The following appeared in this week's edition of the Fightful Boxing Newsletter, which publishes each Thursday at 6 AM EST.
Timeline of Miguel Cotto’s Career:
February 23, 2000: Cotto makes his professional debut in Austin, Texas, needing only 132 seconds to defeat Jason Doucet, the first of 32 straight wins that includes a lengthy reign as the WBO junior welterweight champion.
September 11, 2004: The first signature win of Cotto’s career. Cotto had spent more than a year as the WBC International junior welterweight title and is now getting a shot at the WBO junior welterweight title that was vacated by Zab Judah as part of his move to the welterweight division. In front of a large and raucous crowd at the Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan Puerto Rico, Cotto fought Brazilian Olympic boxer Kelson Pinto and defeated him via sixth-round TKO. It was at this moment Cotto emerged as the next big superstar in Puerto Rico boxing.
June 10, 2006: Cotto’s first pay-per-view fight was a success in the ring, defeating Paulie Malignaggi via unanimous decision. It ended up being Cotto’s final fight at junior welterweight, but the Top Rank pay-per-view only did about 60,000 buys, a failure in today’s pay-per-view market, but not indicative of Cotto’s eventual status as a pay-per-view main event star.
December 2, 2006: After six successful title defenses which included wins over Malignaggi and DeMarcus Corley, Cotto makes the move to welterweight to challenge for the vacant WBA welterweight title. Cotto ended up fighting fellow Puerto Rican Carlos Quintana in a battle of Puerto Rican stars with the winner getting top billing as the country’s best boxer. Cotto beat Quintana inside five rounds to capture the title.
June 9, 2007: Cotto returned to pay-per-view, fighting Judah at Madison Square Garden. Cotto got his first true signature win over a true elite boxer such as Judah, winning via 11th round TKO. The pay-per-view, the first of four straight Cotto pay-per-views handled by HBO, did about 225,000 buys, which would end up being a fraction of what Cotto would eventually be able to draw.
November 10, 2007: Capitalizing on the momentum gained from beating Judah, Cotto got another signature victory at Madison Square Garden by scoring a unanimous decision victory over future Hall of Famer Shane Mosley, retaining his WBA welterweight title. That fight, also a pay-per-view headliner, drew 400,000 buys, further solidifying Cotto is a boxing superstar.
July 26, 2008: Perhaps one of the most famous fights of Cotto’s career and a somewhat tainted chapter in the storied boxing rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico, Cotto suffered his first loss as a pro against Antonio Margarito. Margarito would end up being Cotto’s signature rivalry, with Margarito scoring the first win in the two fights both had against each other. Despite Cotto doing everything in his power to knock out Margarito, the Mexican’s legendary chin proved too tough for the Puerto Rican. That fight did about 450,000 pay-per-view buys, but the fight had come under fire due to Margarito allegedly cheating. That would end up being a big sticking point during the buildup to their 2011 rematch.
November 14, 2009: After wins over Michael Jennings and Joshua Clottey, Cotto is now the WBO welterweight champion. His next major test came in the form of Manny Pacquiao. The fight, billed as “Firepower,” the fight proved to be a commercial and critical success, drawing 1.25 million buys on pay-per-view. Unfortunately for Cotto, he wasn’t able to stop Pacquiao and instead, suffered his second pro loss, another low in Cotto’s career.
December 3, 2011: After Cotto lost to Pacquiao, a change of scenery was needed for Cotto. Cotto hired Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward and for the time, the union was a success. Cotto won a junior middleweight world title, setting up a rematch against Margarito. Two months before the rematch, Cotto fired Steward and hired Pedro Luis Diaz as his new trainer. The change didn’t stop Cotto’s momentum for the time being. Cotto got his much-needed revenge, beating Margarito to the point that he had to step away from the sport for five years.
May 5, 2012: After losing to Pacquiao and Margarito, Cotto needed to beat a boxing megastar to re-cement himself as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world. Cotto fought none other than Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather broke character and actually showed a ton of respect for Cotto. The fight ended up being very competitive with Mayweather picking up the win. The fight, which drew 1.5 million buys on pay-per-view, was a sign of things to come for Cotto as he would later on suffer his first losing streak as a professional boxer.
December 1, 2012: Cotto’s fourth career loss ended up being his worst loss, a unanimous decision defeat to Austin Trout. The fight was for the WBA “regular” junior middleweight title, but Cotto was unable to capture the title. Cotto’s trainer carousel continues with Cotto announcing he would no longer be trained by Diaz. Cotto announced his new trainer would be former trainer of the year Freddie Roach. The partnership with Roach perhaps was Cotto’s best decision as a boxer as Cotto reestablished the left body hook as one of the deadliest punches in the sport, beating Delvin Rodriguez on October 5, 2013.
June 7, 2014: In perhaps Cotto’s finest performance, Cotto made history as the first male boxer in Puerto Rico’s history to capture a world title in four different weight classes, defeating Sergio Martinez to win the WBC and lineal middleweight titles. Cotto knocked down Martinez three times in the first round, eventually winning the fight via ninth-round TKO.
November 21, 2015: Cotto’s last superfight saw him take on Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez. Already in the twilight of his career, Cotto was out to prove that he still has what it takes to fight and beat the best boxers in the world. The fight went the distance, but Cotto wasn’t able to do enough in the judges’ eyes to get the win, dropping his record to 40-5 at the time. Cotto took a break from the sport for a bit, eventually scheduling himself for a fight on February 2017 against James Kirkland, but an injury to Kirkland canceled the fight.
August 26, 2017: Under a new two-fight partnership with Golden Boy Promotions, Cotto returned to form against Yoshihiro Kamegai, winning the vacant WBO junior middleweight title via unanimous decision. Despite Cotto wanting to fight the winner of the Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight, Cotto would eventually settle for a fight against up-and-coming contender Sadam Ali.
December 2, 2017: In front of a lively, pro-Cotto crowd at Madison Square Garden, Cotto will fight Ali in what he has repeatedly said will be his last boxing fight.