Advertisement
Advertisement

Miguel Cotto: A Place on The Island

by Cliff Rold

Miguel Cotto has never risen to the same level of popularity achieved by Felix Trinidad.  He’s never shown the artistry of Carlos Ortiz or Wilfred Benitez.  The sheer carnage left in the wake of Wilfredo Gomez’s assault on Jr. Featherweight remains in its place.

That’s okay.

As preparations are completed for this Saturday’s showdown with WBA Light Middleweight titlist Austin Trout (Showtime, 10 PM EST), the 32-year old can look back on his career and know being Miguel Cotto was good enough. 

In the rich history of Puerto Rican boxing, the name Cotto won’t finish at the top.

It’s not out of place in any discussion about the contributions the small island nation has given to the game.

Win or lose against Trout, given the many physical battles he’s been in over the years, it’s not unreasonable to think the end is close.  This being boxing, endings come in various shades.  Cotto may go on to fight until he’s well past 40.  He wouldn’t be the first. 

But the best of Cotto?  Those moments are growing spare.  No one last forever as one of the top guys.  Cotto won’t either.  There are plenty who think his last best moment has already come, that his brave losing stand to Floyd Mayweather in May of this year was sort of a last hurrah.

Trout is a fashionable pick to win this weekend.  He’s younger, quicker, naturally bigger.  He’s hungry. 

Miguel Cotto could have picked a lot easier fare and got away with it.

He didn’t.  While, like any star fighter, he’s had his share of walkovers, they’ve felt fewer.  Cotto is a fighter.  He does it the right way.

In doing it the right way, what are the things that stand out and serve him well in comparison to the best of Puerto Rico?  What are the markers of his place on the island?  Here now, a look at the career of Miguel Cotto to date in comparison to his nation’s finest.

Titles: Beginning with the wild Bantamweight days of Sixto Escobar, Puerto Rico has produced more than 60 champions, the highest total of any nation save the United States and Mexico.  Of those, only five others have won titles in three weight divisions: Benitez, Gomez, Trinidad, Hector Camacho, and Wilfredo Vazquez Sr.

Of those men, Benitez and Gomez are already in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.  Trinidad become eligible for the 2014 class and is a shoo-in for the first ballot.  The late Camacho had his last fight in 2010 but is a likely entrant when he becomes five years eligible.  Vazquez remains on the ballot but has not yet been inducted.

Cotto will attempt this weekend to win a second sanctioning body belt at Jr. Middleweight after a WBO reign at Jr. Welterweight, WBA and WBO reigns at Welterweight, and a previous WBA reign at 154.

Title Fight Wins: At 17-3, Cotto is closing in on a possible 18th win in title fights with Trout.  Only Trinidad and Gomez have more. 

Gomez won 20 title fights, defending his 122 lb. title (Lineal and WBC) a record 17 consecutive times.  He won additional titles at Featherweight and Jr. Lightweight, losing each in his fist defense. 

Trinidad was almost as impressive at Welterweight as Gomez was at Jr. Featherweight, defending the IBF title 15 times and capping his run with a hotly debated win over Oscar De La Hoya for the lineal crown and the WBC belt.  He rose to Jr. Middleweight and won the WBA belt, defending twice and picking up the IBF title in the latter defense.  In his final title win, he bested William Joppy for a WBA belt.  In total, he won 20 title fights.

The next closest to Cotto are Vazquez at 16, Sammy Serrano at 15, and Ortiz at 14.

Competition: Wins are nice, but who a fighter is in the ring with counts too.  Cotto can’t say definitively he’s faced the stiffest competition in comparison to his contemporaries, but he’s not far off.  Sure, the two best fighters he fought beat him. 

But losing to Pacquiao and Mayweather was no shame when recalling that Trinidad (against Hopkins), Gomez (against Sanchez), Benitez (against Leonard and Hearns) also fell short in some critical showdowns.  Alfredo Escalera lost both savage affairs with Alexis Arguello.

Cotto, with victories over Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, and an emotional revenge victory over the first man to defeat him, Antonio Margarito, had his share of highs.  There were also plenty of good solid pros along the way.  He can say he fought the best of his time with the only really big name missing being Ricky Hatton at 140 lbs.

Where Cotto falls short in comparison to some of the Puerto Rican immortals to date is his lack of a signature win.  Trinidad had Fernando Vargas.  Gomez had Carlos Zarate.  Benitez, at the tender age of 17, had the great Antonio Cervantes.  His paint brushing of Roberto Duran wasn’t bad either.

But even without that single, signature victory, Cotto can say he’s left fans with the same thing the great Puerto Ricans have been leaving behind for years.

Memories: Win or lose, fans will remember they saw Miguel Cotto leave it in the ring.  While there has never been a deemed “Fight of the Year,” Cotto has given fans classic battles against Ricardo Torres, Judah, Mosley, Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Pacquiao, and Mayweather.

When his name is on the marquee fans know, before and now, they have a well better than average chance of getting their money’s worth. 

It’s a remarkable career suddenly infused with new life after Mayweather and with an end growing near.  On Saturday, Miguel Cotto is fighting.

Someday soon, boxing will ask who the next Miguel Cotto will be.           
 
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

Tags: Miguel Cotto image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Exciterx30 on 11-29-2012

[QUOTE=crold1;12752109]Oba Carr is a nice, slick boxing performance. He stopped using his right hand as well as he got into a left hook groove.[/QUOTE] The Carr fight, to me, is a hybrid. He showed technique as well as some of…

Comment by crold1 on 11-29-2012

[QUOTE=Exciterx24;12752089]Trinidad had very good technique. The thing is that he abandoned that because he fell in love with his power. If you watch early Trinidad fights, like the one against Jake Rodríguez, you will see what I mean.[/QUOTE] Oba Carr…

Comment by Exciterx30 on 11-29-2012

[QUOTE=Berges;12751623]He is the better boxer that's for sure, but Tito was a fcking monster with that left hook and just his over all power.[B] That compensated for his lack of boxing technique[/B]. I still like Cotto better than Tito but…

Comment by crold1 on 11-29-2012

[QUOTE=Dave Rado;12751809]You don't mention [B]lineal [/B]titles. Benitez, Gomez, and Trinidad were lineal champions, the others, including Cotto, weren't. That is a good reason (though not the only one) for putting those three above the others.[/QUOTE] So was Vazquez at Featherweight.…

Comment by Dave Rado on 11-29-2012

[QUOTE=chibox123;12751825]Cotto will go down as one of the best pr boxers ever period. He won't be forgotten. No matter what kind of spin this article try's to put on.[/QUOTE] You obviously didn't read the article, as that was exactly what…

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (38)
Top Headlines Fernando Montiel Says The Goal is To Knock Aber Mares Out Andres Gutierrez, Marco Antonio Periban Pick Up Big Wins Anthony Joshua Opens Up as 7-1 Favorite To Beat Martin David Haye: Anthony Joshua Will Knock Charles Martin Out Early! Charles Martin: I'm Knocking Anthony Joshua Out! Charles Martin-Anthony Joshua Announced, April 9 In London Nonito Donaire Wants To Make a Statement With Bedak Lebedev Wonders if Hryunov Attack Was Roy Jones Related Fedor Chudinov: Ready for Anyone at Super Middleweight? Porter: I've Heard Things That About Mayweather Returning Roach Doubts Miguel Cotto Can Make 147 For Marquez Clash Salud Will Talk To Pacquiao About World Title Double in Manila Jean Pascal Cautioned To Take Signficant Time Off By Promoter Qiu Xiao Jun's Big Win Draws 200 Million TV Viewers in China Liam Williams-Nav Mansouri Set For April 2 on BoxNation Sanchez: Canelo Couldn't Hurt Cotto, What Happens With GGG? Barrera Advised By Manager To Go All Out With Andre Ward Chavez, Barrera, Morales View Canelo-GGG as The Next 'Big One' Alex Saucedo Decisions Clarence Booth: Vences Wins Khan: Being Underdog To Canelo Has Given Me an Extra Push! Fernando Carcamo Stops Daniel Echeverria In Three Lomachenko: I'm Ready To Fight Rigondeaux at Any Time Glowacki's Coach Says Steve Cunningham Still in Play For April Cortez Expects Canelo To Slaughter Amir Khan in Rapid Fashion Jorge Linares Hopes To Return in May or June From Injury Artur Szpilka Has Surgery on Left Hand, Wants Charles Martin Arum Wonders if Amir Khan Can Pull Off a Super Bowl Upset Tyson Fury Going in New Direction? Says 'Massive Fight' Coming Dmitry Chudinov Blows Through Marat Huzeeva in Moscow Mariusz Wach's Ring Return Being Positioned For May 14 Adrian Granat Has Two Fights Set; Sprott Faces Hammer on 3/18 Joseph Diaz-Jayson Velez Set For Ward-Barrera HBO Card Lanell Bellows: Nobody Can Match My Work Ethic Hearn, Mayweather To Join Forces For UK Boxing Events Gutierrez Set For Hometown Appearance, Wants Santa Cruz Next Frank Warren Takes Aim at Boxers Having Overgrown Beards Marquez Wants 147 For Cotto, 152/153 Rehydration Clause Campillo: Kovalev Can Beat Ward, Beterbiev a Bigger Puncher Roach: Not Scared of Atlas, Don't Give a Sh*t About His Stories! McGuigan Warns Joshua To Avoid Charles Martin, For Now
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement