â†µHe’s referring, of course, to Manny Pacquiao, who Cotto is scheduled to fight on November 14. Steward, a Hall-of-Fame trainer who is best known for training Tommy Hearns and Lennox Lewis, is aggressively angling for the job of training Cotto for the Pacquiao fight. Yesterday, in an interview with the Puerto Rican daily Primera Hora, he stated flatly that if Cotto retains his services, there is no doubt in his mind that Cotto will knock Pacquiao out. â†µâ†µ
â†µOf course, Steward wouldn’t be so publicly clamoring for the Cotto gig were it not for the fact that Cotto recently had an explosive split with his long-time trainer (and full-time uncle) Evangelista Cotto. Tensions that simmered between the two for years finally boiled over this past April, leading to a fistfight that started in a Puerto Rican gym and eventually made its way out to the parking lot, reputedly concluding with Evangelista hurling a cinder block through the windshield of his fighter-nephew’s Jaguar. â†µ
â†µSince that incident, Cotto fired his uncle and promoted his nutritionist, Jose Santiago, to be his head trainer, a move that left many in the boxing world scratching their heads. Cotto is known to be very loyal to his circle, but how long can he expect to compete at the elite level without an elite trainer? â†µâ†µ
â†µManny Steward is about as elite as they get, and he clearly thinks the time is now for Cotto to step up to the A-list as far as his training goes. He told Primera Hora that he’s a big admirer of Cotto and that he believes there are many ways that he can improve the fighter. Should Cotto take him up on the offer, it definitely would raise the octane level of what is already shaping up to be the biggest and possibly best fight of the year. Not only would there be two superstar fighters in the ring, but each would have a superstar trainer in his corner. And just as Freddie Roach vs. Floyd Mayweather Sr. stole some headlines from the Pacquiao/Hatton fight, no doubt Freddie Roach vs. Manny Steward would become a major storyline for Pacquiao/Cotto. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.