Tampa Bay Sports Day

Boxing Comes Back to Yankee Stadium

New York – Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is a winner either way when Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto step in the ring November 14th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as Cotto defends his WBO welterweight championship.  Arum has promotional rights for both fighters and this could be the beginning of the next and exciting trilogy in the sport.

Arum is familiar with the trilogy, especially when it comes to welterweights having been a part of lucrative promotions in the 1980’s with Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns.  Years later, the division is the best in boxing and in the mix again is the r Floyd Mayweather Jr. who gets back in the ring again Saturday evening opposing Juan Manuel Marquez Saturday evening out in Vegas, a fight televised on HBO pay-per-view.

“This fight will be the most exciting and memorable event that Top Rank has promoted in 40 years,” said a gleaming Arum as Cotto and Pacquiao kicked off a five city media tour to promote the fight at Yankee Stadium last Thursday.  The Yankee Stadium press conference is also an indicator that boxing will return to the new stadium.

Arum and New York Yankees Chief Executive Officer Lonn Trost have been friends over the years, and there has been discussion with the two about hosting a major fight at the new ballpark in the Bronx. Reportedly, if Cotto wins in November the second of a possible three fights will take place at Yankee Stadium.

“I am not ruling that out,” claimed Arum about a Cotto-Pacquiao fight at the Stadium. He also said Mayweather could also get Cotto, but Arum, who once promoted Mayweather has made it known that his two fighters are more exciting and not entertainers like Mayweather is.

Either way, Mayweather could spoil the plans if he prevails Saturday.  Boxing fans suddenly get two possible fights with anticipation if Mayweather prevails. There could be a Mayweather-Pacquiao or Mayweather-Cotto fight on the horizon. But the logic is that Mayweather, who returns to the ring after a year-and a half of inactivity does not deserve immediate title consideration.

“I am certain it will take place as an exciting and action packed classic such as Hagler-Hearms and Ali-Frazier III,” said Arum referring to some of the great trilogies in boxing history that Arum has promoted. Top Rank staged the last fight card at the old Yankee Stadium on September 26, 1976 when heavyweight world champion Muhammad Ali got a decision over Ken Norton in their third epic fight.

“Firepower” as the fight has been billed will be the anticipated one of the year as Pacquaio, considered the best pound-for-pound fighter, and Cotto offer excitement and have a tremendous fan base.  “Pacquiao and Cotto will join that list of boxing classics,” said Arum about the trilogies he has promoted over the years.

As for the fight, Cotto (34-1, 27 Ko’s) of Caguas Puerto Rico, has made it known he has overcome any flaws that were seen in his last fight when he won a controversial 12-round unanimous decision against former IBF welterweight champion Joshua Clottey in June at Madison Square Garden.  Cotto sustained a nasty cut then over his left eyebrow from a Clottey head butt in the third round that needed six stitches below is eye and 14 in the bad one above his eye so he had trouble seeing Clottey’s right hand.

“It is the biggest step of my career,” said Cotto about his upcoming fight with Pacquiao Once again Cotto will set up training camp in Tampa Florida with his trainer Joe Santiago. “He has fought a lot of tough fighters but never one like me,” he said referring to Pacquiao who has won six world titles in as many weight divisions ranging from 112 to 140 pounds.

In his last fight back on May 2, Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37KO’s) dealt defending junior welterweight champion Rickey Hatton a one-punch second-round knockout. “Miguel Cotto is strong and smart and that is a dangerous combination for anyone that challenges him,” said Pacquiao.

And Pacquiao once again has his trainer, Freddie Roach, perhaps the best in the business. All focus and concentration now for Pacquiao as Roach tries to keep his popular fighter from the Philippines free from the distractions due to his popularity. “There won’t be any distractions,” said Roach. “I won’t let that happen.”

“He has respect for every fighter he meets and I am expecting the fight to go the distance,” added Roach.  “Can’t let this guy (Cotto) land that left hook…We will be well prepared. It’s a good match up and if there is a trilogy it will be good for boxing.”

The fight televised on pay-per-view is what boxing needs. The two fighters know that, so does Arum who has a way of making noise to try and revive a sport that is desperate for some excitement. Cotto and Pacquiao could certainly revive some interest.

“Cotto vs. Pacquiao will join that list of boxing classics,” promised Arum. And barring no complications it certainly should.

Throwing the punches: Arum also has a good card set for the Madison Square Garden WaMu Theatre “Island Warriors” also known as “Latin Fury 12” on Saturday evening October 12 also on pay-per-view. Juan Manuel Lopez ( 26-0, 24KO’s) the WBO junior featherweight champion from Cotto’s hometown of Caguas opposes (26-12, 2, 18Ko’s) Rogers Mtagwa of Philadelphia

The co-main event is undefeated WBA featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (15-0, 13Ko’s) of Cuba defending against 13th ranked Whyber Garcia (23-6, 15KOo’s) pf Panama City, Panama. If all goes to plan, Arum hopes to main event Lopez against Gamboa in the Garden main arena sometime next year…

Hector Camacho jr. is in the ring again and serious about a title opportunity. His next test is trying to overtake the veteran and former IBG light middleweight champion “Yori Boy” Campus (92-14-1, 74KO’s) of Mexico, Camacho (49-3-1, 27Ko’s) son of  the former champion Hector Sr. is claiming this time he is in the best condition of his career and ready to make an impact.

Said Joe Diaz, trainer of Campus, “No Puerto Rican will ever beat a Mexican.” The fight will be hostile territory for Camacho as it takes place on the campus of UTEP in El Paso Texas on October 30th next to the Mexican border. And in past boxing history the words of Diaz may be true. Most recently, Cotto lost to the Mexican Antonio Margarito for Cotto’s WBA title. We all know though that fight was contested as Margarito was suspended for a year for using tainted hand wraps under his gloves…

Heavyweight John Ruiz is still in the picture for another opportunity with the various alphabet soup organizations. The former two-time champion is hoping to get a title shot against either Klitschko brother Vitali the WBC champion or Wladimir the IBF champion,  Vitali defends against Christobal Arreola September 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles televised on HBO…

Julio Chavez Jr. son of the legendary champion of Mexico City (40-0-1, 30KO’s) easily disposed Jason LeHoukkier in less than a round this past weekend. The junior middleweight is ranked third by the WBC and will soon get a title opportunity against the champion Sergio Martinez.

Giovanni Lorenzo of the Dominican Republic, who opted to stay at middleweight and not enter the Showtime upcoming televised Super Middleweight Tournament, will get his title opportunity. He has arrived in Neubrandenburg Germany for his Saturday battle with Sebastian Sylvester for the vacant IBF Middleweight championship…

Arum says he does not fear the popularity of MMA fighting that does record numbers of pay-per-view and has hurt the sport. “They don’t box, they brawl and they are a bunch of…. “ Determine what he said in sexual connotations as to what MMA fighters do when they are on the mat. Uncalled words from Arum who with some fighting words, knows that rival promoter Oscar De La Hoya is involved with MMA which has become a lucrative industry and has taken in more than one boxing fan..

Our best wishes to fight broadcaster Nick Charles of Showtime who is in his biggest fight to overcome his battle with cancer. Nick is on the sidelines undergoing treatments in Texas and thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.  He is one of the good guys in the business who knows how to call them at ringside with partner Steve Farhood.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com