Report: MSG reserved, for Cotto?

Updated: January 21, 2010, 1:21 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Top Rank president Todd duBoef said he has Madison Square Garden on hold for June 12, the day before the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York, a date that former welterweight champion Miguel Cotto has regularly headlined the card. The Associated Press is reporting Cotto could possibly challenge junior middleweight titleholder Yuri Foreman on that day.

Cotto plans to watch countryman Juan Manuel Lopez fight Steven Luevano for a featherweight title on Saturday night in the theater at MSG. That fight is part of a double-header that sees Yuriorkis Gamboa and Rogers Mtagwa fighting for another featherweight belt.

"Cotto is coming in for the fight, and we'll start discussing it," duBoef said Wednesday. "They're the ones who called us and said, 'We want to fight Yuri Foreman,' so we'll see what we can do."

Rafael: Parading again?

Miguel Cotto is set to again take center stage in front of a partisan, pre-Puerto-Rican-day-parade MSG crowd this June, with a battle vs. junior middleweight titleholder Yuri Foreman to be unveiled on Jan. 23. Blog

A substantial segment of the city's roughly 800,000 residents with Puerto Rican roots come out in support on Puerto Rican Day.

The significance of the date wasn't lost on Foreman, either.

"Friends say, 'Yuri, you're fighting in New York, Madison Square Garden, everybody is going to be rooting for you!' I say, 'Um, well, it's the day before the Puerto Rican Day Parade,'" he said with a broad grin.

"It's the opportunity of a lifetime," said Foreman, a New York-based native of Belarus who also is studying to become a rabbi. "You have to understand, where I come from, the Soviet Union, then Israel, to fight in Madison Square Garden is huge."

Foreman won his title with a comprehensive victory over Daniel Santos on the undercard of Cotto's brutal fight against Manny Pacquiao in November.

Foreman was considered a possible opponent for Pacquiao before the pound-for-pound king decided the height difference was too much. Pacquiao instead decided to fight Joshua Clottey on March 13 at the new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

"He's a great champion, pound-for-pound one of the best fighters out there," Foreman said of Cotto, who would be moving up to 154 pounds. "I'm very hopeful it gets made, but I don't know where I'm standing. Hopefully we're very close to closing the door."

Cotto has had perhaps the most difficult year of his professional life, splitting with his uncle and longtime trainer Evangelista Cotto before losing that bloody fight to Pacquiao.

Outside the ring, the Puerto Rican star lost his father, Miguel Sr., to an apparent heart attack earlier this month. He also had a breach of contract lawsuit filed against him by his uncle and a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by an administrator of a residential property he owns in the U.S. territory.

DuBoef said he doesn't believe the distractions will prevent Cotto from fighting.

"I think he's going to come in here [Saturday] not really that concerned, because June is a while from now," duBoef said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.