Cotto, Canelo make weight, ready for title clash

LAS VEGAS — Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez both made weight for their middleweight world title fight during a wild weigh-in on Friday afternoon in the Islander Ballroom at Mandalay Bay.

With a raucous crowd of some 3,000 cheering and chanting — and another group of approximately 2,000 watching in other ballrooms opened to accommodate the spillover crowd — Cotto, making his second defense, weighed 153½ pounds for the catchweight fight contracted at 155 pounds, five under the middleweight limit of 160 and one over the junior middleweight limit of 154.

Alvarez, a former unified junior middleweight titleholder, weighed 155 pounds for the fight, the most anticipated of the year besides the disappointing May 2 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

This fight, which will take place on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, figures to deliver action between two of boxing’s most popular and exciting fighters.

“I’m just ready for (Saturday),” said Cotto, Puerto Rico’s No. 1 fighter, after weighing in. “This is for all the fans of Puerto Rico and Mexico. Our purpose is to win the fight.”

Alvarez is Mexico’s most popular fighter, and the showdown with Cotto will add another chapter to the storied boxing rivalry between the two countries.

Alvarez was the big crowd favorite — no surprise, considering the location of the fight.

“This motivates me tremendously to see all these people,” Alvarez said after making weight. “I am very blessed for all the support, and I will pay them back with a great fight on Saturday night. I always dreamed of this. The support motivates me every day.

“I know that I have a tough task in front of me. I know what I have to do. I’m ready for everything. Anything he can bring, I’m ready for it.”

According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) will earn a purse of $15 million, and Alvarez’s official purse is $5 million. However, both can earn more if the pay-per-view reaches certain sales marks. Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) also will earn more through Mexican television revenue.

Junior lightweight titlist Takashi Miura (29-2-2, 22 KOs), of Japan, and mandatory challenger Francisco Vargas (22-0-1, 16 KOs), of Mexico, both weighed the division limit of 130 pounds.

Cuban defector Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KOs), recently stripped of both of his junior featherweight world titles because of inactivity, weighed 121½ pounds for his first fight in 11 months. Opponent Drian Francisco (28-3-1, 22 KOs), of the Philippines, weighed 121, one pound under the division limit, for their scheduled 10-round fight.

Featherweights Jayson Velez (23-0-1, 16 KOs), of Puerto Rico, and Ronny Rios (24-1, 10 KOs), from Santa Ana, California, both weighed 125½, a half-pound under the division limit, for their 10-rounder.

Bantamweight titleholder Randy Caballero (22-0, 13 KOs), of Coachella, California, was due to make his first defense on the live stream of preliminary bouts before the pay-per-view but failed to make weight. He was stripped of his 118-pound title, and his fight with interim titlist Lee Haskins (32-3, 14 KOs), of England, was canceled because of the weight disparity.

While Haskins, who will be elevated to full titleholder, was 117½ pounds, Caballero was a shocking 123½, 5½ pounds over the limit.

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