Cotto, Quintana to fight for WBA welterweight title
NEW YORK -- Miguel Cotto pounded his last two opponents into submission, causing a broken cheekbone and forcing one to beg "no mas."
Next up is undefeated Carlos Quintana, whom Cotto will fight for the vacant WBA welterweight title on Dec. 2 in Atlantic City, N.J. In a doubleheader, Antonio Margarito will defend his WBO welterweight title against Joshua Clottey.
"My team and I are working very hard and are assured we'll walk out of the ring with a new belt," Cotto said Wednesday at a news conference in Manhattan.
The 25-year-old Cotto defended his WBO junior welterweight title against Paulie Malignaggi at Madison Square Garden in June. Malignaggi needed surgery for the broken bones in his face after the unanimous 12-round decision, calling Cotto the "hardest puncher" he'd ever fought.
How will Quintana avoid the punishment of Cotto?
"First of all, I'm not Paulie Malignaggi," Quintana said. "I'm stronger. I'm a better puncher, I'm a left-hander and superior in terms of boxing skills. I hope to do that to Miguel, instead of him doing that to me."
Cotto, 27-0 with 22 knockouts, stopped Gianluca Branco last March in the eighth round after pummeling him with jabs and hooks. After taking a shot to the right shoulder, Branco said "no mas" as he shook his head and pointed to his shoulder with his glove.
It was Cotto's fifth title defense, all by knockouts, before a full house at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in his native Puerto Rico. He will step up to 147 pounds to vie for the WBA belt recently vacated by Ricky Hatton.
"When I punch, I punch hard," Cotto said. "I'm going to Atlantic City to do my job. He moves pretty well in the ring, and I'm going to try to do something to catch him."
Fellow Puerto Rican Quintana (23-0, with 18 KOs) is ranked second in the WBA welterweight rankings behind Oktay Urkal of Germany.
He overcame a first-round knockdown and handed highly regarded Joel Julio his first loss in a 12-round welterweight bout last June in 100-degree heat in an outdoor Las Vegas arena.
Quintana befuddled Julio with his left-handed style and landed several hard shots.
"The difference between Malignaggi and myself is I have fought against stronger boxers," Quintana said. "So I can deal with that."
The 29-year-old Quintana makes his first attempt at a world title.
"Already Cotto has been a champion," Quintana said through an interpreter. "I have worked very hard in my life to achieve what I have. Nobody is going to take away from me what I deserve."
He'd consider facing Floyd Mayweather Jr., or Margarito in his next fight.
"After I defeat Cotto, let's talk about that," Quintana said.
Margarito (33-4, with 24 KOs) will make his seventh title defense. He stopped Manuel Gomez just 74 seconds into the first round in February to retain the WBO welterweight title. He scored a fifth-round TKO against previously unbeaten Kermit Cintron in April 2005.
Clottey (30-1, 20 KOs) won a 12-round decision against previously undefeated Richard Gutierrez in July, and a 10-round unanimous decision against Marcos Primera in December 2005.
The fights will be televised on Showtime.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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