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Miguel Cotto is committed to inspiring, aiding hurricane-battered countrymen

Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Boxing

LOS ANGELES -- Miguel Cotto's reluctance to communicate every thought in his head has, at times, hidden the goodness and resilience that define him.

The four-division boxing champion returned last week to his trainer Freddie Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood after spending the last month aiding his family, neighbors and friends in Puerto Rico during and after Hurricane Maria.

Reports put Maria's damage near $51 billion with about 50 dead and more than 100 missing. Maria arrived Sept. 18, hours after Cotto returned home to be with his wife and four children after attending the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin bout in Las Vegas.

"The blast, the whole hurricane ... it was the biggest disaster I've ever seen in my whole life and it happened to Puerto Rico," Cotto said in his first public comments on the subject. "Trees with no limbs, fallen electrical power lines on the ground ... a lot of disasters throughout the country.

"The storm was too big and Puerto Rico is too small."

The first matter to tend to was family. Cotto said he made many calls before Maria struck and tried to maintain contact throughout.

The second duty was to help neighbors.

Cotto volunteered the use of large amounts of fresh water on his property in south-central Puerto Rico to all neighbors in need, according to his promoter, Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy Promotions.

"Puerto Ricans, we are very unique people," Cotto said. "All we have, and all we can do, is help each other for the benefit of Puerto Rico and all the families there.

"When I was born, I had a family of my father and mother. During my 36 years of life, I have new members of my family. They might not be in my family, but I love them like my family. Everybody's safe. Everybody has health and the desire to overcome this disaster."

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