Miguel Cotto Eyes Another World Title as Retirement Looms
August 22, 2017
Anthony Saldana (70 articles)
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Miguel Cotto Eyes Another World Title as Retirement Looms

By Anthony “Stacks” Saldaña

Saturday night at the Stubhub Center in Carson, California one of boxing’s all-time greats Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) will look to walk away with another world title as he goes up against Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs) in a 12-round match for the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship. Cotto who is the only Puerto Rican boxer in history to capture five world titles in, four-divisions, will attempt seal his legacy and secure a sixth world championship with a victory over his Japanese counterpart . Cotto who began his illustrious career in 2001 has gone toe to toe with some of the biggest names in boxing including his battles with Canelo Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Now after 16 year career Cotto has decided to hang up the gloves at the end of the year. “I think that 16 years is enough, and I have other things to do in my life. You know, I’m taking care of my family better, and that is the biggest and only reason that I have to stop boxing and quit boxing and retire after December 31st this year.” stated Cotto. “I enjoyed my whole career. I believe that if anything from the beginning didn’t happen in my career, I wouldn’t have the career that I’ve had. You know, I’ve enjoyed my whole career, and I don’t want to point to any opponent, to any fight. I think that my whole career has been great for world boxing.”

Cotto who last entered the ring in November of 2015 recently spoke about his lay off and stated “I just took my time off to be with my family and heal whatever I have to heal in my body. I arrived here all ready to train, and that’s what we’re doing here, just training, training, training for Kamegai, stated Cotto. “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.” Cotto went on to say “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. 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 26mentally and physically. It will be a great fight. 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.”

Yoshihiro Kamegai is no strangers to wars at the Stubhub center and is a tall rangy fighter who will be looking to win his first world title. Kamegai who is confident that he can upset Cotto spoke about his world title opportunity “When I first heard that this fight had been made and that I would face Cotto, I thought to myself, ‘YES! For me to fight someone I’ve been a fan of since I was 20 years old is an honor. I look forward to fighting him, and I’m out here to win this fight. I fully understand who I am going to be in the ring against, but Cotto’s record and history won’t matter once we are toe-to-toe,” stated Kamegai. “When I fight in the United States, I’m much more motivated. Especially with the reaction from the fans and the crowd. I feel that I enjoy fighting here, and it’s probably the best platform to be fighting at. I am looking forward to giving fans the kind of aggressive fight that they have seen from me before and having my arm raised in victory.”

In the Co-main event and the fight that may just steal the show, WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Rey Vargas (29-0, 22 KOs) from Mexico City, Mexico will go to battle with local fan favorite Ronny Rios (28-1, 13 KOs) of Santa Ana, California. Vargas who will be making his first title defense since capturing the belt with his majority decision victory in England over Gavin McDonnell, hopes a victory over Rios can silence his critics. “I am thrilled to defend my world championship for the first time on such a special night at StubHub Center,” Vargas said. “I know Ronny Rios is an extremely tough challenger, but he has never tasted power like mine, and I am confident I will come away with the victory. Beating Rios will not be easy, he’s a tough fighter who’s been with Golden Boy a long time, and I’m coming into his house, but I’m confident a win will secure my status as a true champion.” Rios who’s only loss came in 2014 to Mexican veteran Robinson Castellanos has pulled of five straight victories since that night at Fantasy Springs Casino and now will be in the biggest fight of his career against Vargas. “This is a dream come true for any boxer. Now that it’s here, I’m ready to capitalize on the journey me and my coach have been on for several years,” Rios said. “I’ve been training hard. I expect Vargas to be coming forward the first couple rounds, and I expect a full attempt to fight. I know they’re going to prepare for my jab and body work. The biggest challenge is the last week of the fight. You just want to be in there, when you’re in the ring, everything slows down, and everything feels like it’s moving in slow motion. You want to fight the best and get to a certain level. It was a big surprise learning we were going for a title. I gotta go out there and make a statement. I don’t want to just go out there and fight; I want to make a statement.”

 

Cotto vs. Kamegai, a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO World Junior Middleweight Championship, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions in association with Teiken Promotions and sponsored by Tecate “BORN BOLD” and Casa Mexico Tequila. Rey Vargas vs. Ronny Rios is a 12-round world championship fight for the WBC Super Bantamweight Title, and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Promociones del Pueblo. The event will take place Saturday, August 26 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT. The livestream portion will begin at approximately 4:45 p.m. ET/1:45 p.m. PT through approximately 9:45 p.m. ET/ 6:45 p.m. PT on RingTV.com.

 

Tickets for Cotto vs. Kamegai are on sale and priced at $200, $100, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges. Tickets can be purchased at AXS.com, by phone at 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849), and at StubHub Center Box Office (Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. PT to 6 p.m. PT). VIP Suites are available by calling 877-604-8777.  For more information on group discounts or VIP packages, call 877-234-8425.

 

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Anthony Saldana