samedi 3 mars 2012

A confident Miguel Cotto makes no apologies for who he isn't

Miguel Cotto

Miguel Cotto will put his WBA super-welterweight championship belt on the line when he fights unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 5 in Las Vegas. (Seth Wenig / Associated Press / March 1, 2012)

Tired of being disappointed because there isn't a Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight?

Miguel Cotto is here to try to slug out your frustrations.

"I didn't care about hearing one more thing about that," Cotto said Thursday, appearing in Hollywood to promote his May 5 bout against the unbeaten Mayweather. "My next step is Mayweather. If people want to see that [Mayweather-Pacquiao] fight, they have to wait until I beat Mayweather."

Cotto (37-2, 30 knockouts), the World Boxing Assn. super-welterweight champion, is to defend his belt in a pay-per-view bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. That hotel's sports book lists Cotto as more than a 6-1 underdog, lacking confidence that the 31-year-old's body-punching skills can overcome the 35-year-old Mayweather's speed, defense and ring wizardry.

"I'm a little different fighter than Antonio Margarito," Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) said of the Tijuana fighter whom Cotto defeated by ringside doctor's stoppage in a December rematch. "I'm faster and my defense is a lot better."

And Mayweather expressed little concern about fighting at the increased weight of 154 pounds, where he hasn't fought since defeating Oscar De La Hoya in a split decision in 2007.

"The 10-ounce heavyweight gloves they made me use against Oscar were like pillows," Mayweather said. "If I didn't have those pillows on, I could've chopped him up the way I wanted. I couldn't choose my gloves, the weight, anything in that fight."

This time, the camp of pay-per-view king Mayweather secured eight-ounce gloves for the Cotto bout.

Mayweather agreed to fight Cotto only after talks to stage Mayweather-Pacquiao failed. Pacquiao wanted a 50-50 split of revenues and Mayweather extended no more than a $40-million guarantee.

Earlier this week, Mayweather said Pacquiao isn't "one of the sharpest knives in the drawer," and he said the Filipino superstar doesn't deserve 50% of the financial pie.

But Thursday Mayweather tried to answer Pacquiao-related questions only by selling his May 5 fight. What does Mayweather think of the Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight June 9?

"May the best man win," Mayweather said.

"My job is not to worry about other fighters," he added.

Meanwhile, Cotto thinks he's back at the peak of his craft.

Cotto suffered the first loss of his career — to Margarito in 2008 — one fight before the Mexican brawler was suspended for having plaster in his hand wraps before a bout. But in their rematch in December, Cotto dominated Margarito in every round.

"[Margarito] took from me a lot of things — confidence included — in the 2008 fight, but as soon as I started training for this fight two weeks ago, I understood all those things he'd taken have come back to me," Cotto said.

Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Mayweather-Pacquiao, Mayweather-Pacquiao, Pacquiao, Mayweather, Antonio Margarito, Thursday Mayweather

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