MIGUEL COTTO insists he will retire from boxing this year, but intends to fight two or three times before doing so – starting with a February 25 meeting with James Kirkland.

Cotto, Puerto Rico’s first ever four weight world champion, has grown into one of the most marketable fighters in the world and the Kirkland bout will be his 10th career pay-per-view fight.

Now, at 36 and having surely secured his place in the Hall of Fame, Cotto has put a timeline on his retirement.

“2017 is going to be my last year in boxing,” he said. “We’ll see what happens next.

“This is the last year of my career and I want to finish it in the best way possible. I’ve been boxing since I was 11, I’ve got four kids, I’ve been away from them for a [large] part of their lives and I want to be with them, I want to be a 100 per cent father. I’m a family man first, then a boxer.

“I’ve had a great career with good fights, it’s time to do something else.”

Cotto has not fought since his November 2015 points loss to Canelo Alvarez, though claims he never considered walking away from the sport during that time out.

“I knew I wanted to come back and this is the right fight,” he stated.

The former super-lightweight, welterweight, super-welterweight and middleweight world champion hopes to fight two or three times in 2017, provided he gets past Kirkland as expected.

He wants one of those outings to be a rematch against Canelo, as he feels he did enough on the night to get the nod – though Alvarez was awarded a unanimous decision.

“I’m here for the best fights and the best fighters out there, so if Canelo Alvarez wants to fight, to clear what happened November 2015, they know where and how they can make it,” he continued.

“It was close. We orchestrated the plan in a perfect way and we believe that we were the winners of the fight.”

For now, he must focus on Kirkland who himself will be ending a 21-month hiatus when he faces Cotto, having been wrecked by Canelo in May 2015.

Cotto kicked off his training camp with Freddie Roach yesterday, and believes he will not have missed a step once fight night comes around.

“It’s going to be a great fight. I know James always comes with a warrior attitude and I look forward to bringing the fight to all the fans.

“People know what to expect with Miguel Cotto, and they will get the same in 2017.”