by David P. Greisman
It’s actually not been that long since Miguel Cotto last fought with Top Rank, the company with whom he began his pro career more than a dozen years ago.
His last bout under the promoter’s banner was a rematch with Antonio Margarito in December 2011, yet the rumor even before Cotto stepped into the ring back then was that Cotto would leave and seek a fight with Floyd Mayweather.
Immediately following Cotto-Margarito 2, Bob Arum of Top Rank said he didn’t think Cotto would be fighting for any promoter but him.
“Miguel said on the international telecast what he’s said to us continuously. When they asked him what his future promotional plans were, he pointed to us and said, ‘That man is my promoter and he will always be my promoter,’ ” Arum said. “That’s good enough for me. I never had a contract with Marvin Hagler. … Miguel reminds me of Marvin Hagler — the same type of loyalty.”
Five months later, Cotto was fighting Mayweather on a card that had Top Rank’s rival, Golden Boy Promotions, as the lead promoter. Golden Boy also headed up a December 2012 card that saw Cotto losing to Austin Trout. Arum nevertheless continued to speak well of Cotto, telling reporters he had “no animosity” toward him.
And now Cotto and Top Rank are working together again, with Top Rank as the lead promoter for a “Miguel Cotto Promotions” card on Oct. 5 headlined by Cotto against junior middleweight Delvin Rodriguez. The show takes place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
“The reunion between the two of us has been terrific,” Todd duBoef of Top Rank said on a Sept. 20 media conference call. “The show that we’ve put together is absolutely fantastic from top to bottom, using Miguel’s fighters and a combination of the Top Rank fighters. … We’ve seen unprecedented support from Orlando, that really hasn’t had a fight in many, many years, especially of this caliber.”
Though Cotto has set up his training camps in Florida before, this will be his first fight in the state. Many of his main events have come in New York, where the Puerto Rican population has made him a popular attraction at Madison Square Garden, where he’s headlined eight shows. He also fought once in Yankees Stadium in the Bronx.
duBoef said tickets have been selling well and that Top Rank keeps opening up new sections of the Amway Center.
According to NBC Latino, “close to 900,000 Latinos live in Florida, with most of them close to the Orlando/1-4 corridor. Today, Florida replaces New York as the primary destination for Puerto Ricans leaving the U.S. commonwealth.”
Said duBoef: “Miguel is an icon within the Latin community, and I wouldn’t just isolate it to a territory. Throughout Latin America, throughout Mexico, everywhere. Obviously, the connectivity to his home base, which are people of Puerto Rican descent, they look at him as one. They are his base. If they’re in New York or they’re in Orlando or they’re in San Juan or Caguas, they are the same fan.
“We actually made this decision, we looked at other buildings and facilities, and this is one that Miguel and his team had expressed that they wanted to do. We collectively worked together with his promotional team and establishing this venue, and the response has been incredible. …. We look for an electric night.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon . Send questions/comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org Tags: Miguel Cotto , Top Rank , Delvin Rodriguez , Cotto-Rodriguez , Cotto vs Rodriguez