By Jake Donovan
Miguel Cotto is all business when it comes to boxing. He is man of pride on both sides of the ropes. That much is evidenced by the class he exudes during the current promotion for his May 5 title defense against Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas
With that in mind, it’s clear to see how difficult it was for the Puerto Rican superstar to cope with the first loss of his career. Fortunately, a strong support system was on hand to keep him upright.
“That was the first time I lost in my career and everybody prepared themselves for that loss,” Cotto recalls of the events immediately following his July ’08 stoppage loss to Antonio Margarito. “Thanks to God that I have a great family and great people around me.”
As of late 2011, he also has a new head trainer in his corner. Standout former Cuban amateur coach Pedro Diaz is the final piece to the puzzle that completes Cotto.
It was fitting that their first fight together was his rematch with Margarito last December. Cotto needed the fight to exact revenge on his longtime rival and also exorcise any lingering demons. That much was accomplished in his 10th round stoppage win at Madison Square Garden, giving Cotto peace of mind and the freedom to move on with his career at the very top level.
However, the addition of Diaz was hardly a spur of the moment idea. In fact, the seed was planted the moment Cotto no longer felt like Miguel Cotto.
“After the Margarito fight, we decided to have some changes in our camp,” Cotto admits. “Right after I broke up with my first trainer Evangelista (Cotto, Miguel’s uncle), we decided to speak with him. He didn’t want to join us at first because he didn’t feel prepared for professional boxing yet.
“(Diaz) finally started working with us last year. He’s somebody better to have here, having known Pedro (for a long time). To have a Cuban guy, a Latino guy working here with his knowledge and experience he has in boxing makes us feel real comfortable.”
The bulk of Diaz’ experience comes in the non-pay ranks, the driving force behind the Cuban boxing squads that have for decades dominated the amateurs on a worldwide level.
Still, there was no secret remedy to what Diaz planned to do with Cotto. There would be no makeover or drastic change in styles. Diaz instead serves as fresh eyes, reminding the slugger of what initially brought him to the top.
“(Diaz) said to me, ‘I’m not here to give you new things. You are a veteran boxer. I’m just here to take things you put on the side, back in your game.’ That’s the main purpose of Pedro in my corner, to make me feel like the Miguel in the beginning. It makes me feel like the Miguel you saw with (Shane) Mosley. You will see the best Miguel Cotto on May 5.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.comTags: Floyd Mayweather Jr. , Miguel Cotto , Mayweather-Cotto , Mayweather vs Cotto