LOS ANGELES – The always colorful and electric Don King -- joined by fellow Hall of Fame Promoter Bob Arum for their first co-promotion in more than five years -- entertained the Los Angeles press corps on Monday as “Relentless: Cotto Vs. Mayorga” Fight Week kicked off with a press conference at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.
“My fighter Ricardo Mayorga is a crazy man, he’s absolutely insane,” King said. “But when he steps in the ring Miguel Cotto will be saying his Hail Mary’s. Someone has to be sacrificed on Saturday night and it has to be Cotto and I feel so bad about this. But Miguel is young and he will come back. He’s a great Puerto Rican and a great combatant and a great fighter. But on March of the 12th, beware the Ides of March.
“This is a vintage Don King performance,” said Arum.
Cotto, the Pride of Puerto Rico, will defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight title against two-division world champion Mayorga in the main event this Saturday, March 12, at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev., produced and distributed LIVE on SHOWTIME PPV®, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Cotto, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, has held a world title every year since 2004 and has won 15 of the 17 world championship bouts he has fought. Mayorga, of Managua, Nicaragua, is known for his reckless abandon and fearlessness inside the ring – a style of fighting that has produced 23 knockouts out of his 29 victories and legions of fans.
Here’s what the principals had to say on Monday:
“We just have to take care of business. We can’t think about anything specific regarding Mayorga. We just have to think about ourselves. I think Mayorga is past his peak. He was at his best maybe five or six years ago.”
How has Emanuel Steward helped you?
“Just the confidence in myself. We are trying to find the Miguel Cotto of 10 years ago. To get me back to the way it was when I started. After 10 years to change things about my style is very hard.”
Mayorga’s antics: Is it real? Or an act?
“Before the press came in he came over to my table and said hello. I think it’s an act just to sell the show.”
“I train from the heart and I’ve given 110 percent. I’m coming here to not only beat Cotto but to knock him out. People around the world know the two greatest promoters in the world are Don King and Bob Arum. On Saturday night after I beat and knock Cotto out I will have put my stamp on this fight and Don will stand as the No. 1 promoter in the world and Bob as No. 2.
“All the Puerto Ricans coming to the fight will leave as Ricardo Mayorga fans. The best time of his career was when he fought at 140 (pounds). When he came up to 47 and 54, that’s when he made the mistake.
“Jimmy Lennon, when you introduce me to the world as the new world champion, do it with all your heart: Four time world champion.
“The concept is: Go for the knockout; not just the win. (To Cotto): Don’t take a knee on me like you did with Margarito. Let me finish punishing you. I come from a country where women give birth to men.
“Take your shirt off just like me and show me your weight.
“Look at these fists. You will see these Saturday night up close.”
“With the exception of Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto is the greatest attraction in boxing. Last year his fight with Yuri Foreman was the highest rated boxing show on television. There’s a reason for that: When Miguel Cotto is in the ring the fans know they are going to see an all-action fight no matter who the opponent is. Miguel Cotto will be there firing away and people know he’s going to give 100 percent. And isn’t that what boxing is all about? When someone pays for a pay-per-view, they want to be entertained. Cotto-Mayorga is perfect for this.”
“From Marylyn Monore to Burt Lancaster and all the great Hollywood legends … their spirit is here with us today at the Millennium Biltmore. Cotto has about as good a chance as slim and none and slim is out of town.
“I heard some reporters say today that Mayorga has lost his last three fights. The only opponent that Mayorga has is himself. If we can take that opponent of himself and make him an ally of himself then he would be undeniably unbeatable.
“For all you who have little, just a little bit of money, put it all on Mayorga because the odds are in his favor. You will have the chance to be wealthy. Don’t wait till Saturday night. Do it now. Mayorga will win by a knockout. Check it all out on SHOWTIME pay-per-view.”
EMANUEL STEWARD, Cotto’s Trainer:
“One thing you know about Mayorga is he’s a very unpredictable fighter. I don’t think the fight is going four rounds. I think Cotto will knock him out.
AL BONANNI, Mayorga’s Trainer:
“I have never seen or trained someone as focused as Ricardo Mayorga is right now. He will dominate on Saturday night. He will knock Cotto out because he is stronger, he is fitter and he’s the better fighter.”
JIMMY LENNON JR., Ring Announcer:
“On behalf of everyone at SHOWTIME we are just so proud to be a part of this great night of boxing. You’ve got two of the world’s greatest promoters, the greatest boxing venue and two fabulous fighters; we’re just so charged to be a part of it. I can’t wait to get done with my job announcing the fighters so I can take my seat and see both of these fighters in the ring.”
“RELENTLESS” will be produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV®, beginning at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT, at a suggested retail price of $49.95. The fight will be called by Steve Albert with Al Bernstein and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts and Jim Gray reporting from ringside. On the Spanish simulcast, Bernardo Osuna will call the blow-by-blow with Raul Marquez providing color commentary. David Dinkins Jr. is the executive producer for SHOWTIME Sports® with Ray Smaltz producing and Bob Dunphy directing.