In his last bout, Miguel Cotto enjoyed perhaps the most spectacular victory of his career, dumping Sergio Martinez on the canvas four times before stopping him in the 10th round to win the WBC middleweight title. But that was exactly 364 days ago, meaning ring rust might be a problem for Cotto when he meets Daniel Geale Saturday night at Barclays Center.
Geale made the contracted catchweight of 157 pounds right on the number Friday, while Cotto came in at 153.6 pounds, more than 6 pounds below the middleweight limit.
"He stayed in pretty good shape, but he had a little rust," trainer Freddie Roach said of Cotto. "It was something we had to get rid of. We sparred a lot, and we started sparring a little bit earlier than usual. He had some great sparring partners, and we went 10 or 12 rounds some days to get that rust off him and got him back in action for the fight.
"But a year off was a long time for us. I was so busy with my schedule that it was hard to get that fight in earlier, but we're here now."
In a sense, Roach admitted Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) really has been preparing for two fights. As a former IBF and WBA middleweight champion, Geale (31-3, 16 KOs) poses some danger, but he really is the appetizer for a potential pay-per-view match in the fall with Canelo Alvarez.
"Yes. That's my thought on it," Roach said. "We need a good performance here to go on to the next level and a bigger and better fight. I picked Geale. I know he's a tough guy, and he'll give us some rounds. That's what I want. I don't want to fight a stiff or a bum the first fight back because he's been off for a year. I'd rather fight a good guy and get us some work. That will get us closer to the next fight."
It was Roach who suggested the 157-pound catchweight for Geale, who fought at the 154-pound super- welterweight limit earlier in his career but not since 2007. Geale accepted the condition to get the fight and predicted beforehand that he would make the weight.
"It will be a fraction harder, but I will be able to replace that sweat as well," Geale said. "I put in a great training camp. I've had people guiding me on what I need to do to make this weight. I'm doing it properly, and I'll feel great at the end of it."