Famous Fighter of the Week: Miguel Cotto

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By Matthew Baker

Although Miguel Cotto is known as the Pride of Caguas, Puerto Rico (homeland of many great fighters, such as Trinidad, Camacho, Cruz, and Benitez), he has always had a strange love affair with New York City. Eight of Cotto’s last sixteen fights have been in the Big Apple – seven at Madison Square Garden and the only card held at Yankee Stadium since the final Ali/Norton rematch in 1976. Considering that Yankee Stadium averaged between one and two boxing cards a year from 1923-1959, Cotto’s ability to give the baseball park a boxing comeback speaks well of his popularity in the heavily Puerto Rican community of the Bronx.

Born into a boxing family, Cotto had a good but spotty amateur career, losing to Dana Laframboise in the Pan-American Games and Mahamadkadir Abdullayev in the very first round of the Sydney Olympics, among others. But his pro career tells a very different story, winning his first 32 bouts before his first loss – and that, a controversial TKO against Antonio Margarito, who was suspected of (and later suspended for) tampering with his hand wraps.

In an age when champions are often questioned for picking subpar opponents, Cotto has won great respect for fighting the best boxers in the sport. He has beaten such stars as Paul Malignaggi, Zab Judah, and Shane Mosley, while losing to the Who’s-Who triumvirate of Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, and Austin Trout. That final defeat to Trout tarnished his perfect New York City record (his other three losses were all at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand) and have called into question whether he is likely to headline again at the Garden. But, like any great fighting spirit, Cotto is not a man known for quitting or staying down. Whether under the auspices of Top Rank or his own company, Promociónes Miguel Cotto, this former three-division world champion may yet treat us to a third act.

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