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Five-Time World Champion Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) and James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) participated in a media tour with stops in New York City and Los Angeles to address the media on their upcoming showdown on Saturday, February 25 at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Dubbed as “The Return”, the 12-round junior middleweight contest will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Below is what the fighters and dais guests had to say in New York City and Los Angeles:
Miguel Cotto – Five-Time World Champion
“James is a tough fighter and stout boxer and he’s going to go to work with victory on his mind. I’m going to work with that, too. We are going to start camp today with Freddie and we are looking forward to the fight.
“I will do my best as always in Los Angeles with Freddie Roach commanding our group. All we need is to be ready for Kirkland.
“It’s going to be a great fight, I know that James always comes with a wiry attitude. And I’m going to do the same.
“I’m here for the best fights and the best fighters out there so if Canelo Alvarez wants to fight, to clear what happened November 2015, they know where to find me. It was close. We orchestrated the plan in a perfect way and we believe that we were the winners of the fight.
“I’m going to do the same as always with Freddie Roach. We’re going to work hard and have a game plan in mind. We’re going to work for James Kirkland.
“I’m committed to this fight. I’m committed to look the best possible for February 25. Freddie is in charge of my camp. Freddie is the captain of the boat. I trust him and I know I am going to be ready for February 25.
“It’s good to be back. It’s good to be sweating. I know that Freddie has everything set for our training camp. I rested a lot. I healed. And now I am ready to fight.
“Jerry Jones is a great promotor. I have a lot of respect for the Dallas Cowboys organization. It’s great to have them support this event.
“This fight is going to be the newest chapter in my career. I’m going to take it. I’m going to handle it in the best way possible. I’m going to do my best first with Freddie in the gym and then the night of the fight to make my family proud. I can’t control my legacy. I can’t control what people say about me after I retire. All I do in life is for my family and my kids. That is going to my legacy – what they think about me.”
James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland – Former WBC Continental Americas & WBO NABO Champion
“I’m definitely going to put on a great performance against an icon and legend like Miguel Cotto.
“I definitely feel this is a step up. Like I said, it’s Miguel Cotto. Someone who’s been putting on for the sport of boxing for a long time and I’m definitely feeling like this is a great opportunity for me to bounce back. I’m definitely going to give my fans a great performance.
“I feel it’s a lot different with Ann. They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Dealing with Ann, we have a certain trust factor with each other when it comes to the training and techniques and things that we do to prepare for any fight. Bringing someone who knows me from the beginning back to the fight game and training Kirkland, it’s overwhelming on both ends. She’s a person that you feel in this atmosphere, the boxing game, who can push Kirkland to his ultimate limits.
“I’ve been training with Ann for so long. Everything that she put me through, or whatever situation might come with training with Ann, I feel like it was always worth it. She pushed me to the ultimate limit but never broke me down, never wear and teared my body, and always has put me in a great position for my performance.
“I just have one agenda, one focus, one mind frame and this is set for February 25.
“Boxing is always a learning experience. And I’ve learned from fighting Alvarez and certain people that I’ve made mistakes against. I take those mistakes and I build from them. I try to learn. I’ve learned a lot from my defeats. Biggest thing that I’ve learned is move your head!
“I’m more focused than ever. Cotto is somebody who has fought all of the greats so I know that he has many tricks up his sleeves and that he prepares well for his fights. At the end of the day, to fight someone who knows the sport, I think about what would he do and how he would feel about certain things. I try to get in the head of Miguel Cotto when I’m training. I’m anxious for the opportunity and I’m thankful for the opportunity.
“Miguel Cotto is someone I look up to. For to me to able to get the opportunity to show what I can bring and take my boxing skill to the next limit is definitely something I can put down in things I have accomplished in boxing. My career needs to get back on the rise and show not just the fans but to the sport of boxing itself that Kirkland is definitely someone that can put on a great show.”
Freddie Roach – Trainer of Miguel Cotto
“If Miguel Cotto didn’t have a lot left, I wouldn’t be here. He’s great in the gym, he’s always in shape and he keeps himself close to weight, all the time. He’s tremendous. He works hard. If he didn’t look great in the gym, I wouldn’t let him fight. I care that much about him. He will be 100% ready for this fight and if he’s not 100% for this fight, it won’t happen.
“James Kirkland always fights better with Ann Wolfe in his corner. He’s doing everything possible to be the best in this fight and we’re going to do the same.”
“Obviously, I thought Miguel won his last fight. A rematch would be great there. Miguel always tells me if I was in his corner when he fought Mayweather, we would have won. What’s next? Who knows? But right now we have a tough fight in front of us. And we’re getting ready for that fight. I did send my guys out a couple of times to work with Miguel in Puerto Rico just to keep him fresh. Miguel in just the past two days has been great. We dusted off the body bag. Body punches are hard. Yes, I peed blood last night. It’s good to be back to work and I am happy to have him back in the gym.”
Michael Yormark – Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy
“On Feb. 25 at Ford Center at The Star, we will witness the big return of boxing legend Miguel Cotto. This is the first pay-per-view fight of the year and this will be Miguel Cotto’s 10th pay-per-view fight of his career. I know there has been some stories and comments out of the market, pre-holiday, regarding the pay-per-view status of this fight. Miguel Cotto has been a pay-per-view fighter for a long time. He is a pay-per-view fighter. This fight belongs on pay-per-view.
“We priced this fight very attractively, $49.95. We listened to consumers, we heard what they wanted to see. HBO heard what they wanted too which is why we priced it at $49.95, a great value proposition. Think about what this fight is going to be…action packed…and will probably end in a knock out. So people who buy this fight can anticipate a lot of action, hard punching and probably a knockout. That is what people what to see, that is what they are willing to investment their money in if they are confident that they are going to get it.
“James Kirkland is an aggressive and lethal opponent. The perfect opponent for Miguel Cotto. From the opening bell, you are going to see action. That is what this fight is all about. For as long as it lasts, it’s going to be a brawl and whoever wins this fight, will move on to a huge fight in 2017. So, there is a lot at stake here. “It’s all about entertainment and it’s all about value proposition. We know that people want to see this fight. The local market place is telling us that. We have sold over 50% of our tickets during the holidays. Now typically as you know, people don’t usually buy tickets during the holiday but we ‘ve got a great partner in Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, who have really been promoting this fight, very aggressively. We’ve sold over 50% of the inventory with seven weeks to go so people are showing that they want to see this fight.
“We have a great relationship with Jerry Jones and the Cowboys organization through our client, Dez Bryant. We knew that Jerry was looking for a high profile event to bring as the first professional sporting event to The Star. Jerry also has an incredible passion for boxing. With all of the success that he had promoting with Oscar De La Hoya and the Canelo fight that took place at AT&T Stadium, we sat down with Jerry and his team and asked if he would be interested in doing this fight and he said absolutely. Let’s not forget that the Cowboys have the largest Hispanic following in the NFL. We know that is going to help us sell tickets; it already has. Jerry Jones is clearly one of the greatest promoters in the world whether it’s the Cowboys or any event that he brings into one of his venues. He is the best of the best and his marketing team is second to none. You add all of that together and you’ve got a great, no-lose combination. Then you have a great, action packed fight. This was the right venue at the right time, in the right market with the right partner.”
Mike Miller – Manager of James Kirkland
“From Team Kirkland, we just want to thank Roc Nation, HBO Pay-Per-View and Team Cotto for the opportunity. We look forward to showing our talent on February 25. Texas is our home state. And with Ann Wolfe training James, he’s never lost. He’s got a tremendous knock out record percentage. We look forward to the upcoming weeks of training. When the bell rings, we’ll be ready come February 25. Get your tickets early. Texas is going to come out proud and strong for James.”
Peter Nelson – Executive Vice President, HBO Sports
“Fans can decide how they want to watch the fight or if they want to watch the fight. Ultimately, what you see is that the original pay-per-view was whether or not fans are buying tickets for a fight. As Michael just laid out, that’s already happening, you’re already seeing momentum. People know that this is an incredibly high-quality pick up match between Cotto and Kirkland, and that’s what people show up to buy and people want to see.
“I give Roc Nation and Jerry Jones and these two fighters credit for wanting to get out in front of the market place. Some of the fights that people talk about being pay-per-view fights end up never coming together, we see this in boxing every single year. The key is who can get the fights done that fans want to see. That’s at the core of whether or not people are going to show up. To Roc Nation and Jerry’s credit and the fighters, they got the job done here.”
Cotto vs. Kirkland is a 12-round junior middleweight fight presented by Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions and Ford Center at The Star, and is sponsored by Corona Extra. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Tickets priced at $304, $204, $154, $104, $79, $54 and $29 not including applicable service charges and taxes are available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000 and the AT&T Stadium box office.
For more information, please visit www.throneboxing.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter @rocnation and Instagram @rocnationsports and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation.
For more information, visit www.hbo.com/boxing, follow on Twitter and Instagram at @HBOBoxing and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HBOBoxing.
Follow the conversation using #CottoKirkland.
ABOUT ROC NATION SPORTS
Roc Nation Sports, a sub-division of Roc Nation, launched in spring 2013. Founder Shawn "JAY Z" Carter's love of sports led to the natural formation of Roc Nations Sports, supporting athletes in the same way Roc Nation has been working alongside and advocating for artists in the music industry for years. Roc Nation Sports focuses on elevating athletes' career on a global scale both on and off the field. Roc Nation Sports conceptualizes and executes marketing and endorsement deals, community outreach, charitable tie-ins, media relations and brand strategy. Roc Nation Sports launched its boxing division, a full service promotional company which represents Five-Time World Champion Miguel Cotto and Two-Time World Champion Andre Ward, in August 2014. Roc Nation Sports' roster includes premiere athletes such as Robinson Cano, Skylar Diggins, Kevin Durant, Geno Smith, Victor Cruz, CC Sabathia, James Young, Dez Bryant, Ndamukong Suh, Rusney Castillo, Yoenis Cespedes, Jaelen Strong, Todd Gurley, Wilson Chandler, Erick Aybar, Justise Winslow, Willie Cauley-Stein, Jerome Boateng, Miguel Sano, CJ Prosise, Ronnie Stanley, Henry Ellenson, Caris LeVert, Mike Gbinije, Melvin Ingram, Rudy Gay, Ty Lawson and Leonard Fournette.
About The Star
The Star is the 91-acre campus of the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters and practice facility in Frisco, Texas. Developed as a first-of-its-kind partnership between the City of Frisco and Frisco ISD, The Star features the Ford Center, a 12,000-seat stadium that hosts Frisco ISD football games and other events; Cowboys Fit, a 60,000 square-foot gym developed in partnership with leading fitness developer, Mark Mastrov; and Cowboys Club, a members-only club where the country club meets the NFL. Throughout 2017, The Star will welcome The Omni Frisco Hotel, a 16-floor, 300-room luxury hotel; Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star, a 300,000 square-foot center of excellence for sports medicine; as well as a variety of shopping, dining and nightlife options. For more information on The Star, visit: http://thestarinfrisco.com/.