Miguel Cotto and Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez will be the protagonists of the biggest Puerto Rico-Mexico boxing rivalry in many years. The road to this point, however, has not been easy, as both fighters have suffered through a lot to get where they currently are. So here are a few facts about the fighters’ careers over the years.
Cotto was in a car accident at 21.
After only six professional fights, then 21-year-old Cotto was in a terrible car accident when he fell asleep and crashed into a concrete wall on his way to an early morning practice at the gym in his hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico. He broke his hand and shoulder in four different places, but judging by his successful career, there’s no doubt he has fully recovered.
Canelo once fought Miguel Cotto's brother.
Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez made his Las Vegas (and USA) debut in the undercard of the Mayweather-Shane Mosley fight in 2010. It was an HBO Pay-Per-View event, so it goes without saying the whole world was watching, and that’s why it would have been a terrible bump in the road if the much smaller José Miguel Cotto knocked Canelo out, like he almost did in the first round. The Mexican came back and knocked out Cotto’s brother in the ninth.
Once upon a time, Cotto's biggest rival was a Brazilian fighter.
Miguel Cotto had an amateur record of 125 wins and 23 losses. Two of those losses were against Brazilian fighter Kelson Pinto, who the Puerto Rican would later defeat in a professional title fight, taking not only the belt, but also the Brazilian’s undefeated record. Cotto also avenged his 2000 Olympic loss and elimination to gold medal winner Muhammad Abdullaev in a title defense in 2005.
Saúl Álvarez turned professional at just 15 years old.
Saúl Álvarez’s amateur experience is limited to the Mexican Junior Olympics. In an interview with CBS, Canelo’s older brother reveals that initially, Guadalajara boxing officials did not let the redhead compete in the Junior Olympics because he came from Juanacatlán, a small town that didn’t even have a gym. When they finally did, Canelo not only won the local championship, but took second place at nationals, and first the year after. Perhaps due to this semi-sour experience, the Tapatío turned professional at just 15 years old, knocking out 11 of his first 13 opponents.
Cotto is the only Puerto Rican champion to have won titles in multiple divisions.
Despite the long list of great Puerto Rican champions, Miguel Cotto is the only one to have won titles in four different weight divisions. Adding more value to this accomplishment is the fact that he won his fourth title against true middleweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martínez, and not some random punching bag like boxers sometimes do.