With the fight of his life looming over his head and slated to become a reality in mere days, Australian veteran Daniel Geale knows he is a massive underdog. He is well aware of whom he’ll be fighting, that he’ll be in his opponent’s adopted backyard and that he thinks he’ll need to be perfect in order for the judges to be favorable to him. He’s also going to be relinquishing a few precious pounds just to gain the chance of a lifetime.
And that’s just how “Real Deal” wants it.
“I’m going to have to go out there and be very convincing because I’ll have everything up against me,” Geale stated in a media call. “But I’ve been in these positions before so I know what I have to do. I’ve been in large fights where I’ve had whole crowds against me. These sort of fights get me real excited and I’ve trained really well. I’m not coming over here to be an opponent.”
That opponent is Miguel Cotto, a man who will inevitably be a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, someone who has taken on the absolute best of the best throughout his career. The bout, which will be on Saturday June 6 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and televised live on HBO, is scheduled to be for the Puerto Rican star’s WBC middleweight title.
One peculiarity of the duel, however, is even though it’s for Cotto’s 160-pound world title, the bout will be contested at a catchweight of 157 pounds, something that Geale’s promoter Gary Shaw is brooding over.
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“We agreed to that in order to make the fight,” Shaw grumped during the conference call. “I as a promoter do not believe in catchweights. I believe that if you’re a middleweight, (you) should fight at 160 pounds. We wonder what’s wrong with the sport and it’s because we confuse people. I don’t think there should be catchweights unless the sanctioning bodies want to sanction them as new weights.”
Geale, who has fought several times at super middleweight, wasn’t as bitter by the notion that he’ll have to drop down well below his comfort zone as Shaw was. He wasn’t overly enthused, but as long as he was given the chance to shock the world, he was willing to make the sacrifice.
“Dropping me down a few pounds might weaken me a little bit but I’m going to make sure that’s not the case,” Geale said. “Once I step into the ring I’m going to be 100 percent ready to go.”
Cotto is no stranger to having to cut weight and fight below his more coveted poundage, and he was sharp to point it out when it was his turn to speak to the assembled media. He mentioned that he, too, had to accept the shorter straw for a catchweight fight and that now it’s his turn to call the shots.
“When I fought Manny Pacquiao, they made me go down to 145 pounds instead of 147,” Cotto countered. “If they want to get into the ring with Miguel Cotto, they will fight at the catchweight or else the fight doesn’t happen.”
The consensus surrounding the title fight is that Geale has been brought in as nothing more than cannon fodder for Cotto, who is expected to streamroll the Aussie en route to a mega fight with Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Geale and his camp believe they are being overlooked, but that’s precisely what they want Team Cotto doing throughout the entire ordeal.
“I believe Miguel and his camp are definitely looking past me,” a focused Geale remarked. “They’ve chosen me as maybe not one of the strong super middleweights at the moment and by bringing me down a few extra pounds, they think they’ll weaken me even more. They’re looking past me and looking for big money, which is exiting for me.
“It gives me great motivation when people look past me,” Geale added. “It’s my job to ruin those plans. I’ve had a couple of tough fights in the U.S. before and I want to make my mark now.”
Cotto scoffed at the notion, stating that he is not even thinking about Alvarez and that his sole purpose right now is to dispatch of the Aussie. After that, he’ll think of what to do next.
“Right now I am only focused on Daniel Geale,” said Cotto, a man who would much rather speak with his fists than his mouth. “I am thinking about nobody other than Daniel Geale. I have seen some tapes of him. All I need to do is follow what Freddie wants me to do.”
Geale has toppled the likes of Anthony Mundine, Felix Sturm, Daniel Dawson and Roman Karmazin, a quartet of quality opposition that helped him snatch up the IBF middleweight title. But it seems that most people in the sport are focusing only on Geale’s disastrous night against Gennady Golovkin. “GGG” trounced him within three rounds last July and most are expecting Cotto to do a similar job on Geale (31-3, 16 KOs).
Geale is the much taller of the two and has a substantial reach advantage, just like he had when he tried his hand against Golovkin. With that, Daniel expects Cotto to be pressuring him all fight long in an attempt to get inside, just like what the Ukrainian bomber did.
“I’m expecting a very aggressive Cotto,” Geale revealed. “I’ve got the height and reach advantage on him, so he’s not going to sit back and look around. He’s going to have the crowd on his side and he’ll want to put on a good show for them. I think he’ll come out hard, throw bombs, entertain the crowd and that will play into my hands.
“Miguel is building himself up to be a middleweight, but whether he is a true middleweight, I’m not sure,” he added. “I know he’s been a great fighter in more weight divisions for many years, but he’s coming up against bigger guys now and that remains to be seen whether he can handle all of that.”
Aside from his size and reach, one thing that might favor the “Real Deal” is the fact that Cotto hasn’t stepped inside the ring for an actual fight since he clobbered Sergio Martinez almost a year ago. Neither Geale nor Cotto put much stock into the idea that “Junito” will be covered in ring rust.
“He’s a seasoned professional,” Geale said of the defending champion. “Whether he’s been out of the ring for two months or 12 months or 18 months, he’s going to be in mint condition. I’m not making too much of that.”
“It doesn’t matter how much time you have off,” Cotto stated, agreeing with his foe. “As long as you prepare in training camp and as long as you work hard, you’ll do well. I’m feeling good right now.”
It’s been reported that a clash with Canelo is going to happen later this year whether Cotto defeats or loses to Geale in Brooklyn next week. Whether that means that his performance will suffer due to him looking ahead remains to be seen. But if he is looking past the Aussie, he’ll be in for a long night because even though most inside the sport have criticized this fight, Geale is a credible opponent. He’s more than capable of pulling off the upset, especially if Cotto already has one foot outside the ring and an eye on Canelo.
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