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Medina, Santini Square Off Over Use Of Clemente Coliseum

By Gabrielle Paese

May 14, 2004
Copyright © 2004 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved.

What the heck do you think happened between San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini and promoter Angelo Medina to make Santini want to bum rush Medina out of Roberto Clemente Coliseum?

This had to have been a huge disagreement, because Medina has always been best pals with Santini, much to the chagrin of fellow promoters who would love to have the kind of exclusivity Medina enjoys with the city of San Juan.

The honeymoon is about to be over and as best as I can piece together, Luis Fonsi (promoted by Tony Mojena) was the catalyst in the breakup. Maybe it was Mojena who questioned Santini as to why Medina's word was law over at the coliseum. Mojena apparently wanted to bump Medina's basketball team, the Santurce Crabbers, off the floor one night to add an extra night to Fonsi's concert calendar.

Whatever really went down, we'll probably never know for sure. But the fight has moved to San Juan superior court, where poor Judge Carlos Davila is stuck listening to hours of testimony in the case.

Earlier this week, Davila bought himself 10 more days, meaning the Crabbers don't have to vacate the premises at least until after the All-Star break while the court determines whether Santini can cancel Medina's contract (good until 2006) just like that.

You have to wonder what Santini's motivation was. I mean, it is an election year, after all, and Santini basically only has to sit pretty to get reelected. He already lost the baseball fans' vote by exiling winter ball's most storied franchise, the Santurce Crabbers, to Manati.

Now he's about to piss off several thousand basketball fans by canceling the team's contract to use the coliseum. This after years of giving Medina almost exclusive access to said coliseum. Stay tuned for the second half.

What's next for Miguel Cotto?

Top Rank's 23-year-old prospect gets two well-deserved weeks away from the gym after narrowly defeating South African Lovemore N'Dou in Las Vegas last week.

Miguel Cotto (20-0, 16 KO) would like a shot at a title in his next fight card, set for Sept. 11 in Puerto Rico, but the date is still a long way away and his co-manager, Best Boxing's Peter Rivera, said Top Rank is still considering potential rivals."We would like [WBA interim champ] Vivian Harris, but we still don't know if we would be able to put that fight together, it remains to be seen whether he would fight in Puerto Rico," said Rivera. Harris is an option as is WBO No. 1 contender Kelson Pinto or IBF interim champion Sharmba Mitchell, both of whom, along with Harris, are keeping injured junior welterweight champ Kostya Tszyu's seat warm.Cotto's uncle, Evangelista, who serves as Miguel's trainer and co-manager, said he has no preference and Rivera said the decision will be based on which fight Top Rank is able to set up.

"We'll go against the boxer they put in the ring," said Cotto.

The junior welterweight will now stare down a four-month layoff, the longest of his career since he broke his arm in four places back in 2002. Knowing how the Caguas native struggled to make weight (140 pounds) in Vegas last weekend, uncle Evangelista said there'll be no break in training."He gets two weeks off and then its back to the track and back to the gym. Too much rest can do a boxer more harm than good."The elder Cotto admitted that Miguel's last-minute weight loss before the N'Dou fight affected the young boxer's stamina in the late rounds, nearly costing him his first loss."To be honest, we had some problems, especially with Miguel making weight. Having to lose weight like that just before the weigh-in definitely affected his strength. Education-wise, Miguel learned. And I'm glad this happened to him early in his career and that it didn't cost him a victory. Now he will be more careful," Evangelista Cotto said.Rivera, said he has plans to offer Puerto Rico's star prospect nutritional counseling."We're going to take advantage of this down-time to talk to him about eating well. Miguel recognizes that losing the weight like that at the last minute affected him, especially in the later rounds of the fight, but he's also a very disciplined athlete and I'm sure he won't be too idle during this break," said Rivera.Since turning pro in 2001, Cotto has fought an average of every two months. He stepped into the ring seven times in 2002 despite the car accident and six times in 2001, his debut year. Last year, Cotto fought five times and thus far in 2004 he has been in the squared circle twice.In other boxing news, Levittown, Puerto Rico's own Manny Siaca Jr. won the WBA super middleweight title last weekend when he decisioned Australia's Anthon Mundine on Mundine's own turf.According to Puerto Rico Boxing Commissioner Jose "Toto" Penagaricano, Siaca's means that Puerto Ricans have now won world titles in every single weight class in the sport."That was the only one we were missing to complete the list," said Penagaricano, who added that the possibilities of a rematch are remote.

Martinez making waves in Hobie 16

The team of Rosarito Martinez and Kamil Berrios won a silver medal last week at the Hobie 16 Cat Women's World Championships held in Cancun, Mexico. Mexico's mother-daughter team of Marta and Pamela Noriega won the gold medal.

Martinez was 10th at the Hobie Worlds in 2002. She took up catamaran sailing in 2000 after retiring from a successful boardsailing career. On the catamaran, she has never finished lower than fifth in any race. This weekend she is competing with Javier Andrades in the Open Hobie category. With all her success, it looks like she's been getting some pointers from Enrique Figueroa, Puerto Rico's Hobie 16 expert, who is Olympics-bound this summer.

Gabrielle Paese is the Assistant Sports Editor at the San Juan Star. She is the 2000 recipient of the Overseas Press Club's Rafael Pont Flores Award for excellence in sports reporting. Comments or suggestions? Contact Gabrielle at

Her Column, Puerto Rico Sports Beat, appears weekly in the Puerto Rico Herald.

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