Amongst the hype surrounding one of, if not the most lucrative fights in history, was a truly humble Puerto Rican Legend – Miguel Cotto, who I wrote about the other week – who fought for another World Title at the StubHub centre in California, whilst most peoples attention that weekend, was a few hours away, in Las Vegas where Boxing took on MMA…
Cotto won the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight Championship belt – and his 6th World Title – against an incredibly tough and seemingly indestructible Japanese fighter by the name of Yoshihiro Kamegai, who despite not yet being a massive name in the sport, had built up a very strong record with a high Knockout percentage – indicating that Cotto wasn’t in for an easy nights work!
Cotto was forced to work for near on every second of the fight and being naturally smaller than Kamegai, it really pushed Miguel to fight outside of his comfort zone and for once he wasn’t in charge of the pace.
The 6 time World Champion, who’s defence and over-all movement of his head and feet has improved tremendously since he begun working with Freddie a few years ago, was able to to use this movement to prevent Kamegai from landing clean as often as he would’ve liked.
Cotto was also able to string together some wicked combinations to both the body and head, which often rocked the Japanese native’s head back, however, Kamegai was able to shake the effects of these shots off within an instant and then charge straight at his opponent again like some sort of Terminator!
Cotto definitely had his work cut out trying to keep this guy off of his chest!
The future Hall of Famer may not be as powerful at this heavier weight class which he now fights at, but the fluency, sharpness and variation of his combinations and his light footwork, clean turns and efficient movement were brilliant to watch – proving that even at 36 years of age, Miguel Cotto has still got it and hasn’t stopped learning and improving upon his craft.
Although Kamegai didn’t offer much in terms of variation, classic boxing skills and tactics, what he did provide was consistent and energy sapping pressure, as well as some hard shots inside and around the sides of Cotto’s defence. Being the bigger man, his tactic was to wear Cotto down with this constant pressure and to attack the body by throwing in chopping body shots when in-close.
On the scorecards, the Puerto Rican won this fight easily; via Unanimous Decision, although he was really made to work for it!
Afterwards it was really nice to see how much this opporunity to fight and share the ring with a World renowned Legend such as Cotto, meant to Yoshihiro Kamegai – as we saw the pair embrace after the contest and Kamegai shed a few tears of appreciation for this moment.
Tears were also probably what Miguel Cotto shed that evening, as this fight was quite possibly his last.
You could see in his eyes, how he took in the moment when his hands were raised high above his head with the WBO strap over his shoulder, he looked happy but sad at the same time – sad that this feeling of victory and satisfaction in the ring will soon be coming to an end.
Max Kellerman of HBO interviewed Cotto after the fight and asked if he will fight again, Cotto wasn’t ruling out the possibility but did state that on the 31st December of this year he will officially retire from the sport of Professional Boxing.
Despite this, there could very well be 1 more fight out there for him – Freddie Roach seemed open to the idea of fighting once more as he wants Cotto to leave this sport with a bang and that could possibly be a re-match with Canelo Alvarez or a showdown with ‘GGG’ – Gennady Golovkin, all depending upon who the victor of that highly anticipated contest is.
In my humble opinion, there is no more need for Cotto to fight on – as a 6 time World Champion, he can retire with his head held high after a great performance against a tough and game competitor. He has nothing left to prove and he will go down in history as an all time great.
His legacy is already cemented and his achievements sewn into the history books of Boxing.
Whatever Miguel and Freddie decide to do next, they’ve got a great chemistry between them both and I feel that their partnership was the key to the huge successes of the second phase of Cotto’s illustrious career.
If you’ve not seen this fight, be sure to check it out!
Thanks a lot,