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Miguel the Middleweight

(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)


Miguel Cotto, who’s had a distinguished career that one day might lead him to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, takes on a new challenge when he faces middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (at a catchweight of 159 pounds). Cotto began his career in 2001 as a junior welterweight.
 
Did he ever think he’d be fighting as a middleweight?
 
“No, it never passed my mind but it’s the best thing that could ever happen to me,” he said to Maxboxing a couple of weeks ago from the Wild Card Boxing Club. “The possibility to be the first Puerto Rican to be a champion in four different weight divisions, that’s my biggest motivation.”

For the 5’7” Cotto, it’s now about keeping weight on instead of trying to shave it off. And that job of monitoring his poundage goes to his strength-and-conditioning coach, Gavin MacMillan, the founder of the Sports Science Lab, who has trained hundreds of pro athletes. “We’re constantly on him about that and maintaining a certain level of weight. We don’t want him going into the ring too light and he’s been very diligent with his meals. He’s been very disciplined with what he’s eating. We’ve taken the advice of a company called PVM (Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals) [Nutritional Sciences] out of South Africa that’s really helped us with a lot of the nutritional elements of it,” explained MacMillan.
 
Cotto is fed three large meals a day and two smaller portions of food in addition to taking nutritional supplements. MacMillan says the Puerto Rican star consumes “thousands” of calories per day. Cotto says, “It’s the first time in my career that I can eat. I can normally drink what I want and be comfortable with my weight.”
 
Generally, Cotto has a poker face that could bluff Phil Ivey. He reminds you of that quote from former Dallas Cowboys running back Walt Garrison, who was once asked if he had ever seen his coach, Tom Landry smile. Garrison replied, “Once, but I was only there for nine years.” But in this camp, this guy’s grinning like Kool-Aid Man.

His trainer, Freddie Roach says with a laugh, “Every picture, you see Miguel smiling. ‘How did you get him to smile?’ I say, ‘We feed him.’”
 
This is not just the second go-round for Cotto with Roach but also MacMillan, who works with junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov. MacMillan had a much different objective with Cotto as they prepared for Delvin Rodriguez last fall.

“The first camp that we worked together, that’s what we had to do, actually drop 25 pounds. Now, I think after a period of time, when you develop a trust with each other, you know what the goals are and what you’re trying to achieve between this fight and the last fight. He kept himself in very good shape. So once he came into this camp, we could focus more on his just being a better athlete and also developing more overall power and strength,” said MacMillan. “So he’s known exactly what Freddie and I wanted from him since day one and he’s been 100 percent committed to it. So it’s been real easy.
 
“For me, it’s all anyone ever does for conditioning - run and lose weight. We don’t do that; we’re trying to make these guys faster and more athletic so they can box better. From that end, Miguel’s bought in from the very first time we worked together,” continued MacMillan, who begins each day with Cotto at five in the morning. “We don’t use conventional weights at all but we’ve implemented a lot of other strength routines for him for this camp. They’re all related to explosion. I’m not really interested in just weights for mass but we want a higher muscle density and we definitely want him to be faster and more powerful.”
 
This video shows an example of MacMillan’s regimen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UT45uFVNGAU.
 
“It’s a variety of stretching, strengthening, movement drills, things that all relate and transfer into boxing,” explains MacMillan, who says Cotto’s hard running days at the Griffith Park Observatory (a five-mile, uphill trek) took place on Fridays. Episode one of HBO’s “24/7: Cotto-Martinez” also showed footage of Cotto working in a swimming pool.
 
Roach has long said that while there is a reason boxing has weight classes, weight itself has never won a fight. It’s clear that Cotto has put in the work and there are lingering concerns over the physical state of Martinez, who seems to be coming apart at the seams. But the hay is in the barn for the most part as the fighters head into the Friday weigh-in. Neither fighter should have any problems making the 159-pound limit.
 
Cotto has certainly put in the requisite work. When you ask MacMillan about his work ethic, he says simply, “It’s unequaled in the business.”
 
MSGGGG
 
With the WBA giving the green light, its middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin will face former beltholder Daniel Geale on July 26th on HBO in Golovkin’s first appearance headlining the big room (yes, where the Knicks and Rangers perform) at Madison Square Garden. According to Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, the house will be scaled for 9,000 seats, which is essentially the lower bowl.
 
Here’s the ticket info:
 
Advance tickets priced at $500, $300, $200, $100, $50 and $25 can be purchased starting at 10:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, June 5 at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com and Madison Square Garden - Official Web Site
 
EMAIL
 
Here’s an email that hit my inbox that I think was as insightful as it was profane:
 
Steve, Brock from lovely Dayton, Ohio here. I thought I’d drop you a few lines about some of my pet peeves that reared their annoying heads this past weekend.

1. I absolutely hate how over the past 10 years or so, fighters that are involved in a clash of heads react. I understand your head collided with your opponent’s head but the “Our heads made contact, so I will now scream, crouch, grab my eye, turn my back, etc. to get a break over and over again while the ref does nothing but indulge me” routine just plain sucks. In my opinion, this is the boxing equivalent of flopping. Can you imagine how [Michael] Jordan must feel watching Lebron [James] flopping around like a fish out of water after a touch foul after [Jordan] spent years getting demolished by the Pistons back in the day? Not to get too old-school but I can’t picture the fighters of my childhood: [Marvelous Marvin] Hagler, [Sugar Ray] Leonard, [Ray] Mancini, [Thomas] Hearns, [Roberto] Duran, etc. reacting to a headbutt by jerking their heads back like they’re trying to get a jump on a whiplash settlement.

2. HBO’s Andre Ward d*ck sucking. Does he have incriminating photos of [Jim] Lampley and [Max] Kellerman? Do they get a stipend for every compliment they give him or perhaps if they don’t hit their “Ward ass-kissing comment quota,” they receive a pay reduction? How many times did we hear, “[Carl] Froch, who lost decisively to Andre Ward” or words to that effect on Saturday? How about Lampley saying, “I’m joined by Max Kellerman, who is no Larry Merchant but...”?  Froch would and should be the underdog if they fought again but he has done better the second time around in both of his recent rematches. I would love to see a rematch at Wembley but based on the HBO commentary, why would I bother watching? Why should Ward fight anyone since he has no competition anyway; right, guys? Not only did they piss all over the Froch rematch, they basically said “GGG” would beat him as well. How about praising Froch for his victory and perhaps building interest in watching him fight again?

Now for something positive: I loved the Froch victory. [George] Groves does everything better on paper than Froch. Froch is just plain tougher. I thought his win was very Micky Ward-like.

Thanks,
 
Brock
 
No, Brock, thank you...
 
TNR
 
Here’s the latest episode of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly. We talk about the resignation of Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, Froch-Groves and Cotto-Martinez:
 
 
HUMP DAY FLURRIES
 
 
Jarrod Fletcher will face Daniel Jacobs for the vacant “regular” WBA middleweight title...The WBA made a sound business decision here; they weren’t going to lose out on Golovkin sanctioning fees...“Game of Thrones” can be a real heartbreaker at times...I like my Kings in seven (what else?) and the Heat in seven...Can’t wait to hit Jimmy’s Corner when I hit the Big Apple...Ican be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.


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