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

Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Boxing

Cotto (41-5, 33 knockouts) said before defeating Japan's Yoshihiro Kamegai on Aug. 26 for the World Boxing Organization light-middleweight title that he planned to fight only once more before the end of the year and then retire.

Golden Boy sought to provide Cotto an esteemed farewell opponent such as lightweight champion Mikey Garcia, but talks fell apart and the company was left to sign former welterweight title fighter Sadam Ali for a Dec. 2 bout at Madison Square Garden in New York.

It took Golden Boy officials several days to reach Cotto in Puerto Rico to confirm his safety. He reported that the people closest to him were safe and he would fulfill his promise to fight by the end of the year.

Part of the deal is that Golden Boy will donate a percentage of each ticket sold to a Puerto Rico relief agency of Cotto's choosing.

The fight "is motivation for him," said Roach, who also trains Manny Pacquiao, whose home country of the Philippines has had weather disasters. "They took care of it very well, doing the best they could for how it is. It's a real mess, a terrible disaster. It'll take a while ... it's like what I've seen in the Philippines. There's destruction, and then the next day they're out rebuilding. Very resilient people.

"(Cotto) is not going to let this get to him. He's going to get through it. I know it's a big thing. He's not a guy who's going to talk about it, but I'm sure everybody in his community is doing well because he's making sure of it. He's that type of person."

Leaving Puerto Rico was difficult, but Cotto decided it was best.

Work remains to be done and he thought his countrymen might get a psychological boost from his expected victory in the ring, along with more donations.

Cotto has overcome much in his career. In 2008, he lost for the first time while getting badly beaten by Antonio Margarito, a loss that considerably heightened in controversy when Margarito was found to have plaster in his hand wraps before trying to fight Shane Mosley in his next bout.

In their 2011 rematch at Madison Square Garden, Cotto pelted Margarito with head-rattling punches until Margarito retired on his stool after nine rounds.

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