You may have felt the fear in Miguel Cotto's eyes, but don't call him a coward.
You may have sensed the anxiety in Miguel Cotto's body language, but don't call him a wuss.
You may have seen Miguel Cotto's blood dripping out of his eyebrow, but the fight wasn't over.
You may have seen Miguel Cotto running away from Joshua Clottey to wipe the blood off his face, but don't say he wasn't a warrior.
The fear, the tension, the pain, the blood and the flight?
That's what it means to be human.
For the first time in my life, I truly understood what a man-crush was when I saw Miguel Cotto fight nine rounds with a severe cut over his left eyebrow to win a split decision over Joshua Clottey.
For the first time in my life, I truly understood what a man-crush was when I saw Miguel Cotto complete his long comeback from a vicious beating at the hands of Antonio Margarito - possibly with loaded gloves - by overcoming a crucible almost as brutal.
For the first time in my life, I truly understood what a man-crush was when Miguel Cotto simply fought on although he could've sent the fight to the judges' scorecards. After all, he had knocked Joshua Clottey down at the end of the first round with a hard jab and was leading on points. I agree with Large from No Mas that courage and toughness is such a part of Cotto's existence that calling it a night likely never even crossed his mind.
I know how it feels to love a woman. I know how it feels to love family. But maybe love is love. The man-crush I felt from watching Miguel Cotto didn't feel all that different from when you give your heart and soul to a woman or family.
Maybe I felt the man-crush on Miguel Cotto because his warrior heroics inside the ring and class outside are values that I try to live by.
Maybe I felt the man-crush on Miguel Cotto because I admire the way he triumphs over his frailties through honest perseverance.
I could finally understand with my heart and soul why Puerto Ricans go crazy for their hero.
But maybe love is love. When you love a woman or family, you accept the whole : the good and bad. You don't expect it back from them, but you're willing to take the ultimate sacrifice if it means saving them. When things go well, you want them to have all the joy. And when things don't, you want to spare them all the pain.
Miguel Cotto may or may not get a chance to fight Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather, Jr., much less beat them. He may even get his ass handed to him.
What I do know, though, is that he'll fight with all his heart and soul. He has shown throughout his career that he loves his profession, his fans and the Puerto Rican people too much not to.
And no matter what happens, I'll always thank Miguel Cotto for showing me for the first time in my life what a man-crush is.
"Can't We Be Sweethearts" by The Cleftones