By Jake Donovan
Nobody can accuse Miguel Cotto of being an old dog refusing to learn new tricks.
The Puerto Rican superstar will have endured a 10-month layoff by the time he steps into the ring to face Delvin Rodriguez in their 12-round super welterweight clash on October 5 at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL. There is plenty of familiarity to go around for Cotto – the bout marks his return to HBO and to Top Rank, with the city of Orlando serving as his home away from his Caguas (P.R.) home.
Orlando has also served as training headquarters for each of Cotto’s last three bouts, dating back to his revenge fueled 10th round stoppage win over Antonio Margarito in Dec. ’11. The bulk of his training camp took place at Don Miguel Gym, a facility Cotto opened in honor of his late father Miguel Sr., who passed away in 2010.
Cotto also set camp in Orlando for eventual title fight losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr and Austin Trout.
The idea behind training in Orlando was to flee from all of the distractions to be found at home in Puerto Rico. So it was only natural that for his first career fight in Orlando, Cotto decides to go another route in preparing for his first fight since last December.
The former three-division champ has enlisted the services of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach in efforts to help end a two-fight losing streak.
“I’ve been away from boxing for a long time,” Cotto stated during Tuesday’s press conference to officially announce the event. “I’m going to LA for the first time in my career. I will arrive on August 2, and on August 5 I will walk into the gym and meet my coach (Roach).”
The pairing is brand new, but the two have previously shared ring space. Roach was – and still is – in Manny Pacquiao the night the Filipino icon made boxing history in defeating Cotto. The win gave Pacquiao his record-breaking 7th divisional title, leaving Cotto a knockout loser and two-time ex-titlist.
Coming at an agreed upon catchweight of 145 lb, Cotto was competitive in the early going but eventually swallowed whole. He never stopped trying, however, refusing to allow his corner to stop the bloodletting but rather going out on his shield, which he did early in the 12th round.
Whether in victory or defeat, Cotto remains known as one of the sport’s premiere action stars of his generation. Nothing less is expected the day he arrives in L.A. to begin preparation for his future showdown with Rodriguez.
“I’m going to bring my best – every morning at the track and every day at the gym,” Cotto promises. “I’m going to bring my best for all of the fans around the world. I hope that Delvin has a great camp to make a great fight for all of the fans.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox