Sat, Feb 21, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Cotto and Jennings face off for WBO welterweight belt

AFP , NEW YORK

Boxers Miguel Cotto, left, and Michael Jennings face off during a news conference on Wednesday in New York. The two fight today for the vacant WBO welterweight title.

PHOTO: AP

Miguel Cotto returns to the ring today for the first time since losing his World Boxing Association welterweight title to Antonio Margarito, taking on Britain’s Michael Jennings at Madison Square Garden.

The two will face off for the vacant World Boxing Organization belt, and Cotto predicted the Briton, though little known in the States, will prove a tough opponent.

“I didn’t know a lot about Michael Jennings, but now I’m prepared for anything he can bring to me,” Cotto said. “It’s going to be a tough fight. He’ll be coming with all his heart from England and looking for the championship belt.”

Jennings, 31, has never fought professionally outside Britain. He brings a record of 34-1 with 16 knockouts to the bout at the storied New York venue.

Cotto, 28, owns a record of 32-1 with 26 wins inside the distance.

He said he has watched tapes of Jennings’ two most recent bouts — his April 5 seventh-round technical knockout of George Ungiadze and his Nov. 14 eight-round decision over Jason Rushton.

“He’s a classical kind of boxer,” the Puerto Rican said. “He’s like Luca Branco, Oktay Urkal, very technical, very similar.”

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