By Miguel Rivera, Photo by Carlos Giusti
Miguel Cotto not only retired from boxing on December 2, but he also left a void in Puerto Rico - where there is still no boxer to take his place as the new superstar.
But there is now a litter of young world champions, two of them promoted by Cotto's company, has set their sights on becoming the new stars of the mythical building on 34th Street in Manhattan - Madison Square Garden.
Cotto fought in New York on 13 occasions, ten of them at the Garden, and in his last fight he lost a twelve round decision to Saddam Ali.
Cotto's leave has left the door open for his proteges, the light flyweight champion of the World Boxing Organization (WBO), Angel 'Tito' Acosta, and junior lightweight champions of the World Boxing Association (WBA), Alberto 'El Explosivo' Machado, to boost their careers at the venue.
Miguel Cotto Promotions revealed yesterday through its executive director, Bryan Perez, that the plan for 2018 is to continue with the Puerto Rican tradition of staging an event at MSG to the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York.
For this they have already secured the date of Saturday, June 9 at the Garden, where they hope to have an attractive day in which the champions Acosta and Machado are active and most likely the WBA featherweight champion, Jesus Rojas.
"Both (Machado and Acosta) will be active in the first quarter of 2018," Perez explained to Carlos Narvaez.
"And we're also waiting for the HBO dates to work on maintaining Miguel Cotto's tradition of fighting the day before the great Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York. We have already set aside the date of June 9, so we are working towards that."
Acosta was crowned precisely on December 2 when he beat Juan Alejo by knockout in what was his first appearance at the Garden. Machado, who won the championship on October 21, beat Jezreel Corrales in Verona, New York, has also fought in the Garden, when he beat Nuwan Jayakody in January 2014.
Both fighters started their careers in 2012 after a solid amateur runs.
Perez would like to get together with Golden Boy and stage a tripleheader that would also feature interim-WBA featherweight champion Jesus Rojas.
"We would love to achieve a tripleheader of Puerto Rican champions in which we would include Jesus Rojas. We are thinking about a very large event, since Rojas belongs to Golden Boy Promotions and we are working a lot with them," said Perez.
"Miguel can say that at the moment of his retirement he leaves two world champions and that is something big and fills us with pride.
Machado has a record of 19-0 and 16KO's, while Acosta has a ledger of 17-1 with 17 wins by knockouts.