Cotto looks to make his mark on Saturday against Mayweather; Martin-St. John postponed until 8/14

LOS ANGELES, May 2 - Many great fighters have come from the boxing-rich island of Puerto Rico, one of those being World Boxing Association (WBA) Super Welterweight World Champion Miguel Cotto, who hails from the city of Caguas and now carries the torch passed to him by the last great Puerto Rican pugilist, Felix "Tito" Trinidad.

Cotto is nearing the biggest and most difficult fight of his career taking place this Saturday, May 5 against Floyd "Money" Mayweather at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. which will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®. Though he is the defending champion putting his 154-pound belt on the line, in many ways he is the challenger. That is simply because his opponent is Mayweather, undefeated at 42-0, a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Fame inductee and one of the greatest fighters of this era.

However, when boxers from Puerto Rico step into the ring, they don't just feel the pressure of facing another man, they fight with the expectations of millions, carrying the burden of a culture that lives and breathes for the sport of boxing.

The history of Puerto Rican boxing presents a remarkable lineage: Light Heavyweight World Champion Jose Torres; Lightweight and Super Lightweight World Champion Carlos Ortiz; Lightweight World Champion Esteban DeJesus; Junior Welterweight, Welterweight and Super Welterweight World Champion Wilfred Benitez; 122-pound, 126-pound and 130-pound World Champion Wilfredo Gomez; 135-pound and 140-pound World Champion Edwin Rosario and Felix "Tito" Trinidad, who captured world titles at welterweight, super welterweight and middleweight.

In an interview with Puerto Rico's El Nuevo Dia newspaper, Trinidad said Cotto will need to be fast enough to overcome Mayweather's speed and upper body movement.

"He should stay toe to toe with Mayweather, round-by-round, close to Mayweather like all Puerto Ricans know how to do, put all his heart in and stay toe-to-toe," Trinidad said. "Try to look for a good shot and soften him little by little."

Trinidad continued, "It is going to be very difficult for Cotto because the other guy has the physical conditioning, the intelligence, doesn't take many shots and is very elusive. Cotto can win, but it's not going to be easy."

In recent years, other Puerto Rican fighters such as Juan Manuel Lopez and Ivan Calderon have also earned popularity and fame; however Cotto has been the face of Puerto Rico boxing for nearly a decade.

The 31-year-old Caguas native has taken on a wide range of opponents in his 11 years as a professional, which has included world title reigns at super lightweight, welterweight and currently super welterweight. He has shared the ring with countless champions and top contenders including Randall Bailey, Joshua Clottey, DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley, Zab "Super" Judah, Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi, Antonio Margarito, Carlos Maussa, Sugar Shane Mosley, Lovemore N'dou, Manny Pacquiao, Carlos Quintana and Ricardo Torres. During this run, only future Hall of Famer Pacquiao and Margarito have defeated the Puerto Rican powerhouse, with Cotto avenging his controversial 2008 loss to Margarito with a cathartic and triumphant performance in December of last year.

A champion since 2004, Cotto who has successfully defended his titles 13 times, his accomplishments have earned him a shot at the top fighter in the sport.

His place as a Puerto Rican luminary is evidenced by the large crowds he has drawn to his mega-fights.

No other fighter in recent history has sold as many tickets in the city of New York as Cotto. Puerto Rican fans have come out in droves to see his fights live, buying more than 100,000 tickets for his seven bouts at Madison Square Garden and his fight in the outfield of Yankee Stadium.

Cotto, who already is a great champion, beloved by the people of Puerto Rico and beyond, has the golden opportunity to hand Mayweather the first loss of his professional career this Saturday night and solidify his place as a boxing legend.

Christy Martin vs. Mia St. John II Postponed Until August 14th

FRESNO, CA - Due to the emotional strain of having to relive the domestic violence victimization of being stabbed twice and then shot by her ex-husband, female boxing icon Christy Martin has asked promoter Roy Englebrecht if her World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Welterweight World Championship fight against Mia St John could be postponed while she recuperates from the stress and trauma of the trial, conviction and sentencing of the ex-husband who tried to kill her. Both Englebrecht and Table Mountain Casino, which was to host the June 19th Final Victory show have understandably agreed to the postponement and have set Tuesday, August 14th as the new date for this championship show.

"I certainly understand the tremendous pressure and stress that Christy has been under, what with the national publicity from the trial, and having to testify and be in the courtroom with the man that wanted to kill her," said Englebrecht. "Christy really wants to win her 50th fight, so after discussions with her trainer Miguel Diaz; they thought it best to take some time off to get her head cleared and then get back in training."

Statement from Christy Martin:

"As the trial grew closer my anxiety rose daily if not hourly as the fear for my safety mounted. Jim Martin is a monster and had always told me he would kill me or have someone else do it. Due to these threats, and his previous actions, as the trial date grew closer, I knew this was a real possibility and was literally paralyzed with fear. After having endured a nearly fatal attack and not sure I would ever walk again, this was overwhelming. I felt as before, boxing would heal me but this was different. I love this sport and am equally excited to return to the ring for my 50th victory, but I am mentally and physically exhausted and need to heal. Due to my love for this sport, I want to give all my fans, Roy Englebrecht, and Table Mountain Casino, the show they deserve. Thank you for your support during the most difficult period of my entire life." "I am terribly disappointed, said St John, but my focus is to beat her on August 14th. I've waited nine years for this fight, so I can wait two months more."

Tickets for the August 14th Final Victory show will still go on sale Monday, May 7th at or at Table Mountain Casino.

Good Weekend for the ‘East Enders’ - Part 2 Jimmy Tibbs on Billy Joe Saunders Commonwealth Title victory

Interview by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro: In part one we had TRAD TKO Boxing Gym head honcho Johnny Eames talking about both the successful Southern Area Lightweight title defense by his charge Ben Murphy and the Frank Warren promoted event at The Royal Albert Hall, headlined by Billy Joe Saunders, which took place on Saturday night and between them featured no less than five of the famous fight factory’s young stars.

Today it’s the turn of legendary coach Jimmy Tibbs, who will be talking about the fights of those boxers trained by him and his son Mark at the TRAD TKO, especially that of new Commonwealth Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders.

“Yeah, it was a very successful night and I’m very pleased at the way all the boys performed, it was very good, yeah.

Billy Joe, it wasn’t a long fight, thirty seconds someone told me, but he was prepared.

Championship fight goes to another level, Billy Joe was really up for it and went out there after the referee’s instruction.

None of them was going to give ground, then all of a sudden out of the blue Billy Joe, who’s a southpaw, whipped the left hook over the top of the right lead and this started the downfall for the other boy.”

Before turning his attention to the other fights an elated Jimmy proudly said, “We’ve got a few champions in the gym now, it all takes time and we’re all satisfied with what’s happening.

We’ve all trained hard, including the fighters, all the trainers have worked hard, including myself, we’ve all done our part.

There’s an old saying ‘Train Hard, Fight Easy’ and really this should be the motto here, because that’s the attitude of all the trainers and fighters at the TRAD TKO Gym.”

Getting back to his boys and their performances, Jimmy turned his attention to Freddie Turner, “ Freddie was on last, hanging around all night. I’ve had it before with fighters, you can’t help it.

He was a bit lack lustre, he could have been a little more sharper, don’t get me wrong he done more than enough to win. He got a little nick at the end of the fight , which upset him a little bit, but he won easily enough.”

Next topic of conversation was sensational Super Middleweight prospect Frankie Buglioni. Frankie stepped up to a six rounder, even though it was only his fourth pro outing. In his previous bouts Frankie had stopped Sabie Montieth and Paul Morby, both in the first round, and went the distance against super tough Ryan Clark.

“Frankie Buglioni, was another one round job. He just went out there and demolished the kid in just half a round. The kid went down three times and the referee, Richie Davis, a good referee, decided it’s only going one way so he did the right thing and stopped it.

Frankie’s a very, very good prospect, he’s got to be tested yet but I’m sure he’ll come through when it comes, he’s a very good prospect.”

Unfortunately it wasn’t a clean sweep on the night, as former Freddie Roach trained Dean ‘Irish Lightning’ Byrne lost, by a close points decision, to Terry Holmes, much to Jimmy’s surprise.

“The only disappointment of the night was young Dean Byrne. He was unlucky, it was a good eight round fight, nonstop, the crowd loved it, toe to toe.

I thought our man just nicked it, or they could have give a draw to keep everyone happy. But the referee see different, but what can you do.”

Jimmy then went on to talk about the upcoming Francis and George Warren promoted BoxAcademy show, which features three of his young charges, “Now we’re looking forward to Thursday at the Troxy, we have three boys Charlie (Hoy), Gary (Corcoran) and Tom (Baker).

The boys are all looking sharp, they’ll go out to win, they’ve done all the work in the gym now so they are ready.”

WRITER’S NOTE: since the interview was undertaken Francis and George Warren’s Queensberry Promotions ‘BoxAcademy’ event has been canceled.

“Jimmy then spoke of Ben Murphy’s successful Southern Area Lightweight Title defense, which took place at the Camden Centre in Kings Cross

It was a very good night for the TRAD TKO Boxing Gym, besides our boys, Johnny (Eames) and Barry (Smith) were at Kings Cross with Ben (Murphy). They got a good result too, a first round stoppage I heard.

All in all we had a good night, besides Dean, we all had a satisfactory night.”

It may have been a slow start to the new year for the boys from the TRAD TKO but as we head into the Summer it now looks like it’s starting to get busy again. Even though the aforementioned BoxAcademy show has now unfortunately been canceled, various of their fighters are in action over the coming month.

On the 12th May Jimmy and British Welterweight Champion Colin Lynes will head to Sheffield, where Colin will defend his title against former WBC Light Welterweight World Champion Junior Witter.

Just over a week later Johnny Eames, Barry Smith, Derek Grainger, Brian Lawrence and Alec Wilkey will be with their charges, former British Cruiserweight Champion Leon ‘Solid’ Williams, Menay Edwards, Eric Mokonzo, Areti Mastrodovka, Wadi Camacho and Danny Connor, who will all be in action at the Miranda Carter promoted ‘Rolling Thunder’ event at York Hall on Sunday May 20th.

Six days later, on Saturday 26th May, Brian Lawrence and English Light Middleweight Champion Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng will head up the M1 to Nottingham, where young Erick will defend his title for the first time against AA Lowe on the undercard of Matchroom Sport promoted super fight headlined by Carl Froch versus Lucian Bute for the IBF Super Middleweight World Title.

One week later, on Saturday June 2nd, Johnny Eames and Barry Smith will make the much shorter journey to the ExCel, where their charges Mitchell Balker and George Jupp will be in action on Spencer Fearon’s Hard Knocks Boxing Promotions next mega event.

Tickets for both the Miranda Carter promoted ‘Rolling Thunder’ event at York Hall in Bethnal Green on Sunday May 20th and Spencer Fearon’s Hard Knocks Boxing Promotions June 2nd event at the ExCel will be available on-line at shortly. Tickets will also be available direct from the TRAD TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA.

Article posted on 02.05.2012

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