Cotto: 'I am ready to fight again'

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For most of his career, Miguel Cotto was promoted by Top Rank, which helped build him into one of boxing’s biggest stars.

But in 2012, he and Top Rank parted ways, albeit briefly, and Cotto fought twice for Golden Boy Promotions — a megafight with Floyd Mayweather and then against Austin Trout. Cotto lost both of those junior middleweight world title fights by decision.

Where: StubHub Center in Carson, California
When: Sat., Aug. 26
TV: HBO, 9:45 p.m. ET/PT

He then returned to Top Rank for two more fights, including his middleweight championship victory against Sergio Martinez in 2014, before moving on to a two-fight union with Roc Nation Sports. Now, five years after his stint with Golden Boy — and as Cotto winds down his career — he is back with Oscar De La Hoya’s company and undoubtedly hoping for better results in their second go-round.

Their union under a multifight promotional contract was completed last week when Cotto also signed to face Yoshihiro Kamegai for a vacant junior middleweight world title on Aug. 26 (HBO, 9:45 p.m. ET/PT) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, in the first fight of the deal. But the contract was not announced until the fighters met at the kickoff news conference to promote their bout on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Cotto and Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports had parted ways the previous week when they could not agree to terms for the bout with Japan’s Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs), also a Golden Boy fighter, which was initially in the works for June 24.

Cotto has had a good relationship with Golden Boy for many years, and when the offer to sign with the company came, he accepted. A major component of the deal was Golden Boy’s commitment to working closely with his Miguel Cotto Promotions to help build the company’s fighters in Puerto Rico.

Cotto still had one fight remaining on his Roc Nation Sports contract when they agreed to dissolve the union. Cotto said he has no regrets about his time with a company that has struggled to break through in boxing.

“There were things that were never realized with Roc Nation,” Cotto told ESPN before Wednesday’s news conference. “Because of issues that there were between us, we believed that moving away from each other was the best for both of us. But I have nothing bad to say about them. I enjoyed our relationship. It was good for both of us but we decided that we both just had to move on.”

Now he’s back with Golden Boy and happy about the new deal.

“I rested, I enjoyed a lot of time with my family, but I am ready to fight again. I’ll be ready for Kamegai. I’m excited. I’m just ready to try to finish my career the best way possible.”

Miguel Cotto

“I look forward to finishing my career in the best way possible,” Cotto said. “Golden Boy, they’re a really good friend to us and the opportunity to work with them came and we said yes. They know my interest in developing boxers and developing my company in Puerto Rico and they will try to help us. That was important. The relationship with Oscar, with Golden Boy, is very respectful and just a continuation of our relationship.”

De La Hoya, who once talked about a possible fight with Cotto many years ago, said Golden Boy’s involvement with Miguel Cotto Promotions and its promise to bringing more boxing to Puerto Rico is a major part of their deal.

De La Hoya said Puerto Rico would become a destination for some of the cards on his new Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN series.

“I am happy to announce that with Miguel Cotto Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions, we will take our ESPN series to the island and bring back the excitement of boxing,” De La Hoya said. “Obviously, we couldn’t do it without Cotto’s help and his wonderful team. We are excited to take boxing back [to Puerto Rico] with ESPN internationally. As you’ve seen, our Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN series has had amazing fights and incredible ratings. We are giving the fans what they deserve.”

Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs), 36, will be boxing for the first time since losing a decision and the middleweight world title to Golden Boy’s biggest star, Canelo Alvarez, in November 2015. A Feb. 25 bout with James Kirkland was canceled when Kirkland suffered a broken nose during his training camp.

“I rested, I enjoyed a lot of time with my family, but I am ready to fight again,” Cotto said. “I’ll be ready for Kamegai. I’m excited. I’m just ready to try to finish my career the best way possible.”

Previously, Cotto had said that 2017 would be his final year in the ring. But he admitted Wednesday that he is not firmly committed to that being the case. Fighters, of course, often change their minds about retirement.

If all goes well Aug. 26, Cotto said he would next fight Dec. 2, opponent to be determined. And then he will consider another fight.

“The only thing that could make me change my mind about extending my career a little bit more is the kind of offer we receive after the December fight,” said Cotto, who will return to training camp with Freddie Roach on July 1. “It all depends on the offers we receive.”

Cotto is already the only Puerto Rican male fighter to win world titles in four weight divisions — junior welterweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight — but a win over Kamegai, 34, would give him yet another piece of Puerto Rican boxing history.

Cotto would become the first Puerto Rican fighter to win six world title belts. He, Hall of Famer Felix Trinidad and female fighter Amanda Serrano have won five — Serrano across five weight classes, Cotto in four and Trinidad in three.

“I am going to be the only Puerto Rican to be champion six different times,” Cotto said. “It will be recognition for all of the hard work I have done in my career.”

Golden Boy and Cotto have discussed an eventual move to 160 pounds — when he was middleweight champion he fought at catch weights below the division limit — with former middleweight titlist David Lemieux a possibility as well as a rematch with Alvarez, should he defeat unified world champion Gennady Golovkin on Sept. 16.

Cotto was very disappointed by the loss to Alvarez, particularly such wide scorecards (119-109, 118-110 and 117-111), and would like another shot.

“I turned the page,” Cotto said. “I know what I did in the Canelo fight, and even if I’m not on the same page as the judges, I am happy with my performance. No regrets about that night. If the opportunity happened, we’re more than happy to do it again.”

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