Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs), the only four-division world champion in the rich boxing history of Puerto Rico, returns to the ring tonight to take on the always-exciting Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs), of Japan, for the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship.
Cotto, 36, will attempt to secure a sixth world championship in four weight classes as he makes his 23rd appearance on HBO. Twenty-four of his last 25 fights, dating back to 2004, have been for world titles.
The surefire, first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, has held world titles in the junior welterweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight divisions and has faced a who’s-who of elite fighters over the last 15 years, including Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Sergio Martinez, Antonio Margartio (twice), Shane Mosley, Paulie Malignaggi, Ricardo Mayorga and Zab Judah.
“I’m very excited to be back and showcase a high level fight for the fans,” Cotto said. “Kamegai is a great, tough fighter, but I will be ready for him and capture the world title. I can’t wait to get back in the ring on August 26.”
Kamegai, 34, has been involved in several action-packed fights, including a controversial decision loss to former titleholder Robert Guerrero in 2014 and in his last two fights, a hellacious draw with Jesus Soto Karass last April and an eighth-round knockout of Soto Karass in the rematch in September.
“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, who will be by far in the biggest fight of his career tonight and in his first world title fight. “I am looking forward to giving fans the kind of aggressive fight that they have seen from me before and having my arm raised in victory.”
The fight will mark only Cotto’s second fight in the Los Angeles area during his 16-year career. He boxed at Staples Center on a Roy Jones undercard in his sixth professional fight in 2001.
“Miguel Cotto is a legend who is still fighting for title belts more than a dozen years after first being crowned a world champion. It’s remarkable,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “But I’ve seen Kamegai in action many times, and the guy doesn’t ever take a step back. Miguel will have his hands full.”