08.05.04 – By Tony Nobbs: Lovemore Ndou gets the opportunity to shock the boxing world on Saturday night when he battles unbeaten Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto in the chief support to Pacquaio – Marquez at the MGM Grand in Las vegas. Ndou (38-6-124 KO) and Cotto (19-0, 16 KO) go at it for the IBF number one position in the jnr welterweight division. Cotto’s WBA Fedebox and WBC International belts are also on the line and the 32 year old South African born fighter from Sydney, Australia vows he won’t be intimidated by his 23 year old opponents reputation. In Ndou’s last bout in the states on February 7 he gave Sharmba Mitchell a tough night in Atlantic City losing a unanimous decision that many fans and experts thought he won. Ndou’s Melbourne based manager Stuart Duncan, in predicting an upset told Eastside that he expects this bout to not go to the scorecards. “Lovemore has had a longer preparation than he did for Sharmba. It was his fight with Sharmba that gave us the profile to land this fight. We are very grateful for the fight with Miguel Cotto. We have the upmost respect for Miguel and his team but Lovemore will not dissapoint. I will go as far as to say Lovemore will knock him out.”
Ndou and his management have been very vocal in letting it known they will take on any of the divisions elite and the ‘Black Panther’ has stated that he believes Cotto was pushed into fighting him by HBO. Against Mitchell, the Roy Alexander trained Ndou proved he can hack it in the top ten and will go into this fight as the hot Cotto’s most in form opponent. “A credible loss will not hurt Lovemore but a win will really put him in the position to get a return with Sharmba and then maybe an All Australian world title fight with Kostya Tszyu”.
Against Mitchell, Ndou showed why he was rated at one time as high as number two for Stevie Johnson’s WBC lightweight title. He will need another inspired performance to conquer Cotto. Australian fight fans will be hoping he can revenge fellow Sydney boxer Anthony Mundine’s loss to Cotto’s countryman Manny Siaca this past Wednesday. Following Lovemore’s career since he permanently based Down Under in 1996, having sat in his corner for one fight and against him in two, on his night, anything is possible. At the official weigh-in Friday, Cotto scaled 139 lb, Ndou 138.