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Targeting a Manny Pacquiao Rematch: Is Miguel Cotto still a Threat?

By Joe Wilson

Can a professional boxer overcome two brutal beatings and return back to what he once was in world of boxing? There have never been questions in regards to the heart and warrior spirit of Miguel Angel Cotto. His courage and strength has gotten him through some tough battles throughout his career.

With a record of 35-2, 28 KO’s, he has all the reasons to continue his journey in the sport. He was born in Rhode Island, New York, and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Like Floyd Mayweather, JR., Cotto too, has had the pleasure of being raised in a boxing family. His late father Miguel Cotto, SR., and his brother Jose Miguel Cotto, his cousin Abner Cotto, also uncle and former trainer Evangelista Cotto were all boxers.

He is married to Melissa Guzman with whom he has two children. There is also a third child whom he has from a past relationship. In many ways Cotto has displayed his loyal commitment to his family. There has been no doubt that he is truly a family man and that honesty has spilled over into the ring.

When it comes to Cotto, he is a gentleman with a genuine livelihood. This young man has displayed this character throughout his professional career. Win or lose, he seems to stay poised and steady. I can’t ever remember hearing him complain about a situation. He seems to take the bitter with the sweet. He has never been one to “talk trash” during the promotion of a fight. The attitude he sports out of the ring, he also sports in the ring.

Before Miguel’s brutal beating by Antonio Margarito, he was undefeated and feared by many opponents in his weight division. It’s still unclear if Margarito had used the same illegal hand wraps he was attempting to use against Shane Mosley. It was an illegal substance in the hand wraps that hardened once he put on the gloves. Right today, Margarito has lost boxing privileges in many states including Nevada, because of this behavior.

If Miguel was a victim of Margarito’s cheat scheme; it was that fight that jeopardized the great boxing career of Cotto. There have been fighters of the past that never recovered from that type of beating. During the later rounds, he busted up Cotto’s face and made him submit. Cotto took a knee to escape more punishment by Margarito. It had to really hurt, because Cotto is not the type of fighter that will submit in battle.

Cotto had recently won a close decision over Shane Mosley, and afterwards Mosley demolished Margarito. His win over Margarito after finding those wraps, is still in the minds of many today, and that is—Did Margarito get away with the very same thing against Cotto?

Thanks to Naazim Richardson, Mosley’s trainer for bringing attention to the hand wraps of Margarito. Now all fighters hand wraps is being checked by the commissioner before entering the ring.

It’s does not matter how much heart or how strong a fighter is; when being hit with bricks in both gloves, even the best of us will take a knee. Let’s be clear, I’m not making accusations against Margarito, just implying the facts. Cotto came back from that loss and redeemed himself against Joshua Clottey. That fight was also a close win decision for Miguel.

His promoter Bob Arum, whom also promotes Manny Pacquiao, placed the two fighters together the very next fight. The first half of that fight was pretty even although, Cotto was knocked to the canvas twice. From the middle rounds Miguel began to take punishment from Pacquiao. Going into the later rounds his punishment did not let up. He started stalking the bigger Miguel. He hit Miguel with punches from all angles. This was truly an upset victory for Pacquiao.

The fight was later stopped in round twelve. It was too much punishment. It was this victory that started the media frenzy for Manny Pacquaio vs. Floyd Mayweather, JR., match up. After that loss, Cotto had to do some deep soul searching. With the death of his father, and two brutal beatings; He had to decide where to go from there?

He did not take much time off, he went right back to the gym. His next challenger was undefeated Yuri Foreman. This time Miguel stepped up to junior middleweight. He also hired Hall of Fame Trainer Emanuel Steward. That decision allowed him to sharpen up his skills. Steward has been known as a trainer of champions. His résumé goes back many years with some of the very best fighters in the world.

Steward agreed to train Miguel for his upcoming fight against Foreman. It was that fight that showed signs of Miguel’s greatness. He battered Foreman many rounds. He had speed and power, along with very good foot work. There was definitely improvement after hiring Steward. Foreman showed heart after damaging his knee from a fall during the fight.

Miguel gave Yuri Foreman his first lost by TKO in round nine, before a huge crowd in New York at Yankee Stadium. HBO televised the fight and were very pleased with the ratings.

Miguel Cotto is only 29 years old, and still in his prime. With the combination of a rejuvenated spirit and a great new trainer, things are looking up Miguel. He still has big fights ahead of him including rematches with Pacquiao, Mosley and even Margarito, should he regain boxing license to fight in the United States.

As a boxing fan and writer, I have enjoyed watching Miguel display his heart and soul while battling to prove his worth in the sport. There is no doubt that Miguel Cotto is still a strong contender and will always be able to bang with the best.

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