The Big Bang Theory goes off the drawing board and into the ring with “X-PLOSIVE!” — the world welterweight championship featuring undefeated World Boxing Association champion MIGUEL COTTO, the pride of Puerto Rico, defending his title against two-division world champion ZAB “SUPER” JUDAH. Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Prize Fight Boxing, “X-PLOSIVE!” will take place Saturday, June 9 at Madison Square Garden and broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View.
This marks the third consecutive year Cotto (29-0, 24 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico, has headlined at the ‘Mecca of Boxing’ on the eve of New York’s annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade. Last year, he defeated top-10 contender Paulie Malignaggi to retain his WBO jr. welterweight title in front of a near-capacity crowd.
Cotto faces a tough challenger in Judah (34-4, 25 KOs), from Brooklyn, who is no stranger to dethroning world champions. Judah has promised a major urban renewal of the welterweight division, beginning with the demolition of the defending champion.
“I am going to rain on his parade — literally,” boasted Judah. “On June 9, I’m going to sink his boat and on June 10, me and Tito (Trinidad) are going to ride Cotto’s float in the Puerto Rican Parade. The Latinos already know it. I will have more Latino fans than he will at The Garden. There’s a new Grand Marshall in town and his name is Zab Judah!”
“That’s NOT going to happen,” replied Cotto. “Judah talks too much. He may be a great fighter, but he’s not the best fighter and I will teach him that difference when we meet in the ring. I promise I will be focused and show all my power on June 9.”
“This is unquestionably Miguel Cotto’s biggest and greatest challenge of his professional career. We’re calling this championship event “X-Plosive” because it really is,” said Bob Arum of Top Rank.
“Cotto-Judah is an incredibly exciting matchup and a defining moment for Miguel Cotto as he continues to ascend to the elite levels of the sport,” said HBO Pay-Per-View’s Mark Taffet. “It will be an electric environment that boxing fans won’t want to miss.”
At the age of 26, Cotto is a six-year pro. He is the hardest puncher in boxing. He goes to an immediate fiery attack and goes hard to the body.
After winning his first welterweight title defense on March 3, Miguel said “All the big names, I want to fight with them. I feel better, stronger, with more stamina at 147 pounds.”
Miguel, who successfully defended the World Boxing Organization jr. welterweight title five times during his first world champion reign, from 2004-2006, moved up to 147 pounds for the first time on December 2, winning the vacant WBA welterweight world title with a very impressive fifth-round TKO win against previously undefeated contender Carlos Quintana. He successfully defended the title on March 3, knocking out Oktay Urkal in the 11th round.
“No welterweight will ever defeat Miguel Cotto. He is too powerful,” declared chief trainer Evangelista Cotto.
Judah, however, disagrees.
“Cotto has never faced anyone with my fast hands or my pretty face at my house in Madison Square Garden,” Judah said. “Cotto — I’ve got to give it to you. You are young, you are determined but I’ve got to tell you right now — you are going to go down and I am going to the Puerto Rico parade wearing your title belt and your parade sash.”
At the age of 29, Zab, like Miguel, is also a two-division world champion having held the International Boxing Federation and the WBO jr. lightweight titles during different reigns. A 10-year pro, Judah added the undisputed WBA-WBC-IBF crown to his impressive resume when he stopped defending champion Cory Spinks in February, 2004, with a ninth-round TKO. It was a sensational performance that put Zab among the world’s elite fighters.
In April, 2006, Judah came out firing and powdered Floyd Mayweather, Jr. with hard punches early before losing a 12-round decision in a world title fight in Las Vegas. Judah was suspended for a year for a scuffle in the tenth round of that fight.
Judah is fired up and ready to go for the Cotto fight.
“I have been in training, and I am going hard, and I can’t wait,” said Judah. “I think it’s an excellent fight right now for myself, and I think it’s an excellent fight for Miguel Cotto. A win for Cotto over Zab Judah is huge for his career, a win for Zab Judah over Miguel Cotto is huge for my career, it puts me right back up there. Cotto is a great fighter. He comes with a lot of strength and talent. He brings everything, he has good defense, and he’s a determined fighter. He lets his hands go, he’s young, and he’s hungry, and that says it all right there. I am looking at this fight as being a very big and winnable fight. Plus, everyone is going to see Cotto go down. I will have the Latino fans on my side on June 9.”
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