By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Miguel Cotto looked on respectfully Wednesday as Austin Trout, his promoter and his manager mentioned Trout’s previous victories in hostile territory.
The WBA 154-pound champion beat Mexico’s Rigoberto Alvarez by unanimous decision in Guadalajara to win the then-vacant title in February 2011. The 27-year-old southpaw previously topped Panama’s Nilson Tapia by majority decision in Panama City.
Those are among the reasons the unbeaten Trout (25-0, 14 KOs) isn’t intimidated by the thought of boxing Cotto at Madison Square Garden, Cotto’s home away from home, on Saturday night (9 p.m. ET; Showtime).
Cotto couldn’t care less. He emphasized Trout’s significant step up in competition Saturday night, despite that the Las Cruces, N.M., native will make the fourth defense of his championship.
“They mentioned they were in Panama and beat a Panamanian guy, they were in Guadalajara and beat Rigoberto Alvarez,” Cotto, 32, said. “Now they’re in New York and they’re not going to have any of them in front of them. They’re going to have Miguel Cotto and the story’s going to be different.”
Puerto Rico’s Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) has fought at the Garden seven times over the past seven years and has been boxing’s biggest draw there in the 21st century. The three-division champion is undefeated in those seven Garden fights, including wins against Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito.
Madison Square Garden executive Joel Fisher presented him with a plaque Wednesday to commemorate eclipsing 100,000 tickets sold overall since his first fight there in June 2005.
The Cotto-Margarito grudge rematch drew a capacity crowd in excess of 20,000 last Dec. 3, but the Cotto-Trout fight isn’t sold out. Tickets start at $50 (ticketmaster.com; 800-745-3000).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.