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Cotto to defend welterweight title vs. Mosley in New York

8/15/2007 - Boxing

The boxing schedule for the rest of the year is already jam-packed with significant fights. But few are as important and as potentially action-packed as the latest bout to be officially scheduled, a showdown between welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto and former champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley.


The fight, dubbed "Fast & Furious!," has been in the works for several weeks, but was made official Wednesday. They will meet Nov. 10 (HBO PPV) at Madison Square Garden in a fight made possible by the recent legal settlement between Top Rank, Cotto's promoter, and Mosley's promoter, Golden Boy Promotions.

"I am very excited to be returning to Madison Square Garden and I will be completely prepared for the biggest fight of my career," said Cotto (30-0, 25 KOs), the Puerto Rican star, whose 11th-round knockout of Zab Judah on June 9 -- a fight of the year candidate -- drew a record crowd of 20,658 to the Garden. "Shane is a great fighter but he will not be the better fighter on Nov. 10. I will be leaving the ring the same way I will be entering it -- undefeated and still world champion."

Cotto, 26, a former junior welterweight titleholder, will be making his third title defense at welterweight against the most formidable opponent of his career.

"Cotto is a great fighter, but so am I, and we're going to light up the Garden on Nov. 10," said Mosley, who will receive the lion's share of money in a 53-47 percentage split of revenue. "I don't think I've ever been more excited for a fight. I can't wait to get in the ring and get it on."

Mosley has won championships at lightweight, welterweight and junior middleweight, twice defeated Oscar De La Hoya [now his promoter] and was once widely regarded as the No. 1 fighter in the world.

Since back-to-back decision losses to Winky Wright in junior middleweight title fights in 2004, Mosley (44-4, 37 KOs) has won five in a row, including two knockouts of former two-time junior middleweight beltholder Fernando Vargas last year and a surprisingly lopsided points win against former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo in February, to re-established himself as one of the top fighters in the world at age 35.

"Cotto-Mosley is a must-see matchup between two of the best fighters in the sport today," HBO PPV's Mark Taffet said. "For the young champion Cotto, it is the signature fight that could launch him to superstardom. And for the future Hall of Famer Mosley, it's the most important fight since his battles with Oscar De La Hoya."

Cotto-Mosley is one of several fall fights matching top fighters and the first of two major bouts in the welterweight division. A month after Cotto-Mosley, recognized 147-pound champion and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. will meet junior welterweight world champion Ricky Hatton on Dec. 8. The winners of the two fights could face each other next year.

"The welterweight division is the most exciting in boxing today and when two great champions like Miguel Cotto and Sugar Shane Mosley agree to fight each other, you virtually guarantee the fans an amazing fight," said De La Hoya, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, who knows a thing or two about the welterweight division as a former champion.

For Cotto, Madison Square Garden has become something of a home. He has fought there on the eve of New York's annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade the past three years. Mosley has also headlined there three times, albeit in the smaller Theater.

"We are looking forward to this fight which we truly believe will be one of the greatest boxing events of the year," Top Rank's Bob Arum said.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.