- By Miguel Maravilla Photos by Tom Hogan
Puerto Rico's former four-division world champion Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs ) returns to the ring as he will square off against Yoshihiro "El Maestrito" Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs) of Japan on Saturday August 26 at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California live on HBO World Championship Boxing. Fightnews.com spoke with Cotto at the kickoff press conference about his return to the ring.
“I am really happy to be back in the ring and I look forward to putting on a great show,” Miguel Cotto told Southern California Boxing.com
This will be Cotto’s first fight in Los Angeles since 2001 as he stopped Arturo Rodriguez on the Roy Jones Jr. vs. the late Julio Gonzalez undercard at Staples Center. Now he headlines this summer in one is one of the hottest venues in boxing and Southern California.
“It’s really good to be fighting here. The Stub Hub Center has hosted many great fights and I plan on doing that,” Cotto said.
Originally scheduled to fight in February against slugger James Kirkland of Austin, Texas, Cotto was slated to have the first boxing fight at the Ford Center’s Star in Frisco, Texas but that fight was called off. Shortly after, Cotto ended his contract with Roc Nation Sports, following a two fight stint which included his knockout of former middleweight champion Daniel Geale and loss to “Canelo” Alvarez.
“I have nothing bad to say about Roc Nation. We had two fights but the business relation ended but unfortunately not the way we wanted it to end but like I said, I have nothing bad to say about them,” Cotto explained.
Just last week Miguel Cotto and Golden Boy Promotions agreed on a multi-fight promotional deal. Cotto Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions will also work on developing prospects, advancing boxing Puerto Rico and promoting the boxing legend's upcoming fights.
“This is a mutual agreement Oscar and I have. It was an easy decision for me to work with Oscar. Golden Boy has always treated us well and there is a mutual respect between us,” Cotto on his agreement with Golden Boy.
"Miguel Cotto is not only a legend in the ring, but on the entire island of Puerto Rico, which has one of the richest boxing traditions around the globe," Oscar De La Hoya said. "Our new partnership will include Miguel's upcoming fights; working with Miguel Cotto Promotions' talented stable of fighters; and revitalizing boxing in Puerto Rico."
The Puerto Rican will begin his camp at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California with his Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach as this will be their fourth fight together since teaming up in 2013.
“My camp begins July 1st we will be training the same and I am confident Freddie will have me ready,” Cotto said about camp “The only thing I will have to do is follow Freddie’s instructions,” Cotto added.
Cotto returns to the ring for the first time since his decision loss to Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez back in November of 2015. This fight will also mark Cotto's second fight in L.A. as he fought here back in 2001 in his sixth pro fight.
Kamegai is coming off an eighth round stoppage over Jesus Soto Karass this past September in a rematch of their previous 2016 fight of the year candidate.
“To be honest with I have not seen Kamegai fight but I know he is a warrior. Freddie has all the tape on him and he will come up with the perfect plan to come out with the win,” Cotto on Kamegai. “Kamegai is a tough fighter, and he is coming with the victory on his mind,”
Winning his first world title over Kelson Pinto, Cotto won the WBO super lightweight title in 2004. Looking to add another collection to his resume Cotto will be fighting for his sixth world title as he has held five titles in four weight divisions.
“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. “I am in the last chapter in my career,” Cotto added.
If Cotto becomes world champion once again there has been some recent buzz about talks of potential fights with Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez and a rematch with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez as the Puerto Rican looks to close out his career.
“Those are only rumors right now my focus is on Kamegai. First I have to get passed this fight with Kamegai and then we can see what follows,” Cotto added. “What motivates me to keep fighting is my family they have been my main motivation throughout my career,”
Cotto vs Kamegai will be a scheduled 12 round championship fight for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title as this fight has all the ingredients and potential to be a 2017 fight of the year as both fighters are known for their battles will square off at the Stub Hub Center which has become the site to many memorable fights.
“I'm going to do the best I can for this fight and fight with my heart as always. See you all on August 26,”
Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla