Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) will make the final visit to the squared circle tonight, bringing an end to his hall of fame career that has spanned nearly sixteen years, a period that has witnessed its fair share of blood, sweat and the tears of a modern day great.
I for one will watch on with mixed emotions, a part of me sad to see one of this generations greatest making his exit whilst the other part of me happy that he will do so on his own terms, with his health intact.
Sure, he still has some miles on the clock but It becomes so easy for us as fight fans to see beyond the next fight, an enticing matchup on the horizon of the winner from Saul Alvarez Vs. Gennady Golovkin a possible destination so with that in mind you have to commend Miguel for the decision he has made.
“He could go on a lot further if he wanted to,’’ said Miguel’s trainer since 2013, Freddie Roach “He’s not washed up. He’s not all done. But the thing is, he’s done everything correctly. He’s saved his money, he’s got his health and he wants to spend more time with his family. To go out on top like that is a dream come true for everybody.’’
He walks away with his chest puffed out, his chin up and a bank balance which is envious to most, able to now spend time without distraction with his family who have foregone so much for him to reach for greatness.
It is a decision afforded to a select few in a sport of which is unforgiving, How many times have we witnessed a former great exceed his expiration in front of our very eyes? It becomes more difficult to watch with every unsuccessful attempt at recapturing that individual’s glory days which I hope will never be said on Miguel’s part.
The harsh reality is that the fighter is usually the last to know when a specific point in a career is upon him/her, It comes down the support system around them to give them the hard, cold truth that the day has come to focus on something else.
Miguel as served as a beacon for the sport in the small country of Puerto Rico becoming maybe not it’s most skilled but certainly it’s most prestigious export, winning titles in four weight classes beating the likes of a very live Shane Mosely, Zab Judah, the most satisfying being his rematch knockout of Antonio Margarito and his annihilation of Sergio Martinez at Middleweight, just some of the great encounters that his children/grandchildren can look back upon with cherished memories.
I will watch on tonight with a lump in my throat, emotions raw for a fighter who has long been a favourite of mine, wins over Carlos Maussa, Lovemore Ndou, Randall Bailey and Demarcus Corley had already peaked my interest but it was his knockdown filled gun fight with Ricardo Torres that ignited the fire that has stayed lit in me for the remainder of his sixteen year career.
It is fitting that his last night is staged in New York, throughout the years it has become a second home to Miguel, finding a hardcore legion of fans who will look to send him off in great fashion even against their own Sadam Ali.
I bid him farewell with a Thank You to his family for lending him to us, wishing him the very best in whatever he chooses in the future.