Miguel Cotto is the epitome of the word warrior. A 4 time belt holder in 3 weight divisions, the competition he has faced at 140 to 147 is a who’s who in the boxing world. Since his jump to 154 he has been matched well. First in his title fight against a light-hitting Yuri Foreman, second against a past his prime Ricardo Mayorga, and finally against his arch nemesis, Antonio Margarito, who at the time they fought still had a badly damaged eye, and did not come into the fight with loaded wraps as some suspected he used the first time around. Either way, it took courage to get into the ring with someone who beat you physically and more importantly, mentally, years ago in their first fight in July of 2008.
Since Cotto overcame that demon, he took on the best on the world in Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Although not winning, Miguel gave Mayweather probably his toughest fight since the first Jose Luis Castillo fight. Miguel’s stock rose and maybe his confidence did as well.
Turning down a much more lucrative fight with Manny Pacquiao at a catch weight at 150, and not choosing what would look like a much easier fight in the older, smaller, Cornelius “K9” Bundrage, he chose Austin ‘No Doubt” Trout. Trout is less known than the two, much bigger in size than Pacquiao, and fresher than Bundrage. As the saying goes, did Miguel Cotto bite off more than he can chew with Trout?
Trout certainly feels so. At the press conference on Monday, Trout stated, “I’m going to take this opportunity with both hands and run with it. It’s very honorable to be on that list of people Cotto has fought because he’s fought the best, but it’s going to be even better to be on that list of the people that have beaten Cotto.”
Of that list it’s only three to so; Mayweather, Pacquiao, and Margarito. Should Trout want his name etched into that list, he has to go into his opponent’s backyard, as the rabid Puerto Rican fans will be in full support of the most popular fighter of the last decade at Madison Square Garden.
Trout however is no stranger to being in hostile territory. “I’ve been in hostile waters before down in Mexico and it gave me experience for this fight. There’s only one man who’s going to be in the ring with me. I know the Puerto Rican fans are going to be out in full-force, but on December 1st, there is going to be a new star in boxing. They’re going to see why I’m here, why I’m the champion.”
Cotto and Diaz know, Trout is no slouch and they have full confidence in the victory, and as Diaz stated on ThaBoxingVoice Radio Show, they chose Trout to show how good Miguel Cotto really is. Cotto concurs with that statement. “Austin Trout is a world champion. I always go for the best fights possible and Austin was the best option for us. I’ve learned a lot in camp from Pedro (Diaz) and I know he’s going to get me ready to win another world title.”
The boxer-trainer relationship with Cotto and Diaz seems to be in cooperation and Team Cotto is going into deep conditioning training in high altitude as they prepare for Trout. If that’s not any indication of how important and difficult they feel this fight will be with Trout, I don’t know what is.
In 2008, Cotto gave a shot to one of the most avoided fighters in the sport in Antonio Margarito. Margarito took his opportunity and ran with it stopping Cotto in the 11th. Although that fight is somewhat tainted, it has similar resemblance to this fight happening on December 1st. Although Trout didn’t have the opportunities to fight on the big networks like Margarito did, he is still an avoided fighter to some. With names like K9 Bundrage and Canelo Alvarez turning Trout down, this is his shot. Similar to Margarito, who was denied a shot a Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto took the fight.
“We’ve wanted this fight for years. We knew we had to knock off some people first to get it, but I’m very grateful to say the least. I’m one of the most avoided fighters in boxing, so I thank him for the opportunity to fight him on this stage. This weight class is stacked and I’m going to clean it up,” stated Trout.
So to pose the question, is this too much for Cotto? Fighting a fresher, bigger, and taller southpaw at this point in his career. Trout is a different fighter than Margarito but has the same opportunity. But might this stage be too grand for Trout? Last time out on his Showtime Championship Boxing debut, he beat Delvin Rodriguez in an unimpressive fashion. Now he faces one of Puerto Rico’s greats.
Cotto intends to do what he has done multiple times in New York City. “People here [in New York] make me feel at home; people here make me feel comfortable. They root for me and they give me the support I need to beat anyone. He’s a world champion, he’s undefeated. He’s a dangerous fighter and he was the right opponent for me, but I’ll still walk out of the ring with another belt on December 1st.”