For a marquee pay-per-view affair entitled “Relentless,” Nicaraguan boxing superstar Ricardo Mayorga remains determined to live up to the event’s name with unyielding trash talk toward WBA Super Welterweight champion and the Pride of Puerto Rico, Miguel Cotto until the first bell of their championship matchup on Saturday, March 12 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT LIVE on SHOWTIME PPV.
At Wednesday’s final press conference from the Media Center at MGM Grand, the mouthy former two-division world champion delivered some final verbal blows in his last official appearance behind the microphone before Saturday’s scrap. Cotto, though more reserved than Mayorga, provided his share of quips as well. As Mayorga taunted Cotto to take the traditional face off shot from the dais, Cotto responded, “You can take the picture with your mother,” and left the press conference.
Below are some highlights from the loud, spirited news conference, including quotes from Hall of Fame promoters Bob Arum, Don King and Cotto’s trainer Emmanuel Steward.
“Mayorga can check with his promoter to see if I’m a favorite of eight to one or six to one. Just check to make sure who [Don King] bet on. We know he’s bet on the other guys many times and not his fighters.
“I can retire any time I want with all I’ve done in my career. I don’t have to do this. But I’m ready for the fight.
“Having Manny Steward on our team, he doesn’t just work with Miguel Cotto. He works with the whole team. We are pretty grateful for Manny and the way he works and the way he teaches us to be better.”
On coming out of fights clean win or lose:
“It’s better for you. You don’t have to pass this process to be cleared in the hospital. It’s better for you to be healthy. The number one thing in my life next to my family is my health.”
In response to King’s incessant shouting from the back of the dais:
“I’d like to thank Bob Arum for allowing me to eat his sheep on Saturday night.
“I’m either going to knock Cotto down or I’m going to bust him open with a cut on one of [his] two eyes. I guarantee you that’s going to happen in the first round. As soon as that bell sounds, I’m going after him. I’m going to kill this guy. I can sense that Cotto has a genuine fear of me. I can see it in his eyes. I can see it in his face.
“I can acknowledge that Miguel Cotto was a good, if not great fighter, at a lower [weight] class. At 154 pounds, he is in the wrong territory. It’s not his category. When he beat Yuri Foreman, he basically beat a guy with one arm and one leg. I’m going to shatter Cotto’s dreams.
“Whoever is on Cotto’s side, they’re going to have to wear black come Sunday. Tell the athletic commission to have 911 really close by the ring Saturday night because Cotto is going to be in bad shape.
“Ricardo Mayorga was born in Granada, Nicaragua in 1973, March 10. Today is March 9. Tomorrow I turn 38. Today I’m 37 but tomorrow I’ll be 38. I asked God personally for my birthday gift to give me this victory against Cotto. I’m not only going to win. It’s going to be a brutal knockout. I’m going to see if I can break a record. I’m going to try to score the fastest knockout in the year 2011.
“This time around, I took this fight very seriously. I sacrificed what I haven’t before. December, January and February, I sacrificed all those months not being with my family and putting my all into this training camp. I need to earn a Golden ticket. If I [end the fight] in the first four rounds, I think I’ve earned the respect and at the same time, the opportunity to fight Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao knocked out Cotto in, I think, the ninth or tenth round so I want to knock him out in four so people know that I’m better.”
After taking off his shirt, Mayorga remarked, “Look how ripped I am. Do I look overweight? Tell Cotto to lift his shirt up and you’ll see the beer gut he’s got.
“I guarantee you that after the fight, Cotto nor Manny [Steward} will be at the post fight press conference. Cotto will be at the hospital and Manny will be there with him
“What are you planning on doing when I beat you? Continue in boxing or look for a job? All Nicaraguans and Latins alike, including Puerto Ricans are going to bet on me and not on Cotto because they know what the smart bet is. After the fight, they are no longer going to call him Miguel Jose Cotto. They’ll call him Miguel Jose Mayorga. I’m going to finish the job and send you back over to Ricky Martin so you can finish your job.”
“There’s no fighter that can promote a fight better than Mayorga can. He’s the most promotable fighter out here. The biggest opponent he has is himself. If he could neutralize himself, he would be undeniably unbeatable but he falls prey to himself. If he can do what he’s doing right now, dedicatedly and committedly, it’s going to be great for the sport of boxing.
“Eight to one odds? Being as gullible as I am, you think I could get a million dollars on Mayorga because I think I can see eight million coming back. Mayorga is going to surprise everyone in the world. It is something that will be categorically beautiful.
“If Cotto were to knock out Mayorga, that would be business as usual. There would be nothing to it. Nobody would have to worry about nothing that would be something. But if Mayorga knocks out Cotto, now you’ve got history in the making. Now you’ve got something that you’d never forget. “You’d say, ‘I was there, I saw this fight.’ Now, we’re looking for somebody else that Arum’s got: Pacquiao. I want everything Arum has. This is the stepping stone to the inner sanctum to all the rubies and gold and jewels and I’m after them.”
“I’m a business man and as Don’s talking, all I can see is [the media] sending out the message and people, all over the country, buying the pay-per-view.
“Miguel has sold more pay-per-view homes than any other fighter in the history of Puerto Rico, in the history of the world. He’s a tremendous draw on the island of Puerto Rico which truly loves Miguel.
“When fighters get up and talk a lot, what happens? They expend energy. I told Emmanuel, let the guy keep talking. Let him talk for the next hour because Saturday night, he’ll be a lot weaker. My champion, Miguel Cotto fights in the ring and that’s where he shows his greatness because no talk means anything at the press conference.”
King interrupts, “Harvard! That’s Harvard Strategy. We’re expending energy. We will see if the intellectual strategy of Harvard prevails over the streets!”
Arum responds, “To paraphrase the Harvard fight song: With crimson flowing into the ring in defeat, they will raise the hand of the victor…Miguel Cotto.”
“It’s a good thing that fights are not won at press conferences because we’d be knocked out of the box. Miguel Cotto is going to knock out Mayorga. It won’t go over four rounds. [Mayorga] has been training since January but he doesn’t have the skills or the power. Miguel is in great shape, punching sharp and accurate. It’s going to be exciting. Both are known for good fights but there is no way Mayorga can avoid being knocked out inside of four rounds.
“You can talk after the fight and Don can come up and waive one flag, a white flag.
After Mayorga pulled off his shirt while interrupting Steward’s statement:
“You’re out of your class. You can pull your shirt off, you can get butt naked up here but it still doesn’t mean you’re going to win the fight. You want be talking after Saturday night. You won’t be pulling up nothing. You’ll be laying flat on your back. We’re planning our celebration. We’ve got two parties already planned.
“As we all get older in life, we think a little bit before we do things. And I’ve noticed in watching Mayorga’s last fight, he’s slowing down on his impulsive style of fighting. Fundamental boxing will win – a solid, hard left jab [from Cotto] which will get there faster than Mayorga’s wide looping punches.
“The two most important things in fighting Mayorga are: you don’t let bully you and just let him run you down…. and you don’t block his punches; you let him miss completely.”
The media fight week schedule continues TOMORROW/Thursday, March 10 at 10:30 a.m. PT in the Media Center at MGM Grand with a trainers roundtable featuring the world-renowned trainers in town for Saturday’s fight, including Steward. Following the trainers roundtable in the same room, the fighters from the pay-per-view undercard including Yuri Foreman, Pawel Wolak, Miguel Vazquez, Lenny Zappavigna, Richard Byrant and Baltimore Ravens safety and former Notre Dame standout Tommy Zbikowski will assemble for a final press conference at 11:30 a.m. PT.
Thursday’s activities will conclude with a special media Q&A moderated by SHOWTIME boxing analyst Al Bernstein with legendary promoters Arum and King to discuss their storied 40-plus-year rivalry, the state of boxing and their first co-promotion in five years at 6:00 p.m. PT in the Media Center at MGM Grand. The open discussion will be streamed live at www.sports.sho.com and www.toprank.com/TRLiveStream.
“Relentless: Cotto vs. Mayorga” will be promoted by Top Rank, in association with Cotto Promotions, Don King Productions, Tecate and MGM Grand, and produced and distributed LIVE by SHOWTIME PPV, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Saturday, March 12.
Remaining tickets, priced at $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50, not including applicable service charges, can be purchased at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). Tickets sales are limited to 16 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.