Arum: Cotto to fight Urkal on March 3 as prelim to Margarito on June 9!

By G. Leon


Arum: Cotto to fight Urkal on March 3 as prelim to Margarito on June 9!

GL: Can you give us some thoughts on the Margarito and Cotto fights? "Margarito and Clottey fought very, very hard. Clottey hurt two hands, Margarito hurt one and that was a very good fight. The star of the night was Miguel Cotto with his devastation of Carlos Quintana, a real top welterweight."

GL: Cotto certainly showed that he belongs at welterweight. Now the question becomes, where does he go from here? Oktay Urkal is the mandatory but will you look to pay him more step aside money to put Cotto in a bigger fight?

Bob Arum: "I think there's a limit to what the WBA will reasonably allow. We paid Urkal some step aside for the Quintana fight and he's a decent fight. I think he wants his shot and we're looking at March 3 for Cotto to fight Urkal. That'll give us enough time to have Cotto, should he wins that fight, ready to fight at Madison Square Garden on June 9.

GL: Where might this March 3 fight be taking place and how solid is that date?

BA: "The date is extremely solid. It may switch to February 25 but I would say March 3 is more realistic. We've been talking to the people at Mohegan Sun."

GL: Will that be on Showtime since HBO already has Calzaghe-Manfredo on that day?

BA: "We're talking to Showtime and we'd love to make a deal with them, but if not I think HBO will step up to the plate. HBO is doing the Calzaghe fight from Europe, but I think they might be willing to add a live fight with it."

GL: With Cotto winning as impressively as he did, is it somewhat disappointing as his promoter that he has to fight Urkal. I mean, Cotto has some serious heat behind him right now and I don't want to say digress but Urkal is certainly no step up from Quintana.

BA: "Obviously there are bigger fights out there and I agree with you, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I look forward to Cotto fighting Antonio Margarito or perhaps the winner of Hatton and Castillo, which will happen next year. There's a lot of big fights out there for him."

GL: I still haven't seen the fight but a lot of people I've spoken with tell me that Clottey was well on his way to pulling off the upset until he hurt his hand in the fourth round. I also hear Margarito looked far from the world beater he's been built up as. How do you feel about that?

BA: "I thought Margarito looked good, I thought Clottey looked good too and I'm going to try to match him with Kermit Cintron. Both guys hurt their hands but I think it was a solid performance by both guys. After the fourth round I had the fight even and so did two of the judges."

GL: Where does Margarito go from here?

BA: "I'd like to get him a fight before June, but I don't know how his hand is and so forth. But if worst case we'll hold him out until June and have him fight Cotto at the Garden. Right now with Cotto I have a superstar and Margarito is extremely dangerous. If Margarito's hand is alright I'll put him in with Paul Williams to get that fight out of the way, but I'm not going to risk a massive promotion in Madison Square Garden over it.'

GL: Does that mean Margarito would be willing to vacate his title for the bigger payday against Cotto?

BA: "I think so, what do they need two titles for to pay two sanctioning fees? True."

GL: I'm sure the fighters would agree with you, not so sure about the sanctioning bodies though.

BA: "It certainly would be sanctioned by the WBA. After Cotto fights Urkal he could fight whoever he wants so why not Margarito."

GL: It sounds like you're ready your two top welterweights against each other and it doesn't seem like a Shane Mosley is much of a possibility for either of them.

BA: "They've made their position clear, they don't want to deal with Top Rank so they don't have to. I would rather put Cotto or Margarito with Mosley because with both of my guys fighting each other that means one of them is going to get knocked off. I have the unfortunate habit of believing what people say and De La Hoya has said that he's not interested in having his partner Mosley fighting a Top Rank fighter. If that's what he said I assume he's serious so why should I consider Mosley for either of my guys?"

GL: Margarito and his people spent months talking about how the best fighters are avoiding him. After his performance last weekend, has it gotten to the point where Cotto is the ONLY big payday out there for Antonio?

BA: "In contemplating that, he knows that Cotto's promoter is a brave guy who would put Cotto in with him. It can be made and it will be made and then if Jose Luis Castillo comes out on top against Ricky Hatton, that's another opponent. If Ricky beats Castillo, Hatton and Cotto would be a big fight."

GL: First Castillo has to make weight and then win on January 20...

BA: (cutting in) "We have the same people that worked with Miguel working with Castillo. The trick is not just making the weight, the trick is feeling strong at the weight. You should've seen him at the press conference before the fight, he was eating a meal. Morales was in that kind of condition but he ran into a Manny Pacquiao.

GL: What's the deal with him and Casamayor?

BA: "We've been talking and he wants to do one more fight win or lose for the lightweight title. And the lightweight title for him means the WBC, which is held by Casamayor. If Casamayor fights him we would do that fight."

GL: When might we anticipate that happening?

BA: "Sometime next Spring in April or so."


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