By Phil Doherty
Photos: Sam Cohen, Reynaldo Sanchez
Walk into the Heavyweight Factory gym in Hollywood FL. and you will see the words BLOOD, SWEAT, NO FEAR inked in large block letters along the north interior wall. Today that motto appears especially appropriate with the ongoing training camp of WBA super welterweight champion Miguel Angel Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs).
Miguel is a boxer with the heart of a warrior. His epic battles against the best of the junior welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight divisions prove he leaves his all in the ring.
He leaves a lot of his heart with people outside the ring too. That’s because Cotto spends his time, energy and resources helping his fellow Puerto Ricans through two organizations. The first is “Miguel Cotto Promotions”: a boxing promotional joint venture with Héctor Soto and H2 Entertainment.
The second is “The Angel of Miguel Cotto Foundation”: a non-profit foundation formed by Miguel and his wife Melissa to help children fight obesity. Both organizations are very near to Cotto’s heart since his first goal in boxing was to fight his own childhood weight issues.
Fightnews sat down with Bryan Perez, the promotional director of Miguel Cotto Promotions to learn more about these endeavors.
Bryan, Miguel is the rare active boxer giving back to his fellow Puerto Rican fighters with Miguel Cotto Promotions. How did that start?
Well, originally it was Miguel Cotto Sr.’s idea; he was the architect of making the company. It was actually formed while Miguel was rising to the world junior welterweight title. The dream and the vision was to give “from the boxer to the boxers.” Miguel really wants to take care of these fighters-to keep the balance between fighting and helping other fighters.
How many fighters are signed to this company?
We have about 18 fighters under contract right now, including Jesus M. Rojas right over there. (Points to Rojas (16-1, 12 KOs)-who is working the mitts with Cotto’s older brother Juan Miguel) Jesus will fight on the undercard of Cotto-Mayorga March 12th. We also have the WBO 6th-ranked featherweight Luis “El Artesano” Cruz (17-0, 14 KOs) who will fight February 18th in a world title eliminator. Also on the undercard for Miguel’s fight is 135-pounder Juan Gonzalez, who is 10-0 with 9 knockouts.
Wow, so what’s next?
Well, we partnered with Golden Boy Promotions and Solo Boxeo in Puerto Rico to put on shows all over the island. Our first card is February 4th and features Golden Boy’s lightweight Michael Angelo Perez (11-0-1, 5 KOs). The co-main event showcases Jayson Velez, (who is unbeaten at 14 -0, 11 KO’s). This will be the first professional boxing event in Lares, Puerto Rico-which is also Velez’s hometown.
We’re very proud to have earned the award for promotional company of the year from the Puerto Rican Boxing Commission. It’s an honor and it shows that we are earning respect in this business.
Of course, anytime.
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Meanwhile, across the gym WBA #2-ranked welterweight contender Brad “The King” Solomon (16-0, 7 KO’s) found himself in a giving mood as he offered up a prediction for his upcoming fight against Demetrius “The Gladiator “Hopkins (30-1-1, 11 KOs).
Solomon is set to face Demetrius (nephew of Bernard) on an ESPN-televised bout Friday, March 18th at the Seminole Hard Rock. He and head trainer John David Jackson will study film on Hopkins starting next week but already feel they have distinct advantages.
Solomon stated he feels confident if he can dictate the pace, he will “get him out of there in 5 or 6 rounds.”
Jackson added: “We’re gonna take our time breaking him down. Hopkins is not a fast fighter; Brad has the advantage in that department. Brad’s a better fighter, a better technician.”
“You know, Hopkins has kind of been spoon-fed in a lot of earlier fights coming up with his uncle’s promotional company, Golden Boy. Brad’s gonna expose a lot of his shortcomings. Hopkins has also been somewhat inactive recently, which doesn’t help him.”