Family feud not fazing Cotto ahead of Clottey clash

Updated: April 17, 2009, 12:12 PM ET

Chris Farina/Top Rank

Miguel Cotto, left, will have to put family matters aside if he's to tackle a very dangerous Joshua Clottey.

Cotto moves on without uncle

When welterweight titleholder Miguel Cotto defends against Joshua Clottey, uncle and longtime trainer Evangelista Cotto will be absent from the corner as the result of a simmering family feud that boiled over last week in Puerto Rico.

Cotto and his uncle have had a difficult relationship for years, but they were always together come fight night. Now, however, Evangelista has been banished after being fired during the ugly incident that turned physical.

Miguel wound up with a cut nose and Evangelista reportedly wound up in the hospital after his nephew punched him out. That came after Evangelista threw a brick at his nephew, missing and instead shattering a window on Miguel's car, a 2009 Jaguar.

Sure sounds like an interesting episode of HBO's "24/7," doesn't it?

Miguel Cotto, however, is trying to put the incident behind him as quickly as possible so he can turn his attention full-time to the June 13 HBO showdown with Clottey (35-2, 20 KOs), which was announced this week. They'll meet at Madison Square Garden on the eve of the annual New York Puerto Rican Day parade, and kicked off the promotion this week with a news conference at the Garden. But the hot topic of discussion was Cotto's fight with his uncle instead of the bout with Clottey.

"[The incident] is not one of my greatest moments, but I'm going to climb out [of my personal problems] and focus on Clottey," Cotto said. "I have enough of a professional mind to keep away the problems from my training.''

Cotto continued to be evasive with specifics about the incident. "It's a family matter," he said. "I'd prefer to keep it that way.''

For now, Cotto will train under Joe Santiago, a longtime assistant who usually holds the mitts but has never spearheaded fight strategy.

"I'm looking forward to training with someone else," said Cotto, who had trained with his uncle for 18 years between his pro and amateur career. "Joe Santiago is the guy that I've worked with for a long time. For now, he's going to be the guy."

Cotto said he would not miss his uncle's input.

Miguel Cotto

Ed Mulholland/FightWireImages.com

Now accepting applications: Miguel Cotto might bring in another trainer following his split with his uncle, Evangelista Cotto.

"I'm strong enough to be the same boxer [as always]," he said. "I know what I have to do in the gym and I know what I have to do in the ring.''

Cotto (33-1, 27 KOs) might bring in another trainer during his training camp in Tampa, Fla., which opened Tuesday.

"We gave them a list of trainers they can call on if and when they think it becomes necessary," Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said. "Miguel has two aspects of training, the fitness, which not a problem because [strength coach and nutritionist Phil Landman] is there as usual. The issue is really fight strategy. So now the question is, does he need someone to come in and give him a strategy against Clottey? That's for them to decide. We did make a recommendation. We gave him five or six possible trainers. They thanked me and took it under advisement."

The location of where Cotto would train was one of the major issues between him and his uncle. Miguel preferred to get away from Puerto Rico while Evangelista, who also trains several other fighters, wanted to have the camp on the island.

"I like a trainer who is going to spend two or three hours in the gym and work just with me, spend his time working just with me," said Cotto, who rebounded from his loss to Antonio Margarito over the summer to knock out Michael Jennings in February to claim the belt vacated by Paul Williams. "That's why I prefer to train in Florida. I don't want to have any distractions. I don't want anything with my family to [bother me] with my work."

Arum said Cotto probably will be better off without Evangelista.

"The uncle was actually a distraction to Miguel," he said. "This is an improvement because it's like a weight has been lifted from Miguel's back. Miguel hasn't had a trainer the last couple of years because he and Evangelista haven't talked to each other. He was training by himself while Evangelista was training other fighters. We knew that but it was family and we couldn't interfere."

Cotto would prefer to focus on the fight instead of the hoopla about his trainer.

"[Clottey] is a warrior," Cotto said. "He's a good fighter. I have 8½ weeks to train myself to get ready for him."

And to do it without his uncle.

Top Rank invades Philippines

If you're into smaller weight classes, Top Rank's "Global Supremacy" pay-per-view card might tickle your fancy. In the top two bouts, flyweight titlist Nonito Donaire and junior flyweight titleholder Ulises "Archie" Solis defend their belts at Araneta Coliseum in suburban Manila. The fights take place on Sunday morning Manila time, which means the PPV airs live at 9 p.m. ET Saturday in the United States.

Donaire (20-1, 13 KOs), of the Philippines, makes his third defense against Raul Martinez (24-0, 14 KOs), of San Antonio, in the main event while Mexico's Solis (28-1-2, 20 KOs) makes his ninth defense against Filipino-American Brian Viloria (24-2, 14 KOs), a former titleholder.

Ulises Solis

JES AZNAR/AFP/Getty Images

Ulises Solis, right, looks to notch his 10th straight win as a champion when he faces Brian Viloria on Saturday.

Solis has been an active beltholder and faced good opposition, but he's not overlooking Viloria, even though Viloria has struggled against top opponents.

"Viloria is no easy fight for me, so I have to be very cautious and very focused at all times," Solis said.

He's also not concerned about fighting outside of Mexico or the U.S. for the first time.

"Great champions don't care where they fight," he said. "They go and win under all kinds of circumstances, and if you believe in yourself and in your talent you don't hide in your home country and make meaningless defenses that amount to nothing. That's why I'm looking forward to this fight so much. I have always loved challenges and this fight against Viloria in the Philippines is a big challenge for me. But I know that I'm more than ready for this. I not only expect to win this fight but also expect to give the fans a great show."

With a victory, Solis hopes to unify the division.

"I hope I get the opportunity to fight the other champions in this division, Edgar Sosa, Ivan Calderon and Giovani Segura sometime this year and truly become the best 108 pounder in the world," he said.

Latimore anxious to fight

Junior middleweight Deandre Latimore (19-1, 16 KOs) hasn't fought since his coming out party in June, when he scored an upset, seventh-round knockout of Sechew Powell in their title eliminator. Latimore has been stuck in limbo waiting for his fight with Cory Spinks for a vacant title, which will finally take place April 24 (Showtime, 11 p.m. ET/PT) at the Scottrade Center in their native St. Louis.

Latimore, 23, has been training with Kenny Adams in Las Vegas and is anxious to fight again after a long layoff.

Deandre Latimore

Jim Everett/Fightwireimages.com

Stepping up: Deandre Latimore, left, makes the leap to the big leagues when he faces fellow St. Louis native Cory Spinks.

"It's been 10 months since I last fought, but I'm ready to go," Latimore said. "Coach Kenny and I really turned things up in the last couple of months when the fight was being finalized. I've wanted to fight Cory for a long time. He was one of my idols growing up, and I'm thrilled to be facing him with the world title on the line. Growing up in St. Louis, he was someone I always knew about when I was in the amateurs. But we're from different parts of the city. I'm from the South side where the Peabody projects are at, he's from the North side. So for the fans, it's very much of a city rivalry, like a St. Louis high school football championship."

Spinks (36-5, 11 KOs), the former undisputed welterweight champ and an ex-junior middleweight titleholder, is also coming off a long layoff. Although he hasn't fought since losing his belt to Verno Phillips 13 months ago, he is vastly more experienced than Latimore.

"I know what he's saying, 'who have I beat' and 'what have I done to get in the ring with him,'" Latimore said. "Hopefully, after the fight he'll think differently."

On the televised undercard, fellow St. Louis native Devon Alexander (17-0, 10 KOs), the flashy junior welterweight prospect and a mandatory title challenger, faces Jesus "Chuy" Rodriguez (19-3, 5 KOs) in a 10-rounder.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.


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