MANILA, Philippines – Cuban boxing trainer Pedro Diaz fired back at critics who doubt his boxer, Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto, is capable of giving American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. his first professional loss.
Cotto will defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) junior middleweight title against Mayweather on May 5, but is considered the underdog against the undefeated boxer.
“To everyone who says that Miguel has no chance, I tell them to watch the fight and when the end result is a victory for Miguel, we’ll talk,” Diaz said in a Boxing Scene interview.
The trainer said he and Cotto are working closely together to come up with a “perfect strategy” against Mayweather.
Boxing observers have installed Cotto as the underdog, with Hall-of-Fame trainer Emanuel Steward even saying that Cotto will need a “definite game plan” against Mayweather.
But Diaz believes his boxer has a strong chance of pulling off an upset because of the good working relationship that they have, both inside and outside the boxing ring.
“The fundamental thing between us is that we’re great friends,” Diaz said of his relationship with Cotto. “There is a great concept of work, discipline and a desire for victory.”
“Outside the gym, we are two great friends, and within (the gym), (we are) two great warriors who are fighting for victory,” he added.
Diaz became Cotto’s trainer before his December 2011 rematch against Antonio Margarito, replacing Hall-of-Fame trainer Emanuel Steward. With Diaz in his corner, Cotto avenged his loss against Margarito via a brutal 10th round technical knockout.
“The truth is, for the Margarito fight the first 15 to 20 days were a bit difficult,” Diaz said. “Because they needed to adjust to some things, regarding the pace of the work and necessary tasks for training, but we settled and formed a good team.”
Diaz believes he and Cotto have the philosophy which will help them shock the world on May 5.
“Like everything in life, it takes desire, dedication and discipline to meet expectations,” he said. “You also need a good head, heart and courage. I think it’s an equation that must be present not only for boxing, but for life.”