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“I didn’t think that this arena was going to be so special for me in my entire career,” Cotto said. “But I’m happy, I’m thankful, and I’m just grateful for having such a wonderful career, such wonderful performances here in Madison Square Garden.”

Trout, a 2004 U.S. Olympic alternate, has been as wowed at Cotto’s career as much as the fans who flock from New York’s Puerto Rican communities to cheer him on. After a press conference in October, Trout approached Cotto and requested an autograph _ which was captured on Showtime’s All-Access show.

“There’s Austin Trout the fan of boxing,” Trout said, “and Austin Trout the fighter.”

Forget the autograph on Saturday. Trout (25-0, 14 KOs) is aiming for a true signature win. Trout, a southpaw, grinded out a championship career far removed from the spotlight of boxing meccas like Las Vegas and New York. He’s mostly fought in Texas and New Mexico and is still a relative unknown on the national scene.

Spoiling Cotto’s perfect New York mark in a breakthrough performance is one way to get noticed.

“I plan on making history,” Trout said. “Not because I made Miguel Cotto a five-time world champion, but because I will be the only person to beat Miguel Cotto in New York.”