War of Words: Cotto vs. Judah

miguel cotto(Miguel Cotto, seen here on left, taking a left jab to the face from Randall Bailey in 2004) 18.04.07 - By Scoop Malinowski: As we know by now sometimes pre-fight words offer clues to what will happen in the actual fight. Miguel Angel Cotto and Zab Judah spoke yesterday at their New York City press conference. It will be the last time they see each other before June 9th at Madison Square Garden.

While the press conference was without any fireworks, there still were some very interesting statements made and observances noticed:

I always try to watch what happens when the two fighters first make eye contact at the initial press conference, because you can always see something, like who is cooler or who's slightly uncomfortable, who is in charge or who accepts playing the supporting role.

Before the conference began Cotto approached Judah on the stage, as a friendly, classy gesture to shake hands. There was no ulterior motives of some kind of macho intimidation by Cotto, he's not at all that type. Actually he's extremely soft-spoken and gentle in these settings. And I should add very well liked by all of the media.

Zab was talking to someone and did not immediately acknowledge Cotto's presence, though he surely was aware of it. Zab made him wait almost 10 seconds. He knew Cotto was there but didn't want to turn to look at him. Cotto stood there waiting. Finally, as if overpowered by the mere presence of the WBA Welterweight champion, Zab obeyed Cotto's request for a formal greeting and the two did a quick handshake. What to read out of it, I don't know? But it was cool to watch.

And now, to the action...

Yoel Judah: "We're not playing with nobody...Right now we're focused, we got our heads on straight...I promise everybody June 9th cometh we will shine."

[Cotto sat in his chair listening intently to every word and when Yoel was finished, he paused and then applauded his hands together with two very small claps.]

Zab Judah: "I like Miguel Cotto. He's a good up and coming fighter. He's done a great job at what he's doing. He's undefeated. He dominated the junior welterweight division, now he wants to do the same at welterweight...This is a great opportunity to show the world I am the greatest pound-for-pound fighter...I promise you, I PROMISE YOU - this is real talk - June 9th I'm gonna walk out of Madison Square Garden WBA champion. This is what I do. I run this. I'm back."

[Looking very inquisitive and digesting the words with intense concentration, Cotto, with his head tilted slightly sideways and slightly downward, clapped politely for Zab's words.]

Miguel Cotto: "[Zab applauded the champion's approach to the podium microphone] ...This is my first time speaking English at a press conference [more applause]...I'm not a boxer who talk too much. I train, that's my job. I'm here to say I will train really hard for this fight. This is his opportunity. This is mine too. I'm going to promise you the same as Zab did. One of our promises will fall down. And that won't be mine. Thank you."

[Zab applauded Cotto once again.]
Both fighters posed for photographers and when requested to stare down each other, they both turned to face each other at the exact same instant. It was all very smooth. As they looked into each other's eyes, neither made any malicious faces or threatening gestures. They both seem to have a ton of respect for each other. Then, in perfect synchronicity, their eye contact broke apart at the same exact instant again like it began, as if they were both tuned into each other on the same wave length. Cotto again reached out to shake hands and the two warriors graciously embraced like two champions who embodied the ultimate high class sportsmanlike qualities. They met and parted ways like gentleman. It was a very nice press conference and an example of the beauty of boxing.

Cotto and Judah went off to their roundtables and here are some more quotes I picked up:

Judah: "I know Miguel Cotto is paying very close attention to every word I say, trying to learn as much about me as he can."

"When it comes to great fighters, astronomical fighters, I'm one of those. I'm the Matrix."

"Cotto's ability to take a punch is very much in question."

"I may train in Memphis or Puerto Rico."

"It's about the money now, that's it."

When asked about his classy attire (silver suit and tie) and mature conduct on this day, Zab cracked up the whole table of media: "It's like my boy Jay-Z says, 30 is the new 20's."

Cotto: "I feel better, stronger and with more stamina at 147."

"All the big names I want to fight with them."

On the Torres fight which he was hurt and knocked down: "I was thinking I had to win the fight, no matter how. I didn't care how I won, I had to win."

Evangelista Cotto: "No welterweight will ever defeat Miguel. He is too powerful."

Check out the Alexander Povetkin Biofile at Scoop's site

Article posted on 18.04.2007

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