With all the headlines going to Showtime’s broadcast of Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor on Aug. 26, HBO’s broadcast of Miguel Cotto vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai was an afterthought for many casual boxing aficionados.
While Mayweather and McGregor filled up the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, many Southern Californians poured into the seats of the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. to watch Cotto take down Kamegai.
Both fighters sought to claim the WBO Junior Middleweight title and even after Cotto’s 21-month hiatus, he remained a fan favorite among the packed crowd at the StubHub Center.
“I’m very excited to be back and showcase a high-level fight for the fans,” said Cotto in a press release from BoxingNews24.com.
Cotto, an experienced fighter out of Puerto Rico, weighed in at about 154 lbs. to go along with his 5’7” frame. Now in the twilight of his career, the 36-year-old is seen as a lock for the Boxing Hall of Fame, with a record of 40–5 and 33 knockouts.
Meanwhile, Kamegai, a boxer from Japan, sought to make an impact inside the ring at 5'9" and about 154 lbs. with a record of 27–3–2 and 24 knockouts. The 34-year-old is best known for his aggression and defensive skills.
“I fully understand who I am going to be in the ring against, but Cotto’s record and history won’t matter once we are toe to toe,” said Kamegai according to Bleacher Report.
Kamegai’s skills were not exactly highlighted in his performance against Cotto as he walked into many of the Puerto Rican’s blows, although match attendees were surprised by the Japanese international’s iron chin.
By the end, Cotto was unable to break Kamegai, but he put on a powerful performance, breaking his own record for the most thrown punches in a single fight. Kamegai was basically Cotto’s personal punching bag as he continuously landed combinations of hooks and jabs.
To nobody’s surprise, Cotto won the fight by unanimous decision and went home with the WBO title. Nonetheless, Cotto was left with the burning question: Who will he fight in the final match of his career?
Cotto decided to give the mic to his trainer, Freddie Roach, and the legendary coach said that Cotto would like to face the winner of the upcoming Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin matchup on Sept. 16.
Overall, the fans in Carson were treated to a great performance by Cotto. Even with all the hype in Vegas, boxing fans who spent the evening at the StubHub Center seemed to have forgotten all about the Mayweather-McGregor fight in favor of a classic boxing brawl.