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  • By Miguel Maravilla Photo by Hector Santos

Cotto Begins Camp at the Wild Card

Five-time world champion Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) of Puerto Rico is set for his return to ring as he will take on Austin, Texas’s hard hitting slugger James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas live on HBO Pay per view. We caught up with Cotto in Los Angeles at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood as he talked about his upcoming return bout.

“I am happy to be here we are ready for the fight. I feel good and marvelous,” Miguel Cotto told Southern California “This fight will be the newest chapter in my career,” Cotto added.

The last time we saw Cotto in the ring was over a year ago back in November of 2015 as he dropped a decision to Mexican superstar and current WBO junior middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Now the Puerto Rican star is eager to get back in the ring as he looks forward to his showdown.

“It’s good to be back with Freddie. I know Freddie has everything set for training camp,” Cotto on his return. “I rested a lot and now I am ready to fight,” Cotto on his return.

For his opponent Kirkland he has also been out of the ring for over a year since May of 2015 as he suffered a knockout loss to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Despite that the Texan always comes to fight as there will be no doubt he will come at Cotto.

“James is a tough fighter, he is the best and most dangerous fighter, he’s going to go to work with victory on his mind. I’m going to work with that, too. We started camp with Freddie and we are looking forward to the fight,” Cotto on his opponent Kirkland.

Cotto’s training camp is already underway with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach as they will continue to work at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California in preparation for Kirkland.

“The focus is James and we are training for James. My camp started three weeks ago. Freddie is in charge and Freddie has trained me well and I am confident that I will be ready for February 25th,” Cotto on training camp.

“We have a tough fight. Miguel the last 2 days has been great. It’s good to be back to work and happy to work with Miguel,” Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach told Southern California

This fight will be the first ever boxing event held at Ford Center’s Star in Frisco, Texas. The new state of the art facility is the practice headquarters of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys as Cotto looks to make a splash. Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones seems to be a regular now in boxing as he recently co-promoted Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Liam Smith last year and also hosted two Pacquiao mega fights at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Cotto talked about his association with Jerry Jones and fighting at the Star.

“I understand Jerry Jones is a perfect partner for this event in Dallas. It’s great that we have his support. The NFL is a huge sport for us and to be invited to see his team play at the stadium and fighting in his new facility, it’s amazing,” Cotto on the partnership with Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys.

The Puerto Rican star has made it clear that this will be his last year in the sport that has made his him the man he is. Cotto was an Olympian as he represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Turning pro shortly after Cotto won his first world title in his 21st fight with a TKO over Kelson Pinto in 2004. Two years later he captured the WBA welterweight title with a TKO over Carlos Quintana.

“It has been typical in my career that we look to fight the best. I have always fought the best and that’s what I want the people to know 20-30 years from now,” Cotto said.

Undefeated in 32 fights Cotto suffered his first defeat to Antonio Margarito in 2008 and what followed after that was the speculation and controversy of Margarito possibly using plastered wraps in his brutal KO win over Cotto.

“The Margarito fight is a chapter of my career that we hide and never look back on. What Margarito did to us only made me work hard enough to climb out of and we did by beating him the second fight,” Cotto explained.

Redemption would follow as Cotto would go on to win the WBO welterweight title in his next fight over Michael Jennings and in 2010 he moved up to win the WBA super welterweight title over Yuri Foreman. The following year he avenged his defeat to Margarito by TKO at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Continuing to cement his legacy Cotto won the WBC middleweight title over Sergio Martinez in 2014.

“I have accomplished enough in my career and I am happy how my career has gone. I can’t control what they say about my legacy. It’s up to the people on what to think about my legacy,” Cotto said.

Cotto vs. Kirkland will be a scheduled 12 round bout as Cotto will look to make a statement against the always tough Kirkland in the twilight of what has been an illustrious career.

“February 25 all I want is to be part of a good show and put on a good fight. I will give it 150 percent,” Cotto concluded.

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