By James Slater: Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto celebrates his 31st birthday today; some five weeks ahead of his crunch, must-win rematch with Antonio Margarito. Currently 36-2(29), “Junito” has won four fights since being shocked by “Tony” in 2008, and two fights since his brave attempt at upsetting Manny Pacquiao in 2009.
Having recently parted with Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, Cotto will look to retain his WBA light-middleweight title on Dec. 3rd without the Kronk wizard’s often invaluable services. But Cotto’s training issues aside, we have to ask the question: how much has the three-weight ruler got left to offer today? It wasn’t long ago (in December of 2009 actually) that Cotto was saying he would retire at the age of 30.
Back then, a 34-2(27) Cotto was saying he was “content” with what he’d accomplished in boxing and that after “one, maybe two fights” he’d “completely retire from boxing.” Cotto said those words to Fightnews.com just weeks after he’d been stopped in that brutal battle with Pac-Man. It’s clear, then, that after the wounds from that bruising war had healed, Cotto changed his mind and decided to fight on for significantly more than just “one, maybe two fights.” And who can really blame him?
Shortly after the Pacquiao loss, Cotto won his WBA belt with a good showing against the then unbeaten Yuri Foreman, and Cotto found out how hard it can be to walk away a winner. The stoppage win over trash-talker Ricardo Mayorga followed, and we now await the Margarito return. Is Cotto pushing his luck by fighting on longer than he said he would back in late 2009? And is Cotto facing a tougher fight in December now that he’s parted company with Steward?
“All great fighters have one great fight left in them,” so the old adage goes. Cotto may not be quite at that late stage yet, but after his long and at times hard career he can’t be too far away. Will Cotto dig deep and pull out a momentous revenge win over Margarito? And if he does, will the joy and satisfaction brought by that victory prove enough for Cotto to walk away?
Miguel sure would be walking away on top if he did hammer Margarito and then walked, head held high, into the sunset. Of course, Margarito has other, more painful ideas!