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Miguel Cotto, Ricardo Mayorga exchange verbal blows at press conference

Promoter Don King dominants conference, says underdog Mayorga a good value bet

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Steve Marcus

WBA super welterweight champion Miguel Cotto, right, of Puerto Rico speaks during a news conference at the MGM Grand Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Ricardo Mayorga of Nicaragua and his mother listen at left. Cotto will defend his title against Mayorga at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday. Boxing promoter Don King is at center.

Cotto Mayorga news conference

Boxing promoter Don King poses with Tecate Girl Janice KakIsh during a news conference at the MGM Grand Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Cotto-Mayorga press conference

KSNV coverage of Muguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga pre-fight press conference, March 9, 2011.

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Some people aren’t giving Ricardo Mayorga a legitimate chance of defeating Miguel Cotto in the WBA super welterweight title fight Saturday at the MGM Grand.

That’s just fine with Mayorga’s promoter, Don King. The always-outspoken King jokingly said Wednesday during a press conference that he planned on betting $1 million on the underdog Mayorga — a wager that would net $7 million.

The 37-year-old Mayorga was listed Wednesday as a +700 underdog at the MGM sports book, meaning gamblers would win $700 for every $100 wagered if Mayorga pulls off the upset. For the champion Cotto, bettors would have to risk $1,000 to win $100.

“We want to give you a special opportunity to run to the bank — the (sports) book bank to get your bets down,” said King, drawing laughs from the crowd. “You deserve to have some money, too. You deserve a break today.

“I am just giving you the tip,” King said. “Don’t say on Saturday, 'I wish I would’ve, could’ve, should’ve.'”

It’s easy to figure out why oddsmakers have made Cotto such a big favorite.

The 30-year-old Cotto (35-2) is a four-division champion with 14 successful title defenses. Despite losing to Manny Pacquiao in November of 2009, he is still in the conversation as one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters.

Cotto has 28 career wins by knockout — something his trainer Emanuel Steward predicts for Saturday night. “I will tell you what is going to happen. Miguel Cotto is going to knock out Mayorga. It won’t go over four rounds.”

Mayorga (29-7) is a former two-division champion but is 4-4 in his last eight fights dating back to 2003. Outside the ring, he smokes and drinks and has previous legal problems.

King, who is teaming with Cotto’s promoter, Bob Arum, to promote the fight, dominated the press conference with his one-liner jokes and charisma. The rivals, who are widely considered the top two promoters in boxing history, have become more of an attraction than the fighters.

Much of the press conference included King taking shots at Cotto, but several of the comments appeared designed to promote the pay-per-view fight.

“Miguel has two chances,” King said. “Slim and none, and slim is out of town.”

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