LAS VEGAS, NEV. – For the first time in five years, Hall of Fame promoters Bob Arum and Don King will join forces to present “Relentless” — the first major pay-per-view world championship boxing event of the season — featuring the Pride of Puerto Rico, MIGUEL COTTO defending his World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight title against two-division world champion RICARDO “El Matador” MAYORGA, on Saturday, March 12, at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev. Cotto vs. Mayorga will be produced and distributed Live on SHOWTIME PPV®, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. The pay-per-view broadcast will also feature the return of former WBA super welterweight champion and future rabbi YURI FOREMAN, who will be taking on Top-10 contender PAWEL WOLAK in a 10-round super welterweight rumble,
World Boxing Council (WBC) female super welterweight champion CHRISTY MARTIN, going for her landmark 50th professional victory and IBF lightweight champion MIGUEL VAZQUEZ defending his title against mandatory challenger LENNY ZAPPAVIGNA.
Cotto vs. Mayorga will be promoted by Top Rank, in association with Cotto Promotions, Don King Productions, Tecate and MGM Grand. Remaining tickets, priced at $400, $300, $200, $100, and $50, not including applicable service charges, can be purchased at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino.) Ticket sales are limited to 16 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
“Top Rank is delighted to give Miguel Cotto an opportunity to do a demolition job on Ricardo Mayorga,” said Arum. “In any event it will be a real treat to be reunited with my ageless friend Don King. Together we will put together a promotion no one will ever forget.”
“First and foremost, it’s great to be co-promoting an event with a real promoter like Bob Arum,” King said. “We will show the people how a boxing event is supposed to be promoted. Ricardo Mayorga is my enigma, but I have always believed in his abilities. He’s soared to great heights and he is poised to soar again. He is on his way back to win another world title. Everything is easier said than done with this man, but Ricardo is a remarkable fighter mentally, physically and psychologically, and we take on this task at hand with great enthusiasm and relish.”
“With a number of high-profile and large-caliber events already on the schedule for the first half 2011, this is shaping up to be a remarkable year for boxing fans,” said Ken Hershman, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports®. “This fight card not only features world-class prizefighters and champions, it also includes some of the most intriguing and compelling figures in sports. We are proud to join Bob Arum, Don King and the MGM Grand for what promises to be a thrilling night at the fights.”
“I know Mayorga very well. He is a written book,” said Cotto. “Nothing he will say or do will move my peace and concentration. I will do my job in the gym and beat him inside the ring.”
“The old Mayorga is back and I’ve got a new attitude and outlook that makes me even stronger,” Mayorga said. “I’m going to use Cotto as my red carpet to open the door to even bigger fights. Cotto was quoted in Puerto Rico saying it was the ‘lie of the year’ when I said I would fight him. It looks like he had bad information as the so-called lie has become a reality. Puerto Rican boxing fans know I come to fight, and I’ll come into this match in better shape than I was for Tito Trinidad, which is not good for Miguel Cotto.”
“We are thrilled to be working with Top Rank and Don King on this championship fight,” said RICHARD STURM, president of Sports & Entertainment for MGM Resorts International. “I can’t think of a better way to continue the March Madness by watching the tremendous battle between these two great warriors at MGM Grand.”
Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs), from Caguas, Puerto Rico, has held a world title every year since 2004. He has won 15 of the 17 world championship bouts he has fought. Puerto Rico’s most exciting fighter and one of its greatest, Cotto held the World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior welterweight crown from 2004-2006, successfully defending it six times before vacating it to capture the WBA welterweight title at the end of 2006, a title he held for nearly as long. After losing the WBA title to Antonio Margarito, arguably the fight of the year, in July 2008, Cotto won his second welterweight belt in February 2009, knocking out Michael Jennings in the fifth round to become the WBO welterweight champion. He lost the title in his second defense, November 2009, to Manny Pacquiao. Notable scalps on Cotto’s belt include world champions, ”Sugar” Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Joshua Clottey, Yuri Foreman, Paulie Malignaggi and Demarcus Corley.
Mayorga (29-7-1, 23 KOs), from Managua, Nicaragua, is known for his reckless abandon and fearlessness inside the ring – a style of fighting that has produced 23 knockouts out of his 29 victories and legions of fans. He became a national hero for his country when he knocked out Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis to capture the WBA welterweight title in 2002. The following year “El Matador’s” stock skyrocketed when he unified the title by stopping undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Vernon Forrest in the third round of their January 2003 battle. Mayorga successfully defended his titles in the immediate rematch with Forrest, winning a majority decision in July 2003, before losing the titles to International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight champion Cory Spinks in December 2003 by a close majority decision. He completed a professional comeback in 2005 winning a 12-round unanimous decision over former IBF welterweight champion Michele Piccirillo to capture the vacant WBC super welterweight title. He enters this fight having won two of his last three fights, which included a 12-round majority decision over former world super welterweight champion Fernando Vargas. Mayorga’s resume includes exciting rumbles with Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad and Mosley.
Foreman (28-1, 8 KOs), a 30-year-old from Brooklyn, NY, became the first orthodox Jew to win a world championship in nearly 70 years. Born in Gomel, Belarus and raised in Israel, Foreman immigrated to Brooklyn to expand his professional boxing horizons. The 2001 New York Golden Gloves Champion turned pro in 2002 and began studying to become a rabbi four years ago. Foreman knocked down defending WBA super welterweight champion Daniel Santos in the final round of their November 2009 fight en route to a decisive and unanimous decision victory and Israel’s first world title. He suffered his first career loss in his first title defense, to Cotto, at Yankee Stadium last June when his knee gave out and the referee called a halt to the fight when it was clear Foreman could no longer fight or defend himself effectively. His gutsy performance that night was a profile in courage which will be remembered for a long time. This will be Yuri’s first fight back since that loss and his reconstructive knee surgery.
Wolak (28-1, 18 KOs), from Mount Arlington, NJ, enters this fight riding a two-year, seven-bout winning streak, with four of those victories coming by knockout. The combined record of the last four opponents he defeated — James Moore, Ishmail Arvin, Carlos Nascimento and Jose Pinzon – was 74-6-5 when he fought them, which translates into an impressive 87% winning percentage. His last fight, a seventh-round knockout victory of Pinzon (18-2-2, 12 KOs), was fought at the Honda Center on the undercard of the fight of the year candidate Humberto Soto-Urbano Antillon WBC lightweight championship on December 4. A former New York State middleweight champion, Wolak, 29, is known as aggressive, high-pressure style fighter who always makes for exciting fights. Trained by Tommy Brooks, Wolak, an East Coast fixture will be making his Las Vegas debut when he rumbles with Foreman. He is currently world-rated No. 7 by the WBA.
Martin (49-5-3, 32 KOs), from Orlando, Fla., has been the face of professional women’s boxing for 15 years, gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated and appearing in Time magazine and People magazine, as well as being a featured guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Today, and CNN Extra! Breaking as many barriers as jaws in the ring, Martin made history in 1996 when she became the first professional female boxer to fight live on national television in the U.S. on February 10, 1996. Five weeks later, she made her SHOWTIME PPV® debut, fighting on the Mike Tyson-Frank Bruno undercard in Las Vegas. Known for her aggressive style and excellent offensive skills and power, the fan-pleasing Martin returns to the ring as the WBC Female super welterweight champion, a title she won in her last fight via a 10-round majority decision over Dakota Stone, despite breaking her hand during the fight.
Rounding out the pay-per-view card will be IBF lightweight champion Vazquez (27-3-2, 12 KOs), of Guadalajara, México, defending his title against Zappavigna (25-0, 17 KOs), of Sydney, Australia.
The Cotto vs. Mayorga pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, has a suggested retail price of $49.95. It will be produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV®. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. For Cotto vs. Mayorga fight week updates, log on to www.sports.SHO.com or www.toprank.com