Cotto: I’m leaving on Dec 31, no matter what

By Miguel Maravilla

Four-division world champion Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) of Caguas, Puerto Rico makes his ring return against Japan’s Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs). Cotto takes on Kamegai this Saturday, August 26 at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California live on HBO World Championship Boxing. The Puerto Rican star spoke to Fightnews.com on his upcoming fight with Kamegai.

“I am ready for this fight with Kamegai. All fights are tough but I will do my job to come out on top,” Miguel Cotto told Fightnews.com. The fight will mark the debut of Miguel Cotto fighting under the Golden Boy Promotions banner, although he doesn’t plan to stick around for long.

“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 said. “The relationship between us has always been a good one,” Cotto added.

Scheduled to take on James Kirkland back in February at the Star in Frisco, Texas, Cotto’s fight with Kirkland was canceled. Soon after Cotto’s two fight stint with Roc Nation was over as he left camp and pondered his options and then returned to the gym.

“The inactivity only gave me more time to spend with my family but I stayed active in the gym,”

Cotto wrapped up camp at the Wild Card Gym with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach in Hollywood, California in preparation for Kamegai as this was the duo’s fifth camp together since hooking up back in the fall of 2013.

“I arrived here in L.A. at the beginning of July to start my training time. I’ve only come here with one thing on my mind, and that’s just getting ready for Kamegai. And I’ve been doing a great job here in L.A,” Cotto on camp.

“Camp was great he is looking real good. We got the game plan down and we are one-hundred percent ready,” Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach told Fightnews.com

Returning to the ring for the first time since his decision loss to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez back in November of 2015, Cotto is eager to step foot in the ring. This fight will also mark Cotto’s second fight in L.A. as he fought here back in 2001 in his sixth pro fight. A knockout over Arturo Rodriguez as he was featured on the Roy Jones Jr. pay per view card as a young rising prospect.

“I’m happy to be back. All I have to say is I had a great time at camp and it’s great to be back and in this fight,” Cotto said.

His opponent 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. Kamegai like Cotto comes to fight and returns to the Stub Hub where he had some battles with Robert Guerrero and Johan Perez.

“Kamegai is a tough, strong, fighter that comes forward. He will come ready to prove who he is. I’m just ready for Kamegai. I’m just thinking about the Kamegai fight, and whatever,” Cotto said. “After this fight with Kamegai, I will sit together with my team to see what are Miguel Cotto’s best options,” Cotto added.

“His opponent comes, comes, comes and don’t stop. He is always in great shape but I think Miguel will catch him along the way. It won’t be easy,” Freddie Roach on Kamegai.

The 36-year-old Cotto has also talked about his decision to hang them up and retire at the end of the year. Having turned pro following the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sidney, Australia, Cotto won his first world title in 2004 and went on to become a four division champion having been in the ring with the likes of Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Sergio Martinez and Canelo.

“The decision is already made. I’m leaving on December 31st, no matter what happens with my career. I think that 16 years is enough, and I have other things to do in my life. I’m taking care of my family better, and that is the biggest and only reason that I have to stop boxing and quit boxing and retire after December 31st,” Cotto said.

“I enjoy everything. The victory against Mosley, the rematch against Margarito, but at the end of the road, I’m really proud of the kind of career that I’ve had. All I want to do is finish my career in the best way possible. That’s the reason that I’ve been working hard at this stage of my career. And all I want for me is to finish this in the best way possible,” Cotto added.

Cotto vs Kamegai will be a scheduled 12 round championship fight for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title.

“There is no doubt that I will come out with the victory,” Cotto said.

Cotto looks to add another world title to his legacy and become the “Enchanted Islands” Puerto Rico’s current and only world champion.

“You know, the future of boxing is whatever we want it to be. We have to work hard and make them believe, make them work hard, as you have to work for boxing, and the whole world is in the hands of every Puerto Rican,”

Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla

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