Miguel Cotto has vowed that his upcoming bout this Saturday against Sadam Ali at New York’s Madison Square Garden will be the very last of his storied 16-year professional career.
And, although the betting odds for the next boxing match will be heavily in the Puerto Rican legend’s favor, the upcoming event isn’t one bit lacking in emotion or significance.
Make no mistake about it, fans paying to attend the live event and those watching live on HBO will be there to honor the career of a fighter who has never done anything less than give 100% to them.
The four-division former world champ and future Hall of Famer has been in the ring with a who’s who of top modern talent, facing names such as Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiaso, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Sergio Martinez, Saul Alvarez, Paulie Malignaggi, Joshua Clottey, and Zab Judah. And while he hasn’t always come out on top against the best of the best, he has always given an honest, earnest effort and has never turned his back on giving the fans what they want.
But, there comes a time for all warriors to put down their swords and shields.
“It’s time to stop,” Cotto recently told Sports Illustrated. “After 25 years of everything that we have been through, We have reached goals we never thought possible, so it’s now time to dedicate everything to my family.”
In boxing, retirements come and go and retired legends, especially, have a tough time letting go of the attention and the paydays that come with a return to active duty. But one gets the feeling that Cotto is one of those few fighters who just may stick to his decision to stay retired.
“Obviously, there’s many reasons why a fighter can choose to come back, but a fighter like Miguel Cotto, he has everything he needs, most importantly, his family,” promoter Oscar De La Hoya said during a teleconference to help hype the Cotto-Ali fight.
“He has a whole island that supports him, that is with him 100 percent. Millions of people who supported him all over the world, so there’s no reason…I believe him when he says this is his last fight.”
The battle-hardened Cotto, himself, seems content in a way most fighters aren’t when the end of their career comes.
“I’ve won some and I’ve lost some,” Cotto told Sports Illustrated. “But in the end I wouldn’t change a thing in all I’ve been through.”
Boxing fans would be remiss in not giving a final tip of the hat to a true warrior and a credit to his profession as he prepares for one last battle.