Saturday night at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL, three time former world champion Miguel Cotto will make his much anticipated return to the ring when he takes on Delvin Rodriguez. For Cotto it’s a new venue, a new trainer, and perhaps his final run to not only getting another world championship under his belt, but to retirement as well.
Cotto’s career can be defined as nothing short of the term amazing. He’s fought in huge PPV bouts against Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, he was on the wrong end of a brutal beating at the hands of Antonio Margerito, a beating where he was able to exact revenge on years later after determining that Margerito may have loaded his hands with plaster in their first bout. He has defeated world class fighters like Paulie Malignaggi, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, and Joshua Clottey. Every fight, every venue, and every show Cotto has ever fought in has been exciting. At 32 years old, the big question surrounding Cotto is how long does he have left, and is this his final run.
Coming off of two losses, to former world champion Austin Trout and pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather, Cotto is looking to jump start his final run with a win over Delvin Rodriguez this Saturday night. Rodriguez brings six losses to the table, and the old Miguel Cotto would have most likely wiped the floor with someone of Rodriguez’s skills years ago, however with his long career and recent losses hanging over his head, the fight against Rodriguez is one that is expected to be a dangerous one that will likely be the end, or the beginning for the former world champion.
“I’d say it was time to retire if we lost.” New trainer Freddie Roach said. Nothing could be more concrete. Cotto was once a star in the boxing world. At one time he was considered to be the only person that had a good chance at beating Floyd Mayweather. When the fight against Mayweather fell through in 2008, he went on to take on the dangerous Antonio Margerito, who at the time was dominating every fighter that stepped into the ring with him. The fight would be a turning point in Cotto’s career. Margerito defeated Cotto giving him a beating that many thought could end his career, but later it was determined that his gloves could have held a plaster in them that battered Cotto’s face later in the fight. It was never determined if Margerito had indeed cheated, but the revenge victory that Cotto exacted years later made everyone wonder if his first loss was a fluke.
He was able to come back after the first loss of his career to Margerito. Three fights later he would be in the ring with Manny Pacquiao. It was a fight that many thought he could win but in the end Cotto would be at the end of another vicious beating, and people wondered if we had seen the end of Cotto or were at least starting to see it. Four fight later, after building a three fight win streak and exacting revenge on Margerito he was back in the mix. Cotto found himself in the ring with Floyd Mayweather, and despite losing a unanimous decision, gave him hell for twelve rounds of an exciting fight. Cotto’s career seemed like it could go for another run, but a upset loss to Austin Trout had him pondering his career, and forced him to take a ten month break from boxing.
A loss to Rodriguez would most likely mean the end of Miguel Cotto. He was picked for the sole purpose of this. Rodriguez is a tough veteran that will challenge Cotto. He’s expected to lose, but a win wouldn’t be shocking to most viewers. It’s a sole test of whether or not Miguel Cotto can continue his career. Roach knows it, and somewhere in his mind Cotto does too.
Working in Cotto’s favor for this fight, is new trainer Freddie Roach who is known for his aggressive style of teaching, which will work well with a fighter who was considered one of the most powerful aggressive punchers in his prime.
“I think he can still be great. I want to remind him of what works best and bring it back.” Roach stated. What he is perhaps talking about is the devastating left hook that Miguel Cotto used to have. It’s a punch that he’s gotten away from over the years, and one that most likely Roach will want to see against Rodriguez.
For Cotto, Roach provides perhaps a motivation that Cotto lacked in his upset loss to Austin Trout last December. Coming off a great performance against Mayweather, Cotto was expected to walk through Trout to get a huge fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez in May of 2013, however Cotto looked lackluster in the fight, and ended up losing a unanimous decision to Trout.
“We’ve been focusing a lot on body punching.” Cotto also said he wants to finish out his career with Roach as his trainer. “He brings out the best in me. We work well together.”
Cotto finds himself in familiar territory Saturday night. Once again he is expected to win when he takes on Delvin Rodriguez. However when you have had the career that Cotto has had one never knows what to expect. And that’s probably what has made him so exciting to watch over the years. One thing is certain. A win by Cotto Saturday night will line him up to face either Saul Canelo Alvarez or Sergio Martinez next. Cotto will likely want to finish his career out big and both fights provide a huge crown pleasing event with tons of PPV buys to add to it. Martinez and Canelo both have said that they want to fight Cotto in early of 2014 should he get past Rodriguez this weekend. While Cotto will likely be the underdog in both fights, under new trainer Freddie Roach, perhaps anything is possible. A fight against either, or both guys, in 2014 would likely generate the most money Cotto has made his entire career, and would be an exciting way to go out should he retire after the 2014 year.