By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Freddie Roach figures it’ll be difficult for Miguel Cotto to resist the temptation to return to the ring after Saturday night.
Cotto’s trainer is certain that promoters will try to lure back the four-division champion with seven-figure offers for high-profile fights, perhaps a rematch win Canelo Alvarez. The 37-year-old Cotto contends it won’t be hard to decline when those inevitable phone calls come for one very important reason.
“I don’t need money,” Cotto said prior to a press conference Thursday for his fight against Sadam Ali on Saturday night. “I don’t need money. My father, he did the right things, he put the money in the right place. We are enjoying stability financially. I passed through a lot of tough moments in boxing, you know? And I’ve been here for 25, 26 years, and at the end of the road, the only thing that moves me to do the best always here was my family. And it’s time for me to be with them, no matter who’s coming, with the amount of money that they want [to pay me]. I don’t need money.”
Puerto Rico’s Cotto has seen far too many former champions return to the ring because they’re broke. That’s why he is so thankful that in January 2002, his late father, Miguel Cotto Sr., made him start saving and investing money, so that he wouldn’t become one of those desperate veterans driven by paydays once he was way past his physical prime.
“That’s why they return,” Cotto said. “I [won’t] because I had in my life this guy who decided to be a father. He was everything in my life. He was the guy who put his best effort [into it], no matter if I got mad or not. ‘I’m going to do what I have to do for your benefit.’ That was his [mindset].”
Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) will retire after defending his WBO super welterweight title against Ali (25-1, 14 KOs) on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden (HBO; 10 p.m. ET).
A reflective Cotto recalled Thursday that if his father, who died in January 2010, hadn’t forced him to become financially responsible when he was just 21 years old, he wouldn’t have been able to provide as well as he has for his wife and four children.
“When I was  years old, after I suffered my injury in my shoulder, when I make my rehab, my first fight was February something, 2002,” Cotto said, referring to a second-round stoppage of Joshua Smith in January 2002. “The next Monday, my father told me, ‘Put some clothes on. We are going to go somewhere.’ [I said], ‘Somewhere to do what?’ ‘Just put your clothes on and I’ll let you know when we’re close to the place.’ We arrived into a branch of Popular Bank in Puerto Rico. And he told me that in my first year as a professional I showed him that I was not able to save money. And he’s not going to let me throw away the future of my kids, of his grandsons. And we’re here in this branch because we are going to open an account where for besides depositing money, you are going to need another signature. And this is going to be mine.
“I was so mad. That was 15 years ago. Today, all I can feel for my dad is thanks. I’m so thankful right now because of him because he had the courage to step in front of me and told me what I really needed to hear, no matter if I like it or not. And because of that, I am the man I am right now. I have the stability in my family right now because my father, he had the courage to do what it takes to make me walk always on the right path.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.