Cotto-Foreman news conference

Join us on Wednesday, beginning at 11 a.m. ET when Kieran Mulvaney blogs from the final news conference for Saturday's junior middleweight title bout between Yuri Foreman and Miguel Cotto at Yankee Stadium. Send him questions and comments at kieranakvegas@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. ET -- That's all folks

OK guys, it's time for me to hop back on the train and let Amtrak
return me to the nation's capital. (I have to clean the house before
Manny comes to visit, after all). Thanks for checking out the blog
today, and we'll be back here live on Saturday with ringside coverage
of "Stadium Slugfest" at the sparkling new Yankee Stadium.

Wednesday, 4:15 p.m. ET -- Congressman Pacquiao in Washington DC

Vanes Martirosyan, who is fighting in the co-main event on Saturday
night, is trained these days by Freddie Roach. I didn't see Freddie,
but Alex Ariza, strength and conditioning coach to Roach's star
pupils, was with Vanes.

The biggest star of the Wild Card Gym, Congressman Manny Pacquiao,
will be in New York, attending the Boxing Writers Association of
America annual awards dinner (picking up awards for fighter of the
year, fighter of the decade, and the 'I Love the People' Award -- OK, I
made that last one up -- and attending the fight, before heading down to
Washington DC, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, a
big time boxing fan, will be showing him the ropes in the United
States Senate. While in DC, Manny will come to my house for tea and
cookies. (OK, I made that bit up too).

By August, says Ariza, it will be time to get Pacquiao back in the
gym. The Filipino's normal walk-around weight, he says, is 145 lbs or
so, but they like to build him up to 152 or 153 right up until a few
days before fight night. For the final two weeks of camp, they
concentrate on speed work, and the rationale for making him add weight
is that, when he loses the extra pounds to drop back to the
welterweight limit of 147 -- or, often, a pound or so under -- he will
feel that much lighter and that much faster.

One way or the other, says Ariza, Pacquiao will be fighting in
November. It remains to be seen whether his opponent will be one Floyd
Joy Mayweather.

Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. ET -- Then and now

Bob Arum promoted the last fight to be held in Yankee Stadium, in
September 1976: the final installment of the trilogy between Muhammad
Ali and Ken Norton. As Arum remembers, New York then was very
different from New York now.

"There were a lot of strikes. The police went on strike the day of the
fight. Remember, Ali was larger than life, and he was fighting in
Yankee Stadium, so that caused a great, great buzz. But the whole
atmosphere in the city was different. New York is now probably the
safest big city in the world. The whole attitude of the citizens has
changed. It's a friendly place, and people will come to Yankee Stadium
and have a good time."

The stadium will be configured for 30,000, and assuming it isn't
already a complete sell-out, there will be an opportunity for "walk
ups" -- folks who show up at the box office on the evening of the fight
to buy tickets.

How many walk-ups did he sell for the Ali-Norton fight?

"Eight." Eight hundred? Eight thousand? No, eight. The reason, he
says, was because the absence of police made for a, shall we say,
boisterous crowd.

"We had 108 ticket sellers, and we sold eight. Because there was an
elevated train that went down to Yankee Stadium, and they would get
off the train and say, '[Expletive] this,' and get back on the train.
It would have been a great event, if it hadn't been for the police

Wednesday, 3:40 p.m. ET -- Proud to represent

Asked whether he was especially proud to be a Jewish world champion,
rabbi-in-training Yuri Foreman smiled and said, "Of course. It's a
great honor to be Israel's only world champion. To represent my
people, my country, any citizen would feel proud." But the emigre has
lived in the United States for many years; he probably feels more like
a New Yorker these days, no? "I'm a Brooklynite, not a New Yorker," he

Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. ET -- Fighter of the subway

Yuri Foreman comes across as an immensely likable, very humble guy,
certainly not the kind of person to become wrapped up in the trappings
of fame that will surely come his way if he defeats Miguel Cotto on
Saturday night. (He is training to be a rabbi, after all).

Like millions of New Yorkers, he takes the subway every day; unlike
most of the millions, when he does so, he sees himself on

Do people look at the poster, then look at him, and make the connection?

"No, I am very disguised," he smiles. "Shades, fake mustache. Just
kidding. But the picture on the poster is very photoshopped."

Wednesday, 3:10 p.m. ET -- With him in spirit

Miguel Cotto's father passed away in January, and the fighter
acknowledged that he would feel his parent's presence on Saturday

"My father is still with me," he said. "He is going to stay with me in
the corner."

It was, he admitted -- and as anyone who has lost a parent will
understand -- extremely hard at times to experience training camp
without him for the first time.

"It was very hard. He was a person who meant everything to me. But he
never left us. He stayed with us, to guide us."

Wednesday, 3:00 p.m. ET -- Moonlight shadow

There was a time when fights were often held in outdoor stadiums and
arenas, but these days it's a relatively rare occurrence. So much so
in fact that Miguel Cotto says this will be his first fight outdoors
since 2000, when he was an amateur. The thing he remembers the most
about the experience, he says, was the sun beating down on him and
getting in his eyes.

That won't be a problem at 11:15 ET on Saturday night, which is when
the bell will ring for his contest with Yuri Foreman, of course, but
the Puerto Rican said the event will be a special experience, not
least for being the first boxing card at the new Yankee Stadium.

"To be a part of history, to be at Yankee Stadium, where legendary
teams play every year, it's great. People will cheer for Yuri, people
will cheer for me. The only thing I know is, people are going to

Wednesday, 1:15 p.m. ET -- One for the road

Waiting outside the stadium, I chatted to an old matchmaker friend
from my days living in Las Vegas.

"What are you up to these days?" He asked. "Still doing boxing?"

I guess my fame has its limits.

And just like that, we're back in the van, ready to head from the
Bronx back to Manhattan. Once I'm back there, I'll file some episodes
of "As the Boxing World Turns." Or is it "Days of our Boxing Lives"?

Wednesday, 12:40 p.m. ET -- Weight watcher

This is Miguel Cotto's first fight at 154 pounds, but the former
junior welterweight says with the extra pounds he is "better than
ever." He doesn't think there is any more pressure on him to win,
after high profile defeats to Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao.

"I have the same mentality," he says. And he says his body has recovered
from those tough fights. "If it hadn't recovered, I wouldn't be here."

Wednesday, 12:20 p.m. ET -- Bye for now

That's it for the formal part of the press conference. We'll get into
the one-on-one interviews with the fighters now, and I'll send the
highlights afterward.

Wednesday, 12:15 p.m. ET -- Yuri duty

"This fight means a lot to Yuri," says Arum. "It's in his town of New
York, in the greatest edifice in New York, Yankee Stadium."

"It's a great honor and a great opportunity," says Foreman. He says
he's excited about the fact that, because his faith prevents him from
preparing for the fight before sundown, he will have a police escort
to get him to the stadium in time.

Wednesday, 12:10 p.m. ET -- Cotto speaks

"I'm very honored to be here. We trained with passion. I hope Yuri
trained the same, and that the fans will be the true winners of this

Wednesday, 12:05 p.m. ET -- Main attraction

Bob Arum says 95,000 tickets were sold for Miguel Cotto's fights at
Madison Square Garden over the past few years. "He's a real fighter,
he fights with passion, and he fights with skill."

Wednesday, 12:00 p.m. ET -- Steward on demand

Emanuel Steward says he thinks he's done more media interviews for
this fight than for any since his days with Tommy Hearns. He says he
hasn't made too many changes to Miguel Cotto -- "that would be stupid
at this stage of his career." He says Cotto is fighting for his Puerto
Rican fans and also the memory of his dead father. "We're expecting a
very, very tough fight," he said. "Foreman is a great fighter."

Wednesday, 11:50 a.m. ET -- The first

Miguel Cotto and Yuri Foreman are the first fighters to headline a
card at the new Yankee Stadium, but the very first fighters to swap
punches here will be two guys who each have three bouts under their
belt, Christian Martinez and Jonathan Cuba. The two boxers, who will
open the card on Saturday, were just presented with a commemorative
plaque by Bob Arum.

Wednesday, 11:45 a.m. ET -- Fashion update

Miguel Cotto looks ten kinds of cool up on the dais, wearing a suit,
shades, and a glistening stud earring, and iPod wearing offspring on
his lap. Yuri Foreman, in cap and T-shirt, looks like he's on his way
to Starbucks.

Wednesday, 11:40 a.m. ET -- Roy is back

Ross Greenburg of HBO just announced that Roy Jones will be taking
Emanuel Steward's place in the HBO announce team on Saturday night.
Steward will be working Miguel Cotto's corner.

Wednesday, 11:35 a.m. ET -- Underway

The press conference is underway, with Bob Arum paying tribute to the
role the old Yankee stadium played in boxing. Graziano fought there,
Tony Zale fought there, Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali fought there.
And the historic Joe Louis-Max Schmeling rematch was there too. This
is a brand new version of the stadium, and as Arum says, "This is a
magnificent facility."

Wednesday, 10:35 a.m. ET -- Kicking off

Hi everyone, and greetings from New York, where the Yuri
Foreman-Miguel Cotto press conference is about to kick off. It's been
a hectic morning. I left the house at 5 to catch a train to New York,
then ran from Penn Station into the press van that Top Rank PR guru
Lee Samuels had kindly kept waiting for me. (He smartly kept co-main
eventer Vanes Martirosyan with him, "So they can't start without us,"
he chuckled). We're on our way to Yankee Stadium now, and I'll start
blogging as soon as we're underway.