NEW YORK, NY — Top Rank, in association with DiBella Entertainment, will present the biggest rumble New York has witnessed since the Jets took on the Sharks. World jr. welterweight champion MIGUEL COTTO, the pride of Puerto Rico, returns to Madison Square Garden to take on undefeated Top-10 contender PAULIE ‘MAGIC MAN’ MALIGNAGGI of Brooklyn, N.Y., Saturday, June 10. Cotto vs. Malignaggi headlines a championship card, which will include six bouts on the Pay Per View telecast.
Highlighting this boxing pay per view extravaganza, in separate bouts, will be undefeated Irish middleweight sensation John Duddy, making his first defense of his WBC Continental Americas title; former world champion ‘The Flushing Flash’ Kevin Kelley; undefeated lightweight contender and son of the Mexican icon Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.; undefeated Puerto Rican featherweight future star Juan Manuel Lopez; and making his pro debut, Notre Dame defensive back and team captain Tommy Zbikowski.
Tickets, priced at $300, $200, $100 and $50, are on sale now at the MSG Box Office, TicketMaster outlets & Ticketmaster phone (212/307-7171), and www.ticketmaster.com / www.thegarden.com.
This marks the second consecutive year Cotto, (26-0, 22 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico, has headlined at the ‘Mecca of Boxing’ on the eve of New York’s annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade. Last year, he knocked out Muhammad Abdullaev to retain his title in front of a huge crowd.
He faces a tough challenger in Malignaggi, (21-0), who promises he will dethrone Cotto and win the world title.
“I’m going to cash in on this opportunity; my legacy begins by beating Cotto for the WBO title,” the outspoken Malignaggi said. “I just don’t want to be the next great Italian fighter, I want to be the next great fighter in the world. I’ve been under a microscope and ‘dissed’ by people, but I’m going to prove my detractors wrong.
“Cotto’s coming to my house. He’s going to find himself unwelcome with nothing there for him except knuckle sandwiches from me. I’m a fresh 21-0 without being in any wars. Cotto is 26-0 with a lot of mileage on him. I’m going to make him 26-1. (Ricardo) Torres put him down and (Chop Chop) Corley had him going. Cotto needed some hometown help from the ref to beat Corley.”
Cotto responded, “Malignaggi sure talks a lot. Let’s see what happens when we get into the ring. He calls himself the ‘Magic Man’ but on June 10 I’m going to perform a little magic myself and make him disappear.”
Cotto is a powerful force who strikes with extreme power. He has defended his world title five times while earning “Puerto Rico Fighter of the Year” honors for the last two years in a row.
“We worked hard for many years to get to this level and I was very proud to receive the Fighter of the Year honor,” he said.
Miguel won the WBO world title on September 11, 2004, with a sixth-round TKO against previously undefeated Kelson Pinto. Miguel is experienced against very strong opposition, and has beaten current or former world champions DeMarcus Corley, Randall Bailey, Carlos Maussa, and Cesar Bazan, as well as contenders Ricardo Torres, Muhammad Abdullaev, Kelson Pinto, Victoriano Sosa and Lovemore Ndou.
In Cotto’s last fight on March 4 in Bayamon, PR, he TKO’d Gianluca Branco (36-1-1) at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez and drew a capacity crowd that chanted, “Cotto, Cotto” during the start of the undercard bouts and continued through the main event.
Miguel gave a strong performance and dominated the fight; he outworked Branco, worked the body well, and steadily wore him down; Branco was cut on his scalp by a clash of heads in the 5th round, and was swollen under his right eye and on the right side of his jaw in the 6th; Miguel landed a left hook to Branco’s right shoulder in the 8th round, and Branco grabbed his shoulder in pain and turned away from the action; the referee stopped the fight at 0:49; after seven rounds, Miguel led by scores of 70-63, 69-64, 69-64.
After the fight, Miguel said, “I knew I had to take my time with Branco, I never wanted to be reckless. I felt I was putting enough pressure on him. I felt a lot stronger than him, I was breaking him down. It was just a matter of time. I started to work on him with the first ring of the bell. It wasn’t an easy fight, it was a tough fight. He did not hurt me. He had his good punches, but this was our night. He came to try and use his style, to try to block and then punch. I think I looked better than September 24. I’m going to try to do this from now on. The fight with Ricardo Torres was a war, this was a boxing fight. Getting the win is the important thing.”