Feature Story

Mayorga returns to the spotlight

By Matt Richardson
Photos: David Martin Warr/DKP

It’s been more than two years since Ricardo Mayorga was in the boxing spotlight. In fact, the last time the former welterweight and junior middleweight champion was in a big fight on a big stage, he was laid out on his back; knocked out in the final seconds of a 12-round bout with Shane Mosley. But while the time away from the sport may have softened Mayorga’s stomach and muscles, it’s done little to hamper his infamous trash-talking. This was clearly evident on Wednesday morning in New York City when promoters Bob Arum and Don King came together to announce a fight between Mayorga (29-7-1, 23 KO’s) and current WBA junior middleweight title-holder Miguel Cotto (35-2, 28 KO’s).

The fight will be broadcast on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View on March 12, live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will only be Mayorga’s second fight since losing to Mosley in September of 2008. But according to Mayorga, it’s no big deal. “This isn’t a huge fight for me,” the boxer explained to Fightnews. “This is a fight like I just took in December against a Mike Walker-level of opponent. This guy’s not dangerous. This is not a big fight for me.”

“I don’t see him as a true challenge to me,” he continued. “I see him as a bad fighter. He’s not what he was before. He’s in bad shape. Look at the fight that they’re showing clips of him. He should be ashamed that he’s fighting a guy with a bad leg,” Mayorga said of Cotto’s fight last June with Yuri Foreman in which Foreman injured his knee.

“He (Foreman) only has one leg and one hand and he gave him a run for his money.”

Mayorga said the time away from boxing has done him well, although he admits he hasn’t been in the gym consistently. “I’ve been training every once in a while, enjoying time with my family and overall just relaxing,” he said. “I feel strong, refreshed, two years of preparation and a new found hunger to come back into the ring and a lot of hunger to fight.”

Mayorga is also hoping an upset win over Cotto will lead to a bigger assignment later in the year: one against pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao.

“Yes, absolutely,” Mayorga said vigorously when asked if he wanted to fight the Filipino phenom. “Obviously, it’s a much more difficult fight. He has a lot of stamina. He has a good chin. And he has a high volume of punches coming my way. So it’s a much different fighter. It’s a much different fight.”

But for now, Mayorga has to focus on Cotto, the latest high-profile opponent in a career that has seen the Nicaraguan do battle with Vernon Forrest, Felix Trinidad, Oscar de la Hoya and Mosley. But don’t ask Mayorga to put the Puerto Rican in that category.

“You can say that Miguel Cotto is the red carpet that Tito, de la Hoya and myself have walked on,” he said.

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