By Karl Freitag
Two-division world champion Miguel Cotto (32-1, 26 KOs) spoke to reporters today from his training camp from Caguas, Puerto Rico. Miguel is in his last 10 days of training for his February 21 rumble with top-rated contender Michael Jennings (34-1, 16 KOs) for the vacant WBO welterweight title at Madison Square Garden. The big question on everyone’s mind today, however, didn’t concern Jennings. It wasn’t long before Miguel was asked whether he believes Margarito used the illegal handwraps in their fight last summer. “You know what? They are the only ones that can answer that question,” he answered. “I can’t answer that question. The fans might have a question about that, but I don’t. Margarito had a great night and I’ll leave it at that.” Cotto does have a very strong opinion about Margarito possibly fighting in Mexico while his one year ban is effect in the United States. “If it’s up to me, I think we should all abide by the rule that was made. If he’s suspended for one year, he should be suspended everywhere. I don’t think he should fight. I don’t think it’s right for him to go and fight somewhere else. If he can’t fight in the United States, he shouldn’t be able to fight at all.”
As for Margarito’s claims he was unaware of the illegal pads, Cotto doesn’t buy it. “All I know is that anyone who gets their hands wrapped, we know what’s in them. Every boxer knows if there’s something different in their hands or not. I think as a fighter you would know if you have anything in there or not.
“You go in there in the ring thinking that you’re playing on the same level and you’re all doing the same thing. This is a sport, not a slaughter house. This is about fighting at the best of your abilities at the capacity you have….I just think we should all go in the ring and be ready to fight with what we have, our own abilites and our own preparations.”
As for problems outside the ring facing Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley, Cotto commented, “I intend to stake my claim as the best welterweight in the world in 2009. I want to prove to everyone that I am the best welterweight in the world. Mosley and Margarito have their own problems, they have their own issues. They have to respond to that. All I know is that I’m ready to fight. They’re adults, they know what they did, whatever they did, I’m just going on with my career. There are plenty of good fights out there for me to demonstrate how good I am at welterweight.”
Cotto stressed that the fight coming up on February 21 against Michael Jennings is very important. “I’m coming off of a loss,” he stated. “My career is at a point where I thought it was going very well. Now, after the loss, I want to get back to the same level. That’s what I intend to do with this fight — show everyone with a convincing win that I’m ready to get back to the level I was before July.
Cotto compared Jenning to his previous opponents Gianluca Branco and Otkay Urkal. “I think the styles are the same. I think we’re facing the same type of fighter we fought before. We have to be ready to engage and beat this guy.”