Almost a year removed from winning the lineal middleweight championship, Miguel Cotto is ready to make his first defense when he meets former titlist Daniel Geale on Saturday.
Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs), who stopped Sergio Martinez last June, returns to New York, where he will meet Geale at the Barclays Center (HBO, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT). It's the Puerto Rico native's first appearance since signing a multiyear promotional deal with Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports.
The bout will be contested at a catchweight of 157 pounds. Geale (31-3, 16 KOs), who was knocked out by unbeaten titlist Gennady Golovkin last July, rebounded to outpoint Jarrod Fletcher five months later in his native Australia.
Cotto spoke with ESPN.com about preparing for Geale, and the possibility of a fight with Golovkin:
Why was it important that this fight will be contested at a catchweight?
I think the people make a lot of issue with that. I have been in a catchweight in my career [in the past]. It was nothing. I just agreed to do it and I did it in my career. I'm not a 160-pounder and I just want to make the game more fair.
What was the biggest reason for you taking one full year off between the Martinez fight and now?
I've been in professional boxing for 14 years and I think that it was healthy for my [body]. We just decided to do it this way.
In what ways has Freddie Roach helped you become more explosive?
Freddie comes every day to take the best from me and let it be known that I can bring my best every day. In every training session I can bring my best, without a doubt, entering the night of the fight.
What does Geale bring to the table that makes him dangerous?
I don't know what kind of a mind Daniel's going to come [with] next Saturday, but I'm ready, you know? Here, I'm not prepared for the best he can have or he can bring. I prepare myself just to bring the best Miguel Cotto.
Your critics have mentioned you are more about business these days than about boxing. How do you respond to that?
Boxing is my business. It's the way I solidify my family's future. Every person who has been involved in boxing and doesn't look at boxing this way, they have a wrong point of view of boxing.
You mentioned how you are not a 160-pound fighter. So is it fair for people to ask you to face Golovkin?
I'm just thinking about Daniel on [Saturday]. I don't have any kind of place in my mind to think about anything else, you know? After Daniel Geale, we can check what happens next.
What is the most important key to victory for you against Geale?
Just follow the plan as we planned. In the end, we will have no problem.
You have long made Madison Square Garden your home in New York. What drew you to make the move to the Barclays Center this time?
It's part of a business. It's part of being a boxer. You are not always going to be able to fight in the same venue. The fight moved to Barclays Center and I am happy to fight in there.
What type of message are you looking to send to your fans with this performance on Saturday?
After 14 years here, fighting the best of my divisions, I have nothing to say about it. I just need to step up into the ring and do my best as always.