Respected trainer Pedro Diaz has predicted that his charge, Miguel Cotto, 32, will capture a fifth world title on Saturday, December 1 when he challenges Austin Trout (25-0-0, 14ko) for the American's WBA belt in his adopted fighting home of Madison Square Garden in New York: "We're going to win," the ex boss of Cuba's highly successful amateur boxing program proclaimed recently at a public workout.
For eight years and counting, Cotto (37-3-0, 30ko) has boxed at the elite level, collected the sport's highest honors in three weight classes and done so in an exciting and fan-pleasing manner. Under Diaz, the popular Puerto Rican prizefighter has undergone a rebirth in style.
The pair united after Cotto had a two-fight partnership with the late and legendary coach Emanuel Steward. Versus Antonio Margarito one year ago and in a highly-anticipated rematch laden with bad blood, Miguel—with Pedro in his corner issuing instruction between rounds—picked Margarito apart, broke him down, gobbled him up and spat him out in one of 2011's most intelligent performances.
Five months later, Cotto met Floyd Mayweather Jr in a Las Vegas ring but lost a hard-fought decision. Cotto stormed back to his dressing room without giving a post-fight interview as he fumed at the result.
"Since I started working with Miguel Cotto, we talked about the future, different training techniques and new preparations like training at high altitude," said Diaz on the changes in Cotto's camp.
On preparing for Trout, he added:
We trained for three weeks in Puerto Rico to prepare Miguel for Big Bear. Once we got there, training was excellent.
The final result was exactly what we wanted and we met our physical and mental goals for Miguel. Miguel has been in some very tough and difficult fights and we wanted to give his body some extra oxygen by training in Big Bear. Everyone knows the benefits of training at a high altitude and it paid off.
We came back to Orlando to finish our preparations and everything has gone smoothly. He's 100 percent ready and Miguel can feel the difference from this training camp to the others before."
Against Trout, Cotto trades blows with a genuine junior middleweight looking to preserve an unblemished professional record. Diaz, though, is undeterred.
"I know were going to win on December 1st."