Fight Interviews

Miguel Cotto: I Will Defeat Manny Pacquiao! (2009)

"Nah, I don’t care of the problems they have [Floyd Mayweather and Bob Arum]. Their [personal] problems are a big thing but they [also] want money. If enough money is pushed across the table, the fight can happen."

Miguel Cotto was very confident when I spoke to him days before his showdown with Manny Pacquiao in November 2009. I had the Puerto Rican star a slight favorite, but even I did not see Manny Pacquiao dominanting the majority of the fight. Cotto was his normal stoic self, and made his feelings clear regarding his stance on whether Antonio Margarito cheated in their fight.


One thing you’ll learn about boxers when it’s close to fight night, is not to expect an in-depth, talkative interview. As the days near, a fighter’s mind goes to a dark place that few if any can understand. They must prepare themselves for immense pain and inhuman cruelty. And in all honesty, they must be prepare themselves for the possibility of permanent, serious injury (mental and physical), and even death.

Miguel Cotto has been here before. For the last few years, he’s fought the best of the welterweight division, taking on various stiff challenges in the Top 10 (Carlos Quintana, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey, etc). After rebuilding from a now controversial defeat to disgraced former champion Antonio Margarito (who is serving a 1-year suspension for illegal hand wraps), Miguel Cotto is poised to upset a potential megafight between Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather if he emerges victorious this Saturday (November 14).

After finishing up some light last minute workouts, Miguel took a few minutes to explain why you should not be underestimating the most accomplished welterweight of the last several years.

Ismael AbduSalaam: For what I’ve seen, your sparring has looked great and your trainers are saying you look better now that you have at any point. Would you say this is just due to the magnitude of this fight, or having better people in the camp?

Miguel Cotto: We just take this fight and know the huge responsibility [with it]. We’re sure of our skills, and pretty sure of Pacquiao’s skills. We’re prepared ourselves for everything the night of the 14th.

 Ismael: In looking at your fight with Carlos Quintana, do you see that fight possibly being a blueprint for how you’ll possibly beat Pacquiao? Do you see any similarities or are their styles too different outside of being southpaws?

Cotto: [Pauses] Ah, nah. They’re two different boxers, y’know? Quintana is a natural welterweight. Pacquiao is a guy coming to our division. He’s quicker, but not bigger and stronger than Quintana.

Ismael: You may not be aware, but you are popular in the Hip-Hop world for your style of fighting and the tough opponents you select. Many are excited about this fight. Do you happen to like Hip-Hop music?

Cotto: Well, I like any kind of good music like R&B. But, yeah I wasn’t aware of any of that. I’m not aware of a lot from the younger generation but I’m happy they’re coming to find out about Miguel Cotto.

Ismael: You’ve always been willing to fight anyone and mentioned guys like Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfred Benitez, and Marvin Hagler as boxers who held that same attitude and elevated the sport in the 1980s. Out of that group is there any particular one you draw inspiration from style-wise?

Cotto: I was speaking in general about all of them because they epitomize what a boxer should be. They weren’t afraid to fight and didn’t worry about the risks. Leonard, Duran, Hagler, all those guys fought fights that put the sport on the map. That is what we need to do today to put boxing back on top.

Ismael: Recently, Antonio Margarito called you out for a rematch and you vowed that he would never make another cent with you. Based on your stance, do you feel certain that there was something in his gloves during your fight?

Cotto: The only people who know for sure are him and his trainer. But you have to ask yourself, where is Margarito right now? He is suspended because he’s a cheat. We can’t support any type of acts or people like that in boxing.

Ismael: Was it difficult to train with HBO’s 24/7 cameras constantly following you around and setting up shots?

Cotto: It’s not normal, y’know? I don’t have cameras behind me or in my camp. But they have to do their work [for promotion], and we do ours. Nobody interferes with anybody’s work.

Ismael: I know you’re focused on Pacquiao, but I spoke with Floyd Mayweather and he did mention your name as a potential opponent. Do you think that fight can still come off even though apparently the stumbling block would be Mayweather’s strained relationship with your promoter Bob Arum?

Cotto: Nah, I don’t care of the problems they have. Their [personal] problems are a big thing but they [also] want money. If enough money is pushed across the table, the fight can happen.

Ismael: I know you don’t normally do predictions, but how do you see the fight going on Saturday?

Cotto: No matter which way it goes; Miguel Cotto is going to win the fight!

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