Van Heerden, 26, has been making his own waves since making a permanent move to the USA last December and has already sparred Cotto, plus former WBC light-middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
‘The Heat’ spent hours in preparation with the four-weight world title holder and his trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card, and says sharing Cotto’s training camp for his defining night was a special feeling.
“I am pleased to have played a small role in Cotto’s victory. It has to be the second best feeling before actually winning a world title myself,” Van Heerden told World Boxing News.
“It’s a highlight for me in my career after I won the IBO title as Cotto is a real gentleman.”
Sergio Martinez, who was pummelled into submission by Cotto, went down three times in the first round due to some hurtful left hooks and Van Heerden stressed that he knew all about that shot in their build-up sessions.
“He packs a good punch! We were sparring with 18 ounce gloves on and I could feel that left hook. Martinez was out of it from round one and was never the same from there,” said Van Heerden.
The South African is due back in the ring in the summer following Stateside wins over Cosme Rivera and Ray Narh as Van Heerden attempts to push towards a future clash on a high-profile bill on American soil.
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