For some of us around the sport of boxing, August 26, 2017 is a day that will live in infamy.
More than likely, it will be remembered for an event between one of the best pure boxers of the 21st Century against an MMA superstar. Most will forget the name of an approaching Japanese invader looking to bomb the heart and soul of Puerto Rico.
Never one to run for cover, boriqua legend Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33KOs) couldn't hide disdain for Monday's international media call. Same guy who had no problem showing his ass for HBO 24/7 cameras in the shower, has long viewed any press inquiry as an affront to privacy. (ED NOTE: Now, he mostly to me comes off as a bit bored by queries, and for sure hesitant to be vulnerable in his answers. But he's polite about it…) Luckily for us, and for you the viewer, Cotto is very much the violent exhibitionist in the ring.
A five-time world champion and the first Puerto Rican fighter to win titles in four weight classes, Cotto made it clear on the eve of the most rare eclipse that his Sun will set for good on December 31st of this year.
But first, he'll face a dangerous challenger in Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24KOs) for the vacant WBO super welterweight title at StubHub in LA on Saturday night (9:45 pm ET HBO).
This fight will be his first since a narrow November 2015 loss to Canelo Alvarez, and his first under Golden Boy Promotions after striking a deal with Oscar De La Hoya. It's also a bigger and better fight than would've been the case with James Kirkland in February.
The former “Golden Boy” was able to use his shared Latin influence with Cotto to include a vision for revitalizing boxing in Puerto Rico, something which was not going to happen with a suddenly shaky ROC Nation.
Cotto and De La Hoya, flanked by representatives of both HBO and ESPN, looked very comfortable at the StubHub press event to announce Cotto V Kamegai in May. It came within days of Golden Boy having inked a deal with ESPN to promote Latino boxing.
This fight (which will have great appeal in Puerto Rico, Japan and Mexico), should set the stage for a PPV extravaganza against someone we know very well on December 31st.
COTTO V KAMEGAI
For the hell of It, I asked Miguel if there we could expect his last fight to be in Puerto Rico, since his stated purpose in signing with Golden Boy was with his island nation's best interest. He wouldn't exactly take the bait, but we should expect something dramatic. “Dramatic” would probably be the best word to describe how Cotto prevails this weekend.
Kamegai fights like a kamikaze pilot manning a WWII plane that will nosedive right into Cotto. Golden Boy, HBO, ESPN and most of the established media knows this is suicide, as an older Cotto will still have enough modern weaponry to blow up his daring Japanese foe under the very offensive minded Freddie Roach.
I'm giving this about eight rounds before Kamegai is splattered all over your television screen.
Manny Pacquiao showed recently just how short lived retirement can be– and don't be surprised if his old arch nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez came out of retirement for a huge international title fight finale with Cotto that would benefit the entire Latin world.