World champion Miguel Cotto will go into his biggest world title fight, taking on the last fighter who defeated him - Olympic gold medalist Muhammad Abdullaev - on a Top Rank blockbuster card which will also feature undefeated lightweight sensation Kid Diamond vs. former world champion Joel Casamayor at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, June 11. Bob Arum of Top Rank made the announcement today. He said a press conference will be scheduled next week in New York City. The Top Rank championship card will be held on the eve of National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City.
HBO will televise Cotto vs. Abdullaev and Diamond vs. Casamayor, Arum said.
This will be a super-heated world title defense for Cotto, 23-0 with 19 KOs, of Caguas, Puerto Rico. Cotto took on Abdullaev in a first-round bout at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Abdullaev won, 17-7.
"I've been thinking about what happened that night," said Cotto. "Let's see what happens on June 11."
Cotto will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior welterweight title against Abdullaev, 15-1 with 12 knockouts.
Abdullaev, after defeating Cotto at the Olympics, stopped Kelson Pinto of Brazil; won a 9-6 decision over Sergei Bykovski of Bulgaria; stopped Mohammed Allalou of Algeria and then decisioned Ricardo Williams of the USA, 27-20, for the 2000 Olympic gold medal at 139 pounds.
Kid Diamond, 20-0 with 12 KOs, has been on a spectacular, hot run which included a stunning stoppage of previously undefeated lightweight Koba Gogoladze on March 4 in Choctaw, Miss. Diamond attacks early and is an extremely hard puncher. He knocked out LaMar Murphy, who had never been stopped, on Nov. 27 in Las Vegas.
Diamond, whose real name is Almazbek Raiymkulov, will take on Casamayor, 31-3 with 19 knockouts, in a world lightweight eliminator. Casamayor, born in Cuba, has been in 12 world title fights including recent world title wars with Jose Luis Castillo, Diego 'Chico' Corrales and Acelino Freitas.