Photos: Will Hart
By Frank Della Femina
Before Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez meet face to face Saturday night, they first took to the stage at Wednesday’s press conference at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
The Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry has been among the dominant storylines in the build-up to the fight, and Wednesday's presser was no exception.
“This is our Super Bowl,” Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya said of Saturday’s fight. “Mexico vs. Puerto Rico is like no other event for the Mexican national, the Puerto Rican living in New York.”
While the aforementioned rivalry sets the fight apart, Cotto-Canelo is also the third and final mega-bout on the boxing calendar this year.
In May, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao took the crown with regards to hype, but the lack of action in the ring left many fight fans wanting more. That promise of action was delivered on by Gennady Golovkin against David Lemieux just over a month ago, setting the stage for what should be a lengthy pay-per-view career for the baby-faced fighter out of Kazakhstan – even more so if he is to face the winner of Cotto-Canelo.
Saturday’s event completes the trio of 2015's marquee fights, thanks to Cotto's veteran resurgence and the meteoric rise of the 25-year-old Mexican superstar Canelo (45-1-1, 32 KOs). The stacked year is not lost on boxing's long-timers.
“It's been a long time since we’ve had two or three mega-fights in one year,” Bernard Hopkins said. “If anyone thinks that boxing is somehow forgotten about, this is why boxing is not forgotten about, and never will be.”
To the observer, both Cotto and Canelo could best be described as men of a few words. Intimidating, without question, but they're two professionals who bypass trash talk and let their work in the ring speak for them. Even still, neither fighter appeared to lack in confidence when they stood at the podium.
“I’m patiently waiting for Saturday night to have my hand raised once again,” said Cotto, who boasts a 40-4 record with 33 KOs. “All I have to say is that I’m ready for the fight. I know Canelo and his team are ready too. Let’s fight and give the fans what they need.”
In the other corner, Canelo’s co-trainer Chepo Reynoso spoke highly of his pupil, crediting the Mexican's work ethic and commitment.
“After 14 weeks of hard work, we’re a few days away with the same enthusiasm to be big, to be the champion, to be one of the best,” Reynoso said. “We have a saying in training camp: ‘The fights are won in the gym. In the ring, they’re just going to raise your hand.’”
With words spoken from each corner, it leaves only Friday’s weigh-in as the final step before the fighters meet in the ring.
Cotto-Canelo happens Saturday at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT on HBO PPV.