Media Conf Call Transcript: Miguel Cotto Talks Canelo Alvarez
MIGUEL COTTO, WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion
FREDDIE ROACH, International Boxing Hall of Famer and Seven-Time BWAA Trainer of the Year Award Winner
MICHAEL YORMARK, President & Chief of Branding and Strategy, Roc Nation
DAVID ITSKOWITCH, COO – Boxing, Roc Nation Sports
MICHAEL YORMARK: Good afternoon, everybody! Let me first identify those people that are here today joining me, that’s David Itskowitch and Dino Duva from Roc Nation Sports. If you have questions for them, they are available to answer any questions that you might have.
With about ten days left until this historic fight, we’re extraordinarily excited about this mega event between two world-class fighters and champions, Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez. As I’ve previously stated, this will absolutely be the fight of the year! For those fans that will be watching on HBO Pay-Per-View from their home, we believe this fight will provide one of the best dollar-for-dollar values of any fight in recent memory, when you consider the investment and the guaranteed action from two of the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters.
As I travel the country for Roc Nation, you can absolutely feel the buzz building, not only within the boxing industry but through the mainstream media as well. As you saw earlier today, even JAY Z and Oscar have been swept up in the excitement around this event, putting a wager on the table in support of their respective fighters.
Next Saturday’s star-studded event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center and live on HBO Pay-Per-View is virtually sold out with only very few select tickets available that can be purchased on ticketmaster.com.
The success of this event could not have been possible without a number of people and organizations, so I would like to first sincerely thank our six partners, Corona Extra, Creed, Mexico – Live it to Believe it! O’Reilly Auto Parts, Tequila Cazadores and Corporate Travel Made Simple (ctms).
I also want to thank the MGM Resorts International and Mandalay Bay and Richard Sturm, as well as HBO Pay-Per-View and their leadership of Ken Hershman, Mark Taffet and Peter Nelson for their incredible support and promotion of this fight.
As we are now only days away from one of the biggest events in boxing history, in one of the sport’s most prestigious weight classes, in the spiritual home of world championship fights, under the lights of America’s playground, in view of a star-studded crowd, and in front of boxing’s most passionate fan bases from Puerto Rico and Mexico, the equally thrilling styles of Cotto and Canelo are set to light up the sports world on boxing’s biggest stage.
Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, Oscar De La Hoya, they aren’t the only legends involved in this epic fight. Maybe the most renowned and decorated boxing icon of them all is Miguel’s trainer, living legend, Freddie Roach. I know Freddie has an aggressive strategy and a bold prediction for the fight, and he is here to tell you a little bit about that. Ladies and gentlemen, Freddie Roach.
FREDDIE ROACH: Thank you. Well, Miguel is in training. We have had a great training camp. We have gone through about eight sparring partners, and sparring has worked out well for us. We have maybe two more spars to go, and he’s 100% ready for this fight. It’s going to be a great fight, and we are looking for a knock out in this fight, and we will be the first person to knock out Alvarez, and I can’t wait to get this one on its way. Don’t miss this fight. It will be great.
MICHAEL YORMARK: Having visited Miguel in training camp, I was simply blown away by this man’s commitment and intensity. I know when JAY Z and some of Roc Nation’s partners visited him over the last couple of weeks, they came away with that same impression. You know, I’ve never seen an athlete so determined, so focused and passionate about the task in front of him. There is no one that works harder than Miguel Cotto. He wants to be at his very best next Saturday night and even as a four-time champion and a living legend and future Hall of Famer, he takes absolutely nothing for granted and leaves nothing to chance in preparation for this epic match-up.
I know this fight is important to him and his family, I know that it is also about history, and part of the great rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico. He’s fighting not only for himself but for his people, for his country, and for his family. We are so confident that he’s going to deliver come next Saturday night on the biggest stage of them all.
Before I introduce Miguel Cotto, I do want to mention the team that he has surrounding him from Gaby Penagaricano, Bryan Perez, and Hector Soto; his confidants, his friends and his family.
Ladies and gentlemen, Miguel Cotto.
MIGUEL COTTO: Good evening, everybody. Thank you for being here. We are just days away from the fight. We are training and just waiting for the moment of the fight. Thank you.
Q. How do you consider this fight in comparison with the other ones?
MIGUEL COTTO: Well, each fight is different, and I’m pretty sure — I’m very confident that Freddie has done such a great job, and I’m very confident that I’m going to be victorious on this fight.
Q. How big is this fight in comparison to the other ones that you have had?
MIGUEL COTTO: Well, this is just another fight for me. It’s my fight No. 45 and, like I said before, I’m well prepared and there is no difference, so it’s just another fight for me, and I’m going to do my best.
Q. Miguel, this is going to be I believe your third fight with Freddie as your trainer, and maybe your fourth — I think your third or fourth —
MIGUEL COTTO: Fourth one.
Q. Okay, you’ve had a few different trainers over your career, you have had a heck of a career. What is about Freddie, in your opinion, that has made the match between you and him and work so well for you?
MIGUEL COTTO: We developed a good chemistry between us. We can talk about our plans, what is going to be best for us during the fight, and we have — our chemistry is the best thing we have with each other. It makes our relationship and our fights together the way they have been for us.
Q. Did you not have that with your other trainers in the past? Because you have had some other good trainers, also, it’s not like they didn’t know what they were doing?
MIGUEL COTTO: What is in the past is in the past, you know? I’m here with Freddie, the only thing I’m going to talk about is what I have with Freddie right now.
Q. What do you think it would have been like, then, let’s say you had been not with Freddie for just four fights, say you would have been with him for ten years, how would your career be different?
MIGUEL COTTO: Everything happens when it is the time to happen. I arrived three years ago, and my career had a different way to go right now because of Freddie, because of what Freddie did to myself, and that’s all, you know? I don’t know what should happen in our career if Freddie was with us before. Nobody can know that.
Q. Freddie, I would like to ask you about that. You have trained lots of great fighters in your career. Can you talk about your perspective on what Miguel said as far as the chemistry between you guys? Why has it worked so well for you in the recent fights that you’ve been together, where he’s looked obviously a lot sharper than maybe he’s looked in the few fights that he had right before he joined up with you?
FREDDIE ROACH: We have a lot of respect for each other, and you know we had a history going against each other, even, with the Pacquiao fight, but the thing is, we became friends, and he called me up and asked if I could help and, you know, it was like one of the best phone calls I’ve ever gotten. I was shocked that a fighter of that caliber called and asked me to give him a hand, and it has worked out really well. We get along really well. My whole camp gets along well with his camp, Marvin and all the guys, you know, we all get along. We train really hard together. It’s a team effort, and it works well together, everything fits perfectly. We’ve had three great fights so far, and I expect the best one to be coming up soon.
Q. Why, then, Freddie do you think it’s worked so well?
FREDDIE ROACH: Well, just relationships, you know, the thing is we respect each other, and we listen to each other and we talk about the game plan, and we have no tempers with each other; we work very well together. That’s just what it is, basically. I mean, it’s just that we have a lot of respect, and the thing is to get along in training and — is very important and to listen to each other, and it goes both ways, of course, because you know if he’s not comfortable with something, we’ll make an adjustment to make it right and there are no secrets — everything is on the table.
So we work very well together, and I’m very happy to be here right now, and I’m looking forward to the fight.
Q. Freddie, you said in your opening remarks, you predicted a knockout. You predict knockouts for all of your guys. What makes you think Canelo, who has got hurt a couple of times earlier in his career but never been in that kind of serious trouble except, frankly, against Miguel’s brother, but that’s a long, long time ago. What makes you think he can knock him out, besides just win?
FREDDIE ROACH: I think the caliber of fighter. I think this is the best fighter he’s ever fought, and I think he’s handpicked opponents. Mayweather was a tough fighter but not a big puncher, and this is the first heavy puncher he’s going against, and Miguel has looked great in his last three fights, and his punching power is improving, and he’s using every bit of his body weight to do that, and it’s something we have been working on, and he’s punching very well.
I feel that this guy gets hit too much, and I think Miguel will knock him out somewhere along the way.
Q. Is there anybody from the past, like a past opponent that he reminds you of a little bit, that you can take a lesson from when you’re getting ready for him or is he totally a new challenge?
MIGUEL COTTO: No every fight is different. This chapter with Canelo is a chapter with him. We just work about Canelo, we are just going to work for the night of the fight. Nobody from the past fights reminds me of Canelo because every boxer is different.
Q. Records indicate, points out that you have more experience in comparison to Canelo fights.
MIGUEL COTTO: Definitely we are prepared. Anything can happen. We are prepared that anything can happen in the ring.
Q. Good morning. I’ve seen a lot of athletes in boxing and other sports in their early to mid-30s talking about it being a really great time, because they’ve taken good care of themselves, they physically have everything they need, but they’ve got a tremendous amount of experience and they’re just that much smarter and more analytical and better than they were in their early to mid-20s. Can you talk about how you’re different and how you’re better than you were when you were, say, 23 and 25 and fighting?
MIGUEL COTTO: Just because today I put my mind into the fight, and the best way to beat a guy is in the smartest way. I know I can punch, and I can hit hard, but now at this moment I’m looking for the perfect occasion, and I’m creating the perfect opportunity just to hit my opponent. You know, that’s the thing only time can bring you — experience. That’s all that is different for me right now. Now I understand that I have 36 minutes to finish my opponent, and I use every second of it.
Q. It’s normal that you think you are going to win this fight. What makes you think that you are superior to Canelo?
MIGUEL COTTO: Well, you know, I’ve been working very hard on this, and I’m physically and mentally prepared, and with all the training I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be the one who is going to win this fight.
Q. With all the different styles how do you think you can win this fight?
MIGUEL COTTO: Well we have some ideas. I have come to the ring with ideas, and he has come to the run with his ideas, as well, and I am very well prepared, and whatever is going to happen in there next Saturday, we going to see who is going to be the best in there, but like I said before, he has his ideas, and I have my ideas and whoever is well prepared is going to win this fight, and pretty much it’s going to be myself.
Q. We are going to have 1.5 million pay-per-view visits for this fight, but most of them are because of Canelo Alvarez. What do you think about that? What’s your opinion about this? Do you agree with this?
MICHAEL YORMARK: Obviously not. You know, we feel this is going to be a major event for HBO Pay-Per-View. I know that Oscar threw out the number of 1.5 million yesterday. Our hope is that this fight will do between a million and 2 million, hopefully closer to 2 million pay-per-views. I think we have two great fighters here that represent two great countries and have huge fan bases. The reality is that it’s going to be split down the middle. Canelo is going to bring his fan base to pay-per-view and Miguel will do the same. I think it’s going to be more of an equal distribution, and I think that’s why we’re so bullish and optimistic that this fight has the opportunity to do a very big number.
Q. Freddie, I know the kind of thing from Miguel when he fights a middleweight is that his opponent is going to be naturally bigger. Canelo is a full division heavier than him, so without giving away your game plan, I want to hear from you what you think Miguel’s best attribute is to go against the fact that Canelo has a natural size advantage?
FREDDIE ROACH: You know, I think we’re much faster; I think Canelo is a little bit slower. He tends to box, and punch, lets you know when he’s going to throw, and he tucks and ducks and so forth. But, you know, he’s a good fighter right now, but we’re in really, really good shape and had a great training camp, and coming off three good wins, and we have momentum going for us. It’s the winner of the fight that counts, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re here to win the fight, whatever it takes.
If we have to box this guy, we will box him. If he wants to slug with us, that’s no problem, we’re ready for that, also. We have had, like, eight sparring partners so far, we have had punchers, boxers, everybody is at the table and ready for it, and I think Miguel is the more intelligent and the smarter fighter, and I think that’s who’s going to win the fight.
Q. Miguel, every night is another fight to you, but this fight has to mean something to you, 15 years into a Hall of Fame career. I want to know where you rank this fight, going into it, especially, you know, when you win, where you think this fight will rank among any other fight you’ve had?
MIGUEL COTTO: It’s going to be my fight No. 45, nothing special with it.
Q. So many people have said something about the age and the good punch of Canelo. So it looks like it’s related to experience and you. What is your opinion about this?
MIGUEL COTTO: Well, I have been boxing for 15 years in a professional arena as well, and people know that, and Miguel Cotto is going to give the best fight on November 21.
Q. What about people saying that you don’t have a good punch, you don’t have a good way to knock him down?
MIGUEL COTTO: Well, I’ve been working very hard for many years, and it’s about experience, and I’m pretty sure that I’m going to do the best that I can in that fight, that’s going to be next Saturday, November 21.
Q. You haven’t said too much about the age, whoever is going to be stronger in the ring?
MIGUEL COTTO: Well, you have to fight and you cannot just go by what people say. I trust Freddie Roach a lot. He has done a great job with me, and on November 21, you are going to see who is going to be the winner, and it’s going to be me.
Q. Freddie has a shown more aggressiveness in your training in comparison to the other ones.
MIGUEL COTTO: Well, my response is that Freddie has done such a great job. We have a plan and ideas, and everything is going to be fine, so it all depends on what’s going to happen. But we are very prepared for this fight, and we are just going to see how to react during this fight, how Canelo is going to react during this fight with all the plans that we have.
Q. It’s been about five months and twelve days, pretty much about 14 years that you started as a professional fighter in your career. Did you ever think you were going to be successful with five titles in this career?
MIGUEL COTTO: Well, every beginning is tough, it’s not easy, but I started doing it pretty much to lose weight. You have to keep fighting, you have to keep doing the best that you can, but you have to work hard, and do the best. This is pretty much the result of my hard work.
Q. Miguel, seems like more and more recently fighters have been open about the longer-term toll that fighting can take. Floyd Mayweather was open about it, Andre Ward talks about it. You’ve earned a considerable amount of money over the years. Have you given any thought to how much longer you want to do this? Do you have concerns about longer-term health or are you just taking it one fight at a time?
MIGUEL COTTO: Boxing is the only thing I know to do in life. I’ve been working for the benefit of my family. I said before that I’m going to retire myself. I am 35 years old. I plan to be in boxing no longer than a year from now.
Q. Miguel, in some aspects both you and Canelo have similar personalities outside of the ring. By that I mean you let your fists do the talking. But with respect to Canelo, as a fighter, looking at him now, do you see any shades of yourself, maybe ten years ago?
MIGUEL COTTO: No. He has his own way to live, I have my own way to live. I think I had bad choices before in my life, but I have to live with that now. I’m thinking better, now, I’m doing things better. Every life is different, every person is different, and I know Canelo is going to do the best for himself.
Q. Considering the build-up and magnitude of this event, a victory next Saturday, will that be the biggest victory of your career?
MIGUEL COTTO: It probably will be the biggest victory of my career, but at the end of the road that’s just going to be victory No. 41 for my career.
MICHAEL YORMARK: I want to thank everybody for participating in today’s call, special thanks, obviously to Miguel and Freddie, as well as Bryan, Hector and Gaby for joining the call today. Two quick things: Number one, the fight week schedule will be sent out momentarily, probably within the next few days, but I do want to point out that the first fight week event will take place Tuesday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
We look forward to seeing everybody in Las Vegas. We’ve got a full week of activities. It’s going to be exciting, and, once again, we look forward to the fight of the year, next Saturday night, November 21 live on HBO Pay-Per-View. Thank you, everybody and see in you Vegas!
Cotto vs. Canelo, a 12-round fight for Cotto’s WBC and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Championships, takes place Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The fight is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Golden Boy Promotions, Miguel Cotto Promotions and Canelo Promotions and sponsored by Corona Extra; Mexico, Live it to Believe it!; O’Reilly Auto Parts; Tequila Cazadores and Corporate Travel Made Simple (ctms). Also featured on the pay-per-view telecast will be Takashi Muira vs. Francisco Vargas in a 12-round fight for the WBC Super Featherweight World Championship presented in association with Teiken Promotions and Jayson Velez vs. Ronny Rios is a 10-round featherweight. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Randy Caballero vs. Lee Haskins, a 12-round fight for the IBF Bantamweight World Championship, is presented in association with Bristol Boxing Ltd. and will be featured as part of the preliminary undercards available on digital platforms starting at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT.
A limited number of tickets priced at $2,000, $1,750, $1,250 and $650, not including applicable service charges, can be purchased at the Mandalay Bay box office, ticketmaster.com, mandalaybay.com, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling (800) 745-3000. Ticket orders are limited to four per person.