By Andreas Hale
Everything leading up to the June 13th clash between Miguel Cotto (33-1, 27 Kos) and Joshua Clottey (35-2, 20 Kos) has been about respect. Cotto respects what Clottey brings to the table as a fighter and Clottey respects Cotto for taking such a dangerous fight. But when the bell rings on Saturday Cotto and Clottey plan to check their respect in the corner and come out swinging as they will duel for Cotto’s WBO Welterweight title at the legendary Madison Square Garden on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade. Prior to the fireworks, Cotto and Clottey would sit calm, cool and collected at the WAMU theater lobby and give their final words before heading into battle.
This fight means the world to Joshua Clottey. Considering the number of fighters that have completely steered clear of him after menacing displays of violence against the likes Zab Judah and the late Diego Corrales, the fact that Cotto would even consider taking this fight is ludicrous to most. But for Cotto, a good fight is a good fight – no matter if the man across the ring could quite possibly one of his toughest to date. Clottey understands this and will always feel as if he has to show Cotto respect in and out of the ring.
“Cotto is really giving me a big opportunity,” Clottey said. “I will always respect Miguel Cotto. All of the top welterweights never mention my name and Cotto has mentioned me for a long time. He gave me the chance when others wouldn’t.”
It’s fair to say that Clottey is one of the most ducked fighters in boxing today. But for Cotto, a tough fight is the fight he wants to take – regardless what the risk may be. That was music to Clottey’s ears.
“I prepared very well. I Trained hard and done every possible thing to win. This won’t be an easy fight at all,” Clottey continued. “We’re going to leave everything in the ring. It’s all about respect. I’m going to give a very good, clean fight and win.”
They both share a common bond with a loss to Antonio Margarito. Both also feel as if certain circumstances were different that they could have taken down the Tijuana Tornado. But what’s done is done and the only thing they have to turn to now is each other.
“There’s just three more days until the fight. Like Joshua said before, he’s going to leave everything in the ring and I am going to do the same to be the winner and retain my title,” Cotto said. “But the real winner will be all of the fans. I’m ready to go and I know he’s ready too. Let’s get to it on Saturday.”