On August 26th boxing hits the mainstream once against as we finally get the long awaited showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor. On the same night, albeit on a different card, we get the chance to see a potentially thrilling action fight between Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33) and all action Japanese brawler Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24) for the WBO Light Middleweight title. The bout might not get the attention of the Mayweather Vs McGregor fight, but has the potential to be something much more exciting.
Of the two fighters it's Cotto who is the much more established and proven fighter. He's been a world champion in 4 weight classes, from Light Welterweight to Middleweight, and been one of the biggest names in world boxing for around a decade. At his best Cotto was a supreme boxer-puncher, who was exciting and aggressive, high skilled and a truly sensational fighter. His success in the ring will likely make him a first-ballot hall of famer, and with wins against the likes of Paul Malignaggi, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Sergio Martinez and Antonio Margarito his record speaks volumes. Whilst he has been beaten, by the likes of Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Austin Trout and Saul Alvarez, he has faced so many top fighters that there is no shame in losing to the fighters he's been beaten by.
Despite once being one of the sports top pound-for-pound fighters Cotto has been out of the ring since November 2015, when he lost to Saul Alvarez. That sort of inactivity, especially at the age of 36, won't help the Puerto Rican. Neither will his long and hard career, which has seen him in numerous damaging wars.
Although much less well known Kamegai has become a relatively well known fighter around the globe and is one of the fighters who consistently delivers thrilling contests. He's a flawed fighter, with terrible foot work and a worryingly limited defense, but his incredible toughness, insane stamina and his willingness to take one to land one makes him a handful for fighters looking for a brawl. Against fighters that move Kamegai looks really limited, as we've seen in his losses to Johan Perez and Alfonso Gomez, but when fighters stand their ground Kamegai tends to come out on top.
Kamegai's recent wars with Jesus Soto Karass were back-to-back Fight of the Year contenders, and following those wars he has had a break from the ring, having not fought since last September. That sort of a break will help him recover physically and it's fair to say he'll be truly driven to make the most of his chance to become a world champion.
At his best Cotto would walk this bout. He would box, move and easily out point Kamegai over 12 rounds. Now with the clock ticking on Cotto's career, and with inactivity mounting, it's not as much of a foregone conclusion as it once was. We'd still suspect that a Cotto decision win would be the most likely, but we've seen some shocks this year, and if a hungry Kamegai can make this into a war, there is a chance he could break down Cotto for the late stoppage. It's a slim chance, but one that we can certainly see playing out.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.