Veteran Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto returned to a championship belt by defeating Japan’s Joshihiro Kamegai in a 12-round undercard in the World Boxing Organization (WBO) superwelter category, which was vacant.
The open-ended bout at Carson’s Stubhub Center, which saw a full-back, allowed Cotto, 36, to claim sixth world title in his career.
Cotto had not fought since November 2015, when he lost the middleweight title to Mexican Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, who later vacated him to face Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin (GGG) on 16 September.
The judges gave the victory with cards of 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110.
Cotto, who made his mark at 41-5 with 33 KO’s, was always the fighter who took the lead and threw multiple combinations of punches that came clearly to the face of the Japanese boxer.
“I think the win is deserved, I was always the one who risked the most and best hits placed and I looked for the victory from the beginning,” Cotto said at the conclusion of the match.
Cotto also withstood Kamegai’s initial pressure and tightened the pace in the final bouts to leave his opponents with no chance of winning.
Kamegai came out aggressive against Cotto from the opening bell, but Cotto struck the hardest hits by placing a left hook at the end of the first round.
Cotto struck a demolish right at the start of the fifth round, which propelled Kamegai’s head back.
“He’s a tough fighter, a tough opponent,” Cotto admitted at the conclusion of the fight. “Since the fifth round and six, I knew I was not going to stop it so easy.”
Despite his bravery, Kamegai did not have the power to overcome the class and the blows that placed him the new Puerto Rican champion.
Before the match began, Cotto anticipated that this would be his last year in the quadrilaterals and that he wanted to leave by the big door of the triumph.
After ending the fight against Kamegai, Cotto told HBO that he was ready to fight once again and that it would be next December.
“I’m already 36. I’m going to be 37 on October 29 and I think that’s enough, boxing is enough for me,” admitted Cotto. “One more in December and that will be all.”
When asked who he would seek to face, Cotto said the decision will be up to coach Freddie Roach, who expressed his desire to go up against the winner of the Alvarez-Golovkin match.
“It would be a great fight, but now I just want to enjoy the win I got tonight,” Cotto said.
For his part, the Japanese boxer also acknowledged that Cotto had placed the best hits and that he was deserving of victory.