The Return of Miguel Cotto

By Marc Livitz on August 16, 2017
The Return of Miguel Cotto
"Kamegai is the best opponent for me right now in my career—he is a warrior in the ring."

We haven’t seen Cotto in the ring since November of 2015, when he lost a competitive fight to Canelo. We didn’t know if we’d see him again…

There was once a time, not so long ago, as they say when the boxing landscape looked quite different from its current state. A bit of it has changed significantly over the past decade, give or take. Neither Wladimir nor Vitali Klitschko dominate the heavyweight ranks. Juan Manuel Marquez no longer seeks the biggest challenges in various divisions. Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor and Kelly Pavlik are not among the names mentioned across the middleweight class of talent. Only time will tell, it seems when Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have closed their respective books for good. One name which has continued to float around, at least to some degree regardless of the same time frame has been Miguel Cotto.

It may be hard for us to wrap our head around the fact that nine years have passed since the Puerto Rican warrior suffered his first loss as a professional in what HBO’s Max Kellerman at the time called “a modern boxing classic.” In a contest which is now wrapped (pun intended) in its own form of controversy, Cotto fought beautifully in the opening rounds against Antonio Margarito. However, as the latter rounds wore on, Miguel was put on the defensive as his Tijuana opponent stalked his every move and eventually scored an eleventh round stoppage win. Cotto actually dropped to one knee in a last ditch attempt to slow the beating he was receiving. Not long thereafter, his corner threw in the towel and the welterweight championship contest was halted.

Many within the boxing world had wondered if the proverbial ghost within Miguel had been pummeled out of him and if it could ever possibly return. Of course, he returned seven months later with a tune-up fight against little-known Michael Jennings for the vacant WBO title. The bout was hardly a contest (TKO 5) and it served as the lead up to an epic night with Joshua Clottey, which he won by a close split decision margin. Then came the meeting with Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Pacquiao scored knockdowns in the third and fourth rounds and proceeded to turn Cotto’s face dark red to the point where he’d actually look at referee Kenny Bayless with a “why am I still doing this?” type of expression. Bayless stopped the fight early in round twelve. This would be Miguel’s last outing as a welterweight.

Since that time, he’s gone six up (all by stoppage) and three down. As a light middleweight, he captured victories over Yuri Foreman (TKO 9), Ricardo Mayorga (TKO 12), payback against Margarito (TKO 9) and a quick knockout of Delvin Rodriguez. He had back to back losses in 2012, which were decision defeats against Floyd Mayweather and later Austin Trout. Three years ago, he moved up to middleweight and proceeded to top Sergio Martinez for the WBC title and followed this up with a fourth round TKO stoppage of Daniel Geale one year later.

We haven’t seen Cotto in the ring since November of 2015, when he lost a competitive fight against Canelo Alvarez. We didn’t know if we’d see him again, as Miguel has never, at least visibly accepted defeat with the strongest amount of humility. This is understandable, of course. Not to worry. He’s back.

On Saturday, August 26, Cotto (40-5, 33 KO’s) will give HBO viewers and an audience at the StubHub Center in Carson, California a reason to not watch the Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor contest and its $100 pay TV price tag. He signed with Golden Boy Promotions earlier this year and he’ll face Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KO’s) of Japan for the vacant WBO light middleweight title. The bout will air live on HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” at 9:45PM ET/PT.

Earlier this week, Cotto spoke with Golden Boy about his long and storied career in addition to thoughts on his future. Quotes are listed below (credit Golden Boy Promotions).

“I have proved my whole career that I have been ready for anyone. I am a good boxer and I have no doubt that I can match anyone. As I look at my career, I have no regrets, everything has worked out and I am proud of the legacy I have built. I think one of the more satisfying fights I’ve been in was my victory against Antonio Margarito—I got my revenge against him then.”

“In my time off, I feel like I’ve become a more mature, more focused, complete fighter. Our partnership with Golden Boy Promotions is part of that—Oscar De La Hoya and his company have always been there to support me and my team, and I am glad I get to share the last leg of my career with them in the best way possible. We have already seen the positives of working with them, and we are excited for the partnership we have developed that goes beyond this fight.”

“I became the man I am today because of my father. He taught me the way you have to be, to put your family first in your life. I have no doubt that my father, mother and whole family are proud of me. The discipline that my family has taught me is the same that I want to show my kids, that they too can achieve their goals and dreams just as I have. I think above being a great boxer, I take a bigger pride in being a great father.”

“Kamegai is the best opponent for me right now in my career—he is a warrior in the ring. When we were looking through our options, he was one of the first names that popped up. I don’t really worry about what or how my opponent trains—all that matters is how well our team prepares. Freddie Roach has always been good to me, has been critical to my preparation over the years, and our team has always enjoyed working together like a family. I will be prepared for Kamegai on August 26 mentally and physically. It will be a great fight.”

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  1. Pete The Sneak 08:31am, 08/17/2017

    Toro, that’s what I’ll be watching as well, much to the disappointment of writer, Paul Magno, who thinks we (boxing purists?) will all be under our covers trying to get a stream of ‘the circus.’  Sorry, not happening my friend…Peace.

  2. Kid Blast 07:17pm, 08/16/2017

    I’ll be happily watching this instead of the freak show. You just never know when Cotto will grow old overnight.

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