This past Saturday night Miguel Cotto made history by becoming the first fighter to win titles in four different weight classes from Puerto Rico. The significance of this is huge for such a country with great boxing lineage. Out of all the sports the country partakes in, boxing is the sport at which they excel in the most. The country has produced 6 Olympic medalist more than it has in any other sport in world games. Also, unlike any other country, Puerto Rico’s legislation has made laws giving former fighters access to a pension and government assistance to keep money in their pockets. A fighters life is already hard enough when the money isn’t there anymore many have turned to grave circumstances to iron out their financial troubles. Puerto Rico is ranked third worldwide with the most world champions. What is even more amazing is that Puerto Rico has produced a champion in every one of the current divisions. There are well over sixty world champions this country has produced; Wilfred Benitez, Wilfredo Gomez, Hector Camacho, Felix Trinidad, and Angel Manfredy to just name a few. The current champions from the country include Danny Garcia, Jonathan Gonzalez, and now Miguel Cotto. As you can see this country has a rich history associated with the sport of boxing.
The significance of Saturday night’s victory for Miguel Cotto is that of great importance. Puerto Rican’s are known for their great sense of pride. The word “Machismo” comes to mind which means a strong or aggressive sense of masculine pride. Miguel Cotto has always had that trait. When he got beaten to a bloody pulp after he fought Antonio Margarito he retreated to the locker room because he couldn’t face defeat. For most Americans this showed a sign of disrespect but that is the major difference between the two countries. Defeat is shown as weakness to Puerto Rican’s whereas it is more excepted in the United States. Before Saturday nights results, Miguel Cotto had already made his mark in the sport. He is without a doubt headed to the Hall of Fame but he admitted before the fight that he has never beaten the elite fighters of his era. Having been beaten by both Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather, he has been in the ring and faced defeat to two of the best fighters of our time. Aside from those two fighters, his record is flawed only by Antonio Margarito and Austin Trout. Any other fighter would take pride in those two loses but Cotto feels he is on the same level. Cotto possess the same style as every Puerto Rican fighter. He has great technical skill but when it comes to a fight he will drop everything and exchange with anybody. His opponent on Saturday night was a fellow fighter headed to the Hall of Fame. Sergio Martinez has earned that right for all his accomplishments he has earned in the sport. With this victory against an elite fighter, Cotto has now earned the respect he so desperately wanted for himself and for his country.
Whenever a Puerto Rican fighter is on display the Puerto Rican Flag is hoisted for everyone to see. The country itself has seen it’s fare share of hardships. If you have ever been to the country to visit it is hard to see. The beautiful beaches and landscape make it very hard to see the poverty, the struggle that goes on. Not only has the poverty risen from such a beautiful country but it often has to fight for its culture. Since the US made it apart of it’s nation, Puerto Rican’s have been desperately trying to show their independence from typical American culture. They have different rituals, different language, and most of all a different approach in life. In boxing the culture is much more different, as well. Some critics see them as arrogant, disrespectful, even sort of cocky. Which isn’t the case. Puerto Rico has earned it’s place among the greatest boxing countries in the world.
What this victory for Miguel Cotto really means is that he is now at the top of the list of a great boxing country. He can now be considered one of the best Puerto Rican fighters that ever lived. That is saying a mouthful.