Many articles I have read recently on the topic of Miguel Cotto - including a recent blog posting by ESPN’s Dan Rafael - insist that the Puerto Rican, three weight world champion, will have to make a choice between a fight with Saul Alvarez or Sergio Martinez.
However, my overwhelming feeling is the two do not need to be mutually exclusive.
Miguel Cotto could conceivably fight Canelo Showtime PPV on March 8th- the date proposed by Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions- before turning his attentions to securing a PPV showdown with Sergio Martinez later in 2014.
In theory, even if Cotto was to fight, and lose to the young Mexican, in March, it probably would not have a particularly adverse affect on his chances of securing a shot at Martinez and his WBO middleweight title next summer.
Why? I hear you ask.
Well, because a fight between Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez would still generate massive interest in the boxing world, and would prove hugely lucrative irrespective of whether Cotto were to lose any potential contest with Canelo Alvarez.
Put simply, Miguel Cotto's fanatical fan following is always a major factor in his favour in any fight negotiations.
A classic case in point of Cotto's massive pulling power were conveyed in recent comments made by GBP CEO, Richard Schaefer, who stated to ESPN, “I met with Miguel and his team, and we had a very good meeting and I made him an offer in the eight figures, well over $10 million, to fight Canelo in March,”
“Canelo and I have worked out a deal structure for the fight. He’s on board,” Schaefer said.
“His No. 1 priority is to get a deal done with Cotto. So that’s why we sat down and made a very aggressive and attractive offer to Miguel for the fight. We’d be happy to do it as a one-fight deal with no strings attached, no options, or we’re happy to do a longer-range plan that could lead to Miguel facing the other guys we have. It’s totally up to Miguel."
So Cotto, who after a two fight losing streak, seemingly had the sword of Damocles hanging over his head, is now in the midst of an incredible career renaissance- as he is once again among the most sought after names in the sport.
And Martinez, who is now well into the twilight of his career at the top level, must be seduced by the financial security a fight with Cotto would ensure he is able to enjoy in his retirement. The noises that Martinez is principally focussed on amassing financial profit, as opposed to, gaining the prestige associated with unifying the middleweight division, will be music to ears of such a marquee name as Miguel Cotto.
Add the obvious motivations of monetary reward for Martinez, to the fact that he seems mentally unwilling, and maybe physically unable, at this late stage in his career, to risk fighting the force of nature that is Gennady Golovkin, then Miguel Cotto is certainly the most, if not the only, viable option for the Argentine- who turns 39 years old next February.
The other middleweight titlists, Peter Qullin and Darren Barker, are non-starters in financial terms, and there hasn’t been too much speculation about him facing either Canelo or Floyd Mayweather in the near future.
Conversely, for Cotto the idea of a fight with Martinez was not just conceived from capitalist desires.
Instead, the chance to make history by becoming the 1st Puerto Rican to win world titles in four different weight classes is his chief motivation. In this case, I sense the pride of becoming the 1st boxer in his countries rich fighting heritage to achieve such a feat will be a priceless currency for the patriotic Puerto Rican legend.
But the pursuit of profit and prestige does not need to be mutually exclusive. Cotto is in the perfect position to chase both. He is a free agent, who is no longer limited by his allegiances to either Top Rank or HBO.
"But I know one other fight that Miguel is interested in, a potential rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. I haven’t discussed it with Floyd, but I am sure Floyd would be up for that as well if Miguel beat Canelo,”
"If Miguel would prefer to fight a [junior middleweight titlist] Carlos Molina, who we have options on, or the Erislandy Lara-Austin Trout winner, or Alfredo Angulo or [middleweight titlist] Peter Quillin, we could do those too,” Schaefer said. “There are so many different options out there.” Schaefer said
The vast array of potential opponents now in his path makes one wonder why other popular prize fighters, with a massive fan base, such as Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, don’t sever their ties with Top Rank and negotiate fights free of constraint.
There has been a drastic change in the career trajectory of Cotto since his underwhelming performance against Austin Trout was pilloried by many supposed ‘experts’, who, in the aftermath of that surprise defeat, held a post-mortem into his ring prowess- concluding the cause of death to be career suicide.
Like myself, others who rightfully cast doubt on the claims that Cotto's dreams of returning to the top of the sport, and becoming a World Champion again were dead and buried, are now rejoicing in his rebirth.
The way he has been propelled back into pay-per-view and prize fighting contention only one performance- a 3rd round TKO of fringe contender Delvin Rodriguez- after a two fight losing streak suggests that Miguel Cotto would live to fight another day against Sergio Martinez, even in the event of a defeat to Canelo Alvarez.
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