Miguel Cotto, Austin Trout, their teams, and the undercard fighters for Saturday's card at Madison Square Garden spoke today at the final press conference for the event.
Richard Schaefer, Golden Boy Promotions
"It will be a fantastic night on Saturday night, Miguel Cotto trying to become world champion yet again against a very dangerous, undefeated, young world champion, Austin Trout from New Mexico. It's going to be a tremendous battle between the experience and the power and the will, against the youth and the strength and the undefeated record of Austin Trout."
"The fight will be for the vacant WBC silver featherweight title, part of a tripleheader on Showtime. Jayson Velez against Salvador Sanchez II in a 10-round bout. Then the co-feature bout is going to be Danny Jacobs, the return of Danny Jacobs here to Madison Square Garden. We all know what he went through, and after his first great win coming back a month ago, he's back in a quick turnaround here at Madison Square Garden."
Melvina Lathan, New York State Athletic Commission
"Welcome to all of these fantastic fighters we have here. It's going to be a wild and wonderful event and I'm certainly looking forward to it. The New York State Athletic Commission is totally dedicated to the health, safety, and security of the fighter. That's our job. That's what we do. We are going to make sure that everybody is tested, and they are hard at work right now in the office doing what they need to do."
"This being the next fight at Madison Square Garden is a great way to end this year."
Joel Fisher, Madison Square Garden Sports
"What can we say? It's fight week and the excitement just continues to build. I get really excited when I know a fight's coming up. There's nothing better in the Garden than a big fight like we're gonna have on Saturday night. It should be a great fight."
"It truly is a transformed Garden. It's just a different building. Our fight fans will be able to see all the new things we did in this phase. ... It's a great building and it's going to be even better for boxing."
"The Garden has a rich tradition for boxing and fights, and we've hosted champions throughout all the years that we've been at this building. We're excited to welcome Miguel back to the Garden, his home away from home. And we're also excited to welcome Austin and all the other fighters to the Garden, some of which are fighting here for the first time."
"There's a great milestone that Miguel has eclipsed during this promotion. He's a great fighter, we all know that. New York is his second home. He's got a tremendous fanbase here. He's fought in the building eight times. He's sold over 100,000 tickets in his eight fights here. What we'd like to do is we have this commemorative ticket that we'd like to present to Miguel. We love having him here. For 100,000 tickets, which is just an amazing number, it's great to have you back. We look forward to a great, great Saturday night."
Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Sports
"We at Showtime are very excited to be back in the Garden. It's been many years since Showtime has had a boxing event at the Garden, and I think that it's fitting as the Garden undergoes its transformation, at Showtime, we are undergoing a similar type of transformation, and Golden Boy and this event are a big part of that.
"Miguel Cotto is without question one of the biggest names in boxing today. Every Cotto fight is a big fight. Any time he fights it's a special occasion, that's no exaggeration. But when Miguel fights at Madison Square Garden, it's an extra special occasion. And when he's fighting at the Garden for his fifth world title, it's a can't-miss event.
"Austin Trout may not be as well known as Miguel but make no mistake: He's a worthy challenger. This is a very tough fight. He's a very skilled boxer. We've featured him on our network before. Very strong, very athletic. I have no doubt he will fight the fight of his life on Saturday night.
"Aside from this exciting matchup, though, there's another important reason we at Showtime are so excited to have this event. These two young men represent the best this sport has to offer. They are top quality athletes and top quality individuals."
"They are without question two of the classiest individuals in any sport. I think that's deserving of recognition, deserving of support, and I think it's one of the strongest things in our sport. Having said that, once the bell rings, they're going to fight their hearts out. No matter who wins, history will be made. Either Miguel is going to win his fifth world title, or Austin is going to take his place as one of the new young stars in boxing today."
"I've had a real good, strong camp with Miguel. I want to thank Miguel Cotto Promotions. We've had a great camp and we're ready to go. We're ready to get this win."
"We've had some hard work the last few weeks. We've prepared properly. We're ready to go. We know we're going to take this victory."
"I want to thank my team, my manager, my trainer for preparing me. I'm very well-prepared and will give you a great fight on Saturday."
"It's a privilege to be back here at the mecca of boxing. I remember being 15 years old, too young to fight in the Golden Gloves. And I remember coming and seeing the guys fighting. I always wished I could be on this platform, and now I'm able to come here and perform.
"It's very exciting for me to be here, especially to be on here with Austin Trout, a guy I've known for many years, we were in the amateurs together. I'm very proud of him. And Miguel Cotto, a tremendous world champion. My girlfriend's a huge fan of him. More than I would like her to be. It's an honor and a privilege. These prospects coming up. It's a privilege. To be from New York and fight here, I haven't had an opportunity to for a long time."
Salvador Sanchez II
"I'm 100%. I'm ready. ... I want to thank my family who's always supported me, been behind me, and motivated me through my whole career. It's a great honor for me to be at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, 30 years after my great uncle last fought. I want to tell you that I'm taking this victory on Saturday. It's a great honor, also, that I'll be wearing the clothing my uncle wore in his last fight at Madison Square Garden."
"I don't have too much to say. I'm prepared, I'm ready. I'm happy to be in this legendary arena. It's my second time. I want to say to my opponent, I won't fight against a uniform. It's a great honor to him, and it's a great honor for me to fight against a great Mexican warrior, but I won't fight against the uniform. I'll fight against the guy who's wearing the uniform. I'm ready and I will win."
Greg Cohen, Austin Trout's promoter
"This will be Austin's third consecutive title defense aired on Showtime. We greatly appreciate the support and exposure Showtime has given us. I'd also like to thank everyone at Madison Square Garden, by far the greatest venue in all of sports. Having this terrific event at the Garden makes it that much more special."
"I can't believe we're finally here. This is exactly what Austin has always dreamed of. The opportunity to fight a certain Hall of Famer in Miguel Cotto on the world's biggest stage. In all my years in the sport of boxing, I've never had a fighter more special than Austin. He is the classiest, warmest, most genuine person you will ever meet, and he is the poster child of how a world champion should carry himself in and out of the ring.
"When we were negotiating to make this fight, I was not happy with the financial aspects of the offer we were made. I told Austin and Bob, that I don't think we should take the deal. Austin immediately stopped me in my tracks and said, 'Greg, I don't care if I have to fight Cotto for free. This is the fight I've always wanted. Make the fight.' That in a nutshell tells you all you need to know about Austin Trout.
"Saturday night is going to be electric. Some fighters embrace the moment, others get lost in the moment. Austin Trout is one of these special individuals who sees the moment. He may not be a household name today, but I assure you that on Saturday night, Austin Trout will become a star. This is his moment.
Bob Spagnola, Austin Trout's manager
"He's a man of a lot of character. This has been a very tough journey for us in a lot of ways. People say, 'Who's Austin Trout?' Austin Trout was born to United States Army parents, stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. He's a United States American. He represented his country as an alternate for the Olympic team in Athens.
"When it got time for him to turn professional, there were no opportunities for him. We couldn't get a chance. We called everybody and begged everybody for a chance. Literally as you can see looking at his record, we had to go to Canada to fight a Haitian-Canadian, to Panama to fight a Panamanian, to Mexico several times fighting Mexicans. All the time, trying to get a chance on American television. We couldn't get that chance.
"You have to look at this business, and you people are all professionals in this business. You don't go to Mexico and see a foreign fighter being featured on Mexican television. Only as an opponent. You don't go to Puerto Rico and ever see a Russian fighting in prime time in Puerto Rico, except if it would be as an opponent for a Puerto Rican. But here in our country, that's all we see.
"You look at ESPN's Friday Night Fights. In one year we had 'Ruslan Paroodnikov' and Artie Pelullo's 'Kim.' Ten main events in the course of a year. That's 25% of the main events were foreign fighters, fighters that don't draw flies over here, that don't mean anything over here. There was never a place for Austin Trout over here. The inn was full.
"When you look at this, you have to ask yourself, and I'm asking you the media, how can you stand for this? These American kids, this is why our Olympic team isn't celebrated. When kids grow up, they don't see American fighters being featured television. They see a bunch of -- and I'm not talking about the Mexicanos, the Puerto Ricanos, even the great Polish kids that draw. I'm takling about fighters that don't draw, don't draw flies, but here we see them again and again. Other peoples' fighters. That's a shame.
"Kids like Austin Trout, they should get a chance on American television, and you guys should write about the fact that they're not gettin' a chance, so... But we took the long road, and here is our chance and we hope to represent very, very well. We've done everything we've can. We had a great camp. We're gonna show that we belong in this."
Hector Soto, Miguel Cotto Promotions
"On Saturday, we'll have a great event. All of the fans at home and in the arena are going to be able to see the great talent of these young prospects. You can feel it in the air, in the atmosphere. It's close. These young fighters that are growing and fighting and getting close to their dream of fighting for a world title."
"I assure you, Miguel Cotto's ready, prepared, and going to be the next super welterweight champion of the WBA. This Saturday's going to be a great night for Puerto Rico."
Pedro Diaz, Miguel Cotto's trainer
"I want to send my condolences to the family of Hector 'Macho' Camacho, the great champion and great fighter."
"Don't miss this title fight on Saturday. Miguel Cotto's going to show a great demonstration and take his fifth world title back to Puerto Rico."
"I want to thank Miguel Cotto for remaining the hungry fighter that he is. He's doing what other champions in this weight class won't do, and that's take on the challenge of fighting Austin Trout. Even to unify, some people still won't do it. I thank Miguel for this opportunity because all we ever wanted was a chance. We've had to go above and beyond, under the radar to make chances happen. Again, thank you Miguel for this chance. It's all we've asked for. And it's all I need, is one chance.
"Saturday night I plan on making history, and not in the form of letting Miguel be a five-time world champion, but in the form of being the only person to beat Miguel Cotto in New York. I'm gonna be the first to do it, and I feel good. I've had a great camp. There's nothing left to do but to do the damn thing.
"Saturday night it's going to happen. It's going to be done. It's not going to be easy, but we're not here for easy. We didn't jump into this game to have an easy time or an easy road. The harder the hurdle, the greater the victory. I'm looking forward to having my hand raised."
"I don't have much to say. (Trout's manager), he mentioned they were in Panama, they beat a Panamanian guy. They were in Guadalajara, they beat Rigoberto Alvarez. Now they're in New York. They're not going to have any of those guys in front of them. They're going to have Miguel Cotto, and the story's going to be different."