The War of Words at Cotto vs. Gomez Press Conference

cotto gomezBy Scoop Malinowski, Photo: Chris Farina - Top Rank -- Miguel Cotto is a contradiction. Outside of the ring you will not find a classier, more polite, more gentlemanly boxer. He will not say a bad word about anyone, not his next opponent, not even the ducking and dodging WBC champ Floyd Mayweather. He is thoughtful and respectful to all media inquirers. But inside the ring you will not find a more violent, rude or viciously relentless wrecking machine. It's confounding how nice Cotto is now but how enraged he will fight to defend his title on Saturday night against Alfonso Gomez.

Gomez is as ready as he can be and his speech at the podium captivated the audience at Wednesday's press conference at Sofrito. Gomez, a gentleman himself, spoke with a passion and unoffensive vehemence that made you instantly like him if you already didn't..

"On April 12 I'm going to prove to everybody my imagination, the power of my mind is going to demonstrate I'm gonna beat Miguel Cotto. I trained hard for this fight mentally, physically and spiritually. There's nothing - no boxing critic, no boxing fan, there's no statistics that can change my mind about the outcome on April 12. Because I trained hard for this fight. We are going to give the fans a tremendous fight. And I'm gonna be in there hitting him as hard as I can. And I'm gonna get in with my jabs as much as I can, with uppercuts to the body. I'm gonna try and bob and weave as much as I can. And block them too...On April 12 Mexico will have a new world champion. I will come out with a belt and I will win. Viva Mexico. Viva Mexico."

Cotto, attired in a gray suit, listened intently to every word as if studying the tones and enunciations for clues. He did not look at Gomez while listening and applauded his speech lightly when it was over. You got the sense Cotto heard nothing in those words to cause any unexpected alarm or concern.

Then it was Cotto's turn to speak. And as impressive a statement as the challenger gave, the champion had a perfect retort. "I'm not here to talk too much. I remember something my father said to us - I'm talking about me and my brothers. When you're going to do something you don't have to tell everybody what you're going to do. You just do it. And that's it. And that's the thing I'm going to do on Saturday. I'm going to fight, I'm going to win on Saturday."

Gomez wore a look on his face which showed slight hints of, Wow I thought I was good but, damn, Miguel got me, he was better. That damn champ just one-upped me.

As they joined together for the photographers, Gomez sported a noticeable height advantage. He raised a tight fist which suggested strong confidence. But you get the feeling that while no critic or fan or statistic can break Gomez's determined spirit, Miguel Cotto's fists just might.

Then the two stared into each other's eyes and Gomez suddenly looked dangerously mean, unlike his usual amiable disposition. Cotto just looked at him, with no special or exaggerated expression. Cotto's eyes always exude tremendous fire and intensity anyway. Cotto's eyes are the most powerful, intense eyes in boxing today. When the champion had enough of it he simply turned away and walked away. And that was it. Gomez was left alone.

The main conclusion I drew from this is just how much class Cotto has and standing next to Mayweather at one of these press conferences he would show everyone how inferior Mayweather is to him as a sportsman, a man and a champion, without having to do or say anything. Mayweather, next to Cotto, would be true to his nature and act in a way to make himself look like the jack ass he so often is. And if Mayweather decided to really act like an immature punk to Cotto he just might get himself knocked out cold with a bareknuckle sandwich. But buzz around these parts is that Mayweather will forever duck and dodge Cotto and will never ever even consider the idea of battling Miguel Cotto, this year, next or any year. HBO does not seem to be pushing Floyd to do it. But then again, Floyd might fire HBO, just like he fired Bob Arum when Arum tried to force him to fight Antonio Margarito for $10,000,000 in August 2006. (For those who forgot, Floyd ducked Margarito in August and then fought Baldomir in November - Money Mayweather ducked the $10,000,000 payday for a "D level opponent" who he also said would be "easy work.")

The IBF Welterweight title fight between champ Kermit Cintron and Antonio Margarito could steal the show. Margarito is 100% healthy and happy to be fighting again on a regular basis, after destroying Golden Johnson late last year. Manager Sergio Diaz says Margarito performs much better when he stays active and if Margarito backs those words up with results on Saturday night, Cintron could be in for big trouble.

Margarito is not much of a talker at press conferences as he basically only said this: "I'm ready to go up into the ring on Saturday night and be a world champion."

Cintron is seeking to avenge the KO loss to Margarito and like his challenger, he did not have many revelations to share about his plans for the fight. "I'm ready. I'll do all my talking in the ring."

Word around the press conference was that if both win, Cotto would meet Margarito on July 26 in New York or Las Vegas. This would be the welterweight fight of all welterweight fights today, two classy fearless offensive machines colliding to see who is best.

Article posted on 10.04.2008

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