Cotto puts middleweight belt on line as he prepares for spat
There might be as many questions to answer in Saturday night’s WBC middleweight title fight as there will be punches thrown.
Champion Miguel Cotto has had a year’s layoff since taking the belt from Sergio Martinez. Will he be rusty?
At 34, Cotto has done lots of hitting and been hit plenty, too. Is there anything left?
The Puerto Rican star is not a natural middleweight, either.
Challenger Daniel Geale, a 34-year-old Australian, is coming way down in weight and must show he can get to or under 157 for the bout at the Barclays Center. The fighters’ camps agreed to that catch weight even though the middleweight maximum is 160 pounds.
So there even was the question whether the fight would come off if the weights are in dispute; the WBC could recognize it as a title fight as long as both boxers are at 160 or lower.
“I think that people are making a big issue where there does not need to be a big issue with catch weights,” Cotto said. “Catch weights were our main point to make this fight happen. Daniel and his team agreed to going down to 157.”
Geale isn’t thrilled about the prospect of getting so thin considering he is a natural middleweight who has held the IBF and WBA crowns.
“Those three pounds definitely do make a difference,” he said. “They put that extra little bit of pressure on your body. But I will come back up. That’s why I wanted the fight whether it was at a catch weight or not. I know my body recovers relatively quickly. Given that full day in between (weigh-in and bout), I should be back to 100 percent.”
Cotto (39-4, 32 knockouts) often is at 100 percent when he fights in New York. The only Puerto Rican boxer to own belts in four divisions, he has been a huge attraction in the past, particularly in June when he has fought on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade. This year, he enters the ring eight days before the parade, hoping to get an early start on the festivities.
“I’m encouraging everyone planning on coming to the parade on June 14 to support our man Miguel Cotto on Saturday,” said parade representative Ululy Rafael Martinez.
An impressive win after such a long layoff could put Cotto in line for another big-money fight with Canelo Alvarez. Geale comes off a decision against countryman Jarrod Fletcher last December; his previous fight was a third-round knockout loss to impressive super middleweight Gennady Golovkin, who holds the WBA title.
Two of his losses have come in his last four outings.
Geale (31-3, 16 knockouts) believes Cotto has his eyes on the future, not on him.