotto says he doesn’t pay much – if any – attention to what the media says about him, or where they place him, historically.
“I’m doing this for me, for my family, and for people who want to follow me,” he says. “I don’t pay too much attention to other’s commentaries . . . Wherever they want to put Miguel Cotto, I’m gonna be happy.”