When Daniel Geale was last seen in these parts, he offered the Australian equivalent of "no mas, mate" after picking himself up from a third-round knockdown by WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. By that measure, it's easy to conclude Geale might be in for another beating against WBC middleweight champ Miguel Cotto Saturday night at Barclays Center.
But there's another measure that suggests Cotto isn't underestimating Geale at all. It's the 157-pound catchweight -- three pounds below the middleweight limit -- that Cotto forced Geale to accept if he wanted the fight. It infers that Cotto, who spent most of his career fighting at super lightweight and welterweight before beating middleweight champion Sergio Martinez a year ago, understands Geale is the naturally bigger man, a true middleweight who poses a serious danger with his size.
"Yes, it does," Geale agreed Tuesday after the final news conference at a midtown restaurant. "They want me to come down because I'm a bit taller with a longer reach. I think the way they see it, it's going to help him toward the later parts of the fight.
"Those three pounds definitely do make a difference. They put that extra little bit of pressure on your body. But I will come back up. That's why I wanted the fight whether it was at a catchweight or not. I know my body recovers relatively quickly. Given that full day in between, I should be back to 100 percent."
The weigh-in is Friday at 1 p.m., meaning Geale should have about 34 hours to rehydrate and get comfortable before stepping in the ring with Cotto. By then, Geale, who said he weighed about 162 Tuesday, might even be pushing 170 pounds.
As a former WBA and IBF middleweight champion, Geale (31-3, 16 KOs) is a live underdog against Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs). He lost his last two title fights against Darren Barker by split decision two years ago and the Golovkin bout. In the latter, Geale connected with his best shot to Golovkin's chin only to get clubbed with a wicked counter a split-second later. He got to his feet but told the ref he had enough.
Discretion was the better part of valor for Geale that night, but he's a willing combatant who is capable of going toe-to-toe with Cotto if necessary. "Cotto is a great fighter," Geale said. "He's got great experience. He's been in there with the best.
"He's going to possibly be coming at me. I don't know if that worries me. I think that probably excites me, to be honest. I guess I want to test my abilities against his. The biggest thing I have to remember is not to fall into Miguel Cotto's traps."
Cotto has been away from the ring for a full year while Geale scored a decision over countryman Jarrod Fletcher in December, and Geale figures Cotto may be distracted by talk of gaining a pay-per-view fight against Canelo Alvarez with a win Saturday night.
"I just have to fight the way I know how to fight best, and that is to use my boxing skills, my footwork, my movement and the things I've seen that give Miguel Cotto trouble," Geale said. "If I stick to my guns and don't do anything stupid like try to knock him out, I'm in with a great chance.
"I think Miguel Cotto and his camp are looking past me very much so. They're looking for big-money fights. They don't believe I will put up that much of a fight, but I'm not here to lose . . . Their confidence is probably too high, and they're going to come out with a big surprise."