Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto, currently the WBO welterweight champion, was born on October 29, 1980 in Caguas, Puerto Rico. He trained in the Bairo Gym during his early years as an amateur boxer and has won several major fights in the course of his amateur career, among them a silver medal in the 1998 Junior World championships. He also represented Puerto Rico at the 2000 Olympic Games held in Sydney, Australia.
After being eliminated from the classificatory rounds at the 2000 Olympics, Cotto turned professional in 2001 as a Light Welterweight. He won the WBO version of the light Welterweight title against Brazilian boxer Kelson Pinto on September 11, 2004 in Puerto Rico, with a KO after six rounds.
Cotto defended his title on December 11, 2004 and defeated challenger and former world champion Randall Bailey by KO in the sixth round, after Bailey suffered several cuts to his face and around his eyes. He was named Puerto Rico’s Fighter of the Year for 2004 eleven days later, on December 22, 2004, by the Puerto Rican boxing commission.
Cotto’s next successful defense for the title came on February 26, 2005 against Demarcus Corley, in which he retained the title but not before getting a serious beating from his American opponent. His next match was against Uzbekistani boxer Mohamed Abdulaev, the same boxer who defeated Cotto during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. This fight, held on June 11, 2005 at the Madison Square Garden, ended with a technical knock-out by Cotto in the 9th round.
After giving up his title in 2006 with plans to move up to the Welterweight division, Cotto landed a match opposite Carlos Quintana on December 2, 2006, where he defeated Quintana by TKO in the 5th round, effectively gaining the vacant WBA welterweight championship. Cotto would successfully defend this title three times, first from Zab Judah in New York, second from Shane Mosley, and the latest defense from Alfonso Gomez, shortly before the Puerto Rican boxer was hailed as the WBA’s Boxer of the Year during the organization’s annual celebration in Buenos Aires.
Cotto once was known for having a solid career, however, his record was tarnished when he lost to Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito when he moved to the welterweight division. His record now stands at 37 fights fought with 35 wins, 28 via KO, and 2 losses.