boxing

Cotto vs Kirkland – February 25 in Frisco, Texas

James Kirkland Miguel Cotto

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 NABOChampion

“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.”

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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 and Kirkland ready

Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions are pleased to announce that Five-Time World Champion Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, February 25, 2017 when he takes on James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Coming off respective losses to Canelo Alvarez, both fighters will be seeking redemption in a 12-round junior middleweight showdown. 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.

Cotto and Kirkland will join Roc Nation Sports and the Dallas Cowboys organization on Monday, December 19, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. CT for a press conference at Ford Center at The Star to officially announce the fight. This will be the first event of its kind to be held at the state-of-the-art, 510,000 square foot indoor athletic facility shared by the Dallas Cowboys, the City of Frisco, and Frisco ISD’s high schools. Ford Center at The Star is also the home to the Dallas Cowboys Football World Corporate Headquarters.

Tickets priced at $304, $204, $154, $104, $79, $54 and $29 not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. local time and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000 and the AT&T Stadium box office.

“I’m excited to return to the ring and put on a great show. I can’t wait to start training camp and get ready for February 25,” said Five-Time World Champion Miguel Cotto. “Fighting inside the beautiful Ford Center, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboy’s newest creation, and headlining the first ever boxing event there pumps me with a lot of enthusiasm and energy.”

“I’m very excited to get back into the ring against a legend like Miguel Cotto. I’m going to train like never before so I can show the world that the old James Kirkland is back,” said James Kirkland. “You know the fight will be exciting while it lasts. February 25 can’t come soon enough.”

“Miguel Cotto is back and ready to put on an exciting show against the always tough James Kirkland,” said Hector Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “We can’t wait to see Miguel back in the ring on February 25 on HBO Pay-Per-View.”

“On behalf of Roc Nation Sports, we are so thrilled about Miguel Cotto’s return to the ring and to bring the first public event to Ford Center at The Star,” said Michael Yormark, Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy. “This will undoubtedly be a historic event with an exciting, all-action bout in store for the fans in Frisco and all of North Texas along with those watching from home on HBO Pay-Per-View.”

“We are excited to host an incredible matchup for the very first boxing match here at Ford Center at The Star,” said Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager. “This venue was designed with the idea of versatility in mind, and we expect a great crowd in Frisco, Texas to experience a world class fight between Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland.”

“Throughout his brilliant ring career, Miguel Cotto has never backed down from a challenge and on February 25 he takes on a dangerous knockout specialist in James Kirkland,” said Tony Walker, Vice President, HBO Pay-Per-View. “Fans watching live in Frisco and those tuning in on pay-per-view should not blink in what should be an all-action slugfest.”

Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) is a former WBC and Ring Magazine middleweight world champion and the first native of Puerto Rico to become world champion in four different weight classes. He previously held the WBO junior welterweight world title, the WBA welterweight world title, the WBO welterweight world title and the WBA super welterweight world title. He also represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Cotto has competed in 24 world championship fights, compiling a record of 19-5 with 16 knockouts in those bouts. In Puerto Rico, he is hailed as a national hero and the successor of Felix “Tito” Trinidad as the island’s most revered boxer. Cotto is one of the biggest gate attractions in boxing and one of the largest pay-per-view draws among active fighters. In June 2014, Cotto made history in his first fight as a middleweight by dominating Argentine southpaw and defending WBC and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez. He is trained by legendary Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach and has fought some of the biggest names in the sport including Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. Cotto owns his own boxing promotional company in Puerto Rico, Miguel Cotto Promotions, and presides over his charity La Fundación El Ángel de Miguel Cotto, a non-profit organization dedicated to combatting childhood obesity. In March 2015, Cotto and Roc Nation Sports announced that they had entered into a partnership that includes a co-promotional agreement with Miguel Cotto Promotions to promote Cotto’s fights. On June 6, 2015, Cotto defended his WBC, Ring Magazine and lineal middleweight world championships against former two-time World Champion Daniel Geale at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Cotto scored a thunderous knockdown early in the fourth round before finishing matters with a second knockdown midway through the round, which left Geale unable to continue. On November 21, 2015, Cotto cemented his status as one of the biggest pay-per-view draws among active fighters in his much anticipated mega-fight against Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, despite going the distance for a twelve-round unanimous decision loss. The hard-fought bout has been dubbed as the biggest fight in the history of the famed Puerto Rico vs. Mexico boxing rivalry. The Five-Time World Champion is eager to return to the ring against James Kirkland on February 25.

A Texas titan, representing the city of Austin, 32-year-old southpaw James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) has built his reputation with explosive power. His fists have accounted for 28 knockout victories over the course of his nearly 14-year professional career. A former NABO and WBC Continental Americas Champion, Kirkland bounced back from his lone defeat against Nobuhiro Ishida in 2011 with five consecutive wins, four coming by way of knockout. Kirkland has defeated Brian Vera, Alfredo “Perro” Angulo and Carlos “King” Molina and handed Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia his first professional loss by way of a punishing sixth round technical knockout, prior to taking the stage for a 12-round super welterweight war with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on May 9, 2015 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

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.

Cotto and Kirkland Press Conference in Dallas, TX

Miguel Cotto – Five-Time World Champion

“It’s good to be back. I’ve missed boxing and all I can say right now is that I’m going to bring my best, every day, at every training session. I’ll bring my best here on February 25 to face James Kirkland and hopefully take another victory for Puerto Rico. Thank you to everyone who made this fight happen.”

James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland – Former WBC Continental Americas & WBO NABO Champion

“First and foremost, I want to give thanks to God for this opportunity and to my team and the people out there watching and those who will be attending the show. I definitely want to put on a great performance. I didn’t give it my all when I fought Canelo Alvarez. I didn’t prepare the way I needed to but I’m not going to bring any excuses to the table. This fight is to show my team, my fans and everyone who has followed and supported me, that James Kirkland is still in the race. Kirkland is still here to make a stand. Keep my name alive, please attend and watch it come February 25. It’s going to be a war.”

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Michael Yormark – Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy

“One of Roc Nation’s core philosophies has always been to do things differently. When we began planning this event we took those words seriously, and partnered with the Dallas Cowboys organization to host the first professional sporting event at this facility, Ford Center at the Star. And what an epic event it will be, because returning to the ring for the first time in 15 months, will be Puerto Rican legend and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto. On February 25, Miguel will face off against the extremely dangerous James Kirkland, in what is sure to be an all-action fight that will thrill mainstream fans as well as boxing purists alike.

“This matchup will be one that sports fans simply cannot afford to miss. With Miguel’s return for his tenth Pay-Per-View fight, he is looking to cement his legacy as one of the greatest fighters in boxing history, a man that will fight anyone, anytime, no matter what. Meanwhile, Kirkland has the power and ability to end Cotto’s return with one punch as he continues to electrify the sport with his captivating, action-packed style, and enters this fight in search of a signature win to boost him to true contender status.

“I want to applaud Jerry Jones and the Cowboys’ vision in bringing a world class boxing event to Ford Center. This magnificent facility was built to host epic global events, and I am confident that on February 25 this venue will provide a unique and iconic setting for an action-packed bout.

“At Roc Nation, we are honored to be a part of this event, and are confident that February 25 will be a night that captivates the sporting world and alters the boxing landscape. For both men, much is at stake, and Roc Nation is thrilled to be the promoter that will deliver this event to a global audience.”

Jerry Jones – Owner, President & General Manager, Dallas Cowboys

“I’m really proud to be standing here today. When we thought about The Star, the Ford Center – this event center that we have here – the dream was to have a partner like we have with the city of Frisco and the education department of this area, and to join them in doing everything that we could to enhance the amateur sports experience for young people. We want Frisco to be an example so the visibility of what we do here is a big deal.

“This is very propitious to be here right now because we are, at this junction, having a great year. We have a lot of attention, right now. We have the nation interested in sports and interested in football, and they’ve got their eyes on us. Our dream when we built AT&T Stadium was for it to become a familiarity when it comes to sports, to be something like Madison Square Garden. To play and compete at Madison Square Garden is something. I feel the same way about The Star. Consequently, that’s a long winded way of saying, for us to have Miguel Cotto open our initial professional effort here at The Star is really a dream come true. I know him to be a competitor, I saw his fight with Canelo Alvarez and I know what a gamer he is.

“I must again mention that the capability of this building was meant to be versatile for all types of sports and entertainment events. I want to thank our partners the city of Frisco and the independent school district partnership. It’s energetic how exciting amateur athletics and the high school experience can be, and to interject that and join it at the hip with Miguel Cotto and have him and his accomplishments walk out there.

“We’re honored to partner with Roc Nation Sports. We’re proud to be JAY Z’s partner and we are proud of the group of athletes that he has put together. They mean business and they want their athletes to be as professional as the very sport that they represent so this is a ground breaking announcement from that stand point.

“We have 510,000 square feet in this building and we expect there to be over 10,000 people here to watch this fight. We’re look forward to a big fight. I admire these athletes–they are out there with no one else with them in that ring and they are giving everything that they have. We are honored that they are opening up the first professional event at The Star.”

Hector Soto – Vice President, Miguel Cotto Promotions

“I’m happy to be here at this field. Thank you to our partner Roc Nation Sports, Mr. Jerry Jones, Corona Extra and HBO Pay-Per-View for putting this event together. Thank you to James Kirkland’s team for accepting this challenge. Miguel Cotto is back in the ring for his return on February 25. I invite all of the Latinos and all of the boxing fans in Dallas to come out and support this fight. It will be a great show.”

Ann Wolfe – Trainer of James Kirkland

“I know everyone knows that I’m not one for all of the talking, even the sh*t talking or whatever. Every time that Miguel Cotto has entered the ring, I rooted for him to win. Every time that James Kirkland has entered the ring, even when I wasn’t there, I rooted for him to win. This is going to be the first time that that I won’t be rooting for Miguel to win. Now, a lot of people are saying this shouldn’t be Pay-Per-View. Bullsh*t, this should be Pay-Per-View because you know that if I’m with James, he is going to fight. Regardless of who Cotto is with, he is going to fight. So I’m telling you that it’s going to be a good fight. Somebody is going to get knocked out. So, come and see who it’s going to be.”

Tony Walker – Vice President, HBO Pay-Per-View

“On behalf of the Executive President of HBO Sports, Peter Nelson and the rest of our staff, I would like to say thanks for coming out. I want to thank Roc Nation – this is an outstanding main event and they are going to put together a great undercard as well. This is going to be a great boxing event for local fans to come and see. I also must thank Mr. Jones and the Dallas Cowboys – every time that we have been able to do a broadcast here, they have been so accommodating and we love coming back. We have been honored to have most of Miguel Cotto’s fights on HBO and HBO Pay-Per-View against the greats, Mosley, Mayweather Jr., and the two epic fights against Antonio Margarito. They were all great shows in the ring and they were great successes financially. The one constant in those fights was the effort that Miguel Cotto gave. Every show was a battle, fans got their money’s worth and left those nights thinking “I’ve got to see this again”. I want to say that James Kirkland has also brought that warrior spirit to all of his fights. Every show that we have seen him on, on HBO, he has owned the ring or has tried his best to. That clash on February 25 will be decisive and will provide the type of drama that we’ve come to love in the sport. The suggested retail price for Pay-Per-View is $49.95. We promise you a great broadcast that night.”

Greg Alvarez – Texas Combative Sports Program Manager

“We’re excited, once again, to have a big show come to Texas. Thank you to Mr. Jones, who promised us a couple of months ago that he will be pushing to have all of the big shows come to our state. This is a big show with two guys who are ready to fight. I’ve known James Kirkland since he was eight years old running around in Austin, fighting all the time. Miguel Cotto had his first two fights here in Texas and those were one of the first few fights that I worked on so I’m really excited to have him back. We’re a big happy family because you get to see how everybody develops over the years. To see fighters come up in Texas and to be a part of it makes us proud. Come out here to see this fight or get it on Pay-Per-View. Don’t blink, don’t close your eyes because that is the kind of fight it’s going to be.”

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.

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.

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