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Cotto has change in trainers before Clottey fight

WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto has had a lot on his plate lately.

In addition to agreeing to face IBF welterweight champ Joshua Clottey at Madison Square Garden on June 13, Cotto recently fired his uncle and longtime trainer Evangelista Cotto after an altercation which turned physical.

Cotto has yet to select a new trainer and said assistant trainer Joe Santiago will serve has head trainer for the time being.

The abrupt change in trainers comes at a critical time for Cotto (33-1, 27 KOs), who is still in the process of rebuilding his reputation after a loss to Antonio Margarito last July.

Cotto scored a 5th-round TKO over Michael Jennings February 21 in his first fight since the loss to Margarito.

During a pre-fight new conference at MSG yesterday, Cotto refused to talk about the skirmish with his uncle, calling it "a family matter." But he stressed that the change won't effect his training. "I am enough [of a] professional to keep away the distractions with my trainer," Cotto said.

Cotto, who is set to begin training Wednesday, moved his camp from Puerto Rico to Tampa, Fla. "I don't want any distractions," he said.

Top Rank Promotions boss Bob Arum said the tension between Cotto and his uncle had been building. "[Evangelista] didn't even talk to Cotto during the entire training session for the Margarito fight," Arum said. "Miguel couldn't operate under the present atmosphere."

Cotto is hoping for a fresh start with Santiago. "It's a new beginning for my career," he said. "I'm going to start another type of training."

As for Clottey (35-2, 21 KOs), fighting Cotto was the break he was waiting for. "It's going to do a lot for me," said Clottey, who stopped Zab Judah in an IBF welterweight eliminator bout in August. "[When I win] I'll be thinking about Shane Mosley."

De La Hoya retires. Boxing's most recognizable fighter, Oscar De La Hoya, retired Tuesdayduring a noon press conference in Los Angeles.

Participating in 19 pay-per-view fights, De La Hoya, 36, drew 14.1 million pay-per-view buys and over $696 million throughout his career. He appeared in three of the top eight highest grossing pay-per-view boxing events including his fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2007, which shattered the all-time pay-per-view record with 2.4 million homes in addition to generating a record-setting live gate of $19 million.

"I won't be feeling that adrenaline and rush that one feels when they fight," De la Hoya said.

A 10-time world champion in six divisions, De la Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) had lost four of his last seven fights, including an eighth-round TKO to Manny Pacquiao in December.

"It hurts me that I can't compete at the highest level anymore," he said. "Every time I step into the ring now, it's not me . . . that's one of the reasons why I decided to retire."


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