NEW YORK (January 13, 2009) – It will be a tale of two cities when two-division world champion MIGUEL COTTO returns to the “Mecca of Boxing,” Madison Square Garden and World Middleweight Champion KELLY “The Ghost” PAVLIK makes his world title defense a real homecoming at the Chevrolet Centre in Youngstown, Ohio. Cotto and Pavlik headline an exciting night of championship boxing fighting in winner-take-all world championship brawls. Cotto will be taking on top-rated contender MICHAEL JENNINGS for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title. Pavlik will be defending his title against mandatory challenger and No. 1 contender MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO. These four warriors have a combined record of 143-7-1 (110 KOs), a winning percentage of 95% and a victory by knockout ratio of 77%.
Two title fights in two different towns on one pay-per-view broadcast! This event is so big, both Michael Buffer and Jimmy Lennon, Jr. will be introducing the main events from New York and Youngstown, respectively. Spectators at The Garden will be able to see the live broadcast of the Pavlik-Rubio fight. Spectators at the Chevrolet Centre will be able to see the live broadcast of the Cotto-Jennings fight. Promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank, the Cotto-Pavlik doubleheader will take place Saturday, February 21 and will be broadcast Live on Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
Tickets to the Madison Square Garden event go on sale Today! Tuesday, January 13, at Noon ET. Priced at $500, $300, $200, $100, and $50, they can be purchased at the Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.thegarden.com.
Remaining tickets to the Chevrolet Centre event, priced at $500, $300, and $200 can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, Retail Locations, including Giant Eagle and Macy’s, or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000 or (866) 448-7849. Tickets will also be available at the Chevrolet Centre Box Office. Additional fees may be applicable. There will be a ticket limit of eight (8) per customer.
“I still have a lot of confidence in myself and I will work very hard to return to the top of my division,” said Cotto. “This fight is very important because it will give me an opportunity to become a world champion again and to get myself back on the winning track. I expect a tough fight, but I also expect to return to Puerto Rico as a world champion once again.”
“Antonio Margarito proved that Miguel Cotto is not invincible and I’m going to remind him of that all night long once the bell rings,” said Jennings. “Just because this is my first fight in the United States doesn’t mean I’m coming here for a sightseeing trip. I’m coming here to win. I’ve invested most of life in boxing. But the payoff isn’t fighting for a world title it’s in winning a world title. Cotto had better be ready because I’m going to shoot the works on February 21st.”
“Everyone always asks me ‘what could be better than being the middleweight champion of the world?’ I’ll tell you what’s better, defending the title in my hometown. This is a dream come true and I want to make it a spectacular night for Youngstown. This city deserves it,” said Pavlik. “As for Rubio, he’s a rough, tough customer who earned his No. 1 ranking. It wasn’t that long ago that I was the number one contender. I know the hunger Rubio has for my title. It’s back to the “factory” for me for heavy training. I will be 150% for this fight!”
“Everything I have achieved in boxing I’ve earned. There have been no gifts given to me. That’s how I became the mandatory challenger, traveling throughout the United States and Mexico fighting and winning. Challenging Pavlik in his hometown makes no difference to me.” said Rubio. “I’m not afraid of ghosts.”
“This event, headlined by two of boxing’s most popular fighters, is just too big for one city, which is why we decided to go where Miguel and Kelly are most popular, New York and Youngstown,” said Arum. “Miguel has sold more tickets at The Garden than any other fighter in recent memory. In fact, his world welterweight title defense against Zab Judah was the first boxing sellout since the Lewis-Holyfield world heavyweight title unification fight in 1999. As for Youngstown, the Chevrolet Centre has never hosted a world championship fight, so what could be more fitting than to have Kelly Pavlik’s World Middleweight Championship homecoming in it? It’s a win-win for the fans in each arena because they’ll be able to see the televised main event from the other host city and for those watching it on pay-per-view who will see it all. This is one of the biggest and most exciting undertakings ever promoted by Top Rank.”
Cotto (32-1, 26 KOs), from Caguas, Puerto Rico, a two-division world champion, won the WBO junior welterweight championship in September 2004, knocking out undefeated contender Kelson Pinto for the vacant title. He successfully defended the belt six times during his two-year reign, before vacating it to challenge undefeated contender Carlos Quintana. He stopped him in the fifth round to capture the WBA welterweight crown in December 2006. Cotto successfully defended it four times, going the distance only once, before losing it to Antonio Margarito last July via an 11th-round TKO. It’s been selected a consensus “Fight of the Year” candidate.
Jennings (34-1, 16 KOs), from Chorley, England, will be making his U.S. debut against Cotto. Having already won the English and British welterweight titles, he added the WBU crown to his trophy case winning a 12-round unanimous decision against Mehrud Takaloobighashi in 2007 on the undercard of the Joe Calzaghe-Peter Manfredo world title fight. Known as a sharp, accurate combination puncher and good body puncher, he has raised himself to No, 3 in the WBO ratings thanks to a six-fight winning streak dating back to 2006. Two of his last three victories have been by knockout.
Pavlik (34-1, 30 KOs), the star from Youngstown and the reigning WBC, WBO and The Ring magazine middleweight world champion, has already proved to the boxing world why he is one of the most popular stars in the sport today. He had a stellar year in 2007 when he truly arrived on the championship scene, scoring devastating wins over Edison Miranda in a title eliminator and Jermain Taylor, in which he was stunned badly before coming back and annihilating Taylor in the seventh round, to dethrone the undefeated defending middleweight champion. Pavlik’s been nearly unstoppable since with a dominating performance over Taylor in their rematch and a third-round knockout over the previously undefeated No. 1 contender Gary Lockett. Those performances, along with an 88% victory by knock-out ratio, have cemented his place as the king of the middleweight division. In his last fight he made his light heavyweight debut, against future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins. Pavlik, fighting 10 pounds above his natural weight, came up short in that non-title clash, losing a 12-round decision. Now back at middleweight where he is most comfortable, Pavlik is determined to create a lasting legacy as world champion in boxing’s most storied division.
Rubio (43-4-1, 38 KOs), from Torreón, Mexico, a former Mexican and WBC International junior middleweight champion has been unbeaten since moving up to the middleweight division. His nine-bout winning streak – seven by knockout – dates back to 2006 and include Mexican, FECOMBOX and FEDECENT title victories. The heavy-fisted Rubio became the WBC’s No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger by defeating Enrique Ornelas in a world title elimination bout in October, rallying in the second half of the fight and landing the much harder punches, staggering Ornelas several times in the 11th and 12th rounds.
The Cotto vs. Jennings / Pavlik vs. Rubio pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, has a suggested retail price of $44.95. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. For Cotto vs. Jennings / Pavlik vs. Rubio fight week updates, log on to www.toprank.com.