Cota Disgusted at Opponent Selection
By Richard E. Baker on May 21, 2022
Showtime reps prepared all the questions ahead of time. (Photo: Richard E. Baker)
Jose Cota (35-5-0) was fuming mad at the pseudo press conference on the Benavidez/Lemieux championship fight May 21 at the Gila River Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. “This fight is disrespectful to me,” said the rugged Cota. “It is an embarrassment. Gomez (5-0-0) should not be in the ring with a professional like me. He needs to earn his dues.” He shot an icy stare at Yoelvis Gomez who just smiled back. Gomez said he was thankful for the fight and was there to do his job.
Cota has been a professional a long time, time pounded into his chiseled granite face. He has fought some of the best, not always successfully. He recently fought Sebastian Fundora (6-0-1) and has traded punches with Cesar Chavez, Jermall Charlo, Erickson Lubin, and Luis Campas. Cota is what is called a reliable professional opponent, always puts up a good fight and, against top opponents, often loses. He never disappoints in the ring.
“Cuba is known for baseball, not boxing,” he said. Apparently he missed the lesson on Cuban boxing. He can only hope Gomez, whose wins have all come by KO, does not fire a peck of fast balls. Gomez took the insults in strides, smiling under the barrage and wishing Cota the best of luck in the fight.
Cota offered the only bit of drama in the “press” conference. Many boxing press conferences these days are not really press conferences. Boxing does not want to take a chance of anyone asking any embarrassing, or often meaningful questions. Showtime reps prepared all the questions ahead of time. After the show I asked the mediator, “So, the press is not allowed to ask questions at a press conference?” He explained that all the boxers were available to talk to, just not on camera. I said that makes the event an interview and not a press conference. He was not pleased. He is a decent man and I enjoy his comments. I just think something should be called what it is. I am prone to be feisty so I thanked him and walked away. I was tempted to print out the definition of a press conference from various sources, including the Cambridge Dictionary but it would not change anything. This is another example of corporations gaining control over every industry, including language.
In the good old days, boxers who wanted good press just paid off the reporters. That is not right, of course, but it at least made some interesting conferences and explains why boxers like Primo Carnera received such good press. Having the illusion that a reporter has something to say gave fans meat to argue about. For this fight a reporter might ask something like, “Lemieux, putting a boxer on the ropes is advantageous for a puncher like you. But Benavidez fights very well from the ropes. Is that going to be a problem?” Or maybe like, “Benavidez, you have a habit of dropping your hands, especially your left, after throwing combinations and often get tagged with a counterpunch. Have you corrected that problem or do you even see it as a problem?”
Because I appreciate language, do not call a press conference a press conference unless it is a press conference. If it a series of blather with pre-arranged questions not intended to offend anyone with silly questions like, “What makes this fight important to you?” and answers like, “Duh, I don’t know, I guess I just want to punch someone.” perhaps they should say something like we are not having a final press conference but rather a meaningless get-together with some food thrown in where reporters can interview the participants. Simple and truthful. I am sure boxing will survive.
● A meeting at which a person or organization makes a public statement and reporters can ask questions. (Cambridge Dictionary)
● A press conference is a meeting held by a famous or important person in which they answer reporters' questions.
● A press conference serves to communicate important news (e.g. launch the campaign) connected with an organization or company and involves the participation of journalists and representatives of the company/organization. The event offers journalists an interactive forum to find out about your organization and campaign.