In his prime, Hall of Fame boxer Roberto Duran used to put on a spectacular show with the jump rope during his public workouts. Like Duran's style, it was explosive and joyful, a blur of speed and theatrics.
Miguel Cotto wasn't that spectacular during his public workout yesterday at Trinity Boxing Club near the site of Ground Zero, but in his own way, the Puerto Rican challenger for Yuri Foreman's WBA super welterweight title was even more impressive than Duran.
For 50 solid minutes, Cotto ran in place in front of a mirror, then added a dance step, kicking his heels behind him and touching each foot with the opposite hand, then switching to a jump-rope routine and finally shadow-boxing the last 10 minutes. It all was performed to a salsa beat, and there was no stopping, no one calling "Time!"
Although Cotto glistened with sweat in the warm gym, he never seemed to breathe hard, and he followed that warmup with several rounds in the ring throwing sharp combinations at the boxing mitts held by trainer Emanuel Steward. Conditioning coach Phil Landman said Cotto is only three pounds over the 154-pound limit he must make at Friday's Yankee Stadium weigh-in, and he really looked as if he could step on the scale after Tuesday's workout and make weight with no problem.
It should be easier because Cotto is moving up in weight to fight Foreman, but the key is that he obviously is conditioned to chase Foreman for 12 rounds if necessary, trying to cut off the ring on a boxer known for his speed and movement.
Questioned about Cotto's impressive fitness routine, Landman said, "He enjoys it. From a psychological standpoint, he wants to do it. He's been training since the middle of March. He works hard.
"He's not any better off now than he was for [Manny] Pacquiao. He's just happy right now because we have a lot of good things happening in this camp. With Emanuel coming to camp, he's been enjoying himself a lot more. That's definitely been a good thing."
Steward has said Cotto must be prepared to win the fight from the start because he needs to be ahead if it goes to the scorecards early because of a cut. He also said it's vital for Cotto to cut off the ring, and Steward said Cotto has a "phenomenal" record of being able to do that with boxers like Foreman, though he gives the champion credit for having a very difficult style to contain.
"Emanuel came in with a gameplan, and he had a few things he knew Miguel needed to work on," Landman said. "He's had some amazing changes in his boxing style. I'm looking forward to it."